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Fibromyalgia

What is Fibromyalgia?

Fibromyalgia is a chronic condition, typically very painful, especially in response to pressure, and sometimes patients have symptoms like stiff muscles, joints and connective tissues.
Other symptoms often include depression, anxiety, sleep disturbance, difficulty swallowing, bowel and bladder problems, numbness and tingling, muscle spasms or twitching, weakness, nerve pain, palpitations,
cognitive dysfunction (“foggy thinking”).
Around 2% of the population are affected, usually between the ages of 20 and 50, although not all patients have all symptoms.
Women are nine times more likely than men to suffer from the condition, giving weight to the theory that hormones play a big part in the cause and treatment.
Diagnosis is difficult because there is no formal test. Symptoms are vague and similar to many other conditions.
Often patients with celiac disease are mistakenly diagnosed with Fibromyalgia, and do better on a gluten-free diet.
In fact, nearly everyone will do better on a gluten-free diet, or even better, a diet free from all grains, flour and any other product of grains, regardless of refined, wholemeal or any other form.
Some medical specialists say it is “all in the head” but few patients would agree with this!

Testing

Although there is no formal testing for fibromyalgia, the following tests should be arranged by the doctor to eliminate some factors that may indicate or aggravate Fibromyalgia:

  • Ferritin (Iron Study) – A serum ferritin level under 50 ng/ml means a 650% increased risk for Fibromyalgia
  • Thyroid Function – If autoimmune hypothyroidism is present, it should be treated first to see if Fibromyalgia symptoms subside
  • Other autoimmune conditions – Lupus, Rheumatoid Arthritis and others can resemble Fibromyalgia symptoms and should be treated first
  • CRP (C-Reactive Protein) – An inflammation marker. Source of any inflammation should be treated first
  • The FM/a blood test (plasma and PBMC (Peripheral Blood Mononuclear Cells) – Tests cytokine concentration. Low cytokines may indicate Fibromyalgia

Treatment

Doctors say there is no known cause or cure. However, some approaches can be very effective in reducing symptoms, including:

Therapeutic options

  • Mindfulness Training reduces psychological distress and depression
  • Yoga, Tai-Chi and other stretching exercises are helpful as they stimulate the lymph glands, increasing our HDL (good cholesterol), improving waste product and toxin removal, also reducing pain, fatigue, mood, cortisol levels and improves coping ability

Diet

  • Raw Food has been shown in studies to significantly improve the majority of fibromyalgia patients
  • Vitamin C and Broccoli consumption in a study found that the combination of 100mg of vitamin C from food, plus a 400mg broccoli supplement reduced pain by 20% and decreased 17% in Fibromyalgia impact scores

Things to avoid

Exposures to toxins definitely increase fibromyalgia risk:

  • Breast Implants have been linked to cancer, autoimmune disease, fibromyalgia and chronic pain
  • Aspartame (an artificial sweetener) should be eliminated from the diet, as it turns into formaldehyde in the body, which can aggravate fibromyalgia.
    Natural sweeteners such as Erythritol, Xylitol and pure Stevia are healthy alternatives
  • MSG (MonoSodium Glutamate) should be eliminated from the diet. Known to cause headaches and fibromyalgia
  • Vaccine Adjuvants containing mercury or aluminium have been shown to cause musculoskeletal pain conditions like fibromyalgia
  • Fluoride comes from fluoridated tap water, foods irrigated with fluoridated water, toothpaste, dental treatments and antibiotics, and must be avoided. A fluoridated water supply should be switched to rainwater and/or install a Reverse Osmosis water system for all drinking and cooking. Ordinary water filters do not remove fluoride, and even boiling water makes little difference

Prescription Medications increase risk

Many prescription medications increase risk of fibromyalgia, or actually cause it.

  • Statin Drugs reduce CoQ10 and vitamin D3, causing hundreds of health problems, including fibromyalgia and muscle pain, vastly outweighing any benefit in many cases
  • Prescription antidepressants like Celexa (Citalopram), Paxil (Paroxetine) and Prozac (Fluoxetine) include fluoride which makes fibromyalgia even worse, and causes weight gain.
    Antidepressants increase risk of cancer by over 40%, and most of the time do not work any better than a placebo
  • Many drugs contain bromide, which is even worse than fluoride, and more easily displaces iodine from the thyroid gland
  • Antibiotics destroy many bad bacteria, but also much of the good bacteria as well, compromising our immune system, which can take up to two years to rebuild
  • Paracetamol, Panadol, Tylenol and other names for acetaminophen should be avoided as studies show them to start causing liver issues even at the recommended dose two 500 mg tablets four times a day (4000 mg) for a few days. Unfortunately, patients who experience a lot of pain invariably over-dose, and just a 50% increase starts causing severe liver damage. The advertising slogan “safe and effective” is one of the biggest lies of the drug industry, and the most common cause of liver poisoning in the Western world. The majority of all patients on the liver transplant waiting list are there because of Panadol overdose. Panadol also reacts with an enzyme in the body to destroy our natural glutathione, which is one of the body’s main defenses against pathogens, often called the “master antioxidant”. Less glutathione means more Fibromyalgia

Here is a list of some drugs commonly prescribed that contain Fluoride or Bromide, two halogens that displace iodine from the thyroid and cause hypothyroidism, Hashimoto’s disease, depression, weight gain, hair loss, cancer, and will aggravate Fibromyalgia:

  • Advair (fluticasone) – fluoride
  • Alphagen (brimonidine) – bromide
  • Atrovent (Ipratropium) – bromide
  • Avelox (moxifloxacin) – fluoride
  • Adovart (dulasteride) – fluoride
  • Celebrex (celecoxib) – fluoride
  • Celexa (citalopram) – fluoride and bromide
  • Cipro (ciprofloxacin) – fluoride
  • Clinoril (sulindac) – fluoride
  • Combivent (from the ipratropium) – bromide
  • Crestor (rosuvastatin) – fluoride
  • Diflucan (fluconazole) – fluoride
  • DuoNeb (nebulized Combivent) – fluoride
  • Enablex (darifenacin) – bromide
  • Flonase (fluticasone) – fluoride
  • Flovent (fluticasone) – fluoride
  • Guaifenex DM (dextromethorphan) – bromide
  • Lescol (fluvastatin) – fluoride
  • Levaquin (levofloxacin) – fluoride
  • Lexapro (escitalopram) – fluoride
  • Lipitor (atorvastatin) – fluoride
  • Lotrisone topical cream – fluoride
  • Paxil (paroxetine) – fluoride
  • Prevacid (lansoprazole) – fluoride
  • Protonix (pantoprazole) – fluoride
  • Prozac (fluoxetine) – fluoride
  • Pulmicort (budesonide) – fluoride
  • Razadyne (galantamine) – bromide
  • Risperdal (risperidone) – fluoride
  • Spiriva (tiotropium) – bromide
  • Tobra Dex (from dexamethasone) – fluoride
  • Travatan (travoprost) – fluoride
  • Triamcinolone – fluoride
  • Vigamox (moxifloxacin) – fluoride
  • Vytorin (from eztimibe) – fluoride
  • Zetia (eztimibe) – fluoride

An immune response to intestinal bacteria may cause some symptoms, so an alkaline diet with plenty of enzyme-rich raw vegetables and fresh fruit may help, along with a little cheese, yogurt, whey, fermented vegetables such as Sauerkraut, and/or supplemental probiotics such as Acidophilus
to build up beneficial intestinal bacteria. 75% of our immune system is in the gut, and this is where the immune system often first breaks down.

MSG (monosodium glutamate) has been shown to aggravate symptoms, so most processed food, which contains MSG, often hidden in the ingredients list by being called other names or chemicals, should be eliminated.

Eliminating yeast from the diet may also help. Yeast is a raising agent found in most breads and other flour-based baked foods, also Vegemite. Changing to a fresh food diet of vegetables and fruit can eliminate yeast, lose excess weight, build immunity and improve general health.

Casein from milk and other milk products may also help, although some people are sensitive to dairy products and do better with no milk or other dairy products.

Food allergies can be a problem and I would start by eliminating wheat, flour, bread, cakes, anything made from flour, sugar, soy, milk, corn, eggs and nuts for at least a week or two.
If that helps, introduce them back into the diet one at a time (except sugar, which should be omitted forever, and all flour products), until the culprit is found.

If that is not enough, see my Vaccinations article and read about the relationship between Panadol, Vaccinations, Glutathione and Autism.

Many Fibromyalgia patients also suffer from IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome), CFS (Chronic Fatigue Syndrome), RA (Rheumatoid Arthritis) and SLE or Lupus (Systemic Lupus Erythematosus), but the above treatments can improve all of these conditions.
While these natural alternatives may not work for everyone, nearly all patients report improvement in their condition, and of course, these are all good for weight loss, fighting diabetes, cardiovascular disease, Alzheimer’s disease, better sleep, improved mood, reduced pain, better pain tolerance, building muscle and reduced cancer risk. Many patients are deficient in GH (growth hormone) so high-intensity exercise and weight loss will help by increasing natural production of Growth Hormone.

LeanMachine online supplements

Updated 24th January 2020, Copyright © 1999-2020 Brenton Wight and BJ&HJ Wight trading as Lean Machine abn 55293601285

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.

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.

“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

New Insights on Gut Permeability and Depression

© 19th 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/new-insights-gut-permeability-and-depression

CDC Petitioned to Stop Lying About Pharma Funds


Reproduced from original article:
https://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2019/11/19/center-for-disease-control-and-prevention-funding.aspx

Analysis by Dr. Joseph MercolaFact Checked
November 19, 2019
pharma funding cdc

STORY AT-A-GLANCE

  • The fact that the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention accepts millions of dollars from drug companies and vaccine makers may be at the heart of many harmful and nonsensical health recommendations
  • The CDC has long fostered the perception of independence by stating it does not accept funding from special interests. In reality, it receives millions of dollars each year from commercial interests through its government-charted foundation, the CDC Foundation, which funnels those contributions to the CDC after deducting a fee
  • Several watchdog groups — including the U.S. Right to Know (USRTK), Public Citizen, Knowledge Ecology International, Liberty Coalition and the Project on Government Oversight — are petitioning the CDC to cease making these false disclaimers and retroactively acknowledge conflicts of interest
  • CDC accepted $79.6 million from drug companies and commercial manufacturers between 2014 and 2018 alone. Since its inception in 1995, the CDC Foundation has accepted $161 million from private corporations
  • Government-chartered foundations allow corporations to fund and thereby control the work of agencies that are supposed to regulate them

The fact that the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention accepts millions of dollars in funding from drug companies and vaccine makers is no minor problem. It may in fact be at the very heart of why so many harmful and nonsensical health recommendations end up being pushed down our throats.

