Sunday, December 29, 2013

New Cancer Risk: Are Parabens the New BPA?

Reposted from TakePart

by Melissa Rayworth

Here's a health question you'll likely hear more about in the coming months: How dangerous are parabens, and should we avoid them?

Women are likely getting a steady dose of parabens through the use of common personal care products such as body lotions, makeup, and cleansers, according to a new study. Babies and toddlers are likely to be absorbing even more.

Researchers examined samples of 170 personal care products, including 20 designed specifically for use on babies. Their results, published last month in the American Chemical Society's Environmental Science & Technology journal, found parabens in 40 percent of rinse-off products and 60 percent of leave-on products.

Use of these products, by the researchers' analysis, would expose infants and toddlers to a maximum 766 micrograms per kilogram of body weight per day. That's about three times more than the amount adult women are believed to be exposed to—which is alarming because women were previously believed to be absorbing the highest levels of the chemical.

This comes in the wake of research published in the Journal of Applied Toxicology exploring the potential link between parabens and breast cancer; the research found traces of parabens in 158 of 160 breast tissue samples taken from 40 women being treated for breast cancer.

That research, released in 2012, noted that parabens were present in the breast tissue of every woman in the study—including those who did not use any "underarm cosmetics." That suggests that avoiding chemical deodorants and antiperspirants, once considered a useful way of keeping parabens from leaching into your body, isn’t enough.

And while the amounts of parabens found in these tissue samples weren’t huge, their levels were four times higher than the concentrations recorded in a similar but smaller study in 2004.

What Makes Parabens Scary?
No definitive link has been documented between parabens and cancer. But these preservatives have "estrogen-like properties," and estrogen plays a role in cancer growth.

The FDA's current statement on parabens, updated in November, is this: "FDA believes that at the present time there is no reason for consumers to be concerned about the use of cosmetics containing parabens. However, the agency will continue to evaluate new data in this area."

The Cosmetic Industry Review, a cosmetic industry–sponsored organization that reviews cosmetic ingredient safety, determined in 2005 that there's no cause for concern over the use of parabens by anyone, including infants.

Why am I not finding that even remotely comforting?

So parabens appear in a huge range of products. Scan your stash of makeup, lotions, cleansers, and shampoos: You'll probably see words like "methylparaben" and "propylparaben" in the ingredients lists.

Yet, avoiding them is becoming increasingly easy: Paraben-free skin-care options for grown-ups and babies are now common, and new ones are frequently hitting the market.

What’s Next?
Should these chemicals, which are sprinkled throughout so many people's medicine cabinets and makeup kits, be banished? Two of our nation's retail giants may be wading into the debate.
Target's "Sustainable Products Standard," announced in October, will use GoodGuide's UL Transparency Platform to look at the environmental and human health impacts of the products it sells. The company isn't promising to remove products containing chemicals that GoodGuide ranks as worrisome (including parabens). But Target's announcement of this new initiative does promise that the information it gathers will "inform Target’s merchandising and product-placement decisions."
Weeks earlier, Walmart announced its "Policy on Sustainable Chemistry in Consumables," which involves "working with suppliers to reduce or eliminate the use of priority chemicals used in consumables products in favor of greener alternatives." The big-box retailer said it would share its list of those "priority chemicals" with suppliers but did not include the list in its public announcement.
We'll be chasing down more information on parabens for you in the new year. In the meantime, this could be the season to treat yourself and the friends on your last-minute gift list to some fabulous—and paraben-free—new skin products.

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Surprising Effects of Probiotics Outside the Intestinal Tract

Reposted from Life Extension

By Michael Downey
Surprising Effects of Probiotics Outside the Intestinal Tract
Typically we think of probiotics as only benefitting intestinal health. We are now learning that having the proper balance of healthy gut bacteria plays a role in protecting against a wide range of common disorders.1-21
Modern Western culture can deplete good bacteria in our gut. Everything from diet to antibiotics to excessive hygiene creates an imbalance of good-to-bad bacteria. Once the good bacteria are destroyed, bad bacteria quickly multiply and open the door for degenerative diseases.
Fortunately, strong evidence demonstrates that taking the right mix of probiotics can restore your body’s natural protection against a host of diseases.1-20

How Intestinal Imbalance Affects the Entire Body

How Intestinal Imbalance Affects the Entire Body  
So why is it that an imbalance in gut bacteria affects areas of the body outside of the intestines?
The answer lies in the fact that the intestinal tract contains more chemical detection and signaling molecules than any other organ—molecules that affect many aspects of health.22
Your intestinal bacteria produce proteins that have a powerful influence on these chemical detectors—and as with any influence, this one can be positive or negative.23 Over time, an imbalance in the ratio of good-to-bad bacteria activates these many detectors in negative ways that can trigger the development of a host of diseases in many body areas—not just those associated with the gut.
Fortunately, using probiotic supplements to restore a healthy balance to your gut bacteria can reverse these disruptions to intestine-based signaling mechanisms. This in turn reverses the negative influence that triggers the development of chronic disease.24

Total Body Benefits

It has long been known that good gut bacteria have a number of beneficial effects on intestinal health.22 For example, Lactobacillus and Bifidobacteria, two of the most studied types of beneficial bacterial, have been shown to improve both diarrhea and constipation, while reducing symptoms of abdominal bloating.25-27 Probiotic supplements that increase levels of these beneficial bacteria have helped improve both the quality of life and symptom scores of patients with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and ulcerative colitis, as well as those of generally healthy people.26,28-30
But compelling new evidence indicates that good bacteria also play a beneficial role outside the digestive tract as well.1-20 Scientific studies have demonstrated that different species of Lactobacillus (Lactobacillus acidophilus, Lactobacillus rhamnosus, and Lactobacillus paracasei) increase HDL,31 improve metabolic syndrome,31 and reduce markers of inflammation, respectively.31
In addition, different Bifidobacterium species (Bifidobacterium lactis, Bifidobacterium bifidum, and Bifidobacterium longum) improve blood sugar control,32 decrease liver inflammation,31 and reduce DNA damage that can trigger malignant cell development,33 respectively.

