Friday, February 28, 2014

Why You Should Stop Letting Your Doctor Scare You About Cholesterol

Reposted from The Health Home Economist

Has your doctor used the “you have high cholesterol” line on you yet?

Did hearing these grave words make your hands shake and your face go pale?

Did you immediately call or text your spouse after you left the doctor’s office?

Did you drive just a little too fast as you drove to the first pharmacy drive-thru to get your statin prescription filled?

It’s time to end the madness about high cholesterol, because you see, cholesterol isn’t going to kill you and contrary to conventional belief, it’s not going to make you drop dead of a heart attack if you don’t religiously take statin drugs for the rest of your life.

It’s time to start listening to those doctors who are telling us the truth: evaluating heart disease risk is far more complex than a snap evaluation of a single number like total cholesterol.

Furthermore, it’s time to carefully weigh the ample scientific evidence that cholesterol is actually beneficial, not detrimental, to our health!  Consider the research of Dr. Harlan Krumholz of the Department of Cardiovascular Medicine at Yale University, consistently ignored by the statin pushing crowd, who reported that old people with low cholesterol died twice as often from a heart attack as did old people with high cholesterol.

Besides the fact that “total cholesterol” is a meaningless number in and of itself, taking statin drugs carries huge health risks such as muscle wasting, significant cognitive impairment and cancer.  That’s right, the c-word. In every single study to date conducted on rodents, statins caused cancer. One human trial showed that breast cancer rates of women taking statins were 1500% higher than than of controls (source). In addition, a study showed that women who take statins for 10 or more years increase their risk of breast cancer by nearly 2.5 times (source).
Let’s examine a few other cholesterol myths so the next time you’re sitting in a doctor’s office and the person in the white coat is pushing statins on you, you are armed with evidence supporting your position to just say no.

Cholesterol Myth #1: People with high cholesterol are more likely to have a heart attack.

It is indeed true that men who are young or middle aged have a slightly greater risk for heart attack if their total cholesterol level is over 300.  However, for elderly women and men, high cholesterol is associated with a longer life. In addition, cholesterol levels just below 300 carry no greater risk than very low cholesterol levels.  The suggestion by conventional medicine to take statins if cholesterol is over 180 or 200 is completely arbitrary and harmful over the long term.

Cholesterol Myth #2: Cholesterol and saturated fat in foods like butter, egg yolks and liver clog arteries.

This myth has no basis in fact as arterial plaques contain very little cholesterol or saturated fat.  75% of arterial plaque is made up of unsaturated fat, of which 50% is polyunsaturated. Only the remaining 25% is saturated. Moreover, the greater the concentration of polyunsaturated fat in the plaque, the more likely it is to rupture, a primary cause of heart attacks.  Chris Kresser L. Ac sums it up well:
the notion that saturated fat “clogs arteries” and causes heart attacks is totally false. It is actually polyunsaturated fat — the so-called “heart-healthy fat — which has those effects.

Cholesterol Myth #3: Eating saturated fat and foods like butter cause cholesterol levels to rise and make people more susceptible to heart attacks.

If this is true, why then have heart attack rates risen as people have avoided saturated fats like butter, meat fats and egg yolks?  There is no evidence that saturated fat and cholesterol rich foods contribute to heart disease and doctors that continue to claim this are just plain wrong with at least two major studies confirming this (source).

Cholesterol Myth #4: Cholesterol-lowering drugs save lives.

Statins do not result in any improvement in outcome in recent trials involving thousands of test subjects.  Why risk the devastating side effects of statins like cancer and mental decline when they won’t help anyway?  (source)

Cholesterol Myth #5: Countries that have a high consumption of animal fats and cholesterol have higher rates of heart disease.

The elephant in the room with this myth are countries like France where butter, cream, and pate are eaten with abandon with no corresponding increase in heart disease (source).  According to Dr. John Briffa, top honors graduate of the University College London School of Medicine:
You’ll sometimes hear about the ‘French paradox’, which describes the phenomenon of low heart disease rates in France ‘despite’ a diet rich in saturated fat. Well, it seems that this ‘paradox’ is not limited to France, but is alive and well in several other countries too including the UK, Germany, Austria, Finland, Belgium, Iceland, the Netherlands and Switzerland. In other words, it’s not a paradox at all. It’s only a paradox if one believes saturated fat causes heart disease. The thing is, there’s really no good evidence that it does.
So relax! The next time you’re sitting in the doctor’s office reviewing the results of your latest blood test and the words “high cholesterol” and “statin drugs” are spoken in the same breath, just smile politely and say “no thanks”.

