Sunday, October 09, 2011

If You Know what's Good for You ... (Part 7)

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The Cancer-Causing Mistake 1 in 4 People Over 45 Make
By Dr. Mercola
December 07 2011
Statins, drugs that lower your cholesterol levels, are one of the most widely prescribed drugs in the world.
In the US, a staggering one in four over the age of 45 is now taking this unnecessary drug!
Statins act by blocking a crucial enzyme in your liver responsible for making cholesterol.
But that's not all this enzyme is responsible for.
This enzyme also makes CoQ10, which is essential for mitochondrial health.
Perhaps it's not so surprising then that many potentially dangerous side effects go hand-in-hand with statin drug use.
To date, there are no less than 900 studies proving their adverse effects, which run the gamut from muscle problems to diabetes, to birth defects and increased cancer risk.
Statins May Increase Prostate Cancer Risk
One recent study sought to determine whether the use of statin drugs was associated with prostate cancer risk.
The researchers looked at close to 400 prostate cancer patients who had a first-time diagnosis during the period between 2005 and 2008.
They found that use of any statin drug, in any amount, was associated with a significantly increased risk for prostate cancer.
In addition, there was an increasing risk that came along with an increasing cumulative dose.
According to the study:
"The results of this case-control study suggest that statins may increase the risk of prostate cancer."
Statins Have Been Linked to Increased Cancer Risk for More Than a Decade
While the evidence still appears a bit all over the map, with study results ranging from increased cancer risk to reduced risk, to no noticeable risk at all, what IS clear is that conventional medicine still does not understand the full ramifications of artificially lowering your cholesterol levels, and they simply don't know whether or not the use of these drugs may be adding fuel to an already out of control cancer epidemic.
In short, with well over 30 million Americans now taking statin drugs, we're witnessing a massive ongoing 'live' experiment.
Over 10 years ago, research indicated that besides lowering cholesterol, statins could also promote the growth of new blood vessels. And, although this effect may help to prevent heart attacks and other forms of heart disease, it may also promote cancer as well by increasing the growth of blood vessels in cancerous tumors. Meanwhile, other studies have indicated the complete opposite; that statins can inhibit angiogenesis (the formation of new blood vessels), so again, it's virtually impossible to say that statin safety and effectiveness is based on hard science...
But the statin-cancer connection actually goes much farther back than that. A review published in the Journal of the American Medical Association in 1996 stated:
"All members of the two most popular classes of lipid-lowering drugs (the fibrates and the statins) cause cancer in rodents, in some cases at levels of animal exposure close to those prescribed to humans. ...
Longer-term clinical trials and careful postmarketing surveillance during the next several decades are needed to determine whether cholesterol-lowering drugs cause cancer in humans.
In the meantime, the results of experiments in animals and humans suggest that lipid-lowering drug treatment, especially with the fibrates and statins, should be avoided except in patients at high short-term risk of coronary heart disease."
Cholesterol Guidelines are a Health Disaster
Needless to say, such warnings were completely ignored. Instead, public health officials have gone the opposite way, happily following the trail littered with the most cash.
Over the past decade, cholesterol guidelines have been altered to create ever more 'patients' to be treated with cholesterol-lowering drugs. In 2004, the U.S. government's National Cholesterol Education Program panel advised those at risk for heart disease to attempt to reduce their LDL (bad) cholesterol to extremely low levels, and it's been a health disaster ever since.
Before 2004, a 130-milligram LDL cholesterol level was considered healthy. The updated guidelines, however, recommended levels of less than 100, or even less than 70 for patients at very high risk. These updated guidelines instantly increased the market for cholesterol-lowering drugs. The marked has further increased with the call to begin screening children prior to puberty, and prescribing statins to kids as young as eight.
Not surprisingly, eight of the nine doctors on the approval panel for these absurdly low guidelines had financial ties to the companies making these cholesterol-lowering drugs.
FDA Doesn't "Believe" in Statin-Cancer Link
Back in 2008, troubling study findings were released showing a dramatically increased risk of cancer related deaths in those taking Inegy (also sold under the trade name Vytorin). The drug combines the widely-used statin drug simvastatin with another medication called ezetimibe, which blocks the absorption of cholesterol in your gut. The study also found no benefit whatsoever from the drug.
This despite the fact that it reduced LDL cholesterol levels by a respectable 61 percent, which "should have" had an effect on cardiovascular events, based on the prevailing hypothesis that high LDL equates to high risk of heart disease. So, in a nutshell, the drug had no beneficial impact on the primary outcome (meaning it did not reduce major cardiovascular adverse events), while more people developed cancer on the treatment (105 versus 70 patients taking a placebo), and more cancer related deaths (39 cancer deaths versus 23 in the control group).
A couple of months after the results were revealed, a panel assembled by the American Academy of Cardiology declared that:
"... the aggressively marketed drug combination should be used only as a last resort. There is currently no evidence that ezetimibe, which reduces levels of low-density lipoprotein cholesterol, improves clinical outcomes such as myocardial infarction or death."
In December 2009, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced the completion of their review of the disturbing SEAS trial (above), as well as interim data from two other large-scale ongoing cardiovascular trials using Vytorin: the SHARP and IMPROVE-IT trials. (The SHARP trial was concluded in 2010, while the IMPROVE-IT trial is expected to be completed in 2012.)
Their conclusion?
"FDA believes it is unlikely that Vytorin or Zetia increase the risk of cancer or cancer-related death."
I don't know how much faith you have in the FDA's beliefs, but mine is on pretty shaky ground... The FDA goes on to list a number of factors that were weighed to reach the conclusion that they believe cancer is unrelated to the drugs. You can review them for yourself here, and see if you would concur with their assessment.
Statins May Increase Your Risk of Heart Disease
Ironically, while reducing your risk of cardiovascular events and heart disease is the primary motivation for prescribing statins, these drugs can actually increase your risk of heart disease because they deplete your body of Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10), which can lead to heart failure.
Statins have also been linked to:
Weakness, Serious degenerative muscle tissue condition (rhabdomyolysis), Pancreas or liver dysfunction, including a potential increase in liver enzymes, Muscle problems (aches and pains), Diabetes, Polyneuropathy (nerve damage in the hands and feet), Immune system suppression, Increased risk of food borne illness, Anemia,
Sexual dysfunction (erectile dysfunction), Cataracts, Cognitive impairment, including memory loss and transient global amnesia.
The Importance of CoQ10 or, if You're Over 40, Ubiquinol
As mentioned in the beginning, statin drugs also block the production of Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10), and that in and of itself poses a very serious health risk. As your body gets more and more depleted of CoQ10, you may suffer from fatigue, muscle weakness and soreness, and eventually heart failure. Coenzyme Q10 plays a vital role in the process of neutralizing free radicals and the optimal production of cellular energy.
Unfortunately, the majority of people who take statins are unaware of their need for CoQ10, and physicians rarely advise their patients to take this supplement along with their statin—at least in the United States. It's also important to supplement right from the start, to ward off irreversible mitochondrial damage.
Make no mistake about it, if you're on a statin drug, you simply must take a CoQ10 supplement. If you're over the age of 40, I strongly recommend using the reduced version, called ubiquinol. Ubiquinol is a far more effective form—I personally take it every day as it has far-ranging health benefits. There's evidence that CoQ10/ubiquinol is beneficial for Parkinson's disease, Alzheimer's disease, and even cancer, as well as staving off premature aging in general by preventing telomere shortening, which can slow or potentially even reverse the aging process.
Unlike prescription drugs that kill over 125,000 people every year in the U.S. alone, there are no reported side effects of CoQ10 supplementation and no one has ever died from taking it.
What Drug Companies Don't Want You to Know About LDL
While statins drugs are very effective for lowering so-called "bad" cholesterol, the low-density lipoprotein, or LDL, it's important to realize that there are different sizes of LDL cholesterol particles, and it's the LDL particle size that is relevant, as small particles get stuck easily and causes more inflammation. Unfortunately, most people don't hear about that part, and very rarely, if ever, get it tested.
Naturally, the drug companies really don't want you to know about this, because statins do not modulate the size of the particles.
The only way to make sure your LDL particles are large enough to not get stuck and cause inflammation and damage is through your diet. In fact, modulating LDL particle size is one of the things that insulin does. If you eat properly and maintain normal insulin levels, then everything works as it should—the LDL particles are large and buoyant; they don't get stuck, and don't cause inflammation.
So rather than worry about your cholesterol numbers, you really want to work on reducing inflammation, which can be caused by numerous things, including:
Oxidized cholesterol (cholesterol that has gone rancid, such as that from overcooked, scrambled eggs)
Eating lots of sugar and grains
Eating foods cooked at high temperatures
Eating trans fats
A sedentary lifestyle
Smoking
Emotional stress
When you get to the bottom of it, the real "villain" of heart disease is typically an unhealthy lifestyle, characterized by a heavy reliance on sugars and grains, processed, highly cooked foods, and insufficient amounts of exercise – not "high cholesterol" per se.
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Green tea supplements prevent flu better than vaccination
Tuesday, November 22, 2011 by: Ethan Evers
(NaturalNews) Flu season is now in full swing and seasonal vaccinations are being pushed from every corner. Nonetheless, a recent clinical trial showed that green tea-based supplements reduced the risk of flu by 75%. This is far better than the 60% risk reduction recently reported in the Lancet for vaccinations. Given that green tea provides a host of other health benefits and none of the risks of injections, it would appear to be a far superior alternative to vaccination.
Green Tea: Natural Antiviral and Immune Enhancer
For many years it has been known that green tea polyphenols actively suppress many bacterial, fungal and viral species. On the virus front, green tea suppresses the adenovirus, Epstein-Barr, herpes simplex, HIV-1 and influenza viruses. EGCG, one of the main polyphenols in green tea, is mainly responsible for this suppression. Specifically, ECGC binds to the hemagglutinin of the influenza virus, which blocks it from attaching to (and infecting) target receptor cells. EGCG also alters the virus cell membrane, which further inhibits its ability to infect other cells. Another important component of green tea is the amino acid L-theanine, which has been shown to activate human gamma-delta-T lymphocytes to proliferate and make interferon-gamma, a potent antimicrobial cytokine. These lymphocytes are considered to be the body's first line of defence against infection. Green tea therefore offers a two-pronged protection from the flu which vaccination simply cannot match. But for final proof, we need clinical trials.
Green Tea Lowers Flu Risk: Early Clinical Evidence
One early trial using green tea against the flu involved gargling three times daily with a weak solution of green tea(50 mg of catechins per cup, of which 60% was EGCG). The theory was that since the throat was a major infection site of influenza, gargling could stop the flu virus there. The theory was right: 1.3% of garglers contracted the flu vs. 10% of the control group. In another more sophisticated trial on 97 healthy adults, a proprietary blend of theanine and green tea polyphenols (apparently worth about 10 cups of green tea per day, but exact amounts were not disclosed) was used for three months during flu season. This trial was randomized, double-blind and placebo controlled. The supplement takers experienced 32% less illnesses and 35% fewer "symptom days." However, participants were included in the statistical analysis even if their compliance (actually taking the green tea pills) was only 70%.
Latest Clinical Trial Provides Stunning Results: 75% Less Illness
More recently, a better controlled trial was performed on 198 health care workers. This was randomized, double-blind and placebo controlled: the gold standard in clinical trials. The treatment group was each given a daily dose of 378 mg green tea catechins (containing 270 mg EGCG) and 210 mg of theanine from November 2009 to April 2010. The compliance rate in this trial was better: 93% took their pills according to plan. Those taking the green tea experienced 75% less clinically defined flu infection and this was statistically significant (P=0.022). But not all observed sicknesses were bona fide flu. When laboratory tests were used to confirm real influenza infection, it showed that green tea provided a stunning 83% reduction in flu risk, however this was not statistically significant (P=0.112) due to the small number of actual flu cases.
This latest trial shows that green tea supplements easily outperform flu vaccination for preventing illness. This may be a shocker to most people's vaccine-indoctrinated mind-set, but for those who already study, understand and practice the principles of natural health, it's really no surprise at all.
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If Your Protein Supplement Contains This - Throw it in the Trash
By Dr. Mercola
November 10 2011
By Ori Hofmekler
If you're an athlete, a fitness advocate or a dieter who routinely uses protein supplements, there's a good chance your supplement is made with a bad ingredient.
That ingredient is called casein.
So what exactly is casein? Casein is the main protein in raw milk.
It is typically extracted via acid heat processing and used as a common ingredient in protein products – powders, bars and drinks. You may have been told that casein supplementation is highly beneficial for your muscle and body, but I'm here to prove to you that nothing is further from the truth.
What's Wrong With the Typical Casein in Sport Nutrition Supplements?
It's an inferior protein, often drenched with toxic residues. In fact, it's one of the worst proteins for your muscle.
This report reveals some of the dirtiest secrets behind casein manufacturing.
If you're serious with your diet and training regimen, you owe it to yourself to know these facts before purchasing another casein-containing protein.
You may have already been noticing some of the side effects involved with casein ingestion – heart burn, bad after taste, indigestion, allergies ... Or you may have been thinking "I'm ok with my protein and I don't even care if it contains casein" …
There are many individuals who honestly want to believe that their protein is okay, but what they may not be aware of is that protein manufacturers have been routinely taking advantage of their trust. And in the case of casein …
They Sell You Nothing More Than Garbage With A Fancy Label
Why garbage? Because it's cheap. They use the least costly methods to extract the casein. They use cheap chemical acids found in fertilizers and household cleaning products.
It all comes down to one word: GREED.
It costs them about 10 times less than what you pay. Their profits are around 10,000% – a huge margin, similar to that of drug companies – and all this on your account. And they don't just rip you off financially, they also jeopardize your health and they rob you of your hard-earned gains.
The manufacturers of this protein are some of the biggest sponsors of the fitness media-magazines, radio, Internet, etc. They are typically driven by profit and not entirely interested in providing you with the truth.
They Don't Want You to Know the Truth About Casein
But you can't allow yourself to overlook this. You probably work hard to keep yourself in shape and you certainly need to know what you're putting in your body. Casein has obtained the reputation of a highly nutritious protein with distinct anabolic properties. It has been used as a common ingredient in sport nutrition products to support athletic performance, increase muscle mass, and prevent muscle breakdown.
But is casein as good as claimed?
Can it build your muscle?
And is it worth your money?
There are three types of casein – native whole milk casein, cheese casein and industrial casein. As you'll soon see, there is a huge difference between these three types of protein – both nutritionally and health-wise.
Native Whole Milk Casein – Your Best Bet
Native casein is the primary protein in raw milk, accounting for nearly 80% of the milk's amino acid content. In its native form in raw milk, casein occurs along with whey to yield a most functional protein – naturally designed to nourish and promote healthy growth of the mammalian young. Raw milk casein is made out of a complex group of protein clusters called "micells," which are bound with calcium, phosphate and citrate ions and exist at a neutral pH of about 6.6 – about the same as your body's pH.