Probiotics Protect Against Chronic Diseases

Probiotics Protect Against Chronic Diseases
Numerous studies have confirmed that taking a probiotic supplement to restore the balance of gut bacteria helps protect against a number of specific diseases, including diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and respiratory infections.34
Studies have shown that probiotics containing Lactobacillus and Bifidobacteria help improve diabetes and metabolic syndrome. In fact, both animal studies and human clinical trials have demonstrated improvement in insulin resistance and reduction in blood sugar concentrations.32,35,36 After just 6 weeks of consuming a probiotic yogurt containing Lactobacillus acidophilus and Bifidobacterium lactis, type II diabetics significantly improved fasting glucose and hemoglobin A1c (a measure of blood sugar control).32
Animal and human studies have demonstrated that probiotics improve cardiovascular disease factors as well, including decreasing total cholesterol and LDL while boosting artery-cleansing HDL.35,37-44 Supplements of beneficial bacteria have been shown to reduce cholesterol absorption and the inflammation of fat stores.45,46 These changes contribute to a significant decrease in the formation of inflammatory, cholesterol-laden plaques observed in early atherosclerosis.45,47,48
In addition, studies have shown that probiotics can suppress respiratory infections such as the common cold and the flu—especially if you begin supplementing prior to cold and flu season. Studies show that people who supplemented with different strains of Bifidobacteria or Lactobacillus for 3 to 6 months ahead of the winter cold and flu season reduced the duration of symptoms by an average of one to two (or even more) days, with a similarly impressive reduction in symptom severity.49,50
Regular use of probiotics has been found to reduce colonization of the nose by potentially pathogenic bacteria by 19%.51 This effect could save the lives of those who are older, or who have diabetes, or who have undergone a major operation—all of whom have a higher risk of being overwhelmed by bacterial infection.

The Powerful Role of Probiotics in Cancer

Probiotics have been found to be incredibly potent against one deadly disease in particular: cancer. The risk of cancer, especially in the colon, can be reduced through the use of probiotics.52 Supplementation with Lactobacillus acidophilus and Bifidobacterium longum significantly decreases the DNA damage that can trigger malignant cell development.33 Replenishing beneficial bacteria with supplements has been found to boost natural antioxidant and detoxification enzymes that prevent the activation of potential dietary carcinogens.52,53
Patients with colon cancer and those with pre-cancerous polyps had sharply reduced proliferation of abnormal colon cells and a significant decline in harmful Clostridium bacteria when supplemented with synbiotics (probiotic bacteria combined with prebiotics, which are substances that feed or promote the accompanying bacteria).54
In addition, scientists have demonstrated that probiotic organisms switch-on protective signaling mechanisms that play a role in preventing cancer, including:
  • Suppressing bacteria that convert harmless pro-carcinogen molecules into carcinogens.55,56
  • Binding to potential carcinogens, promoting their excretion.55
  • Down-regulating an enzyme that converts harmless molecules into carcinogens.55
  • Stimulating expression of liver enzymes that detoxify carcinogens.55
  • Boosting populations of cells that seek out and destroy cancers.56-58
  • Upregulating inflammatory cytokines during an acute stage of cancer or other threat.56,59
  • Suppressing the inflammatory response as the cancer or infection threat fades.56,59

Probiotics Help Reverse Obesity

An association between antibiotic overuse and obesity has been demonstrated, which can be reversed with appropriate probiotic supplementation.60 Studies of probiotic supplementation on both research animals and humans showed a significant reduction in body weight and body mass index (BMI).35,37-44 In one study, probiotic supplements were given to mothers prenatally (meaning from about five months before, and until one month after, birth), and excessive weight gain was subsequently reduced in the mothers—and in their children from birth right through to 10 years of age!61,62

Factors Behind Gut Imbalance

Factors Behind Gut Imbalance  
There are a number of factors that contribute to a dangerous imbalance of gut bacteria. The excessive use of antibiotics disrupts the optimum proportions of gut bacteria; excessive hygiene has drastically reduced our ability to naturally acquire certain key bacteria from our environment;63 and a number of modern medical treatments such as artificial ventilation, tubes and catheters, and frequent pharmaceutical use, are known to severely impair the proper balance of gut bacteria.64
The Western diet—high in animal proteins and fats, sugars, and refined carbohydrates—causes a rise in undesirable bacteria. Even the modern use of infant formula instead of breast milk has interfered with mankind’s long history of transferring bacterial diversity from mother to child.63,65 Recent findings suggest that even aging itself disrupts the bacterial makeup of the gut.66-68
Although good bacteria can be found in small amounts in food, changing the entire ratio of gut bacteria requires substantial and consistent dosing with supplements providing potent levels of bacteria to enable their survival.
Also, while many supplements provide just one type of bacteria—the most popular being Lactobacillus—the combination of two different types delivers better odds of reversing the negative effects of dysbacteriosis, a condition where healthy gut bacteria are killed off leaving an imbalance between good and bacteria. Bifidobacterium is another potent bacterium that strongly supports microflora.


