How to Use the Donation Sticker on Instagram Stories

2 months, 11 days ago

Nonprofits, rejoice: Instagram has made it easier than ever to
reach supporters with the new donation sticker for Instagram
Stories.

With just a few clicks, Instagrammers can support their charity
of choice, or help spread the word to collect donations from their
followers.

And the best part? You don’t have to worry about any
transaction fees – Nonprofits will receive 100% of the proceeds
made through the donation sticker.

Ready to get philanthropic? Here’s everything you need
to know about donation stickers on Instagram Stories:

Starting this week, Instagrammers will be able to use the new
donation stickers to raise money for nonprofits including Oceana,
St. Jude, Autism Speaks, Black Girls CODE, The American Heart
Association, and many others.  

To get started, simply tap the donation sticker button after
you’ve taken a photo or video in the Instagram Stories
camera.

Next, search for nonprofits to select the foundation you’d
like to support and share with your followers.

First, you’ll notice a list of foundations you are currently
following, followed by foundations supported by people you
follow:

You’ll also see three dots next to each foundation, allowing
you to quickly view their profile:

Once you’ve selected your nonprofit, give the sticker  a
fundraiser title:

You can customize the color of your quiz by tapping the color
wheel at the top of the screen.

Once you’re finished, simply share your story to let your
followers start donating to your favorite cause!

To see how much you’ve raised, just swipe up on the live
story. The full amount of what you see in your stats will go
straight to the nonprofit of your choosing!

How to Use the Instagram Stories Donation Sticker For
Nonprofits

If you’re actively on Facebook, you’ve probably noticed a
friend posting a link to donate to a favorite charity for their
birthday or for a significant life event. Facebook’s donation tool, the
Charitable Giving feature, has reportedly
raised over $1 billion as of November 2018
.

The Instagram Stories donation sticker is expected to see
similar outcomes, and has the potential to be a big game changer
for nonprofits on the platform. Previously, nonprofits on Instagram
only had the option to share a donation link in their bio, or a
 “swipe-up” link in their story if they have above 10K
followers.

Now, nonprofits have endless reach with the Instagram Stories
donation sticker, allowing for their supporters to share a quick
and easy way for their followers to contribute to the cause.

The donation sticker also gives nonprofits the chance to be a
more creative when sharing their mission and asking for
support.

Take The American Cancer
Society
for examples, who uses the donation sticker to show all
the ways your contribution can make a difference:

The nonprofit Water, committed to
providing safe water and sanitation for all, shared a quick
“how-to” on the new donation sticker, encouraging their
followers to add it to their stories:

Nonprofits can also use the sticker to build awareness or share
an announcement. The ALS
Association
shared the donation sticker to let their followers
know May is ALS Awareness month:

While the donation sticker is available to all users, businesses
can put the new feature to good use, too!

This year, many businesses are jumping on Instagram Stories to
share ways their brand is making more sustainable and ethical
business choices. The new donation sticker is another great way to
further their brand’s mission and share the causes that matter to
them most.

Influencers and celebrities are already jumping on the new
feature as well. For example, Charles Melton for the
popular series Riverdale, took to Instagram Stories to share his
support toward the Special Olympics:

Singer Pharrell
Williams
also shared the new sticker, asking followers to join
him in supporting From One Hand to AnOTHER
to help provide children across the US with the tools and resources
to meet their unique potential:

However you choose to use it, the new donation sticker is a
great way to share your support and a chance for Instagrammers to
help make a difference.

Are you planning to use the new Instagram Stories donation
sticker? Let us know in the comments below!

Learn how to grow your business and stay engaged with your
followers using Instagram Stories with our free Instagram
Stories Course
!

The post How to
Use the Donation Sticker on Instagram Stories
appeared first on
Later Blog.

Read more: later.com

What is Glutathione and Why Do You Need it?

4 months, 7 days ago

Editor’s note: This post was originally published in August 2016. It has been updated and republished in February 2019.

What is glutathione? It may be the most important molecule you need to stay healthy and prevent disease. It’s known for its anti-aging power as well as its benefit in fighting cancer, heart disease, dementia, and other chronic diseases. It’s also important for treating everything from autism and Alzheimer’s disease and more.

What is Glutathione and What Does it Do?

Glutathione is a combination of three simple building blocks of protein or amino acids − cysteine, glycine, and glutamine − and is produced naturally in the body. It is called the master antioxidant because it can regenerate itself in the liver after each “fill-up” of free radicals and go back to work. Free radicals are often the byproduct of normal cellular metabolic oxidation and toxic overload. They can lead to autoimmune diseases, several types of cancer, and even heart attacks.

Keeping yourself healthy, boosting your performance, preventing disease, and aging well all depend on keeping glutathione levels high. It is critical for immune function and controlling inflammation. It is the master detoxifier and the body’s main antioxidant, protecting our cells and making our energy metabolism run well.

Research has shown that raised glutathione levels decrease muscle damage, reduce recovery time, increase strength and endurance, and shift metabolism from fat production to muscle development.

Glutathione is critical in helping the body’s first line of defense against disease and illness – the immune system − do its job of fighting infections. It further supports the immune system in preventing cancer and other illnesses. Studies have also shown that glutathione can help in the treatment of AIDS.

Studies have also shown that glutathione can be effective in treating fatty liver disease, both alcoholic and nonalcoholic. It’s especially effective for people who make healthy lifestyle changes.

Glutathione is essential for maintaining healthy cellular mitochondria. Damaged or malfunctioning cellular mitochondria are part of the cancer process. This occurs when exposure to toxins and unhealthy cellular terrain combine to trigger a cellular defensive response. During this process healthy cells become cancer cells by reverting to a primitive form of respiration that uses glucose (sugar) instead of oxygen for respiration. They then refuse to die and keep multiplying.

The secret of the power of glutathione may be the sulfur chemical groups it contains. Sulfur is a sticky, smelly molecule which helps eliminate all the bad things in the body. Its stickiness allows it to capture damaging free radicals and toxins like mercury and other heavy metals.

As natural health author Paul Fassa wrote:

Glutathione is critical for one simple reason: It recycles antioxidants. You see, dealing with free radicals is like handing off a hot potato. They get passed around from vitamin C to vitamin E to lipoic acid and then finally to glutathione which cools off the free radicals and recycles other antioxidants. After this happens, the body can “reduce” or regenerate another protective glutathione molecule and we are back in business.”

Dr. Mark Hyman calls glutathione the “mother of all antioxidants” and says that he has found glutathione deficiency to be common in virtually all seriously ill patients he has treated. This includes people with chronic fatigue syndrome, heart disease, cancer, chronic infections, autoimmune disease, diabetes, autism, Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, arthritis, asthma, kidney problems, liver disease, and more.

benefits of glutathione

Glutathione Deficiency

The body forms glutathione naturally, but production decreases as we age. Toxins also decrease healthy glutathione levels. If you are sick, feeling old, or just not in peak shape, you likely have a glutathione deficiency. The esteemed British medical journal, The Lancet, found the highest glutathione levels in healthy young people, lower levels in healthy elderly, lower still in sick elderly, and the lowest of all in the hospitalized elderly.

Normally, glutathione is recycled in the body − except when the toxic load becomes too great. When glutathione becomes depleted it can no longer protect against free radicals, infections, or cancer, and we can’t get rid of toxins. This leads to further sickness and soon we are in the downward spiral of chronic illness.

Active Glutathione is Known as GSH

Glutathione becomes inactive when it becomes saturated from doing its work of collecting free radicals, but it tends to regenerate itself in a healthy liver. Under ideal conditions, 10% of the glutathione remains inactive (or oxidized), while the other 90% is active. As the active glutathione (also known as GSH), drops below 90% and allows the inactive to increase beyond 10%, the struggle for optimum health begins to become a losing battle. When toxins build up, the GSH diminishes even more. When GSH falls below 70%, the immune system becomes critically compromised.

Foods & Supplements that Increase Glutathione Levels in Your Body

Certain foods contain precursors to help the liver produce more glutathione. These include sulfur-rich foods such as garlic, onions, and cruciferous vegetables (i.e. broccoli, kale, collards, cabbage, cauliflower, watercress), premium bioactive whey products, and colostrum.

You can also increase glutathione by increasing your vitamin C intake or adding milk thistle or turmeric to your diet.

The reason for using precursors to boost your liver’s ability to create healthy glutathione levels is that supplemental glutathione has issues with getting through the gastrointestinal (GI) tract intact without being degraded.

Exercise boosts glutathione levels and helps boost your immune system, improve detoxification, and enhance your body’s own antioxidant defenses. Start slow and build up to 30 minutes a day of vigorous aerobic exercise like walking or jogging, or play various sports. Strength training for 20 minutes, three times a week is also helpful.

Other supplements which can help increase healthy glutathione levels include:

A good all-around organic, whole-food derived nutritional supplement.

N-acetyl-cysteine (NAC) has been used for many years to help boost glutathione. Time release NAC is the best option for keeping levels high throughout the day.

Methylation nutrients, including folate, vitamin B6, and vitamin B12 are critical to keep the body producing and recycling glutathione.

Selenium helps the body recycle and produce more glutathione.

The family of antioxidants which includes vitamins C and E (in the form of mixed tocopherols) work together to recycle glutathione

Milk thistle (silymarin) helps increase glutathione levels and is famed for its ability to cleanse, protect, and regenerate the liver.

It is also worth noting that alpha-lipoic acid is a close second to glutathione in terms of importance for our cells. It is involved in energy production, blood sugar control, brain health, and detoxification.

Over 2 million people have joined the fight to eradicate cancer once and for all. Find real solutions and learn the TRUTH about cancer.

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The post What is Glutathione and Why Do You Need it? appeared first on The Truth About Cancer.

Read more: thetruthaboutcancer.com

YOUR BEST MASSAGE

4 months, 7 days ago

best massage

For many people, a massage is often something you get on vacation or give as a one-time gift. While those are great ideas that will give you relaxation for the moment, a true therapeutic massage program will do more than just relax you. It will improve your overall health and wellness. What makes Elements Massage® stand out above the many massage studios and therapists? Elements, offers our clients a Way, a Promise, and a Program.

The Elements Way®

Our specially trained therapists take time to listen and communicate with you

so that each session is tailored to meet your specific needs. It begins when you are scheduling your appointment, you will be asked questions about what you are looking for and what specific needs you have. The independently-owned and operated studio will gather your information and connect you with a massage therapist whose skill-set will deliver the massage that’s best for you. That’s the Elements Way.

 

The Elements Promise™

Elements also offers The Elements Promise that guarantees the massage you receive will meet or exceed your expectations, or your next massage is free. In addition to a personalized massage, you will also receive therapeutic relief. More than a traditional massage, our specialized approach to massage therapy ensures an experience steeped in relaxation and rejuvenation.

 

The Elements Program™

Elements offers a monthly program that allows you to customize your experience based on your needs and desires. Whether you are coming in just for the chance to relax, or if you have specific health issue you are wanting to find relief from, our trained therapists will help you determine the most effective program. The Elements Wellness Program offers a month-to-month membership, with one session per month at a discounted rate. You also have the option to add additional sessions at your member rate. If you skip a month, your massage rolls over to the next month at no additional charge.
 

While there are many massage options available to you, Elements stands head and shoulders above the rest. Contact an Elements studio near you and make today the first day of better health and healing.

best massage elements massage

 

Read more: elementsmassage.com

Eating Organic Significantly Reduces Health Risks

4 months, 14 days ago

According to polls, the No. 1 reason people choose organic food is to avoid pesticide exposure.1 Not only do these chemicals threaten the environment, but they also pose a very clear and direct risk to human health.

Glyphosate, the active ingredient in Monsanto’s Roundup herbicide, has made headlines because it’s the most used agricultural chemical in history and because the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) has identified it as a probable human carcinogen.

New Meta-Analysis Strengthens Link Between Glyphosate and Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma

A meta-analysis2,3,4,5,6 of six epidemiological studies published between 2001 and 2018 now adds further weight to such suspicions, showing glyphosate increases the risk of Non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL) — a group of blood cancers — by 41 percent in highly exposed subjects.

According to the research team, led by Luoping Zhang, a University of California, Berkeley toxicologist and a member of the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) scientific advisory panel (SAP) on glyphosate carcinogenicity,7 there is indeed a “compelling link” between glyphosate exposure and NHL.

Two other researchers on the team were also members of the EPA SAP that met in 2016. At the time, all three expressed concerns about the EPA’s determination that glyphosate was “not likely to be carcinogenic” to humans,8 noting the EPA failed to follow proper scientific practices in its assessment of the chemical.9

Senior author professor Lianne Sheppard told Investigative journalist Carey Gillam,10 “It was pretty obvious they didn’t follow their own rules. Is there evidence that it is carcinogenic? The answer is yes.”