Hence, native casein complements your body's acid-base balance and will not cause an overly acidifying effect. That's unlike most industrial caseins, which are highly acidifying and need to be chemically alkalized to be edible. But what's especially unique about native casein is its distinct anabolic properties.
Native Casein is One of the Most Effective Muscle-Building Proteins
It has the ability to form a clot in your stomach, which provides slow, sustained release of amino acids to your circulation for several hours. Note that it's the concentration of circulating amino acids (not cellular amino acid) that has been found to trigger muscle anabolism. This makes raw milk casein one of the most effective proteins for muscle retention and buildup. It can be used to keep your muscle in a sustained anabolic mode for a prolonged period of time – such as during the sleeping hours of the night.
Protein manufacturers have been trying to produce products that mimic native casein. The most notable ones are milk protein concentrate (MPC) and micellar casein.
Milk Protein Concentrate (MPC) -- As Close to Native Casein as You Can Get
Milk protein concentrate (MPC) is a whole protein produced by membrane filtration of milk. The ultrafiltration yields a protein end product that contains casein and whey – virtually the same as in the milk that it's derived from. MPC is outstandingly stable.
Milk protein concentrate has virtually the same properties of native casein.
It keeps the original ratio between casein and whey protein and maintains a neutral to alkaline pH in a stable, water-soluble state, which is highly resilient to damage by heat.
The best MPC products are those derived from raw milk of pasture-fed cows.
Raw milk products from pasture-fed cows, such as whey and milk protein concentrate, grant better integrity of the protein matrix as well as lipid composition. Raw milk protein concentrate keeps all fragile immuno-factors and amino acids intact and it's devoid of the enzyme xanthine oxidase (a byproduct of milk homogenization that has been linked to cardiovascular and degenerative diseases).
The other product that attempts to mimic native casein is micellar casein. Micellar casein is a relatively new product and considered to be the highest quality casein available. But is it indeed? We'll cover this product soon along with other types of industrial casein. We're still left with another type of whole milk casein – cheese casein.
Cheese Casein: Great Food for Your Muscle – Almost as Effective as Native Casein
Cheese casein is not the same as raw milk casein. During cheese manufacturing, the casein is enzymatically separated from the whey and cleaved out of important peptides (glycomacropeptides), but the remaining curd is nevertheless a whole, complete protein. And similar to native casein, it has a slow and efficient nutrient delivery and thus can yield a long-lasting nitrogen retention and utilization in your muscle. Given this, cheese can be an ideal food for keeping your muscle in a sustained anabolic state during the sleeping hours of the night.
Next, we'll review industrial casein; there are several kinds of industrial casein that you need to take a look at.
Industrial Casein Overview
Unlike whole milk caseins (native casein and cheese casein), all industrial caseins are protein isolates, most of which are extracted from ultra-pasteurized milk often via extreme acid/heat processing. The typical industrial casein is a deficient protein lacking the essential amino acid methionine and the conditionally essential amino acid cysteine, both of which are lost in processing. These sulfur-containing amino acids play key roles in sustaining your body's immune system.
This indicates from the start that industrial casein is inferior to native casein and cheese casein.
All industrial casein powders are derived from skim milk (a byproduct of cream manufacturing). In the processing, the cream is first separated from the milk by means of centrifuges and the remaining skim milk thus serves as the raw material from which industrial casein products are extracted.
Casein products are typically precipitated by means of acidification using chemical acids (hydrochloric acid or sulfuric acid) or natural acids (lactic acid). The acid precipitants cause destabilization of the micells in the milk, leading to coagulation of the protein. Some casein products are not precipitated via acid but rather via enzymes or microfiltration. These are called rennet casein and micellar casein, respectively. Let's review the different kinds of industrial casein and see how viable they are in respect to their protein integrity and nourishing potential.
Acid Casein – An Insoluble, Inedible Protein
There are two kinds of acid casein – chemical acid casein and lactic acid casein – both are insoluble in water. Since most applications of casein require them to be water soluble, manufacturers treat acid casein with alkalies to yield a water-soluble product with a higher pH called caseinate.
Chemical Acid Casein – The Cheapest And Worst Casein
Chemical acid casein is precipitated with chemical acids – hydrochloric and sulfuric acid – both are products of the chemical industry and used mainly due to their cheap cost. Even in New Zealand, which has a very small chemical industry, manufacturers extract casein with sulfuric acid – a chemical produced in comparatively large quantities by the fertilizer industry.
Chemical acid casein is probably the "dirtiest" among all commercial proteins.
What casein manufacturers fail to tell you is that the residues of these chemicals remain in the final casein product even after the washing and milling of the curd – which explains the typical acid aftertaste of many casein products.
Note that sulfuric acid is a highly toxic substance found in acid rain and mine drainage.
It's considered an industrial hazard that causes skin burns, erosion of teeth, chronic damage to the respiratory tract, depletion of vitamin B12 and possibly neural damage. The other precipitant, hydrochloric acid, is used as detergent for household cleaning as well as a chemical reagent in the production of vinyl chloride for PVC plastic. The chemical hydrochloric acid has a corrosive effect on human tissues with potential damaging effects on the respiratory organs, eyes, skin and intestines.
These are some of the facts casein manufacturers do not want you to know -- and there are even more reasons for you to be concerned with the processing of this product.
After the casein has been precipitated by acid, the mixture is heated again. This causes the protein to further thermolyze and degrade into smaller components ("a nitrogen soup"), which agglomerate together to form clumps of curd. The curd is then dewatered via pressing or high-sheer centrifuging. At this point, the casein is pretty much "beaten" by acid, heat and high-sheer centrifuging, which literally destroy the integrity of the protein matrix.
What remains is a protein mess contaminated with toxic chemicals that are used to clean toilets or manufacture fertilizers.
This protein then goes through a drying process where it's even more thermolyzed by hot air (via several drying treatments) followed by milling, shifting, blending and bagging. As a protein consumer you need to know this. You need to know what kind of stuff you're putting in your body.
Lactic Acid Casein – A Cleaner Alternative But Nevertheless Inferior
Lactic acid casein is a byproduct of milk fermentation. In this case, the casein is extracted via natural processing. The skim milk goes first through pasteurization and then is cooled and inoculated with several strains of lactic-acid-producing bacteria known as "starters." The milk is fermented for a period of 14-16 hours during which much of the lactose in the milk is converted to lactic acid and the pH is reduced to about 4.6, causing coagulation of the casein.
The problem with this processing is in the fermentation of the milk. It has been commonly assumed that milk fermentation is healthy and beneficial due to the fact that it yields probiotic/digestive-supporting properties. But the fact is that milk fermentation is not as "simple and healthy" as commonly thought.
Milk fermentation damages fragile immuno peptides and amino acids and creates MSG.
And if that's not bad enough, the protein matrix is further "cooked" and thermolyzed by means of heat exchanger and steam injection. Following the heat treatment, the resultant curd is washed, dried and milled in a similar manner to chemical acid casein. Lactic acid casein is not as "contaminated" as chemical acid casein, but it's nevertheless damaged by fermentation and thermolyzation – yielding a deficient protein with MSG.
Caseinate – A Water-Soluble Version of Acid Casein With Even More Defaults
To be commercially viable, all acid caseins must be treated with alkalies. This process yields a water-soluble
product – hence, caseinate. The most common caseinates are calcium caseinate and sodium caseinate – treated with the chemicals calcium hydroxide and solium hydroxide, respectively. The problem with chemical alkalies is that they act like "anti-nutrients" – damaging or suppressing nutrient absorption.
In Dutch chocolate for instance, the alkali causes destruction of antioxidant polyphenols rendering the product nutritionally inferior. And there is another problem with this protein -- Caseinates are ultra-thermolyzed by extreme heat.
The processing of caseinates requires the use of extremely high heat of 95ºC, which is near boiling temperatures. The exposure to high heat is a cheap way to decrease the viscosity of the caseinate and improve its solubility.
However cheap processing is often fatal to quality. The extreme heat treatment renders the caseinate an ultra thermolyzed protein drenched with MSG (a byproduct of protein thermolyzation).
Note that ultra thermolyzed casein has been linked to increased risk of colon cancer. Thermolyzed casein is a highly denatured protein that can't be fully digested by your stomach, causing undigested protein residues to "escape" your stomach and reach your colon – where they're fermented by colonic bacteria into highly carcinogenic phenolic compounds that promote colonic tumors and cancer.
Products Containing Caseinates
Following are common caseinate-containing products:
Baking goods, Coffee creamers, Yogurts, Spreads
Ice creams and frozen desserts, Cheese products, Infant foods, Pasta
Meat products, Soups and gravies, Whipped toppings, Protein powders
Protein bars, Sport drinks
Rennet Casein – Less Damaged Than Acid Casein But Still Problematic
Next is a natural casein product that is not precipitated with acid. Called "rennet casein," it's extracted via milk clotting enzymes, also called rennet enzymes.
Rennet casein is generally less damaged than acid casein. It isn't exposed to the low pH as acid casein, but it's nevertheless a protein isolate, typically derived from pasteurized milk. Here is how rennet casein is processed …
Following the pasteurization, the skim milk is cooled to a setting temperature, where calf rennet or microbial rennet enzymes are added and mixed thoroughly until the protein coagulates. This process is virtually the same as that of cheese manufacturing.
And as with cheese manufacturing, the enzymatic precipitation cleaves a most important part of the casein protein called glycomacropeptide. This peptide is a highly beneficial component of native casein – being a great source of immune supportive and satiety-enhancing nutrients.
This is how the protein cleavage technically occurs.
Casein is made out of three kinds of proteins:
∂-casein
ß-casein
k-casein
K-casein works like a stabilizing agent, keeping the native casein protein matrix in a stable, water-soluble state.
During the first state of renneting, the enzymes specifically cleave one of the bonds in k-casein, releasing part of the protein chain – glycomacropeptide – into the whey liquid. This action destabilizes the casein micells, which then form a clot with some of the calcium ions of the milk.
What's left is a casein curd devoid of its glycomacropeptides, which is then cooked and thermolyzed similar to acid casein. This means that on final evaluation rennet casein is a low-grade protein subjected to protein cleavage and thermolyzation.
And note that the casein's glycomacropeptides are "donated" during the processing to the whey liquid, which ironically increases the biological value and nutritional properties of the whey on the account of the original casein donor.
Next we'll take a look at casein hydrolystate. This product is highly popular these days due to its "easy to digest, fast to assimilate" properties. But is it better than other caseins?
Casein Hydrolystate – Faster to Assimilate but Nutritionally Inferior
Casein hydrolystate, also known as hydrolyzed casein, is a predigested protein treated with proteolytic enzymes. It is generally used in nutritional and pharmaceutical applications as easily digestible, fast-assimilating protein. Unlike other casein products, hydrolyzed casein has a fast assimilation rate similar to whey protein. Nonetheless, this protein has virtually the same problems as the other casein products.
Hydrolyzed Casein is an Inferior Protein Isolate, Drenched With MSG Byproduct of Hydrolyzation
Recent studies have shown that hydrolyzed casein is no match to whey protein. Researchers found that whey protein outperforms all casein products including hydrolyzed casein in the capacity to promote muscle protein accretion after meal ingestion. This means that in spite of being as fast assimilating as whey protein, hydrolyzed casein has a "weaker" anabolic effect – most likely due to an inferior protein content.
Finally, let's take a look at micellar casein. Micellar casein, also referred to as native phosphocasein, has been promoted by the sport nutrition industry as the epitome protein for building muscle and preventing muscle waste. But is it as superior as claimed?
Micellar Casein – Premium Casein with Poor Functionality and Stability
Micellar casein is processed similar to milk protein concentrate, but in this case the casein micells are separated from the whey via microfiltration. The main problem with micellar casein is in its functional properties.
Micellar casein has poor functionality due to poor solubility in water.
Let me explain.
It's important that the functionality of the protein is retained during drying, storage and reconstitution (mixing with fluid). Generally the protein powder needs to be dispersed and dissolved to be fully functional and edible as an ingredient. Micellar casein has poor reconstitution – which means poor capacity to dissolve in water at low temperatures.
The cheapest way to address this problem and increase the casein solubility is the use of high heat or high sheer. This is apparently what manufacturers use in the case of canned protein production. Additional methods include heat treating prior to membrane filtration, and the addition of salt, sodium caseinate or polydextrose – all of which increase the solubility of the powder on the account of the protein integrity.
The other problem with micellar casein is instability, as micellar casein tends to deteriorate with increased storage time.
Microstructural analysis shows that with increased storage time, the casein micells interact with each other and deteriorate. Micells' interactions lead to cross-linking of proteins, migration of fat particles to the surface, and degradation of the casein. This means that though micellar casein is acclaimed to be superior to other industrial caseins, it is yet unstable and thus inferior to native casein and cheese casein. And it may contain undesirable additive residues, such as salts, sodium caseinate, and polydextrose.
Do your own investigation before purchasing a micellar casein product. Ask the product provider for an updated certificate of analysis (CofA) and an independent lab report that proves the product's protein integrity.
Final Notes and Conclusions
Whole casein such as in raw milk, milk protein concentrate and aged cheese, is superior to all casein isolates. Whole casein has a very effective nutrient delivery and can be used to yield a steady, long-lasting anabolic effect on your muscle.
Fresh cheese casein such as in cottage cheese is also a viable whole protein, high in muscle-building BCAA and leucine – albeit with a lower pH and lower nutritional value than native casein and raw aged cheese casein. The main advantage of cottage cheese is its high ratio of protein to fat. Pound for pound, you simply get more protein from cottage cheese than from milk or aged cheese.
The worst casein is chemical acid casein. All products in this category should be avoided as they're degraded and drenched with dangerous chemical residues.
All caseinates are ultra-thermolyzed and thus present a serious health risk. Consumption of thermolyzed casein has been linked to increased incidence of colonic tumors and cancer.
How to Get the Best Out of Casein, Cheese and Whey
To get the best out of casein and whey, incorporate the following protocol: During the day, use quality whey protein for muscle nourishment and post-exercise recovery. At night, use casein such as in quality cheese to keep your muscle in a sustained anabolic mode during the sleeping hours.
The reasons: during the day and after exercise your muscle needs fast-assimilating protein and immuno factors such as in quality whey to counteract the catabolic effect of daily stressors and physical exercise on your muscle and grant protein deposit toward recovery and growth.
Slow proteins such as casein have shown to be less effective than whey protein in supporting your body's immune defenses and promoting muscle protein synthesis after exercise. Nonetheless, cheese casein has the anabolic advantage in the long term, and that's due to its ability to induce a slow steady release of amino acids to your muscle for several hours at a time. Therefore cheese casein can serve as an ideal muscle food during the sleeping hours of the night.