Scientists have shown that a prolonged imbalance in intestinal bacteria can do more than induce intestinal or digestive problems—it can trigger numerous chronic diseases outside the intestine!
The link between imbalanced intestinal bacteria and today’s most prevalent diseases is clear. However, today’s diet, lifestyle, medical practices, and other factors tend to disrupt gut bacterial balance.
Fortunately, supplementing with key bacterial strains counters these destructive influences—restoring your body’s natural, intestine-based protection against a host of non-intestinal diseases!
If you have any questions on the scientific content of this article, please call a Life Extension® Health Advisor at 1-866-864-3027.


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Autoimmunity and Wheat

Reposted from Wheat Belly

by Dr. William Davis

Autoimmunity occurs when your own immune system is no longer able to distinguish friend from foe. It means that antibodies, lymphocytes, killer T cells, macrophages and inflammation-mediating proteins can’t tell the difference between, say, the protein of a fungal wall from proteins in your liver or joints. It’s as weird as a mother not recognizing her children, sometimes as tragic as friendly fire.
Depending on which tissues in which organs are attacked, the misdirected immune attack of autoimmunity can express itself as autoimmune hepatitis (liver tissue), primary biliary cirrhosis (bile ducts), type 1 diabetes (pancreatic beta cells), uveitis (iris of the eye), skin (psoriasis), platelets (autoimmune thrombocytopenic purpura), muscles (polymyositis), thyroid (Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, Grave’s disease), or just about any other organ or tissue.

Wheat consumption has now been confidently identified as both the initiating process in autoimmunity, as well as a perpetuating factor. Autoimmunity is just one way that tells us that this “food” was never appropriate for human consumption in the first place. First consumed in desperation 10,000 years ago, after not consuming grains for the preceding 2.5 million years, then altered by the efforts of geneticists and agribusiness, increased wheat consumption accounts for the increasing landscape of multiple autoimmune conditions, especially type 1 diabetes in children (and, now, adults), Hashimoto’s, and inflammatory bowel diseases.

So what is it about modern wheat that can cause such misguided immune responses? There are several reasons:

Increased intestinal permeability–Dr. Alessio Fasano and his team, working at the University of Maryland (now at Harvard) have worked out the complex path by which gliadin, when remaining intact, opens the “tight junction” barriers between intestinal cells, allowing foreign substances entry into the bloodstream and thereby organs. Among the substances that can enter: intact gliadin, gliadin-derived peptides, wheat germ agglutinin (a large and highly inflammatory protein), lipopolysaccharide from bacterial cell walls, and others.

Gliadin peptide toxicity–While some gliadin remains intact, some also gets degraded to peptides. Some of these peptides can enter the bloodstream to exert opiate effects on the brain, while other fractions are toxic to the intesinal lining.

Wheat germ agglutinin–Humans cannot digest the roots, stalk, leaves, or husk of wheat because it is a grass. For that reason, humans only consume the flour ground from the seed of wheat. We can only efficiently digest the amylopectin and amylose of the seed endosperm, the carbohydrates. Wheat germ agglutinin of the seed, a component of all wheat flour, is an example of another indigestible component of this grass. This large 4-part structure is highly toxic to the intestinal lining, causing complete denuding of the villi in experimental models. If it gains entry to the bloodstream, it is a potent activator of the immune system.

Molecular mimicry–As if this wasn’t already strange enough, there are amino acid sequences in the gliadin protein of wheat (and thereby the secalin of rye, the hordein of barley, perhaps the zein of corn) that look just like sequences in some human proteins. To date, human proteins that resemble gliadin include transglutaminase (in muscle, liver, many other tissues), synapsin (in nervous tissue), and calreticulin (ubiquitous). The gliadin sequence activates an immune response, which can then launch an attack on the organs containing these cross-reacting proteins.

Dysbiosis–Wheat changes bowel flora, not uncommonly causing dysbiosis, or changes in bowel flora characterized by decreases in healthy species, such as Lactobacillus and Bifidobacteria, and increases in pathogenic bacteria, such as E. coli and Clostridium difficile. Dysbiosis increases intestinal permeability, especially to the lipopolysaccharide component of bacterial cell walls, a powerful activator of inflammation.

Note that NONE of these phenomena leading to autoimmunity require the presence of celiac disease or gluten sensitivity. The abnormal intestinal permeability induced by gliadin, for instance, develops in 80-90% of people; the toxic effects of wheat germ agglutinin affect everybody.

Anyone diagnosed with an autoimmune condition should avoid wheat, as well as its nearly genetically identical brethren, rye and barley (identical gliadin and wheat germ agglutinin sequences), as well as corn (some overlap of corn zein with gliadin) and rice (identical wheat germ agglutinin).

