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Buyer beware: Eating Chinese garlic is a risky health decision

Reproduced from original article:
https://www.naturalhealth365.com/chinese-garlic-herbs-3250.html

chinese-garlic

(NaturalHealth365) It’s hard to find a reason not to eat garlic. Aside from the wonderful depth of taste, the long list of garlic health benefits offer plenty of incentive to add it to dishes of all types. No wonder it’s one of the world’s most popular herbs! But, as many consumers are learning, Chinese garlic is definitely something to avoid – as you’ll soon see.

The reason?  Garlic imported from this country is contaminated with potentially toxic chemicals – and the nation’s industry standards for cultivating garlic is leaving a really bad taste in people’s mouths.

Warning: Chinese garlic is contaminated with chemicals

Garlic is native to Asia and the Middle East and is a close relative to other vegetables from the onion family, including onions, leeks, chives, and shallots.  And, although within the U.S., Gilroy, California has been nicknamed the “Garlic Capital of the World” – world trade practices have changed quite a bit over the years.

Botanically speaking, garlic is a veggie because it comes from an edible plant with leaves and a bulb, although most people consider garlic to be one of the most popular herbs in the world.

Proven garlic health benefits include improved blood pressure, decreased cholesterol, strengthened immune system, and a deceased risk of blood clots. Garlic has also been shown to be an effective antimicrobial and can help naturally treat conditions like asthma, bronchitis, and upper respiratory infections.

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But here’s the problem we as consumers are facing:

According to many health-related resources, about 80% of the world’s supply of organic garlic – yes, organic garlic – is shipped from China.  And natural health watchdogs are finding that the standards and methods of “organic certification” in China is iffy at best.

For one thing, China is able to produce such cheap garlic because of the way its cultivated. Many Chinese farmers use bleach (yes, bleach!) to whiten their “organic” garlic and kill bugs on the harvest.

Chinese garlic also tends to be exposed to cold temperatures, treated with compounds that will control or inhibit its growth after harvest, and over-stored – all of which will decrease the amount of allicin found in garlic, which is a natural compound that’s a major factor in garlic health benefits.

Also, consider the serious pollution problem that China is facing right now. High levels of air pollution throughout the nation is directly linked to hundreds of thousands of deaths each year, and investigations indicate that Chinese soil and water are both loaded with heavy metals like cadmium and arsenic as well as high concentrations of fertilizers and pesticides.

Some Chinese garlic farmers are even believed to use pesticides and herbicides that contain illegal and powerful neurochemicals like parathion and phorate.  There’s just no way that these harmful compounds aren’t getting into the food that the Chinese industry is shipping out to the rest of the world.

Really makes you wonder what’s on your plate, right?

Consuming garlic regularly will boost your health – here’s how to avoid low quality Chinese garlic

For what it’s worth, our team here at NaturalHealth365 uses organic garlic – grown locally.  But, if that’s not possible – you may want to look at buying your garlic from Christopher Ranch or McFadden Farms.  And, no, we are not being paid to suggest these companies!

Bottom line: no matter what garlic you go with, it’s clear that you should avoid garlic imported from China.

To help you avoid the troublesome herbs, here are a few tips:

  • Chinese garlic tends to be lighter and less bulbous (an ingenious if not disingenuous hack used to save on shipping costs)
  • Chinese garlic doesn’t taste as rich or bold as American organic garlic
  • Chinese garlic typically has its roots removed, whereas American garlic does not
  • Do your research on companies selling organic garlic powder – it’s possible that they are using imported garlic from China!

Lastly, for the ultimate peace of mind, buy your garlic from your local farmer’s market or consider growing it yourself.

Sources for this article include:

Boredomtherapy.com
Tokyofamilies.net
SFA-MN.org
Consumerreports.org
Healthline.com

5 ways to avoid gallstones naturally

Reproduced from original article:
www.naturalhealth365.com/5-ways-to-avoid-gallstones-3245.html
 | January 6, 2020

gallstones

(NaturalHealth365) According to the most current data about gallstones –  deposits of crystallized cholesterol in the gallbladder or bile ducts, about 15 percent of the American population are affected by this preventable condition.

And, while many gallstones are “silent” and cause no symptoms, serious complications – including bile duct infection, pancreatitis and an increased risk of heart disease and gallbladder cancer – can sometimes occur. The good news: a variety of natural nutrients and supplements can help slash your risk of developing these potentially troublesome deposits.

Just don’t expect your conventionally trained physician to talk to you about this.

In fact, the “typical response” of Western medicine is to surgically remove the gallbladder (a procedure known as cholecystectomy), if there’s a problem.  But, again, you ought to know that there are many non-invasive, non-toxic techniques to ward off gallstones.  Let’s take a closer look!

Warning: The standard American diet is a perfect “recipe” for promoting the development of gallstones

When it comes to raising the risk of gallstones, a high (toxic) fat, high calorie and highly processed diet is a primary culprit.  Unfortunately, with the ease of obtaining “fast” foods, junk foods and highly processed foods, this is the diet of far too many people.

Other factors that can raise the risk of developing gallstones include obesity, a sedentary lifestyle, increasing age and certain medications, such as diuretics.

Do NOT ignore the health dangers linked to toxic indoor air.  These chemicals – the ‘off-gassing’ of paints, mattresses, carpets and other home/office building materials – increase your risk of headaches, dementia, heart disease and cancer.

Get the BEST indoor air purification system – at the LOWEST price, exclusively for NaturalHealth365 readers.  I, personally use this system in my home AND office.  Click HERE to order now – before the sale ends.

Genetics can also play a role. And, women are statistically more likely to develop gallstones than men.

Note: while losing weight can help cut the risk of developing gallstones, experts recommend that the loss be gradual, and not exceed about 3 pounds a week. As ironic as it seems, prolonged fasting and sudden, drastic weight loss can also trigger the development of gallstones.

The following substances have been shown in human and animal studies to be particularly effective against gallstones. Of course, consult with an experienced integrative physician before supplementing with any of them.

Observational study: Vitamin C supplementation slashes gallstone risk

A potent antioxidant, vitamin C works in the body to scavenge harmful free radicals and reduce the oxidative stress that plays a role in gallstone formation.  By helping to convert excess cholesterol into bile acids, vitamin C may help reduce cholesterol concentrations, thereby decreasing the chance of gallstones.

In one study, gallstone patients slated for gallbladder removal were given 2,000 mg of vitamin C a day for two weeks before their surgeries.  These patients were found to have improved bile composition, and less cholesterol crystallization, than those who hadn’t received supplementary vitamin C.

But, a 2009 study yielded even more dramatic findings.

In an observational study involving over 2,100 subjects, researchers found that regular vitamin C users were a whopping 66 percent less likely to develop gallstones than those who didn’t supplement.

Imagine if these results were achieved by a brand-new drug?!  The pharmaceutical companies would doubtless crow over these remarkable results in a non-stop barrage of commercials.

Ironically, however, non-toxic, natural, inexpensive vitamin C has received no such media fanfare in the decade following this study – a typical result when it comes to the therapeutic benefits of any vitamin.

Omega-3 fatty acids in fish oil discourage gallstone formation

Fish oil, rich in beneficial omega-3 fatty acids, has received kudos from natural health experts for its ability to reduce inflammation, support healthy cardiovascular function and ease depression.  Now, research shows that EPA and DHA, the primary fatty acids in fish oil, also help prevent gallstones.

Like vitamin C, EPA and DHA inhibit cholesterol crystallization and improve bile composition.  In a study published in Journal of Nutrition, researchers gave 11.3 grams a day of omega-3s from fish oil to obese women who were on medically supervised weight-loss diets of 1,200 calories per day.

When compared to the placebo group, the omega-3 group experienced a reduction in the time it took to form cholesterol crystals, thereby slowing gallstone formation.  As an added “bonus:” the researchers noted that the group also enjoyed a reduced risk of heart disease.

The team concluded that omega-3 fatty acids can cut the risk of developing gallstones that accompanies rapid weight loss – an especially important point for those looking to improve their health!

SAM-e is a useful tool for promoting gallbladder health

SAM-e, short for S-adenosylmethionine, is a molecule found naturally in the body. With potent anti-inflammatory and mood-elevating effects, SAM-e is currently used to treat a variety of ills, including arthritis pain and depression.

This versatile compound also has a protective effect on the liver and gallbladder.

In addition, SAM-e improves bile flow and decreases cholesterol concentration – two important defenses against gallbladder problems. Like vitamin C, it contributes to antioxidant protection, and reduces the oxidative stress that can trigger gallstones.

Note: researchers have found that women with increased estrogen levels are more likely to suffer from gallstones. Significantly, SAM-e reduced bile cholesterol by almost one third in women taking oral contraceptives.

Natural health experts normally advise SAM-e dosages in the area of 600 mg to 1,200 mg a day, but check first with your own healthcare provider.

Curcumin from turmeric: The “golden spice” has a glowing reputation for fighting gallstones

Curcumin, the active ingredient in the medicinal spice turmeric, has long been valued by natural healers for its ability to ease inflammation, combat infection and fight cancer. A carotenoid, or natural plant pigment, curcumin is responsible for the brilliant yellow-orange coloration of turmeric.

Both animal and human studies have shown that curcumin has the ability to improve cholesterol and lipid metabolism, increase bile flow, reduce gallbladder inflammation and promote normal bile acid metabolism.

There is even evidence that curcumin can reduce post-operative pain and fatigue after gallbladder removal. In an intriguing study published in Surgical Endoscopy, patients who had their gallbladders removed required less pain medication when they were given curcumin.

Curcumin is available in supplemental form, with typical dosages ranging from 500 mg to 2,000 mg a day.  Just be sure to look for a formulation that includes black pepper – which greatly improves curcumin absorption.

EGCG in green tea may fight not only gallstones – but deadly gallbladder diseases as well

EGCG, or epigallocatechin gallate, is a flavonoid found in green tea. This potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory has been demonstrated to prevent gallstones in animals – and human studies back this up.

Not only does EGCG prevent gallstones, but it appears to play a role in warding off some of the potentially life-threatening forms of gallbladder disease.

A population-based study in China, published in International Journal of Cancer, showed that drinking at least one cup of green tea for six months cut the risk of developing gallstones by 27 percent, the risk of bile duct cancer by 35 percent and the risk of gallbladder cancer by 44 percent.

Not a bad payoff for merely sipping a daily cup of fragrant and refreshing green tea!

Take action: Reduce the risk of gallstones with natural techniques

You can cut your risk of gallstones by removing white sugar, refined carbohydrates and saturated or trans fats from your diet – while eating plenty of fiber-rich fresh fruits and vegetables and healthy amounts of monounsaturated fats (such as those found in avocados, nuts and olive oil).

Note: an influential 2017 French study showed that people who consumed a Mediterranean diet – which roughly mirrors the above suggestions – enjoyed a dramatically lower risk of gallstones.

And, it couldn’t hurt to add garlic, onions, fenugreek and cayenne to your diet – all have been associated with lower risk of gallstones.

And, finally, increasing your activity level can help ward off gallstones, too. One study showed that between two and three hours of moderate exercise per week could lower the odds of developing gallstones by 25 percent.