Evidence also emerged suggesting the EPA had colluded with Monsanto to protect the company’s interests by manipulating and preventing key investigations into glyphosate’s cancer-causing potential.

Of the six studies included in this new analysis, five showed a positive correlation. One of the studies, known as the Agricultural Health Study11 (AHS), published in 2018, found no effect.

However, the team points out that results were watered down in that study due to the inclusion of people with very low exposure. It’s only when you look at high-exposure groups independently that a clear link between exposure and NHL emerges.

Scientists Convinced Glyphosate Is a Dangerous Carcinogen

These findings are bad news for Bayer, which now owns Monsanto and its toxic product line. At present, some 9,000 individuals have lawsuits pending against Monsanto-Bayer. All blame their NHL on Roundup exposure. In its defense, Monsanto has relied heavily on the AHS study’s findings showing no correlation between exposure and NHL risk.

However, as noted in the new meta-analysis, published online February 10, 2019:12

“Using the highest exposure groups when available in each study, we report the overall meta-relative risk (meta-RR) of NHL in [glyphosate-based herbicide-exposed] GBH-exposed individuals was increased by 41 percent …

For comparison, we also performed a secondary meta-analysis using high-exposure groups with the earlier AHS (2005), and we determined a meta-RR for NHL of 1.45, which was higher than the meta-RRs reported previously. Multiple sensitivity tests conducted to assess the validity of our findings did not reveal meaningful differences from our primary estimated meta-RR.

To contextualize our findings of an increased NHL risk in individuals with high GBH exposure, we reviewed available animal and mechanistic studies, which provided supporting evidence for the carcinogenic potential of GBH.

We documented further support from studies of malignant lymphoma incidence in mice treated with pure glyphosate, as well as potential links between GBH exposure and immunosuppression, endocrine disruption, and genetic alterations that are commonly associated with NHL.

Overall, in accordance with evidence from experimental animal and mechanistic studies, our current meta-analysis of human epidemiological studies suggests a compelling link between exposures to GBHs and increased risk for NHL.”

Sheppard told Sustainable Pulse,13 “Our analysis focused on providing the best possible answer to the question of whether or not glyphosate is carcinogenic. As a result of this research, I am even more convinced that it is.” Gillam also quotes Sheppard, saying,14 “This paper makes a stronger case than previous meta-analyses that there is evidence of an increased risk of NHL due to glyphosate exposure. From a population health point of view there are some real concerns.”

New Lawsuit Focuses on Roundup’s Effect on Gut Bacteria

Even if you’re not exposed to glyphosate-based herbicides via application (which is the case with most who claim glyphosate exposure caused their NHL), your health is still at risk, as most foods (processed foods in particular) are contaminated with this chemical, and more than 70 percent of Americans have detectable levels of glyphosate in their body.15

A limited food testing program by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in 2016 revealed virtually all foods tested were contaminated with Roundup.16 The Health Research Institute Labs (HRI Labs), an independent laboratory that tests both micronutrients and toxins found in food, has also discovered widespread glyphosate contamination.

According to HRI data, people who eat oats on a regular basis have twice as much glyphosate in their system as people who don’t (likely because oats are desiccated with glyphosate before harvest), and people who eat organic food on a regular basis have an 80 percent lower level of glyphosate than those who rarely eat organic.

Glyphosate kills weeds by inhibiting the shikimate pathway in the plant, and Monsanto has long defended the chemical’s safety, saying it cannot affect humans because we do not have this pathway. However, the shikimate pathway is found in human gut bacteria, which we now know play a vital role in human health.

As reported by Bloomberg,17 a lawsuit filed against Monsanto February 13 now specifically focuses on this link. But glyphosate can also affect your health via a number of other mechanisms. For example, research has shown glyphosate also:18,19,20

Mimics glycine, an amino acid your body uses to make proteins. By acting as a substitute for glycine in your body, glyphosate can cause damaged proteins to be produced.

Glycine also plays a role in quenching inflammation, as explained in “Glycine Quells Oxidative Damage by Inhibiting NOX Superoxide Production and Boosting NADPH,” and is used up in the detoxification process. As a result of glyphosate toxicity, many of us may not have enough glycine for efficient detoxification.

Interferes with the function of cytochrome P450 enzymes, required for activation of vitamin D in the liver, and the creation of both nitric oxide and cholesterol sulfate, the latter of which is needed for red blood cell integrity.

Chelates important minerals, including iron, cobalt and manganese. Manganese deficiency, in turn, impairs mitochondrial function and can lead to glutamate toxicity in the brain.

Interferes with the synthesis of aromatic amino acids and methionine, which results in shortages in critical neurotransmitters and folate.

Disrupts sulfate synthesis and sulfate transport.

Disrupts and destroys the gut microbiome via its antibiotic activity.

Inhibits sulfur metabolism.

Impairs methylation pathways.

Inhibits pituitary release of thyroid stimulating hormone, which can lead to hypothyroidism.

How Much Glyphosate Do You Have in Your Body?

HRI Labs has developed home test kits for both water and urine, available in my online store. If your levels are high, you would be wise to address your diet and consider buying more organic foods.

You may also want to consider some form of detoxification protocol, and take steps to repair the damage to your gut caused by glyphosate and other agrochemicals. Chances are, if your glyphosate levels are high, you probably have a number of other pesticides in your system as well.

Fermented foods, particularly kimchi, are potent chelators of these kinds of chemicals. Taking activated charcoal after a questionable meal can help bind and excrete chemicals as well. Remember to stay well-hydrated to facilitate the removal of toxins through your liver, kidneys and skin.

Glycine is an important detox aid for glyphosate in particular. Dr. Dietrich Klinghardt, recognized as an international authority on metal toxicity and its connection with chronic infections, recommends taking 1 teaspoon (4 grams) of glycine powder twice a day for a few weeks and then lower the dose to one-fourth teaspoon (1 gram) twice a day. The least expensive way to do this is purchase glycine bulk powder,21 which is very inexpensive.

This forces the glyphosate out of your system, allowing it to be eliminated through your urine. Using a sauna on a regular basis is also recommended to help eliminate both pesticides and heavy metals you may have accumulated.

Organic Diet Significantly Lowers Your Pesticide Load, Study Finds

An obvious answer to concerns about glyphosate exposure via your diet is to switch to organic foods. A study22,23 published in the journal Environmental Research, February 12, 2019, again confirms you can significantly reduce your toxic pesticide load by going organic, and results can be rapid.

On average, pesticide and pesticide metabolite level for neonicotinoids, organophosphate pesticides (OP), pyrethroid, 2,4-D and others (14 compounds in all, representing about 40 different pesticides) were reduced by more than 60 percent, on average, in just six days of eating an all-organic diet.

Urine samples were collected from four “racially and geographically diverse” U.S. families — seven adults and nine children in all — before and after they were switched to an all-organic diet. As a group, OP’s were reduced the most, dropping by 70 percent overall.

Chlorpyrifos, linked to autism and reduced IQ in children, was reduced by an average of 61 percent, and malathion, a probable human carcinogen, was reduced by 95 percent while 2,4-D dropped by just 37 percent. The fact that 2,4-D appears to stay in the body longer could be a concern, considering we’re bound to see far more of it in our food in coming years as genetically engineered crops are now being developed with 2,4-D resistant traits.

According to the authors:24

“We observed significant reductions in urinary levels of 13 pesticide metabolites and parent compounds representing OP, neonicotinoid and pyrethroid insecticides and the herbicide 2,4-D following the introduction of an organic diet.

The greatest reductions were observed for clothianidin … malathion dicarboxylic acid, a metabolite of malathion … and 3,5,6-trichlor-2-pyridinol, a metabolite of chlorpyrifos … This study adds to a growing body of literature indicating that an organic diet may reduce exposure to a range of pesticides in children and adults.”

To Avoid Toxic Pesticides, Go Organic

Other studies have found very similar results, including:

A 2006 study25 in Environmental Health Perspectives, which found OP pesticide levels were lowered to undetectable levels in elementary school-aged children fed an all-organic diet for five days; levels rose as soon as a conventional diet was reintroduced
An Australian study26 published in 2014, which found a diet of at least 80 percent organic food lowered pesticide levels by 89 percent in seven days
A 2015 study,27 which found OP pesticide levels were reduced between 25 and 49 percent in Mexican-American children aged 3 to 6, after being fed organic food for seven days

Bruce Lanphear, a professor at Simon Fraser University who was not part of the study told Civil Eats,28 “Families need this type of information. In the absence of a robust regulatory system that protects consumers, these types of studies are critical for consumers or families to make these choices.”

Many Studies Support Eating Organic to Minimize Pesticide Exposure and Improve Nutrition

A 2016 report29 by the European Parliament, “Human Health Implications of Organic Food and Organic Agriculture,” detailed the many benefits of organic farming, based on a global literature search. The report is unusually comprehensive in that it also reviews a wide range of effects of organics, from nutritional content and the benefits of fewer pesticides to environmental impacts and sustainability.

Its conclusions are based on hundreds of epidemiological and laboratory studies and food analyses. Again, the clearest benefits of organics on human health were found to be related to lowered pesticide, antibiotic and cadmium exposure. And, while U.S. regulators insist that set limits on pesticide residues in conventional produce are enough to protect the public’s health, the report found negative health effects may occur in children even at current levels of exposure.30

According to research31 presented at a 2017 Children’s Environmental Health Network (CEHN) conference in Washington, D.C., women exposed to higher glyphosate levels during pregnancy had babies born earlier and with lower adjusted birth weights.

What’s more, the chemical was detected in more than 90 percent of the mothers in the study. Studies have also demonstrated that an organic diet provides better nutrition. Among them:

A Hungarian study32 published in 2006, which compared the nutritional value of organically and conventionally grown plant foods, found organics contained “significantly higher amounts of certain antioxidants (vitamin C, polyphenols and flavonoids) and minerals.”

A 2010 study33 looking at grass fed beef versus grain fed beef found the former had healthier fat composition and higher CLA levels. As noted by the authors, “[C]hanges in finishing diets of conventional cattle can alter the lipid profile in such a way as to improve upon this nutritional package.

Although there are genetic, age-related and gender differences among the various meat producing species with respect to lipid profiles and ratios, the effect of animal nutrition is quite significant.”

A 2013 study34 found organic milk contains about 25 percent less omega-6 fats and 62 percent more omega-3 fats than conventional milk, along with more vitamin E, beta-carotene and beneficial conjugated linoleic acid (CLA).

A British study35 published in 2014 found organically grown foods contain “significantly” higher levels of antioxidants than the conventionally grown variety, including beneficial compounds linked to a reduced risk of chronic diseases, including heart and neurodegenerative diseases and certain cancers.

A group of scientists at Newcastle University in the U.K. evaluated 343 studies published over several decades. The analysis,36 published in 2014, found that while many nutrient levels were comparable, a key nutritional difference between conventional and organics was their antioxidant content, with organic fruits and vegetables containing anywhere from 18 to 69 percent more antioxidants than conventionally grown varieties.

The Research Institute of Organic Agriculture37 in Frick, Switzerland, has confirmed organic apples contain higher levels of antioxidants than conventional varieties.

A 2010 study38 partially funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) found organic strawberries were more nutrient-rich than conventional strawberries.

Research has also found that true organic free-range eggs typically contain about two-thirds more vitamin A, double the amount of omega-3, three times more vitamin E, and as much as seven times more beta carotene than conventional eggs.39

Organic Food Resources

While most people tend to think of organics only in terms of produce (fruits and vegetables), it’s important to remember to buy organic, grass fed beef, poultry and dairy, as well, as conventionally raised animals are routinely fed a diet of genetically engineered grains that are loaded with glyphosate and other potentially hazardous ingredients.

If you live in the U.S., the following organizations can help you locate farm-fresh foods grown in a sustainable and environmentally-friendly manner:

Demeter USA — Demeter-USA.org provides a directory of certified Biodynamic farms and brands. This directory can also be found on BiodynamicFood.org.

American Grassfed Association — The goal of the American Grassfed Association is to promote the grass fed industry through government relations, research, concept marketing and public education.

Their website also allows you to search for AGA approved producers certified according to strict standards that include being raised on a diet of 100 percent forage; raised on pasture and never confined to a feedlot; never treated with antibiotics or hormones; born and raised on American family farms.

Weston A. Price Foundation — Weston A. Price has local chapters in most states, and many of them are connected with buying clubs in which you can easily purchase organic foods, including grass fed raw dairy products like milk and butter.

Grassfed Exchange — The Grassfed Exchange has a listing of producers selling organic and grass fed meats across the U.S.

Local Harvest — This website 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.

Farmers Markets — A national listing of farmers markets.

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, 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.