Also, vitamin D restoration (e.g., achieve a 25-hydroxy vitamin D level of 60-70 ng/ml or 150-180 nmol/L), omega-3 fatty acid supplementation, and correction of disrupted bowel flora (prebiotics, naturally fermented foods, prebiotics) are all crucial steps in maximizing your hopes of reversing your autoimmune condition.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Top 10 Immune System Boosters: Simple Steps to Robust Health

Reposted from The Healthy Home Economist

By Melanie Christner, NTP, CHFS, CGP of Honest Body
Dear Mom,
Have you ever questioned your sanity as you nurse your child through another round of a miserable sore throat, hacking cough, or ear infection? As you swish out the throw-up bowl for another round? As you schedule another doctor’s appointment?
Some of life’s parenting questions are easy.
“Mommy, is lake spelled with a ‘c’ or a ‘k’?”
“Mama, what season comes after winter?”
Some questions are not as simple or straightforward … like how to keep your sanity and maintain a better-than-miserable experience for your child during cold/flu season.
Enter the practical and timeless wisdom of the GAPS Diet …
Robust health…
These are on my list of favorite words (and what I aim for with my family and practice).
Today I’ll be examining the first of the Top 10 Immunity Boosters. These are taken from the book, Gut and Psychology Syndrome, by Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride. And they are simple ways to have robust health.
For those of you who may be unfamiliar with her work, Dr. Natasha is a neurologist with a masters in nutrition from the UK, who created a dietary protocol for healing autism, as well as other neurological, chronic and autoimmune issues. She has helped patients around the world and has trained other practitioners to do so as well. The GAPS Diet helps by healing and sealing the gut lining, reducing toxic burden on the immune system, and replenishing beneficial microbes. For more on GAPS you can visit
This list of Immune Boosters influence immunity for the better. They are not just for the winter season either…they influence the intricacies of the body in ways that only whole foods and natural practices can…working with our bodies and not against.
So … numero uno … drumroll please.
(Keep it light, health talk can get too serious!)

Immunity Booster #1 : Fresh animal fats (from meats and dairy), and cholesterol rich foods (especially raw egg yolk)

When I first began my journey into real foods and dietary healing, the most surprising aspect was the concept of animal fats and cholesterol as healthy and healing. Intuitively though, my cells were doing a happy dance (yay!).

Why animal fats and cholesterol?

Cholesterol is one of the most essential substances to the human body.
- The brain and nervous system is the most hungry for it. Our brain cells and memory depend on it.
- The second system most hungry for cholesterol is our endocrine system.
- The hormones, built with cholesterol by our endocrine glands, are responsible for important activities, such as:
  • Reproduction and sexual health
  • Emotions
  • Behavior
  • Bone, brain, and muscle formation
  • Energy production
  • Metabolism

Cholesterol is essential for our immune system to function

The human organism is composed of 100+ trillion cells
Immune cells are “star” cells…
  • Lymphocytes
  • Helper T cells
  • Natural killer cells
  • The “phils”, neutrophils, eosinophils, basophils
  • Macrophages
  • Mast cells
  • Etc…
Immune cells depend on cholesterol to fight infections and repair themselves after defending and fighting for us. Animal and human studies have shown that folks with high levels of cholesterol have a higher protection against infection. They are four times less likely to get AIDS, they are less likely to pick up every cold, and they recover much quicker when they do get sick.
Those with low cholesterol are more likely to get sick, stay sick longer, and have more of a chance of an infection morphing into a dangerous and even deadly one.
Cholesterol is important in cell to cell communication. Since immune cells communicate with each other throughout the body it is important to have well-made cell membranes that have good cell receptor sites and messaging capabilities.
Diets high in poor quality fat, i.e. vegetable oils like canola oil, corn oil, cooking sprays, margarines, hydrogenated, partially hydrogenated and trans fats, cause inflammation and lead to immune abnormalities.
Without cholesterol and saturated fats in its membrane, the immune cell cannot fulfill its tiny little destiny.
The ability of white blood cells to recognize and destroy foreign invaders such as viruses, fungi, and bacteria, is restricted without sufficient saturated fatty acids in them.

Saturated fats and cholesterol are what give every cell membrane their structure and stability.

Cholesterol is such an important part of physiology that the body has very tightly regulated mechanisms to keep blood cholesterol at a certain level. We give our bodies a hand if we consume foods rich in cholesterol.

Which foods are richest in cholesterol?

  1. Caviar (a whopping 588mg of cholesterol per 100g…baby making food)
  2. Cod liver oil (570mg of cholesterol per 100g)
  3. Fresh egg yolk (424mg per 100g)
  4. Butter (218mg per 100g)
  5. Coldwater fish and shellfish (salmon, sardines, mackerel, and shrimp, ranging from 173mg to 81mg per 100g)
  6. Lard (94mg per 100g, with other animal fats following, such as beef tallow, chicken, duck, goose fat)

Summation – with cholesterol and saturated fats, you too can fulfill your destiny :)

A few facts on fats and cholesterol with regard to immunity:
  • Caprylic acid (a fatty acid found in butter and other animal fats) is a powerful antiviral nutrient
  • Monolaurin, extract of lauric acid (fatty acid found in coconut and breastmilk) is also a potent antiviral
  • Old medical literature shows that infections like tuberculosis used to be treated with raw cream and raw egg yolk (high in cholesterol)
  • Native Americans and other peoples used bear fat as medicine (and for a lil’ baby making, if necessary)
  • Vitamin D (a dietary source high in D is fermented cod liver oil) is a steroid hormone and powerful immune and gene regulator. Apart from dietary sources, Vitamin D actually starts with cholesterol in your skin and, with the sun’s obliging kiss, undergoes several changes…first in the skin, then the liver, and finally the kidneys, before it is in the active form that regulates calcium metabolism and absorption, and strengthens immunity

Where can I get these healthy fats?