The CDC has long fostered the perception of independence by stating it does not accept funding from special interests. In disclaimers peppered throughout the CDC website1 and in its publications, it says the agency “does not accept commercial support” and has “no financial interests or other relationships with the manufacturers of commercial products.”

Several watchdog groups — including the U.S. Right to Know (USRTK), Public Citizen, Knowledge Ecology International, Liberty Coalition and the Project on Government Oversight — are now petitioning2 the CDC to cease making these false disclaimers.3

CDC Gets Millions From Corporate Interests

In reality, the CDC does in fact accept millions of dollars each year from commercial interests through its government-chartered foundation, the CDC Foundation, which funnels those contributions to the CDC after deducting a fee.4

On the CDC Foundation’s website, you’ll find a long list5 of “corporate partners” that have provided the CDC with funding over the years. The petition also points out that the CDC media office states the agency “has, can and does accept commercial support,” which is a clear contradiction to its printed disclaimers. Furthermore:

“CDC even accepts earmarked money via the CDC Foundation, allowing manufacturers to fund studies or programs whose results would either expand their profits or reduce their liability exposure,” the petition states.6

“For example, the BMJ reported that ‘in 2012, Genentech earmarked $600,000 in donations to the CDC Foundation for CDC’s efforts to promote expanded testing and treatment of viral hepatitis. Genentech and its parent company, Roche, manufacture test kits and treatments for hepatitis C’ …

The CDC Foundation also accepted $1.7 million from the Central American sugar industry for studies on chronic kidney disease which have been criticized for being biased towards the sugar industry, by not asking the best questions.”

CDC Petitioned to Quit Making False Claims

According to the petition,7 the CDC accepted $79.6 million from drug companies and commercial manufacturers between 2014 and 2018 alone. Since its inception in 1995, the CDC Foundation has accepted $161 million from private corporations.

As reported by the Lown Institute,8 which aims to advance “a just and caring system for health to replace the current, failing model rooted in profit-driven, low-value care”:9

“Many of these contributions could be seen as conflicts of interest — for example, a $193,000 donation from Roche, the maker of antiviral drug Tamiflu, to fund a CDC flu prevention campaign.

Despite the significant funding the CDC receives from industry via its foundation, few were aware of these conflicts until Jeanne Lenzer called attention to the foundation in The BMJ10 a few years ago.

Recently, the CDC accepted $3.4 million from Pfizer for the prevention of Cryptococcal disease, $1 million from Merck & Co. pharmaceutical company for a program on preventing maternal mortality, and $750,000 from Biogen for a program on screening newborns for spinal muscular atrophy …”

The petition asks the CDC to stop publishing the false and misleading disclaimers, remove all previously published disclaimers from the CDC website and its publications, and to issue corrections, retroactively disclosing the agency’s financial relationships with industry.

“By issuing these false disclaimers, CDC is misleading health professionals, consumers and others both in the United States and around the world,” the petition states.11

This deception undermines CDC’s credibility and integrity. But the damage here is not merely to the CDC itself. CDC is a national and global leader on medical and public health matters. It is crucial for the CDC to lead by example on matters of ethics, and, at a minimum, to faithfully and truthfully disclose its conflicts of interest.”

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Government-Chartered Foundations Gives Control to Industry

In a November 5, 2019, press release, Dr. Michael Carome, director of Public Citizen’s Health Research Group stated:12

“That the CDC accepts millions from corporations directly impacted by the agency’s public health programs is indefensible. So, the CDC instead has adopted the strategy of repeatedly denying that it accepts such payments.”

Gary Ruskin, co-director of USRTK added:13

“It’s time for the CDC to be truthful with health professionals and all Americans, and to stop denying that it takes corporate money. The CDC is violating the public trust by misleading us in this way.”

The CDC is supposed to be a public health watchdog. It has tremendous credibility within the medical community, and part of this credibility hinges on the idea that it’s free of industry bias and conflicts of interest.

By accepting money from drug companies and vaccine makers, one has to wonder whether that money might be having an impact on the agency’s health recommendations.

Again and again, investigations have shown that funding plays an enormous role in decision-making and in research outcomes. As noted by Shannon Brownlee, senior vice president for the Lown Institute, government-chartered foundations:14

“… exist at least in part because they allow industries to directly fund and thus control the work of agencies that are either supposed to regulate them, or conduct research that can help or hurt their business.”

Telltale Signs of Impropriety Abound

When you start to investigate, there’s no shortage of telltale signs suggesting the CDC isn’t nearly as independent as it claims to be. Some have already been noted in the CDC petition, but there are plenty of others as well.

For example, in 2016, Barbara Bowman, Ph.D., director of the CDC’s Division for Heart Disease and Stroke Prevention, quickly resigned after it was revealed she aided a Coca-Cola representative in efforts to get World Health Organization officials to relax WHO’s sugar limits.

I wrote about this in “CDC Executive Resigns After Being Caught Colluding with Coca-Cola to Salvage Soda Market.” Shortly thereafter, CDC director Dr. Brenda Fitzgerald was found to have received funding from Coca-Cola for her anti-obesity campaign, which had a near-exclusive focus on exercise, not the impact of soda and sugary junk food. This was reported in “Public Health Agency Sued for Coke Collusion.”

CDC Promotes Drug Industry Agenda

In a November 4, 2019, article15 in Eye on Annapolis, Josh Mazer discusses how the CDC is funding state health programs aimed at implementing mandatory HPV vaccinations:

“The Maryland Prevention and Health Promotion Agency (PHPA) has received millions … as part of an effort to require public schools to force children to get the human papilloma virus (HPV) vaccination.

Those funds came in the form of grants from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The CDC maintains a nonprofit foundation that gets enormous amounts of money from Big Pharma — including Merck, the company that produces Gardasil, the HPV vaccine. At the very least, Maryland’s acceptance of those funds has the appearance of impropriety …

During a PHPA-hosted ‘HPV symposium’ attended by state pediatric practices and Maryland Department of Health staffers in March 2018 … the featured speaker — Dr. Alix Casler — encouraged attendees to offer free dinners, bottles of wine, and ‘Quality Doctor Incentives $’ sales bonuses to get Maryland physicians on board with the HPV vaccine-pushing program …

Casler offered a $5,000 cash payment to pediatric practices that achieve targeted HPV vaccine sales goals … Casler is a paid spokesperson for Merck … 

In 2016, the Maryland Partnership for Prevention — which lists the Maryland Department of Health as its top member — accepted $70,000 from the Association of Immunization Managers (AIM).

AIM’s top ‘Corporate Alliance Members’ are Merck, Pfizer, Sanofi Pasteur and Seqirus. That same year, legislation was introduced in Maryland to mandate the shot … Despite the deaths and the ongoing health-safety questions related to the HPV vaccine, Maryland PHPA has continued using our schools to push Merck’s product.”

CDC Front Group Lobbies for Mandatory Vaccinations

Mazer’s observations are unlikely to be coincidental, as the CDC is a primary contributor to the National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO), which lobbies for mandatory vaccinations and the elimination of personal belief exemptions to vaccination nationwide.16 As such, the CDC is actively using industry donations to promote a for-profit industry agenda.

It should be clear by now that the justifications given for why personal belief exemptions need to be abolished are nothing but a ploy to make money off mandatory vaccines.

In recent times, the measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine has been the target vaccine used to ban vaccine exemptions, under the pretense that measles is a lethal disease that needs to be eradicated. However, as predicted, it didn’t take long before other, completely unnecessary vaccines were tacked on to the mandated vaccines list.

As just one egregious example, a bill introduced in New York (S298/A2912) now seeks to require children to receive the HPV vaccine — one of the most dangerous and unnecessary vaccines ever made — in order to attend public school or day care.

There are hundreds of vaccines in the pipeline for children and adults, and once vaccine exemptions are eliminated in your state, you can expect many more to be mandated.

At that point, you’ll have no way of opting out of any of them. Measles was really just the Trojan Horse used to eliminate vaccine exemptions and strengthen mandatory vaccination laws. As noted by Children’s Health Defense in a June 6, 2019 article:17

“ACIP’s industry-beholden membership roster reads like a ‘who’s who’ of the individuals and organizations who spearhead the nation’s vaccine business … The agency’s involvement with vaccine manufacturers also extends to patents, licensing agreements and collaboration on projects to develop new vaccines.

In fact, the CDC and the National Institutes of Health (NIH) profit handsomely from their ownership or co-ownership with private sector partners of vaccine-related patents.

An early 2017 analysis of Google Patents results18 showed that the CDC held 56 patents pertaining to various aspects of vaccine development, manufacturing, delivery and adjuvants.

By May 2019, the search terms ‘Centers for Disease Control and Prevention vaccines’ retrieved 143 results in the Google Patents search engine,19 and a separate legal website displayed 10 screens worth of CDC patents,20 both vaccine- and non-vaccine-related.

The author of the 2017 analysis suggests that the large number of patents held by the CDC ‘deserves an in-depth review to determine exactly what current financial relationships with vaccine makers now exist and what…current impact those revenue streams are likely having on vaccine safety positions’ …

Some of the key technologies underlying the development of the HPV vaccines Gardasil and Cervarix emerged from research patented by the NIH’s National Cancer Institute (NCI), which then licensed the technology to Merck, MedImmune and GlaxoSmithKline. By 2009, HPV licensing had become NIH’s top generator of royalty revenues.”

Children’s Health Defense goes on to cite an in-depth investigation by Mark Blaxill, published in Age of Autism, in which he notes that:21

“Gardasil is perhaps the leading example of a new form of unconstrained government self-dealing, in arrangements whereby [HHS] can transfer technology to pharmaceutical partners, [and] simultaneously both approve and protect their partners’ technology licenses while also taking a cut of the profits.”