Sources for this article include:

LifeExtension.com
NIH.gov
Gallbladderattack.com
NIH.gov

Excess Body Fat Can Age Your Brain Faster Than Muscle


Reproduced from original article:
https://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2020/01/09/obesity-and-brain-health.aspx
Analysis by Dr. Joseph Mercola Fact Checked image
January 09, 2020

excess body fat and brain health

STORY AT-A-GLANCE

  • Increasing research shows that maintaining healthy levels of body fat and greater muscle mass has an effect on your brain health and may slow your rate of cognitive aging
  • People with higher amounts of abdominal fat had worse fluid intelligence with age, while those with greater muscle mass were more protected against such declines
  • Women who had greater muscle mass tended to have better scores in fluid intelligence during the study period
  • Past research has linked midlife obesity with an increased risk of mild cognitive impairment, changes in short-term memory and executive functioning and dementia
  • In addition to regular exercise to increase muscle mass, eating a ketogenic diet to maintain a healthy body weight and avoid obesity may support your brain health as you age

Staying fit as you age is about far more than aesthetics. Increasing research shows that maintaining healthy levels of body fat and greater muscle mass has an effect on your brain health and even your rate of cognitive aging. It’s known, for instance, that being obese in midlife and early late-life is associated with worse cognitive aging.1

What’s more, the amount of muscle and fat you have may be a more important factor in how your level of fluid intelligence decreases over time than your chronological age. Your chronological age, i.e., your age in years, is just a numerical measurement, but your real age is your biological age as dictated by your choices and habits, as well as your modifiable risk factors like levels of muscle and fat.

While many people tend to gain fat and lose muscle mass as they age, this can be largely combated by staying active and eating right — lifestyle choices that will influence your cognitive function significantly.

More Muscle, Less Fat Protects Your Brain

In a study by Iowa State researchers, data from 4,431 adults were examined to compare levels of lean muscle mass, abdominal fat and subcutaneous fat with changes in fluid intelligence — the ability to solve problems in new situations — over a six-year period.2,3

Those with higher amounts of abdominal fat had worse fluid intelligence with age, while those with greater muscle mass were more protected against such declines. In fact, women who had greater muscle mass tended to have better scores in fluid intelligence during the study period.

Study co-author Auriel Willette, assistant professor of food science and human nutrition at Iowa State University, said in a news release, “Chronological age doesn’t seem to be a factor in fluid intelligence decreasing over time. It appears to be biological age, which here is the amount of fat and muscle.”4

What’s more, the study revealed a link between the immune system and how changes in fat levels affect cognition. Previous research suggests a higher body mass index (BMI) leads to greater immune system activity in the blood, which in turn activates the immune system in the brain, with a negative outcome on cognitive function.5

The featured study also found that changes in white blood cells called lymphocytes and eosinophils explained the link between abdominal fat and worsening fluid intelligence in women. In men, basophils, another type of white blood cell, were linked to about half of the link between fat levels and fluid intelligence, the study found.6

“Lymphocytes, eosinophils, and basophils may link adiposity to cognitive outcomes,” the researchers explained.7 Similar research has revealed that overweight and obese individual have greater brain atrophy in middle-age, corresponding with an increase in brain age of 10 years.8

How Obesity Affects Your Brain

Obesity has multiple effects on the brain, including anatomically speaking. Obese individuals may have reduced gray matter in brain regions such as the hippocampus, prefrontal cortex and other subcortical regions. Atrophy in the hippocampus, in turn, has been linked to Alzheimer’s disease.9

Gray matter is the outer layer of the brain associated with high-level brain functions such as problem-solving, language, memory, personality, planning and judgment. Even in elderly people who are otherwise cognitively normal, obesity is associated with measureable deficits in brain volume in the frontal lobes, anterior cingulate gyrus, hippocampus, and thalamus compared to individuals with a normal weight.10

Further research published in Radiology found that obesity may lead to alterations in brain structure, shrinking certain regions.11 Among men, higher total body fat percentage was linked to lower brain gray matter volume. Specifically, 5.5% greater total body fat percentage was associated with 3,162 mm3 lower gray matter volume.

Among men, 5.5% greater total body fat was also associated with 27 mm3 smaller globus pallidus volume, an association also seen in women. In women, 6.6% greater total body fat percentage was associated with 11.2 mm3 smaller globus pallidus volume.

The globus pallidus is a brain region that plays a role in supporting a range of functions, including motivation, cognition and action.12 Obesity was also associated with changes in white matter microstructure, which may be related to cognitive function.13

Cognitively speaking, there’s also a strong link between obesity and deterioration in cognitive function, as well as to other brain disorders such as dementia, anxiety and depression. Further, past research has linked midlife obesity with an increased risk of mild cognitive impairment, changes in short-term memory and executive functioning and dementia.14

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Obesity-Associated Health Problems Also Harm Your Brain

Obesity’s effects on brain health are also due to its associated health problems, including heart disease, diabetes and atherosclerosis, each of which can have its own deleterious effects on your brain. For instance, as noted in Frontiers in Neuroscience:15

“Obesity-derived vascular problems, such as atherosclerosis and arteriosclerosis, which are systemic diseases, are known to affect the steady blood flow of vessels that feed the brain, thus contributing to cognitive impairment or even stroke, where large areas of the brain die due to the stop in the blood flow of a major brain artery caused by a blood clot.”

In terms of diabetes, of which obesity is a key risk factor, having this condition in midlife is associated with a 19% greater cognitive decline over 20 years compared with not having the condition.16 Even those with prediabetes had significantly greater cognitive decline than those without.

Indeed, “Epidemiological studies have linked type-2 diabetes mellitus with cognitive impairment and dementia, with insulin resistance and hyperglycemia as the probable mechanistic links,” researchers noted.17

Coming full circle, eating a highly processed, junk food diet not only increases obesity risk but also can lead to normal but elevated blood sugar levels that, in turn, can lead to impaired glucose metabolism and Type 2 diabetes. Both diabetes and higher fasting glucose levels are linked with lower total brain volume.18

Impaired glucose metabolism is then associated with neurodegeneration that impairs cognitive function. This connection begins not in old age but much earlier, such that following a healthy lifestyle in young adulthood may be protective against cognitive decline later.19

The Inflammation Connection

Obesity can trigger chronic inflammation in your body, and chronic inflammation in your brain (neuroinflammation) is known to impair neurogenesis, your brain’s ability to adapt and grow new brain cells. It’s also linked to neurodegenerative disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease (AD), and it’s been suggested that “Obesity may serve as an amplifier or initiator of the chronic inflammation observed in AD patients.”20

Further, higher levels of inflammatory markers have also been associated with lower brain volume, including “greater atrophy than expected for age.”21 Excess body fat, particularly visceral fat, is also related to the release of proteins and hormones that can cause inflammation, which in turn can damage arteries and enter your liver, affecting how your body breaks down sugars and fats.

According to a study in the Annals of Neurology, “[A]dipose-tissue derived hormones, such as adiponectin, leptin, resistin or ghrelin, could also play a role in the relation between adipose tissue and brain atrophy.”22 Further, obesity may also be associated with lower volume in brain regions that regulate food-reward circuitry,23 possibly influencing overeating.

Strength Training Is Good for Your Brain

While obesity takes a toll on your brain, increased muscle mass protects it, which is likely one reason why strength training has been found to be beneficial for your brain. In other words, your body’s physical strength may serve as a marker of your brain power.

In fact, strength training is known to trigger beneficial neurobiological processes,24 leading to positive functional brain changes, including in the frontal lobe, with corresponding improvements in executive functions. One systematic review even found that strength training led to less white matter atrophy in the brain, with researchers noting:25

“Taken together, during aging processes, a substantial decline in muscular strength, especially in lower limb muscles, occurs, and accumulating evidence suggests that lower muscular strengths are linked to poorer cognitive performance.

Hence, resistance (strength) exercises (a single bout of resistance exercise, also referred to as acute exercise) and resistance (strength) training (more than one resistance exercise session, also referred to as chronic exercise … ) seem to be promising activities to ensure the preservation of physical functioning and cognitive functions with aging.”

Regular strength training, in addition to other forms of exercise and daily activity, is an important strategy for keeping your brain sharp and may help to offset some of the cognitive decline that occurs with age.

Avoid Obesity and Protect Your Brain With a Ketogenic Diet

While obesity may accelerate neurodegeneration, regular exercise to increase your muscle mass will be protective. Further, eating a ketogenic diet will help protect your brain from free radical damage and will supply the cells with preferred fuel while also helping you to lose weight and avoid obesity.

A ketogenic diet is high in healthy fats and low in net carbohydrates (total carbs minus fiber), prompting your body to start burning fat as its primary fuel, rather than sugar. This produces ketones, which not only burn efficiently but are also a superior fuel for your brain. Ketones also generate fewer reactive oxygen species (ROS) and less free-radical damage.

One of the simple strategies you can implement is to take ketone precursors like refined MCT oils of caprylic acid (C-8). The eight-chain carbon fats are readily converted to ketones. I personally use up to 5 ounces of our Ketone Energy when I have maxed out my protein and carb intake and need a source of healthy clean fat. This keeps my ketone level around 1 to 2.0 mmol/l. Just recognize that you have to build up to a high dose of MCT oil slowly or you will have problems with loose stools.

Recent studies have also demonstrated the benefits of nutritional ketosis for brain health. In one, researchers found a ketogenic diet improved neurovascular function, in part by improving your gut microbiome.26

In a second study, the researchers concluded a ketogenic diet acted as a veritable “fountain of youth” in their animal study by significantly improving neurovascular and metabolic functions, compared to the animals eating an unrestricted diet.27 Releasing ketones into your bloodstream helps preserve brain function and protects against cognitive impairment and other neurodegenerative diseases.28

KetoFasting, the program I developed and detail in my book, “KetoFast: A Step-By-Step Guide to Timing Your Ketogenic Meals,” combines a cyclical ketogenic diet and intermittent fasting with cyclical partial fasting to optimize health and longevity.

Not only can KetoFasting help you to lose weight, but your cognition typically improves thanks to the biological cleansing and regeneration that occurs throughout your body, including your brain.

Sources and References

How Exercise Affects Disease Prevention and Prognosis


Reproduced from original article:
https://fitness.mercola.com/sites/fitness/archive/2019/12/27/exercise-stroke-prevention-recovery.aspx

Analysis by Dr. Joseph Mercola     Fact Checked image
exercise stroke prevention

STORY AT-A-GLANCE

  • Exercise proved to be a more powerful indicator of ability to function following a stroke than body fat (as measured by BMI)
  • Less-active participants who suffered a stroke were 18 percent less likely to be able to perform basic self-care, such as bathing and eating, following a stroke
  • Those who exercised vigorously at least three times a week were able to function better and more independently both before and after a stroke

Research continues to pour in that exercise is crucial not only for disease prevention but also for significantly improving your prognosis if disease does occur. In the case of stroke, which is responsible for 1 out of every 20 deaths in the U.S.,1 exercise appears to be an even more important factor in outcomes than body fat.

Two-thirds of Americans have at least one of the leading risk factors for stroke, including being a smoker or having high blood pressure.

And while every year 185,000 Americans suffer from a second (or greater) stroke, 610,000 people have a stroke for the first time, according to data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

While they’re most common in older adults, strokes can and do occur at any age, often without warning. They’re also a leading cause of serious long-term disability, with more than half of stroke victims suffering from reduced mobility as a result.2

Getting active now may be one of the best and most straightforward ways to slash your risk of this serious condition and protect your ability to function if stroke occurs.