The best way to get animal fats and good quality eggs (that are pastured) is to get to know your local grass-based farmer. You can also find help from a local chapter of the Weston Price Foundation. Animal fats such as tallow, lard and poultry fats are not always readily available, but if you befriend your local farmers they can usually help you find them. There are also online sources for healthy fats.


  • Cod liver oil – I recommend fermented cod liver oil rendered the traditional way with no heat to denature nutrients and delicate omega-3 fats.
  • Caviar
  • Egg yolks – Ask around to find your nearest grass-based farmer or backyard enthusiast.
  • Coldwater fish and shellfish – wild caught.
  • Lard and other animal fats.

How we incorporate fats and cholesterol into our family’s diet

As a mother of four children I am keen on having healthy kiddos! Some ways in which we incorporate healthy fats and cholesterol are:
  • Liberal butter usage on grain free muffins (I make my own raw butter or use Organic Valley’s pastured butter)
  • Raw pastured eggs in smoothies, Russian custards, my homemade mayonnaise, and sometimes in soups
  • Shrimp weekly, sauteed in butter of course!
  • Green Pastures fermented cod liver oil daily – at least 1 tsp for the kids and 2 tsp for mom and dad
  • We saute’ plenty of vegetables in lard, butter, coconut oil, etc. and we add these fats liberally into any soup we make
Incorporate healthy fats and cholesterol into your family’s diet and those “mama nurse” moments will become fewer and farther apart. (Your cells will also do a happy dance)
- See more at:

Monday, December 9, 2013

The Vaccine Bubble

Reposted from Health Impact News Daily

Health Impact News Editor Comments:
Michael Belkin is an extremely gifted vaccine-victim advocate, and one of the co-authors of the book we feature below, Vaccine Epidemic. Michael lost his first child when she died at 5 weeks old after receiving the Hepatitis B vaccine. He is a gifted musician and writes his own music warning people about the dangers of vaccines. His music can be heard at, where he also runs a very successful and popular blog.

But Michael’s “day job” is earning a living from financial counseling. His advice is highly sought after and he has appeared and been interviewed on many of the financial networks. Therefore, if there is one person who can clearly articulate the business side of vaccine marketing, that person would be Michael Belkin.

Michael coined the term “Vaccine Bubble”, and in this article he clearly explains why the vaccine market parallels so many other false markets that were propped up by unsound economic principles, particularly government intervention that prevents normal free market financial swings based on consumer demand.

Could the vaccine bubble, and along with it the entire U.S. healthcare system, be the biggest financial bubble our country has ever seen? Is it doomed to fail?

The Vaccine Bubble

by Michael Belkin
My business involves advising portfolio managers about asset allocation in global financial markets. During my career, I have observed several extreme speculative bubbles, including the Japanese stock market in the late 1980s, the NASDAQ frenzy in 1998–2000 and the U.S. housing bubble from 2006–2008.

These bubbles all ended in tears. I see the same elements now in the pharmaceutical industry’s preoccupation with vaccines. I coined the term “vaccine bubble” (in the book Vaccine Epidemic) to describe the economic and psychological factors that are driving the obsession with and over-investment in vaccines. The psychology of making big profits is causing a lemming-like rush into vaccine research and production. Ultimately, many of these companies and vaccine products will likely turn out to be flash-in-the-pan nobodies and nothings that simply waste investment and get discarded on the ash heap of medical history. In the meantime, families and individuals need to educate themselves and make informed decisions about vaccine acceptance or refusal.

The business model of vaccine manufacturers relies on compulsion—you must take their product, or else.

Investing in Health
Taking pharmaceutical company advice about vaccine safety and efficacy is like trusting a stockbroker or real estate agent to tell you the market is in a bubble. As investors and homeowners have learned the hard way, those with corrupt financial or professional incentives cannot be relied upon to provide trustworthy advice.

From a financial and industry perspective, here is what you need to know. Vaccines are licensed by the FDA and recommended by the CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP). Vaccine manufacturers perform (or outsource) their own efficacy and safety studies, so there is plenty of wiggle room for juggling the data. Manufacturers can choose their own placebo to either flatter efficacy or safety. If you think vaccine safety studies use saline solution for a placebo, think again.
The Merck Manual (the pharmaceutical company’s best-selling series of medical textbooks) defines an adverse reaction to a vaccine“Encephalitis is inflammation of the brain that occurs when a virus directly infects the brain or when a virus or something else triggers inflammation…. Encephalitis can occur in the following ways: A virus directly infects the brain. A virus that caused an infection in the past becomes reactivated and directly damages the brain. A virus or vaccine triggers a reaction that makes the immune system attack brain tissue (an autoimmune reaction).”

Thus, an adverse vaccine reaction that causes brain damage (encephalitis) has the same result as a complication from an infectious disease like measles. In vaccine safety studies, manufacturers can disguise the neurological damage caused by the vaccine they are testing by using another vaccine (or another substance that contains an aluminum adjuvant) known to cause neurological adverse reactions as placebo. The standard language they use is: “Adverse reactions were no different than placebo.” They don’t mention that the placebo causes neurological adverse reactions.
Another trick they use is to compare adverse reactions to a fully vaccinated population that has neurological damage from those vaccines. They claim it is unethical to compare vaccine adverse reactions in their new product being tested to unvaccinated controls, because the unvaccinated would supposedly miss out on all the great benefits of vaccines. This is a cheap statistical trick to camouflage adverse neurological reactions from vaccines.