Your Help Is Needed!

To help push for greater transparency, please contact the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services today at scheduling@hhs.gov and let them know that you demand the CDC:

  1. Cease publication of disclaimers that CDC has “no financial interests or other relationships with the manufacturers of commercial products” and that it “does not accept commercial support.”
  2. Remove all such disclaimers from the CDC website, including the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR).
  3. Add corrections to all MMWR articles bearing these disclaimers, explaining that the disclaimers were incorrect and have been removed.
  4. Retroactively disclose, in any MMWR article bearing the disclaimers, any corporate contributions to the CDC or CDC Foundation that are relevant to the MMWR article.
Contact U.S. Department of Health & Human Services

As noted by Lown Institute, disclosing existing conflicts of interests is an important first step in the creation of a “clearer separation between government agencies meant to serve the public interest and industry companies,” but it shouldn’t end there. We also need to abolish the loophole that allowed this hidden industry influence to take root in the first place — the government-chartered foundations.

“We need to question why these foundations exist and push for more public funding of these agencies, rather than force public health agencies to rely on industry funding for their programs and compromise their independence,” Lown Institute writes.22

Sources and References

Effectively lower blood sugar levels with a natural plant extract

Reproduced from original article:
www.naturalhealth365.com/lower-blood-sugar-levels-3178.html

help-blood-sugar-levels

(NaturalHealth365) According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, close to 30 million Americans – almost one in ten – have type 2 diabetes. And, an alarming 84 million people have prediabetes – elevated blood sugar levels that can progress to diabetes (with possible complications including kidney disease, heart disease and stroke).

In light of this growing epidemic – and amid the pressing need for effective, non-toxic interventions – a just-published study offers hope by showcasing the ability of clove extracts to safely lower elevated blood glucose levels.

Cloves, a common cooking spice, have been utilized in Ayurvedic and Asian healing systems for centuries to treat digestive disorders, influenza and tooth pain.  To learn how these potent little dried flower buds can help normalize and regulate blood sugar – and help to ward off diabetes – keep reading.

Alert: Prediabetes affects over half of all those over 65

What is prediabetes, exactly, and why is it dangerous?  Prediabetes exists when glucose (blood sugar) levels are elevated (over 100 mg/dL), but fall short of 125 mg/dL – the conventional medical threshold for diabetes.

The condition can often be reversed with weight loss and increased physical activity – but experts point out that roughly 30 percent of people with untreated prediabetes will go on to develop diabetes within three to five years.

And, although prediabetes doesn’t meet the medical standard for diabetes, it can still feature dangerous after-meal blood sugar elevations, or “spikes.” These spikes are associated with harmful effects such as neuropathy (nerve damage to feet), vision loss, kidney damage and heart disease.

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In people over 65, post-meal blood sugar spikes appear to impede cognitive function, as well.  Not particularly good news for those who may already be coping with varying degrees of age-related mild cognitive impairment!

It’s official: Cloves promote better blood sugar control

In a new study published in May 2019 in BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine, researchers evaluated the effects of clove extracts on adult volunteers.  The participants were divided into two groups: those with normal fasting glucose and those with prediabetic fasting glucose levels.

Fasting glucose levels are measured eight hours after ingesting food.  And, participants were then given 250 mg of clove extract after a meal for 30 days.

The team found that the clove extract lowered fasting glucose levels of the prediabetic participants – but did not alter the desirable fasting levels of those with normal glucose.  In fact, the clove extract reduced after-meal glucose by 21.5 percent in the “normal” group – and by a substantial 27.2 percent in the prediabetic group.

The team concluded that cloves can be used to maintain healthy blood sugar levels, particularly in those with less-than-optimal glucose control.  It should be noted: that if cloves help to keep prediabetes in check, that’s highly significant – as prediabetes can increase the risk of heart disease and stroke, even when it doesn’t develop into type 2 diabetes.

New study confirms earlier research on the blood sugar-lowering effect of cloves

Researchers have long suspected that cloves could be useful in addressing diabetes.

Past studies have shown that cloves increase the secretion of insulin, the hormone that ferries sugar from the blood to the muscles. Previous research has also shown that clove extracts benefit liver function – essential in blood sugar control – as well as antioxidant status.

And, in 2006, Pakistani researchers found that clove extracts improved the function of insulin and lowered glucose levels in people with type 2 diabetes.  Cloves were also found to reduce harmful LDL cholesterol – but did not reduce levels of beneficial HDL cholesterol.

By the way, the amount used in the Pakistani study was modest: the equivalent of one to two cloves a day.

Cloves reduce blood sugar with three different mechanisms

Cloves, scientifically known as Syzgium aromaticum, are antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory and strongly antioxidant.  In fact, researchers have reported that cloves contain 30 times more antioxidants than blueberries, often considered the “gold standard” of antioxidant foods.

Along with gallic and ellagic acids, catechin and quercetin, cloves are particularly rich in eugenol, a compound with antibacterial and analgesic effects.  However, some scientists credit a compound called nigericin in cloves with increasing the uptake of sugar and promoting the secretion of insulin.

Specifically, cloves reduce blood sugar by enhancing the uptake of glucose into muscle cells, by inhibiting digestive enzymes from releasing the glucose from refined sugars and starches, and by inhibiting the production of glucose in the liver.

This three-pronged response makes cloves uniquely helpful for decreasing insulin resistance and managing blood sugar.

Reverse prediabetes with healthy lifestyle choices

Experts say that the current epidemic of diabetes and prediabetes is driven by obesity, poor nutrition and a sedentary lifestyle.

An organic diet (high in antioxidant-rich vegetables, fruits and unrefined grains and free of refined sugars, GMOs and unhealthy fats) just might be your best bet for preventing diabetes – along with maintaining a healthy weight and getting sufficient exercise.

As the latest study shows, cloves may also be helpful in managing blood sugar.

Of course, clove extracts are available in tablets and tinctures.  You can also make clove tea by boiling a teaspoon of powdered cloves for 8 to 10 minutes, straining and cooling. For an added health benefit, add cinnamon and cardamom.

Many studies used a teaspoon (2 grams) of ground cloves, and natural healers may recommend amounts in this range.

As always, consult with your integrative physician before supplementing with cloves – especially if you are already taking medications to control blood sugar.  Note: of course, don’t stop taking prescribed medications unless specifically advised to do so by your physician.

As the scientists noted in the groundbreaking new clove study, type 2 diabetes is a “tremendous public health issue.”  And, spicy, aromatic clove buds just may hold the secret to better blood sugar control – thereby striking a blow against this dangerous disease.

Sources for this article include:

CDC.gov
LifeExtension.com
NIH.gov
Healthline.com

Night Terrors and Nightmares in Children

Written by Brenton Wight – LeanMachine

Night Terrors can be a very emotional event for parents, especially if they become more common.
The good news is that there are things that will help, and most children “grow out of it” eventually. The average age for Night Terrors is from 3 to 12 years, although some start sooner and finish later.
Nightmares can happen at any age, often recurring in children at a particular age.

Difference between night terrors and nightmares

Children can have both, which makes things confusing, however, dealing with nightmares may be similar to the guidelines below for night terrors.

Night Terrors

Night terrors frighten the parents, and the children have little or no recollection in the morning. During the event, they are still in a very deep stage of sleep. Children appear to be awake, but are in fact still in deep sleep as they scream or run around violently. They may not recognise their parents and usually refuse any offer of help.
Because the child is so active and seems awake but distressed, parents attempt to calm the child, but as the child does not hear the parents because of the deep sleep, they usually do not respond.
Any calming attempts fail, and trying to awaken the child may cause even more stress.
Night Terrors may last from a minute to an hour, and if they wake up during the event, they are often confused, and have no memory of the Terror.
The best approach seems to be to carefully restrain them, ensure their safety where they sleep, allowing an eventual return to natural sleep.

Nightmares

Nightmares (scary dreams) can and do frighten children.
Often they remember their nightmares, which happen during REM (Rapid Eye Movement) sleep rather than Deep Sleep. During REM sleep, the child may more readily awaken during a nightmare.
This is the time for reassurance, and the child will respond to a hug and soft words.

What causes Night Terrors?

Night terrors can be caused by many things, including:

  • Junk food
  • Processed food
  • Dairy or Grain-based foods
  • Vitamin B group and or Niacin deficiency
  • Bad sleep quality
  • Sleep patterns out of routine
  • Sleep deprivation – bed time too late
  • Too hot or cold in bed
  • Noisy sleep environment
  • Stressful events – perhaps starting a new school, new teacher, new baby-sitter, bullying, etc
  • Listening to parents arguing
  • Watching violent TV (even the News)
  • Playing violent video games
  • Medication, especially antihistamines, decongestants, over-the-counter and prescription medication
  • Vaccinations
  • Genetics – children of Night-Terror parents are more likely to suffer
  • Fever
  • Central nervous system problems or immaturity

What causes Nightmares?

Somewhat similar to night terrors.

Remedies for both conditions

Calm the child before bed. Read a story (not Ghostbusters or Friday 13th!)
A heavy blanket has a “hugging” effect which improves the sense of security. In warm weather, a light blanket with weights sewn into the corners may be helpful.
Discourage TV for an hour before bed.
Try to maintain a consistent routine and bed time each night.
Make bed time early, as children and adults tend to wake up when the sun comes up, so late bed time means less sleep.
Avoid junk food, improve nutrition
Avoid all processed food, especially those with a chemical number in the ingredients list.
Avoid all grain foods, especially wheat or wheat flour, as gluten sensitivity may be a problem. Even if the doctor says the child does not have coeliac disease, they may still have gluten sensitivity and/or Leaky Gut Syndrome.
Avoid dairy products as lactose or casein intolerance may be a problem.
Get the child to place all worries into an imaginary (or real) garbage bag, tie it up and place it in the bin (real or imagined).
Place a “Dream Catcher” over the bed – generally a wire loop decorated with string, beads, etc with “magic dream-catching” properties. The child may feel better if something in the room is their friend.
Lavender or other calming oils – a few drops on or under the pillow, or a sprig of real lavender.
Snack before bed – this may help children who have unstable blood sugar during the night (usually caused by a bad diet with too much sugar).
St.John’s Wort is a natural antidepressant (children’s dose only). Not to be used with any prescription medication as many meds use the same pathway in the body.
B Complex vitamins may help, also Niacin (Prolonged Release) if there is a deficiency.
GABA supplements have a calming effect and may help.
Vitamin D3 supplements may help, especially if the child does not get adequate direct sunshine in the middle of the day. This is a high dose, so once or twice a week is normally enough as this is a fat-soluble vitamin, not easily flushed away like the water-soluble vitamins.
White noise – such as recording of ocean waves gently rolling onto the beach can have a calming effect. Even subtle noise from running a fan or ioniser may help.
Classical music softly played during the night may help.