Your quality cheese products should come from premium, preferably raw aged cheese such as cheddar, colby, gouda, swiss and emmanthal, or fresh cheese such as organic cottage cheese from pasture-fed cows.
Avoid dietary products containing casein hydrolystates. Read the labels of sports drinks, ready-made protein drinks, protein powders and protein bars – many of these items are made with casein hydrolystate as a main ingredient and are therefore drenched with MSG.
Beware of the A1-A2 Milk Issue
It has been argued that casein from A1 milk presents a health risk – apparently due to yielding a metabolic byproduct (opioid peptide) called beta casomorphine, which has been linked to brain disorders and disease particularly among babies and infants.
Most U.S. dairy products are from A1 milk unless stated that they're produced from A2 milk such as of Guernsey or Jersey cows. European dairy products, however, (which include French, Swiss and Italian cheeses) are mostly derived from A2 milk. It has been recommended as a precautionary step to choose dairy products from A2 milk.
But let's put things in perspective. There is no conclusive evidence yet to the A1 casein issue, and if there is indeed a proven problem with A1 milk, most likely the same problem will apply to A2 milk as well.
The truth is that even A2 cows like Guernsey produce about 50% A1 milk. So if the A1 milk risk exists, it will apply to all kinds of casein products.
As a final note, be aware that historical epidemiology has been indicating great benefits of dairy products (milk, cheese and whey) on human health, particularly in the areas of weight management, cardiovascular health and muscle conditioning.
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Are You Eating This All-Time Favorite "Cancer-in-a-Can" Snack?
By Dr. Mercola
November 07 2011
To understand the nature of Pringles and other stackable chips, forget the notion that they come from actual potatoes in any recognizable way.
The Pringles Company (in an effort to avoid taxes levied against "luxury foods" like chips in the UK) once even argued that the potato content of their chips was so low that they are technically not even potato chips.
So if they're not made of potatoes, what are they exactly?
The process begins with a slurry of rice, wheat, corn, and potato flakes that are pressed into shape.
This dough-like substance is then rolled out into an ultra-thin sheet cut into chip-cookies by a machine.
According to io9:
"The chips move forward on a conveyor belt until they're pressed onto molds, which give them the curve that makes them fit into one another.
Those molds move through boiling oil ... Then they're blown dry, sprayed with powdered flavors, and at last, flipped onto a slower-moving conveyor belt in a way that allows them to stack.
From then on, it's into the cans ... and off towards the innocent mouths of the consumers."
I suspect nearly everyone reading this likely enjoys the taste of potato chips. However, they are clearly one of the most toxic processed foods you can eat—whether they're made from actual potato shavings or not.
Potato Chips are Loaded with Cancer-Causing Chemical
One of the most hazardous ingredients in potato chips is not intentionally added, but rather is a byproduct of the processing.
Acrylamide, a cancer-causing and potentially neurotoxic chemical, is created when carbohydrate-rich foods are cooked at high temperatures, whether baked, fried, roasted or toasted. Some of the worst offenders include potato chips and French fries, but many foods cooked or processed at temperatures above 212°F (100°C) may contain acrylamide. As a general rule, the chemical is formed when food is heated enough to produce a fairly dry and brown/yellow surface. Hence, it can be found in:
Potatoes: chips, French fries and other roasted or fried potato foods
Grains: bread crust, toast, crisp bread, roasted breakfast cereals and various processed snacks
Coffee; roasted coffee beans and ground coffee powder. Surprisingly, coffee substitutes based on chicory actually contains 2-3 times MORE acrylamide than real coffee
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Theses are two brands that I have in food storage and consume daily, that is, until I read this article. I never imagined that there could be anything wrong with a product with all natural ingredients. - Ralph Deline
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How Much Acrylamide are You Consuming?
The federal limit for acrylamide in drinking water is 0.5 parts per billion, or about 0.12 micrograms in an eight-ounce glass of water. However, a six-ounce serving of French fries can contain 60 micrograms of acrylamide, or about FIVE HUNDRED times over the allowable limit.
Similarly, potato chips are notoriously high in this dangerous chemical. So high, in fact, that in 2005 the state of California actually sued potato chip makers for failing to warn California consumers about the health risks of acrylamide in their products. A settlement was reached in 2008 when Frito-Lay and several other potato chip makers agreed to reduce the acrylamide levels in their chips to 275 parts per billion (ppb) by 2011, which is low enough to avoid needing a cancer warning label.
The 2005 report "How Potato Chips Stack Up: Levels of Cancer-Causing Acrylamide in Popular Brands of Potato Chips," issued by the California-based Environmental Law Foundation (ELF), spelled out the dangers of this popular snack. Their analysis found that all potato chip products tested exceeded the legal limit of acrylamide by a minimum of 39 times, and as much as 910 times! Some of the worst offenders at that time included:
Cape Cod Robust Russet: 910 times the legal limit of acrylamide
Kettle Chips (lightly salted): 505 times
Kettle Chips (honey dijon): 495 times
Beware: Baked Chips May Be WORSE than Fried!
If you think you can avoid the health risks of potato chips by choosing baked varieties, which are typically advertised as being "healthier," think again. Remember that acrylamide is formed not only when foods are fried or broiled, but also when they are baked. And according to U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) data on acrylamide levels in foods, baked chips may contain more than three times the level of acrylamide as regular chips!
Interestingly, the same trend holds true for other foods, too, which suggests that baking processed potatoes at high temperature may be one of the worst ways to cook them. For instance, according to the FDA's data, Ore Ida Golden Fries contained 107 ppb of acrylamide in the regular fried version and 1,098 when baked. So remember, ALL potato chips contain acrylamide, regardless of whether they are natural or not; baked or fried. Likewise, they will ALL influence your insulin levels in a very negative way.
Acrylamide is Not the Only Danger
Acrylamide is not the only dangerous genotoxic compound formed when food is heated to high temperatures.
A three-year long EU project, known as Heat-Generated Food Toxicants (HEATOX), whose findings were published at the end of 2007, found there are more than 800 heat-induced compounds, of which 52 are potential carcinogens. In addition to their finding that acrylamide does pose a public health threat, the HEATOX scientists also discovered that you're far less likely to ingest dangerous levels of the toxin when you eat home-cooked foods compared to industrially or restaurant-prepared foods.
Additionally, the HEATOX findings also suggest that although there are ways to decrease exposure to acrylamide, it cannot be eliminated completely.
According to their calculations, successful application of all presently known methods would reduce the acrylamide intake by 40 percent at the most—which makes me wonder whether chip manufacturers have really succeeded at this point in reducing acrylamide levels to within legal limits... There's no updated data as of yet, so there's no telling whether they've been able to comply with the 2005 settlement.
In general however, just remember that cooking food at high temperatures is ill advised.
For more in-depth information about acrylamide, I recommend reading the online report Heat-generated Food Toxicants, Identification, Characterization and Risk Minimization. In general however, just remember that cooking food at high temperatures is ill advised. A few of the most well-known toxins created in high-temperature cooking include:
Heterocyclic Amines (HCAs): These form when meat is cooked at high temperatures, and they're also linked to cancer. In terms of HCA, the worst part of the meat is the blackened section, which is why you should always avoid charring your meat, and never eat blackened sections.
Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons (PAHs): When fat drips onto the heat source, causing excess smoke, and the smoke surrounds your food, it can transfer cancer-causing PAHs to the meat.
Advanced Glycation End Products (AGEs): When food is cooked at high temperatures (including when it is pasteurized or sterilized), it increases the formation of AGEs in your food. When you eat the food, it transfers the AGEs into your body. AGEs build up in your body over time leading to oxidative stress, inflammation and an increased risk of heart disease, diabetes and kidney disease.
The Search for a "Healthful" Chip Continues...
Like a modern-day search for the Holy Grail, chip manufacturers keep searching for methods to improve the image of their health-harming but profitable snacks. For example, by the end of 2011, about half of Pepsi's Frito-Lay brand snacks will be reformulated with all-natural ingredients. The switch is part of PepsiCo's master plan to tap into the healthy foods market share. The Wall Street Journal recently reported the company hopes to boost their nutrition business from $10 billion to $30 billion by 2020.
The company will remove dietary hazards like monosodium glutamate (MSG), replacing it with natural seasonings, such as molasses and paprika. Artificial colors will be replaced with beet juice, purple cabbage and carrots. All in all, about different 60 snacks are scheduled to get an all-natural makeover.
This is certainly a good example of how consumer demand can alter the direction of food manufacturers in a positive way.
The reformulated chips may end up being less bad for you than the original formulations. However, chips will never be truly healthful. All-natural chips may be the lesser of two evils, but if consumed regularly, they will still push your health in the wrong direction... There's no getting away from the fact that modern plagues such as cancer, heart disease, obesity, and diabetes have a dietary component, and potato chips and French fries will always be a losing bet if you want to avoid becoming another disease statistic.
How to Avoid Heat-Induced Toxins in Your Diet
Ideally, you should consume foods that are raw or minimally processed to avoid these types of toxic byproducts—the more raw food, the better. My nutrition plan emphasizes the need for at least one-third of your foods to be consumed raw. Personally, I consume about 80 percent of my food raw, and I find it is one of the most important factors that help keep me healthy.
It may take you awhile to switch over to a less processed diet, but throwing out the most obvious culprits would be a great start.
These would include:
French fries and potato chips
All sodas (both regular and diet, as artificial sweeteners may be more problematic than fructose)
Doughnuts
Healthy Eating Made Easy
Aside from creating potentially toxic byproducts, cooking and processing also depletes the food of valuable micronutrients, which is another reason for eating as much raw food as possible. This includes protein sources such as eggs. Raw whole eggs from organic, pastured chickens are an incredible source of high-quality nutrients that many are deficient in. Raw milk is another good example of a food that is beneficial in its raw state but becomes harmful after it is pasteurized.
By opting for foods that will benefit your health, such as raw, preferably organic and/or locally-grown vegetables, organic grass-fed meats, healthy oils, raw dairy, nuts and seeds, you can change your health for the better. These are the foods that are truly natural, and quite easy to prepare once you get the hang of it.
For a step-by-step guide to make the transition to a healthier diet as simple and smooth as possible, simply follow the advice in my optimized nutrition plan.
Remember, eating fresh whole foods is the "secret" to getting healthier, losing weight and really enjoying your food. It's unfortunate that so many are under the mistaken belief that it's "next to impossible" to create a meal without processed foods. Bruce Weinstein and Mark Scarbrough tackle this issue head-on in their book Real Food Has Curves, which is a great starting point to "relearn" the basics of how to enjoy and prepare real food.
Once you get used to it, you'll find you can whip up a healthful meal from scratch in the same amount of time it would have taken you to drive down the street to pick up fast food. The main difference will be greater satisfaction, both physically and mentally, and perhaps even financially, as processed foods typically end up being more expensive than cooking from scratch.
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The Antioxidant that Makes Fish Oil Work Better
By Dr. Mercola
October 28 2011
The omega-3 fats found in fatty fish have been increasingly shown to have beneficial effects on cardiovascular health, inflammation, mental health, and neurodegenerative diseases.
But because fish are such a heavily polluted food source, this is one instance where you're typically better off getting the omega-3 fats from a purified, high quality, animal-based supplement.
The most common of these is fish oil, which nearly all of you reading this have probably heard of.
Fish oil really started the omega-3 market, and most of the research on the benefits of animal-based omega-3 fats (DHA and EPA), even to this day, is based on studies using fish oil.
However, this, too, has a major downfall – oxidation.
Omega-3 fats are extremely fragile and are highly susceptible to damage by oxygen, which can radially reduce their health benefits and even make them damaging to your body.
Now a new study has determined that adding the antioxidant astaxanthin to fish oil reduces its susceptibility to oxidation while making its immunomodulatory properties more potent. This is the precise reason why I have been recommending you get your omega-3 fats from krill oil instead of fish oil, because it has astaxanthin already built in!
Why Oxidized Fish Oil is a Waste of Money
The primary drawback with fish oil is the problem with oxidation, which can occur at any point during the processing, or after you open the bottle. Dr. Moerck, an expert on omega-3 fats, explains:
"There are a number of ways in which fish oil can be processed. One is by just simply squeezing the fish -- in some cases with cod liver oil to actually remove the livers from the cod -- and then remove the oil from those by classical mechanical techniques.
In some cases, to get the last few ounces of oil out of the fish, they use solvents, or they use fish oil as a solvent by taking fish oil that's already been processed, using it as an extraction method to get more fish oil out.
Every time fish oil is subjected to contact with oxygen, however, it starts going rancid. It starts oxidizing."
This is important to realize, because taking a cheap, poor-quality, rancid fish oil will do you more harm than good, and Dr. Moerck estimates that 25-50 percent of fish oils on the market are rancid. Again, this could be an artifact from the processing and manufacturing of the oil, or due to improper storage. The type of bottle used also impacts the oil's tendency to go rancid. Ideally, fish oil should be stored in glass or PET (polyethylene terephthalate) bottles, as they offer the best protection against oxygen.
As a general rule, brands with high turnover also tend to have less rancidity, and they are less likely to be sitting on the shelf for long periods. If you choose to buy fish oil, there are several guidelines you need to follow to help ensure you're getting a high-quality, non-rancid variety:
Avoid fish oil in clear containers, because they allow ultraviolet and fluorescent light through, which oxidizes the oil, turning it rancid
Buy smaller bottles more frequently
Have them shipped overnight to your home, directly from the manufacturer so you get their freshest batch
Buy from a company with high product turnover to minimize the possibility of getting a product that's been in storage for an extended period of time
Store the fish oil in your refrigerator
Add astaxanthin to the fish oil the moment you open it. This could be tedious though as you may have to add 10 to 40 capsules depending on the size of the container -- and raw astaxanthin will stain your fingers and clothing. It really is close to a dye and is a very difficult stain to remove.
However, even with all of these factors in place it can be difficult to truly gauge its quality, which is why I believe that unless you can verify the purity and freshness of the fish oil, I recommend you avoid it. Besides, fish oil will not contain the most important factor for preserving its freshness naturally, astaxanthin.
Krill Oil Naturally Contains Astaxanthin
There is no need to go through the hassle of seeking to add astaxanthin to your fish oil, as even though it will protect against further oxidation it does absolutely nothing to reverse oxidation in damaged fish oil fats. Once the fat is oxidized it is permanently ruined. The beauty of astaxanthin in krill is that it is there in the krill right from the start, which protects the omega-3 fats along every stage of harvesting and processing.
In tests performed by Dr. Moerck, the krill oil remained undamaged after being exposed to a steady flow of oxygen for 190 hours, whereas fish oil went rancid after just one hour. In other words krill was nearly 200 times more resistant to oxidative damage than fish oil.
When purchasing krill oil, you'll want to read the label and check the amount of astaxanthin it contains. The more the better, but anything above 0.2 mg per gram of krill oil will protect it from rancidity.
