Saturday, November 30, 2013

Are You Still Using a Microwave Oven?

Reposted from Food Matters

We are always looking to discover new ways of making our lives easier through innovative inventions. What we often fail to understand however, is that not all inventions are good for our health. Microwave ovens are one such invention that have been widely mistaken as a healthy convenience.

Do you rely on the convenience of a microwave over a stove, to cook or heat your food? If yes, then you might want to stop and think again before placing your life in the hands on this so called “harmless” man-made invention.

Microwave Oven – Not Really Harmless?

The first microwave oven was invented by Raytheon after the World War II. Back then, it didn’t seem like such an important invention for home use. A few years later, microwave ovens gained a lot of popularity for reheating previously-cooked foods and cooking vegetables. Over the last couple of decades, microwave ovens have become a necessity, and now you will rarely find a kitchen without one!

Today, over 90% of homes in America, use microwave ovens for re-heating foods, and for daily meal preparations.  It is so easy to use as it just takes a few minutes to get the meal on the table “ready to eat”. However, as you may already know, a microwave oven essentially uses microwave radiations to heat polarized molecules in food. Unfortunately, these microwave radiations have been found to distort the molecular structure of foods. As a result, microwave preparations lack healthy nutrients as most of them are destroyed during heating!

Did you know that the Soviet Union banned microwaves in 1976? Why do you think they would do so and yet the American Government still hasn’t warned us anything about it? Microwave ovens continue to be used in every home, and the reason is simple – microwaves are convenient and energy efficient way of preparing food.

Is Microwaved Food Both Safe and Healthy?

Here, are a few studies and results that indicate why this may not be the case.

1. Microwaves Are Harmful For Baby Food

It has been found that cooking food in microwaves is an unhealthy and unnatural approach for preparing baby food. According to Young Families, the Minnesota Extension Service of the University of Minnesota published in 1989, milk bottle heated in microwaves may cause harm to the baby who drinks it.
High milk temperature (often resulted due to overheating) could not only burn a baby’s mouth and throat, the steam all encapsulated in the bottle may also cause the bottle to explode due to the presence of radiation gases within it.

Maybe these effects can be ignored or averted, but the fact that milk heated in a microwavemay change the molecular structure of the milk is something that calls for attention.Microwave radiations can cause the essential nutrients in the baby foods to be lost, making them unfit for consumption. It’s just like feeding fake milk to the child with no real nutrients at all.

The study further confirmed that it may be better and much safer to heat the bottle by placing it under a tap of warm water for a few minutes than to heat it in a microwave oven.

2. Microwaves Can Destroy Your Blood

Another shocking discovery about microwave radiations came into the limelight when a nurse in an Oklahoma hospital used microwaves for warming the blood used for transfusion in a patient. The patient immediately died because of this transfusion. It was found that microwaves injected some kind of destructive substances in our blood when we heat it.

3. Microwaves Reduces Hemoglobin Levels

To understand why microwaves are dangerous for health, a study was carried out by Raum & Zelt in 1992 which showed some noticeable changes in the human build after consumingmicrowave heated milk and vegetables.

In this study, 8 volunteers ate different combinations of the same food cooked in different ways, which caused different changes in the blood of the volunteers. Hemoglobin, which is an important constituent of blood decreased while white blood cells and cholesterolincreased. Lymphocytes, which provide immunity to the body, also decreased which is quite an alarming sign. Bacteria also increased after eating the microwave heated food.

4. Microwaved Food Can Cause Cancer

A food scientist by the name of Dr. Hans Ulrich Hertel who worked with one of the major companies of Switzerland carried out a research which showed striking discoveries about cooking food in microwaves. Dr. Hertel was fired from his company because of raising questions on how the food was prepared.  His famous research with a Lausanne university professor which showed that food cooked in microwaves has cancerous effects.
Dr. Hertel and Dr. Bernard H. Blanc collaborated on a clinical study at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology and the University Institute for Biochemistry. Determined to study the physiology of the human body, Dr. Hertel carried out experiments to find out the effects of “microwaved” nutrients on human blood. He showed that microwave radiations completely destroy the nutrients in the food and could cause very bad effects on the human body. He also found out that microwaved food decreased hemoglobin in our body and could increase the cholesterol levels.

Comfort OR Health? The Choice Is Yours!

The FDA, the government and even the manufacturers themselves may never tell you these harmful effects of cooking food inmicrowaves. As it is evident, microwave ovens are not really the recommended method of cooking. You could either live in denial and keep on using it or give your life some value and start cooking food on stoves. Use the conventional and the safer way!

Monday, November 25, 2013

Safer Alternative for Pain Relief

Reposted from Life Extension

by Maylin Rodriguez-Paez, RN

Approximately one person dies every 19 minutes from a prescription drug overdose,1 and the deaths have tripled since 1990.2 What gives?

About 75% of prescription overdoses are caused by opioids2 — a group of highly addictive drugs that reduce the perception of pain. Taking a high dose or using them along with alcohol or sedatives can stop your breathing and ultimately kill you.

But before you judge, please note that many of such victims aren’t “druggies” or misfits. A lot of them are everyday people like you and me who’ve become addicted after taking them for chronic pain.

Luckily, alternatives do exist. In fact, nature has given us a number of safe, non-addictive herbs for pain relief. Below, we’ll go over these along with a few non-herbal options as well.

Herbal Options for Pain Relief

Pain can drastically impact a person’s quality of life. It can be debilitating and even drive people to commit suicide.

Of course, we’re not advocating that people should suffer needlessly from pain, but rather that safer methods should be at least considered for managing it.

In fact, some people have been able to reduce or quit pain meds altogether by making the right nutritional and lifestyle changes.

Here are some herbal options that have been clinically shown to alleviate discomfort safely:

1. Curcumin

The yellow spice, turmeric, has been used as a medicinal herb for thousands of years. Much of its benefits are attributed to curcumin, one of its key components.

In a clinical study, curcumin was more effective than a leading anti-inflammatory drug, diclofenac, for arthritic pain. After eight weeks of use, participants taking the curcumin had a 60% reduction in pain scores.3

How does curcumin work? Unlike opioid drugs, curcumin works on multiple levels to ease inflammation,4 a major cause of pain.

2. Capsaicin

Capsaicin is extracted from chili peppers. It’s one of the most heavily studied extracts for the management of pain.

Research shows it’s effective against multiple types of pain, including joint,5 sinus,6 nerve,7 and even post-surgical pain.8

In one study, post-surgical patients experienced significant pain relief with topical applications of capsaicin. They took significantly less opioids for pain relief.8

One thing to note about herbals is that they take a certain period of time before you’ll experience significant pain relief. If you’re going to try them, give them a couple of months to start working. In general, a good time frame to give them is between 2–3 months.

Safe, Behavioral Options for Pain Relief

1. Yoga

A common reason that people take painkilling drugs is to treat lower back pain. This type of pain can literally cripple its victims. Fortunately, multiple studies show that yoga may help.

For example, researchers in Seattle conducted a three month study and found that yoga classes decreased back pain in chronic sufferers.9 The participants’ back function also improved.

Of course, before you start any program, consult with your doctor first.

2. Sleep

In pain? Then definitely make an effort to catch more Zzzzzs.

Research shows that sleep helps to diminish pain.10 Why is this? Well, it may have to do with melatonin, a hormone that’s released during sleep.

Researchers have found that melatonin is actually a natural pain reliever.11 It reduces pain-causing inflammation12 and it supports the release of endorphins,13 your body’s natural painkillers.

3. Diet

As a first step, make it a point to avoid inflammatory foods as much as possible.

Diet is very important for managing pain effectively. Limiting foods that contain arachidonic acid, an omega-6 fat, may help to prevent inflammation and pain.14
This can be found in red meat, eggs, white meat, and peanuts.

Instead, incorporate the following foods into your diet, as they can help to ease inflammation:

  • flax seeds
  • walnuts
  • pumpkin seeds
  • oily fish
  • seaweed
  • green tea
  • black tea
  • tart cherries
  • dark berries
  • olive oil
  • garlic
  • grapes
  • basil

Have herbs or diet and lifestyle changes helped you manage your own pain? If so, please tell us about it in the comments.

Who knows? You may be able to help others by sharing what’s worked for you.


  1. Available at: Accessed December 5th, 2012.
  2. Available at: Accessed December 5th, 2012.
  3. Phytother Res. 2012 Nov;26(11):1719-25.
  4. Mol Nutr Food Res. 2008 Sep;52(9):1010-30.
  5. Rheumatology (Oxford). 2011 May;50(5):911-20.
  6. Ann Allergy Asthma Immunol. 2011 Aug;107(2):171-8.
  7. J Peripher Nerv Syst. 2012 May;17 Suppl 2:22-7.
  8. Clin Drug Investig. 2011 Dec 1;31(12):877-82.
  9. Available at: . Accessed December 5th, 2012.
  10. SLEEP. 2012 December;35(12):1667-1672.
  11. Clin Rheumatol. 2000;19(1):9-13.
  12. Life Sci. 2009 Apr 10;84(15-16):489-98.
  13. Yao Xue Xue Bao. 2001 Jan;36(1):5-9.
  14. J Pain Palliat Care Pharmacother. 2011;25(1):49-54.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

A Holistic Approach to Cancer (And Heart Disease)

Reposted from Weston A Price

Written by Tom Cowan   
Tuesday, 09 February 2010 20:39

The Disease of Civilization

Let’s begin with a definition of cancer. Cancer is the situation that occurs when a certain type of cell out of the many different types of cells in our body—such as blood cells, pancreas cells, brain cells, liver cells, connective tissue cells—decides to grow in an uncontrolled way, in an excessive way, and at the expense of all the other types of cells in the body.
If you had one word or brief phrase to answer the question, “What causes cancer?” what might it be? You might respond with “emotions,” “toxins,” “fungus,” “stress,” or “bad terrain of the body.” Those are all great answers. But they are not my answer. In my twenty-five years of being a doctor and thinking about food and cancer and health issues for pretty much every day of those twenty-five years, I can say—and I don’t wish to say this in an arrogant way—that I have no doubt in my mind that I know what causes cancer. I have come to the conclusion that I have this one right. My answer in one word is “civilization.”


I’m not the first person to think this way. That is actually the title of one of my favorite books, a book by Vilhjalmur Stefansson called Cancer: Disease of Civilization? (1960). The idea started some time before Stefansson in a lecture given at a Paris medical society in 1842 by Stanislas Tanchou, a physician and one of Napoleon’s surgeons. At that time France was a primary center of science and medicine in the world. You have to remember where we were in the world at that time: it was the era of scientific discovery and manifest destiny; white people were going to conquer and civilize the world and make it safe for Christianity. Against this political backdrop Tanchou in his lecture claimed he could predict the exact incidence of cancer in all the major European cities over the next fifty years, and it was all dependent on the percentage of grain in their diets.
Tanchou’s numbers were all recorded and in time they came exactly true—a certain cancer percentage for Berlin, a certain percentage for Munich, and so on. The cancer incidence all depended on the amount of cereal grains in the diet. This set off a huge furor around the world since the great mission of the age was to civilize every inch of the globe. Here was somebody in a center of civilization who declared that these people who don’t eat grains, who have the more indigenous hunter-gatherer diet, never get cancer.
This provocative idea motivated many thinkers between 1842 to about 1950, as archaeologists, anthropologists, medical doctors, missionaries and explorers took up the challenge of answering the question. Whether he knew it or not, Weston Price’s research came as a result of Tanchou’s fundamental question. Price focused on dental health as a kind of proxy to the question, “Is it true that cancer is a disease of civilization?”
Another thinker who took up this challenge was George Caitlin, a mid-nineteenth century American lawyer and portraitist. Caitlin spent twenty years of his life living and studying with Native Americans in indigenous hunter-gatherer populations all over the western part of the United States. About the people with whom he lived, Caitlin noted: “I love a people who have always made me feel welcome to the best they had, who were honest without laws, who had no jails, no poor houses, who keep the commandments without ever having read them or heard them preached from the pulpit, never swear, never take the name of God in vain, love their neighbor as themselves, free of religious animosity. I love a people who have never raised a hand against me, or stole my property, when there was no law to punish them for either. I love a people who have never fought a battle with white men except on their own ground. I love a people who live and keep what is their own without locks and keys. And oh, how I love a people who don’t live for the love of money.”