Uptated 16th January 2020 – Copyright © 1999-2020 Brenton Wight and BJ&HJ Wight trading as Lean Machine abn 55293601285

How Dietary Intervention Lifts Depression


Reproduced from original article:
https://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2019/10/24/dietary-intervention-for-depression.aspx

Analysis by Dr. Joseph Mercola  Fact Checked
dietary intervention for depression

STORY AT-A-GLANCE

  • Research has linked sweetened beverages — both sugar- and artificially-sweetened beverages — with an increased risk of depression, the highest risk being associated with diet fruit drinks and diet soda
  • Another study found adolescents who had elevated levels of sodium and low levels of potassium in their urine — two factors indicative of a diet high in junk food and processed food — had more frequent symptoms of depression
  • A 2019 study found dietary intervention can effectively treat depression in young adults. Those who ate a Mediterranean-style diet reported a significant reduction in depression symptoms after 21 days
  • A recent meta-analysis also concluded that “Dietary interventions hold promise as a novel intervention for reducing symptoms of depression across the population”
  • As a general guideline, eating a whole food diet can go a long way toward lowering your inflammation level and thus your risk of depression. A cornerstone of a healthy diet is limiting sugar of all kinds, ideally below 25 grams a day

Foods have an immense impact on your body and your brain, and eating whole foods as described in my nutrition plan is a good way to simultaneously support your mental and physical health. Avoiding sugar and artificial sweeteners is in my view, based on the evidence, a crucial aspect of preventing and/or treating depression.

Both contribute to chronic inflammation and can wreak havoc with your brain function. Recent research also shows how swapping processed junk food for a healthier diet can significantly improve depression symptoms, which really shouldn’t come as a great surprise.

The Sugar Trap

Research1,2 published in 2014 linked sweetened beverages — both sugar- and artificially-sweetened beverages — with an increased risk of depression. Those who drank more than four cans or glasses of soda had a 30% higher risk of depression compared to those who did not consume sweetened beverages of any kind.

Interestingly, fruit juices were even more hazardous. The same amount of sweetened fruit drinks (four glasses) was associated with a 38% higher risk of depression.

Overall, artificially sweetened so-called “diet” drinks were associated with the highest risks of depression, compared to beverages sweetened with sugar or high-fructose corn syrup. More specifically, compared to those who did not drink sweetened beverages:

  • Those who drank primarily diet soda were 31% more likely to suffer with depression, whereas regular soda was associated with a 22% increased risk
  • Those who drank primarily diet fruit drinks had a 51% higher risk for depression, while consuming regular fruit drinks was associated with a more modest 8% increased risk
  • Drinking primarily diet iced tea was associated with a 25% increased risk for depression, whereas those who drank regular sweetened iced tea actually had a 6% reduced risk

Similarly, recent research3 detailed in “The Link Between Fast Food and Teenage Depression” found adolescents who had elevated levels of sodium and low levels of potassium in their urine — two factors indicative of a diet high in junk food and processed food — had more frequent symptoms of depression.

According to the authors,4 “Given the substantial brain development that occurs during adolescence, individuals in this developmental period may be particularly vulnerable to the effects of diet on the neural mechanisms underlying emotion regulation and depression.”

Why Sugar Takes a Toll on Mental Health

There are at least four potential mechanisms through which refined sugar intake could exert a toxic effect on mental health:

  1. Sugar (particularly fructose) and grains contribute to insulin and leptin resistance and impaired signaling, which play a significant role in your mental health
  2. Sugar suppresses activity of a key growth hormone called brain derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), which promotes healthy brain neurons. BDNF levels are critically low in both depression and schizophrenia, which animal models suggest might actually be causative
  3. Sugar consumption also triggers a cascade of chemical reactions in your body that promote chronic inflammation. In the long term, inflammation disrupts the normal functioning of your immune system, which is linked to a greater risk of depression5
  4. Sugar impairs the microbiome and its influence on the modulation of stress response, immune function, neurotransmission and neurogenesis

In 2004, British psychiatric researcher Malcolm Peet published a provocative cross-cultural analysis6 of the relationship between diet and mental illness. His primary finding was a strong link between high sugar consumption and the risk of both depression and schizophrenia. According to Peet:

“A higher national dietary intake of refined sugar and dairy products predicted a worse 2-year outcome of schizophrenia. A high national prevalence of depression was predicted by a low dietary intake of fish and seafood.

The dietary predictors of … prevalence of depression are similar to those that predict illnesses such as coronary heart disease and diabetes, which are more common in people with mental health problems and in which nutritional approaches are widely recommended.”

One of the key predictors of heart disease and diabetes is in fact chronic inflammation which, as Peet mentions, is also associated with poor mental health. Sugar is a primary driver of chronic inflammation in your body, so consuming excessive amounts of sugar can truly set off an avalanche of negative health events — both mental and physical.

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Three-Week Dietary Intervention Lifts Depression

Most recently, a study7,8,9 published in the October 2019 issue of PLOS ONE said to be the first of its kind, found dietary intervention can effectively treat depression in young adults. The researchers enrolled 101 individuals aged 17 to 35, whose stress and depression scores indicated moderate to high levels of depression.

Participants were divided into two groups. One received dietary intervention while the other (controls) received no intervention. Dietary instructions were provided to the treatment group by a registered dietician via a 13-minute video, which could be revisited at will.

The dietary recommendations were based on the 2003 Australian Guide to Healthy Eating protocol “with additional recommendations to increase concordance with Mediterranean-style diets … and diet components (e.g., omega-3 fatty acids, cinnamon, turmeric) that have beneficial effects on neurological function.”10 More specifically, the treatment group was instructed to eat:

Five servings of vegetables per day
Two to three servings of fruit per day
Three servings of wholegrain cereal per day
Three servings of protein (such as lean meat, poultry, eggs or legumes) per day
Three servings of unsweetened dairy per day
Three servings of fish per week
3 tablespoons of nuts and seeds per day
2 tablespoons of olive oil per day
1 teaspoon of turmeric and cinnamon on most days

Refined carbohydrates, sugar, processed meats and soft drinks were to be avoided as much as possible. According to the authors:11

“There is strong epidemiological evidence that poor diet is associated with depression. The reverse has also been shown, namely that eating a healthy diet rich in fruit, vegetables, fish and lean meat, is associated with reduced risk of depression …

There was good compliance with the diet intervention recommendations assessed using self-report and spectrophotometry. The Diet group had significantly lower self-reported depression symptoms than the Control Group …

Reduced DASS-21 depression subscale scores were maintained on follow up phone call 3 months later. These results are the first to show that young adults with elevated depression symptoms can engage in and adhere to a diet intervention, and that this can reduce symptoms of depression.”

Dietary Intervention Significantly Lowers Depression Scores

The first graph below illustrates the difference in primary depression scores (based on Centre for Epidemiological Studies Depression Scale or CESD-R) between the two groups. The second graph illustrates the difference between the two groups based on DASS-21 depression subscale scores.

difference in primary depression scores
Source: PLOS ONE October 9, 2019, Figure 212
depression subscale scores
Source: PLOS One October 9, 2019, Figure 313

The researchers also report that the dietary intervention resulted in lower levels of anger. In the Discussion section of the paper, the authors make the following observations:14

“The results of this RCT provide support for improving diet as a useful adjunct treatment to reduce depressive symptoms … One of the most interesting findings is the fact that diet change was feasible in this population.

As the participants were young adults and university undergraduate students, we anticipated several potential barriers such as the perceived cost of the diet, the time demands of preparing food and/or reliance on others for food preparation (particularly if they lived at home).

Additionally, the participants were recruited based on self-reported symptoms of depression. We anticipated that the symptoms of depression, including low energy, reduced motivation and apathy, would present as barriers to eating well.

Despite these factors, there was a significant increase in the recommended foods and decrease in processed foods for the diet change group but not the habitual diet group.

Furthermore, within the diet change group, increase in recommended foods was associated with spectrophotometer readings. This provides objective evidence to support the participants’ self-reported compliance with the diet …

Even in the general population, adherence to diet advice is typically very poor, with over 80% of Australians reporting that they do not comply with dietary recommendations.

As a result, there is substantial nihilism regarding the ability to change people’s diets. The current study simply provided a brief 13-minute video, paper resources and minimal phone support.

The fact that this relatively low-cost intervention can result in a population of young adults adhering to diet recommendations is very promising. Furthermore, it is important to consider that participants in the current study did not need to adhere strictly to the diet recommendations to derive benefit.”

Other Studies Support Dietary Intervention for Mental Health

Another recent paper found similar results. The meta-analysis,15 published in the April 2019 issue of Psychosomatic Medicine, looked at 16 randomized controlled trials with outcome data — based on a variety of depression scores — for 45,826 participants ranging in age from 21 to 85. Interventions ranged from 10 days to three years.

While all but one examined nonclinical depression, dietary interventions were still found to significantly reduce symptoms of depression. Interestingly, women appeared to reap the greatest benefits, not only for depression but also anxiety. According to the authors, “Dietary interventions hold promise as a novel intervention for reducing symptoms of depression across the population.”

Interestingly, studies specifying the involvement of a nutritional professional had significantly better results than those in which the dietary advice was delivered without a professional’s involvement.

However, as shown in the featured PLOS ONE study, this doesn’t necessarily have to be a complicated affair. There, participants simply viewed a video in which a dietician gave the instructions.