Aside from the astaxanthin, krill oil offers other benefits over fish oil as well. Two studies illustrated the superior benefits of krill oil over fish oil. The first study, published in January, found that the metabolic effects of the two oils are "essentially similar," but that krill oil is as effective as fish oil despite the fact that it contains less EPA and DHA. This finding corresponds with unpublished data suggesting that krill oil is absorbed up to 10-15 times as well as fish oil, which would explain this discrepancy. But what makes it that much more absorbable?
In a nutshell, it has to do with its molecular composition.
Fish oil is in a triglyceride molecule that has to be broken down in your gut to its base fatty acids of DHA and EPA. About 80-85 percent is never absorbed and is eliminated in your intestine (this is why fish oil can cause you to experience burp back and why about half of all people cannot tolerate fish oil). Then once the fatty acids are absorbed into your bloodstream, your liver has to attach it to phoshphatidyl choline for it to be used by your body.
The amazing beauty of krill is that it is already in the correct form in the capsule, so your body uses virtually 100 percent of it.
According to an article in Functional Nutrition, krill oil typically provides 14 percent EPA and DHA, along with 0.2 percent naturally occurring astaxanthin. Fish oil typically provides 30 percent EPA and DHA. At first glance, it may appear as though fish oil is better simply because it contains a higher ratio of omega-3 fats. However, krill oil is far more efficient, so you actually need far less.
What Exactly is Astaxanthin?
Astaxanthin is a carotenoid antioxidant produced only by the microalgae Haematoccous pluvialis when its water supply dries up, forcing it to protect itself from ultraviolet radiation. It's the algae's survival mechanism -- astaxanthin serves as a "force field" to protect the algae from lack of nutrition and/or intense sunlight.
There are only two known sources of astaxanthin -- the microalgae that produce it, and the sea creatures that consume the algae (such as salmon, shellfish, and krill).
This pigment is the most commonly occurring red carotenoid in marine and aquatic animals and is what gives salmon their characteristic pink color. Astaxanthin is leaps and bounds more powerful than beta-carotene, alpha-tocopherol, lycopene and lutein, other members of its chemical family. It exhibits VERY STRONG free radical scavenging activity and helps protect your cells, organs and body tissues from oxidative damage and inflammation. This antioxidant has been found to impact your health in a number of beneficial ways, including:
Acting as a natural sunscreen
Wrinkle prevention Powerful anti-inflammatory
Improvements in vision, specifically depth perception
Reduction of lactic acid in muscle tissue
Boost endurance
Reduces your risk of cataracts, macular degeneration, blindness, dementia and Alzheimer's disease
Prevent free radical damage Boost your immune system
Astaxanthin's unique "antioxidative artillery" provides for an impressive array of health benefits, so much so that although I don't recommend many supplements, I believe many could enjoy even MORE benefits by further increasing your astaxanthin, even if you are already taking a krill oil supplement. If you decide to give astaxanthin a try on its own, I recommend a dose of 8-10 mg per day. If you are on a krill oil supplement, take that into consideration, as different krill products have different concentrations of astaxanthin, so check your label.
What about Flaxseed as a Source of Omega-3 Fat?
The other common question many have when it comes to omega-3 fats is whether flaxseeds are a healthy option. First, let me point out that flaxseed is rich in essential omega-3 fats like ALA, and it is an excellent source of protein and fat. As long as you purchase them whole and grind them yourself just prior to eating them (as 100 percent of commercially ground flaxseeds are rancid), they make an excellent addition to salads, smoothies and virtually any other meal to boost its vital nutrients.
So flaxseeds can be a very healthy addition to your diet -- just don't depend on them to get your omega-3 fats.
Why?
Although the ALA in flax and other plant-based sources of omega-3 are healthy and useful as part of a healthy diet, they simply aren't able to be converted to the longer chain fats DHA and EPA in sufficient quantities for most people.. So it is essential to get some of your omega-3 fats from animal sources so you will have premade DHA and EPA.
Krill is a Highly Sustainable Food Source, Too
The health benefits of krill oil being clear, some have expressed concern that it is not a sustainable resource, but this could not be further from the truth. In fact, there are legitimate environmental concerns with harvesting fish, as 90 percent of the fish that swam in the oceans 60 years ago are now gone due to overfishing.
Krill, on the other hand, is the most abundant biomass on Earth, amounting to about 500 million tons. Despite its growing popularity as a food source, less than 2 percent is harvested.
Krill harvesting is also one of the best regulated on the planet, using strict international precautionary catch limit regulations that are reviewed regularly to assure sustainability. For more on this, please read my article about this issue. Fortunately, you can enjoy the health benefits of krill oil (and its naturally occurring astaxanthin) with peace of mind, as it is the most eco-friendly source of animal-based omega-3 on the planet.
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The Vitamin that is Better than Fluoride in Reducing Cavities
Posted By Dr. Mercola
October 24 2011
Studies have linked geographical variations in dental health and tooth loss to sun exposure.
Dental caries has been shown to be inversely related to mean hours of sunlight per year, with people living in the sunny west having half as many cavities as those in the much less sunny northeast. As reported by the Vitamin D Council:
"There were also several studies reported on vitamin D and dental caries in the 1920s and 1930s. May Mellanby and coworkers in Sheffield, England, did studies on the role of vitamin D on teeth in the 1920s.
The first experiments were with dogs, where it was found that vitamin D stimulated the calcification of teeth. Subsequently, they studied the effect of vitamin D on dental caries in children, finding a beneficial effect.
Additional studies were conducted on children in New York regarding dental caries with respect to season, artificial ultraviolet-B (UVB) irradiance, and oral intake of vitamin D with the finding that it took 800 IU/day to prevent caries effectively."
Two proposed mechanisms causing this beneficial effect include:
Vitamin D beneficially affects calcium metabolism, and
Vitamin D, which is produced in your body in response to sunlight exposure, induces cathelicidin, an antimicrobial peptide, which attacks oral bacteria linked to dental caries
According to the Vitamin D Council:
"Use of vitamin D appears to be a better option for reducing dental caries than fluoridation of community water supplies, as there are many additional health benefits of vitamin D and a number of adverse effects of water fluoridation such as fluorosis (mottling) of teeth and bones. ... Serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D concentrations around 30-40 ng/ml (75-100 nmol/L) should significantly reduce the formation of dental caries. (The average white American has a level near 25 ng/ml, while the average black American has a level near 16 ng/ml.)"
Oral Health, Heart Disease, and Vitamin D
As you probably know, many public water supplies around the US are fluoridated, allegedly to help prevent dental caries. However, there's overwhelming evidence showing that ingesting fluoride is NOT the way to protect your teeth. On the contrary, fluoride is a potent toxin, and over 40 percent of American children and teens are showing signs of fluoride overexposure in the form of dental fluorosis—unsightly yellow or brown spots or mottling on their teeth.
Fluoride consumption has also been linked to a long list of other health problems.
The idea that vitamin D may help protect against cavities is very interesting, and actually makes loads of sense since we already know it is necessary for bone health. Vitamin D also upregulates a specific gene that produces over 200 anti-microbial peptides, some of which work like broad-spectrum antibiotics, including cathelicidin that attacks oral bacteria.
It's also interesting to note the connections between oral health, heart health, and vitamin D status.
For example, gum disease increases your risk of several other serious diseases, including, pneumonia, lung disease, diabetes and stroke—and vitamin D deficiency has also been linked to an increased risk of all of these conditions! This is a beautiful illustration of the interdependency between seemingly disparate systems within your body.
Sun Exposure May Be Essential for Heart Health
The link between gum disease and heart disease may not be obvious, but chronic inflammation is a hallmark of both conditions and inflammation in your body plays a major role in the build-up of plaque in your arteries, which can lead to a heart attack. And vitamin D helps combat inflammation, as just mentioned.
Furthermore, according to research by Dr. Stephanie Seneff, the vitamin D produced in your skin in response to sun exposure will impact your sulfur status, which may also play a crucial role in heart disease, so there are many interrelated factors affecting each other, thereby raising or lowering your risk of a number of health problems.
So what does sun exposure have to do with heart health?
Your heart requires cholesterol sulfate for optimal function. When you are deficient in cholesterol sulfate (due to a lack of cholesterol in your body), your body tries to protect your heart by creating arterial plaque, because the platelets produce cholesterol sulfate in the plaque. Dr. Seneff believes that the mechanism we call "cardiovascular disease," of which arterial plaque is a hallmark, is actually your body's way to compensate for not having enough cholesterol sulfate.
Now, when you expose your skin to sunshine, your skin synthesizes vitamin D3 sulfate, which is a water soluble form of sulfur that can travel freely in your blood stream, making it readily available.
Oral vitamin D3, on the other hand, is unsulfated, and this form needs LDL (the so-called "bad" cholesterol) as a vehicle of transport. Her suspicion is that the simple oral non-sulfated form of vitamin D may not provide as much of the same heart-healthy benefits as the vitamin D created in your skin from sun exposure, because it cannot be converted to vitamin D sulfate, and therefore will not improve your sulfur status. This is yet another reason to really make a concerted effort to get ALL your vitamin D requirements from exposure to sunshine!
Your Vitamin D Level is Directly Related to Your Risk of Heart Disease
But that's not all. Dr. Carlos Camargo of Harvard University recently wrote an editorial about the growing number of studies that link low vitamin D levels to heart attack, heart failure, stroke, hypertension and diabetes. One recent study found that every 10 ng/ml lower blood vitamin D concentration resulted in a nine percent greater risk of death, and a 25 percent greater risk of heart attack.
As noted in Dr. Camargo's editorial, credit is due to the first man to discover the connection, an epidemiologist in New Zealand by the name of Professor Robert Scragg, who first noticed the association in 1981. His population-based case-control study found a strong inverse association between 25-hydroxyvitamin D level in the blood and risk for heart attack.
As reported by the Vitamin D Council, there are currently two large, population-based, randomized, double-blind, placebo controlled trials on the health effects of vitamin D supplements underway. One is at Harvard, which is looking at cancer and heart disease. The other is being done in New Zealand, and is focused on heart disease, infection and fractures. Unfortunately, the results from these studies are not expected to be available until 2017. Six years is a long time to sit around and wait for the results from these studies. I strongly encourage you NOT to wait and see. The evidence that optimal vitamin D levels are necessary for general health and disease prevention is overwhelming.
Vitamin D and Cancer
Two grassroots organizations are now focusing on vitamin D as a preventive measure for cancer. There are already over 800 studies supporting the theory that vitamin D may prevent a large percentage of several types of cancer, and I'm very pleased to see that this information is starting to gain foothold.
Vitamin D has a protective effect against cancer in several ways, including:
• Increasing the self-destruction of mutated cells (which, if allowed to replicate, could lead to cancer)
• Reducing the spread and reproduction of cancer cells
• Causing cells to become differentiated (cancer cells often lack differentiation)
• Reducing the growth of new blood vessels from pre-existing ones, which is a step in the transition of dormant tumors turning cancerous
The Vitamin D Council, a nonprofit educational corporation based in California, recently launched their "Vitamin D and Cancer" campaign, presenting 20 detailed summaries of the evidence. The summaries were prepared by epidemiologist Dr. William Grant, founder of the nonprofit organization, Sunlight, Nutrition and Health Research Center (SUNARC). He also serves as the Science Director for the Vitamin D Council. I highly recommend reviewing these summaries, which can be found here. (Just select the type of cancer you want to review from the listing on the left.)
According to the Vitamin D Council:
"Some researchers believe the link between vitamin D sufficiency and a decreased risk in cancer is promising. A randomized controlled trial found a 77 percent reduction in all-cancer incidence when the study group supplemented with 1,100 IU/day of vitamin D plus 1,450 mg/day calcium. Says Dr. Grant, "Based on various studies of UVB, vitamin D and cancer to date, it appears that global cancer burden can be reduced by 15-25 percent if everyone had vitamin D blood levels above 40 ng/ml."
Some of the facts presented in these summaries include:
Geographical studies have found reduced risk in mortality rates for 20 types of cancer in regions of higher solar UVB doses.
Observational studies have found that the risk of breast, colon, and rectal cancer fall as vitamin D blood levels rise at least up to 40 ng/mL (100 nmol/L).
Those with higher vitamin D blood levels at time of cancer diagnosis have nearly twice the survival rate of those with the lowest levels.
Higher UVB exposure early in life is associated with reduced risk of breast and prostate cancer.
World's First Breast Cancer Prevention Study Underway!
In addition to the Vitamin D Council's educational campaign, Grassroots Health is now in the process of initiating the world's first breast cancer prevention project and study, to investigate and evaluate vitamin D as a preventive strategy for breast cancer.
"We are looking now for some really serious funding to support that as a major research project," says Carole Baggerly, director and founder of Grassroots Health.
If you would like to sign up as a participant in this groundbreaking study, or make a donation to support this project, you can do so here. This project is only for women who are:
60 years of age and older
have no current cancer
are not currently being treated for cancer
Help Promote Public Health By Participating in the D*Action Study
You can also become a participant in the still ongoing Grassroots Health D*Action study, which is evaluating vitamin D's impact on your overall health status. When you join D*action, you agree to test your vitamin D levels twice a year during a five year program, and share your health status to demonstrate the public health impact of this nutrient. There is a $60 fee each 6 months ($120/year) for your sponsorship of the project, which includes a complete new test kit to be used at home, and electronic reports on your ongoing progress.
You will get a follow up email every six months reminding you "it's time for your next test and health survey." To join now, please follow this link to the sign up form.
Make Sure You're NEVER Deficient in Vitamin D if You are Critically Ill
Dr. Paul Lee of the University of Queensland in Australia believes that people all over the world are needlessly dying because they have vitamin D deficiency. He believes severe immune dysfunction, bone hyper-resorption, blood poisoning, and hyper-inflammation in critically ill patients could all be resolved with sufficient vitamin D. He notes that the stress of surgery uses up tremendous amounts of vitamin D, and cites studies showing that death in the ICU and the CCU is two to three times higher for the vitamin D deficient.
According to Dr. Lee:
"Vitamin D deficiency is highly prevalent and has been associated with a diverse range of chronic medical conditions in the general population. In contrast, the prevalence, pathogenesis and significance of vitamin D deficiency have received little attention in acute medicine. Vitamin D deficiency is seldom considered and rarely corrected adequately, if at all, in critically ill patients.
Recent recognition of the extra-skeletal, pleiotropic actions of vitamin D in immunity, epithelial function and metabolic regulation may underlie the previously under-recognized contribution of vitamin D deficiency to typical co-morbidities in critically ill patients, including sepsis, systemic inflammatory response syndrome and metabolic dysfunction. Improved understanding of vitamin D metabolism and regulation in critical illness may allow therapeutic exploitation of vitamin D to improve outcome in critically ill patients."