The premise that we are examining is whether cancer is a disease of civilization, but I say that civilization is the cause of cancer. But first we need to define civilization. We know what cancer is: uncontrolled growth of one of the members of a community; that is, one cell type deciding to grow at an excessive rate compared to the rest of the community of cells. This civilization project, if you want to call it that, which started about ten thousand years ago, probably in the Tigris and Euphrates delta, is the process wherein humans decided to co-opt the natural resources of the land base and set off to grow themselves at the expense of the rest of the community. That is the definition of civilization, this co-opting of the resources of the land base, this mining of the resources which is essentially mining the soil. If you go on long enough, you turn productive soil into a desert, and the region of the Garden of Eden in the Tigris and Euphrates delta is now a desert. It took ten thousand years, which is the blink of an eye in the overall picture of humanity.
Civilization can also be seen as the process of extracting the resources from the earth in order to grow one particular species of the landed community, namely humans.
When I give that definition it might remind you of the cancer process. We believe deeply in growth. In order to grow we co-opt the resources from the rest of the earth’s community. Given enough time, the rest of the community withers and dies and this one particular species of the community grows more and more until it kills the land base or the person. That is the definition of civilization.
Think of the Great Plains—this once fertile region extending from Minnesota to Texas. According to early white explorers, the top soil on the Great Plains was twelve feet deep. Interestingly, by the 1930s, before chemical agriculture, before GMOs, before Monsanto, barely a hundred years of growing grains—and growing them organically—turned those twelve feet into a mere twelve inches, which in the Dust Bowl of the 1930s blew away to the Gulf of Mexico. That is what happened because of organic agriculture. For those of us who say the solution is to simply to go back to organic agriculture, remember that the Tigris and Euphrates Delta became the desert of Iraq solely through organic agriculture, and maybe some over-grazing.
But the point is that the hunter-gatherer indigenous populations that were dependent upon animals feeding on perennial grass-based environments lived free of cancer for literally thousands and thousands of years. Organic agriculture turned the soil into nearly a desert, and brought cancer to a people who had no cancer. Weston Price got in at the tail end of this inquiry in the 1930s and documented the health of these people from the standpoint of their teeth. But again whenever we look at the health of nonindustrialized peoples we see the same thing: these are people without cancer, and also without heart disease. Any anthropologist can tell you this bone was from a hunter-gatherer, a pre-grain eating person, and this bone, by contrast, from a grain-eating person, because the latter has holes in it and looks like it has arthritis and it not as thick and strong. You can see physical degeneration almost every place where people have switched from indigenous diets to primarily grain-based diets.


So the next step is to discover what these healthy people ate. As you know, Weston Price found healthy isolated peoples who were eating small amounts grains, usually prepared through a fermentation process. But the basic diet of these people was about 65 percent animal foods with a definite predominance of fats over protein. It was not a low-protein diet but a diet that included adequate protein, and then about thirty-five percent fermented grains, low-starch seeds, nuts and vegetables and perhaps a natural sweetener, such as honey.
Does that type of diet square with the human anatomy? I’m not against changing certain patterns of the diet based on what a person can tolerate. But when someone says this person because of their blood type needs to be an herbivore, a vegan, I think to myself well, yes, that would be fine if they had a rumen. Let me tell you, the first cancer patient who comes in with a rumen, I’m putting them on a vegetarian diet, I don’t care what blood type they are. If they have very long intestines and a rumen with bacteria to ferment cellulose, I’d put them on a vegetarian diet.


Interestingly, the primate that has the largest amount of plant food in the diet, the gorilla, has a very long digestive tract and the smallest brain of any primate. If you were in the jungle and had only leaves to eat, you would starve in the midst of abundance because you cannot digest leaves, at least most leaves. But the gorilla is so constructed that he can eat high-cellulose plant foods like leaves.
Remember that the herbivorous animals literally must eat all day to extract nutrients from grass, leaves and seeds. You, as the predator human, can get concentrated fats and protein from the herbivores, and you need only a short digestive system to get all you need to develop a healthy body and a healthier more robust brain to talk, think and create. You don’t have to eat all day long. When you revert to a more “gorilla-ish” way of life, you increase the number of times you have to eat, increase the size of your digestive apparatus, and shrink your brain, which is exactly what has happened to us over the last ten thousand years. I’m not so sure that this is the way we want to go.
I wish I had a dollar for every patient who walked into my office—usually a female patient— who has said, “My belly is bloated and I’m full of gas; I have digestive disturbance and a foggy brain.” Usually they end up with a diagnosis of hypothyroidism. When you ask them what they eat, they tell me, “I’m mostly vegetarian.” They have gorilla syndrome.
The human anatomy is precisely designed for a hunter-gatherer diet of about 70 percent animal food, predominantly fat (as much as they could tolerate and digest) including organ meats and bones (usually in the form of broth), but not so much protein—something like two to four ounces of protein, two to three times a day was about the average of what people ate. The remaining 30-35 percent plant foods provides variety and additional amounts of vitamins and minerals. The protein and fat part is what builds a healthy body structure, the endocrine and immune systems, and, most importantly, the brain and nervous systems. People ate plants for balancing their pH, for accessing different minerals and phytochemicals. Because these plant foods were often fermented, they served as food for bacteria, which greatly increased their vitamin content for the benefit of humans.
This is the framework to the hypothesis that cancer is a disease of civilization. Taking these ideas as a basis, my cancer therapy is based on the GAPS diet, low-dose naltroxone (LDN), Iscador (mistletoe extract) and cardiotonics in order to create a “pre-civilization” milieu for the cancer patient.


The diet I use for treating cancer patients is the Gut and Psychology Syndrome (GAPS) diet, formulated by Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride in her book of the same name. Let me give a brief description of how the GAPS diet works. The healthy intestine contains millions of tiny absorptive villi. It also contains a layer of good bacteria, a diverse colony. We have, or should have, more microorganisms in our gut—five to seven pounds of them—than we have human cells in our body. These bacteria represent our immune system. Children with autism have holes in their intestinal walls that allow toxic proteins and other chemicals to leak through their porous guts into their blood stream. The two most serious are casomorphin and gluteomorphin. These leak into the blood stream and cause neurological symptoms.
Think of your intestines as soil and grass: the villi are like the soil, and the layer of good bacteria is like the grass covering the soil. If you go to a meadow or a perennial grass field and you overgraze or do something to strip the grass, the soil will become eroded. If this condition continues, you get further erosion of soil, you get cracks in the soil, and surface material starts seeping into the ground water. That is exactly the same process that happens in the human gut. People “strip their grass” with antibiotics, with vaccines, with processed foods, with not getting the right flora via the birth canal due either to a C-section or gut dysbiosis in the mother. Lastly, “civilized” people today are no longer eating probiotic foods. All these factors create an unhealthy gut ecology, a flattening of the villi, and actual holes in the gut wall.
The villi are a source of the enzyme disaccharidase, which digests disaccharides, just as lipase digests lipids and protease digests protein. As you lose the integrity of the villi you lose the ability to digest disaccharides because you lose the ability to produce the enzymes solely responsible for this function. If you continue to eat disaccharides, they cannot be digested, and instead feed fungus, yeasts, and toxic microorganisms that are present in the gut. These are like crab grass growing on the soil. Crab grass doesn’t protect the soil, it doesn’t make the good micronutrients, it doesn’t make the B vitamins, and it doesn’t protect the lining. Instead, it results in bloating and gas and all the other things that people with sickness experience. As the condition of the villi worsens, even less disaccharidase is produced, and we have a vicious cycle. Eventually you get ulcerative colitis—an erosion through the mucosa into the muscle layer, and that is like a bad crater in the soil. As a result of this leakiness of the gut you end up with these two predominant chemicals, gluteomorphin and casomorphin, getting absorbed into the blood stream. These substances are opiates, and opiates essentially paralyze your immune response.
So in the GAPS diet we eliminate all disaccharides including sugar, potatoes, sweet potatoes and grains; lactose is also a disaccharide so fluid milk, even raw milk, needs to be avoided. The diet emphasizes lots of healthy fats like butter, ghee and coconut oil, grass-fed meats and organ meats, wild seafood, fermented raw dairy products, low-starch vegetables, some fruit, bone broths and cod liver oil.
I should add that I also prescribe pancreatic enzymes, based on the work of Dr. Nicholas Gonzalez (see review). I use lyophilized pancreatic enzymes from Allergy Research extracted from New Zealand pork, lamb and beef, all at one time. The dose is 10-15 capsules, three times per day, on an empty stomach.


Now let’s introduce low dose naltrexone (LDN) into this picture, and see what it has to do with the GAPS diet. We’ll also discuss what it has to do with cancer and civilization.
Naltrexone is a drug that was developed in the late 1960s to treat heroin overdose. It is an opiate receptor blocking agent. Three hundred milligrams of intravenous naltrexone would block the receptors of someone who had overdosed on heroin and save him from respiratory arrest and death.
Oral naltrexone in a fifty-milligram dose was next tried as a strategy to stop heroin addiction. Two interesting things happened. First, the fifty milligrams would block the opiate receptors all day and the heroin would have no effect. Addicts would stop using heroin because it wouldn’t make them high. But unfortunately, the people who took the fifty-milligram dose of naltrexone felt so lousy they said they’d rather be dead than take this stuff. The therapy completely failed as an addiction drug, but Bernard Bihari, a neurologist in New York City, had a lot of AIDS patients who were also heroin addicts. Bihari knew the story of naltrexone and this led to an attempt to discover why people taking naltrexone felt so lousy.
The answer is that heroin and morphine are identical to chemicals we make in our bodies called endorphins. These are the chemicals that make you feel good. If you block the body’s production of natural endorphins—which is an inadvertent effect of blocking the exogenous opiates, heroin and morphine—then this complete embargo on endorphins makes you feel worse than worse. The result is a lifeless life with no feelings of joy, since this is what endorphins are intimately associated with. If you feel miserable all the time, you probably suffer from a deficiency of endorphins.
The feeling of well-being is connected with your immune response. Endorphins are literally the fuel for the activity of your T cells; they have to do with your natural killer cells and the synthesis of tumor necrosis factor. All of this is clearly delineated in the medical literature.
The next step for Bihari was to test the heroin addicts who had AIDS and MS and other immune system problems to see whether they were actually low in endorphins. Bihari was the first to hypothesize that we can trick the body into making more endorphins by giving a very low dose of naltrexone. If fifty milligrams blocks the opiate receptors for a day, he reasoned, then three or four milligrams will block the receptors for about an hour. We give the dose at bedtime and the body says, “Hey, somebody blocked my endorphin sites! I need to make more endorphins.” Sometimes there is a ten-fold increase in the number of endorphins produced. The next thing you know you find a normal or even heightened response in endorphin production leading to improved immune function. In one survey, forty out of forty-two MS patients went into remission using LDN. Their autoimmune disease had been based on toxic opiates replacing healthy endorphins in their immune response. There are many classes of diseases that have been helped with this therapy and you can find much more information at
How does the use of LDN fit into our theory that cancer is a disease of civilization? First, the foods of civilization, especially the current lowfat (or wrong-fat) and low-cholesterol diet, impede the body’s production of natural endorphins; second, civilized peoples are addicted to substances that stress the adrenal glands, such as coffee, tea, chocolate, sugar and stronger drugs—you might say that the process of becoming civilized takes us from the slow lane to the fast lane—and as the adrenals are involved in endorphin production, with so much stress and over-use, our innate feel-good mechanism breaks down. Finally, civilization puts millions of people into jobs they can’t stand, relationships that are stressful, activities they don’t enjoy. Civilization is interesting and challenging, but it is also stressful.
We often hear of a person diagnosed with cancer who says to himself, “Well, if I have only a few months to live, I’m going to do what I always wanted to do.” So he quits his work and plays the cello, or takes up oil painting. And lo and behold, his cancer goes into remission. Why? Because his body is finally producing and benefiting from endorphins, his immune system can finally work again, and he gets well.
It is interesting to compare this therapy to the GAPS diet, which eliminates the disaccharides found in grains, potatoes, sweet potatoes, sweet milk and a few other foods. The diet also avoids the exogenous opiates: casomorphins and gluteomorphins found in grains and unfermented dairy products. The GAPS diet mirrors the pre-civilized diet of 60-70 percent animal foods, with fruits, vegetables, seeds and nuts as sort of “vitamin pill” supplement. The strategy is to get rid of toxic opiates, heal the gut, stimulate the production of healthy endorphins, and normalize the immune response. A significant number of people with autoimmune disease and cancer have a positive response to this combination.