The Cornucopia Institute — The Cornucopia Institute maintains web-based tools rating all certified organic brands of eggs, dairy products and other commodities, based on their ethical sourcing and authentic farming practices separating CAFO “organic” production from authentic organic practices.

RealMilk.com — If you’re still unsure of where to find raw milk, check out Raw-Milk-Facts.com and RealMilk.com. They can tell you what the status is for legality in your state, and provide a listing of raw dairy farms in your area. The Farm to Consumer Legal Defense Fund40 also provides a state-by-state review of raw milk laws.41 California residents can also find raw milk retailers using the store locator available at www.OrganicPastures.com.

Read more: articles.mercola.com

Why Cigarette Butts Are Still Among the Worst Forms of Pollution

4 months, 19 days ago

There are multiple reasons you should not start smoking, or you should quit. Despite decades of warnings by the U.S. Surgeon General, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) continues to call tobacco the “single largest preventable cause of cancer and disease in the United States.”1

Today, cigarette smoking kills more than 480,000 people every year and nearly 41,000 from exposure to secondhand smoke.2 There are short-term and long-term side effects. Smoking stains your teeth, changes your physical appearance and increases your risk of gum disease and tooth loss.

After years of smoking, you’ll experience irreversible health damage to your heart, brain, respiratory system and reproductive health. The good news is when you stop smoking the beneficial changes begin in the first 24 hours and continue to mount over the coming days, weeks and years as your body clears out the damage done by nicotine and hundreds of other chemicals.3

Smoking also severely impacts the environment. While you might have thought cigarettes were completely biodegradable, it turns out the filters are made of plastic — not paper or biodegradable fibers — that can take up to 10 years to decompose.4

Marketing Tool Greatest Contributor to Plastic Pollution

In the 1950s, fears of lung cancer emerged. At this point cigarette companies initiated a shift in design from unfiltered to filtered cigarettes in an effort to allay fears of consumers.5 Tobacco smoke from cigarettes contain nearly 250 harmful chemicals, including heavy metals, arsenic, benzene, formaldehyde and polonium-210, a radioactive chemical element.6

Cigarette filters were reportedly engineered to reduce lung cancer by blocking toxic exposure. However, this created a problem for cigarette companies as the filter also reduced the smoker’s level of satisfaction with the cigarette.

In response, the companies redesigned the filters so they were not as effective, essentially creating a marketing tool in an attempt to assure smokers of the health benefits associated with filters, while still giving the smoker the nicotine hit. These claims were called fraudulent by the World Health Organization (WHO).7

While filters do block some toxins, they also make smoking smoother, encouraging smokers to puff more frequently and smoke more cigarettes. The tobacco industry recruited smokers under the guise that filtered cigarettes would protect their health.

However, when scientists analyzed the number of lung cancers based on the year of birth, they found the most common type of lung cancer in the 1960s and 1970s was squamous cell carcinoma, accounting for two-thirds of the cases. Today, with an increasing number smoking filtered cigarettes, the rate of adenocarcinoma is increasing.8 

Dr. David Wilson, pulmonologist at the University of Pittsburgh, comments the survival rates of the two types are nearly the same, demonstrating there is no persuasive evidence filters “have a beneficial impact on overall lung cancer survival.”9 However, while the filters don’t improve a smoker’s health, they do have a significant negative impact on the environment.

European Union Cracks Down on Plastics and Cigarette Butts

Although plastic straws and bags receive widespread attention, an even larger problem are the plastic filters on cigarette butts. Today, they rank as the most littered item in the world. Nearly 6 trillion cigarettes are manufactured each year and over 90 percent of them contain plastic filters.10

Some cities have levied fees on cigarette packets to fund street cleaning, and others have levied fees against those who litter. Although some experts advocate for the development and implementation of biodegradable filters, others believe these also contain toxins that take a long time to degrade, and biodegradable cigarettes may increase littering as smokers feel “permitted” to drop them into the environment.

In late 2018, the European Parliament11 proposed widespread reduction in plastic use, including reducing plastic in tobacco products by 50 percent by 2025, bumping this to 80 percent by 2030. These targets were later rejected in lieu of tobacco companies being made responsible for funding campaigns to raise awareness about the problem of cigarette butt litter.

More recently, the European Chemical Agency12 proposed phasing out over 39,000 tons of plastics per year intentionally added into the environment, beginning in 2020. These include microplastic fibers and fragments in cigarette filters, cosmetics, detergents and coatings.13

This draft targets microplastics not considered necessary, but have been added for convenience or profit. Although the U.K. imposed a limited ban on plastic microbeads, the measure by the European Union is more comprehensive.

A scientific committee will review the proposal for slightly over a year before sending their opinion to the European Commission. At that time, the Commission will have three months to prepare legislation and it could take up to eight months after this before the use restrictions would come into force.14

WHO Calls Cigarette Butts the Most Acceptable Form of Littering

The Truth Initiative15 believes visible cigarette litter is so commonplace, even in areas where smoking rates have gone down, in part because they take so many years to decompose. Even under the most optimal conditions, it takes at least nine months for a cigarette butt to decompose and in many cases it takes years.

Unfortunately, littering is also one of the most common ways smokers dispose of their butts. Some communities have attempted to curb cigarette litter with disposable receptacles and smoke-free policies. But, littering is so common nearly 75 percent of smokers report doing it and studies estimate as much as 65 percent of all cigarette butts are littered.16

According to the WHO,17 tossing a cigarette butt out your car window or on the ground is one of the most acceptable forms of littering. Many are stubbed out on the pavement or dropped into gutters where they’re carried through storm drains to rivers, streams and oceans.

Decreasing smoking rates may contribute to a lack of public awareness, especially in geographical areas more prone to experiencing a reduction in smoking rates. Santa Cruz County Tobacco Education Coalition Cochair, Rachel Kippen, comments:18

“Most of us have used a plastic bag or plastic straw, so we feel a sense of responsibility for how those products are revised, reused or recycled to be more environmentally friendly. However, most of us don’t smoke. In fact, less than 12 percent of California residents smoke. That leaves 88 percent wondering how to make a difference.”

According to Ocean Conservancy, the results of the 2017 International Coastal Cleanup (ICC) reports for the first time, in more than 30 years of the ICC, the top 10 items collected around the world were made of plastic.19

More than 780,000 volunteers in more than 100 countries collected 20.5 million pounds of trash. Cigarette butts topped a list that also included food wrappers, plastic beverage bottles, bottle caps and plastic grocery bags.

Plastics Damaging and Killing Aquatic Life

In a recent study published in the BMJ,20 scientists evaluated the effect cigarette butts are having on aquatic life. They placed fish in water where cigarette butts had been soaked and then removed. After four days, half the fish had died, demonstrating deadly toxins from the butts seep into the environment.21

Small pieces of plastic found in fibers or fragments and microbeads are also making their way into wild-caught and farmed fish alike. Fish appear to be confused by small plastic debris in the ocean and seek it out for food. In one study, scientists found behavioral evidence marine organisms are attracted to the chemical signature in plastic debris.22

Fish that feed by filtering sea water for plankton are ingesting large amounts of plastic, blocking their ability to absorb nutrients and having toxic side effects.23 By examining the bodies of beached whales, scientists have found large pieces of plastic, but the effects of microplastics, though less obvious, may be just as harmful.

According to the United Nations, at least 800 species around the world are affected by marine debris, 80 percent of which is plastic. Not all damage is done from ingestion as sea creatures can also become entangled in plastic debris, causing suffocation, starvation and drowning. A recent study found sea turtles ingesting just 14 pieces of plastic have an increased risk of death.24

Fish in the Pacific Northwest eat up to 24,000 tons of plastic each year, causing intestinal injury and death. The plastic also bioaccumulates up the food chain, often landing on your food plate. In a recent study25 of California fish markets, researchers found 25 percent of fish had plastic microfibers in their gut.

Microplastics Found in Tap Water, Bottled Water and Food Sources

Research commissioned by media outlet Orb revealed alarming data about plastic pollution in tap water, with 83 percent of samples tested worldwide coming back as contaminated. In the U.S., 94 percent of tap water samples were found to contain plastic — the most out of all the locations tested.26

For example, 16 fibers in tap water taken at the visitor’s center in the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C., along with fibers in samples taken from Trump Tower in New York, were part of the findings. Plastic fibers were also found in water taken from Indonesia, India, Ecuador, Uganda, England and Lebanon.

Orb noted six primary sources of “invisible plastics,”27 one of which is synthetic microfibers from clothing, up to 1 million tons of which are released during washing each year. It’s unknown what the environmental effects of microfiber pollution may be, but their irregular shape may make them harder for marine life to excrete than other microplastics such as microbeads.

Researchers at the State University of New York also tested 259 bottles of 11 popular bottled water brands for the presence of microscopic plastic.28 Brands included Aquafina, Nestle Pure Life, Evian, Dasani and San Pelligerino. On average, the bottled water tested contained 325 pieces of microplastic per liter; just over 10 of those pieces were at least 100 microns in size, the rest were smaller.

Much of the research on microplastic pollution focuses on marine environments, but the toxins are also likely accumulating on land. According to research published in Science of the Total Environment,29 “Annual plastic release to land is estimated at four to 23 times that released to oceans.”

The use of sewage sludge, or biosolids, as fertilizer may be particularly problematic, as it is basically made up of whatever’s left over after sewage is treated and processed.

Become Part of the Solution Instead of Part of the Problem

On a global scale, a variety of efforts are underway to curb plastic waste and pollution. From turning plastic waste into liquid fuel to creating synthetic fibers that don’t shed, enterprising entrepreneurs are seeking ways to keep plastics out of the environment. Some manufacturers are also looking to create easily recycled packaging materials.30

You can take a stand on an individual level, making a conscious choice to use less plastic and stop littering. To become part of the solution instead of part of the problem, consider taking the following steps:31

Stop the litter — If you smoke, consider stopping. While it is a difficult addiction to break, it is also a dangerous habit to continue. Don’t throw cigarette butts or any other litter out your car window or on the ground.

Avoid using plastic bags — This includes plastic sandwich bags. Consider purchasing reusable produce bags for produce you purchase at the store or farmers market and insulated reusable grocery bags for your shopping.

Avoid disposable straws — Choose reusable straws made from widely available stainless steel, bamboo and even glass.

Wash synthetic clothes less frequently — When you do wash, use a gentle cycle to reduce the number of fibers released; consider using products to catch laundry fibers in your washing machine.

Choose a nonplastic toothbrush — Alternatives include toothbrushes made from bamboo or flax.

Avoid disposable plastic bottles — Bring your own reusable glass bottle instead, reducing plastic waste and your exposure to plastic pollution.

Washing paint brushes — Capture rinse water in a jar and dispose of it at your local landfill in designated spots for paint (don’t let it go down the drain).

Make your own paint — You can make your own milk paint instead of plastic-based latex and acrylics by “add[ing] lemon juice to skim milk and filter out the curd, adding natural pigment to what is left.”32

Read more: articles.mercola.com

Top 9 Nutrients for Better Brain Health

5 months, 20 days ago

30 Tips in 30 Days Designed to Help You Take Control of Your
Health

This article is included in Dr. Mercola’s All-Time Top 30 Health Tips series. Every day during the month of January, a new tip will be added that will help you take control of your health. Want to see the full list? Click here.

Like autism among children, Alzheimer’s among seniors has reached epidemic proportions, with no slowdown in sight. On the contrary, evidence suggests the trend is worsening. At present, Alzheimer’s affects about 5.4 million Americans and is the third leading cause of death in the U.S.1 The World Health Organization predicts that by 2050, 1 in 6 adults will be living with dementia.

It’s important to realize that dementia is a lifestyle-predicated disease, and there are many strategies that will help prevent this kind of neurodegeneration. In essence, anything that will help optimize your mitochondria will also help prevent Alzheimer’s. You can learn more about these Alzheimer’s prevention strategies in this previous article.

Here, the focus is on specific nutrients shown to play an important role in brain health and cognition, starting with marine-based omega-3, which contains two long-chained fatty acids that are vital for brain health: docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA).

1. Marine-Based Omega-3 Fat: DHA

The influence of marine-based omega-3 fats on physical and mental health has been the subject of intense research for decades, and there’s compelling evidence they can help ameliorate a variety of psychiatric illnesses and degenerative brain disorders, including Alzheimer’s.

In my new book, “Superfuel,” cowritten with James DiNicolantonio, Pharm. D., we expain how DHA is an essential structural component of your brain, and is found in high levels in your neurons, the cells of your central nervous system. When your omega-3 intake is inadequate, your nerve cells become stiff and more prone to inflammation as the missing omega-3 fats are substituted with omega-6 instead.