This echoes previous findings that your vitamin D status is critical for overall health, prevention of disease, and for successful recuperation—whether you're recuperating from a case of the flu, from surgery, or even cancer treatment.
The Best Source of Vitamin D
Exposing your skin to sunlight is the best way to get vitamin D as this will also produce vitamin D3 sulfate, which I discussed earlier. As a general guideline, getting about 15 to 20 minutes of sun exposure a day, with at least 40 percent of your skin exposed, will boost the vitamin levels above 40 ng/ml in many. However, this is highly variable and dependent on a number of factors, including your skin color, location and altitude, for example. If you're able to get out in the sun for an adequate time period each day, your vitamin D levels should be naturally optimized.
If you can't get enough sun exposure during certain parts of the year, I advise using a safe tanning bed to allow your body to produce vitamin D naturally. Safe tanning beds have magnetic ballasts and produce less UVA than sunshine.
A third option is taking a high-quality vitamin D supplement. The most important thing to keep in mind if you opt for oral supplementation is to use natural vitamin D3 (cholecalciferol) only. Do not use the synthetic and highly inferior vitamin D2. Unless you get a deep dark tan, it is wise to get your blood levels checked as that is the only way to know for certain you have reached therapeutic levels. To determine the appropriate dose, you need to get your vitamin D levels tested. Ideally, you'll want to be between 50-70 ng/ml. Based on recent research published by Grassroots Health from the D*Action study, the average adult needs to take 8,000 IU's of vitamin D per day in order to elevate their levels above 40 ng/ml, which they believe is the bare minimum for disease prevention.
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Research shows apples prevent stroke
Sunday, October 23, 2011 by: Duke Mansell
(NaturalNews) Strokes can occur at any age but three-quarters strike those over the age of 65. Many people are always on the hunt for the superfood that will protect them from degenerative diseases, and few are as scary as the aftermath of a stroke. If you survive, you are usually left with debilitating health consequences due to lack of oxygen to the brain, which can leave you mild health issues or requiring around the clock nursing care. Fruits and vegetables are staples of health and are sure to assist in prevention, but which are best for people specifically concerned with a pending stroke in terms of prevention?
A recent study from researchers at Wageningen University in the Netherlands published in Stroke: Journal of the American Heart Association indicates fruits with white flesh such as apples and pears can reduce the risk of stroke by 52%. Strokes are the third leading cause of death in the United states with over 143,579 people dying each year. Approximately 795,000 people suffer a stroke annually meaning 650,000 survive their stroke and are left to suffer the post-stroke health conditions for the remainder of their lives. These post-stroke health conditions include (in no specific order): difficulty moving one side of the body and trouble speaking, which cause many mini-symptoms in and of themselves such as difficulty swallowing, aphasia (slurred speech or inability to speak at all), hemiplegia (weakness on one side of the body), or difficulty with bowel and bladder control. Some conditions do resolve depending on the severity of the stroke but worst case scenarios for survivors include loss of cognitive functioning equal to Alzheimer's, inability to walk or use appendages and never being able to speak again. All of these problems can be life altering if they are unable to return to normal post stroke.
This study compared vegetables and fruits of different colors to determine which would be most beneficial in preventing a stroke. The fruits and vegetables were broken down in color into the following groups:
-cabbages, lettuces and other dark green leafy vegetables
-orange and yellow colors, most of which were citrus fruits
-red and purple colors, most of which were red vegetables
-white colors, apples and pears making up 55% of the whites
The follow-up period was 10 years and the researches documented 233 strokes. They observed that strokes
were not reduced in any significant manner by consumption of orange/yellow and red /purple fruits. However, vegetables and white fruits were found to lower the risk of developing stroke by 52%. A reduction of this size is significant considering the size of the study included 20,069 adults with an average age of 41 years old (none of whom had any cardiovascular disease when the study began).
Many people base a lot of their fruit and vegetable purchase on the dark colors of leafy greens and fruits because of the knowledge that they contain more antioxidants, but it appears white fruits also play an important part of the puzzle in lowering the risk of strokes. By increasing your white fruit and vegetable consumption by 25 grams there was a 9% reduction in stroke risk. On average an apple weights 120 grams, meaning for every quarter apple you eat you average close to 10% less chance of having a stroke.
These researchers indicated that further studies are needed to verify their work. If apples, pears and other fruits with white edible portions can reduce the risk of developing stroke by 52%, pass the apple pie please.
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Boost anti-cancer properties of broccoli by spicing it up
Saturday, October 22, 2011 by: Jonathan Benson
(NaturalNews) Ample and well-established research has confirmed that consuming broccoli and other cruciferous vegetables is a great way to help prevent cancer. But new research published in the British Journal of Nutrition has revealed that pairing broccoli with other foods and spices rich in myrosinase, (one of the key anti-cancer compounds found in broccoli) significantly increases the vegetable's cancer-fighting abilities.
Jenna M. Cramer and her colleagues from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign's (UIUC) Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition studied and compared the anti-cancer effects of eating broccoli alone, to those exhibited when eating broccoli in combination with other foods rich in myrosinase, an enzyme necessary to convert GRP into SF, without which there would be no way to metabolize SF.
While broccoli alone, particularly when overcooked, contains little or no myrosinase, human digestive enzymes and flora are still capable of converting some the vegetable's GRP into SF. However, when myrosinase-rich foods like broccoli sprouts are added to the mix, the effect is remarkable, as seen with the team's final study results.
"To get the effect of anti-cancer benefits, spice up your broccoli with broccoli sprouts, mustard, horseradish, or wasabi," said Elizabeth Jeffery, a corresponding author to the study. She added that cabbage, arugula, watercress, and other cruciferous vegetables paired with broccoli can also do the trick. "The spicier the better, that means it's being effective."
Essentially, broccoli sprouts and other spices react with substances in cooked broccoli or broccoli powder to produce SF. And in tests, this reaction results not only in an added amount of SF created in the bloodstream, but also an effectively longer period of time during which it remains in the bloodstream to perform its vital anti-cancer work.
The addition of myrosinase into the equation also causes the digestive tract to absorb the anti-cancer compounds, earlier in the gut rather than later. This is crucial because absorption rates in the upper intestine are much higher than they are in the lower intestine, where most nutrients in food end up being assimilated.
"[I]t pays to spice (broccoli) up for added benefits and find ways to make it appealing so you don't mind eating it if you're not a broccoli fan," added Cramer. "I add fresh broccoli sprouts to sandwiches and add them as one of my pizza toppings after the pie is out of the oven."
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'Natural' breakfast cereals loaded with pesticides and GMOs - explosive new scorecard from Cornucopia reveals all
by Mike Adams
Tuesday, October 11, 2011
(NaturalNews) For far too long, breakfast cereal makers have carried out highly deceptive product labeling and positioning campaigns through the use of the term "natural." Consumers are easily misled by this term, believing it to mean the product is free from pesticide chemicals and genetically engineered ingredients. But an explosive new investigation by the Cornucopia Institute (www.Cornucopia.org) -- the same group that exposed the widespread use of hexane solvents in soy protein -- is set to send shockwaves through the "natural" products industry by revealing which so-called "natural" brands actually contain high levels GMOs and toxic chemical pesticides.
NaturalNews is helping the Cornucopia Institute break this story with exclusive articles and email alerts going out to hundreds of thousands of subscribers. This story is being shared on Facebook and Twitter, and on the NaturalNews Radio Network (www.NaturalNewsRadio.com). This story will also be covered this Thursday on the Alex Jones Show (www.InfoWars.com), when a representative from the Cornucopia Institute will be interviewed on live national radio. You can help spread the word about this important story by sharing this article.
Three facts you need to know about GMOs before you read the explosive test results below
Before you view the Cornucopia's test results below, there are three important things you need to know about GMOs:
#1) There is GE contamination in almost everything. Even "non-GMO" food products almost always contain trace levels of GMOs (often between .01% and 0.5%). A test for the mere presence of GMOs is not considered conclusive. What's important is the level of GMOs in a particular food item. Some of the "natural" items tested by the Cornucopia Institute showed GMO contamination levels between 28 and 100 %, which means the key ingredients in those cereals are most definitely genetically engineered from the source (and it's not just a chance contamination from some other nearby field).
#2) All GMO tests are merely a "snapshot" that can change over time. Foods that test free of GMOs today may contain higher levels tomorrow due to supply line errors, contamination, supply source changes, and so on. At the same time, foods that test at high levels of GMOs today may test at lower levels in the future or even for different batches from the same manufacturer. Sometimes manufacturers are lied to by their suppliers. Some manufacturers test for GMOs in every batch, but others take a "don't ask don't tell" approach where they don't test because they'd rather not know.
#3) Products may be "enrolled" in the Non-GMO Project and still contain GMOs before they are "verified." The Non-GMO Project has two designations for products. There are products which are "enrolled" which means they are "on the path" to becoming free of GMOs but may not have achieved it yet. Thus, it is true that products "enrolled" in the Non-GMO Project may still contain substantial levels of GMOs. Products that meet far more stringent supply line audits and GE testing requirements are granted the label "Verified" by the
Non-GMO Project.
You got all that? It's a lot to keep in mind. GMOs are a complicated issue. But one thing is certain: Most "natural" breakfast cereals contain surprisingly high levels of genetically engineered ingredients. This is why it's crucial to shop for certified organic breakfast cereals from companies like Nature's Path, whose products are 100% certified organic and free from GMOs.
All these concerns about GMOs don't even cover residues of toxic and carcinogenic pesticides in the grains used to produce "natural" breakfast cereals. The Cornucopia report cites extensive USDA testing and research revealing which "natural" grains and ingredients may be routinely contaminated with chemical pesticides. Synthetic pesticides are banned in organic production with oversight by independent certifiers and USDA accreditation, so organic is once again the way to go if you wish to avoid pesticide residues.
Keep reading to see some of the shocking test results uncovered by the Cornucopia Institute...
Here's what the test results reveal
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The Cornucopia Institute's "Cereal Scorecard" (http://www.cornucopia.org/2011/10/n...) reveals some truly astonishing facts about what's in our breakfast cereal:
• Kashi brand cereals (Kellogg's) contains "high levels" of GMOs. Not just a trace of GMOs, in other words, but a high level meaning the key ingredients are genetically engineered from the get-go. In fact, NaturalNews has learned that test results reveal 100% of the soy used in tested boxes of Kashi cereal was genetically engineered soy.
• Mother's brand cereals (PepsiCo) contains "high levels" of GMOs. Test results revealed 28% of the corn to be genetically engineered.
• Whole Foods' 365 brand Corn Flakes contains "high levels" of GMOs (more than 50% GE corn).
Barbara's Bakery Puffins cereal was also shown to contain more than 50% genetically engineered corn.
• Both Barbara’s Bakery Puffins and Whole Foods 365 Corn Flakes are "enrolled" in the Non-GMO Project, says Cornucopia (see below). Note that this does not mean "verified" by the Non-GMO Project, which is a different designation. Still, the term "enrolled" in the Non-GMO Project may imply to many shoppers that the products are free from GMOs. This is something NaturalNews will address later, as it is a concern for both us and many readers who have long believed that any affiliation with the Non-GMO Project meant the same thing as "GMO free," which it does not.
• One of the shining examples honest organic cereal is Nature's Path, whose products are all certified organic, contained no significant GMO contamination and are clearly made with entirely non-GMO ingredients.
• As the report states: Numerous “natural” products were indeed contaminated with high levels of GE ingredients, sometimes as high as 100%: Kashi GoLean, Mother’s Bumpers, Nutritious Living Hi-Lo, and General Mills Kix.
• Kashi Heart to Heart Blueberry cereal costs more than Nature's Path Organic Blueberry Cinnamon Optimum Cereal, and yet the grains used in Kashi cereal were found by the USDA, to typically contain residues of all the following pesticide chemicals: phosmet, carbaryl, azinphos methyl, malathion, chlorpyrifos methyl, chlorpyrifos. (Note: This does not mean these Kashi cereals were tested for each of these chemicals, only that these chemicals are admitted by the USDA to be found in the non-organic grains used to
manufacture Kashi cereals.)
Quaker Oats states that it is an "all-natural" product. But Quaker Oats (a unit of PepsiCo) manages a processing plant that emits roughly 19,000 pounds of sulfuryl fluoride yearly. Sulfuryl fluoride is a toxic greenhouse gas used to treat crops like oats in storage.
• "Natural" Peace Cereal Wild Berry Crisp is produced from conventional commodity ingredients commonly containing the neurotoxin phosmet and the carcinogen captan in 11% and 55% of samples, respectively.
• Mom's Best Naturals Raisin Bran cereal contains "natural" (non-GMO) ingredients that are commonly contaminated with malathion and phosmet chemicals, both of which are neurotoxins.
• Several Bear Naked and Kashi products contain conventional soy protein. Soy protein in this country is nearly universally hexane-extracted. The "hexane bath" that the soybeans are immersed in consists of more than 50% n-hexane, which is a known neurotoxin, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Where you can learn more
What you've read here are only the highlights of this groundbreaking research report. You can learn more in the following ways:
Quick 4-minute video overview on YouTube:
Or view it on NaturalNews.TV at:
View the Scorecard page or download the PDF report:
Keep reading NaturalNews
NaturalNews plans to bring you additional coverage of this breaking news, including feedback from the Non-GMO Project and others. This research obviously raises many questions and concerns about GMOs in "natural" products which need to be carefully addressed.
The quick conclusion from all this is that if you really want to be 100% safe from GMOs in your breakfast cereal, buy Nature's Path cereals. They are the best of the best, and they don't play games with "natural" labeling that might mislead consumers. Nature's Path is also supporting the mandatory GMO labeling initiative in California.
Some other trusted cereal sources, according to the Cornucopia Scorecard, include Kaia, Laughing Giraffe, Lydia's Organics and Two Moms In the Raw.
Some of the brands that didn't score well on the Cornucopia's Scorecard include Bear Naked, Kashi, Mom's Best, General Mills, Barbara's Bakery, Health Valley, Back to Nature, Arrowhead Mills, Bob's Red Mill and Post Natural.
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3 Foods that Can Trigger a Stroke
Posted By Dr. Mercola
October 10 2011
Story at-a-glance
Up to 80 percent of strokes are preventable. Diet, vitamin D status, and exercise are three important lifestyle factors that have a direct bearing on your individual risk
Your diet plays a crucial role in reducing your risk for a stroke. Foods to avoid—because they can directly increase your risk—include processed foods containing trans fats, smoked- or processed meats, and diet sodas
Before cutting out red meat and salt from your diet, fearing these foods may increase your stroke risk, learn how not all meats and salts are created equal. While some increase your risk, other varieties can have an opposite and beneficial effect
By Dr. Mercola
According to the National Stroke Association, stroke is the third leading cause of death in the United States, and is a rapidly growing health threat for middle-aged women in particular. The most common type of stroke is called "ischemic stroke," which results from an obstruction in a blood vessel supplying blood to your brain.