Exercisers Retain More Independence After a Stroke

In a study of more than 18,000 adults aged 50 years and older, exercise proved to be a powerful indicator of function following a stroke.3 Less-active participants who suffered a stroke were 18 percent less likely to be able to perform basic self-care, such as bathing and eating, following a stroke.

They were also 16 percent less likely to be able to carry out complex activities like grocery shopping or money management three years after their strokes. Those who exercised vigorously at least three times a week were able to function better and more independently both before and after a stroke.4

It’s not the first time such a connection has been made. In 2008, a study published in Neurology similarly found that people who are physically active before a stroke have less severe problems and recover better compared to those who didn’t exercise prior to their stroke.5

Further, in 2012 Canadian researchers found that stroke patients who exercised were able to improve problems with their memory, thinking, language and judgment by close to 50 percent in just six months.

Notable improvements in attention, concentration, planning and organizing, as well as benefits to muscle strength and walking, were seen among stroke patients who exercised.6

Exercise May Be a More Important Predictor of Stroke Outcomes Than Body Fat

Body mass index (BMI), a measure of body fat based on height and weight did not have an association with the ability to function independently before or after a stroke. This may be because BMI is a flawed measurement tool that uses weight as a measure of risk, when it is actually a high percentage of body fat that increases your disease risk.

Your weight varies according to the density of your bone structure, for instance, so a big-boned person may weigh more, but that certainly doesn’t mean they have more body fat or make them more prone to a stroke, for example.

Athletes and out-of-shape people can also have similar BMI scores, or a very muscular person could be classified as “obese” using BMI, when in reality it is mostly lean muscle accounting for their higher-than-average weight.

BMI also tells you nothing about where fat is located in your body, which can be an important distinction in disease risk. So, it’s possible that the researchers may have gotten a different result had they used a better measure of body fat, such as body fat calipers.

Nonetheless, lead study author Pamela Rist, an associate epidemiologist at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, told Time, “If people were obese or overweight, it didn’t really tell us much about how they’d do after a stroke.”7

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Exercise Lowers Your Stroke Risk

In addition to helping you retain your independence after a stroke, exercise can also help prevent a stroke from occurring in the first place. If you’re inactive, you have a 20 percent higher risk for having a stroke or mini-stroke (transient ischemic attack) than people who exercise enough to break a sweat at least four times a week.8

In women, walking for at least three hours a week was also linked to a lower stroke risk,9 while in 2009, another Neurology study found that vigorous exercise reduces stroke risk in men, as well as helping them recover from a stroke better and faster.10

Researchers concluded, “Engaging in moderate to heavy physical activities may be an important component of primary prevention strategies aimed at reducing stroke risk” — and I couldn’t agree more. In fact, the American Stroke Association states that 80 percent of all strokes can be prevented by leading a healthy lifestyle — exercise included.11

Exercise Boosts Brain Health in Stroke Survivors

The most common type of stroke is called ischemic stroke, which results from an obstruction in a blood vessel supplying blood to your brain.

This can cause brain damage that leads to many cognitive challenges, including dementia, memory problems, difficulty expressing yourself when speaking, and trouble with reading and writing, as well as understanding speech.12

This is another area where exercise can help, however. The featured study found exercise may improve both physical and cognitive functioning after stroke, with Rist telling Time, “One of our hypotheses is that maybe physical activity helps you maintain cognitive functioning, in addition to physical functioning, after a stroke.”13

In 2017, a review of 13 clinical trials also found exercise benefited stroke patients’ cognition. Those who exercised after a stroke — even for four to 12 weeks — showed greater improvements in certain mental abilities, including attention and processing speed, than non-exercisers.14

Why Is Exercise Good for Your Brain?

It’s not surprising, since exercise is known to improve brain health in a number of ways. Exercise stimulates the production of a protein called FNDC5, which in turn triggers the production of Brain Derived Neurotrophic Factor (BDNF).

In your brain, BDNF not only preserves existing brain cells,15 it also activates brain stem cells to convert into new neurons and effectively makes your brain grow larger.16

Exercise also lowers inflammation, another benefit to brain health. As for what type of exercise is best, anything that “gets your heart rate up and makes you sweat” was noted as fair game, although strength training, balance and stretching exercises were also mentioned.17

I’d also suggest adding in high-intensity interval training (HIIT). Also noteworthy was that cognitive benefits were gleaned even when the exercise was started months, and in some cases years, following a stroke.

Inactivity May Be Worse Than Obesity for Premature Death

Getting back to the topic of exercise versus body fat in your overall health, it’s not only your risk of stroke that may be influenced more so by the former than the latter. Data suggests at least twice as many deaths occur due to a lack of exercise than due to obesity.18

Some experts even believe that increasing exercise is more important than reducing obesity in terms of public health. The greatest gains are often seen among people who go from being sedentary to physically active, although benefits also increase with exercise frequency and intensity (to a point, of course, as overdoing it will backfire).

Exercise lowers your risk of chronic diseases so much that researchers have described it as “the best preventive drug” for many common ailments, from psychiatric disorders to heart disease, diabetes and cancer.19 So, while maintaining a healthy body weight is important, your primary focus should be on living a healthy active lifestyle (once you start doing this, weight loss typically follows).

A separate study also found that, compared to those who exercised daily and often vigorously, sedentary people had a six times greater risk of dying from heart disease over the course of 15 years.20 Heart disease shares many of the same risk factors of stroke, which is another great thing about exercise — it reduces your risk of multiple diseases at once.

Continuous Movement Is Key

It should be noted that non-exercise movement is equally if not more important than exercise. Evidence shows that inactivity or lack of movement, such as prolonged sitting, actively promotes dozens of chronic diseases, and these risks apply even if you’re very fit or exercise regularly.

Ideally, strive for near-continuous movement throughout the day, including standing or moving rather than sitting. Try to sit for less than three hours a day, and make it a point to walk more. A stand-up desk is a great option toward this end. But even then you should move, not just stand, as lack of movement, not just sitting, is the primary catalyst for metabolic dysfunction.

A fitness tracker can be used to ensure you’re getting the recommended 7,000 to 10,000 steps per day, but that doesn’t mean you stop at 10,000 steps. When you have time you can go for walks twice as long as well as fit in other forms of movement, like gardening, taking the stairs and various body-weight exercises.

What Else Helps to Lower Stroke Risk?

Exercise aside, other factors also contribute to a reduced risk of stroke. Follow my nutrition plan for a healthy diet while also being aware of the importance of:

1.Sunshine — Sunlight causes your skin to produce nitric oxide, a critical compound for optimizing your blood pressure, which reduces your risk for both heart attack and stroke. Nitric oxide enhances blood flow, promotes blood vessel elasticity, and functions as a signaling molecule in your brain and immune system.

And, of course, exposing your skin to the sun also helps optimize your vitamin D level, a deficiency of which has also been linked to stroke.

2.Grounding — Walking barefoot on the Earth, aka “earthing” or “grounding,” has a potent antioxidant effect that helps alleviate inflammation throughout your body. It also makes your blood less prone to hypercoagulation — so, less apt to clot, which reduces your stroke risk.

There is a constant flow of energy between our bodies and the Earth. When you put your feet on the ground, you absorb large amounts of negative electrons through the soles of your feet, which reduces the tendency of your blood cells to clump together.

Technically, grounding increases the zeta potential of your red blood cells, causing them to repel each other and become less sticky, very similar to a natural anticoagulant.

Research has demonstrated that it takes about 80 minutes for the free electrons from the earth to reach your blood stream and transform your blood, so make it a point to regularly walk barefoot on grass or on wet sand for about 90 minutes to two hours, if possible.

3.Fiber — If you eat more fiber, you will reduce your chances of a stroke, according to a report in the journal Stroke.21 For every 7 grams more fiber you consume daily, your stroke risk is decreased by 7 percent, according to this study. Vegetables are among the best sources of fiber, although seeds (especially chia, psyllium, sunflower and organic flax) are also good.

Know the Warning Signs of Stroke: Act FAST

There are emergency medications that can dissolve a blood clot that is blocking blood flow to your brain. If done quickly enough, emergency medicine can prevent or reverse permanent neurological damage — but you typically need treatment within one hour. This means if you or someone you love suffers a stroke, getting medical help quickly can mean the difference between life and death or permanent disability.

The faster you recognize the warning signs, the better the prognosis, so take a few seconds to read through the signs and symptoms that follow. The National Stroke Association recommends using the FAST acronym to help remember the warning signs of stroke so you can take action quickly if necessary:22

F = FACE — Ask the person to smile. Does one side of the face droop?

A = ARMS — Ask the person to raise both arms. Does one arm drift downward?

S = SPEECH — Ask the person to repeat a simple phrase. Does their speech sound slurred or strange?

T = TIME — If you observe any of these signs, call 9-1-1 immediately.

Sources and References

How Cyclical Ketosis Can Help Combat Chronic Fatigue


Reproduced from original article:
https://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2019/12/20/cyclical-ketogenic-eating-for-chronic-fatigue.aspx
Analysis by Dr. Joseph Mercola Fact Checked image
December 20, 2019

cyclical ketogenic helps combat chronic fatigue

STORY AT-A-GLANCE

  • Chronic fatigue syndrome appears to be rooted in mitochondrial dysfunction. Your mitochondria are responsible for energy production, and as the name implies, low energy and severe fatigue are hallmarks of this condition
  • Immune cells in the blood of patients diagnosed with chronic fatigue show clear signs of low energy production. The debilitating fatigue they experience is due to an inability to produce the cellular energy needed
  • A ketogenic diet, high in healthy fats and low in net carbohydrates, with moderate protein, is a key dietary strategy that helps optimize mitochondrial function
  • Patients with chronic fatigue also lack diversity in the gut microbiome, and the presence of certain inflammatory cytokines in their blood closely correlates with symptom severity
  • Strategies that reduce inflammation, heal your gut microbiome and support mitochondrial function and energy synthesis are all beneficial for chronic fatigue patients

Chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS), which is thought to affect up to 2.5 million Americans,1 is a debilitating condition in which sufferers experience unrelenting fatigue no matter how much rest they get. Pain and chronic inflammation are other hallmarks. A number of other names are also used for this condition, including:

  • Myalgic encephalopathy/myalgic encephalomyelitis (ME)
  • Post-viral fatigue syndrome (PVFS)
  • Chronic fatigue immune dysfunction syndrome (CFIDS)2
  • Systemic exertion intolerance disease (SEID)3

The most common designation is ME/CFS and, according to the CDC, about 90% of people with ME/CFS have not yet been diagnosed.4 In the past, ME/CFS was typically brushed off as being a psychological problem, but in more recent years, researchers have discovered physiological commonalities between groups of individuals that validate their symptoms.

For example, ME/CFS patients tend to have similar changes in gut bacteria, and certain inflammatory biomarkers in your blood appear to correlate with ME/CFS symptoms.5 Most recently, researchers have found additional support for the hypothesis that ME/CFS is rooted in mitochondrial dysfunction, which makes logical sense considering your mitochondria are responsible for energy production.

These tiny powerhouses are an interconnected network that rapidly and effectively distributes energy throughout your body’s cells.6 Your mitochondria are also responsible for programmed cell death, and serve as important signaling molecules that help regulate the expression of your genes.

When your mitochondria do not work properly, low energy is a natural side effect. Knowing this, the remedy becomes clearer as well. A ketogenic diet, high in healthy fats and low in net carbohydrates, with moderate protein, is a key dietary strategy that helps optimize mitochondrial function.