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Once your nerve cells become rigid and inflamed, proper neurotransmission from cell to cell and within cells become compromised. Low DHA levels have been linked to memory loss and Alzheimer’s disease, and some studies suggest degenerative brain diseases may potentially be reversible with sufficient DHA.

For example, in one study,2 elderly volunteers suffering from memory deficits saw significant improvement after taking 900 milligrams (mg) of DHA per day for 24 weeks, compared to controls. Another study3 found significant improvement in verbal fluency scores after taking 800 mg of DHA per day for four months, compared with placebo. Furthermore, memory and rate of learning were significantly improved when DHA was combined with 12 mg of lutein per day.

I never previously realized this but DHA also stimulates one of the most important transcription factors that regulates cellular oxidation and reduction, and aids in detoxification, the Nrf2 pathway.4 Additionally, it also increases heme oxygenase 15 (a protein produced in response to oxidative stress) and upregulates antioxidant enzymes — all of which are important for brain health.

In addition, DHA is a precursor for the signaling molecule protectin, which is synthesized in response to oxidative stress. (When found in your central nervous system it’s referred to as neuroprotectin, or NPD1.) As explained in a 2011 paper in the journal Nutrients:6

“NPD1 induces nerve regeneration, reduce leukocyte infiltration and maintains homeostasis through ageing by reducing pro-apoptotic and pro-inflammatory signaling. NPDI is induced by oxidative stress and protects retinal and neuronal cells from oxidative stress-induced apoptosis.

Many mechanisms have been implicated, including suppression of the IL-1β induced stimulation of COX. The discovery of NPD1 offers new therapeutic opportunities for a range of neurodegenerative conditions, such as Alzheimer’s disease. It also provides an exciting potential for DHA in helping to delay or minimize the ‘normal’ cognitive decline during ageing.”

2. Marine-Based Omega-3 Fat: EPA

EPA, meanwhile, appears to be particularly beneficial in the treatment of depression,7 as it helps lower levels of tumor necrosis factor alpha, interleukin 1 beta and prostaglandin E2 — three immune chemicals that tend to be elevated in those with depression.

A stumbling block has been to get sufficiently large amounts into your brain. To raise your brain level of EPA, you’d need to consume impractically large amounts of fish oil, for example. One theory is that degradation by pancreatic enzymes renders the EPA incapable of passing the blood-brain-barrier.8

However, recent research9 has discovered something really interesting. By using a lysophospholipid form of EPA (LPC-EPA), they were able to increase the EPA level in the brain of mice 100fold. Even more remarkable, LPC-EPA also doubled the DHA level in the brain, whereas free EPA had no effect on DHA levels. The authors further noted that:

“Only LPC-EPA increased EPA and DHA in retina, and expression of BDNF, CREB and 5-HT1A receptor in the brain. These novel results show that brain EPA can be increased through diet. Because LPC-EPA increased both EPA and DHA in the brain, it may help treat depression as well as neuroinflammatory diseases, such as Alzheimer’s disease.”

Papasani Subbaiah, professor of medicine and biochemistry and molecular genetics in the UIC College of Medicine and corresponding author, told MedicalXpress:10

“It seems that there is a transporter at the blood-brain barrier that EPA must pass through in order to get into the brain, but EPA in fish oil can’t get through, whereas LPC-EPA can. You don’t have to consume all that much LPC- EPA to have significant increases of EPA show up in the brain, so this could be a way to do rigorous studies on the effects of EPA in humans.”

The Importance of Phospholipid-Bound Omega-3

There are a number of drawbacks to fish oil, and the lack of phospholipids is one of them. DHA and EPA are water insoluble and therefore cannot be transported in their free form in your blood. They must be packaged into lipoprotein vehicles such as phospholipids. This is primarily why the bioavailability of krill oil is so much higher than fish oil, because in fish oil, the DHA and EPA are bound to triglycerides.

When you consume fish oil, your liver has to attach it to phosphatidylcholine in order for it to be efficiently utilized by your body and brain. Phospholipids are also one of the principal compounds in high-density lipoproteins (HDL), which you want more of, and by allowing your cells to maintain structural integrity, phospholipids help your cells function optimally.

Importantly, your brain cannot readily absorb DHA unless it’s bound to phosphatidylcholine, and while krill oil contains phosphatidylcholine naturally, fish oil does not. As the name implies, phosphatidylcholine is composed partly of choline, the precursor for the vital neurotransmitter acetylcholine, which sends nerve signals to your brain, and choline itself is crucial for brain development, learning and memory, as you’ll see in the next section.

Recent research11 by Rhonda Patrick, Ph.D., also highlights the value of DHA bound to phospholipids, showing this form may actually reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s disease in those with the apolipoprotein E4 (APOE4) gene, which lowers the typical age of onset of this degenerative brain disorder.

Two hallmarks of Alzheimer’s are amyloid beta plaques and tau tangles, both of which impair normal brain functioning. Alzheimer’s patients also have reduced glucose transport into their brains, and this is one of the reasons why plaque and tangles form and accumulate in the first place. According to Patrick,12 DHA encourages your brain’s uptake of glucose by regulating the structure and function of glucose transporters, proteins located at your blood-brain barrier.

While eating DHA-rich fish has been shown to slow the progression of Alzheimer’s in APOE4 carriers, taking fish oil has not demonstrated the same efficacy. According to Patrick, this variation in response appears to be related to the different ways in which the two forms of DHA are metabolized and ultimately transported into your brain.

When the triglyceride form of DHA is metabolized, most of it turns into nonesterified DHA, while the phospholipid form is metabolized primarily into DHA-lysophosphatidylcholine (DHA-lysoPC). While both of these forms can cross the blood-brain barrier to reach your brain, the phospholipid form does so far more efficiently.

According to Patrick, people with APOE4 have a faulty nonesterified DHA transport system, and this may be why they’re at increased risk for Alzheimer’s. The good news is that DHA-lysoPC can bypass the tight junctions, thereby improving DHA transport, and for those with one or two APOE4 variants, taking the phospholipid form of DHA may therefore lower their risk of Alzheimer’s more effectively.

3. Choline Helps Fight Alzheimer’s Disease

Other recent research13 demonstrates the importance of choline for brain health and prevention of neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s. Choline is a precursor to acetylcholine, a neurotransmitter required for the proper function of your brain and nervous system, playing a role in fetal brain development, memory, muscle control, mood and gene expression. As reported by Science Daily:14

“The study focuses on mice bred to display AD-like symptoms. Results showed that when these mice are given high choline in their diet, their offspring show improvements in spatial memory, compared with those receiving a normal choline regimen in the womb.

Remarkably, the beneficial effects of choline supplementation appear to be transgenerational, not only protecting mice receiving choline supplementation during gestation and lactation, but also the subsequent offspring of these mice. While this second generation received no direct choline supplementation, they nevertheless reaped the benefits of treatment, likely due to inherited modifications in their genes.”

Choline helps protect against Alzheimer’s by:

Reducing your homocysteine level, an amino acid that has been shown to cause neurodegeneration and is involved in the formation of amyloid plaques, two hallmarks of Alzheimer’s. Choline converts homocysteine into methionine, which has a number of beneficial effects.
Inhibiting microglia activation. Microglia cells clear debris from your brain, and while this is a crucial function, in Alzheimer’s the microglia have a tendency to become overactivated, causing inflammation in the brain that can result in the death of neurons. By reducing activation of microglia, choline can help protect Alzheimer’s patients from further brain damage.

4. Phosphatidylserine Boosts Cognitive Function

Phosphatidylserine is another supplement that can help improve cognitive function15 and protect against Alzheimer’s disease.16 Phosphatidylserine is an amino acid derivative that is highly prevalent in neural tissue and plays an important role in the cellular function in your brain.

While your body can synthesize it on its own, you can also get it through food (such as mackerel, cod, egg yolks and organ meats) and/or a phosphatidylserine complex supplement.17 Phosphatidylserine has a unique structure that makes it both hydrophilic, meaning it’s attracted to water and hydrophobic, or repelled by water.

With this structure, phospholipids are able to arrange themselves into a phospholipid bilayer — two parallel layers that form a major component of the human cell membranes. In brain cell membranes, the phospholipid bilayer acts as a “gatekeeper,” regulating the entry beneficial substances, basically nutrients, water and oxygen, while eliminating metabolic waste.18

In one study,19 supplementing with 400 mg of phosphatidylserine increased the speed of calculations done in short-term memory by 20 percent in a group of healthy adults. In another, it improved cognitive function of geriatric patients at a dosage of 300 mg per day for six months.20

Taken with DHA, it’s also been shown to improve behavior and short-term auditory memory in children with ADHD.21 In patients with Alzheimer’s, phosphatidylserine helps inhibit amyloid beta and interferon-gamma-induced microglial activation.22

5. Acetyl-L-Carnitine Protects Against Neurotoxic Insults

Acetyl-L-carnitine (ALCAR) has many beneficial effects on brain metabolism, protects against neurotoxic insults, and has been shown to benefit certain forms of depression. In one study,23 healthy mice given ALCAR for 25 days at a dose of about half a gram per kilo, were found to have increased levels of the neurotransmitters noradrenaline and serotonin. According to the authors, this is “consistent with ALCAR’s potential efficacy for depressive symptoms.”

In another study,24 ALCAR was found to improve the clinical condition of patients with degenerative cerebellar ataxia (a condition resulting in the loss of control of bodily movements). According to the authors, “statistically significant improvement of some symptoms and a slow progression of the disease in both groups of patients” were observed.

6. Vitamin D Protects Against Memory Loss

Activated vitamin D receptors increase nerve growth in your brain, and researchers have also located metabolic pathways for vitamin D in the hippocampus and cerebellum, areas involved in planning, information processing and memory formation.

According to research25 published in the Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery and Psychiatry, low vitamin D is associated with poorer brain function, and increasing levels may help keep older adults mentally fit. Vitamin D has also been shown to improve a number of brain disorders, including dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.26

In one six-year study,27 those with severe vitamin D deficiency were more than twice as likely to develop dementia and Alzheimer’s than those with higher levels. Even those with moderate deficiency had a 53 percent increased risk for all forms of dementia, and 69 percent increased risk for Alzheimer’s specifically. According to the authors, “Our results confirm that vitamin D deficiency is associated with a substantially increased risk of all-cause dementia and Alzheimer disease.”

The findings also suggest there’s a threshold level of circulating vitamin D, below which your risk for dementia increases. This threshold was found to be right around 20 ng/mL (50 nmol/L). Higher levels were associated with good brain health.

I recommend getting your vitamin D level tested twice a year, and taking whatever dosage required to achieve and maintain a vitamin D level between 60 and 80 ng/mL (150 and 200 nmol/L). Ideally, you’d want to raise your level by getting sensible sun exposure, but if you cannot, consider an oral vitamin D3 supplement balanced with magnesium and vitamin K2.

7. Vitamin B12 Deficiency Wreaks Havoc on Cognitive Function

Vitamin B12 is another important player. Research28 shows people with high levels of markers for vitamin B12 deficiency are more likely to score lower on cognitive tests and have a smaller total brain volume, which suggests a lack of B12 may contribute to brain shrinkage.

Mental fogginess and problems with memory are two of the top warning signs that you have vitamin B12 deficiency, and this is indicative of its importance for your brain health.

Finnish researchers have also found that people who consume foods rich in B12 may reduce their risk of Alzheimer’s in their later years.29 For each unit increase in the marker for vitamin B12 (holotranscobalamin) the risk of developing Alzheimer’s was reduced by 2 percent. Another study30 found that supplementing with B vitamins, including B12, helps to slow brain atrophy in elderly people with mild cognitive impairment.

Vitamin B12 deficiency is widespread and many have trouble absorbing this nutrient properly from food sources. Blood tests for vitamin B12 are not always a reliable indicator of B12 status, so watching for symptoms of deficiency and increasing your dietary and supplemental intake is a practical alternative to blood testing.

B12 is available in its natural form only in animal food sources such as seafood, beef, chicken, pork, milk and eggs. If you rarely or never consume these animal products, you’re at particularly high risk of B12 deficiency.

The good news is vitamin B12 supplementation is completely nontoxic and inexpensive, especially when compared to the cost of laboratory testing. I recommend an under-the-tongue fine mist spray, as this technology helps you absorb the vitamin into the fine capillaries under your tongue.

8. MCT Oil Boosts Brain Performance

One of the primary fuels your brain needs is glucose, which is converted into energy. Your brain actually manufactures its own insulin to convert glucose in your bloodstream into the food it needs to survive.

If your brain’s production of insulin decreases, your brain literally begins to starve, as it’s deprived of the glucose-converted energy it needs to function normally. This is what happens to Alzheimer’s patients — portions of their brain start to atrophy, or starve, leading to impaired functioning and eventual loss of memory, speech, movement and personality.