Products in the Pipeline
The Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America’s (PhRMA) 2010 Report on Medicines in Development for Infectious Diseases boasts“Among the medicines now being tested are…145 vaccines to prevent or treat diseases such as staph infections and pneumococcal infections.” The report didn’t include “medicines in development for HIV infection,” and stated, “A 2009 survey by PhRMA found 97 medicines and vaccines are in testing for HIV/AIDS and AIDS-related conditions.”
The current CDC-recommended vaccine schedule contains 70 doses of 16 vaccines by age 18. PhRMA obviously would love to double or triple that vaccine burden by cramming the new vaccines under development into the ACIP-recommended schedule.

A Government-Subsidized, Captive Market
ACIP vaccine recommendations are a godsend to pharmaceutical manufacturers. The simple ACIP recommendation that so many doses of such-and-such vaccine should be given at such-and-such age is transformed into public school attendance mandates by the alchemy of drug industry sales reps, state health officials and gullible state legislatures. The business model of vaccine manufacturers relies on compulsion—you must take their product, or else. Imagine you were in business selling something and you could snap your fingers and compel everyone to be your customer. Normal businesses have to attract customers with an attractive product and compete with other providers of that product. Compulsion is a nice way to capture an involuntary market, isn’t it?

Since most people won’t pay hundreds of dollars out-of-pocket for every vaccine, manufacturers must find someone to foot the bill. They have been very effective in coercing federal and state governments and health insurers into subsidizing their products. One little-noticed feature of the Affordable Care Act (the Obama administration’s healthcare reform program) is that health insurers must provide subsidized vaccines to their customers. Big Pharma’s vaccine business model consists of taking choice away from the individual and getting someone else to foot the bill.

Filling the Profit Void
Pharmaceutical companies are losing patent protection on about $140 billion of blockbuster drugs (such as Lipitor) over the next few years. Their research departments have produced few product replacements with blockbuster potential (sales greater than $1 billion/year). This pending loss of business is causing a wave of layoffs and restructurings within the industry. Also, disastrous drugs like Vioxx have caused between 88,000 and 139,000 heart attacks and about 40,000 deaths, according to FDA estimates cited by epidemiologist David Michaels, current head of OSHA for the Obama Administration, in his excellent book Doubt Is Their Product.

According to Michaels’ book, Merck exploited the FDA drug approval process by gaming the placebo and claiming that the higher rate of heart attacks observed in Vioxx clinical trials was due to the placebo (naproxen) preventing heart attacks. According to Michaels’ book, “Merck chose the interpretation that implausibly credited naproxen over the one that more plausibly indicted its own drug and it embarked on a four-year defense of this almost ridiculous hypothesis.” Incidentally, Merck is a primary manufacturer of U.S. vaccines. Its corporate behavior with Vioxx certainly discredits its ethical credibility with regard to pharmaceutical safety studies.

Pharmaceutical companies now tout vaccines as the Holy Grail that will help replace the lost revenues from expiring patents on blockbuster drugs that will face generic (cheap) competition. But the numbers don’t add up. Vaccines are currently about a $25 billion market. As previously mentioned, patent expirations amount to about $140 billion. Pharmaceutical companies desperately need to grow that $25 billion vaccine market in a hurry. Hence the big push to create, license and mandate new vaccines.

Informed Choice

Popping the Vaccine Bubble
Now, if you are in the pharmaceutical industry charity market, you can donate your body to Merck and other vaccine manufacturers by volunteering to be a human pincushion for every vaccine recommended by the ACIP or in development. That is your decision, and I fully support your right to vaccinate yourself into oblivion.

However, if you (like me) do not agree with forced medication using products that may have been approved using safety studies involving bogus placebos, then you probably face persecution by your allopathic doctor, public school or employer (flu vaccines are now mandatory for many healthcare workers). I fully support your right to refuse vaccines. In fact, the position of the American Medical Association (AMA) on informed consent states that with regard to patients, “He or she can make an informed decision to proceed or to refuse a particular course of medical intervention.” Please notice the word refuse. It is our right to refuse “a particular course of medical intervention.” Notice it doesn’t say “except vaccination.” Informed consent is the backbone of medical ethics. You have the right to say no. Doctors who assert that you do not have a choice about vaccines are violating this medical code of ethics.

Contrast that AMA official position on informed consent with the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) position on “terminating” vaccine refusers: “If, after discussion about the importance of vaccination and the risks of not vaccinating, the parent refuses, the pediatrician should document the discussion and have the parent sign a waiver affirming his/her decision not to vaccinate (i.e., AAP Refusal to Vaccinate Form). If the situation becomes such that you are no longer comfortable having the parent/patient in your practice, the AAP manual, Medical Liability for Pediatricians, Chapter 3, offers resources for risk communication and termination of the physician-patient relationship.”

The Basis for My Choice
My daughter Lyla died within hours after receiving her hepatitis B vaccine at the age of five weeks. We subsequently had two more children and I looked closely at the rate of vaccine adverse reactions contained in the FDA Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS) versus the risk of contracting an infectious disease and the risk of complications from that disease. As a professional statistician who provides econometric forecasts for institutional investors, I am qualified to make decisions based on statistical models. That is what I do, day in and day out. My conclusion? I would have to be a total idiot to vaccinate my children.