What Is Chronic Fatigue Syndrome?

Until recently, the diagnosis of ME/CFS has been one of exclusion. This meant all other illnesses mimicking the symptoms of ME/CFS had to first be ruled out before doctors could suggest you were suffering from ME/CFS. Symptoms of ME/CFS can vary widely from one individual to the next.

The most common symptom is one of overwhelming exhaustion that worsens with physical or mental energy expenditure and does not get better with rest.7 It may take up to 48 hours after activity to experience the full extent of the exhaustion. Other symptoms of the condition may mimic other medical conditions, and include:8,9,10

Muscle pain Memory problems Headaches
Sore throat Pain in multiple joints Difficulty sleeping
Tender lymph nodes Visible muscle twitching (fasciculations) Difficulty concentrating
Short attention span Word find problems Excessive sweating
Palpitations Fainting Clumsiness
Enlarged glands Intermittent flu-like symptoms Alcohol intolerance
Irritable bowl-like symptoms Mood swings Temperature control
Food intolerance Gastrointestinal problems Hypersensitivity to light and noise

ME/CFS Is a Side Effect of Cellular Exhaustion

As mentioned, researchers have now identified what appears to be a root problem: exhaustion at a cellular level. This study11 was published in PLOS One at the end of October 2017. Immune cells in the blood of patients diagnosed with ME/CFS “show clear signs of low energy production,” Science Alert reports.12 This strongly suggests mitochondrial dysfunction, as the mitochondria are responsible for energy production. As noted in the featured article:13

“Researchers looked specifically at the metabolic processes of oxidative phosphorylation and glycolysis — two ways cells break apart chemical fuel to transfer energy in respiration. White blood cells taken from 52 patients with CFS and 35 controls were put through their paces under optimal and stressful conditions, testing their capacity to deal with low oxygen levels.

There appeared to be a number of key differences in their metabolic processes. But none were as dramatic as the contrast in maximum levels of respiration. By forcing the cells to boost their energy production, the researchers found those with CFS could only squeeze about another 50 percent from their cells — unlike the controls, who nearly doubled their output.”

In short, ME/CFS patients lack the ability to compensate for increased stress on a cellular level, and the debilitating fatigue they experience is due to the inability to produce the cellular energy needed to keep the body fully functional. Their mitochondria are simply unable to produce enough ATP to maintain an energy gradient across their cell membranes. As noted by the authors:

“Lower reserve capacity observed in CFS patients are indicative of the cells of patients performing closer to their capacity in normal conditions without stress than healthy controls. Lowered maximal respiration suggests that the PBMCs [peripheral blood mononuclear cells] of CFS patients are not capable of the same levels of respiration as healthy controls.”

ME/CFS Also Linked to Lack of Microbial Diversity in Gut

Another study published in the journal Microbiome evaluated the blood and stool of 48 people diagnosed with ME/CFS and compared the results to those from 39 healthy people.14,15 Here, differences were found in both stool and blood samples. Using DNA sequencing, a process of determining the precise order of nucleotides in a DNA molecule, they found a distinct lack in diversity in the gut microbiome in affected individuals.

Although these changes could not be clearly identified as either the cause or consequence of ME/CFS, researchers were heartened by the presence of these markers in 83% of the sample, and the possibility of treatment options to reduce symptoms. Quoted in the Washington Journal, professor of molecular biology and genetics at Cornell University, Maureen Hanson said:16

“Our work demonstrates that the gut bacterial microbiome in chronic fatigue syndrome patients isn’t normal, perhaps leading to gastrointestinal and inflammatory symptoms in victims of the disease. Furthermore, our detection of a biological abnormality provides further evidence against the ridiculous concept that the disease is psychological in origin.”

Addressing Leaky Gut May Help ME/CSF Patients

The researchers theorize the inflammatory markers in the blood could be the result of a “leaky gut from intestinal problems that allow bacteria to enter the blood.”17 Indeed, other recent research18,19 has confirmed the presence of more than a dozen inflammatory cytokines in blood that closely correlate with reported symptom severity in patients suffering from ME/CFS.

This confirms a suspicion of some researchers that symptoms of fluctuating flu-like symptoms and body aches associated with ME/CFS is linked to an inflammatory response.20 It’s important to realize that there is a distinct link between leaky gut and the foods you eat. Probably the single most important factor here is the herbicide glyphosate, which is pervasive. Between 1974 and 2014, over 3.5 billion pounds of glyphosate were used in the U.S. alone.21

Worldwide in 2017, 4.4 billion pounds (2 billion kilograms) of glyphosate were being used annually.22 Glyphosate will decimate tight junctions and contribute to leaky gut. Fortunately, you can radically reduce your exposure by eating organic and avoiding processed foods, which are usually contaminated. You can also check your glyphosate level with a simple urine test, to see how badly you’ve been exposed.

Grains and lectins, even organic non-GMO, are particularly troublesome. Research shows that gluten stimulates a protein molecule in your gut called zonulin, which triggers the opening of junctures between the cells in your gut lining. In essence, it makes your gut more permeable, allowing food particles to escape into your bloodstream, causing inflammation, immune reactions and raising your risk of various autoimmune disorders.

Certain plant lectins may also contribute to leaky gut by binding to receptor sites on your intestinal mucosal cells, thereby interfering with the absorption of nutrients across your intestinal wall. As such, they act as “antinutrients” and can have a detrimental effect on your gut microbiome by shifting the balance of your bacterial flora.

Among the worst culprits are wheat germ agglutinin (WGA), found in wheat and other seeds in the grass family. In fact, according to Dr. Steven Gundry, author of “The Plant Paradox: The Hidden Dangers in ‘Healthy’ Foods That Cause Disease and Weight Gain,” gluten is a minor problem compared to WGA.

Evidence suggests lectins are strongly associated with autoimmune disorders in general, so anyone struggling with a dysfunctional immune system may want to seriously consider experimenting with a low-lectin diet. As for ME/CFS, leaky gut is not an automatic precursor. However, healing and sealing your gut and reducing the inflammatory response in your body may result in a significant reduction in chronic fatigue symptoms by supporting your immune system.

Ketogenic Diet May Speed Resolution of Chronic Fatigue

In 2015, Dr. Courtney Craig, a chiropractor and nutritionist, wrote about her personal experience with the ketogenic diet. Diagnosed with CFS in her teen years, she’s been able to control her condition using a number of integrative health strategies, including intermittent fasting and nutritional ketosis. Describing a particularly harrowing relapse, she goes on to discuss how switching to a ketogenic diet helped her rapidly recover. She writes, in part:23

I needed a serious immune and mitochondrial reset … So, I shifted my usual paleo-diet around, and astonishingly I bounced back very quickly … I started consuming about 80 percent of my calories from healthy fats … This is something I do periodically when the fatigue rears its ugly head … It’s also advocated by doctors like … Dr. Thomas Seyfried …

I flipped a switch on my metabolism. I stopped relying so much on glucose for metabolism, and instead encouraged my liver to break down those dietary fats into ketones — a much “cleaner” energy source … The downside of burning carbohydrate as fuel, is production of cellular stress and free radicals. Ketones provide a “cleaner” energy for cells and are less damaging to cell membranes … A ketogenic diet can be initiated with a 12 to 72 hour fast.

Then the diet is maintained by consuming 75-90% of calories as fat, with the remainder coming from moderate amounts of protein and very little carbohydrate. The ketogenic diet is one that should be considered when dealing with ME/CFS … A body of research in animals and humans have highlighted some of the mechanisms by which dietary ketones promote cellular health.

Indeed, when your body is able to burn fat for fuel, your liver creates water-soluble fats (ketones) that:

  1. Burn far more efficiently than carbs, thereby creating fewer reactive oxygen species and secondary free radicals that can damage your cellular and mitochondrial cell membranes, proteins and DNA
  2. Decrease inflammation, as they are histone deacetylase inhibitors
  3. Mimic the life span extending properties of calorie restriction, which includes improved glucose metabolism and reduced inflammation24
  4. Have a similar structure to branched-chain amino acids, thereby aiding the building muscle mass and promoting longevity

The Importance of Cyclical Ketosis

Nutritional ketosis is the metabolic state associated with an increased production of ketones in your liver; i.e., the biological reflection of being able to burn fat, and is defined as having blood ketones in the range of 0.5 to 3.0 millimoles per liter. As a general guideline, a dietary intake of 20 to 50 grams (or less) per day of net carbs (total carbohydrates minus fiber) while also keeping protein low-to-moderate is usually low enough to allow you to make the shift to nutritional ketosis.

However, once you achieve metabolic flexibility and are able to generate ketones with nutritional ketosis, it’s important to include higher carb intakes every now and then. For all its benefits, continuous ketosis actually has some downsides that are easily avoided by implementing a cyclical “feast and famine” regimen. I detail the reasons for this in my book, “Fat for Fuel.” In summary, long-term uninterrupted ketosis can trigger a rise in blood sugar by driving your insulin level too low.

This paradoxical situation can occur because the primary function of insulin is not actually to drive sugar into the cell but rather to suppress the production of glucose by your liver (hepatic gluconeogenesis).

Cycling in and out of nutritional ketosis will effectively prevent this rise in blood sugar in the absence of high glucose. So, once you are able to burn fat as fuel, having a day or two each week where you eat more net carbs and protein is important, especially when you’re doing strength training, to prevent sarcopenia.

After a day of “feasting,” you then cycle back into nutritional ketosis (the “fasting” stage) for the remainder of the week. By periodically pulsing higher carb intakes, consuming, say, 100 or 150 grams of carbs opposed to 20 to 50 grams per day, your ketone levels will dramatically increase and your blood sugar will drop.

Chronic Fatigue Patients Need Mitochondrial Support

In this 2016 interview, I discuss the importance of mitochondrial function and how it may impact your symptoms of chronic illnesses like ME/CFS. It stands to reason that a condition that triggers an inflammatory response and gut dysfunction, and that results in overwhelming fatigue, will respond favorably to treatment strategies that reduce inflammation, heal your gut microbiome and support mitochondrial function and energy synthesis.

Diet-wise, a cyclical ketogenic diet would be a foundational strategy. The following dietary recommendations will also help heal and seal your gut, lower inflammation and support healthy energy production. You can also read more about supporting your gut health in “Nourishing Your Gut Bacteria is Critical for Health and Mental Well-Being.”

Avoid gluten and wheat products — Gliadins, a component of gluten, are a class of protein found in wheat and cereals that increase the permeability of your gut. Keep in mind that gluten can also be found in other grains, not just wheat.
Avoid lectins — To learn more, including which foods are best avoided due to high lectin content, please see “How to Reduce Lectins in Your Diet.”
Reduce your net carbs — The carbohydrate sugar, like grains, will upset the balance of microbes in your gut. Sugar is the food source for bacteria that can prompt damage to your intestinal walls, while fiber is the food source for bacteria that build your intestinal membranes.

Your net carbs are the total grams of carbohydrates you’ve eaten in a day, minus the grams of fiber you’ve eaten. The difference is your net carbs. Seek to reduce your net carbs to 50 grams per 1,000 calories of food you eat each day.