A number of factors are likely behind the surprising rise in strokes in women, including:
Increasing rates of obesity (women's waists have grown by nearly two inches in the last 10 years)
Vitamin D deficiency due to lack of sun exposure. Sun avoidance also increases your risk of vitamin D sulfate deficiency, which may be an underlying cause of arterial plaque buildup (a risk factor for stroke)
Rising prevalence of high blood sugar levels
Strokes Typically Occur Without ANY Warning
This is why prevention is so important. You simply will not have any warning signs indicating that you're heading for a stroke in the future... And once you suffer a stroke, the damage, should you survive it, can be absolutely devastating.
I like to refer to most strokes as a brain attack, which is similar to a heart attack; the only difference is that the blood clot blocks blood flow to your brain instead of your heart. As a result, brain cells begin to die. Naturally, the longer your brain goes without oxygen, the greater your risk of lasting brain damage. This is one area where conventional emergency medicine excels, as there are emergency medications that can actually dissolve a blood clot that is blocking blood flow to your brain, and if done quickly enough can virtually reverse any permanent neurological damage.
In order to be effective, you typically need to get treated within one hour. This is clearly one of the miracles of modern science, however it all goes to waste if one does not address the underlying conditions after the stroke. However, if you notice any of these signs of stroke, you should get help right away:
Sudden trouble walking (dizziness, loss of balance, etc.)
Sudden confusion
Sudden numbness or weakness (especially on one side of your body only)
Sudden trouble seeing
Sudden severe headache
To Prevent a Stroke, First Address Your Diet
Clearly, in the case of strokes (and most disease), prevention is your best option, and your diet plays a CRUCIAL role. (Later, I'll also discuss other lifestyle choices that can have a very significant impact, such as vitamin D.)
A recent article featured by Yahoo Health lists five different foods that have been linked to an increased risk of stroke. I agree with three of the five mentioned, and will review those below. The other two, namely red meat and salt, need some clarification as not all meats and salts are created equal. The devil is in the details, as they say, and that's definitely something to keep in mind before you banish all red meat and salt from your diet.
Red meat—I believe it is a serious mistake to lump ALL red meats together, because the differences between meat raised in Confined Animal Feeding Operations (CAFO) and organically-raised, grass-fed meats are so vast, it's like talking about two completely different foods.
Organic grass-fed beef is typically NOT associated with any of the ill health effects you see from CAFO beef, but very few researchers, let alone journalists, ever make this distinction. For more information about why grass-fed beef is actually good for you and will NOT promote disease the way CAFO beef does, please see this previous article.
Salt—As for salt, you cannot compare the processed salt used in processed foods with natural, unrefined salt. So while I agree that steering clear of processed foods will help you reduce your stroke risk and improve your health in general, it's important to understand that you don't have to avoid ALL salt, just the processed kind (think regular table salt).
Unrefined natural salt on the other hand, such as Himalayan salt, is actually very important for a variety of biological processes, including helping the lining of your blood vessels to regulate blood pressure—clearly a beneficial effect, as opposed to a disease-promoting one. To learn more about the differences between processed and the natural
Trans-Fats: Known to Increase Stroke Risk
Any food containing trans fats should be avoided if you care about your health. This includes numerous
processed foods, such as crackers, chips, most store-bought baked goods, and any fried foods, just to name a few examples. Trans fats are known to promote inflammation, which is a hallmark of most chronic and/or serious diseases; not just strokes and heart disease.
Women in particular would be well served to heed this advice as stroke rates are on the rise in middle-aged women, and poor dietary choices is likely a significant culprit. In one study, released last year, post-menopausal women who consumed the most daily dietary trans fat had a 30 percent higher incidence of ischemic strokes.
Please also understand that nearly all health journalists and "experts" will also lump saturated fats into this category and that would be a major mistake, as saturated fats in appropriate quantities and not damaged by heat are actually health promoting.
Beware of Smoked and Processed Meats
Certain preservatives, such as sodium nitrate and nitrite found in smoked and processed meats have been shown to damage your blood vessels, which could increase your risk of stroke. Furthermore, nitrates are frequently converted into nitrosamines, which are also clearly associated with an increased risk of certain cancers. In the most recent review of more than 7,000 studies on diet and cancer, executed by The World Cancer Research Fund, the researchers concluded that no one should eat processed meats for this reason. Hot dogs, bacon, salami and other processed meats may also:
Increase your risk of diabetes by 50 percent
Lower your lung function
Increase your risk of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)
I recommend keeping these foods to a minimum in your diet, if you choose to eat them at all. And, if you are going to eat bacon, sausage, ham or any other processed meat product once in awhile, following these guidelines will at least help minimize any risk to your health:
Choose organic meats that are grass-fed or free-range
Look for "uncured" varieties that contain NO nitrates
Choose varieties that say 100% beef, 100% chicken, etc. This is the only way to know that the meat is from a single species and does not include byproducts (like chicken skin or chicken fat)
Avoid any meat that contains MSG, high-fructose corn syrup, preservatives, artificial flavor or artificial color
Ideally, purchase sausages and other processed meats from a small, local farmer who you can ask about the ingredients
Diet Soda May Dramatically Increase Your Stroke Risk
Earlier this year, research presented at the American Stroke Association's International Stroke Conference showed that people who drink just one diet soda a day may increase their risk of stroke by 48 percent!
According to the authors:
"This study suggests that diet soda is not an optimal substitute for sugar-sweetened beverages, and may be associated with a greater risk of stroke, myocardial infarction, or vascular death than regular soda."
While more research will likely be needed to confirm this potential link, there's plenty of evidence showing that artificial sweeteners such as aspartame and sucralose (Splenda) can be dangerous to your health. I believe aspartame is, by far, the most dangerous artificial sweetener on the market. Reports of adverse reactions to the US FDA also support this, as aspartame accounts for over 75 percent of the adverse reactions to food additives reported to the FDA.
How Vitamin D Deficiency Increases Your Stroke Risk
According to research presented at the American Heart Association's (AHA) Annual Scientific Sessions in Chicago, IL in November last year, low levels of vitamin D—the essential nutrient obtained from exposure to sunlight—doubles the risk of stroke in Caucasians.
Vitamin D is the only known substrate for a potent pleiotropic (meaning it produces multiple effects) repair and maintenance seco-steroid hormone that serves multiple gene-regulatory functions in your body. This is why the health benefits of vitamin D run the gamut from improved immune function to significantly reduced cancer risk, to improved mercury detoxification...
It essentially works as a "master key" to activate the DNA "library" within each cell in your body. This cellular DNA library contains information needed to address virtually every kind of stimulus the cell may encounter; hence the reason why vitamin D works in so many different tissues, and affects such a large number of different diseases and health conditions. So far, scientists have found about 3,000 genes that are upregulated by vitamin D.
Not only is vitamin D deficiency known to increase your risk of arterial stiffness, a major risk factor for stroke, but it can also:
Increase your risk of diabetes by 50 percent
Lower your lung function
Increase your risk of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)
Other Stroke-Prevention Guidelines
It's important to realize that the vast majority—up to 80 percent, according to the National Stroke Association—of strokes are preventable, so you have a lot of "say" in whether or not you're going to become a statistic here.
So, besides avoiding processed foods (especially smoked and processed meats) and diet sodas, and making sure your vitamin D levels are within the therapeutic range, what else can help lower your stroke risk? Conventionally speaking, many of the same risk factors that increase your risk of heart disease also increase your risk of stroke, and these include factors like:
High blood pressure
Obesity
High triglycerides and elevated homocysteine levels
Low levels of HDL (good) cholesterol and high levels of LDL (bad) cholesterol
Smoking
So, as with your heart, eating unprocessed, preferably organic, foods, exercising and maintaining a healthy weight will help to reduce your risk of stroke. Two additional risk factors that can have a direct impact on your stroke risk are:
Psychological distress. According to a 2008 study published in the journal Neurology, the more stressed you are, the greater your risk. The researchers actually found that for every notch lower a person scored on their well-being scale, their risk of stroke increased by 11 percent. Not surprisingly, the relationship between psychological distress and stroke was most pronounced when the stroke was fatal.
Hormone replacement therapy (HRT) and birth control pills. If you're on one of the hormonal birth control methods (whether it's the pill, patch, vaginal ring or implant), it is important to understand that you are taking synthetic progesterone and synthetic estrogen -- something that is clearly not advantageous if you want to maintain optimal health. These contraceptives contain the same synthetic hormones as those used in hormone replacement therapy (HRT), which has well-documented risks, including an increased risk of blood clots, stroke, heart attack, and breast cancer.
Lastly, it may be worth mentioning that vitamin B3, or niacin, may help improve neurological function directly AFTER a stroke. When rats with ischemic stroke were given niacin, their brains showed growth of new blood vessels, and sprouting of nerve cells which greatly improved neurological outcome. While this likely needs to be studied further, it serves as yet another potent example of how nutrition is at the heart of all healing mechanisms in your body, even when it comes to something as serious as a stroke.
But the unquestionable treatment of chioce for acute stroke rehabilitation would be hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT). Research has shown that HBOT helps your body produce and mobilize mesenchymal stem cells, which play a critical role in your body's attempt to repair any injured tissues or cells. For more information, please review www.strokedoctor.com.
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How canned foods are poisoning us
by: Kim Evans
Sunday, October 09, 2011
(NaturalNews) The Breast Cancer Fund recently tested 12 brand name canned soup and pasta products and found bisphenol A, or BPA, in all of them. BPA is a hormone-mimicking toxin that also has recently been found to impact our DNA and to kill off female ovarian cells in a way that may cause Down Syndrome and fertility problems in future generations. While BPA shouldn't be in any of us, children are thought to be the most susceptible and the soups and pastas tested were marketed toward children.
In the testing, 34 to 148 parts per billion of BPA were found in the soups and 10 to 34 ppb in the pastas. A few months ago, the FDA also found BPA in 71 of 78 canned goods they tested. The FDA also tested different types of foods, including canned tuna and vegetables, and in these foods they found much higher levels of BPA - ranging from 300 ppb to more than 700 parts per billion.
Some research shows that BPA is eliminated quickly from the body, but the problem with this research is that it looks at it from a one-time dose situation, as opposed to a more true to life repeated exposure situation. And with continual exposure, it tends to accumulate.
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Canned foods are also not the only foods contaminated with BPA; it's also in plastic wrapped food products.
And according to Environmental Working Group research, it's in the blood of 9 out of 10 infants at birth.
Cheryl Rosenfeld and her colleagues from the University of Missouri, Columbia looked at BPA exposure from a different angle and tested mice with a more true to life scenario. They fed these mice food laced with a little BPA each day and found that with chronic dietary exposure, the animals exhibited "the potential to bioaccumulate BPA over time." Then Rosenfeld tells us that there's no reason to expect the human body would respond any differently.
The researchers also found that BPA absorbs in the body in a greater degree when it is consumed with food, rather than taken as a one-time dose without food.
"What we found," Rosenfeld said, "is that when animals are exposed through the diet, they actually show increased absorption of BPA" as opposed to when they get a single larger dose.
[Editor`s Note: NaturalNews is strongly against the use of all forms of animal testing. We fully support implementation of humane medical experimentation that promotes the health and wellbeing of all living creatures.]
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Healthful Foods You Should Never, Ever Eat
Posted By Dr. Mercola
October 04 2011
There are two types of research regarding GM (genetically modified) food -- independent science and corporate science. It's not hard to decide which one to trust.
Jeffrey Smith, featured in the video above, is the executive director of the Institute for Responsible Technology, whose Campaign for Healthier Eating in America is designed to create the tipping point of consumer rejection of GMOs (genetically modified organisms) to rid them from our food supply. In this short but important video, he points out some of the most glaring problems with scientific research, and that is the discrepancies you get depending on the source of the funding.
Dr. Mercola Recommends...
Every "Like" Helps Support This Cause
In terms of reliability, there's a big difference between:
Corporate science, which tends to primarily favor and support corporate interests, and
Independent science, performed without preconceived bias
As Smith points out, Monsanto, one of the primary players in the field of genetically modified (GM) foods, wants you to simply trust them because they're "experts" and their studies "prove" their GM foods are safe. But these same experts also told you PCB's, Agent Orange, and DDT was safe, and we now know those claims were far from accurate.
Why Profit-Motivated Research Cannot Be Trusted…
I've previously written several articles detailing the various methods employed to create desired, but false or misleading, outcomes in scientific studies. Such tactics include using:
Inappropriate control groups
The wrong statistical methods
Incorrect detection methods
In the video, Smith gives some excellent examples of how Monsanto twisted their science to fit their own needs. For example, to "prove" that pasteurization destroys the bovine growth hormone (rBGH) left in milk from treated cows, their scientists pasteurized the milk 120 times longer than normal. Clearly, the results from that experiment in no way relates to the pasteurized milk sold on the market…
Simply withholding negative results is another common tactic.
Last year, I interviewed Shiv Chopra on this topic. Chopra is a former drug company insider and also worked for what is now Health Canada; the Canadian equivalent of the FDA. While producing a department ordered report on rBGH in 1997, called the Gaps Analysis Report, his team discovered that the trial data he'd requested from Monsanto nine years earlier had in fact been produced, but he had for some reason never been granted access to it, even
though he was tasked with approving rBGH for use in Canada.
That research, performed by Monsanto, confirmed his fears, showing rBGH increased insulin-like growth factor in rats, increased thyroid activity, and produced ill effects in the testes.
Similarly, when Monsanto wanted to prove that their GM soy was substantially equivalent to non-GM soy, they left key data out of their study that showed the GM soy contained more than seven times the normal amount of a known allergen.
And, when they wanted to introduce their genetically modified high lysine corn, Monsanto claimed that has a history of safe use in the food industry because it's a naturally occurring protein in soil, and that therefore it will not pose a threat to health. However, an independent scientist decided to double check these facts and what he discovered was rather shocking. Based on the amount of lysine the average American would get from eating this high lysine corn, you'd have to consume 22,000 pounds of soil, every second, 24 hours a day, to get the same amount of lysine in your diet.
Talk about misleading!
Yet, they got away with it.
The Health Dangers of GM Soy and Corn
Genetically modified soy and corn are two of the most prevalent GM foods in the US food supply, and both have been linked to potentially serious health effects.