Mechanisms of Action

In the Implications and Recommendations section of the Psychosomatic Medicine meta-analysis, the authors point out a number of possible mechanisms of action allowing depressed patients to benefit from nutritional intervention:16

“… diet may act via several pathways that are implicated in mental health. These include pathways related to oxidative stress, inflammation, and mitochondrial dysfunction, which are disrupted in people with mental disorders.

Gut microbiota dysbiosis has also been implicated because of emerging research demonstrating involvement of the microbiome in the modulation of stress response, immune function, neurotransmission, and neurogenesis. A healthy diet typically contains a wide variety of bioactive compounds that can beneficially interact with these pathways.

For example, vegetables and fruits contain, in addition to beneficial vitamins, minerals and fiber, a high concentration of various polyphenols that seem to be associated with reduced rates of depression … potentially because of their anti-inflammatory, neuroprotective, and prebiotic properties.

Furthermore, vitamins (e.g., B vitamins), fatty acids (e.g., omega 3 fatty acids), minerals (e.g., zinc, magnesium), and fiber (e.g., resistant starch) as well as other bioactive components (e.g., probiotics), which are typically abundant in healthy dietary patterns, may also be protective from mental illness.

Along with increasing the intake of beneficial nutrients, dietary interventions may also impact on mental well-being by reducing the consumption of unhealthy food associated with increased risk for depression, such as processed meats, refined carbohydrates, and other inflammatory foods.

Unhealthy diets are also high in other compounds that may negatively affect these pathways. For example, elements commonly found in processed foods such as saturated fatty acids, artificial sweeteners, and emulsifiers may alter the gut microbiome, which may activate inflammatory pathways.”

Nutritional Advice for Mental Health

Keeping inflammation in check is an important part of any effective mental health treatment plan. If you’re gluten sensitive, you will need to remove all gluten from your diet. A food sensitivity test can help ascertain this. Reducing lectins may also be a good idea.

As a general guideline, eating a whole food diet as described in my optimal nutrition plan can go a long way toward lowering your inflammation level. A cornerstone of a healthy diet is limiting sugar of all kinds, ideally to no more than 25 grams a day.

In one study,17 men consuming more than 67 grams of sugar per day were 23% more likely to develop anxiety or depression over the course of five years than those whose sugar consumption was less than 39.5 grams per day. Certain nutritional deficiencies are also notorious contributors to depression, especially:

Marine-based omega-3 fats — Omega-3 fats have been shown to improve major depressive disorder,18 so make sure you’re getting enough omega-3s in your diet, either from wild Alaskan salmon, sardines, herring, mackerel and anchovies, or a high-quality supplement.

I recommend getting an omega-3 index test to make sure you’re getting enough. Ideally, you want your omega-3 index to be 8% or higher.

B vitamins (including B1, B2, B3, B6, B9 and B12) — Low dietary folate can raise your risk of depression by as much as 304%.19,20 A 2017 study21,22 showing the importance of vitamin deficiencies in depression involved suicidal teens. Most turned out to be deficient in cerebral folate and all of them showed improvement after treatment with folinic acid.

Magnesium — Magnesium supplements have been shown to improve mild-to-moderate depression in adults, with beneficial effects occurring within two weeks of treatment.23

Vitamin D — Studies have shown vitamin D deficiency can predispose you to depression and that depression can respond favorably to optimizing your vitamin D stores,24 ideally by getting sensible sun exposure.

A double-blind randomized trial25 published in 2008 concluded that supplementing with high doses of vitamin D “seems to ameliorate [depression] symptoms indicating a possible causal relationship.” Research26 published in 2014 also linked low vitamin D levels with an increased risk for suicide.

The 2017 paper “Depression and Vitamin D Deficiency: Causality, Assessment and Clinical Practice Implications,” published in the journal of Neuropsychiatry, notes:27

“The Third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, which enrolled a sample of 7,970 non-institutionalized U.S. residents age 15 to 39, confirmed that people with serum vitamin D ≤50 nmol/L [20 ng/mL] are at a significantly higher risk of showing depression than individuals whose serum levels of vitamin D are greater or equal to 75 nmol/L [30 ng/mL] …

A … large cohort study28 showed an association between low vitamin D levels and both presence and severity of depression, this suggesting the possibility that hypovitaminosis D indicates an underlying biological susceptibility for depression.”

For optimal health, make sure your vitamin D level is between 60 and 80 ng/mL year-round. Ideally, get a vitamin D test at least twice a year to monitor your level.

Keeping your gut microbiome healthy also has a significant effect on your moods, emotions and brain. You can read more in my previous article, “Mental Health May Depend on the Health of Your Gut Flora.”

Helpful Supplements

A number of herbs and supplements can also be used in lieu of drugs to reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression, including the following:

  • St. John’s Wort (Hypericum perforatum) — This medicinal plant has a long historical use for depression, and is thought to work similarly to antidepressants, raising brain chemicals associated with mood such as serotonin, dopamine and noradrenaline.29
  • S-Adenosyl methionine (SAMe) — SAMe is an amino acid derivative that occurs naturally in all cells. It plays a role in many biological reactions by transferring its methyl group to DNA, proteins, phospholipids and biogenic amines. Several scientific studies indicate that SAMe may be useful in the treatment of depression.
  • 5-Hydroxytryptophan (5-HTP) — 5-HTP is another natural alternative to traditional antidepressants. When your body sets about manufacturing serotonin, it first makes 5-HTP. Taking 5-HTP as a supplement may raise serotonin levels. Evidence suggests 5-HTP outperforms a placebo when it comes to alleviating depression,30 which is more than can be said about antidepressants.
  • XingPiJieYu — This Chinese herb, available from doctors of traditional Chinese medicine, has been found to reduce the effects of “chronic, unpredictable stress,” thereby lowering your risk of depression.31

Other Helpful Treatment Options

Evidence clearly shows antidepressants are not an ideal choice for most people with depression. For more information about this, see “What Does the ‘Best Evidence’ Say About Antidepressants?

In it, I also review a number of other treatment suggestions, such as phototherapy, cognitive behavioral therapy, the Emotional Freedom Techniques and the importance of limiting your electromagnetic field exposure.

Aside from diet, which I believe is foundational, the depression treatment with the most solid scientific backing is exercise. I discussed some of the mechanisms behind this effect in “How Exercise Treats Depression.”

I also review the evidence against antidepressants and provide a list of studies detailing the effectiveness of exercise for depression in “The Depression Pill Epidemic.”

– Sources and References

Artificially sweetened products threaten heart health, study reveals

Reproduced from original article:
https://www.naturalhealth365.com/artificial-sweeteners-soda-3141.html

by:  

artificial-sweeteners(NaturalHealth365) Just about everyone knows that sugary beverages not only destroy weight loss plans, but also trigger negative health effects.  Unfortunately, as a replacement for sugar-laced beverages, too many people still turn to soda with artificial sweeteners – with the hope of cutting out “empty calories.”

However, there’s a growing body of scientific evidence that suggests it’s a really bad move.

Excessive sugar consumption continues to be a problem in the Western diet, contributing to health conditions like diabetes, obesity plus much more.  However, while diet soda and other diet drinks are popular, one new study published in JAMA Internal Medicine found that artificially sweetened beverages have the potential to increase the risk of heart disease and other serious health conditions.

Discover what artificial sweeteners can do to your cardiovascular system

The study looked at regular consumption of soda and found that individuals who consume soft drinks regularly have a higher risk of mortality over 16 years compared to those who drink them infrequently.  Data from more than 450,000 men and women who were a part of the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC) was considered, with initial dietary assessments done on the type and number of soft drinks consumed daily, weekly and monthly when individuals enrolled.

Individuals who consumed two or more glasses of soda a day had a 17% higher risk of dying from any cause during the 16.4-year follow-up period.  For those who drank beverages with artificial sweeteners, their mortality risk was 26% greater.

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Among those who had a high intake of sweetened sodas, the risk of dying of heart disease was 27%.  Shockingly, people that drank sodas with artificial sweeteners had a 59% greater risk, far higher than in those who consumed the sugary sodas.

Beyond heart disease, drinking a glass a day of sugary beverages was also linked to a 59% higher risk of digestive diseases.

Don’t be fooled: Fruits juices can be just as bad as soda

While some people turn to fruit juices thinking they’re a healthier beverage choice, they can be just as bad as sodas. Regular consumption of commercially-produced fruit juices has also been linked to premature death.

Consuming 10% of more of your daily calories from sugary drinks increases the risk of dying from heart disease by 44%, and that includes drinking store-bought fruit juice.

Both sugary beverages and soda with artificial sweeteners come with serious health risks, and this recent study showed that drinking artificially sweetened beverages was even more dangerous than consuming the sugary ones.

And remember, artificial sweeteners don’t just show up in sodas, they’re often found in juices, coffee drinks and “diet” sweets like cupcakes and donuts.  Even some ‘healthy-sounding’ beverages contain them.

Bottom line: Instead of drinking sugary sodas, artificially sweetened beverages or fruit juices, try staying well hydrated with plenty of clean (purified) water – every day.  If you want something sweet, go for an organic apple or a bunch of blueberries.

And, if you’re having trouble with your blood sugar levels – you might want to look at the value of alpha lipoic acid.

To learn more about the dangers of artificial sweeteners, listen to this mind-blowing NaturalHealth365 Podcast with Jonathan Landsman.  You’ll never look at artificial sweeteners the same again.

Sources for this article include:

JAMANetwork.com
LifeExtension.com
NaturalHealth365.com
ConsumerReports.com

Blood pressure control could slow age-related brain damage

Analysis by Dr. Joseph Mercola  Fact Checked – August 29, 2019
Reproduced from original article:
https://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2019/08/29/blood-pressure-and-dementia.aspx

STORY AT-A-GLANCE

  • 1 in 3 American adults has high blood pressure, which increases your risk for heart disease, stroke, kidney disease and dementia
  • 95% of seniors between the ages of 60 and 90 have lesions in the white matter of their brains, and those with high blood pressure tend to have more white matter lesions and a higher risk for dementia in their later years
  • Recent research suggests intensive blood pressure treatment to reach a systolic blood pressure goal of 120 mm Hg can limit the progression of age-related brain damage, thereby lowering your risk for dementia
  • While those in the intensive treatment group suffered less brain damage (lesions) over time, they ended up losing a greater total volume of brain matter. The cause for this discrepancy is unknown, and it’s unclear what the clinical significance might be
  • Clinical blood pressure guidelines now call for a blood pressure goal of 120/80. Elevated blood pressure or prehypertension is defined as a systolic blood pressure between 120 and 129. Stage 1 high blood pressure is 130 and 139 systolic, and 80 to 89 diastolic. Stage 2 high blood pressure is anything over 140 systolic and 90 diastolic

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention,1 1 in 3 American adults (about 75 million people) have high blood pressure, and about 46% have uncontrolled high blood pressure, which increases your risk for a number of serious health problems, including heart disease, stroke,2 kidney disease3 and dementia.4

With regard to dementia, previous research5 has found that high blood pressure disrupts regulatory mechanisms in your brain by impeding blood flow, thereby causing neuronal damage and dysfunction.