Informed consent is the backbone of medical ethics. You have the right to say no.

If mainstream pediatricians are going to “terminate” patients like me (like a pest control company), then perhaps my family is better off not being a captive of such a totalitarian doctor in the first place. For others in favor of vaccine choice, I’ve written an article entitled “How to Terminate a Relationship With an Uncooperative and Combative Pediatrician.” Sadly, most pediatricians wouldn’t know what to do with themselves and their practices if they weren’t vaccine pushers. As mentioned above, they are simply the agents of a medical system that is addicted to a vaccine bubble. Vaccine refusers should find trustworthy medical professionals who support the AMA’s position on informed consent.

Ghosts in the Machine
Bubbles always have corruption hidden under the surface. Look how the mortgage and banking industries are now choking on lawsuits and destroyed reputations. Corruption in the vaccine bubble probably exists in ghostwritten medical journal articles (penned by pharmaceutical companies but supposedly authored by respectable doctors). Ghostwriting has recently become a huge issue in medical research. We have yet to find out which vaccine studies were ghostwritten by industry flunkies.

Another area of corruption is front groups. Front groups using straw-man citizens are a standard PR technique to hype a product. Full Frontal Scrutiny, a joint venture between Consumer Reports WebWatch and the Center for Media and Democracy, describes the technique as such:

“A front group is an example of what is known in the PR trade as the “third party technique.” The idea behind the term is that when one person (the first party) wants to persuade someone else (the second party) to believe or do something that benefits the first party, it helps if the message comes from a seemingly disinterested, independent source. As Daniel Edelman, the founder of Edelman PR Worldwide, has stated, “A third party endorsement can position a new brand so that it’s poised for great success or, conversely, can blunt a serious problem before it gets out of hand and proves disastrous for a particular product or for a company overall.”…

“The best PR ends up looking like news,” bragged one public relations executive. “You never know when a PR agency is being effective; you’ll just find your views slowly shifting.”

When you see supposedly grassroots groups lobbying for vaccine mandates, you may be seeing the invisible hand of just such a PR agency.

A prime example of corruption in the vaccine bubble is Paul Thorsen, a Danish epidemiologist who is under federal indictment for fraud. Thorsen allegedly absconded with millions of dollars of CDC money.

Another prime example of corruption in the vaccine bubble is Paul Thorsen, a Danish epidemiologist who is under federal indictment for fraud. Thorsen allegedly absconded with millions of dollars of CDC money. Thorsen’s Danish data forms the backbone of several scientific studies the CDC uses to claim that vaccines and thimerosal (a mercury-containing vaccine preservative) do not cause autism. So far, no one seems to care that a principal author of those studies stands accused of fraud.
One other noteworthy fact with regard to vaccines and autism: In the DTaP package insert, autism and sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) are listed as “adverse events reported during post-approval use…. Events were included in this list because of the seriousness or frequency of reporting.” So much for CDC denials of a vaccine/autism link.

Vaccines are in a bubble. Pharmaceutical companies are working on hundreds of new vaccines that they are drooling to make mandatory to replace their vanishing blockbuster drug patents. If you choose to resist the vaccine bubble, many people (and doctors) will regard you as loony, in the same way people looked down at those who didn’t buy into the NASDAQ bubble in 2000 or the housing bubble in 2007. But look how those people turned out when the bubbles burst—postponed retirements, foreclosures and underwater home equity. Is that what you want?
Read full article here:

Michael Belkin is a world-renowned financial analyst. He was a financial forecaster and statistician uninvolved in medical policy until his infant daughter died after receiving a hepatitis B vaccine in 1998. Belkin has testified before Congress in opposition to forced hepatitis B vaccinations. Read more from Belkin in the book Vaccine Epidemic: How Corporate Greed, Biased Science, and Coercive Government Threaten Our Human Rights, Our Health, and Our Children. He’s also part of the rock band The Refusers, in which his 10-year-old son plays drums. Their album is called First Do No Harm, and is available at, along with a vaccine news blog. View article resources and author information here.

1) Michaels, David. Doubt Is Their Product, Oxford University Press, USA, 2008.
2) Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America, 2010 Report on Medicines in Development for Infectious Diseases,
3) Rampton, Sheldon. “Front Groups: A History,” Full Frontal Scrutiny,

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Omega-3 fatty acids, alpha lipoic acid slow decline in Alzheimer's disease patients

Reposted from Life Extension

Tuesday, December 3, 2013. The Journal of Alzheimer's Disease published the outcome of a recent trial conducted by researchers at Oregon Health & Science University in Portland which revealed that supplementation with omega-3 fatty acids and alpha lipoic acid slowed functional and cognitive decline in Alzheimer's disease patients.
Lynne Shinto and colleagues randomized thirty-nine men and women with Alzheimer's disease to receive a daily regimen consisting of three grams fish oil concentrate (providing 975 milligrams EPA and 675 milligrams DHA), fish oil plus 600 milligrams R-alpha lipoic acid, or a placebo for one year. Blood tests and evaluations of cognitive and functional performance were administered before and after the treatment period.
In comparison with the placebo group, participants who received omega-3 fatty acids plus alpha lipoic acid demonstrated a lesser decline in the Mini-Mental State Examination, which is an evaluation of global cognitive function, and in the Instrumental Activities of Daily Living (IADL) evaluation of functional ability. Those who received omega-3 fatty acids alone also showed less functional decline as indicated by IADL performance.
As possible mechanisms for omega-3 fatty acids and alpha lipoic acid, the authors remark that DHA has been shown in animal studies to help protect nerve cells, and that lipoic acid delayed cognitive decline in two studies involving Alzheimer's disease patients. The nutrients may also help reduce inflammation.
"Combining omega-3 with lipoic acid slowed both cognitive and functional decline in mild to moderately impaired Alzheimer's disease participants over 12 months, and the combination appears to be safe at the doses evaluated," the authors conclude. "A larger pilot trial is underway to further assess the benefit and potential mechanism of action of this novel combination for Alzheimer's disease."