For example, one 2009 Brazilian study discovered that female rats fed GM soy for 15 months showed significant changes in their uterus and reproductive cycle, compared to rats fed organic soy or those raised without soy. This finding adds to a mounting body of evidence suggesting that GM foods can contribute to a number of reproductive disorders, including:
Changes in reproductive hormones, such as excessive production of estrogen, progesterone, follicle stimulating hormone, and luteinizing hormone
Damage to pituitary gland
Retrograde menstruation, in which menstrual discharge travels backwards into the body rather than through the uterus, which can cause a disease known as endometriosis, which may lead to infertility. The disorder can also produce pelvic and leg pain, gastrointestinal problems, chronic fatigue, and a wide variety of other symptoms
Testicular changes, including damaged sperm cells
Another disturbing study performed by Irina Ermakova with the Russian National Academy of Sciences, reported that more than half the babies from mother rats fed GM soy died within three weeks, while the death rate in the non-GM soy group was only 10 percent. Additionally, the babies in the GM group were smaller, and, worst of all, could not reproduce. In a telling coincidence, after Ermakova's feeding trials were completed, her laboratory started feeding all the rats in the facility a commercial rat chow using GM soy. Within two months, the infant mortality facility-wide reached 55 percent...
Unfortunately, you have no way of knowing whether the soy you're eating is genetically modified or not, because GM foods do not have to be labeled as such in the US. However, when you consider that 94 percent of all soy grown in the United States is genetically modified in one way or another, you can be virtually guaranteed that if a food product contains soy, it's probably genetically modified, unless it's labeled "100% USDA Organic."
The identical problem exists with GM corn, which accounts for about 88 percent of all corn grown in the United States. The safety of GM corn recently came under scrutiny again when a study published earlier this year discovered that Bt toxin, which is present in many GM crops, is now showing up in human blood!
Bt toxin makes crops toxic to pests, but industry has claimed that the toxin poses no danger to the environment or human health because the protein breaks down in the human gut. Alas, the presence of the toxin in human blood is evidence that this is yet another false assertion that doesn't hold up under closer scrutiny...The GM insecticide toxin is also showing up in fetal blood, which means it could have an impact on future generations, which is exactly what safety advocates like Smith have been warning about.
Your Health Depends on Your Food Choices
Hopefully, this information will cause you to think a little deeper about the process of the scientific model in general, and how to evaluate scientific evidence in particular. It's quite clear that in order to get closer to the truth, you need to look at independent studies done by independent scientists that aren't trying to prove a predetermined point of view, and aren't financially motivated to uphold any particular corporate claim of safety or efficacy.
Additionally, this information further highlights the need to carefully consider the foods you buy.
There's no doubt in my mind that if you want to maintain good health, you simply must educate yourself about how the foods you eat are produced. When you compare unadulterated, organic foods to conventional processed foods (many, if not most, of which contain GM ingredients), there's simply no question that one is real food, and the other is anything but!
Yes, you may spend more money on organic food today, but your payoff of good health should more than
make up for it – and reduce your health care costs in the future.
I recently found a helpful aid, which shows that feeding your family organic food doesn't have to cost a fortune. The web site, 100 Days of Real food, offers a free 'real food meal plan' (for summer), using typical in-season organic foods. The meal plan includes both shopping lists and recipes for three square meals a day for an entire week for a family of four.
The estimated cost? About $167 per week.
To help you find organically-grown, wholesome food in your area, check out these helpful resources:
Alternative Farming Systems Information Center, Community Supported Agriculture (CSA)
Local Harvest-- This Web site will help you find farmers' markets, family farms, and other sources of sustainably grown food in your area where you can buy produce, grass-fed meats, and many other goodies.
USDA Farmer's Markets database
Eat Well Guide: Wholesome Food from Healthy Animals -- The Eat Well Guide is a free online directory of sustainably raised meat, poultry, dairy, and eggs from farms, stores, restaurants, inns, and hotels, and online outlets in the United States and Canada.
Community Involved in Sustaining Agriculture (CISA) -- CISA is dedicated to sustaining agriculture and promoting the products of small farms.
FoodRoutes -- The FoodRoutes "Find Good Food" map can help you connect with local farmers to find the freshest, tastiest food possible. On their interactive map, you can find a listing for local farmers, CSA's, and markets near you.
How You Can Help Others to Avoid GMO Foods
Since the US government prevents the labeling of GM foods, it's imperative to educate yourself on what they
are, and to help spread awareness.
First and foremost, avoid most processed foods, unless it's labeled USDA 100% Organic. You can also avoid GM foods that are not found in processed foods, if you know what to look for. There are currently eight genetically modified food crops on the market:
Soy - Sugar from sugar beets
Corn - Hawaiian papaya
Cottonseed (used in vegetable cooking oils) - Some varieties of zucchini
Canola (canola oil) - Crookneck squash
The free Non-GMO Shopping Guide is a great resource to help you determine which food brands and processed food products are GM-free. Print it out for yourself, and share it with everyone you know. If you feel more ambitious you can order the Non-GMO Shopping Tips brochure in bulk, and bring them to the grocery stores in your area. Talk to the owner or manager and get permission to post them in their store.
Educational Resources
At this point, there's really no shortage of excellent information on the hazards of genetically modified foods. I highly recommend Jeffrey Smith's books, Seeds of Deception, and Genetic Roulette: The Documented Health Risks of Genetically Engineered Foods, which provide overwhelming evidence that GM foods are unsafe and should never have been introduced in the first place.
Additionally, there are a number of films and videos available for viewing, including:
Hidden Dangers in Kid's Meals, which is a powerful way for parents to get an initiation into the health dangers of GM foods
Your Milk on Drugs - Just Say No!, which exposes the dangers of GM bovine growth hormones. Any parent still feeding their child milk from cows injected with rBGH needs to see this film! They'll never make the same mistake again… http://www.seedsofdeception.com/Public/rBGHinDairyProducts/index.cfm
Jeffrey Smith's lecture: Everything You Have to Know About Dangerous Genetically Modified Foods
Your Action Plan
To recap and add a few more suggestions for how you can get involved during this GM Awareness week, here is a list of Action Item for you to pick and choose from:
Distribute WIDELY the Non-GMO Shopping Guide to help you identify and avoid foods with GMOs. Look for products (including organic products) that feature the Non-GMO Project Verified Seal to be sure that at-risk ingredients have been tested for GMO content.
Download the Non-GMO Shopping Tips brochure and keep it with you whenever you shop, or download the free iPhone application that is available in the iTunes store. You can find it by searching for ShopNoGMO in the applications.
You can also order the Non-GMO Shopping Tips brochure in bulk and give it to your family and friends.
Urge food manufacturers to join the Non-GMO Project and become Non-GMO Project Verified. This is currently the only way for manufacturers to get around the fact that there's no GM-labeling system.
Urge your local food retailers to join the Non-GMO Project's Supporting Retailer Program.
If your budget allows support this urgent mission by generously donating to the Institute of Responsible Technology.
Bring the film Hidden Dangers in Kid's Meals to your local access TV station, or perhaps your child's school, along with some educational material specifically designed for teachers and educators.
Share Your Milk on Drugs - Just Say No!, and Jeffrey's lecture, Everything You Have to Know About Dangerous Genetically Modified Foods with everyone you know. Post them to your Facebook page, or email the links to your network of friends and family.
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Why Are Toxin Proteins Genetically Engineered Into Your Food?
Posted By Dr. Mercola
September 26 2011
If you've ever taken a drive through the rural Midwest in the United States, you've likely had the pleasure of seeing acre upon acre of rolling farmlands planted with primarily corn and soybeans. On the surface it's a calming sight, evoking images of a simpler, more wholesome time -- but unfortunately if you dig beneath the surface the image is much darker, because most of these crops are far different from the ones our ancestors first planted generations ago.
Today, upwards of 85 percent of U.S. corn crops contain a special gene added that allows them to produce an insecticide. This way, when bugs attempt to eat the corn they're killed right away (specifically their stomach is split open) because the plant contains an invisible, built-in pesticide shield. The problem is, of course, that when you eat this corn you eat the built-in pesticide as well, and as you might suspect this is proving problematic for human health and the environment.
You're Likely Eating Foods That Contain a Built-in Pesticide and Don't Even Know It
The particular gene added to most corn crops is a type of Bt-toxin -- produced from Bacillus thuringiensis
bacteria. Genetic engineers remove the gene that produces the Bt in bacteria and insert it into the DNA of corn (and cotton) plants.
These toxins, including Cry1Aa toxin of B. thuringiensis, are known as "pore-forming toxins" because they cause essential minerals needed for cell survival to perforate the cell membrane and kill the host. But these proteins are highly dynamic, meaning they change quickly in different environments, such as inside or outside of the cell membrane. For this reason, studying their exact mechanisms has been difficult and little is known about the basic functioning of these toxin proteins, or their risks in using them as pesticides in our food supply.
Monsanto and others claim that Bt-toxin is quickly destroyed in human stomachs -- and even if it survived, it won't cause reactions in humans or mammals ...But studies are now showing that this is not the case.
Bt Toxin May Already be Circulating in Your Bloodstream
Bt toxin is readily passing into the human bloodstream and animal studies have already shown that Bt-toxin does cause health effects in animals, including potentially humans. As Jeffrey Smith, executive director of the Institute for Responsible Technology, wrote:
"Mice fed natural Bt-toxin showed significant immune responses and caused them to become sensitive to other formerly harmless compounds. This suggests that Bt-toxin might make a person allergic to a wide range of substances. Farm workers and others have also had reactions to natural Bt-toxin, and authorities acknowledge that "People with compromised immune systems or preexisting allergies may be particularly susceptible to the effects of Bt."
In fact, when natural Bt was sprayed over areas around Vancouver and Washington State to fight gypsy moths, about 500 people reported reactions—mostly allergy or flu-like symptoms. Six people had to go to the emergency room.
… The Bt-toxin produced in the GM plants is probably more dangerous than in its natural spray form. In the plants, the toxin is about 3,000-5,000 times more concentrated than the spray, it doesn't wash off the plants like the spray does, and it is designed to be more toxic than the natural version. In fact, the GM toxin has properties of known allergens and fails all three GM allergy tests recommended by the World Health Organization (WHO) and others."
In the first study to test whether or not these toxin proteins are finding their way into humans, it appears the toxin is quite prevalent, as upon testing 69 pregnant and non-pregnant women who were eating a typical Canadian diet (which included foods such as GM soy, corn and potatoes), researchers found Cry1Ab, a specific type of Bt toxin, in:
93 percent of maternal blood samples
80 percent of fetal blood samples
69 percent of non-pregnant women blood samples
Toxic Proteins are Also Infiltrating the Environment
As you might suspect, Bt toxin has also infiltrated the environment. According to one study, 50 of the 217 streams, ditches and drains near cornfields that researchers tested were found to contain Cry1Ab above six nanograms per liter. The protein is getting into the waterways via corn stalks, leaves, husks and cobs that blow into the water -- a phenomenon that's incredibly common since farmers often leave such material in fields to help minimize soil erosion.
Eighty-six percent of the streams tested contained various corn material with the potential to transmit Bt-toxin into water. Further, because the study was conducted six months after crops were harvested, it indicates that the GM protein lingers in the environment. Now that this GM toxin is showing up in waterways, it has the potential to devastate aquatic life and continue to spread, uncontrolled and unrestricted, across the entire United States and world.
New Meta-Analysis Confirms: 'Genetically Modified Feed is Toxic'
The danger posed by GM crops is no longer theoretical, as proven by an analysis of 19 studies in which animals were fed GM soy and corn, which comprise more than 80 percent of all GMOs cultivated on a large scale, and exist in virtually every processed food sold in the United States.
It was revealed that nearly 10 percent of blood, urine, organ and other parameters tested were significantly influenced by GMOs, with the liver and kidneys faring the worst. The data revealed quite clearly that consuming GM food leads to significant organ disruptions in rats and mice, and this occurred in animals fed GM corn and soy for just 30-90 days. As the researchers stated, only three events were tested for more than 90 days in feeding experiments or on more than one generation, even though a 90-day period is considered insufficient to evaluate chronic toxicity!
They continued:
"In fact, it is impossible, within only 13 weeks, to conclude about the kind of pathology that could be induced by pesticide GMOs and whether it is a major pathology or a minor one. It is therefore necessary to prolong the tests …
We can conclude, from the regulatory tests performed today, that it is unacceptable to submit 500 million Europeans and several billions of consumers worldwide to the new pesticide GM-derived foods or feed, this being done without more controls (if any) than the only 3-month-long toxicological tests and using only one mammalian species, especially since there is growing evidence of concern … "
They labeled the majority of GMOs on the market "pesticide plants," referring to the about 20 percent of GM crops that contain the Bt toxin, as discussed above, along with the other estimated 80 percent of GMOs, which are modified to be resistant to Roundup herbicide.
They stated:
"All these commercialized cultivated GMOs have been modified to contain pesticides, either through herbicide tolerance or by producing insecticides, or both, and could therefore be considered as "pesticide plants."
Almost all GMOs only encode these two traits despite claims of numerous other traits. For instance, Roundup ready crops have been modified in order to become insensitive to glyphosate. This chemical together with adjuvants in formulations constitutes a potent herbicide. It has been used for many years as a weed killer by blocking aromatic amino acid synthesis by inhibition of 5-enolpyruvylshikimate-3-phosphate synthase (EPSPS).
Most Roundup ready plants have been modified thanks to the insertion of a mutated EPSPS gene coding for a mutated enzyme, which is not inhibited by glyphosate. Therefore, GM plants exposed to glyphosate-based herbicides such as Roundup do not specifically degrade glyphosate. They can even accumulate Roundup residues throughout their life, even if they excrete most of such residues. Glyphosate and its main metabolite AMPA (with its own toxicity) are found in GMOs on a regular and regulatory basis.
Therefore, such residues are absorbed by people eating most GM plants (as around 80% of these plants are Roundup tolerant). On the other hand, about 20% of the other GMOs do synthesize new insecticide proteins through the insertion of mutated genes derived from Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt)."
What this means is that nearly ALL foods you buy that contain either corn or soy have the potential to transfer GM material into your body, often in the form of pesticides:
GM corn -- which is engineered to produce the insecticidal BT toxin -- might transfer and continue to create insecticide inside your intestines
Roundup-ready soybeans -- which have herbicide-resistant genes inserted into them in order to survive being sprayed with otherwise deadly doses of Roundup herbicide -- might transfer the herbicide-resistant genes into the DNA of your intestinal bacteria, where it continues to function long after you stop eating the GM soy
What Can You do to Avoid This Massive Experiment?
The amount of GM crops now grown in the United States (over 90 percent of all corn is GM corn and over
95 percent of soy is GM soy) makes it so that EVERY processed food you encounter at your local supermarket that does not bear the "USDA Organic" label is filled with GM components.
So you're eating GM foods, and you have been for the last decade, whether you knew it or not. You can thank Congress for this, and the USDA and Monsanto. What ultimate impact these GM foods will have on your health is still unknown, but increased disease, infertility and birth defects appear to be on the top of the list of most likely side effects. So to call the infiltration of GMOs into our food supply a massive experiment is not an exaggeration.