Increase your fiber intake — The fiber you eat from whole foods is the nutrient source for bacteria in your gut that helps maintain and build the membrane cells in your intestinal walls. This helps to seal the “gaps” between the cells and reduces any leakage of waste products and bacteria into your blood stream. Focus on eating whole food vegetables, nuts and seeds (with the exception of lectin-rich varieties).
Eat fermented foods — Fermented foods are a great source of natural probiotics to feed healthy microbes in your gut. Olives, pickles, kimchi, cheese from grass fed cows, homemade yogurt and sauerkraut are just a few of the foods you may not have considered. Your best bet is to make your own. In this video, Julie and I demonstrate how to make your own fermented vegetables at home.

Supplement with nutrients important for cellular energy synthesis such as ubiquinol, the reduced form of CoQ10, and D-ribose, a core building block of adenosine triphosphate or ATP. Also eat foods rich in glutathione precursors, sulfur and selenium to encourage glutathione production. Glutathione is one of your body’s most important antioxidants and a natural detoxification agent.
Intermittently fast, making sure your last meal is taken at least three hours before bedtime. The rationale for avoiding late night eating is directly tied to the way your body produces energy.

Other Strategies to Help Reduce Chronic Fatigue Symptoms

There is no known cure for ME/CFS, but there are strategies that can help alleviate symptoms,25 over and beyond the dietary recommendations already mentioned. My full metabolic mitochondrial therapy program is described in my book, “Fat for Fuel.” Cold thermogenesisphotobiology, detoxification, exercise and avoiding electromagnetic fields are all strategies that will help improve mitochondrial health and function.

When it comes to exercise, work out according to your ability, with a focus on increasing the amount of exercise you can handle. Research shows that a combination of aerobic activity and strength training can improve pain and fatigue symptoms. Gentle exercise such as yoga can also be an excellent part of your program, and yoga benefits your mind as well as your body.

You may also want to address your mental outlook. In addition to talk therapy, I would recommend trying The Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT) to help normalize your bioenergetic circuitry. Emotionally traumatic events can leave “energy blockages” for many years, which then interfere with your overall health, including immune function. There are many different techniques that can be used, but EFT is my favorite, and it’s easy to learn and apply.

Sources and References

How trace minerals help to heal the body

Reproduced from original article:
www.naturalhealth365.com/trace-minerals-heal-3210.html
by: Natalie Robins, staff writer

sea salt(NaturalHealth365) Even if you try to eat a healthy, organic diet – you could be at risk for nutritional deficiencies without realizing it.  In fact, the National Institutes of Health concluded that “the vast majority of people in both affluent and emerging industrialized countries do not reach even 75 percent of the RDAs for numerous trace minerals.”The importance of nutrient status (and deficiencies) cannot be overstated. For example, magnesium deficiency is widespread among Americans. One study, sponsored by the National Institutes of Health, shows that 68% of Americans are magnesium deficient and, some experts like Carolyn Dean, MD have been warning the public for years.

Editor’s note: Sea salt is an excellent way to get trace minerals into your diet.  But, beware, most brands of sea salt are contaminated with microplastics.  Click here to discover our top pick for sea salt.

What is the importance of trace minerals?

Some minerals, such as calcium, potassium, and phosphorus, are more common in food and in your body. Trace minerals, on the other hand, are essential minerals that you only need in trace amounts.

The following is a condensed look at certain minerals and their purpose in the body:

  • Chromium is necessary for proper regulation of blood sugar and improves insulin sensitivity.
  • Cobalt is present in vitamin B12 and it is necessary for generating healthy, red blood cells.
  • Zinc allows for proper immune response, growth, antioxidant function and wound healing.
  • Selenium is necessary for proper antioxidant function and liver detoxification. It is also essential for healthy muscles and hair.
  • Iodine is necessary for your body to make thyroid hormone – which is involved in almost every process in your body including energy metabolism and temperature regulation.

Bottom line, trace minerals are essential to protect against common health issues, such as heart disease, diabetes, and cognitive decline. Without enough trace minerals, you’re also susceptible to contamination from heavy metals such as arsenic, mercury and lead.

Do NOT ignore the health dangers linked to toxic indoor air.  These chemicals – the ‘off-gassing’ of paints, mattresses, carpets and other home/office building materials – increase your risk of headaches, dementia, heart disease and cancer.

Get the BEST indoor air purification system – at the LOWEST price, exclusively for NaturalHealth365 readers.  I, personally use this system in my home AND office.  Click HERE to order now – before the sale ends.

Why modern farming techniques MUST change to help save humanity

Why aren’t Americans getting enough trace minerals from their food supply?  Obviously, we should be looking at soil content.  Over the past century, the quality of our soil has been depleted by 85 percent – mainly due to modern methods of farming.

The agricultural sector is driven by crop yield, using every possible method to increase the number of pounds harvested. Intensive farming, combined with soil erosion, has resulted in soil with a lower mineral content. To make matters worse, chemical fertilizers are insufficient to replace the minerals needed for optimal health and poison the environment.

The singular focus on agricultural yield comes at the expense of nutritious food products and the nutritional status and health of Americans. Fruits and vegetables are now grown in soil with a lower nutrient content than in the past. A study in Canada found that tomatoes, spinach, cabbage, and lettuce have on average one-eighth the mineral content today than they did at the beginning of the 20th century.

The ocean provides a natural way to correct mineral deficiencies

If you just can’t depend on the produce section of your supermarket, how can you give your body the nutrients it needs to heal your body? The answer may lie in the ocean, which is rich in minerals.

They’re in their complete, non-denatured form, which is the form most beneficial (and recognizable) to the human body.

If you have the time and space, you can grow your own fruits and vegetables using ocean trace minerals to fertilize them. Another option is to eat seaweed, either as a food or as a supplement. Sea vegetable capsules are another source of minerals, and sea vegetables also contain health-promoting compounds such as fucoidan – which can help lower your risk for disease.

Of course, like with any other food, it’s important to know the source – to minimize the risk of consuming toxic chemicals in the food supply.

Editor’s note:  If you want to avoid mineral deficiencies – I encourage you to investigate the health benefits of QuintEssential Optimum Mineralization 3.3.  This super clean product is now available, in limited supply, at the NaturalHealth365 Store.  And, yes, I’ve personally been using this high-quality product for over 4 years!

Sources for this article:

Personalhealthfacts.com
Healthy-Vegetable-Gardening.com

An Avocado a Day Boosts Your Brain

© 27th November 2019 GreenMedInfo LLC. This work is reproduced and distributed with the permission of GreenMedInfo LLC. Want to learn more from GreenMedInfo? Sign up for the newsletter here www.greenmedinfo.com/greenmed/newsletter
Reproduced from original article:
www.greenmedinfo.health/blog/avocado-day-boosts-your-brain

LeanMachine Note: Lutein with Zeaxanthin is available as a supplement.

Why Vegetable Oils Are Carcinogenic


Reproduced from original article:
https://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2019/11/25/effects-of-vegetable-oil-on-our-health.aspx

Analysis by Dr. Joseph MercolaFact Checked

STORY AT-A-GLANCE

  • Replacing dangerous vegetable oils such as corn oil, soybean oil and canola oil with healthy fats such as lard, butter or coconut oil is a simple way to boost your health and reduce your risk of chronic disease, including cancer
  • Vegetable oils are a concentrated source of omega-6 linoleic acid, which has led to a severe imbalance between the omega-6 to omega-3 ratio in most people’s diets. This imbalance appears to be why vegetable oils promote cancer
  • Consumption of saturated animal fats such as butter, lard and beef tallow fell by 27% between 1970 and 2014, while consumption of vegetable oils rose by 87%
  • Historically, mankind consumed omega-3 and omega-6 at a ratio of 1-to-1. Today, most get 25 times more omega-6 than omega-3, and this imbalance has been linked to heart disease, gastrointestinal diseases, inflammatory conditions and cancer, especially neuroblastoma, breast, prostate, colon and lung cancer
  • Your body metabolizes omega-3 and omega-6 PUFAs into eicosanoids (hormone-like substances), and as a general rule, omega-3 eicosanoids are anti-inflammatory while omega-6 eicosanoids have proinflammatory effects. Part of the benefits of omega-3 fats is that they block the proinflammatory effects of omega-6 eicosanoids

Dietary fats are a crucial component of a healthy diet, but the devil’s in the details, and the type of fats you choose can make a world of difference. Replacing dangerous oils with healthy fats is one simple way to boost your health and reduce your risk of chronic disease.

Sadly, the fats that promote ill health are the very ones we’ve been told are the healthiest, and vice versa. Among the absolute worst types of fat you can eat are vegetable oils, such as corn oil, soybean oil, sunflower and canola oil, found in most processed foods and restaurant meals.

According to the 2017 U.S. Department of Agriculture report,1 “U.S. Trends in Food Availability,” consumption of saturated animal fats such as butter, lard and beef tallow fell by 27% between 1970 and 2014, while consumption of vegetable oils rose by 87%. Intake of salad and cooking oils specifically rose by a remarkable 248%.

In my view, processed vegetable oils, rich in omega-6 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs), are the most dangerous dietary factor of them all, taking a greater toll on human health than high fructose corn syrup even.

Not only have vegetable oils been linked to heart disease, gastrointestinal diseases such as irritable bowel disorder, and inflammatory conditions such as arthritis, they’ve also been linked to cancer, especially neuroblastoma, breast, prostate, colon and lung cancer. 2

Vegetable Oils — A Hidden Cause of Cancer

In a November 8, 2019, Medium article,3 Maria Cross, a nutritionist with a master of science degree, discusses the science behind vegetable oils and what makes them carcinogenic. She explains:

“There are two classes of PUFA: omega-6 and omega-3. Although functionally distinct and non-interchangeable, these two classes are perpetually engaged in a metabolic balancing act, pushing and pulling as they compete for absorption in the body.

There is nothing intrinsically wrong with omega-6 PUFAs: we need them … If omega-6 fat is essential to health, it makes no sense that it can also cause cancer …

That’s why scientists believe that it is not omega-6 per se that is to blame; it’s the balance between the two groups of PUFA that is out of kilter and wreaking havoc on our bodies. We evolved on, and are genetically adapted to, a diet that provides more or less equal amounts of omega-3 and omega-64 …

With the industrialization of our diets, and the vast quantities of vegetable cooking oils that go into them, the ratio between omega-6 and omega-3 has shifted enormously and we consume up to 25 times5 more omega-6 than omega-3 …

There can only be consequences, and indeed there are: experimental data6 supports the theory that it is this skewed balance between the two PUFAs that influences the development of a tumor.”

How Lopsided PUFA Ratios Promote Cancer

The cancer connection is also reviewed in a 2016 paper,7 “Role of Diets Rich in Omega-3 and Omega-6 in the Development of Cancer,” which points out that “Omega-6 and omega-3 PUFAs often compete with one another for metabolism and act in an opposing manner.”

Your body metabolizes omega-3 and omega-6 PUFAs into eicosanoids, which are hormone-like substances, and as a general rule, omega-3 eicosanoids are anti-inflammatory while omega-6 eicosanoids have proinflammatory effects.8 Part of the benefits of omega-3 fats is that they block the proinflammatory effects of omega-6 eicosanoids.

As noted in the 2016 paper9 cited above, “several studies have demonstrated that omega-6 PUFAs induce progression in certain types of cancer,” while “omega-3 PUFAs possess a therapeutic role against certain types of cancer.”