In effect, your brain can begin to atrophy from starvation if it becomes insulin resistant and loses its ability to convert glucose into energy. Fortunately, your brain is able to run on more than one type of energy supply. It can run on both glucose and ketones, and ketones are actually better.

Ketones are what your body produces when it converts fat as opposed to glucose) into energy, and a primary source of ketone bodies are medium chain triglycerides (MCT). While coconut oil is one healthy option, MCT oil is a more concentrated source of ketones, so it tends to be more appropriate for clinical uses.

Most commercial brands of MCT oil contain a 50/50 combination of C8 and C10 fats (the “C number” stands for the carbon length of the MCT). My personal preference is straight C8 (caprylic acid), as it converts to ketones far more rapidly than do C10 fats, and will give you higher levels of ketones.

You can learn more about MCTs and the differences between them in my previous article, “The Many Health Benefits of MCT Oil.” Ketones appear to be the preferred source of energy for the brain in people affected by diabetes, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and maybe even ALS, because in these diseases, certain neurons have become insulin resistant or have lost the ability to efficiently utilize glucose. As a result, neurons slowly die off.

The introduction of ketones may rescue these neurons and they may still be able to survive and thrive. In multiple studies, ketones have been shown to be both neurotherapeutic and neuroprotective. They also appear to lower markers of systemic inflammation. As noted by Mental Health Daily:31

“In small scale human trials,32 MCT supplementation boosted cognition in individuals with cognitive impairment and mild forms of Alzheimer’s disease after just a single dose. While not everyone improved from the MCT treatment, those with certain genetics experienced notable improvement.”

9. Probiotics Feed Your Second Brain

As your “second brain,” the state of your gut also plays an important role in your neurological and psychological health. Probiotics have been shown to reduce symptoms of depression and decrease pathological hallmarks of Alzheimer’s, including amyloid plaques and tangles. In one study,33 the probiotic strain L. plantarumMTCC1325 was identified as having these “anti-Alzheimer’s properties.”

In another study,34 published in Frontiers in Aging Neuroscience, 60 elderly patients diagnosed with Alzheimer’s received either a placebo or a probiotic milk products containing Lactobacillus acidophilus, Lactobacillus casei, Bifidobacterium bifidum and Lactobacillus fermentum for 12 weeks.

At the beginning and end of the study, participants underwent a standardized cognitive assessment and a highly sensitive c-reactive protein test, which is a powerful marker of inflammation. As reported by neurologist Dr. David Perlmutter:35

“The results of the study were stunning. The placebo group showed an increase in hs-CRP, the inflammation marker, by an impressive 45 percent. In the group taking the probiotic, on the other hand, hs-CRP didn’t just stay the same, but actually declined by 18 percent, indicating a dramatic reduction in inflammation.

But here’s the truly exciting news. Over the 12 weeks, the patients in the placebo continued to decline mentally, as you might expect. Their MMSE score dropped from 8.47 to 8.00, a substantial reduction.

But the group on the inflammation reducing probiotics actually demonstrated, not a decline in brain function, but an actual improvement, with their MMSE scores going from 8.67 up to 10.57, and that’s a huge improvement. Again, not only was their mental decline stopped in its tracks, these individuals regained brain function!

The message here is that inflammation is directly determined by the health and diversity of our gut bacteria, and this has major implications in terms of brain health, function and disease resistance.”

Tip #23Avoid Constipation

Read more: articles.mercola.com

Dandelion Tea Helps Improve Your Liver Function, Digestion and More

5 months, 23 days ago

Table of Contents

What Is Dandelion Tea?
9 Health Benefits of Dandelion Tea
Caffeine Content of Roasted Dandelion Root Tea
How to Make a Cup of Fresh Dandelion Tea
Dandelion Tea Recipes
How You Can Store Dandelion Tea
Side Effects of Dandelion Tea
Make Sure That Your Dandelion Tea Comes From Safe and Organic Sources
Dandelion Tea FAQs

Some people think that dandelion is nothing but a pesky weed that can ruin a perfectly groomed garden, while others consider it one of the most useful gifts from nature. While it’s true that dandelion may not always grow in the desired location, this resilient plant actually has plenty of health benefits to offer.

In fact, the earliest mention of dandelion as a medicinal herb dates back to the 10th and 11th centuries in the Middle East.1 It was also used in traditional Chinese medicine to ease liver problems and other health issues.2 From its roots to the flowers, almost all parts of the humble dandelion can be used to make tea, soups, coffee and other concoctions that can give your health a boost.

What Is Dandelion Tea?

Dandelion tea is an herbal tea that’s made from the roots and leaves of dandelion.3 Some people also use its blossoms to make a tea that’s more delicate in flavor.4 Aside from the difference in flavor profile, the nutritional and medicinal value of dandelion tea may also differ depending on the parts that were used to make it.

Dandelion leaf tea is often consumed for its diuretic properties, while tea made from dandelion roots is known for its ability to help stimulate the appetite and relieve liver and gallbladder problems. The flowers and stems of dandelion may also be added into the tea mixture for additional nutrients.5

The flavors and nutritional profile of dandelion tea also depend on the season when the roots or leaves are harvested. Dandelion leaves are usually picked during the spring,6 while the roots are often harvested in autumn or winter, since they’re believed to be sweeter during these seasons.7

Since dandelions are widely available and are extremely simple to grow, you can easily harvest them to make a tea of your own from fresh ingredients. You may also opt to buy tea bags made from dried organic dandelion roots or leaves. Whichever part of dandelion you choose to brew, rest assured that you’ll get plenty of nutrients from a cup of this herbal drink.

9 Remarkable Health Benefits of Dandelion Tea

With all the publicity that dandelion tea has been getting lately, one of the questions that has probably crossed your mind is, “What exactly is dandelion tea good for?” To answer that question, check out the long list of benefits that you can get from dandelion root or leaf tea:

1. Helps soothe digestive problems — Dandelion tea has been used for centuries to help relieve minor digestive problems, such as heartburn and indigestion. It may also help relieve constipation, since it stimulates bowel movement with its diuretic properties.8

2. Helps maintain proper liver function — Dandelion tea is considered a “liver tonic,” since it helps detoxify the liver and improve the flow of bile.9 A recent study also shows that the water-soluble polysaccharides from dandelion root may help protect the liver from hepatic injury.10

3. Helps reduce water retention — Drinking dandelion tea may help reduce bloating, as it can flush out excessive water weight from your body by increasing your urine output. A study conducted in 2009 showed that the first two cups of dandelion tea can cause a significant increase in the frequency of urination within a period of five hours.11

4. Helps improve kidney and gallbladder function — Dandelion tea may help improve the health of your kidneys and reduce your risk of developing gallstones by flushing out toxins, salt and excess water through increased urine production.12

5. Aids in the management of diabetes — Researchers suggest that dandelion root may help normalize blood sugar levels and reduce bad cholesterol, so drinking tea made from its extracts may be beneficial for diabetics.13

6. Helps improve heart health — Dandelion leaves are a great source of potassium, so drinking its extract may provide your body with traces of this essential mineral, which is important for your heart health, as it helps regulate heart rate and blood pressure levels.

7. Helps reduce the risk of cancer — At least one study shows that dandelion root extract may help induce apoptosis in cancer cells without affecting the noncancerous cells in your body.14

8. Helps relieve inflammation — Dandelion tea provides anti-inflammatory properties, which may help alleviate swelling and other health issues related to inflammation.15

9. Helps reduce your risk for obesity — A study published in the Journal of Nutrition Research and Practice found that dandelion may aid weight loss by inhibiting the activity of pancreatic lipase.16

In addition to the benefits mentioned above, drinking roasted dandelion root tea may be beneficial for coffee lovers who are trying to cut down their caffeine intake, as it tastes relatively similar to coffee.17

Caffeine Content of Roasted Dandelion Root Tea

As mentioned above, roasted dandelion root tea is an excellent natural coffee substitute, hence why it’s often called “dandelion coffee.” But the question is, does it have any caffeine content?

While it tastes and looks relatively similar to real coffee, roasted dandelion root tea does not contain caffeine, which is why it’s great for those who are sensitive to this compound.18,19 However, like coffee, it can also provide plenty of antioxidants, plus other valuable vitamins and minerals.

How to Make a Cup of Fresh Dandelion Tea

Looking for an inexpensive substitute to store-bought dandelion root tea bags? Look no further than the dandelions in your organic garden. You can put these plants to good use by making your own cup of tea. Here’s how you can make dandelion tea using its fresh leaves, according to a recipe from Mama’s Homestead:20

Ingredients

Six dandelion leaves
Water

Optional

Slice of lemon or orange
Raw honey, to sweeten

Procedure

Collect around six pieces of young and tender dandelion leaves. Wash them thoroughly under running water, then pat them dry with a paper towel.
Cut the leaves into small pieces then put them in a cup.
Pour boiling water and steep for five to 10 minutes.

You may opt to drink your dandelion tea as is or serve it with a slice of lemon or orange. You may also sweeten it with honey, but make sure that you only add in a small amount to avoid overloading your body with fructose.

Hearty and Comforting Dandelion Tea Recipe That You Should Try

Aside from making a simple cup of dandelion tea, there are other ways to enjoy this herbal drink. Here’s a delicious and comforting chai recipe from The Kitchn that you will surely enjoy sipping on:21

Dandelion and Chicory Chai

Ingredients

1/2 cup filtered water
1 teaspoon coarsely ground roasted dandelion root tea
1 teaspoon coarsely ground chicory root
2 black peppercorns, cracked
2 green cardamom pods, cracked
1 whole clove
1 inch cinnamon stick, broken into pieces
1/2 cup raw, unpasteurized milk
1 tablespoon honey

Procedure

Combine the water, dandelion root, chicory root, peppercorns, cardamom, ginger, clove and cinnamon in a saucepan. Cover and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low, and then simmer for five minutes.
Add the milk and honey, then increase the heat to medium and bring to a boil. Keep the saucepan uncovered.
Remove the mixture from the heat and strain it into a cup. Discard the solid particles, and serve the drink immediately.

The recipe above is not only rich in flavors, but filled with nutrients too. It takes only a few minutes to make, and is great for a single serving. You can easily double the ingredients if you want to make more for your family or friends.

Here’s How You Can Store Dandelion Tea for Later Use

You don’t need to brew your dandelion root or leaf tea all at once after harvest, because you can actually preserve and store these ingredients for a long time, as long as you dry them first.

When drying dandelion roots, make sure that you wash each root thoroughly before chopping them into small pieces. You may use a dehydrator to dry the chopped roots, or you may simply place them outside under the hot sun until they’re all dried out. Once dry, put the roots in an airtight glass jar and store in a dry place, out of direct sunlight.22,23

Preserving dandelion leaves is easier. You just need to wash the leaves thoroughly and pat them dry with a paper towel. Spread the clean leaves on a tray, and then leave them in a warm room or air cupboard to dry. Be sure to turn the leaves occasionally. After they’re all dried up, store them in an airtight glass jar out of direct sunlight.24

Common Side Effects of Dandelion Tea

Dandelion leaf or root tea is considered generally safe to consume. However, it may cause allergic reactions like itching, rashes and runny nose in people who are allergic to ragweed and other related plants, including chamomile, chrysanthemums and marigold.

If you’re taking medications or supplements, make sure that you consult your doctor before drinking dandelion tea, as it may interact with several drugs. This herbal drink is also not recommended for people with kidney problems and gallbladder disorders.25

Make Sure That Your Dandelion Tea Comes From Safe and Organic Sources

Making homemade dandelion tea may be fun and inexpensive, but you have to keep in mind that not all dandelions you see on the ground are beneficial for your health. This hardy weed pops up almost anywhere — from your well-kept backyard to the dirty street gutter.

If you’re planning to harvest it for consumption, make sure that you use plants grown in a clean area that’s free of pesticides, herbicides and other harmful pollutants. As much as possible, avoid those that grow near the roadway, and refrain from brewing the neighborhood dandelions unless you’re absolutely sure that chemicals weren’t sprayed on them.26

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) About Dandelion Tea

Q: Is dandelion tea safe?

A: Yes, dandelion tea is generally considered safe for most people, as long as it’s consumed in moderate amounts. It’s important to note that dandelion tea may trigger an allergic reaction in people who are sensitive to dandelion and other related plants. To ensure your safety, consult your physician before drinking this herbal tea.27

Q: How do you drink dandelion tea?

A: Dandelion tea is best enjoyed when it’s freshly brewed. You can serve it hot or cold. You may also mix it with other healthy ingredients, such as lemon, cinnamon and honey, for additional flavors and nutrients.28

Q: What does dandelion tea do for the body?