Even the New York Times stated earlier this year:
"A majority of our foods already contain GMOs and there's little reason to think more isn't on the way. It seems our "regulators" are using us and the environment as guinea pigs, rather than demanding conclusive tests. And without labeling, we have no say in the matter whatsoever."
That you have no say in the matter is really only partially true, as once you become informed you can avoid buying GM foods and even help to stop the GM trend. We CAN shift the balance by simply voting with our pocketbooks. Europe successfully did this over a decade ago, without any government assistance, and Americans can drive GMO's out of our food supply as well, but it requires educating the public about what GM foods are.
If you don't already have a copy of the Non-GMO Shopping Guide, please print one out and refer to it
often. It can help you identify and avoid foods with GMOs. Also remember to look for products (including organic products) that feature the Non-GMO Project Verified Seal to be sure that at-risk ingredients have been tested for GMO content. Many health food stores will carry these products.
You can also download the free iPhone application that is available in the iTunes store. You can find it by searching for ShopNoGMO in the applications.
If you're feeling more ambitious, you can also order the Non-GMO Shopping Tips brochure from the Institute of Responsible Technology in bulk and give it to your family and friends.
Better yet, always buy USDA 100% Organic products when possible, or buy whole fresh produce and meat from local farmers who do not use GM seeds. The majority of the GMO's you're exposed to are via processed foods, so by cooking from scratch with whole foods, you can be sure you're not inadvertently consuming something laced with GM ingredients. Finally, avoid non-organic processed foods as much as possible, as again these are virtually 100-percent guaranteed to contain GM ingredients.
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Want to Look Younger? Take This Simple Supplement Every Day for 2 Weeks
By Dr. Mercola
May 25 2011
Sunscreen in a pill?
Prevention of wrinkles, dry skin, age spots and freckles?
Reversing the visible signs of aging?
If you think checking "all of the above" seems too good to be true, you're not alone.
But there just happens to be a natural compound that clinical studies are suggesting does ALL of the above—without a hefty price tag or side effects. This is a little miracle your plastic surgeon won't want you to hear about.
It's a relatively unknown carotenoid called astaxanthin, which is now believed to be the most potent antioxidant nature has to offer.
Scientists long ago discovered that a class of naturally occurring pigments called carotenoids held powerful antioxidant properties that are crucial for your health. Carotenoids are the compounds that give foods their vibrant colors—from green grasses to red beets, to the spectacular yellows and oranges of your bell peppers.
There are more than 700 naturally occurring carotenoids, but most people are familiar with only a few. Right now, you probably have about ten different carotenoids circulating through your bloodstream.
As a source of antioxidants and vitamin A, carotenoids are critical to the photosynthetic process and protect a plant or organism from damage by light and oxygen. By consuming plants or organisms that contain these pigments, you gain a similar protective benefit.
Astaxanthin has recently jumped to the front of the line in terms of its status as a "supernutrient," becoming the focus of a large and growing number of peer-reviewed scientific studies.
One of the benefits of astaxanthin that has piqued the interest of researchers is its ability to help protect your skin from the sun, reducing the signs of aging.
However, ataxanthin's benefits to your health are more than skin deep—in fact, so many benefits that I've had to write several articles just to cover the jaw-dropping activities of this amazing nutrient.
Astaxanthin is in a League of Its Own
Astaxanthin is produced only by the microalgae Haematococcus pluvialis when its water supply dries up, forcing it to protect itself from ultraviolet radiation. It's the algae's survival mechanism—astaxanthin serves as a "force field" to protect the algae from lack of nutrition and/or intense sunlight.
It is this "radiation shield" that underlies how astaxanthin can help protect you from similar radiation.
Many carotenoids are easily obtainable through a good diet rich in fresh organic produce. However, this powerful carotenoid is harder to come by. There are only two main sources of astaxanthin—the microalgae that produce it, and the sea creatures that consume the algae (such as salmon, shellfish, and krill).
Astaxanthin is the reason salmon have the strength and endurance to swim up rivers and waterfalls for days on end—their diets are high in this pigment, which concentrates in their muscles and makes them one of the "kings of endurance" of the animal kingdom.
This pigment is the most commonly occurring red carotenoid in marine and aquatic animals and is what gives salmon and pink flamingos their characteristic pink color. Most people don't realize that baby flamingos are actually white and don't turn pink until they receive astaxanthin, primarily from shrimp and algae.
Astaxanthin is leaps and bounds more powerful than beta-carotene, alpha-tocopherol, lycopene and lutein, other members of its chemical family. It exhibits VERY STRONG free radical scavenging activity and protects your cells, organs and body tissues from oxidative damage.
Astaxanthin's unique "antioxidative artillery" provides for an impressive array of health benefits, including improving cardiovascular health, stabilizing blood sugar, boosting your immune system, fighting cancer, reducing inflammation, improving eye health—and even improving your athletic abilities.
What Makes Astaxanthin Special?
There are many properties that make this carotenoid unique. Here are the main differences:
Astaxanthin is by far the most powerful carotenoid antioxidant when it comes to free radical scavenging: astaxanthin is 65 times more powerful than vitamin C, 54 times more powerful than beta-carotene, and 14 times more powerful than vitamin E.
Astaxanthin is far more effective than other carotenoids at "singlet oxygen quenching," which is a particular type of oxidation. The damaging effects of sunlight and various organic materials are caused by this less-stable form of oxygen. Astaxanthin is 550 times more powerful than vitamin E and 11 times more powerful than beta-carotene at neutralizing singlet oxygen.
Astaxanthin crosses the blood-brain barrier AND the blood-retinal barrier (beta carotene and lycopene do not), which brings antioxidant and anti-inflammatory protection to your eyes, brain and central nervous system and reduces your risk for cataracts, macular degeneration, blindness, dementia and Alzheimer's disease.
Astaxanthin is soluble in lipids, so it incorporates into cell membranes.
It's a potent UVB absorber and reduces DNA damage.
It's a powerful natural anti-inflammatory.
And how about some more great news? There have been no adverse reactions found for people taking astaxanthin.
Sunburn is Inflammation
If you are physically active, you have probably spent a fair amount of time in the sun. The sun offers enormous benefits to you in terms of vitamin D. But too much of a good thing can be—well, too much of a good thing.
Many athletes complain of feeling ill from overexposure to the sun after long trainings outside. However, many report astaxanthin has allowed them to stay in the sun for longer periods of time, without feeling ill and without burning. Less burning also means lower skin cancer risk.
How does it do this?
The answer lies in how the Haematococcus pluvialis protects itself from intense ultraviolet radiation by producing astaxanthin as a natural sunscreen. When you consume this pigment, you are creating your own "internal sunscreen." In other words, the same powerful antioxidants that protect the algae from the sun's rays can help protect YOU as well.
Sunburn is actually an inflammatory process. Although the exact pathway by which astaxanthin protects your skin from burning is not yet known, it is almost certain that its anti-inflammatory properties are involved.
Dr. Nicholas Perricone and Dr. Robert Childs, a physician in Hawaii, are both fans of astaxanthin.
Dr. Childs, born and raised in Honolulu, was always extremely sensitive to the sun, until he started taking astaxanthin. He now finds he can go out in the midday Hawaiian sun for four hours without burning, whereas he used to burn within a half hour. He also discovered that, within a few weeks of starting astaxanthin, his morning stiffness and soreness had disappeared.
Astaxanthin as an Internal Sunscreen
Besides copious testimonials and anecdotal evidence, scientific studies have substantiated these skin protective effects.
Cyanotech Corporation funded a study through an independent consumer research laboratory to measure the skin's resistance to both UVA and UVB light, before and after astaxanthin supplementation.
The result was that in only three weeks of taking 4mg per day, subjects showed a significant increase in the amount of time necessary for UV radiation to redden their skin.
Animal studies lend further evidence to astaxanthin's effects as an internal sunscreen.
Consider the following:
In 1995, hairless mice were fed various combinations of astaxanthin, beta-carotene and retinol for four months. After irradiation, astaxanthin alone or in combination with retinol was substantially effective in preventing photoaging of the skin (as measured by markers for skin damage). [Savoure, N., Briand, G., Amory-Touz, M., Combre, A., Maudet, M. (1995). "Vitamin A status and metabolism of cutaneous polyamines in the hairless mouse after UV irradiation: action of beta-carotene and astaxanthin." International Journal for Vitamin and Nutrition Research. 65(2):79-86.]
In a 1998 study with rats, astaxanthin was found to be 100 times stronger than beta-carotene and 1000 times stronger than lutein in preventing UVA light-induced oxidative stress.
The Journal of Dermatological Science published a study in 2002 finding astaxanthin is able to protect against alterations in human DNA induced by UVA light exposure.
A Topical Paradise: Help in Preventing Collagen Damage, Wrinkles, Freckles and Age Spots
But astaxanthin might not even need to be ingested in order to protect you from the sun. In 2001, Arakane performed a study on hairless mice to explore whether or not astaxanthin offered topical benefits.
The mice were exposed to UVB radiation for 18 weeks to simulate photo-aged skin. The mice that had astaxanthin applied to their skin demonstrated reduced wrinkles when compared to the control group, as well as younger-appearing collagen. In fact, the collagen of the astaxanthin mice looked as if it had never been exposed to radiation.
Researchers concluded that astaxanthin "can significantly prevent UV-induced collagen degradation, wrinkles, lipid peroxidation, sunburn, phototoxicity and photoallergy."
The same study also discovered that topical astaxanthin can act as an effective "skin whitening agent," which is a tremendously popular trend in Asia. Astaxanthin was found to reduce melanin by 40 percent, greatly reducing freckles and age spots.
Beauty From Within
Although it appears that astaxanthin does indeed offer topical benefits, your greatest gifts will come from taking astaxanthin internally.
There have been three studies demonstrating that taking astaxanthin can improve the way you look. All of these studies combine astaxanthin with other substances, such as omega-3 fatty acids or vitamin E, but all three had positive findings when astaxanthin was present.
In Japan, a study was done in 2002 by Yamashita with women around age 40 who consumed 2mg astaxanthin daily for four weeks. Researchers were surprised that after only 2 weeks, almost every aspect of the women's skin had improved; after 4 weeks, there was even more improvement. [Yamashita, E. (2002). "Cosmetic Benefit of Dietary Supplements Containing Astaxanthin and Tocotrienol on Human Skin." Food Style. 21 6(6):112-17]
Benefits included fewer fine lines, better moisture, increased skin tone and elasticity, smoother surface, fewer freckles, and less under-eye puffiness.
In 2003 a Canadian study involving female subjects ages 35 to 55 were given astaxanthin combined with omega-3 fatty acids and marine glycosaminoglycans. They were divided into three groups using different combinations of these agents, all showing improvements in the areas measured.
Due to the design of the study, researchers were limited in the conclusions they could draw, but said it was clear that astaxanthin does offer benefits as an internal beauty supplement.
The third study was done in Europe and was similar to the Japanese study discussed above. However, subjects were given 5mg per day astaxanthin along with two other ingredients. Treated subjects showed improvements in fine lines, an increase in dermis density of up to 78 percent, and visible improvement in overall skin appearance.
Can Eating Colorful Vegetables Make You MORE Attractive and Help Snag You a Mate?
One of the most interesting studies to date was headed by Dr. Ian Stephen at the University of Nottingham who investigated what skin tones were perceived as most healthy and attractive to humans.
He discovered that red and yellow skin tones make you more attractive.
People take on redder tones when they are flushed with blood, particularly if the blood has lots of oxygen in it, and from a biological/anthropological perspective, this signals health and vitality.
Scientists have believed that we evolved by selecting potential mates whose appearance signaled good health. According to coauthor of the study, David Perrett, PhD:
"This is something we share with many other species. For example, the bright yellow beaks and feathers of many birds can be thought of as adverts showing how healthy a male bird is. What's more, females of these species prefer to mate with brighter, more colored males. But this is the first study in which this has been demonstrated in humans.
Together our studies link skin carotenoid coloration to both perceived health and healthy diet, establishing carotenoid coloration as a valid cue to human health which is perceptible in a way that is relevant to mate choice, as it is in bird and fish species."
Healthier Looking Than a Tan !!
And here's the kicker...
Dr. Stephen found that, given the choice between skin color caused by suntan and skin color caused by carotenoids, people preferred the carotenoid skin color.
So if you want to be more physically attractive, make sure you use a regular source of astaxanthin. Not only will it allow you to look healthier it will also help protect you when you are tanning and optimizing your vitamin D levels.
Make Sure Your Astaxanthin is the Natural Variety from Marine Algae—NOT Synthetic
Synthetic (laboratory-made) astaxanthin is now commonly used worldwide to supplement fish feeds in order to obtain the desired pinkish to orange-red color. You really should avoid synthetic astaxanthin because it's made from petrochemicals.
Some aquaculture companies are beginning to use natural astaxanthin instead of synthetic, even though it costs more, because it's better for the health of the animals, and it's far superior for pigmentation. Animals fed fish food with natural astaxanthin have higher survival rates, better growth rates, better immunity, fertility and reproduction.
Unfortunately, synthetic astaxanthin still dominates the farmed salmon industry worldwide.
If your salmon label does not read "wild" or "naturally colored," you're probably going to be eating a coloring agent somewhat closer to motor oil than antioxidant. Natural astaxanthin is more than 20 times stronger as an antioxidant than synthetic astaxanthin.
Wild salmon are 400 percent higher in astaxanthin than farmed salmon, and 100 percent of their pigment is natural astaxanthin, rather than synthetic. Plus, wild salmon have much higher levels of omega-3 fatty acids than the farmed version. But even if you are successful in purchasing genuine wild salmon, there is the problem with high levels of mercury and other unwanted toxins, not to mention the skyrocketing prices.
Final Recommendations
If you decide to give astaxanthin a try, I recommend starting with at least 2 mg per day. I have been taking 8 mg per day this year. Krill has some astaxanthin in it, but not enough to provide full benefits
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The Health Dangers of Genetically Engineered Foods and their Cover-up
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Also See:
If You Know what's Good for You
(Part 1)
19 February 2009
http://arcticcompass.blogspot.com/2009/02/if-you-know-whats-good-for-you.html
and
(Part 2)
01 August 2009
http://arcticcompass.blogspot.com/2009/08/if-you-know-whats-good-for-you-part-2.html
and
(Part 3)
02 March 2010
http://arcticcompass.blogspot.com/2010/03/if-you-know-whats-good-for-you-part-3.html
and
(Part 4)
28 September 2011
http://arcticcompass.blogspot.com/2010/09/if-you-know-whats-good-for-you-part-4.html
and
(Part 5)
15 March 2011
http://arcticcompass.blogspot.com/2011/03/if-you-know-whats-good-for-you-part-5.html
and
(Part 6)
20 July 2011
http://arcticcompass.blogspot.com/2011/07/if-you-know-whats-good-for-you-part-6.html
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