The next modality in my approach to cancer treatment is mistletoe therapy, otherwise known as Iscador. This is the backbone of anthroposophical medical therapy and I’m a trained anthroposophical physician. This philosophy is associated with Waldorf schools and biodynamic farming, started by Rudolf Steiner in the 1920s.
The mistletoe plant is made into a number of different cancer preparations, but the original one formulated by Rudolf Steiner is called Iscador. The formulation involves an extremely complicated pharmaceutical process using winter and summer sap from the Viscum album plant and mixing it in a gold-plated centrifuge rotated at the exact speed of the earth. It is an amazing process.
You may be surprised to learn that Iscador is the most prescribed cancer medicine in the world. At a conference I attended a few years ago, a German oncologist quoted 400,000 registered cancer patients in Germany, 310,000 of whom take some kind of mistletoe preparation. (Unfortunately, European doctors usually prescribe it in conjunction with conventional therapy.) You may have heard that the celebrity Suzanne Somers is an ardent proponent of Iscador, which has played a big part in her successful treatment of her breast cancer, along with a low-carbohydrate diet and hormones.
I’ve been treating cancer patients with Iscador for twenty-five years or so, and almost every patient I see is prescribed the diet that I have described, along with Iscador and LDN. That is the mainstay of my therapeutic protocol. How does it fit in with our “cancer is a disease of civilization” hypothesis? Rudolf Steiner was the first to describe Iscador, but he was by no means the first to describe the theory of Iscador. Twenty-five hundred years ago Hippocrates said, “Give me a medicine that can produce a fever and I can cure any disease.”
The way that I explain this to my patients is to note that the job of the doctor is to distinguish between the therapy and the illness. What I mean by that is if you get a splinter in your finger, and then your body makes pus to get the splinter out, is the pus the therapy or the disease? We know that pus indicates infection and the presence of microorganisms, and we learned in medical school that doctors should kill the pus. But I don’t think it is that far of a stretch to see that if you have a splinter in your finger, the pus is the therapy for the splinter. If you don’t take the splinter out, the pus will do it for you. If you mistakenly think that the pus is the disease and you destroy the pus, the splinter will stay and your body will attempt this process again. If you destroy the pus again, your body might repeat this process three or four more times. Then you have a chronic infection as the body keeps trying to remove the splinter. Eventually it will either succeed, or it will encapsulate the splinter, which is a tumor, a new growth. It is not a cancerous tumor but a benign cystic tumor of the splinter. The understanding that the pus is the therapy allows you to predict what is going to happen in the future.
Now think of this example. Joe Bloke is a smoker. In other words, he puts a bunch of splinters in his lungs every day. Twice a year Joe gets cough, fever, mucus—all to get the splinters out of his lungs. I prefer to say “cough, fever, mucus” rather than “bronchitis” because the word “bronchitis” separates you from the reality of the situation. His body is producing an inflammatory response—it is making a mucus-pus-fever response to cleanse his lungs of splinters. If Joe goes to a doctor who makes the mistake of thinking that the response is the problem, he will give drugs to stop the bronchitis—which is actually the medicine. So Joe will be left with the splinters. That scenario will happen twice a year for thirty years and then Joe has a big bag of splinters in his lungs, and we call that lung cancer.
We know that epidemiologically every culture that has embarked on aggressive prevention of infectious disease with vaccines and antibiotic treatment has seen infectious diseases diminish, but deaths from cancer increase. Every single one. This paradox is not unknown to the medical profession.
William Coley was a surgeon in New York City at the end of the nineteenth century and the inventor of a cancer therapy called Coley’s Toxins, which was basically just rotting meat. Coley knew of the apparent relationship between infection and cancer regression. His protocol was to inject terminally ill cancer patients with an agent to make them get really sick and produce a fever. Somewhere between 20-40 percent of the terminally ill cancer patients who received this treatment, especially with combinations of Streptococcus and Serratia, went into remission. The treatment produced high fevers for a week, a lot of mucus, and a lot of what we call sickness. It is also undeniably true that the thing we call sickness is the immune response. The bacteria and the viruses don’t actually make us sick. They trigger an immune response and the symptoms which we deem as unpleasant—fever, mucus and so on—those are the response to the foreign situation. With Coley’s Toxins, 20-40 percent of these patients, as written up by the New York Academy of Sciences, went into remission.
Unfortunately, another 20-40 percent died from sepsis; that is, from the therapy, and another 20 percent or so had no response. It was a toxic therapy, or you might say a last ditch effort, but the point remains that the fevers and the pus and the mucus—and the interleukin-2 and the interferon and all these tumor necrosis factors and natural killer cells that constitute our immune response—that is the therapy for cancer. As Hippocrates said, give me a medicine that produces a fever, that provokes an immune response, and I can cure any disease.
Rudolf Steiner was asked how Iscador works in the body. He replied that it simulates a bacterial infection. You get the warmth, the interferon, the interleukin-2 response, the natural killer cell response; you get everything you would get from an infection except the bacterial infection and the sepsis, which are the toxic parts. So instead of 20-40 percent of patients dying from Coley’s Toxins from sepsis, you have an activation of the immune response but no side effects. This response is demonstrated when you inject the Iscador, because the body temperature increases, and you see actual signs of an inflammatory response. This inflammatory response digests the tumor.
Then you can help the dead material out of the body with coffee enemas, hot baths and so on. This is one of the most effective therapies for all solid tumor cancers.


If you look at this process you might wonder how we got into this mess of so many people with a diminished cell-mediated inflammatory response. A cell-mediated inflammatory response— the part that we call “being sick”—is the activation of the white blood cells. Whenever we have a normal infection like chicken pox, two arms of our immune system get activated. First is the humoral immune response, or antibody-based response in the B cells, which make antibodies to remember what happened. Second is a cell-mediated activation, where the white blood cells chew up the invader and spit it out through fever, mucus, rash, achiness and sweating—all those things we call being sick. That is what happens with every naturally occurring infection. Is there something that we are doing that is somehow turning on the humoral immunity and deactivating the cell-mediated immunity?
A vaccine is a specific attempt to activate a humoral response—antibodies—and to deactivate the cell-mediated response. Why do I say that? If you get sick with fever, rash, mucus, after you had a vaccine, then that would be a bad vaccine. No one would want that vaccine. The whole point of a vaccine is to deactivate the cell-mediated response so you don’t feel sick, but to activate the humoral response.
This is exactly the same immune situation that you see with cancer and auto-immune disease. The cell-mediated response is the only way your body expels microorganisms and foreign proteins, and that response gets shut down with vaccinations. Everyone who is vaccinated ends up with an over-stimulated humoral antibody system and an under-stimulated cell-mediated system. Add to that the use of fever-suppressing drugs like aspirin and Tylenol, as well as antibiotics that kill the bacteria in our guts, and we have a recipe for cancer.
The incidence of cancer has skyrocketed with the introduction of vaccines and with the suppression of the acute sick response. Unlike the primitive man who accepts everything in nature and in the body as a natural process, the civilized man tries to suppress natural processes; he is afraid of them, or thinks they serve no purpose, and cancer is the result.


A fourth component of my cancer therapy involves cardiotonics. Cardiac glycosides are novel therapeutic agents belonging to a family of substances that come mostly from plants. They are a source of proteins (glycosides) that stimulate the metabolism of the heart. The two main cardiac glycosides are digitalis from the foxglove and a substance called ouabain—which I prefer to use—from the strophanthus plant. This African vine was originally used by tribes for hunting. They would dip their arrows into a substance taken from the seeds and it would cause a temporary stoppage of the heart in the animal they shot.
Researchers understood that this was a cardiac active substance and when they isolated it they found it was a hormone, which they called ouabain (through French from Somali waabaayo, “arrow poison”) or strophanthin. Until the 1990s, the very similar digitalis was the main treatment for heart problems. And there have been a number of studies over the years of women with breast cancer, and men with prostate cancer who have been put on digitalis for their heart problems. These patients have an incidence of cancer ten times lower than controls and if they already had cancer, digitalis lowers their recurrence rate seven- to twenty-fold.
Ouabain is an excellent medicine for the heart. I have a patient from Germany who has a doctorate in biochemistry. About twenty-eight years ago, he had three heart attacks, bypass surgery and stents. Nothing worked, and he was given up for dead. He had heard about ouabain as a medicine for heart attacks and angina. He found a source of it, started taking it, and he is still alive today. Recently he sent me what he hopes to be a published paper in the American Journal of Oncology on the entire world literature pertaining to the use and actions of ouabain (its trade name is Strodival).
I’ve been using Strodival for heart patients for five or six years. It’s been a great help for people with angina, heart disease and congestive heart failure. Many have better outcomes, less angina and better exercise tolerance.
But what does ouabain have to do with cancer and civilization? According to my biochemist patient, ouabain does two things: it flushes lactic acid from the cells, and it catalyzes the ability of the cells, particularly the heart cells, to metabolize fats into energy. He calls it the “insulin of the heart,” or the “insulin of fat metabolism.” Without the hormone ouabain you have a difficult time digesting fats, which may be why you temporarily seem better on a carbohydrate diet. If you don’t have enough ouabain, you can’t metabolize fats, and you can’t get energy from fats. We actually know the specific biochemical fat metabolism blockade that it overcomes. But the next question is: how could this substance from an African vine have anything to do with helping cancer patients in civilization?
What I have learned from this biochemist and others in studying the history of ouabain is an interesting revelation. Here is a chemical, a hormone that is found only in this one African vine, strophanthus. By an amazing quirk of nature we humans make the exact same chemical in our adrenal glands. You can radioactively tag precursors of this hormone and the precursors light up in the adrenal glands; ouabain also lights up the adrenal glands, proving that you actually make ouabain from this precursor. It goes into the blood, into the heart and all the other cells in the body, allowing you to use fats as fuel while also flushing out lactic acid from your cells.
The inability to metabolize fats is in some ways exactly the defect we have with cancer. The inability to use fat as fuel, and therefore the reliance on sugar, causes increased levels of insulin. Excess insulin stimulates growth, and an increase in lactic acid builds up because of the deficiency of ouabain. This leads to a state of acidosis which is essentially necrosis—it poisons the cells.
Cancer cells are cells in a state of acidosis. This is why people came up with alkalinizing diets for cancer patients; but these diets rarely work in the long run because your body doesn’t actually need more alkaline foods; what it needs is more fat. What you need to do is change your metabolism so that lactic acid doesn’t build up in your cells, and the adrenal hormone ouabain helps you do that.
By the way, ouabain is made out of cholesterol; or to put it another way, ouabain is made from animal fats. And since the widely used statin drugs inhibit the production of cholesterol, they also inhibit the production of ouabain. Here is yet another example of fear about one of nature’s vital processes—the use of cholesterol in the human body—that is so characteristic of civilized man.
Fear of cholesterol and saturated fat has led to a vicious cycle. Ouabain catalyzes the metabolism of fats, allowing you to eat them, so you eat more. If you don’t eat cholesterol and fats, or if you try to lower your cholesterol, you can’t make oaubain and then you can’t eat fats, and so you think you are doing better if you decrease the amount of fats in your diet. The next thing you know you have more insulin from increased carbohydrate consumption, and then you are in big trouble.