A study6 published in the August 2019 issue of JAMA concluded intensive blood pressure treatment helped limit the progression of cerebral small vessel ischemic disease — referring to common age-related changes in the small blood vessels in your brain7 — thereby lowering the risk for dementia.

Other common terms for this condition is “white matter disease” and “age-related white matter changes.”8 Previous research9 has found 95% of seniors between the ages of 60 and 90 have lesions in the white matter of their brains, and several studies10 have shown people with high blood pressure tend to have more white matter lesions and a higher risk for dementia in their later years.

Intensive blood pressure treatment may lower dementia risk

In the featured JAMA study,11,12 participants were randomly selected to receive intensive treatment to reach a systolic blood pressure goal of 120 mm Hg, or standard treatment, which required maintaining systolic blood pressure below 140 mm Hg.

The primary outcome was the change in total volume of white matter lesions from baseline. The secondary outcome was the change in total brain volume. Follow-up was scheduled to take place at four-year intervals, but the study was stopped early, after just five years, as the primary outcome benefit for those in the intensive treatment group was deemed to be higher, leaving those in the standard treatment group at a disadvantage. According to the authors:13

“In the intensive treatment group, based on a robust linear mixed model, mean white matter lesion volume increased from 4.57 to 5.49 cm3 (difference, 0.92 cm3) vs an increase from 4.40 to 5.85 cm3 (difference, 1.45 cm3) in the standard treatment group (between-group difference in change, −0.54 cm3).”

Curiously, while those in the intensive treatment group suffered less brain damage (lesions) over time, they ended up losing a greater total volume of brain matter. The cause for this discrepancy is unknown, and it’s unclear what the clinical significance might be.

In the end, the researchers deemed the reduction in brain lesions to be more important, at least in terms of protecting against dementia. As noted in the study:14

“Mean total brain volume decreased from 1134.5 to 1104.0 cm3 (difference, −30.6 cm3) in the intensive treatment group vs a decrease from 1134.0 to 1107.1 cm3 (difference, −26.9 cm3) in the standard treatment group (between-group difference in change, −3.7 cm3).

Among hypertensive adults, targeting an SBP of less than 120 mm Hg, compared with less than 140 mm Hg, was significantly associated with a smaller increase in cerebral white matter lesion volume and a greater decrease in total brain volume, although the differences were small.”

Dr. Walter J. Koroshetz, director of the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, which funded the study, commented on the findings in an NIH press release:15

“These initial results support a growing body of evidence suggesting that controlling blood pressure may not only reduce the risk of stroke and heart disease but also of age-related cognitive loss. I strongly urge people to know your blood pressure and discuss with your doctors how to optimize control. It may be a key to your future brain health.”

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Do you have high blood pressure?

A blood pressure reading gives you two numbers. The upper or first number is your systolic blood pressure reading. The lower or second number is your diastolic pressure. For example, a blood pressure reading of 120 over 80 (120/80 mm Hg) means you have a systolic arterial pressure of 120 and a diastolic arterial pressure of 80.

Your systolic pressure is the highest pressure in your arteries. It occurs when your ventricles contract at the beginning of your cardiac cycle. Diastolic pressure refers to the lowest arterial pressure, and occurs during the resting phase of your cardiac cycle.

The guidelines for healthy blood pressure appear to be a bit of a moving target, having gone through a bewildering number of changes over the past several years.16 In 2014, the blood pressure goal for healthy patients over 60 was 150/90, and 140/90 for those between the ages of 18 and 59.17,18,19

As of 2017, American College of Cardiology and American Heart Association’s clinical guidelines call for a blood pressure goal of 120/80.20,21,22 Elevated blood pressure or prehypertension is defined as a systolic blood pressure between 120 and 129.

Stage 1 high blood pressure is 130 and 139 systolic, and 80 to 89 diastolic. Stage 2 high blood pressure is anything over 140 systolic and 90 diastolic. Anything over 180 systolic and/or 120 diastolic is considered a hypertensive crisis.

As noted in a 2019 review23 in the Cleveland Clinic Journal of Medicine, the 2017 guidelines increased the number of American adults diagnosed with high blood pressure from 31.9% to 45.6%. The latest guidelines also recommend monitoring your blood pressure continuously with a wearable device during daytime hours. As explained by Harvard Health:24

“This additional monitoring can help to tease out masked hypertension (when the blood pressure is normal in our office, but high the rest of the time) or white coat hypertension (when the blood pressure is high in our office, but normal the rest of the time).”

Lowered blood pressure guidelines have their risks

According to the Cleveland Clinic Journal of Medicine review,25 more intensive blood pressure control — meaning meeting the lower 120/80 threshold — “has the potential to significantly reduce rates of morbidity and death associated with cardiovascular disease.” Alas, this reduction comes “at the price of causing more adverse effects.”

According to this review, “All told, about 3 million Americans could suffer a serious adverse effect under the intensive-treatment goals.” Serious side effects experienced by people receiving intensive treatment were higher rates of:26

  • Low blood pressure (hypotension) 2.4% versus 1.4% in the standard treatment group
  • Fainting (syncope or temporary loss of consciousness) 2.3% versus 1.7%
  • Electrolyte abnormalities 3.1% versus 2.3%
  • Acute kidney injury or kidney failure 4.1% versus 2.5%
  • Other treatment-related adverse events 4.7% versus 2.5%

How to get a proper blood pressure reading

To avoid a false hypertension diagnosis, keep in mind that your blood pressure reading can vary significantly from day to day, and even from one hour to the next, so don’t overreact if you get one high reading here or there. It’s when your blood pres­sure remains consistently or chronically elevated that significant health problems can occur. The following variables can also affect the va­lidity of your blood pressure reading:

The blood pressure cuff size — If you’re overweight, taking your reading with a size “average” blood pressure cuff can lead to a falsely elevated blood pressure reading, so make sure your doctor or health care professional is using the right size cuff for your arm.

Your arm position — If your blood pressure is taken while your arm is parallel to your body, your reading will be falsely elevated. Blood pressure readings should always be taken with your arm at a right angle to your body.

Stress — “White coat hypertension” is a term used for when a high blood pressure reading is caused by the stress or fear associated with a doctor or hospital visit. This can be a transient yet serious concern. If this applies to you, stress reduction is key.

To decrease your risk of being falsely diagnosed with hypertension in this situation, take a moment to calm down (be sure to arrive for your appointment ahead of time so you can unwind), then breathe deeply and relax when you’re getting your blood pressure taken.

Common causes for high blood pressure

Several factors have been identified as contributing to high blood pressure, including but not limited to:

Insulin and leptin resistance — As your insulin and leptin levels rise, it causes your blood pressure to increase.27 As noted in one study:28

“Insulin can increase blood pressure via several mechanisms: increased renal sodium reabsorption, activation of the sympathetic nervous system, alteration of transmembrane ion transport, and hypertrophy of resistance vessels. Conversely, hypertension can cause insulin resistance by altering the delivery of insulin and glucose to skeletal muscle cells, resulting in impaired glucose uptake.”

Elevated uric acid levels — Like insulin and leptin, high uric acid is also significantly associated with high blood pressure, so any program adopted to address high blood pressure needs to normalize your uric acid level as well. Tellingly, uric acid is a marker for fructose toxicity, so one effective way to do this is to minimize fructose in your diet.
Poor nutrition in childhood has been shown to raise the risk of high blood pressure in adulthood.29
Lead exposure30
Air pollution — Air pollution affects blood pressure by causing inflammation. According to one 2019 study,31 “the enhanced exposure to PM2.5 by 10 µg/m3 leads to an increase of systolic and diastolic blood pressure by 1-3 mmHg and is associated with a hazard ratio of 1.13 for the development of arterial hypertension.”
Noise pollution — Noise pollution can also affect your blood pressure, primarily by activating stress responses that affect your autonomic and endocrine (hormonal) systems. As noted in one 2017 study:32

“Chronic annoyance causes stress characterized by increased levels of stress hormones such as cortisol and catecholamines. Chronic stress may in turn cause a number of pathophysiological adaptations, such as increased blood pressure, increases in heart rate and cardiac output …”

Key lifestyle strategies for lowering your blood pressure

In my experience, elevated blood pressure — even stage 1 and 2 high blood pressure — can be successfully addressed with lifestyle interventions, to where drugs become unnecessary. The key is to be sufficiently aggressive in your diet and lifestyle modifications.

That said, if you have seriously elevated blood pressure, it would be wise to take a medication to prevent a stroke while you implement these lifestyle changes. Below, I’ll review several suggestions that can help lower your blood pressure naturally.

Address insulin resistance

As mentioned, high blood pressure is typically associated with insulin resistance,33 which results from eating a diet too high in sugar. As your insulin level elevates, so does your blood pres­sure.34

There are several reasons for this. For starters, insulin stimulates magnesium uptake.35 If your insulin receptors are blunted and your cells grow resistant to insulin, you cannot store magnesium so it passes out of your body through urination.

To ascertain whether insulin/leptin resistance is at play, be sure to check your fasting insulin level. Aim for a fasting insulin level of 2 to 3 microU per mL (mcU/mL). If it’s 5 mcU/mL or above, you definitely need to lower your insulin level to reduce your risk of high blood pressure and other cardiovascular health problems.

Keep in mind that the so-called “normal” fasting insulin level is anywhere from 5 to 25 mcU/mL, but please do not make the mistake of thinking that this “normal” insulin range equates to optimal.