A: Dandelion tea has long been used to help soothe digestive ailments, such as poor appetite, constipation, upset stomach and indigestion. Its diuretic properties also make it useful for reducing water weight and flushing out toxins, salt and excess water from the kidney. Plus, it helps detoxify the liver by increasing the flow of bile.29,30,31

Studies have also shown that dandelion tea may help fight certain types of cancer by killing the cancer cells without affecting the noncancerous ones.32 It may also help regulate blood sugar levels,33 relieve inflammation,34 improve heart health and maintain normal blood pressure levels.35

Q: How do you use dandelion root tea?

A: You can drink dandelion root tea as is or mix it with other herbal preparations to enhance its nutritional value. Roasted dandelion root tea may also be used as a natural substitute for coffee, since they both have the same color and antioxidant properties. The only difference is that dandelion root tea does not contain caffeine.36,37

Q: How often can you drink dandelion tea?

A: You can drink up to three cups of dandelion tea per day.38

Q: Where can you buy dandelion tea?

A: Dandelion tea bags are widely available in groceries and health stores. Store-bought dandelion tea may be a little pricey, though. If you’re looking for an inexpensive alternative, you can make your own homemade dandelion tea using dandelion greens and roots that come from safe and organic sources.


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Top Tips to Avoid Pharmaceutical Injury

5 months, 23 days ago

30 Tips in 30 Days Designed to Help You Take Control of Your
Health

This article is included in Dr. Mercola’s All-Time Top 30 Health Tips series. Every day during the month of January, a new tip will be added that will help you take control of your health. Want to see the full list? Click here.

Vaccines have quickly become Big Pharma’s most lucrative profit center. Currently valued at more than $34 billion a year, the vaccine industry is projected to exceed $49 billion by 2022.1 There are several reasons for this rapid growth. Not only are vaccines priced much higher than pills, but governments and nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) are also engaged in the marketing of vaccines.

These unethical partnerships, which use both taxpayer and NGO money, advance misleading research intended to frighten the public. Worse, they discredit vaccine critics who raise legitimate safety and efficacy questions and even discredit the families and victims of vaccine injuries themselves.

To cash in on vaccine profits, Big Pharma, governments and NGOs have cast all vaccines as “life-saving.” One of the clearest examples is the attempt to present the HPV vaccine as an “anticancer” vaccine, even though there’s not a single shred of evidence that it actually has an impact on cervical cancer rates. Meanwhile, mounting evidence of serious harm and death caused by the HPV vaccine is being ignored or cast aside as “coincidental.”

To Avoid Vaccine Injury, Educate Yourself About the Risks

The official stance repeated by most mainstream media is that vaccines have been thoroughly researched, that “hundreds” of studies have proven their safety, and that no link between vaccines and health problems, such as autism, have ever been found.

It sounds definitive enough, and is often repeated as established fact. Yet it’s far from the whole truth. Importantly, the vaccine industry has long shied away from evaluating vaccinated versus unvaccinated populations to determine potential differences in general health outcomes.

The few independent scientists who have attempted such an investigation have little comfort to give to those who believe vaccines are essential for health, and mandatory use of vaccines by all children is the only way to protect society from disease.

Vaccine May Actually Be Doing More Harm Than Good

One such study,2 published in 2017, examined health outcomes among infants 3 to 5 months old following the introduction of diphtheria-tetanus-pertussis (DTP) and oral polio vaccine in Guinea-Bissau, which took place in the early 1980s. This population offered the rare opportunity to compare vaccinated and unvaccinated children due to the way the vaccines were rolled out in the West African country.

Shockingly, researchers discovered “DTP was associated with fivefold higher mortality than being unvaccinated.” According to the authors, “All currently available evidence suggests that DTP vaccine may kill more children from other causes than it saves from diphtheria, tetanus or pertussis.”

In short, the researchers concluded that DTP vaccine weakened the children’s immune systems, rendering them vulnerable to a whole host of other often deadly diseases and serious health problems.

In the U.S., the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) now recommends that children receive 69 doses of 16 vaccines by the time they’re 18 years old, with 50 doses of 14 vaccines given before the age of 6.3

This, despite the fact that no thorough investigation has ever been conducted to determine how all of these vaccines actually affect a child’s health. What’s worse, no one is tracking the health outcomes of children who adhere to the federally recommended childhood vaccine schedule and state mandatory vaccination programs.

Lawyers with the U.S. Justice Department also defend vaccines in the federal vaccine injury compensation program (VICP), commonly referred to as “vaccine court,” which means the U.S. government has a stake in maintaining the illusion that vaccines are a necessary lifesaving measure that causes minimal harm.

High Vaccination Rate Does Not Translate Into Better Infant Health

What we do know is that:

• The U.S. has the highest vaccination rate in the world, with 94 to 96 percent of children entering kindergarten having received multiple doses of vaccines4

• The U.S. also has one of the highest infant and maternal mortality rates of any developed nation5,6

• 1 in 6 American children has a developmental disability, which includes ADD, ADHD, autism, hearing loss, learning disabilities, mental disabilities, seizures and stammering — many of which are also listed or known side effects of vaccines

• 54 percent of children have a diagnosed chronic illness, including anxiety, asthma, behavioral problems, bone and muscle disorders, chronic ear infections, depression, diabetes, food and/or environmental allergies and epilepsy.

This list again mirrors many of the acknowledged side effects of vaccines, and the rise in prevalence of these diseases parallel the rise in required vaccines, yet vaccine promoters insist that these illnesses are in no way associated with vaccinations

Common Vaccine Side Effects

Both the U.S. Congress and the Supreme Court have also admitted that government licensed and recommended childhood vaccines are “unavoidably unsafe,”7 and possible side effects that are actually listed on vaccine inserts include:

Autoimmune diseases

Food allergies

Asthma

Eczema

Type 1 diabetes

Rheumatoid arthritis

Tics

Tourette syndrome

ADD/ADHD

Autism

Speech delay

Neurodevelopment disorders

Sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS)

Seizure disorder

Narcolepsy

Vaccines also have the highest number of recalls of any drug, which speaks to their “unavoidably unsafe” nature. Victims have also received compensation from the federal vaccine injury compensation program (VICP) for the following (and other) injuries:

Guillain-Barre syndrome

Transverse myelitis

Encephalopathy

Seizure disorder hypoxic seizure

Death

Brachial neuritis

Acute disseminated encephalomyelitis

Chronic inflammatory demyelinating polyradiculoneuropathy (CIDP)

Premature ovarian failure

Bell’s palsy

Type 1 diabetes

Idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura

Rheumatic arthritis

Multiple sclerosis

Fibromyalgia

Anaphylaxis

Ocular myasthenia gravis

Infantile spasms

The Vaccines-Autism Link Revived

According to the latest survey,8,9 1 in 40 American children between the ages of 3 and 17 is now on the autism spectrum. This shocking update was published in the journal Pediatrics in December 2018. In 2014, the rate was 1 in 59; in 2010, it was 1 in 68; in 2000, it was 1 in 150.10 To say we’re looking at exponential growth would be an understatement. But do vaccines have anything to do with this trend?

According to a Full Measure report11 by award-winning investigative reporter and former CBS correspondent Sharyl Attkisson, Dr. Andrew Zimmerman, a pediatric neurologist, was the pro-vaccine expert witness the government used to debunk and turn down autism claims in vaccine court.

“Zimmerman was the government’s top expert witness and had testified that vaccines didn’t cause autism. The debate was declared over,” Attkisson reports. “But now Dr. Zimmerman has provided remarkable new information.

He claims that during the vaccine hearings all those years ago, he privately told government lawyers that vaccines can, and did cause autism in some children. That turnabout from the government’s own chief medical expert stood to change everything about the vaccine-autism debate. If the public were to find out …

And he has come forward and explained how he told the United States government vaccines can cause autism in a certain subset of children and [the] United States government, the Department of Justice [DOJ], suppressed his true opinions.”

Robert F. Kennedy Jr., chairman of The World Mercury Project, was the one who convinced Zimmerman to speak out about the cover-up. In a sworn affidavit, dated September 7, 2018, Zimmerman states that, in 2007, he told DOJ lawyers he had “discovered exceptions in which vaccinations could cause autism.”

“I explained that in a subset of children … vaccine-induced fever and immune stimulation … did cause regressive [brain disease] with features of autism spectrum disorder,” Zimmerman writes.

A week after this 2007 meeting, the DOJ fired him, saying his services would no longer be needed. According to Zimmerman, the DOJ then went on to misrepresent his opinion in future cases, making no mention of the exceptions he’d informed them of. Kennedy has now filed a fraud complaint with the DOJ Inspector General.

William Thompson, Ph.D., a senior scientist at the CDC’s National Center for Immunizations and Respiratory Diseases, has also confessed to covering up links found between vaccines and autism, in this case the measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine.

According to Thompson, this scientific fraud was committed for the express purpose of covering up potential safety problems so the agency would be able to maintain that the MMR vaccine had been proven safe to give to all children. By eliminating the incriminating data, the link vanished, and this research has been cited as proof ever since that vaccines don’t cause autism.

Attkisson’s report also reveals how Congressmen who wanted to investigate the autism-vaccine link were bullied, harassed and threatened. Dan Burton (R-IN), Dr. Dave Weldon (R-FL) and Bill Posey (R-FL) are among 11 current and former members of Congress and staff who told Attkisson they were warned to drop the vaccine safety issue by PhRMA lobbyists.

Vaccines Can Have Serious Consequences for Adults Too

While children are more susceptible to vaccine damage than adults, grownups can and have been seriously injured and killed by routine vaccinations as well. It’s important to realize that no vaccine is 100 percent safe for everyone. As reported by CNN, an oncologist with London’s Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust recently died following a routine yellow fever vaccination:12

“Martin Gore, 67, died Thursday morning after receiving the vaccine, which is recommended to travelers visiting sub-Saharan Africa, most of South America, and parts of Central American and the Caribbean …

Gore’s death casts light on the heightened risk associated with the yellow fever vaccine and the over-60 demographic. Typical side effects of the vaccine include headaches, muscle pain, mild fever and soreness at the injection site …

However, the vaccinations can, in rare circumstances, cause more severe side effects, including allergic reactions and problems affecting the brain or organs …

The WHO reported that all cases of viscerotropic disease — a rare but dangerous side effect of yellow fever vaccinations where an illness similar to wild-type yellow fever proliferates in multiple organs — have occurred in primary vaccines, starting two to five days after vaccination.”

Might Vaccine Reaction Rate Be as High as 1 in 10?

In the video above, Del Bigtree,13 an Emmy Award-winning producer of “The Doctors” talk show for six years, and one of the producers of the documentary, “Vaxxed,” discusses vaccine safety, or rather the lack thereof.

In it, he recounts how, in 2010, the CDC hired a company to automate the federal vaccine adverse event reporting system (VAERS) in such a way that any potential vaccine reactions reported to doctors participating in the Harvard Pilgrim HMO would automatically be uploaded into the VAERS database.

Remarkably, preliminary data showed that out of 376,452 individuals given 45 different vaccines, 35,570 possible vaccine reactions were identified. This means nearly 1 in 10 people suffered a reaction after vaccination concerning enough to be reported, yet the official CDC mantra is that the risk for serious vaccine injury or death is 1 in 1 million.

Unfortunately, while the creation of VAERS in 1986 was an opportunity to get a firmer grasp of the number of potential vaccine reactions, injuries and deaths occurring after vaccinations given in the U.S., the CDC didn’t follow through, and the project fell by the wayside.

Medical Errors Are the Third Leading Cause of Death in the US

While I’ve focused a lot of attention on vaccines and the necessity for educating yourself about their risks in this article, vaccines are by far not the only hazard presented by the medical industry. In fact, medical errors in general are the third leading cause of death, killing an estimated 250,000 Americans each year,14,15 an increase of about 25,000 people annually from data published in 2000.16

Side effects from drugs, taken as prescribed, account for the vast majority of iatrogenic deaths, but unnecessary surgeries, medication errors in hospitals, hospital-acquired infections and other medical errors occurring in hospitals also claim their fair share of lives.

Research17 published in 2013 estimated that preventable hospital errors kill 210,000 Americans each year — a figure that comes very close to the latest statistics. However, when deaths related to diagnostic errors, errors of omission, and failure to follow guidelines were included, the number skyrocketed to 440,000 preventable hospital deaths each year.

10 Tips to Avoid Medical Harm

How can you avoid becoming one of these statistics? Aside from educating yourself on the risks and benefits of vaccines, here are several additional suggestions:

Ask your doctor whether a recommended test and/or treatment is really necessary, and do your own homework — According to a report by the Institute of Medicine, an estimated 30 percent of all medical procedures, tests and medications may be unnecessary,18 any one of which can put you at risk for a potentially serious or lethal side effect.