Steiner once said that for mankind to make progress, men and women would need to learn not to work for money. Of course you want to be paid for what you do, but you should not work simply for money. If you work every day in a job you don’t love, then you are going to put enormous stress on your adrenal glands. Eventually they will not be able to produce the cardiotonics and endorphins that you need to stay well, happy and cancer free.
In fact, everything we do should be enjoyable—our work, our leisure time, our family life, our food—yet even eating has become stressful today as we are hounded to stick to a soulless lowfat diet. The threat of cancer should challenge us to humanize our existence, to inject the stress-free attitude of primitive peoples into our stressful, goal-oriented civilized lives.
This is really our only choice because we can’t go back. Very few of us would want to go back to primitive tribal life, a life without electricity, without gadgets, without books and computers, a life, in fact, without the opportunity for personal choice that we have become used to. What we can do is choose to bring the village life back to civilization, by choosing not to work for money, by choosing to enjoy our food, by choosing to do the things we love to do, by reducing the pace, by socializing with friends, by taking naps, by doing as much for ourselves as we do for others, by supporting old-fashioned and sustainable agriculture, and above all by eating lots and lots of animal fats.

I sometimes say that having access to the Weston Price philosophy is a bit like taking a test and knowing the answer beforehand. When you wonder how to proceed with any subset of human endeavor, you can look backward to find (or remember) the right answer. Along with this, I’m sure you’ve heard about the “hundredth-monkey” effect. This phenomenon refers to the instantaneous, paranormal spreading of an idea or ability to the remainder of a population once a certain portion of that population has heard of the new idea or learned the new ability. When the hundredth monkey learned to wash sweet potatoes, then every monkey in the world was supposedly washing sweet potatoes as well via this process.
There are certain things that bubble up out of the culture at certain times. The thing that is bubbling up right now, for the obvious reason that we are poisoning and killing ourselves environmentally and in a lot of other ways, is this big question of how we should live. This question affects even very small, specific matters in our lives.
I read a book recently called Born to Run. The theory of this book is that human beings evolved running and walking barefoot. As soon as you run and walk with shoes on you will have injuries to your legs and back. In fact they point out a study from the American College of Orthopedic Medicine that seventy percent of all runners have a significant injury within a year, and the number one thing that correlates with the likelihood of having an injury is the price of your running shoes. The higher the price of your shoes the more likely you are to injure yourself. Because the foot craves to find a hard place to impact the ground, and the more expensive running shoes have more cushion in the heel and now even springs, you really have to grind your leg in order to find that hard place. That puts stress on your ankle and knee and then hip and then back. We even know the physiological mechanism of how that works. But as I said, you already know the answer to the question of what to put on your feet, because the healthiest people, the ones who didn’t have leg and back problems were these “uncivilized” people who walked and ran barefoot all the time. You already knew the answer to that conundrum; we just had to fill in the science.
This thinking process can be applied to shoes; it can also be applied to electromagnetic fields, to cell phones. If you look at the life of these “uncivilized” people, they didn’t have cell phones, they didn’t have electromagnetic fields. If you ask me when to go to bed at night, ask instead when did they do it? They went to bed when it got dark and woke up when it got light. If you have a serious illness like cancer and you know these people never had cancer, then you might want to consider emulating their lifestyle strategy not only in their diet but in every possible way: walk barefoot on the beach; when you wear shoes, wear shoes with flat soles; throw away your cell phone; live as far away from a cell tower as you can; go to bed when the sun goes down and don’t sleep near any electric appliances like alarm clocks, and certainly not under an electric blanket.
If you have cancer of your colon or liver, breast or prostate, and we want to know if the cancer has spread to any other part of the body, we can use a nuclear medicine imaging technique called PET (positron emission topography). This technique highlights any other nests of cancer cells and is the conventional approach for checking on the spread of cancer. The process involves radioactively tagged glucose that is injected into the body and then that glucose is selectively picked up by various cells in the body. We know that cancer cells love to eat glucose, so they actively pick up the tagged glucose. The highlighted nests of radioactive glucose therefore indicate areas of the strongest growth of cancer cells. In other words, cancer cells thrive on sugar. Cancer cells use an anaerobic respiration of sugar to form acids. That is the metabolism of cancer cells. The reason the cancer patient starves while the cancer cells grow is because they are much better at taking up the sugar than are normal cells. If we understand this selective metabolism of cancer well enough to diagnose its growth, then the next step is to withhold sugar and see what happens. The trouble is we need a backup fuel source. And there is a back up fuel source: ketones from fats. Cancer cells cannot metobolize ketones. Normal cells do fine on ketones; we know this from fifty years of successfully utilizing a therapeutic very high-fat ketogenic diet. Cancer patients on a ketogenic diet will often have their tumors shrink and will halt their cachexia—their physical wasting and weight loss. The cancer cells starve on a ketogenic diet, but normal cells thrive.
Now take a moment to think of these pre-civilized people 10,000 years ago before the cultivation of grains. I hope by now you are convinced they did not suffer from cancer. These people ate a ketogenic diet. Think about pre-grain, pre-potatoes, pre-milk—where were the carbohydrates? They ate seventy percent animal foods, a little bit of seeds and nuts, a few vegetables that they could find, honey when they could chase off the bees. And we know that they favored the animal fats rather than the proteins. Their main fuel was ketones. Our whole notion of the right diet for cancer patients today is backwards. The knee-jerk dietary prescription for cancer patients is a lowfat, high-carbohydrate diet. But the primary fuel for many human groups is ketones, and the backup fuel is glucose. Glucose as a fuel source would have been used in an emergency—to sprint away from a dangerous situation, for example. It is essentially an anaerobic backup system that produces lactic acid and acidosis and is only meant to be used for a brief period of time.
It is also important to note that with the ketogenic diet protein intake is kept low to moderate, with fat as the main fuel source. Protein consumption in excess of your actual needs will be metabolized like sugars, by the way. Insulin has long been implicated as the growth hormone, stimulating growth in cancer cells as well. We want to lower the insulin levels in the blood and by far the most reliable way to do that is to get rid of the sugar.
How does one achieve a diet that is 80 percent fat? It’s not as hard as you think, because by 80 percent, we mean 80 percent of calories, not 80 percent of weight or volume. Since there are twice as many calories in a gram of fat compared to a gram of carbohydrate or protein, and since fat contains no water but carbohydrate and protein foods can be up to 90 percent water, that means that if your diet is about 10 percent of fat by volume or weight, you will probably be eating 80 percent of your calories as fat. (For a detailed explanation see Adventures in Macronutrient Land at
Here are some ways to increase your fat intake:
• Take 1-2 tablespoons coconut oil in hot water before a meal.
• Add an extra yolk to scrambled eggs.
• Cook some fruit along with your bacon so you soak up some bacon fat into the fruit.
• Use plenty of butter in your oatmeal or on your bread—you should put enough butter on your bread to show teeth marks when you bite into it.
• Put lots of melted butter on your vegetables or even on your meat and fish.
• Use cream in sauces.
• Make gravy with pan drippings.
• Always consume whole dairy products—whole milk, whole yoghurt, full-fat cheese.
• Cook in generous amounts of lard, ghee, butter, goose fat or duck fat.
• Spreads like paté are a good way to consume extra fat.
If you are not used to eating a lot of fat, you will need to build up slowly. Start with 1/4 teaspoon coconut oil in hot water, small amounts of butter on your bread or vegetables, small servings of whole dairy products. Swedish bitters taken morning and evening (1 teaspoon in water) will help your liver produce bile for fat digestion. If you still have trouble with all that fat, you can take an ox bile tablet with your meal, or lipase enzymes. Eventually you will be able to tolerate and enjoy a diet full of healthy fats. You may also find that any cravings for carbohydrates subside once your body gets the fat it needs.
This study showed that complementary treatment with sME [a mistletoe extract] can beneficially reduce the side-effects of chemotherapy in cancer patients and thus improve quality of life (Anticancer Res 2004 Jan-Feb;24(1):303-9).
The results of this study show that sensitivity to IscadorQu [a mistletoe extract] treatment varies strongly between different cell lines. In sensitive cell lines, including tumor and endothelial cell cultures, IscadorQu caused early cell cycle inhibition followed by apoptosis in a dose-dependent manner (Int J Oncol 2004 Dec;25(6):1521-9).
Complementary treatment of breast cancer patients with lectin-standardized mistletoe extract (sME) proved to be a well tolerated optimization of standard tumor-destructive therapies, mainly improving quality of life and relapse-free intervals in defined UICC stages (Anticancer Res 2003 Nov-Dec;23(6D):5081-7).
Mistletoe extracts have immunomodulatory activity. We show that nontoxic concentrations of Viscum album [mistletoe] extracts increase natural killer (NK) cell-mediated killing of tumor cells but spare nontarget cells from NK lysis (Eur J Biochem 2002 May;269(10):2591-600).
Results from the present study suggest that VA [an extract of mistletoe] extract-induced endothelial apoptosis may explain the tumor regression associated with the therapeutic use of VA preparations and support further investigations to develop novel anti-angiogenic compounds based on mistletoe compounds (Mol Med 2002 Oct;8(10):600-6).
These results demonstrate the presence of insulin-releasing natural product(s) in Viscum album [mistletoe] which may contribute to the reported antidiabetic property of the plant (J Endocrinol 1999 Mar;160(3):409-14).
Selective apoptotic effects of VAA-I [a mistletoe extract] may represent a novel approach for pharmacological manipulation of the balance between cell growth and programmed cell death. Appropriate combination of immunomodulatory and cytotoxic doses may open new clinical perspectives in the mistletoe therapy (Forsch Komplementarmed 1999 Aug;6(4):186-94).
Although I have pointed out the destructive nature of grain production—and, I should also add, of feeding grains to ruminant animals—and of the “civilized” attitudes that lead to cancer, please don’t think that I am against grains and against civilization. In every mythology, grains are said to be a gift of the gods. Steiner taught that grains were the gift of a great wise man named Zarathustra, and that along with grains he gave us one other gift: the knowledge of our mortality. With the knowledge of our mortality, we become individuals and can no longer participate in the group soul of the tribe or village. Instead we must build a civilization as individuals, and grains make civilization possible.
All this is as it should be: we need to make our way in the world and learn to understand the world as an individual. Along with this comes the scientific method and a rejection of anything that smacks of “intuition” or “superstition.” All this has created a feeling of alienation and loneliness in “civilized” men and women, but again, this is part of our spiritual evolution. Grains have played a role in moving us forward.
The challenge for any individual is to go forward on this great adventure of spiritual evolution without causing too much suffering to ourselves or to others. In the case of grains, this means raising them in a way that does not deplete the earth (which means cultivating grains in rotation with animal agriculture), eating them in moderation, preparing them properly so that they don’t cause health problems, and then consuming them properly, which means with plenty of fat. In fact, if you think of it, it would be hard to eat four tablespoons of butter alone, but very easy to eat four tablespoons of butter on a piece of sourdough bread—the bread makes the butter go down well and the butter makes the bread go down well.
When we are very sick with a disease of civilization—such as cancer, heart disease or arthritis—then we need to step back to a more hunter-gatherer diet, perhaps even avoid grains altogether for a time. But the goal should be to incorporate them into our diet, because we need grains to make spiritual progress, that is, to be healthy on all levels.
I had a patient who had many health problems and the GAPS diet helped her recover from them. But after recovery she continued on the GAPS diet and she started to go downhill—not with the old symptoms, but she just got more and more tired. I advised her to add more grains to her diet—soaked oatmeal and sourdough bread—and she immediately snapped out of it. So there is a time to go off grains and a time to reintroduce them!