Table 1 in that paper lists eight known mechanisms by which omega-3 lowers your risk of cancer. For example, omega-3 has been shown to inhibit insulin-like growth factor (IGF) and down-regulate growth factor receptors involved in cancer.

Omega-3 fats also reduce angiogenesis and cell-to-cell adhesion, improve the structure and function of cells, combat inflammation (which is a hallmark of cancer10) and induce cancer cell apoptosis (cell death).11 Table 2 in that same paper lists the pro-tumor mechanisms of omega-6 fats, which include:12

  • Creation of reactive species that damage DNA
  • 17-beta-estradiol epoxidation, which in turn generates a carcinogenic compound
  • Enhancing the genotoxic effects of other compounds

As explained in my book, “Superfuel,” co-written with James DiNicolantonio, Pharm.D., omega-6 also inhibits cardiolipin, an important component of the inner membrane of your mitochondria that needs to be saturated in DHA in order for it to function properly.13

Cardiolipin can be likened to a cellular alarm system that triggers apoptosis (cell death) by signaling caspase-3 when something goes wrong with the cell. If the cardiolipin is not saturated with DHA, it cannot signal caspase-3, and hence apoptosis does not occur. As a result, dysfunctional cells are allowed to continue to grow, which can turn into a cancerous cell.

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Vegetable Oils Promote Virtually All Chronic Disease

Cancer is by far not the only health risk associated with vegetable oils. As mentioned, they promote virtually all chronic disease by throwing your omega-3 to omega-6 ratio off kilter. But they also influence your disease risk in other ways.

Importantly, vegetable oils degrade when heated, forming extremely toxic oxidation products, including cyclic aldehydes.14 Cyclic aldehydes cause oxidized low-density lipoprotein (LDL) associated with heart disease. They also crosslink tau protein and create neurofibrillary tangles, thereby contributing to the development of neurodegenerative diseases.

As explained by Dr. Cate Shanahan in her book, “Deep Nutrition: Why Your Genes Need Traditional Food,”15 in order to understand how dietary fats affect your health you need to understand how fats oxidize.

The omega-6 PUFAs found in vegetable oils have highly perishable bonds that react with oxygen, creating a free radical cascade that turns normal fatty acids in your body into dangerous high-energy molecules that zip around, wreaking havoc in a way similar to that of radiation.

What’s more, many of the vegetable oils produced today — especially corn and soy oil — are genetically engineered and a significant source of glyphosate exposure, and glyphosate has also been linked to gut damage and other health problems.

Shanahan’s book also expounds on the hazards of 4-hydroxynonenal (4HNE), which forms during the processing of most vegetable oils. 4HNE is highly toxic, especially to your gut bacteria, and consumption of 4HNE has been correlated with having an obesogenic balance of gut flora.

4HNE causes cytotoxicity and DNA damage, and instigates free radical cascades that damage the mitochondrial membrane. As noted by Shanahan in our 2017 interview, featured in “Dietary Fats — The Good, the Bad and the Ugly”:

“You can’t design a better delivery vehicle for a toxin that’s going to destroy your health slowly over the course of maybe 10, 20 years, depending on the genetics of your antioxidant system capacity.”

Shanahan also notes that organic vegetable oil is not the answer, as 4HNE occurs even if the oil is obtained from organic crops. It’s an intrinsic byproduct of the refining and processing of the oil, no matter how healthy the oil initially was.

The omega-6 found in vegetable oils also damages the endothelium (the cells lining your blood vessels), allowing LDL and very low-density lipoprotein (VLDL) particles to penetrate into the subendothelium.

In other words, these oils get integrated into your cell and mitochondrial membranes, and once these membranes are impaired, it sets the stage for all sorts of health problems.

They also make cell membranes less fluid, which impacts hormone transporters in the cell membrane and slows your metabolic rate, and inhibit the removal of senescent cells — aged, damaged or crippled cells that have lost the ability to reproduce and produce inflammatory cytokines that rapidly accelerate disease and aging.

Vegetable oils also strip your liver of glutathione (which produces antioxidant enzymes), thereby lowering your antioxidant defenses,16 and inhibit delta-6 desaturase (delta-6), an enzyme involved in the conversion of short-chained omega-3s to longer chained omega-3s in your liver.17

Address Your Omega-6 to Omega-3 Ratio to Protect Your Health

Marine-based omega-3 is one of the most important fats in the human diet, as docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) are actually key structural elements of cells, including your brain cells, and not just simple fuel. If you don’t have enough DHA and EPA, your body’s ability to repair and maintain healthy cell structures is seriously impaired.

The key that many overlook is the importance of getting the ratio of omega-3 to omega-6 right. Simply adding in more omega-3 might not be sufficient if you’re not also taking steps to significantly lower your omega-6 intake, and vegetable oils are a primary source.

As noted in the 2002 paper,18 “The Importance of the Ratio of Omega-6/Omega-3 Essential Fatty Acids”:

“Excessive amounts of omega-6 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA) and a very high omega-6/omega-3 ratio, as is found in today’s Western diets, promote the pathogenesis of many diseases, including cardiovascular disease, cancer, and inflammatory and autoimmune diseases, whereas increased levels of omega-3 PUFA (a low omega-6/omega-3 ratio) exert suppressive effects.

In the secondary prevention of cardiovascular disease, a ratio of 4/1 was associated with a 70% decrease in total mortality. A ratio of 2.5/1 reduced rectal cell proliferation in patients with colorectal cancer, whereas a ratio of 4/1 with the same amount of omega-3 PUFA had no effect.

The lower omega-6/omega-3 ratio in women with breast cancer was associated with decreased risk. A ratio of 2–3/1 suppressed inflammation in patients with rheumatoid arthritis, and a ratio of 5/1 had a beneficial effect on patients with asthma, whereas a ratio of 10/1 had adverse consequences.

These studies indicate that the optimal ratio may vary with the disease under consideration. This is consistent with the fact that chronic diseases are multigenic and multifactorial.

Therefore, it is quite possible that the therapeutic dose of omega-3 fatty acids will depend on the degree of severity of disease resulting from the genetic predisposition. A lower ratio of omega-6/omega-3 fatty acids is more desirable in reducing the risk of many of the chronic diseases of high prevalence in Western societies …”

Since most processed foods and restaurant foods contain these oils, ridding your diet of them means ditching processed fare and restaurant meals, and cooking from scratch using healthier cooking fats. While you do need omega-6, it should be in its unprocessed form, not industrial vegetable oils. Good sources are whole, raw plant seeds and tree nuts.

Healthiest Fats for Cooking

While the devil’s in the details, and the details may be complicated, the simplest way to understand what a healthy diet consists of is to think back 100 years or so and consider what food was back then, and how it was prepared.

What you’re aiming for is real food — whole food that is as close to its natural state as possible. This may be particularly important when it comes to fats. Again, ditching vegetable oils and any food cooked with it can go a long way toward lowering inflammation and mitochondrial and cellular damage, which will protect you from a variety of common killers, including cancer. As for what to replace the vegetable oils with, the following are among your healthiest options:

Organic pastured pork lard — A 2015 analysis19 of more than 1,000 raw foods ranked raw separated pork fat, also known as pork lard, as the eighth healthiest food on a list of 100.20 Valuable nutrients found in lard include vitamin D,21 omega-3 fats,22 monounsaturated fats23 (the same fats found in avocados and olive oil24), saturated fats25 and choline.26

Coconut oil is another excellent cooking oil that is loaded with health benefits.

Olive oil — Authentic olive oil contains healthy fatty acids that can help lower your risk of heart disease. While the standard recommendation has been to avoid using olive oil for cooking and to only use it cold, recent research27 in which 10 popular cooking oils were compared contradicts this advice, showing extra-virgin olive oil actually scored best for both oxidative stability and lack of harmful compounds produced when heated.

A word of caution is warranted, however. Fake olive oil abounds,28 so it’s important to take the time to investigate your sources. Many are adulterated with cheap vegetable oils or nonhuman grade olive oils,29 which are harmful to health in a number of ways. For more information, see “Is Your Olive Oil Fake?” where I cover this topic in-depth.

Organic butter (preferably made from organic grass fed raw milk) instead of margarines and vegetable oil spreads — Butter is a healthy whole food that has received an unwarranted bad rap.

Organic ghee is even better, as you remove the milk solids that many have problems with — Ghee is pure fat with no carbs and is what I personally use. The best way to make it is to place it in a glass container in a dehydrator and don’t heat it higher than 100 degrees F. to preserve the quality.

You can suck off the milk solids with a glass baster. Once you have the ghee you don’t even need to refrigerate it as it is stable at room temperature for many weeks.

To round out your healthy fat intake, be sure to eat raw fats, such as those from avocados, raw nuts, raw dairy products and olive oil. Also increase your animal-based omega-3 fat intake by eating more sardines, anchovies, mackerel, herring or wild-caught Alaskan salmon, or take a supplement such as krill oil.
healthiest cooking oil

– Sources and References

The connection between artificial sweeteners and diabetes

Reproduced from original article:
www.naturalhealth365.com/artificial-sweeteners-diabetes-3201.html

by:  

artificial-sweeteners-news

(NaturalHealth365) According to the American Diabetes Association, diabetes has become a pandemic, affecting 30 million people in the United States alone. Unfortunately, the rate of diabetes continues to grow exponentially due to the overconsumption of processed foods – which dominate the standard American diet or its more popular name, “SAD.”

Shockingly, by 2030, WHO is predicting diabetes will become the seventh leading cause of death around the world.  So, what’s the main ingredient fueling this health crisis of metabolic disorders?  Look no further than the consumption of artificial sweeteners, under names like, Sweet’N Low, NutriSweet, Equal, aspartame – the list goes on and on.

Listen to the experts: Artificial sweeteners are neurotoxic – causing major health problems

A study at the Imperial College of London found that people who drink a single 12-ounce soda a day increased their risk of type-2 diabetes by 18 percent – compared to those who avoided soda.

A study from Harvard Medical School and Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston found that women who drink one soda per day double their risk of developing type 2 diabetes – compared to women who drink less than one soda per month.

In addition, if these quotes (below) don’t make you think twice about consuming artificial sweeteners … then, nothing will.

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“Unfortunately, many patients in my practice, and others seen in consultation, developed serious metabolic, neurologic and other complications that could be specifically attributed to using aspartame products. This was evidenced by the loss of diabetic control, the intensification of hypoglycemia, the occurrence of presumed ‘insulin reactions’ (including convulsions) that proved to be aspartame reactions, and the precipitation, aggravation or simulation of diabetic complications (especially impaired vision and neuropathy) while using these products… dramatic improvement of such features after avoiding aspartame, and the prompt predictable recurrence of these problems when the patient resumed aspartame products, knowingly or inadvertently.” – H.J.Roberts, M.D., F.A.C.P., F.C.C.P

“In view of all these indications that the cancer-causing potential of aspartame is a matter that had been established way beyond any reasonable doubt, one can ask: What is the reason for the apparent refusal by the FDA to invoke for this food additive the so-called Delaney Amendment to the Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act? Is it not clear beyond any shadow of a doubt that aspartame has caused brain tumors or brain cancer in animals?” – Dr. Adrian Gross, former FDA toxicologist

“So in the case of diet drinks in aluminum cans, the very toxic brain aluminum fluoride compound co-exists with multiple toxins found in aspartame, thus creating the most powerful government-approved toxic soup imaginable. With the strong association between aluminum, excitotoxins, aluminum fluoride complexes and Alzheimer’s disease, it would be completely irresponsible to encourage people to consume this toxic mixture.” – Russell Blaylock, M.D.