An investigation19 by the Mayo Clinic published in 2013 also revealed between 40 and 78 percent of the medical testing, treatments and procedures you receive are of no benefit to you — or are actually harmful — as determined by clinical studies. To learn which tests and interventions may do more harm than good, browse through the Choosing Wisely website.20

Avoid hospitals unless absolutely necessary — According to 2011 statistics, 1 in 25 patients in the U.S. end up contracting some form of infection while in the hospital,21 and 205 Americans die from hospital-acquired infections each and every day.22

Do your due diligence before undergoing endoscopy — If you’re having a colonoscopy or any other procedure using a flexible endoscope done, you can significantly reduce your risk of contracting an infection by asking the hospital or facility how the scope is cleaned, and which cleaning agent is used.

Some esophagoscopes and bronchoscopes have sterile sheaths with disposable air-water and biopsy channels, but many others do not, and must be cleaned between each use. If the hospital or clinic uses glutaraldehyde, or the brand name Cidex, cancel your appointment and go elsewhere.

About 80 percent of clinics use glutaraldehyde because it’s a less expensive alternative; however, it does not do a good job of sterilizing the equipment. If they use peracetic acid, your likelihood of contracting an infection from a previous patient is slim.

To learn more about this, see my interview with David Lewis, Ph.D., in “How Improper Sterilization of Endoscopes Could Put Your Health at Risk.”

Enlist a health care advocate — Once hospitalized, you’re at risk for medical errors, so one of the best safeguards is to have someone there have someone there with you. It’s important to have a personal advocate present to ask questions and take notes.

For every medication given in the hospital, ask questions such as: “What is this medication? What is it for? What’s the dose?” Most people, doctors and nurses included, are more apt to go through that extra step of due diligence to make sure they’re getting it right if they know they’ll be questioned about it.

To learn more, listen to my interview with Dr. Andrew Saul in “What Hospitals Won’t Tell You — Vital Strategies That Could Save Your Life,” or pick up a copy of his book, “Hospitals and Health: Your Orthomolecular Guide to a Shorter Hospital Stay.”

In it, he discusses the dangers of hospital stays, the type of patient that tends to get killed most frequently, and how you can protect your health and life in the event you have to be hospitalized. For example, reminding nurses and doctors to wash their hands and change gloves before touching you can go a long way toward avoiding contamination with potentially lethal microbes.

Do your own prep for surgery — If you or someone you know is scheduled for surgery, print out the WHO surgical safety checklist and implementation manual,23 which is part of the campaign “Safe Surgery Saves Lives.” The checklist can be downloaded free of charge here. Print it out and bring it with you, as this can help you protect yourself, your family member or friend from preventable errors in care.

Know the most effective protocol for sepsis — Sepsis is a progressive disease process initiated by an aggressive, dysfunctional immune response to an infection in the bloodstream, which is why it’s sometimes referred to as blood poisoning. Each year, an estimated 1 million Americans get sepsis24,25 and up to half of them die as a result.26,27,28

Symptoms of sepsis are often overlooked, even by health professionals, and without prompt treatment, the condition can be deadly.

Unfortunately, conventional treatments often fail, and most hospitals have yet to embrace the use of intravenous (IV) vitamin C, hydrocortisone and thiamine,29 a treatment developed by Dr. Paul Marik, which has been shown to reduce sepsis mortality from 40 to a mere 8.5 percent.30,31 Common signs and symptoms of sepsis to watch out for include:32

A high fever
Inability to keep fluids down
Rapid heartbeat; rapid, shallow breathing and/or shortness of breath
Lethargy and/or confusion
Slurred speech, often resembling intoxication

Should a few or all of these be present, seek immediate medical attention to rule out sepsis. Also inform the medical staff that you suspect sepsis, as time is of the essence when it comes to treatment, and urge them to use Marik’s protocol (currently the standard of care for sepsis at Sentara Norfolk General Hospital, where Marik works). You can learn more about this protocol by following the hyperlink provided above.

Optimize your vitamin D instead of getting the flu vaccine — Research33,34 shows vitamin D optimization is a more effective flu prevention strategy than flu vaccination, reducing respiratory infections such as influenza by 50 percent in those with vitamin D blood levels below 10 ng/mL. People with higher vitamin D levels at baseline may reduce their risk by about 10 percent, which the researchers stated was about equal to the effect of flu vaccines.

Aside from vitamin D, loading up on vitamins B1 and C may go a long way toward keeping you healthy through the flu season and beyond. Influenza has also been successfully treated with high-dose vitamin C.35 Taking zinc lozenges at the first sign of a cold or flu can also be helpful.

Avoid antibiotics — Drugs are vastly overprescribed and misused, and this is particularly true for antibiotics. Avoid using them unless absolutely necessary, and remember they don’t work for viral infections. Unnecessary use of antibiotics is one of the driving causes of antibiotic-resistant superbugs.

Turn a deaf ear to drug ads — While drug makers are required to inform consumers about potential side effects in their ads, they’ve perfected drug ad narration to make them less frightful.36

Avoid drugs, unless absolutely necessary — As mentioned, drugs — taken as prescribed — account for a majority of the 250,000 people who die from medical mistakes in the U.S. each year. A great many, if not most, diseases can be effectively addressed using simple lifestyle changes.

Key factors include diet, exercise and nonexercise movement, sleep and stress reduction. To investigate your options, you can search my database of tens of thousands of articles simply by entering your condition in the search engine.

Among the most lethal drugs right now are the opioids, which need to be used with extreme care and only in the short term. For treatment options, see “Treating Pain Without Drugs,” and “Study Reveals Previously Unknown Mechanism Behind Acupuncture’s Ability to Reduce Pain,” which also provides a long list of other drug-free pain relief strategies.

Tip #21Make Magnesium a Priority

Read more: articles.mercola.com

Glutathione: The ‘Master Antioxidant’ That Your Body Needs

6 months, 8 days ago

Table of Contents

What Is Glutathione?
Foods to Eat – Optimize Glutathione Levels
Top 12 Benefits of Glutathione
Glutathione Deficiency Linked to Health Problems
Glutathione Supplement Side Effects
Healthy Lifestyle to Maintain Healthy Glutathione Levels
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Glutathione is a powerful antioxidant that is naturally produced by the body. It’s one of the most talked about supplements nowadays, as it provides a long list of benefits — from helping prevent oxidative damage to improving skin health and protecting the immune system.1 It’s also found in, and used by, every cell and tissue in the body, making it a vital molecule for a number of physiological processes.2

However, there’s a variety of factors that may deplete your body’s glutathione levels over time, resulting in a number of health issues, including a weakened immune system, cell mutations and higher susceptibility to cancer.3 Read on to find out more about the importance of this natural antioxidant and the ways to maintain normal levels of it in your body.

What Is Glutathione?

Glutathione is a small tripeptide molecule that’s made up of three amino acids: glutamate (aka glutamic acid), cysteine and glycine. It’s often labeled as the “master antioxidant” or “mother of all antioxidants,” as it helps recycle and maximize the function of other antioxidants, such as vitamin C, vitamin E, coenzyme Q10 and alpha-lipoic acid.4,5

There are two forms of glutathione: the reduced glutathione (GSH), which is also called L-glutathione,6 and the oxidized glutathione (GSSG). When the GSH molecules exert their antioxidant effects on the reactive oxygen species, they oxidize and turn into GSSG.7,8

The commercial glutathione products available today contain reduced glutathione, since this is the active form. This is why the term “L-glutathione” is sometimes interchanged with glutathione.9,10

According to a study published in the Journal of Integrative Medicine, the ratio of GSH to GSSG determines the cellular redox status. A ratio of 1-to-10 means that the cells are exposed to oxidant stress.11 The glutathione system is also composed of two groups of enzymes: glutathione peroxidase (GPx) and glutathione S-transferases (GSTs) — both of which mediate its antioxidative effects.12,13,14

Even though glutathione is naturally synthesized in your cells, your body’s levels of it may still decrease, especially as you age; glutathione also does not act alone in your body — it needs coenzymes to perform its various enzymatic roles.15

Your glutathione levels may also be affected by certain diseases, such as cancer, acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS), Type 2 diabetes, hepatitis and Parkinson’s disease.16 Other external factors that may deplete this essential substance include:17,18

Poor diet
Pollution
Toxins
Medications
Stress
Trauma
UV radiation

Some people turn to oral glutathione supplements in capsule or liquid form to optimize their glutathione levels. One type of glutathione supplement that’s said to be formulated for optimum absorption is the liposomal glutathione.19,20

Keep in mind, though, that oral supplementation is expensive and may not be effective, since glutathione is broken down in the intestines, thereby preventing it from entering the cells intact.21,22,23 Glutathione is also given intravenously, intramuscularly, topically or as an inhalant.24

One of the best ways to increase your glutathione levels is by eating foods that help boost its production in your body, particularly those that contain high amounts of sulfur, like high-quality whey powder.25

Foods to Eat if You Want to Optimize Your Glutathione Levels

Glutathione naturally occurs in some foods, including raw asparagus, almonds, spinach, broccoli, walnuts, garlic, tomatoes, cucumber, watercress and chives. However, it may not be well-absorbed from these dietary sources. Cooking, storage and farming methods may also reduce the amount of glutathione in foods.26,27,28,29

Fortunately, you don’t have to eat glutathione-rich foods just to obtain this antioxidant naturally, since you can also maximize your body’s ability to synthesize it by eating foods that are rich in its precursors, including:30,31

• Whey protein powder — Whey protein provides the amino acids that your body needs to produce glutathione.32 Plus, it contains a unique cysteine residue known as glutamylcysteine, which is highly bioactive in its affinity for converting to glutathione.33

When buying whey protein powder, make sure that you choose a cold-pressed product that’s derived from grass fed cows to guarantee that it’s free from harmful chemicals, hormones and sugar.

• Allium and cruciferous vegetables — Allium vegetables, like garlic, onions, leeks and chives, as well as cruciferous vegetables, such as broccoli, cauliflower, kale, cabbage and Brussels sprouts, have high amounts of sulfur-containing amino acids that are essential for glutathione production.34,35

• Grass fed meat and pastured eggs — Grass fed meat and pastured eggs are also excellent sources of sulfur-containing amino acids.36

Selenium also plays a role in the formation of glutathione,37 so consuming foods that are rich in this nutrient may help improve your body’s glutathione levels. Some dietary sources of selenium include wild-caught seafood and organ meat.38 Foods that contain alpha-lipoic acid (ALA) may also promote the production of glutathione in the body. These include organ meats, spinach, broccoli and Brussels sprouts.39

Top 12 Benefits of Glutathione to Your Well-Being

Glutathione provides a wide array of health benefits, thanks to its powerful antioxidant properties. Some of these benefits include:

1. Helps fight oxidative stress — Low levels of glutathione have been linked to high oxidative stress, which may lead to a number of serious health issues, like diabetes, cancer and rheumatoid arthritis, to name a few.40 Studies have shown that maintaining normal glutathione levels may help protect the body against oxidative damage.41

2. Helps control inflammation — According to a 2009 study published in the journal Autoimmunity Reviews, glutathione may help regulate inflammation by stimulating or inhibiting your body’s immunological response.42

3. Helps keep age-related health problems at bay — Research shows that improving glutathione synthesis through higher dietary cysteine intake may help stave off age-related health issues, as it has a favorable effect on muscle and vascular health, bone density and cognitive function.43

4. Helps in the management of Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s disease — Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s disease are both linked to oxidative stress and low levels of glutathione.44,45 Increasing the amount of this antioxidant in your body may help slow or ameliorate the progression of these neurodegenerative disorders.46,47

5. Helps fight infections — According to a 2013 study published in Biochimica Et Biophysica Acta, glutathione may help fight against microbial, viral and parasitic infections while enhancing the functional activity of immune cells and improving your innate and adaptive immunity.48

6. Aids in the management of autism — Study shows that children with autism have lower levels of glutathione, putting them at a higher risk of neurological damage caused by oxidative stress.49,50

7. Helps reduce the impact of uncontrolled Type 2 diabetes — Uncontrolled hyperglycemia is often accompanied by low glutathione levels, which may lead to higher oxidative stress and tissue damage.