Monday, November 11, 2013

Hope for Hepatitis C

Reposted from Dr. Whitaker

by Dr. Julian Whitaker
Filed Under: General Health
Last Reviewed 11/08/2013
Approximately 4 million Americans have hepatitis C. Sadly, most of them have been told by their doctor that even with treatments designed to hold the virus at bay they will eventually require a liver transplant. But this dire outlook is just not accurate as far as I’m concerned. Here’s why.

Marginally Effective Drugs

Conventional treatment for hepatitis C usually involves two drugs: injections of interferon, an immune booster, and ribavirin, an oral antiviral. This duo makes for a rough treatment course.
Interferon causes substantial problems that include, but are not limited to: flu-like symptoms, insomnia, thinning hair, muscle and joint pain, fatigue, and psychiatric problems, i.e. anxiety, depression, and intense irritability.
Ribavirin has serious side effects as well, including hemolytic anemia, which is marked by the destruction of red blood cells and increased risk of heart attack. It has also been linked with headaches, shortness of breath, and cough.
Side effects notwithstanding, interferon isn’t all that effective over the long term. The main goal of treating hepatitis C is to retard the progression of serious problems such as cirrhosis (scarring of the liver), cancer, and liver failure.
However, research published in the New England Journal of Medicine casts doubt on interferon’s prolonged use for the management of this disease. The HALT-C (Hepatitis C Antiviral Long-term Treatment against Cirrhosis) Trial followed more than 1,000 patients for three and a half years and found that those who were treated with interferon fared no better in terms of disease progression than those who were not treated.
Though adding ribavirin to interferon does increase response rates—halting disease progression in approximately 40–50 percent of patients—it still leaves at least half of those afflicted to ultimately face liver failure, transplant, or death

A Safe, Natural Treatment for Hepatitis C

Fortunately, there is hope for people with hepatitis C—not with a pharmaceutical approach but with an extremely effective natural protocol.
More than 25 years ago, my friend and colleague, Burton Berkson, MD, developed a natural treatment for hepatitis C and other liver disorders. Dubbed “triple therapy,” it features three nutritional supplements: alpha lipoic acid, silymarin, and selenium. All three of these are powerful antioxidants, but each of them has additional unique benefits for the liver.
  • Alpha lipoic acid boosts levels of glutathione, a detoxifying antioxidant that is particularly protective of the liver.
  • Silymarin, an herbal extract derived from milk thistle, also increases glutathione levels, plus it curbs inflammation and rejuvenates the liver by stimulating the production of new hepatic cells.
  • Selenium, a trace mineral, slows the replication of the hepatitis C virus—I like to think of it as “viral birth control.”
Together, these supplements thwart the attack on the liver and put the brakes on disease progression. The daily doses are 600 mg of alpha lipoic acid, 900 mg of silymarin (milk thistle extract), and 400 mcg of selenium, taken in divided doses.
Dr. Berkson found that when patients with hepatitis C followed this protocol, their viral counts improved, they felt better, and they could resume their normal activities. Best of all, they were able to avoid liver transplants. I’ve also had success using this therapy with my own patients.
Hepatitis C can lie dormant for years, slowly damaging the liver all the while, before becoming symptomatic. So I recommend you get screened for this disease if you have a history of elevated liver enzymes, have ever used IV drugs, have unprotected sex, have had a blood transfusion or organ transplant prior to 1992, or have had long-term kidney dialysis or treatment with blood products made before 1987. Early detection and treatment are your best bet.

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Sunday, November 10, 2013

Immediate Relief from IBS and Constipation

Reposted from Life Extension

By William Faloon
William Faloon
William Faloon
This will be a short article.
It deals with a problem suffered by about 20% of Americans.1-3 It is seen in young adults as well as the elderly and results in enormous lost productivity.1
Life Extension® long ago published a solution to this debilitating condition, but mainstream physicians have not caught on. Some of our members have also overlooked what we previously wrote on this topic, so I’m going to make this simple and to the point.
Irritable bowel syndrome is a chronic disorder of the large intestine that causes belly pain, cramping, bloating, diarrhea or constipation.1,2 The “syndrome” is poorly named because it includes patients who almost never have diarrhea, but instead are unable to fully evacuate their bowels.
Backed up feces creates chronic discomfort, bloating, and pain. These individuals view diarrhea as a good event because it enables them to evacuate feces that otherwise would remain impacted in their colon and rectal areas.
A primary cause of this type of irritable bowel syndrome is insufficient or ineffective peristalsis.3 This means there is either not enough colon contractile activity or the contractile activity is disorganized and does not occur in the necessary rhythmic pattern needed to completely evacuate one’s bowels. The term peristalsis refers to a series of organized muscle contractions that moves food through the digestive tract.4
Insufficient peristalsis is one of the main culprits behind much of today’s constipation epidemic. The encouraging news is that if one drinks the proper nutrients on an empty stomach (usually first thing in the morning), a surge of peristalsis will occur within an hour that cleans out most or all fecal matter. I will describe how easily one can implement this strategy.
Immediate Relief!  
In 1983, vitamin consumers were clamoring for higher potency vitamins, but did not want to swallow a lot of pills. A book about living longer became a best-seller, and its authors advocated taking nutrients in powder form to obtain more potency at a lower cost.
Life Extension was at the forefront in offering consumers a wide variety of powdered nutrients, some that are still popular today.
The most common customer complaint was that the vitamin powders were causing diarrhea. We worked closely with these individuals to lower the dose and advised that they take the nutrient powders only after they had consumed a meal. Some were able to slowly increase the dose of nutrient powders until their bodies developed a tolerance so that diarrhea would not be a problem. Others had to switch to capsules or tablets that released more slowly in the stomach, and thus did not generate an acute wave of peristalsis caused by the powdered nutrients.

Serendipitous Discovery

Not everyone who experienced diarrhea complained. A number of members called us to state they had suffered chronic constipation most of their life, and taking these nutrient powders on an empty stomach completely cleared them out. They stated they had never felt better.
So for nearly two decades, we were recommending various nutritional “colon cleanses” to be done several times a week, always on an empty stomach to ensure more complete bowel evacuation. This approach was vindicated when published studies found that the failure rate for fiber was quite high in chronically constipated people.5-8
The medical profession and the public are rightly fearful of exposing their digestive tract to harsh synthetic laxatives on a routine basis. On the other hand, ingesting nutrients that provide systemic beneficial effects enables people to ingest low-cost vitamins, minerals, and amino acids with the intended effect of promoting peristalsis and thorough fecal evacuation.

How to Implement this Regular Colon Cleanse

There are questionable ingredients contained in synthetic and natural products that claim a “colon cleaning” effect. You don’t have to experiment with these.
By taking nutritional powder mixes containing vitamin C with magnesium and/or potassium on an empty stomach, you’re likely to see immediate results within an hour or two. Vitamin B5 powder works this way too, but the taste is not tolerable.
Some people find a flavored powder mix of arginine, vitamin B5, and a lower amount of vitamin C produces the same results as high-potency vitamin C with magnesium mix.
It is important to drink lots of water after taking these powdered nutrient mixes as they will draw water from surrounding tissues into the colon to facilitate passage of feces. By increasing the volume of water in the intestine, stools are softened, intestinal muscle contraction is stimulated, and bowel evacuation is prompted.
Until an individual dose is ascertained by trial and error, these nutrient powders will create temporary diarrhea for many users. Those with chronic constipation can learn how to dose their powdered nutrients to achieve optimal individual relief.
Promoting Rapid Intestinal Contractions
Promoting Rapid Intestinal Contractions
The speed of intestinal muscle contractions is a major factor in irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).
Research shows that in people with diarrhea-predominant IBS, colon contractions are too fast, whereas in those who suffer constipation-predominant IBS, colon contractions are too sluggish.3
A variety of nutrient powders (such as magnesium and vitamin C), when mixed with liquid and taken on an empty stomach, can promote rapid intestinal muscle contraction. The result can be immediate relief from constipation-predominant IBS.9 (Those with diarrhea-predominant IBS should avoid these powders.)

Understanding Constipation and Laxatives

Understanding Constipation and Laxatives  
Constipation develops when intestinal peristalsis is slow or not occurring at all.3 Feces are either temporarily or permanently trapped in the colon-rectum, in rare cases requiring surgery.
Constipation affects more women than men.10 The term irritable bowel syndrome describes a wide variety of intestinal ailments. This article only addresses constipation-predominate irritable bowel syndrome.
Constipation sufferers find it painful and difficult to have a bowel movement. Sometimes this is because the stool has hardened, but the underlying problem in many cases is insufficient peristalsis that can lead to long-lasting fecal impaction. Gastroenterologists are only beginning to understand this. Instead of recommending low-cost nutrients like vitamin C and magnesium powder, they are prescribing drugs like polyethylene glycol.11
Polyethylene glycol (PEG) is used in both industrial manufacturing and medicine.12 You can find it on the shelves of most pharmacies without the need for a prescription. The question for those with unrelenting constipation is would you rather ingest an ingredient (PEG) used in detergents and organic solvents, or nutrients you may already be taking in tablet or capsule form for their health benefits? The medical establishment prefers you take polyethylene glycol (PEG).11

Why Fiber Does Not Always Help

Doctors thought they had stumbled onto a great innovation when they started recommending fiber to constipated patients. Those who suffered insufficient peristalsis, however, do not always benefit from fiber. One reason that fiber fails is that it creates more fecal bulk than those with insufficient peristalsis are able to easily evacuate.

Friday, November 8, 2013

Gut Bacteria May Cause Rheumatoid Arthritis

Reposted from Science Magazine

The bacteria that live in your intestines are a mixed blessing. Scientists have known for decades that this so-called microbiota helps us digest our food and crowds out infectious germs. The bugs have also been implicated in allergies and obesity. Now, a new study adds one more potential malady to the list: rheumatoid arthritis.

"It's been suspected for years and years, both in humans and in the animal model, that the development of autoimmune diseases like arthritis is dependent on the gut microbiota," says immunologist Diane Mathis of Harvard Medical School in Boston. Now, she says, those suspicions are beginning to be confirmed in humans. "It's a very striking finding.”

Rheumatoid arthritis is a mysterious disease. It can strike at any age, typically beginning in young and middle-aged adults and causing painfully stiff, swollen joints in the hands and feet. It can also destroy bone and cartilage and damage organs like the lungs and kidneys. Scientists aren’t sure what causes rheumatoid arthritis, but they do know that it’s an autoimmune disorder, meaning that the body's immune system is attacking its own tissues. And that's where gut bacteria come in.
Gut bacteria have an intricate relationship with our immune system. We need to be able to tolerate helpful microbes while still recognizing and fighting invaders. Immunologist Dan Littman of New York University knew that gut microbes are important to the development of a particular type of immune cell his team studies, known as a Th17 cell. Mice that are reared in sterile conditions produce very few of these cells, and his group had previously found that mice bought from one supplier had far more Th17 cells than those that came from a different supplier. The difference turned out to be due to the rodents' gut microbes.