Avoid fructose

Aside from raising your insulin, fructose also elevates uric acid, which drives up your blood pressure by inhibiting nitric oxide in your blood vessels. (Uric acid is actually a byproduct of fructose metabolism. In fact, fructose typically generates uric acid within minutes of ingestion.)

If you’re healthy and want to stay that way, the general rule is to keep your total fructose intake to 25 grams per day or less. If you’re insulin resistant and/or have high blood pressure, keep your total fructose to 15 grams or less per day until your condition has resolved.

Eat real food

Being high in sugar, unhealthy seed oils and synthetic chemicals, a processed food diet is a recipe for high blood pressure. Instead, make whole, ideally organic foods the focus of your diet. This will address not only insulin and leptin resistance but also elevated uric acid levels.

One 2010 study36 discovered that those who consumed 74 grams or more per day of fructose (the equivalent of about 2.5 sugary drinks) had a 77% greater risk of having blood pressure levels of 160/100 mmHg. Consuming 74 grams or more of fructose per day also increased the risk of a 135/85 blood pressure reading by 26%, and a reading of 140/90 by 30%.

According to the authors, “These results suggest that high fructose intake, in the form of added sugar, independently associates with higher [blood pressure] levels among U.S. adults without a history of hypertension.”

Also remember to swap nonfiber carbs for healthy fats such as avocados, butter made from raw grass fed organic milk, organic pastured egg yolks, coconut oil, raw nuts such as pecans and macadamia, grass fed meats and pasture raised poultry. To learn more about healthy eating, please see my optimal nutrition plan, which will guide you through the necessary changes step-by-step.

In addition to what you eat, when you eat can also have a significant impact on your insulin sensitivity (and hence blood pressure). Intermittent fasting is one of the most effective ways I’ve found to normalize your insulin/leptin sensitivity. It’s not a diet in conventional terms, but rather a way of timing your eating in such a way as to promote efficient energy use.

Increase your nitric oxide levels

Nitric oxide helps your vessels maintain their elasticity, so nitric oxide suppression increases blood pressure. A specific food that has been found to have a beneficial effect on blood pressure is beetroot juice,37 thanks to its ability to convert the nitrate in the beetroot juice into bioactive nitric oxide.

In one small placebo-controlled trial,38 one glass (250 milliliters or 8.5 ounces) of beetroot juice per day for one month reduced blood pressure in those diagnosed with high blood pressure by a mean of 7.7/2.4 mm Hg when measured in a clinic setting, and 8.1/3.8 mm Hg when measured at home. The treatment group also saw a 20% improvement in endothelial function. Arterial stiffness was also reduced.

Optimize your magnesium and sodium-to-potassium level

Magnesium inhibits high blood pressure39 by combating inflammation, relaxing your arteries and helping prevent thickening of your arteries, allowing for smoother blood flow. Magnesium stored in your cells relaxes muscles, including your blood vessels. If your magnesium level is too low, your blood vessels will constrict, thereby raising your blood pressure.

According to one scientific review,40,41 which included studies dating as far back as 1937, low magnesium appears to be the greatest predictor of heart disease, and other recent research42 shows even subclinical magnesium deficiency can compromise your cardiovascular health.

Your sodium-to-potassium level is also a crucial factor.43 According to Lawrence Appel, lead researcher on the DASH diet and director of the Welch Center for Prevention, Epidemiology and Clinical Research at Johns Hopkins, your diet as a whole is the key to controlling hypertension — not salt reduction alone.

He believes a major part of the equation is this balance of minerals — i.e., most people need less sodium and more potassium, calcium and magnesium. In a 2014 interview, he told USA Today,44 “Higher levels of potassium blunt the effects of sodium. If you can’t reduce or won’t reduce sodium, adding potassium may help. But doing both is better.”

Indeed, maintaining a proper potassium to sodium ratio in your diet is very important, and hypertension is but one of many side effects of an imbalance. A processed food diet virtually guarantees you’ll have a lopsided ratio of too much sodium and too little potassium. Making the switch from processed foods to whole foods will automatically improve your ratios.

Optimize your omega-3 index

Research also highlights the importance of animal-based omega-3 fats for healthy blood pressure — especially in young adults.

In one 2018 study,45 those with the highest serum levels of omega-3 also had the lowest blood pressure readings. On average, their systolic pressure was 4 mm Hg lower and their diastolic pressure was 2 mm Hg lower compared to those with the lowest omega-3 blood levels.

The best way to boost your omega-3 is to eat plenty of oily fish that are low in mercury and other pollutants. Good options include wild caught Alaskan salmon, sardines and anchovies. Alternatively, take a high-quality krill oil supplement.

For information about how to measure your omega-3 level, what the ideal level is and how your omega-3 index affects your risk for heart disease, see the hyperlink above.

Optimize your vitamin D level

Vitamin D deficiency, associated with both arterial stiffness and hypertension,46 is another important consideration. According to researchers from the Emory/Georgia Tech Predictive Health Institute,47 even if you’re considered generally “healthy,” if you’re deficient in vitamin D then your arteries are likely stiffer than they should be.

As a result, your blood pressure may run high due to your blood vessels being unable to relax. In their study, having a serum level of vitamin D lower than 20 nanograms per milliliter (ng/ml) was considered a deficiency state that raises your hypertension risk. Less than 30 ng/ml was deemed insufficient.

Previous research48 has also shown that the farther you live from the equator, the higher your risk of de­veloping high blood pressure. Blood pressure also tends to be higher in winter months than during the summer. Exposing your bare skin to sunlight affects your blood pressure through a variety of different mechanisms, including the following:

  • Sun exposure causes your body to produce vitamin D. Lack of sunlight re­duces your vitamin D stores and increases parathyroid hormone produc­tion, which increases blood pressure.
  • Vitamin D deficiency has also been linked to insulin resistance and metabolic syndrome, a group of health problems that can include insulin resistance, elevated cholesterol and triglyceride levels, obesity and high blood pressure.
  • Research49 shows that sun exposure increases the level of nitric oxide in your skin. This dilates your blood vessels, thereby reducing your blood pressure. (For comparison, and to show how various factors tie together, uric acid, produced when you eat sugar/fructose, raises your blood pressure by inhibiting nitric oxide in your blood vessels — the opposite effect of sun exposure.)
  • Vitamin D is also a negative inhibitor of your body’s renin-angiotensin sys­tem (RAS), which regulates blood pressure.50 If you’re vitamin D deficient, it can cause inappropriate activation of your RAS, which may lead to high blood pressure.

Exposure to ultraviolet rays is also thought to cause the release of endor­phins, chemicals in your brain that produce feelings of euphoria and relief from pain. Endorphins naturally relieve stress, and stress management is an important factor in resolving high blood pressure. To learn more about vitamin D testing, please see “How Vitamin D Performance Testing Can Help You Optimize Your Health.”

Exercise regularly

A comprehensive fitness program can go a long way toward regaining your insulin sensitivity and normalizing your blood pressure. To reap the greatest rewards, I recommend including high-intensity interval exercises in your routine.

While the nitric oxide dump I previously promoted is OK to do, I have learned a far superior strategy that not only increases nitric oxide but also increases muscle strength. It is called blood flow restriction training and I should have detailed instructions and videos on this in the next month.

Strength training is particularly important if you’re insulin resistant. When you work individual muscle groups, you increase blood flow to those muscles, and good blood flow will increase your insulin sensitivity.

I also recommend training yourself to breathe through your nose when exercising, as mouth breathing during exercise can raise your heart rate and blood pressure, sometimes resulting in fatigue and dizziness. To learn more about this, please refer to my previous article on the Buteyko breathing method.

Address pollution and stress

Smoking is known to contribute to high blood pressure, as are other forms of air pollution, and even noise pollution. To address these, avoid smoking, consider using ear plugs during sleep if you live in a noisy neighborhood (provided you cannot move), and take steps to improve your indoor air quality.

The connection between stress and high blood pressure is also well documented, yet still does not receive the emphasis it deserves. Suppressed negative emotions such as fear, anger and sadness can severely limit your ability to cope with the unavoidable every day stresses of life.

It’s not the stressful events themselves that are harmful, but your lack of ability to cope. The good news is, strategies exist to quickly and effectively transform your suppressed, negative emotions, and relieve stress.

My preferred method is the Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT), an easy to learn, easy to use technique for releasing negative emotions. EFT combines visualization with calm, relaxed breathing, while employing gentle tapping to “reprogram” deeply seated emotional patterns.

Sources and References

Coca-Cola seeks revision of fortification guideline

Analysis by Dr. Joseph Mercola Fact Checked – August 07, 2019
Reproduced from original article:
https://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2019/08/07/coca-cola-seeks-revision-of-fortification-guideline.aspx

Story at-a-glance

  • The Coca-Cola Co. is seeking permission to add vitamins to various drinks in its assortment, but adding vitamins and minerals does absolutely nothing to change the detrimental impact of sugary beverages
  • Coca-Cola is also asking the FDA to expand antioxidant claims. At present, antioxidant claims can only be made for substances for which there are established daily values. Coke wants this rule expanded to include substances that do not have established recommended DV
  • Vitamin gummy bears have circumvented FDA’s fortification guideline by being marketed as a supplement rather than candy, although it could reasonably be argued to be both
  • There are several reasons to avoid vitamin gummies: They’re high in sugar, have unreliable nutrient content, are contaminated with impurities more frequently than other supplements, contain artificial flavors, colors, preservatives and fillers, and pose an overdose risk due to their resemblance to candy
  • Gummy fruit snacks are a perfect example of an unhealthy snack marketed as healthy. Whether the primary ingredient is corn syrup or concentrated fruit juice, they contain mostly sugar, and contrary to real fruit, these snacks are loaded with artificial flavors and dyes

In February 2019, I wrote about the introduction of nutritionally fortified artificial sweeteners. Merisant launched a new zero calorie sweetener called Sugarly Sweet exclusively on Amazon in late January 2019, and has also created a brand-new line of artificial sweeteners fortified with vitamins and minerals.1

The fortified sweeteners are sold under the company’s Equal Plus brand, and are available in three versions: vitamin C and zinc;2 vitamins B3, B5 and B12;3 or vitamins C and E.4

The products are marketed as a “good source” of these nutrients, as a single packet provides 10% of the daily recommended value of the added vitamins and minerals. Clearly, this is nothing more than a marketing ploy.