Research shows that increasing your body’s level of this antioxidant may help protect you against oxidative damage despite persistent hyperglycemia.51

8. Helps improve heart health — Studies have shown that increasing your glutathione levels may reduce your risk of heart attack and other cardiovascular diseases, since it protects the heart tissues against oxidative stress.52,53

9. Helps improve skin health — A 2017 study published in the Clinical, Cosmetic and Investigational Dermatology shows that the reduced and oxidized forms of glutathione may help reduce the appearance of wrinkles and improve skin elasticity.54

10. Helps increase the mobility of people with peripheral artery disease — A study shows that glutathione may help improve leg arterial circulation and prolong pain-free walking distance (PFWD) of patients with peripheral artery disease.55

11. Helps treat psoriasis — Psoriasis vulgaris is a common autoimmune disease that’s linked to higher levels of oxidative stress and systemic inflammation. Research shows that increasing glutathione levels by consuming whey protein may help treat patients with psoriasis.56

12. Helps prevent anemia in patients with chronic renal failure — Research shows that glutathione may help increase the levels of red blood cells in in patients who are suffering from chronic renal failure and undergoing hemodialysis, making it a useful compound for the treatment and management of anemia in patients with kidney disease.57

In addition to the benefits mentioned above, glutathione may also be used for treating cataracts, glaucoma, hepatitis and respiratory disorders such as idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis and cystic fibrosis.58 It may also help reduce cell damage in people with nonalcoholic and alcoholic fatty liver disease.59

Studies Show That Glutathione Deficiency Is Linked to Various Health Problems

Glutathione deficiency makes you more susceptible to oxidative stress, which is why it’s considered a key factor in the pathogenesis of many health problems.60 Numerous studies have confirmed its influence on the development, progression and prognosis of various diseases.

For instance, a study published in the Journal of Inherited Metabolic Diseases shows that glutathione deficiency contributes to the progressive nature of mitochondrial diseases, as it hinders the body’s ability to fight oxidative stress and impairs the activity of the electron transport chain (ETC),61 which is essential for proper cellular function.62

A separate study also linked glutathione deficiency to the progression of idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF), a lung disease with unknown etiology. The level of glutathione in the lower respiratory tract of IPF patients was compared to that of the healthy, nonsmoking participants. Result shows that the glutathione level of IPF patients is lower than the healthy participants, confirming the role of antioxidant deficiency in the pathogenesis of IPF.63

Decreased glutathione levels may also be observed in patients with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection. According to a 2012 study published in the Clinical and Developmental Immunology, people with HIV infection are found to have lower levels of GSH and higher levels of GSSG, which decreases the body’s antioxidant activity, resulting in a loss of immune function in HIV patients.64

Some of the other diseases that may be affected by low glutathione levels include Alzheimer’s disease, liver disease, sickle cell anemia, cancer, stroke, diabetes and heart issues, among others. Additionally, male fertility may be negatively affected by low glutathione levels and was found to be a possible therapy for sperm health and numbers.65

Side Effects That You May Encounter When Taking Glutathione Supplement

Glutathione is considered safe to use when taken orally, intravenously or through inhalation, but it may still cause side effects, including:66

Abdominal cramps
Bloating
Flatulence and loose stools
Allergic reactions, such as rash and itchiness

Researchers are still unsure if glutathione is safe for pregnant and breastfeeding women, so if you fall under either of these categories, it’s wise to avoid glutathione supplements to guarantee your and your baby’s safety. You should also avoid using glutathione inhalants if you have asthma, since it may exacerbate your symptoms.67

Adopt a Healthy Lifestyle to Maintain Healthy Glutathione Levels

As I have mentioned above, consuming foods that contain the precursors of glutathione is one of the best ways to stimulate the production of this antioxidant in your body. But aside from this, you should also practice healthy lifestyle habits to maximize your body’s ability to fight off free radicals.

Eliminating sugar, grains and processed foods from your diet is a great way to lessen oxidative stress. Make sure that you’re also getting ample amounts of appropriate exercise to increase your body’s ability to produce glutathione. Managing your stress and getting enough sleep also help inhibit the damaging effects of free radicals.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) About Glutathione

Q: What is glutathione used for?

A. Glutathione is used for its powerful antioxidant properties and detoxification effect. These benefits make glutathione useful in the management of several health issues, such as autoimmune disorders, respiratory problems, neurodegenerative disorders and peripheral artery disease, among others. It’s also popular for its ability to improve skin health and delay the process of aging and is used to lower the toxicity of chemotherapy and radiation in cancer treatments.68,69,70

Q: How can you increase your body’s glutathione levels?

A. You can naturally increase your glutathione levels by eating foods that are rich in its precursors, particularly sulfur-containing amino acids. Some good examples are whey protein powder, raw cruciferous and allium vegetables, grass fed meat and pastured eggs.71

Practicing healthy lifestyle habits, such as getting enough sleep, learning how to manage stress and exercising appropriately, may also help maintain high levels of glutathione in your body. Some people also opt to take glutathione intravenously, orally or topically.72

Q: What does glutathione do?

A. Glutathione helps protect your cells against oxidative damage by scavenging a wide array of free radicals, including nitric oxide, superoxide anion, and hydroxyl and carbon radicals. It also helps maximize the performance of other antioxidants, including vitamin C, vitamin E, coenzyme Q10 and alpha-lipoic acid.73

Q: Are glutathione soaps safe?

A. Yes, glutathione soaps are generally considered safe. If you’re planning to buy this product, make sure that you get it from a reputable brand, since there are cases wherein counterfeit glutathione soaps contain harmful ingredients like bleach, which may cause permanent damage to your skin.74

Q: How is liposomal glutathione made?

A. Liposomal glutathione is made by wrapping the GSH molecule in lipids or fats, which act as a protective cell membrane. This allows the GSH molecule to be transported safely throughout the gut and into the bloodstream.75,76


Read more: articles.mercola.com

The grand Indian plan that could change all things medical

6 months, 9 days ago

India is getting ready for a project that is as small as it gets — and as big. The Human Microbiome Project (HMP) will map trillions upon trillions of microbes — bacteria, fungi, viruses, archaea — that are found in Indians. On their skin. In the dark depths of their guts. Swarming on every inch of their body.In a one-of-a-kind project in the country, researchers will take skin and oral swabs and collect blood and faecal samples from 20,600 individuals who belong to 103 endogamous communities (which marry within the group). These will include 32 tribes as well — from Changpa in Ladkah to Warli in Maharashtra and Mankidia in Odisha, and from Ao in Nagaland to Koya in Telangana. After collecting the samples, scientists will sequence the genome of these microorganisms.
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(These microbes are called human microbiota and their genetic material are collectively referred to as the human microbiome.) The Union government-funded, Rs 150 crore project could get underway in the next few months, once the Department of Biotechnology gives it the nod. It wants to map the microbiome composition of India’s different communities — and how genetics, diet and environment impact it differently.The ambitious project aims, at the end of it, to generate the baseline microbiome data of Indians. It will also define the core microbiome of tribal populations that are unaffected by modern lifestyle. It will even help us understand the links between microbial composition and disease risks and also create a repository of microbial samples from healthy individuals to help develop probiotic-like solutions.
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The HMP is a collaborative effort between 11 research institutes and universities across the country, both public and private, including the All India Institute of Medical Sciences in New Delhi, the Insitute of Advanced Study in Science and Technology in Guwahati and Symbiosis International University in Pune. The study is being led by Pune’s National Centre for Microbial Resource (NCMR), which is part of the National Centre for Cell Science.“It’s a three-year project, but its repercussions will be there for many years to come,” says Yogesh Shouche, principal investigator at NCMR, in his office in Pune. Shouche, who has researched microbes for two decades, says this project is more challenging than similar projects in the West — for instance, in the US, Britain and European Union. “Unlike in India, microbiome projects in the West work with genetically more homogenous populations whose dietary patterns are more or less uniform.” India’s diversity is staggering on many counts.According to a study by the National Institute of Biomedical Genomics in Kalyani, near Kolkata, which is also involved in HMP, modern mainland Indians have descended from four ancestral populations — Indo-European, Dravidian, Tibeto-Burman and Austro-Asiatic — and not two as earlier estimated. Indians’ diets also vary. For instance, according to a 2014 Union government survey, nearly 99% of Telangana’s population eat meat, while only a quarter of those in Rajasthan do so. A comparison of urban and rural populations in HMP will also yield insights into changes in microbiota, if any, from consumption of processed foods, which is higher in cities.“It will be interesting to study the links between microbiota and environment and diets,” says Rakesh Sharma, senior principal scientist at the New Delhi-based Institute of Genomics and Integrative Biology.Gut InstinctsIt is the microbe that could unlock our understanding of diseases, disorders and differences but there is no definitive figure for the total number of microbes in a human body. We know that dominant among them are bacteria, a majority of which are found in the gut, especially the large intestine or colon.One estimate by researchers at Israel’s Weizmann Institute of Science and the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto, Canada, pegs the total number of bacteria in a human body at 40 trillion, compared with 37 trillion human cells. The total number of bacterial genes in the gut outnumber human genes by at least 30:1. Gut bacteria, which are the most extensively studied among human microbiota, help in breaking down undigested nutrients, producing vitamins and controlling disease-causing bacteria.India is already quite late to the microbiome research race. The Human MetaGenome Consortium Japan began in 2005 and the US Human Microbiome Project two years later. The US also announced a National Microbiome Initiative in 2016, committing a government investment of $121 million for two years and private investments of $400 million over an unspecified period. Similar initiatives can also be found in Canada and the European Union.
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There are also projects like the American Gut project and, its offshoot, the British Gut project. They have received $2.5 million in individual contributions (as of May 2018) and crowdsourced samples from over 11,000 people (as of mid-2017). Among the observations made by American Gut were that those who had more than 30 plant types a week had more diverse gut microbiomes and fewer antibioticresistance genes than those who had 10 or fewer a week. Moreover, those who had antibiotics in the past one month had less diverse microbiota than those who had not had antibiotics for a year.Antibiotic use is one of the causes, along with staying in a healthcare facility, of Clostridium difficile (C diff ) infections, whose symptoms include diarrhoea, nausea, fever and dehydration which could be life-threatening. Antibiotics kill both good and bad bacteria, but if they kill more of the good bacteria, it could aid the growth of bacteria like C. diff. The study of gut microbe, for instance, has had interesting results. The first randomised controlled trial in C diff infection, published in 2013, showed the efficacy of faecal microbiota transplant (FMT), in which faecal bacteria from a healthy donor is transferred to a patient, usually through colonoscopy.Bhabatosh Das, assistant professor at the Translational Health Science and Technology Institute, Faridabad, believes people living in rural areas make for ideal donors. “Their guts have very diverse bacteria, while in urban areas fast food and antibiotics result in reduced diversity.”

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There are attempts being made to use FMT for obesity too. Dysbiosis, or an imbalance in the gut microbial composition, has been associated with obesity. According to a study published in Nature magazine in October 2018, FMT from mice, that were fed a normal-fat diet, to mice that were given a highfat diet resulted in beneficial effects usually caused by diet and exercise. Another study, also published in Nature, in April 2018, found that mice that were given chemotherapy and anitbiotic treatment regained their pre-treatment microbial composition after being given FMT.In another study from 2017, 34 pairs of twins were assessed, in which only one of every pair had multiple sclerosis. More of the mice which were given gut microbes from the twin with MS developed a disease similar to MS than those which got microbes from the healthy twin. Poor microbial diversity has also been linked to inflammatory bowel disease and Type 1 diabetes. But there are still questions. “We can’t say whether diabetes is driving gut microbes or vice versa,” says Dr CS Yajnik, a diabetologist in Pune.Mind & MicrobeThe other area where a lot of research is focused is the relationship between microbiome and mental health. In a 2013 study by scientists from the California Institute of Technology and Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, they found that when mice with symptoms similar to autism were given the bacterium Bacteroides fragilis, their microbiomes changed and they became more communicative and less anxious.The American Gut project also observed that some types of bacteria may be more common in people suffering from depression than those who are not. It also found in an assessment of the gut microbiomes of 125 people — who claimed to have a mental health disorder, like depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, schizophrenia or bipolar disorder — that their microbiomes had more in common with each than with that with someone of the same age, gender, country and body mass index.

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Moreover, babies born through natural birth tend to pick up microbes from the mother’s vagina and bowel, which could make them less likely to develop asthma, Type 1 diabetes, obesity and allergies. Similarly, breast milk is crucial to the microbial composition in kids’ guts. While the human microbiome is getting a lot of attention these days, with reports of studies uncovering the relationship between the microbiome and a disease or disorder. But there are some who sound a word of caution and believe that the significance of the microbiome may be overstated.“The hypothesis that variation in the gut microbiota can explain or be used to predict obesity status has received considerable attention and is frequently mentioned as an example of the role of the microbiome in human health…(but) we found that although there is an association, it is smaller than can be detected by most microbiome studies,” said a metastudy of 10 papers, published in August 2016 in mBio, a journal published by the American Society of Microbiology.It is quite possible that some of the recent findings about the role of microbes in our health may be disputed by future research. But a project of the scale and scope of the Human Microbiome Project could definitely advance our understanding of the complex world of human microbiota and what we do to each other.

Read more: economictimes.indiatimes.com