When Littman presented that result at a conference several years ago, Mathis, who was in the audience, told him that she had seen a change in her lab animals when they were moved to a lab in a different town. Instead of spontaneously developing a mouse version of arthritis, they remained healthy. Littman and Mathis collaborated to find out why and tracked down the difference to a particular type of bacterium that, when present in the intestines, trains the immune system to produce Th17 cells, which in turn release molecules that cause inflammation and bone damage in arthritis.
Littman wondered if rheumatoid arthritis in humans might also be due to specific gut microbes. His team tested fecal samples (which reflect the population of gut bacteria) from 114 residents of the New York City area. Some subjects were healthy; others had been living with rheumatoid arthritis for years; still others had psoriatic arthritis, a different autoimmune disease whose causes are also unknown; and some had been recently diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis. Members of this latter group were especially important because, although they had rheumatoid arthritis, they hadn't yet been treated for it. In this group, a bacterium named Prevotella copri was present in 75% of patients' intestines, the researchers will report online tomorrow in eLife. P. copri only appeared in 37% of patients living with either rheumatoid or psoriatic arthritis and 21% of healthy controls. This last number is similar to the prevalence of P. copri that previous studies found in the general population in industrialized countries.

"That they were able to associate one bacterium with one pathology is remarkable," says Yasmine Belkaid, an immunologist at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases in Bethesda, Maryland, who was not involved in the work.

But the results aren't enough to convict P. copri as the mastermind behind rheumatoid arthritis, she notes. The authors can't ethically give the bacterium to healthy subjects, so they couldn't prove that P. copri caused arthritis in patients, just that the bacterium and the disease tend to occur together. Genetics and other environmental factors, like smoking, have been associated with rheumatoid arthritis, so even if P. copri is the culprit, it doesn't necessarily act alone. "The next step is to be able to understand how causative these microbes are," Belkaid says. That would require surveying people's microbes and waiting to see who develops the disease.

To build its case against the bacterium, Littman's team gave a lab-grown strain of P. copri to mice and watched what happened in the rodents' guts. P. copri easily took up residence, and the researchers found that the mice developed increased inflammation, especially in the gut. They didn't get arthritis, possibly because the strain of P. copri was different from the human ones, but Littman says the gut inflammation corroborates the idea that gut microbes are prodding immune cells to develop and that those cells then go forth and lead an attack on other parts of the body.

That is the most exciting possibility, Mathis says. But, she explains, other hypotheses can't be ruled out. It's possible that arthritis patients' immune systems allow P. copri to grow out of control, or perhaps a third factor affects both the microbes and the immune system independently. Rheumatoid arthritis, Littman says, seems to have several environmental triggers, but how and whether they combine is not well understood.

The findings, Mathis says, open the possibility of new therapies to prevent or treat rheumatoid arthritis. Current treatments for the disease include drugs with scary side effects—Remicade, for instance, seems to increase the risk of developing certain cancers and serious infections. Perhaps P. copri could be attacked with antibiotics, Littman says, or crowded out with probiotic pills full of good bacteria. Either way, patients may someday be able to relieve their joint pain by focusing on their guts.

Top 10 Food Additives to Avoid

Reposted from Food Matters

Food additives have been used for centuries to enhance the appearance and flavor of food and prolong shelf life. But do these food additives really “add” any value to your food?
Food additives find their way into our foods to help ease processing, packaging and storage. But how do we know what food additives is in that box of macaroni and cheese and why does it have such a long shelf life?

A typical American household spends about 90 percent of their food budget on processed foods, and are in doing so exposed to a plethora of artificial food additives, many of which can cause dire consequences to your health.

Some food additives are worse than others. Here’s a list of the top food additives to avoid:

1. Artificial Sweeteners

Aspartame, (E951) more popularly known as Nutrasweet and Equal, is found in foods labeled "diet" or "sugar free". Aspartame is believed to be carcinogenic and accounts for more reports of adverse reactions than all other foods and food additives combined. Aspartame is not your friend. Aspartame is a neurotoxin and carcinogen. Known to erode intelligence and affect short-term memory, the components of this toxic sweetener may lead to a wide variety of ailments including brain tumor, diseases like lymphoma, diabetes, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson's, Alzheimer's, fibromyalgia, and chronic fatigue, emotional disorders like depression and anxiety attacks, dizziness, headaches, nausea, mental confusion, migraines and seizures. Acesulfame-K, a relatively new artificial sweetener found in baking goods, gum and gelatin, has not been thoroughly tested and has been linked to kidney tumors. Read more about the dangers of Aspartame here.

Found in: diet or sugar free sodas, diet coke, coke zero, jello (and over gelatins), desserts, sugar free gum, drink mixes, baking goods, table top sweeteners, cereal, breathmints, pudding, kool-aid, ice tea, chewable vitamins, toothpaste

2. High Fructose Corn Syrup

High fructose corn syrup (HFCS) is a highly-refined artificial sweetener which has become the number one source of calories in America. It is found in almost all processed foods. HFCS packs on the pounds faster than any other ingredient, increases your LDL (“bad”) cholesterol levels, and contributes to the development of diabetes and tissue damage, among other harmful effects.

Found in: most processed foods, breads, candy, flavored yogurts, salad dressings, canned vegetables, cereals

3. Monosodium Glutamate (MSG / E621)

MSG is an amino acid used as a flavor enhancer in soups, salad dressings, chips, frozen entrees, and many restaurant foods. MSG is known as an excitotoxin, a substance which overexcites cells to the point of damage or death. Studies show that regular consumption of MSG may result in adverse side effects which include depression, disorientation, eye damage, fatigue, headaches, and obesity. MSG effects the neurological pathways of the brain and disengaged the "I'm full" function which explains the effects of weight gain.

Found in: Chinese food (Chinese Restaurant Syndrome ) many snacks, chips, cookies, seasonings, most Campbell Soup products, frozen dinners, lunch meats

4. Trans Fat

Trans fat is used to enhance and extend the shelf life of food products and is among the most dangerous substances that you can consume. Found in deep-fried fast foods and certain processed foods made with margarine or partially hydrogenated vegetable oils, trans fats are formed by a process called hydrogenation. Numerous studies show that trans fat increases LDL cholesterol levels while decreasing HDL (“good”) cholesterol, increases the risk of heart attacks, heart disease and strokes, and contributes to increased inflammation, diabetes and other health problems. Oils and fat are now forbidden on the Danish market if they contain trans fatty acids exceeding 2 per cent, a move that effectively bans partially hydrogenated oils.

Found in: margarine, chips and crackers, baked goods, fast foods

5. Common Food Dyes

Studies show that artificial colorings which are found in soda, fruit juices and salad dressings, may contribute to behavioral problems in children and lead to a significant reduction in IQ. Animal studies have linked other food colorings to cancer. Watch out for these ones:

Blue #1 and Blue #2 (E133)

Banned in Norway, Finland and France. May cause chromosomal damage

Found in: candy, cereal, soft drinks, sports drinks and pet foods

Red dye # 3 (also Red #40 – a more current dye) (E124)

Banned in 1990 after 8 years of debate from use in many foods and cosmetics. This dye continues to be on the market until supplies run out! Has been proven to cause thyroid cancer and chromosomal damage in laboratory animals, may also interfere with brain-nerve transmission

Found in: fruit cocktail, maraschino cherries, cherry pie mix, ice cream, candy, bakery products and more!

Yellow #6 (E110) and Yellow Tartrazine (E102)

Banned in Norway and Sweden. Increases the number of kidney and adrenal gland tumors in laboratory animals, may cause chromosomal damage.

Found in: American cheese, macaroni and cheese, candy and carbonated beverages, lemonade and more!

6. Sodium Sulfite (E221)

Preservative used in wine-making and other processed foods. According to the FDA, approximately one in 100 people is sensitive to sulfites in food. The majority of these individuals are asthmatic, suggesting a link between asthma and sulfites. Individuals who are sulfite sensitive may experience headaches, breathing problems, and rashes. In severe cases, sulfites can actually cause death by closing down the airway altogether, leading to cardiac arrest.

Found in: Wine and dried fruit

7. Sodium Nitrate/Sodium Nitrite

Sodium nitrate (or sodium nitrite) is used as a preservative, coloring and flavoring in bacon, ham, hot dogs, luncheon meats, corned beef, smoked fish and other processed meats. This ingredient, which sounds harmless, is actually highly carcinogenic once it enters the human digestive system. There, it forms a variety of nitrosamine compounds that enter the bloodstream and wreak havoc with a number of internal organs: the liver and pancreas in particular. Sodium nitrite is widely regarded as a toxic ingredient, and the USDA actually tried to ban this additive in the 1970's but was vetoed by food manufacturers who complained they had no alternative for preserving packaged meat products. Why does the industry still use it? Simple: this chemical just happens to turn meats bright red. It's actually a color fixer, and it makes old, dead meats appear fresh and vibrant.

Found in: hotdogs, bacon, ham, luncheon meat, cured meats, corned beef, smoked fish or any other type of processed meat

8. BHA and BHT (E320)

Butylated hydroxyanisole (BHA) and butylated hydrozyttoluene (BHT) are preservatives found in cereals, chewing gum, potato chips, and vegetable oils. This common preservative keeps foods from changing color, changing flavor or becoming rancid. Effects the neurological system of the brain, alters behavior and has potential to cause cancer. BHA and BHT are oxidants which form cancer-causing reactive compounds in your body.

Found in: Potato chips, gum, cereal, frozen sausages, enriched rice, lard, shortening, candy, jello

9. Sulfur Dioxide (E220)

Sulfur additives are toxic and in the United States of America, the Federal Drugs Administration have prohibited their use on raw fruit and vegetables. Adverse reactions include: bronchial problems particularly in those prone to asthma, hypotension (low blood pressure), flushing tingling sensations or anaphylactic shock. It also destroys vitamins B1 and E. Not recommended for consumption by children. The International Labour Organization says to avoid E220 if you suffer from conjunctivitis, bronchitis, emphysema, bronchial asthma, or cardiovascular disease.

Found in: beer, soft drinks, dried fruit, juices, cordials, wine, vinegar, and potato products.

10. Potassium Bromate

An additive used to increase volume in some white flour, breads, and rolls, potassium bromate is known to cause cancer in animals. Even small amounts in bread can create problems for humans.

Found in: breads

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

The Hidden Hazards of Microwave Ovens

Reposted from Dr. Mercola

By now, you probably know that what you eat has a profound impact on your health. The mantra, "You are what you eat" is really true.
But you need to consider not only WHAT you buy, but how you cook it.
Eating most of your food raw is ideal. But most of us are not going to be able to accomplish a completely raw diet, and we'll end up cooking some percentage of our food.
Smart food preparation starts with high quality foods and food preparation and that means saying sayonara to your microwave oven. Need to sterilize a dishcloth? Use your microwave. But zapping your casserole is a BAD idea if you are interested in preparing healthy food.
Why the no nukes policy?
When it comes to microwave ovens, the price for convenience is to compromise your health. In this article, I will review what we know about the effects of microwaves on your food and on your body.