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

The Latest Scoop on Wonder Nutrient Vitamin K2

Reposted from The Healthy Home Economist

by Sarah, TheHealthyHomeEconomist

I had the privilege of meeting a number of people that I greatly admire at the recent Wise Traditions International Conference, one of whom wrote perhaps the most intriguing book I read last year- Dr. Kate Rheaume-Bleue, author of Vitamin K2 and the Calcium Paradox.
Vitamin K2 is the wonder nutrient that modern science has only just started to understand. The reason this vitamin is so exciting to those of us who espouse traditional diet is because it was first identified by Dr. Chris Masterjohn as the elusive “Activator X” contained in all the foods considered sacred by Ancestral Societies and researched/written about by Dr. Weston A. Price in his nutritional classic, Nutrition and Physical Degeneration.
Vitamin K2 along with the other fat soluble activators A and D are synergistically responsible for the vibrant health and extremely high resistance to aging and degenerative disease of Traditional Cultures and described in detail in Dr. Price’s groundbreaking book using both words and pictures.
The problem is that Vitamin K2 is extremely difficult to get sufficient quantities of in the diet.  One reason is the worrisome depletion of our soils which grassbased and organic farmers are valiantly turning the tide on, but which will still take several decades if not even a century or two to reverse on a widespread basis. Another is the modern, misguided avoidance of the typically high fat, high cholesterol foods containing this wonder nutrient.
Dr. Kate filled me in on the latest research on Vitamin K2 and the promise it holds for reversing chronic and degenerative disease.  Here are the latest studies for consideration.  Please note that MK-7 is the bacteria synthesized form of K2 while MK-4 is the form found in animal foods like grassfed butter.
180 mcg MK-7 daily (low dosage) for three years significantly decreases bone loss in healthy postmenopausal women (Osteoporosis International):
  • Decreased the age-related decline at the lumbar spine and femoral neck.
  • Improved bone strength.
  • Decreased the loss in vertebral height in lower thoracic region.
1.5 mg (1,500 mcg) of MK-4 daily for 12 months improved bone metabolism and prevented bone forearm loss in postmenopausal Japanese women (source):
Dr. Kate observed that this second study is important since it shows a benefit of MK-4 in doses much lower than the super high 45,000 mcg usually used in studies.
French research suggests that some types of blue cheese are high in K2 (source).
Unfortunately the researchers didn’t identify the brands of blue cheese studied, but the take-home message is that if you like blue cheese keep eating it and you might be getting bonus K2. Another message here is that there are more K2 rich foods are out there than we know. More research needs to be done to identify them.
While science continues to unravel the magic and mystery surrounding Vitamin K2, a nutrient so important to human health that Traditional Societies revered and considered sacred any foods containing it in plentiful amounts, it seems prudent to make sure that our diets include Vitamin K2 rich foods on a frequent basis.
As Dr. Kate has already noted, more research needs to be done on what foods are high in K2, but based on what we know right now, here are the foods to make sure you are consuming frequently.
  • Grassfed Butter: Local, pastured raw butter is best, but Vitamin K2 is not destroyed by heat, so if pasteurized grassfed butter is all you can source, that is fine.
  • Grassfed Ghee: If you are allergic to dairy, grassfed ghee is what to use instead of grassfed butter as the allergenic milk proteins have all been removed leaving only the nutrient dense oil.
  • Butter Oil: This is a wonderful supplement to take along with fermented cod liver oil or fermented skate liver oil (another source of K2).  The two oils work synergistically to even reverse tooth decay as researched and written about by renowned dentist Dr. Weston A. Price.
  • Gouda Cheese:  Gouda is one of the best aged cheeses to consume if you want lots of K2.  Even if the gouda is not grassfed (which is the best way to go if possible), it will still contain plenty of K2 (in the form of MK-7)
  • Goose Liver Pate:  This is not an easily obtained gourmet food, but if you love pate (who doesn’t? It’s so tasty!), pate from goose liver is going to give you the largest amount of K2.
  • Natto:  You can usually find natto (make sure it comes from nonGMO soybeans!) at Asian specialty stores in the freezer section for about $3 for a small container. Natto contains a whopping 1,103 mcg of K2 per 3 1/2 ounce portion which blows away every other food by a country mile.  If the taste of natto is something you just can’t stomach, try capsules of the MK-7 form of K2 extracted from nonGMO natto. I don’t recommend supplements of the MK-4 form of K2 as they are synthetically derived.
I will have more to say about Vitamin K2 in upcoming posts. In particular, there is a newly discovered food that is mind-blowingly high in MK-4 (the animal form of K2) that I am gathering information on and will be writing about hopefully quite soon.
Sarah, The Healthy Home Economist