Uninformed consumers, in an effort to reduce sugar intake and reduce the risk of diabetes, tend to think that artificial sweeteners offer some kind of “safe” alternative to processed sugar. But, as we now know, the scientific evidence is abundantly clear – consuming artificial sweeteners actually increase the risk of obesity, diabetes plus many other health problems.

How artificial sweeteners cause glucose intolerance

When researchers from the Weizmann Institute of Science in Rehovot, Israel began studying the effects of aspartame, sucralose and other artificial sweeteners in the body, what they found was startling. Data acquired through the study revealed a significant change within the composition and function of the ‘good’ bacteria within the intestines of mice fed a steady measure of various non-caloric artificial sweeteners.

Since these bacteria play an important role in digestion and glucose metabolism, threatening this balance of good and bad bacteria, within the gut, by eating artificial sweeteners can lead to glucose intolerance, over time.

In addition to changing the intestinal bacterial composition, artificial sweeteners were also linked to higher blood sugar levels. People who regularly consume chemical sugar substitutes were found to have greater difficulty regulating blood sugar, and people who do not normally consume artificial sweeteners experienced higher blood sugar levels after doing so for just one week.

One of the researchers at Weizmann, Eran Elinav, told reporters during a news conference that he made a decision to stop using artificial sweeteners because of the surprising results of the study.

Artificial sweeteners proven to do more harm than good

With scientific data that upholds the dangers of artificial sweeteners within the gut and other areas of the body, why would anyone continue consuming these dangerous substances? Furthermore, why are these substances still touted as ‘safe’ and even beneficial for people who need to lower their sugar intake or calorie consumption?

Sadly, there are many organizations like, the American Cancer Society … that continue to push the notion that aspartame is “safe” and does not cause cancer.  Just look at what they say … and we’ll let you decide how deceptive they are.

In about 6,000 food products, artificial sweeteners lurk in all kinds of commonly consumed products such as, sugar-free gum, diet sodas, breakfast cereals, baby food and even the most popular brands of yogurt. It’s no wonder we see the steady growth of obesity, diabetes and neurological diseases like, Alzheimer’s.

Instead of using these neurotoxin poisons to prevent or “manage” diabetes, we must learn to enjoy natural sugars (in moderation) and commit to a lifestyle of clean, healthy living – including the consumption of organic vegetables, fruits, sprouted nuts, seeds plus a reasonable amount of healthy fats and proteins … as much as possible.

Combined with an active lifestyle, a balanced diet of real food – found in nature – free of artificial sweeteners and other food additives … will enable you to maintain a healthy blood sugar level and never be concerned about diabetes.

Sources for this article include:

Clinical.Diabetesjournals.org
Nature.com

Skyrocketing Charges for Insulin Should Be a Crime


Reproduced from original article:
https://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2019/11/22/insulin-price-gouging.aspx

Analysis by Dr. Joseph Mercola  – Fact Checked – November 22, 2019
insulin price gouging

STORY AT-A-GLANCE

  • Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease in which your immune system attacks and destroys the pancreatic cells that produce insulin, which is why it’s also referred to as insulin-dependent diabetes
  • Type 1 diabetics require a steady supply of insulin for their survival, as their bodies produce little or no insulin at all
  • As prices of insulin have skyrocketed, many Type 1 diabetics are now risking their lives by rationing insulin
  • The price of insulin tripled between 2002 and 2013, and has doubled again since then. The three dominant makers of insulin, Eli Lilly, Sanofi and Novo Nordisk, all sell their insulin for approximately the same prices, and have raised them in lockstep, raising suspicions of price fixing
  • Your lifestyle will have an impact on your blood sugar control. Ways to help manage your glucose levels include limiting your net carb intake, timing your meals appropriately, eating nutritious foods and exercising regularly

Conventional medicine still has Type 2 diabetes misidentified as a blood sugar problem. In reality, the condition is rooted in insulin resistance and faulty leptin signaling, caused by chronically elevated insulin and leptin levels. In other words, it’s a diet-derived condition that can be reversed using a cyclical ketogenic diet and fasting.

This is why the medical community’s approach to Type 2 diabetes treatment, which typically involves the administration of insulin, is fatally flawed and professionally irresponsible. Treating Type 2 diabetes with insulin is actually one of the worst things you can do, as it simply accelerates dying from the disease.

Type 1 diabetics, on the other hand, do require a steady supply of insulin for their survival, as their bodies produce little or no insulin at all. Previously called juvenile diabetes, there are actually more adults with Type 1 diabetes than there are children with the condition, with an estimated 1 million to 1.5 million Type 1 diabetics in the U.S. alone.

Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease in which your immune system attacks and destroys your pancreatic cells that produce insulin, which is why it’s also referred to as insulin-dependent diabetes. Tragically, as prices of insulin have skyrocketed, many Type 1 diabetics are now risking their lives by rationing their insulin use.1

Skyrocketing Costs Force Type 1 Diabetics to Risk Their Lives

In a recent article,2 The Washington Post tells the story of Alec Raeshawn Smith, who was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes in 2015, just shy of his 24th birthday. Two years later, his health insurance coverage under his mother’s policy expired, leaving him with two expensive options: Get his own insurance, which would cost about $450 per month with a $7,000 deductible, or pay for his diabetic supplies out of pocket. The Washington Post continues:

“What Alec soon learned was just how much his insulin would end up costing… The price of insulin — once modest — has skyrocketed in recent years, making the lifesaving medication a significant, even burdensome, expense, especially for the uninsured and underinsured.

The costs are so heavy that they have driven some patients to ration their supplies of the drug in a dangerous gamble with life-threatening consequences. At the time Alec discussed skipping insurance coverage, he told his mother, ‘It can’t be that bad.’ Within a month of going off her policy, he would be dead …

As Nicole [Alec’s mother] cleaned out his cluttered blue car, littered with old prescription receipts, she started to cobble together just how much his insulin and blood sugar testing supplies cost without insurance or discounts. The total, by her count, was nearly $1,300 per month …

That $1,300 was almost $200 more than Alec’s biweekly paycheck. Nicole now believes that Alec was rationing his insulin because of the cost … ‘We realized that he had been taking less insulin and less often than he should, trying to make it stretch until he got his next paycheck.’ He was found dead three days before payday.”

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Price Gouging Insulin Should Be a Crime

As noted in the featured article,3 the three researchers (Frederick Banting, Charles Best and James Collip4) who in 1921 discovered insulin — thereby transforming diabetic treatment and offering hope for a more or less normal life for Type 1 diabetics, who were previously doomed to die young — sold their patent to the University of Toronto for $1 each.

According to historian Michael Bliss,5 these researchers were trying to provide a great humanitarian gift to the world. In the hands of drug companies, however, insulin has become a guaranteed profit center totally isolated from the inventors’ benevolent intentions for the use of their discovery.

The price of insulin tripled between 2002 and 2013,6,7 and has doubled again since.8 At present, the three dominant makers of insulin, Eli Lilly, Sanofi and Novo Nordisk — which control 96% of the insulin market9 — all sell their insulin for approximately the same prices, and have raised them in lockstep, raising suspicions of price fixing.10

Drug makers also continue fine-tuning their formulas to prevent low blood sugar episodes, and while that’s good, it also ensures the drug patents don’t expire, preventing generics from being introduced.11

“For decades, manufacturers improved formulas, first using animal parts, then producing human insulin using bacteria and recombinant DNA. The 1990s saw the advent of insulin analogs, synthetic drugs made to better mimic the body’s own insulin production,” The Washington Post writes.12

“Today, critics argue that the price of insulin has far outpaced any innovations … In 1996, when Eli Lilly debuted its Humalog brand of insulin, the list price of a 10-milliliter vial was $21. The price of the same vial is now $275. Those costs can be compounded by the multiple vials that diabetics may require to survive each month.”

Price Hikes Threaten Insulin-Dependent Americans’ Lives

The Washington Post13 cites IBM Watson Health data showing Sanofi’s Lantus brand went from $35 per vial when introduced in 2001 to about $270 today, and Novolog, by Novo Nordisk, which started out at $40 per vial when released in 2001, now sells for around $289.

According to a 2016 JAMA study,14,15 the nondiscounted price for Lantus in the U.S. in 2015 was as high as $372.75, and the discounted price $186.38. Meanwhile, that same drug sold for $67 in Canada, $60.90 in Germany and $46.60 in France.

Even more telling is a 2018 study16 showing the estimated cost of manufacturing a 12-month supply of analog insulin is between $78 and $133 per patient, and $48 to $71 per patient per year for biosimilars. Why are patients having to pay as much as $24,000 a year for insulin that costs less than $133 to manufacture?

In response to growing outcry and lawsuits over insulin prices, Eli Lilly introduced Lispro, a less expensive generic version of its insulin Humalog, in May 2019.17,18 Lispro is said to sell at about half of the list price of Humalog.

According to a company statement,19 “The people who are most likely to benefit from Insulin Lispro Injection are Medicare Part D beneficiaries, people with high-deductible health plans and the uninsured who use Humalog.”

Lack of Competition, Payment Incentives Drive Prices

Why the dramatic increase in insulin prices? A November 2018 congressional caucus report,20,21 “Insulin: A Lifesaving Drug Too Often Out of Reach,” sought to identify the reasons behind these literally life threatening price hikes. As noted in this report:22

“Every day 7.5 million Americans rely on insulin [my note: over 6 million of these are Type 2 diabetics and should not be taking insulin] to manage their blood sugar levels and prevent debilitating, even deadly complications.

This lifesaving drug, however, has become increasingly unaffordable. Its average price has nearly doubled since 2012, putting an enormous financial burden on millions of patients.

For more than a year, Representatives Diana DeGette (D-CO) and Tom Reed (R-NY), the co- chairs of the Congressional Diabetes Caucus, have conducted a bipartisan inquiry to uncover the sources of this dramatic price increase.

This culminating report provides an overview of the insulin supply chain, discusses the drivers behind rising insulin prices, and recommends policy solutions to lower costs …

Many of the complicating reasons will be detailed further in this inquiry, including the myriad steps that insulin takes from manufacturer to patient, the perverse payment incentives and methodologies, the lack of transparency in pricing and outdated patent regulations, among other things.

These market failures have allowed a handful of players along the insulin distribution pipeline from manufacturers to health insurers to capitalize on their strategic positions, driving up the price of insulin and minimizing competition.

Congress should pursue a handful of legislative actions to increase price transparency, promote competition among insulin makers, and encourage the use of value-based contracts. Congress should also consider working on targeted patent reforms to prevent anti-competitive practices and streamline the drug approval process at the Food and Drug Administration for biosimilar insulins.”

While 1 in 4 patients gambles with their lives by rationing their insulin supplies by what they can afford,23 others have taken to illegally importing insulin from other countries where prices are more reasonable.

The Washington Post24 recounts testimony from one father who told senators a 90-day supply of insulin for his son costs $1,489.46 through insurance with a high deductible. He’s resorted to buying insulin from a Canadian pharmacy, from which he can get the same amount of insulin for $350 including shipping.

According to the article, while this is technically illegal, “the Food and Drug Administration generally doesn’t prosecute individuals if it’s a short-term supply for personal use.”25 Many others have turned to GoFundMe to raise donations for their insulin purchases.