Sad State of Our Soils

Over the past century, the quality of fresh food has declined due to soil depletion, unsustainable farming practices, overproduction of crops, and the use of pesticides and herbicides. You can no longer assume you're getting all of the vitamins, minerals, enzymes, and phytonutrients you need by eating a multitude of fresh produce – even if you're eating organically.
Not surprisingly, a calorie today will provide you less nutrition than a calorie from 100, or even 50 years ago.
Three recent studies of historical food composition have shown 5 to 40 percent declines in some of the minerals in fresh produce, and another study found a similar decline in our protein sources.1
So now, more than ever, you must be careful to maximize the "bang for your buck" when it comes to the foods you eat.
Research shows that your microwave oven will NOT help you in these efforts – and in fact will threaten your health by violently ripping the molecules in your food apart, rendering some nutrients inert, at best, and carcinogenic at its worst.

Convenience Comes at Significant Toxic Threat to You and Your Family

Microwaves heat food by causing water molecules in it to resonate at very high frequencies and eventually turn to steam which heats your food. While this can rapidly heat your food, what most people fail to realize is that it also causes a change in your food's chemical structure.
There are numerous issues that have emerged since microwave ovens were first introduced to consumers more than 40 years ago, besides depleting your food's nutritional value, which will be addressed a bit later.
The first thing you probably noticed when you began microwaving food was how uneven the heating is.
"Hot spots" in microwaved food can be hot enough to cause burns—or build up to a "steam explosion." This has resulted in admonitions to new mothers about NOT using the microwave to heat up baby bottles, since babies have been burned by super-heated formula that went undetected.
Another problem with microwave ovens is that carcinogenic toxins can leach out of your plastic and paper containers/covers, and into your food.
The January/February 1990 issue of Nutrition Action Newsletter reported the leakage of numerous toxic chemicals from the packaging of common microwavable foods, including pizzas, chips and popcorn. Chemicals included polyethylene terpthalate (PET), benzene, toluene, and xylene. Microwaving fatty foods in plastic containers leads to the release of dioxins (known carcinogens) and other toxins into your food. 8 2
One of the worst contaminants is BPA, or bisphenol A, an estrogen-like compound used widely in plastic products. In fact, dishes made specifically for the microwave often contain BPA, but many other plastic products contain it as well.
Microwaving distorts and deforms the molecules of whatever food or other substance you subject to it. An example of this is blood products.
Blood is normally warmed before being transfused into a person. Now we know that microwaving blood products damages the blood components. In fact, one woman died after receiving a transfusion of microwaved blood in 1991, which resulted in a well-publicized lawsuit.

Microwave Radiation Leakage

You may have heard that there is some danger of microwaves escaping from your microwave while it's operating. This was more of a risk with earlier models than with recent ones, which undergo more rigorous testing.
Theoretically, there are very small amounts of radiation leakage through the viewing glass, but the FDA reports these levels are "insignificant" and "well below the level known to harm people."
The FDA has been regulating microwave ovens since 1971 through its electronic product radiation control program, which is mandated by the Electronic Product Radiation Control provisions of the Food Drug and Cosmetic Act3.
The FDA limits the amount of microwaves that can leak from an oven throughout its lifetime to 5 milliwatts (mW) per square centimeter at approximately 2 inches from the oven surface. Because microwave energy decreases dramatically as you move away from the source of the radiation, a measurement made 20 inches from your oven would be approximately one-hundredth of the value measured at 2 inches.2
The federal standard also requires all ovens to have "two independent interlock systems that stop the production of microwaves the moment the latch is released or the door is opened."
And a monitoring system is also required, which stops the operation if one or both interlock systems fail.
You would think, with all these tests and regulations, that you'd be safe. However, according to Powerwatch, a non-profit independent organization with a central role in the microwave radiation debate:
"Even when the microwave oven is working correctly, the microwave levels within the kitchen are likely to be significantly higher than those from any nearby cellular phone base-stations. Remember also that microwaves will travel through walls if the microwave oven is against an inside wall."
Powerwatch also states that we don't really know if the current regulations about leakage are truly safe and recommends ovens be checked at least annually, since microwave emissions can change with normal use.
You might also consider purchasing a $20 testing device that allows you to check the radiation in your home.
Make sure that, if you are going to use your microwave for cleaning sponges or for any use at all, regularly examine the door and hinges to make sure they are sealing properly. If the door doesn't close correctly, or if it's warped, bent, or otherwise damaged, don't use it at all!
But even if there's nothing wrong with your microwave, keep in mind that standing a foot away from it while it's running can expose you to upwards of 400 milliGauss, and a mere 4 milliGauss has been firmly linked to leukemia. It would certainly be wise to avoid letting your children stand near the microwave when it's running, and avoid it yourself as much as possible—especially if you're pregnant. Also, since your eyes are known to be particularly susceptible to microwave radiation (high microwave exposures are known to cause cataracts), I recommend stepping away from your microwave while it's in use.

New Study Confirms Microwaves Affect Your Heart

A recent study examining the effects 2.4 GHz radiation (which is the frequency of radiation emitted by Wifi routers and microwave ovens) on the heart was just completed. The study found "unequivocal evidence" that microwave frequency radiation affects the heart at non-thermal levels that are well below federal safety guidelines, according to Dr. Magda Havas of Trent University4.
Dr. Havas says:
"This is the first study that documents immediate and dramatic changes in both heart rate and heart rate variability caused by an approved device that generates microwaves at levels well below (0.3 percent) federal guidelines in both Canada and the United States."
No longer can skeptics claim that microwaves produce no immediate biological effects at ordinary household levels!
The study will be appearing in a peer-reviewed journal sometime during the summer of 2010. If you are experiencing rapid or irregular heartbeat, pain or pressure in your chest, you will want to visit your physician and share this video with him or her (second video on this page).
There is also evidence that this same frequency of radiation causes blood sugar to spike in susceptible individuals and may actually be the cause of one type of diabetes.

Microwaving Also Zaps the Nutrients Right Out of Your Food

There has been surprisingly little research on how microwaves affect organic molecules, or how the human body responds to consuming microwaved food.
Wouldn't you expect that a product that sits in more than 90 percent of kitchens, as well as practically every break room in the country, would have been thoroughly investigated for safety?
The handful of studies that have been done generally agree, for the most part, that microwaving food damages its nutritional value. Your microwave turns your beautiful, organic veggies, for which you've paid such a premium in money or labor, into "dead" food that can cause disease!
Heating food, in and of itself, can result in some nutrient loss, but using microwaves to heat food introduces the additional problem of the "microwave effect," a phenomenon that will be discussed in detail later.
The majority of studies on microwaves and nutrition were conducted prior to 2000, I suspect because the focus of radiation research of late has shifted toward a more ominous threat: environmental radiation from electromagnetic devices, such as cell phones and computers, which has mushroomed into a gigantic cloud of electrosmog worldwide over the past decade.
Nevertheless, some excellent scientific data has been gathered regarding the detrimental effects of microwaves on the nutrients in your food:
  • A study published in the November 2003 issue of The Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture5 found that broccoli "zapped" in the microwave with a little water lost up to 97 percent of its beneficial antioxidants. By comparison, steamed broccoli lost 11 percent or fewer of its antioxidants. There were also reductions in phenolic compounds and glucosinolates, but mineral levels remained intact.
  • A 1999 Scandinavian study of the cooking of asparagus spears found that microwaving caused a reduction in vitamin C6.
  • In a study of garlic, as little as 60 seconds of microwave heating was enough to inactivate its allinase, garlic's principle active ingredient against cancer7.
  • A Japanese study by Watanabe showed that just 6 minutes of microwave heating turned 30-40 percent of the B12 in milk into an inert (dead) form8. This study has been cited by Dr. Andrew Weil as evidence supporting his concerns about the effects of microwaving. Dr. Weil wrote:
  • "There may be dangers associated with microwaving food... there is a question as to whether microwaving alters protein chemistry in ways that might be harmful."
  • A recent Australian study9 showed that microwaves cause a higher degree of "protein unfolding" than conventional heating.
  • Microwaving can destroy the essential disease-fighting agents in breast milk that offer protection for your baby. In 1992, Quan found that microwaved breast milk lost lysozyme activity, antibodies, and fostered the growth of more potentially pathogenic bacteria10.
    Quan stated that more damage was done to the milk by microwaving than by other methods of heating, concluding: "Microwaving appears to be contraindicated at high-temperatures, and questions regarding its safety exist even at low temperatures."
  • Another study about breast milk/infant formula by Lee in 198911 found vitamin content becomes depleted by microwaving, and certain amino acids are converted into other substances that are biologically inactive. Some altered amino acids are poisons to the nervous system and kidneys. (Numerous authors mention this study, yet I was unable to find the original article/study, so I cannot personally validate.)
  • Although many of the above studies are not new, there is certainly ample evidence that microwaving is NOT good for your food.

How Your Microwave Actually Heats Your Food

Microwaves are a form of electromagnetic radiation—waves of electrical and magnetic energy moving together through space. EM radiation ranges from very high energy (gamma rays and x-rays) on one end of the spectrum to very low energy (radio waves) on the other end of the spectrum.
Microwaves are on the low energy end of the spectrum, second only to radio waves. They have a wavelength of about 4.8 inches—about the width of your head.
Microwaves are generated by something called a magnetron (a term derived from the words "magnet" and "electron"), which is also what enabled airborne radar use during WWII. Hence the early name for microwave ovens: radar ranges.
A magnetron is a tube in which electrons are subjected to both magnetic and electrical fields, producing an electromagnetic field with a microwave frequency of about 2,450 megaHertz (MHz), which is 2.4 gigaHertz (GHz).
Microwaves cause dielectric heating. They bounce around the inside of your oven and are absorbed by the food you put in it. Since water molecules are bipolar, having a positive end and negative end, they rotate rapidly in the alternating electric field. The water molecules in the food vibrate violently at extremely high frequencies – like millions of times per second – creating molecular friction, which heats up the food.
If the food or object place in the microwave had no water it would not be able to have this resonance heating type effect and would remain cool. Or, as investigative journalist William Thomas12 calls it, "electrical whiplash."
Structures of the water molecules are torn apart and forcefully deformed. This is different from conventional heating of food, whereby heat is transferred convectionally from the outside, inward. Microwave cooking begins within the molecules where water is present.
Contrary to popular belief, microwaved foods don't cook "from the inside out." When thicker foods are cooked, microwaves heat the outer layers, and the inner layers are cooked mostly by the conduction of heat from the hot outer layers, inward.
Since not all areas contain the same amount of water, the heating is uneven.
Additionally, microwaving creates new compounds that are not found in humans or in nature, called radiolytic compounds. We don't yet know what these compounds are doing to your body.
In addition to the violent frictional heat effects, called thermic effects, there are also athermic effects, which are poorly understood because they are not as easily measured. It is these athermic effects that are suspected to be responsible for much of the deformation and degradation of cells and molecules. 13
As an example, microwaves are used in the field of gene altering technology to weaken cell membranes. Scientists use microwaves to actually break cells apart. Impaired cells then become easy prey for viruses, fungi and other microorganisms.
Another word for these athermic effects is the "microwave effect," a subject of controversy that I'll get into a bit later.

Microwave Sickness

When your tissues are directly exposed to microwaves, the same violent deformations occur and can cause "microwave sickness."
People who have been exposed to high levels of microwave radiation experience a variety of symptoms, including:
  • Insomnia, night sweats, and various sleep disturbances
  • Headaches and dizziness
  • Swollen lymph nodes and a weakened immune system
  • Impaired cognition
  • Depression and irritability
  • Nausea and appetite loss
  • Vision and eye problems
  • Frequent urination and extreme thirst
There is a good amount of data emerging that people are suffering, to various degrees, these kinds of symptoms from living next to cell phone towers and other high-frequency radiation emitting antennas, which emit microwaves around the clock.
According to Professor Franz Adelkofer, a leading scientist in the area of biological effects of EMF fields:
"There is real evidence that hyperfrequency electromagnetic fields can have geno-toxic effects. And this damaged DNA is always the cause of cancer.
We've found these damaging effects on the genes at levels well below the safety limits. That's why we think it's urgent to base our safety limits on the biological effects, not the thermic ones.
They should be based on biology, not on physics."