Similarly, The Coca-Cola Co. is now seeking permission to add vitamins to various drinks in its assortment, but make no mistake — adding vitamins and minerals does absolutely nothing to change the detrimental impact these products have on your health, be it artificial sweeteners or sugary beverages.

Coca-Cola wants FDA to ease up on fortification rule

For decades, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has discouraged “indiscriminate addition of nutrients to foods,” including and especially pertaining to “snack foods such as candies and carbonated beverages.”5

Coca-Cola is now pushing the FDA to ease up on this so-called “jelly bean rule” (so called because companies cannot fortify candy such as jelly beans for the purpose of making a health claim). The reason for this FDA guideline is fairly obvious. It’s there to prevent food and beverage manufacturers from marketing junk food as healthy.

In an October 24, 2018, article6 for FOOD Navigator-USA, editor Elaine Watson reported that Coca-Cola has asked the FDA to update its fortification policy “to reflect changes in consumers’ dietary patterns and innovation in the marketplace.”

According to Coca-Cola, the jelly bean guideline damages the company’s “ability to innovate with new carbonated water, tea and juice beverages.” The primary intent behind the request, Coca-Cola claims, is to fortify sparkling beverages, not to add vitamins to soda, snack foods or beverages with “significant amounts of added sugar.”

Interestingly, Coca-Cola is already marketing Vitaminwater which, as its name implies, is fortified water — with plenty of added sugar. As noted by Marion Nestle in a July Food Politics post:7

“Some Vitamin Waters have as much sugar as a Coke. They have Nutrition Facts labels and are marketed as foods, and look to me to be in violation of the jelly bean rule. The FDA hasn’t done anything about them, even though they are vitamin-enriched sugar water. If you have any idea why not, please tell me.”

Indeed, the only difference between Vitaminwater and the type of beverages Coca-Cola is now asking permission to fortify is carbonation. Carbonated beverages “can be beneficial options in a person’s diet, so it is recommended that FDA recognize that the simple addition of carbonation should not prohibit the sale of a product under the fortification guideline,” Coca-Cola told the FDA.8

The company is also asking the FDA to expand antioxidant claims. At present, antioxidant claims can only be made for substances for which there are established daily values. Coca-Cola would like the agency to expand this rule to include substances that have “substantiated antioxidant activity that do not have an established recommended DV.”

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The latest fad: Functional junk food

Candy makers are also trying to weasel more nutrients into candy in an effort to give the sweet stuff an aura of healthiness. Nestle offered several examples of candy makers taking a page out of the snack foods’ marketing book in a June 2018 post.9 Among them:

  • Rainmaker’s chocolate products, which contain nuts and protein as “functional” ingredients “to give consumers an energy boost”10
  • Supertreats, which mimics chocolate using carob powder instead, along with “minimally processed superfood ingredients such as chia seeds and blueberries for a nutritional boost”11
  • Get More Multivitamin Chewing Gum — said to provide 25% of your recommended daily allowance of 10 vitamins after 20 minutes of chewing12

Then there’s vitamin gummy bears — a tantalizing mixture of candy and vitamin supplement marketed to kids and adults alike. As noted by Nestle,13 vitamin gummies have managed to circumvent the FDA’s jelly bean guideline by being marketed as a supplement rather than candy, although it could reasonably be argued to be both. But are gummy vitamins all they’re cracked up to be? In short, no. There are several reasons to avoid them the way you would candy.

Reasons to avoid vitamin gummies

For starters, unless it specifies being made from whole food nutrients, the product probably contains synthetic vitamins and/or minerals, many of which are known to be less effective, and in some cases, may do more harm than good. You’re also getting added sugars, which could easily be tagged as health enemy No. 1. As registered dietitian Jillian Kubala told Popsugar:14

“Added sugar should be kept to a minimum in any healthy diet, and popping a few sugary gummy vitamins per day can add up. In fact, some gummy vitamins can contain nearly one teaspoon of added sugar per two-gummy serving. Some of these also include sugar alcohols, such as sorbitol, which can cause digestive upset in some people.”

Other drawbacks and common problems associated with gummy multivitamins include:

Unreliable nutrient content — According to Consumer Lab,15 which conducts independent testing to assess the quality of nutritional products, it’s common for gummy multivitamins to not contain the listed amounts of nutrients:

“Gummies are notoriously difficult to manufacture because it is hard to measure in the correct amounts of vitamins and minerals (some are simply sprayed on a candy base) …

[T]he ingredients in a gummy are more likely to degrade, so manufacturers often put in more than the listed amount — resulting in products with too much of a vitamin, such as folic acid, when first produced and decreasing amounts over the course of their shelf-lives.”

Impurities — Consumer Lab also warns that gummy multivitamins often contain impurities, noting there are consistently “more problems with candy-like vitamins like gummies than with traditional forms, such as tablets and caplets.”16

Artificial flavors, food colors, preservatives and fillers can also cause more harm than good. They’re certainly not required for good health, and many have been linked to behavior problems and other ailments in children.

Overdose risks — The gummies unmistakable resemblance to candy can also easily result in overdosing and toxicity.17 As noted by Kubala:18

“Unlike water-soluble vitamins, fat-soluble vitamins (A, D, E, and K) are stored in the body and can cause toxicity if too much of these nutrients are consumed. Certain minerals, such as iron, can be dangerous if consumed in excess as well.”

Beware of phony fruit snacks

Another thoroughly unhealthy snack food marketed as healthy is gummy fruit snacks. Examples include General Mill’s Fruit Roll-Ups, Fruit by the Foot, Fruit Shapes, Gushers and Kellogg’s Fruit Flavored Snacks. While the premise sounds good — surely a fruit substitute must be better than a candy bar? — the reality is, they’re the same.

Whether the primary ingredient is corn syrup or concentrated fruit juice, the result is identical: They contain mostly sugar. And contrary to real fruit, these snacks are also loaded with artificial flavors and dyes. As noted by Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI), “[I]f you compare ingredients lists, fruit snacks look much closer to candy — like jelly beans or gummy bears — than fruit.”19

One example cited by CSPI is Gerber Graduates Fruit Strips, said to contain a full serving of fruit per bar. In reality, each bar contains just 1% berries. “The main fruit ingredient is dried apple puree, which should read ‘concentrated fruit sugar,’” CSPI writes.20

Despite lawsuits, faux ‘functional’ junk foods proliferate

In 2015, a class-action lawsuit was filed against Welch Foods for violating the jelly bean rule and making Welch’s Fruit Snacks appear healthier than they actually are. As reported by RegistrarCorp.com:21

“The plaintiffs … took issue with the fact that Welch boasts that its fruit snacks are made with real fruit. The snacks are ‘devoid of the health benefits plaintiffs and other reasonable consumers associate with consuming real fruit,’ the plaintiffs said in their complaint.

Although the first ingredient in many of Welch’s Fruit Snacks are juice from concentrate or fruit purees, the following ingredients are corn syrup, sugar, and corn starch.”

Years earlier, in 2009, CSPI sued Coca-Cola for falsely advertising Vitaminwater as being able to prevent “age-related eye disease” and to promote “pain-free functioning of joints,” “structural integrity of joints and bones,” and “optimal generation and utilization of energy from food.”22,23

Meanwhile, each bottle contains 33 grams of sugar, which CSPI pointed out “do more to promote obesity, diabetes and other health problems than the vitamins in the drinks do to perform the advertised benefits listed on the bottles.”24

After six years of litigation, Coca-Cola finally agreed to change its Vitaminwater label to resolve the dispute, adding the words “with sweeteners” and removing “vitamins + water = all you need.” The company also stopped making health claims relating to metabolic health, immune function and reduction of eye disease.25 As reported by CBS News at the time of the lawsuit in 2010:26

“… Coke seems not to have understood — and most Vitaminwater drinkers certainly don’t understand — that dumping vitamins into sugar water does not make it a health drink … The law on health claims for nutrition and diet supplement products isn’t that complicated. If I can understand it, then the general counsel’s office at Coke sure ought to be able to.

Which makes me suspect these companies were simply calculating that they could make more on revenue from selling these drinks with their false claims than they’d lose when they finally got caught.”

Indeed, and here we are again. Coca-Cola now wants more leeway to fool more customers about more of its products. Aside from paying CSPI’s legal fees, Coca-Cola got away with falsely advertising Vitaminwater for years, and in the end just had to make a few minor tweaks to the label. Most likely, it was well worth breaking the rules, and there’s nothing to suggest Coca-Cola wouldn’t do it again given half a chance.

Don’t fall for functional junk food claims

When it comes right down to it, processed foods and beverages will never be able to compete with real food and pure water, and as a general rule, if a product comes with heavy advertising, you can be pretty certain it’s not a healthy choice.

Processed foods are designed to be eaten quickly, on-the-go, and often in large, addictive quantities. In eating these foods you may satisfy a brief craving, but you will not have received the vitamins and minerals, the live enzymes and micronutrients, the healthy fats or high-quality protein that your body needs to function, let alone thrive.

Cancer, heart disease, obesity, diabetes — all modern plagues that have a dietary component — are spreading and increasing in occurrence and severity with each passing year. The health statistics speak for themselves, and the truth these statistics are telling is that so-called “functional” foods don’t work.

The idea that candy, junk food and processed snacks can be healthy simply by adding a few synthetic nutrients is a pipedream. Your eyes may be fooled by label claims, but your body will know the difference.

Again and again, studies show processed foods and sweetened beverages promote chronic disease and shorten life span. Fortification changes nothing. It’s just a marketing ploy that increases sales, so don’t be fooled.

If you really want to eat healthy, it’s time to delegate at least 90% of your food budget to real, whole (ideally organic) foods — fruits and vegetables, grass fed meat, healthy fats, nuts and seeds and plenty of pure filtered water.

If you want flavor, a squirt of lemon or lime juice is a simple addition that won’t detract from the health benefits of the water. For a step-by-step guide to make this a reality in your own life, simply follow the advice in my optimized nutrition plan.