Why Rationing Your Insulin Is a Dangerous Gamble

For Type 1 diabetics, whose bodies can’t make insulin, getting a steady supply is crucial for their health. Taking lower doses, or skipping doses, can be immediately life threatening and in the long term can result in even more costly health problems. As noted in the featured article:26

“Poor glycemic control can lead to blindness, kidney failure, amputation, heart disease and stroke. In the short term, patients who stop taking enough insulin can lapse into diabetic ketoacidosis, a condition where blood sugars get too high and the body’s blood becomes acidic. It can become fatal in just hours or a few days.”

While not an ideal solution, The Washington Post points out an alternative solution: older versions of insulins, available at Walmart for approximately $25 per vial.

While there’s some evidence showing these older formulas, which came out in the 1980s, are more likely to trigger dangerously low blood sugar and are typically thought to be safer for Type 2 diabetics than Type 1 diabetics, the doctors interviewed by The Washington Post agree it’s better than nothing.

Similarly, in the information sheet, “Diabetes Meds on a Budget,”27 Beverly Thomassian, a registered nurse and president of Diabetes Education Services, points out:

“The older insulins are regular and NPH. They are available as Humulin R and N (Eli Lilly) and Novolin R and N (Novo Nordisk). These biosynthetic insulins take longer to start working and the NPH peaks at 4 – 10 hours.

ReliOn Brand — Walmart sells Novolin insulin Regular, NPH and 70/30 (biphasic insulin) under the ReliOn label at discounted prices … Newer insulins are referred to as analogues. The amino sequence of these insulins has been slightly rearranged through genetic engineering to make them more rapidly available or take longer to absorb …

Given these pricing disparities, please consider reading this article28 published in Diabetes Care, 2009 — that describes the effective use of NPH and Reg to manage Type 2 diabetes.

The authors research shows that for type 2s, NPH and Regular insulins are as effective as the newer analogues in getting glucose to goal. The main drawbacks are well known; the peak of NPH slightly increases risk of hypoglycemia and patients will get better post prandial glucose control by taking regular insulin 30 minutes before meal (vs at meals with the analogs).”

Insulin Makers Sued

As mentioned, the surprisingly similar price hikes by all three makers of insulin have raised suspicions that the companies are in collusion. It wouldn’t be the first time. In February 2010, Mexico fined Eli Lilly and three Mexican drug companies $1.7 million each for colluding to eliminate competition by agreeing to take turns in placing winning bids for insulin, thereby artificially raising prices.29

In January 2017, a class action lawsuit30 was filed against Sanofi, Novo Nordisk and Eli Lilly in Massachusetts federal court, claiming the companies are in violation of the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act.31 The New York Times reported:32

“The lawsuit … accuses the companies of exploiting the country’s opaque drug-pricing system in a way that benefits themselves and the intermediaries known as pharmacy benefit managers.

It cites several examples of patients with diabetes who, unable to afford their insulin treatments, which can cost up to $900 a month, have resorted to injecting themselves with expired insulin or starving themselves to control their blood sugar.

Some patients, the lawsuit said, intentionally allowed themselves to slip into diabetic ketoacidosis — a blood syndrome that can be fatal — to get insulin from hospital emergency rooms.”

In October 2018, the attorney general of Minnesota, Lori Swanson, also filed a lawsuit against the three insulin makers, charging them with deceptive and misleading price increases.33 As reported by The Hill:34

“The lawsuit alleges that there is a deceptive difference between the sticker price of these insulins and the actual price that insurers pay after negotiators known as pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs) get discounts.

The attorney general says drug companies are raising the sticker price ever higher so that they can give larger discounts to the PBMs, which helps them secure more favorable coverage of their products relative to their competitors in insurance plans.

The problem, Swanson says, is that the spiking sticker prices hurt people who don’t have insurance or who have high deductibles they have to pay before insurance kicks in.

‘The lawsuit alleges that the list prices the drug companies set are so far from their net prices that they are not an accurate approximation of the true cost of insulin and are deceptive and misleading,’ the attorney general’s office says.”

Biohackers Make Their Own Insulin

Aside from rationing, extended fasting, insulin sharing, using expired insulin, setting up GoFundMe campaigns or illegally importing insulin from other countries, some Type 1 diabetics are taking insulin production into their own hands.

In a recent Elemental Medium article,35 Dana Smith talks about the Open Insulin Project, “a biohacker collective that is trying to produce the lifesaving drug and provide it to people with diabetes for free, or close to it.” She writes:

“The group was founded in 2015 by Anthony Di Franco, a computer scientist with Type 1 diabetes, and a longtime member of the California hacker scene … He and his collaborators think one solution to the pricing crisis lies in enabling patients and hospitals to create insulin themselves.

The group works out of Counter Culture Labs in the trendy Temescal neighborhood of Oakland … ‘If we can make this stuff in our janky lab on a $10,000 a year budget, there’s no way it should cost this much,’ says Thornton Thompson, a molecular biologist who is part of Open Insulin.

‘One of the big goals of the project is just to demonstrate that.’ Scientists make insulin by inserting a gene that codes for the insulin protein into either yeast or bacteria. These organisms become mini bio-factories and start to spit out the protein, which can then be harvested, purified, and bottled.

Scientists at Genentech were the first to synthesize insulin this way back in 1979 from the bacterium E. coli, and drug manufacturers have been using the method ever since. Open Insulin’s goal is to develop a similar way to generate insulin that doesn’t infringe on any patents and can be made publicly available.”

The Open Insulin Project

To produce insulin, the group uses yeast rather than E. coli. A French biochemist named Yann Huon de Kermadec joined the Open Insulin Project about a year-and-a-half ago. He took charge of the manufacturing process and obtained the appropriate insulin gene, which is then inserted into the DNA of the yeast, thereby producing a small amount of insulin protein.

They’ve not yet been able to extract high-enough amounts to move on to the purification stage, so at present they’re still working on increasing the yield. “If they succeed, they will go through the final steps of purifying and testing the protein. Once they’re confident that what they’ve produced really is pure insulin, Di Franco will serve as the group’s first guinea pig,” Smith writes.

According to Open Insulin, 10 liters of yeast culture are enough to make insulin for 10,000 individuals, with a startup cost as low as $1 per person. Indeed, as noted earlier, insulin manufacturing is pretty darn inexpensive — at most around $133 per person per year for an analog, and as low as $48 per person per year for a biosimilar.

Once a well-working insulin has been developed, the group hopes to make the recipe open-source, allowing hospitals and other patient groups make it for themselves. Thompson told Smith:

“What we’re interested in medium- and long-term is to try to organize networks of production and distribution centers that work by a fundamentally different model. We want to partner with hospitals, free health care clinics, patient organizations, diabetes groups. What if you could set up a small-scale production center in the back of a hospital?”

Di Franco adds, “Economically, I think it’s much better to do it in this decentralized way. A very small investment from each patient could fulfill the patient’s needs and make insulin very close to free for everyone who needs it with this kind of technology.”

As you’d expect, others are less than excited about such a prospect, not because it would create much-needed competition, but because of safety concerns. For example, Dr. Eric Topol, chair of innovative medicine and executive vice president at the Scripps Research Institute, told Smith:

“There are so many things that could go wrong in the process: the sterilization, the efficacy, the safety. It’s like Murphy’s law, here. These are potent drugs that can have serious side effects. I just don’t see that that is a safe or practical route.”

Millions of Americans Get Their Medications Outside the US

At present, there are no easy solutions for insulin-dependent diabetics. What’s clear is that it shouldn’t cost thousands of dollars a month for an essential drug required to keep these people alive.

If you’re in this boat, consider talking to your doctor about the possibility of using the older biosynthetics, Humulin R and N, or Novolin R and N, available for about $25 at Walmart. It may not be ideal (you can read about some of the concerns in this Insulin In Nation article36) but it’s probably still better than nothing. Even better, however, especially for Type 1 diabetics, is getting your insulin from overseas — or even just next door, north or south of the U.S. border.

Research published in 2015 shows that 952,000 Californians cross into Mexico every year for lower-priced health care, including prescription drugs.37 From the northern border, a random survey of Americans showed that 8% of respondents or someone they knew had imported their medications from Canada.

In numbers, that adds up to 19 million individuals — with estimates that the numbers are probably much higher — crossing into Canada just to be able to afford medications they may very well not be able to live without.38 But is this legal? And if it is, how do you do it? And if you’re not near the southern or northern U.S. borders, is there anywhere else to go? According to the FDA:

“In most circumstances it is illegal for individuals to import drugs or devices into the U.S. for personal use because … [they] have not been approved for use or sale in the U.S. … The FDA cannot ensure the safety and effectiveness of medicine purchased over the internet from foreign sources, storefront businesses that offer to buy foreign medicine for you, or during trips outside the U.S.”

The FDA does make exceptions for certain medications under specific situations, but even so, the amounts can’t be for more than a three-month supply. That said, Kaiser Health Network39 reports that personal use purchases for drugs not considered a risk by the FDA — such as insulin — in 90-day supplies are not being prosecuted.

And just how much are Americans saving by crossing the border? Kaiser Health gave an example of a woman vacationing in Canada who visited a local pharmacy for an emergency insulin refill for her daughter: The pack of insulin pens, which cost $700 in the U.S., was a mere $65.

The same box costs $73 in Germany; $57 in Israel; $51 in Greece; $61 in Rome and $40 in Taiwan. It’s no wonder millions of Americans are getting prescriptions by mail order overseas! Yet, even though they’re not prosecuting people for it, the FDA is clamping down on mail orders by going after them at international mail facilities.

According to online journalism group Tarbell,40 the FDA intercepted 10,731 prescription drug packages in 2017; by May 2018, they’d confiscated 19,318. Their goal is to intercept 100,000 a year.

So, what can you as a consumer do, if you can’t afford the outrageous — bordering on criminal — pricing and you’re not brave enough to test the system and try to take a vacation out of the country or order by mail? One way to begin could be to study the FDA’s personal importation guidelines to see if there is some way you can qualify for an exception so you can get your insulin from out of the country legally.

Guidelines for Insulin-Dependent Diabetics

Also remember that your lifestyle will have an impact on your blood sugar control. Ways to help manage your glucose levels include the following. Just be sure to consult your physician before making any drastic changes to your lifestyle habits and dietary plan, to avoid wild blood sugar fluctuations.

  • Limiting your net carb intake (total carbs minus fiber) — When you eat high-carb foods, your body converts the starches and sugars into glucose, which will enter your bloodstream and increase your blood glucose levels. Make sure you monitor your carbohydrate intake to avoid hyperglycemia.
  • Timing your meals appropriately — Meal timing is crucial to the treatment and management of Type 1 diabetes, since it may affect the efficiency of your insulin intake. The best time to eat your meal depends on the type of insulin that you’re taking. For example, regular insulin should be taken 30 minutes before a meal.41
  • Eating only nutritious foods — Avoid eating foods that contain sugar, preservatives, trans fat, refined flour and other unhealthy ingredients. Rather, fill your plate with wholesome foods rich in vitamins and minerals. You should also consume foods that are high in healthy fats and probiotics, since these may help you gain better control of your blood glucose levels.
  • Exercising regularly — Following an active lifestyle will help regulate your blood sugar levels, as it allows your body to use insulin more efficiently, and can help you avoid long-term complications associated with Type 1 diabetes, such as heart disease.42
– Sources and References