Twenty Years of Russian Research Supports Microwave Concerns

The Nazis are credited with inventing the first microwave-cooking device to provide mobile food support to their troops during their invasion of the Soviet Union in World War II14. These first microwave ovens were experimental. After the war, the US War Department was assigned the task of researching the safety of microwave ovens.
But it was the Russians who really took the bull by the horns.
After the war, the Russians had retrieved some of these microwave ovens and conducted thorough research on their biological effects. Alarmed by what they learned, the Russians banned microwave ovens in 1976, later lifting the ban during Perestroika.
Twenty years of Russian research (and German studies as far back as 1942 in Berlin) make a strong argument against the safety of microwave cooking.
Their findings led the Russian government to issue an international warning about possible biological and environmental damage associated with the use of microwave ovens and other similar frequency electronic devices (e.g. mobile phones).
I was not able to personally evaluate any of these older bodies of research, since those documents are now difficult to track down, so I can't attest to their methodology or conclusions. All you can do is weigh their findings appropriately, as best you can.
The Powerwatch article cited above summarizes the Russian research quite well, which I will duplicate below.
  • Russian investigators found that carcinogens were formed from the microwaving of nearly all foods tested.
  • The microwaving of milk and grains converted some of the amino acids into carcinogenic substances.
  • Microwaving prepared meats caused the formation of the cancer-causing agents d-Nitrosodienthanolamines.
  • Thawing frozen fruits by microwave converted their glucoside and galactoside fractions into carcinogenic substances.
  • Extremely short exposure of raw, cooked or frozen vegetables converted their plant alkaloids into carcinogens.
  • Carcinogenic free radicals were formed in microwaved plants – especially root vegetables.
  • Structural degradation leading to decreased food value was found to be 60 to 90 percent overall for all foods tested, with significant decreases in bioavailability of B complex vitamins, vitamins C and E, essential minerals, and lipotropics (substances that prevent abnormal accumulation of fat).
I might add that this finding is supported by the 1998 Japanese study by Watanabe about vitamin B12 in milk, cited above.

The Swiss Clinical Study: Hans Hertel

Some fairly compelling evidence supporting the destructive effects of microwaves comes from a highly cited study by a Swiss food scientist named Hans Hertel. Dr. Hertel was the first scientist to study the effects of microwaved foods on the blood and physiology of human beings.
His small study, coauthored by Dr. Bernard Blanc of the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology and the University Institute for Biochemistry, revealed the degenerative forces produced by microwave ovens on the foods they cooked.
Dr. Hertel concluded that microwave cooking changed the nutrients in the food, and that changes that could cause negative health effects took place in the blood.
Hertel's conclusions were that microwaving food resulted in:
  • Increased cholesterol levels
  • Decreased numbers of leukocytes (white blood cells), which can suggest poisoning
  • Decreased numbers of red blood cells
  • Production of radiolytic compounds
  • Decreased hemoglobin levels, which could indicate anemia
Not surprisingly, Dr. Hertel's study was met with great resistance from those with much to lose.
A gag order against Dr. Hertel was issued by a Swiss trade organization in 1992, which was later removed in 1998. But an American journalist, Tom Valentine, published the results of Hertel's study in Search for Health in the spring of 199215.
The study was not without its shortcomings. It involved only eight participants, of which Hertel was one. As compelling as his findings were, his methodology did not stand up to the scientific rigors of the field.
In spite of Hertel's methodological shortcomings, his findings do raise concerns about what this form of radiation is doing to your food and should be taken as a launching point to larger, more robust studies in the future.
Hertel wrote:
"There are no atoms, molecules, or cells of any organic system able to withstand such a violent, destructive power for any period of time. This will happen even given the microwave oven's low power range of milliwatts."
And then there is the issue of biophotons.

Possible Microwave Effects on Your Biophotons

Biophotonics is the study, research, and applications of photons in their interactions within and on biological systems. Much of the work in the area of biophotons was done in Germany. Dr. Dietrich Klinghardt discusses biophotons in our 2008 interview.
Biophotons are the smallest physical units of light that are stored in and used by all biological organisms—including you. Vital sun energy finds its way into your cells via the food you eat, in the form of these biophotons.
Biophotons contain important bio-information and are very important to many vital processes in your body. They are partly responsible for your feeling of vitality and well-being. You gain biophotons by eating foods rich in them, such as naturally grown fresh vegetables and sun-ripened fruits, which are rich in light energy.
The more light energy a food is able to store, the more nutritious it is.
If the "microwave effect" exists (as you shall see, there is a huge amount of evidence that it does), then microwaves can potentially destroy biophotons in the same way that it alters other structures, rendering your food dead and lifeless.
It seems quite plausible that microwaves could disrupt or destroy biophotons, since they are capable of breaking apart DNA bonds!
As far as I can find, there haven't been any studies of the direct effects of microwave radiation on biophotons, but it seems like an important angle of investigation for the future.

Long-Term Effects of Exposure to Non-Ionizing Radiation

One of the basic controversies about the effects of microwaves centers on whether or not microwaves exert some sort of force beyond heat, commonly called "microwave effect" or "athermic effect."
It is first necessary that you understand the difference between ionizing radiation and non-ionizing radiation.
There are two basic forms of radiation: ionizing and non-ionizing16:
  1. Ionizing Radiation: Creates charged ions by displacing electrons in atoms, even without heat. Examples are radiation emitted from radioactive substances in rocks and soil, cosmic rays of the sun, and radiation from man-made technology such as X-rays machines, power stations, and nuclear reactors.
  2. Non-ionizing Radiation: Can change the position of atoms but not alter their structure, composition, and properties. Examples are visible light, ultraviolet and infrared waves, waves from radio or television, cellular phones, microwaves, and electric blankets.
Despite not being able to break atoms apart, non-ionizing radiation (such as microwaves) CAN cause physical alterations.
For example, sunlight can damage your skin and eyes. Overexposure to radiation can affect tissues by causing molecular damage, DNA mutations, and other changes that can lead to cancer.
The serious concern is, with all of this radiation surrounding us from cell and cordless phones, radio towers, satellites, broadcast antennas, military and aviation radar, home electronic devices, computers and Internet, we are all part of an involuntary mass epidemiological experiment, on a scale never before seen in the history of the human race.
And the truth is that we don't really KNOW what long term, low-level (but persistent) radiation does to us—even the non-ionizing type.
But here are some of the things we DO KNOW:17
  • Effects at low levels can be more noticeable than at higher levels. There is something called a "window effect," meaning an effect occurring only at specific frequencies or power densities, but not occurring just above or below them. A number of studies demonstrate effects of microwave radiation on blood cells via this phenomenon.
  • For a complete discussion of this, you can read Microwaving Our Planet, written by Arthur Firstenberg, president of the Cellular Phone Taskforce.
    Cindy Sage of Sage Associates, an environmental consulting firm, has compiled a comprehensive list of studies18 showing biological effects at radiofrequency exposure levels far below what would be explainable as "thermic effects" and well within the range you are commonly exposed to every day.
  • Resonance intensifies biological effect. Resonance occurs when a form of radiation has a similar frequency as a body part. For example, microwave frequencies are similar to the frequencies of your brain!
  • Studies are typically done for short exposure periods, at higher intensities. Scientists claim that duration of exposure is equally important to intensity of exposure, but is often NOT studied, and that long-term, low-level exposure can have effects equivalent to short-term, more intense exposure.
  • The effects of radiation are cumulative. Your body becomes more sensitive to it over time.
  • There are no longer any control groups, since human beings are all now exposed to such pervasive radiation. Lack of a control group makes it even more challenging to conduct meaningful studies.
The point is, standing in your kitchen while your microwave is zapping your dinner, night after night, will not make you glow in the dark. But over the months and years, what is the cumulative effect on your body and health?
Why expose yourself to these potential dangers when there are safer alternatives for cooking available?

Is Microwaving Food Any More Dangerous than Heating It with a Conventional Oven?

Some experts claim that the effects microwaves have on molecules can all be explained simply as the "thermic effect" of heating—in other words, microwave cooking is no more detrimental to food than conventional heating.
They argue that, since microwaves are non-ionizing radiation, then it's impossible for them to damage your blood cells, or eradicate the folic acid in your spinach.
Others have proposed there is some sort of "microwave effect" that causes changes in the molecules in a way that conventional heating does not. For many years, the party line was that "microwave effect" is a myth.
However, study after study has resulted in evidence to the contrary, showing effects that cannot be explained away as simple thermal effects.
In a letter titled "DNA and the Microwave Effect"19 (sourced as Penn State University, 2001), the author reviews the history of the controversy surrounding the microwave effect and the research findings to date. He explains that, although fundamentals of thermodynamics and physics would tell you the microwave effect is impossible, studies keep turning up evidence of its existence.
Some of the main points made in the letter are the following:
  • Microwave heating and conventional heating may appear identical on a "macro" level, but the two appear very different on a molecular level.
  • Microwaves are effective for sterilization, which has been studied for several decades. There is controversy, however, is about whether it's the heat they generate or if it's something else altogether.
  • One scientist (Kakita 199520) was successful in demonstrating that microwaves are capable of extensively fragmenting and destroying viral DNA, something that cannot be accomplished by heating alone.
  • Multiple studies offer evidence that there are multiple mechanisms for breaking apart DNA without ionizing radiation, but no theory currently exists to explain this phenomenon.
Some scientists are taking advantage of the microwave effect and using microwaves in the laboratory to greatly accelerate chemical reactions, sometimes by a factor of a thousand, resulting in the completion of reactions in minutes that formerly took days or months and a lot of toxic chemicals21.
This newly found interest in "microwave chemistry" has spurred skeptical scientists into taking another look at what microwaves actually do and how they do it.
Sometimes common sense trumps empirical evidence.
The Penn State letter/article said it best:
"...It would seem there is reason to believe that the microwave effect does indeed exist, even if it cannot yet be adequately explained. What we know at present is somewhat limited, but there may be enough information already available to form a viable hypothesis.
The possibility that electromagnetic radiation in the non-ionizing frequency range can cause genetic damage may have profound implications on the current controversy involving EM antennae, power lines, and cell phones."

Breaking Free of Your Microwave: A Few Basic Tips

Am I asking you to toss your microwave oven into the nearest dumpster?
Not necessarily. It can be a useful tool for cleaning. But if real estate in your kitchen is at a premium, it should probably be the first thing to go.
You really CAN survive sans microwave—people are living quite happily without one, believe it or not. You just have to make a few small lifestyle adjustments, such as:
  • Plan ahead. Take your dinner out of the freezer that morning or the night before so you don't end up having to scramble to defrost a 5-pound chunk of beef two hours before dinnertime.
  • Make soups and stews in bulk, and then freeze them in gallon-sized freezer bags or other containers. An hour before meal time, just take one out and defrost it in a sink of water until it's thawed enough to slip into a pot, then reheat it on the stove.
  • A toaster oven makes a GREAT faux-microwave for heating up leftovers! Keep it at a low temperature — like 200-250 degrees F — and gently warm a plate of food over the course of 20-30 minutes. Another great alternative is a convection oven. They can be built in or purchased as a relatively inexpensive and quick safe way to heat foods
  • Prepare your meals in advance so that you always have a good meal available on those days when you're too busy or too tired to cook.
  • Try eating more organic raw foods. This is the best way to improve your health over the long run.