Feel confident in your decision to opt out of the statin madness.

Sarah, The Healthy Home Economist

Modern Diseases
Fat and Cholesterol are Good for You by Uffe Ravnskov, MD, PhD
Ignore the Awkward: How the Cholesterol Myths are Kept Alive by Uffe Ravnskov, MD, PhD
The Cholesterol Myths by Uffe Ravnskov, MD, PhD
The French Paradox is Not a Paradox
Statin drugs shown to be largely ineffective for the majority of people who take them, but why does this fact seem to have passed researchers by?
How to Increase Your Risk of Heart Disease
Picture Credit
- See more at:

Thursday, February 27, 2014

What's Really Behind The Peanut Allergy Epidemic

Reposted from The Thinking Mom's Revolution

At some point in 2010 I saw a simple website, where the margins of the text were too narrow, causing the sentences to run too wide, that claimed that the peanut allergy epidemic we are now experiencing is due to peanut oil being used in vaccines. I am a peanut allergy mom. I am angry and disappointed on a near-daily basis about the hand we’ve been dealt with our son, and I want answers. I knew my child was vaccine injured; I saw the downward spiral happen before my very eyes when he was two months old. However, I didn’t believe the text in front of me. I didn’t think it was true that there was peanut oil in today’s vaccines. I searched for information about peanut oil and vaccines, but everything I read contained the exact words of the outdated site I’d already seen, as if everyone else got their information from the same place, and none of it cited a source. I let it die and moved on.
heatherThe next year a new book was published by Heather Fraser of Ontario, Canada called The Peanut Allergy Epidemic. I read reviews here and there, and people mentioned the peanut oil in vaccines again. I dismissed the book, assuming the entire theory behind it was the peanut oil in our vaccines rumor.

Fast forward to 2014: I was reading about how widely accepted it is in research that injected aluminum was responsible for some major afflictions — IgE production, increased allergenicity, and neurotoxicity. Rogue IgE antibodies are the cornerstone of asthma and anaphylactic food allergies. Aluminum neurotoxicity is the suspected cause of Alzheimer’s and, many believe, autism. If vaccines are point “A” and food allergies are point “D,” studies published in peer-reviewed journals don’t directly connect A to D. Instead, they connect point B, aluminum, to point C, IgE antibodies, and leave it to the reader to connect the outside dots — lest they be subjected to the Andrew Wakefield treatment. I spent days researching these terms and the studies that supported them, and time and time again Google was giving me Ms. Fraser’s book in the search results.
Another startling discovery came from the realization that if you want to know what’s causing an affliction in a large group of human beings, look to how researchers recreate those characteristics in the mice models they study. Peanut-allergic mice are created in the lab by feeding the mice, or forcing them to inhale, peanut protein fused to a bacterial toxin like diphtheria or cholera. It is truly that simple. The more I read, the more links to that book appeared on my screen.

Then I moved on to the relatively new Hib vaccine that has been part of the CDC vaccination schedule for two-month old babies only since 1990. I’d heard that there was something about the molecular structure and weight of the Hib bacterium that was so similar to peanut protein that the body confused the two. Again, all Google signs were pointing to The Peanut Allergy Epidemic. Finally, I stopped reinventing the wheel, went straight to Amazon, and ordered the book.
In short, what follows is what I learned, but I want to emphasize the need to read the book in its entirety. The note section at the back reads like a primer on “All You Ever Needed to Know about Peer-Reviewed Journal Vaccine Ingredient Studies that No One Talks About.”

A lot of people might be surprised to know that there are food oils in injectable vaccines. In the 1930s there was cottonseed oil in vaccines, followed by a short-lived spate of cottonseed oil allergies of about a decade that quietly went away with a change in formula. In the 1960s and 1970s a flu vaccine used peanut oil as an adjuvant to make a smaller amount of influenza antigen elicit a bigger antibody response from the immune system. From 1950-1980 an injectable penicillin was suspended in peanut oil to allow for a slow release of penicillin while the body metabolized the oil. The occasional anaphylactic death from subsequently eating peanuts made headlines.

Unfortunately, highly refined peanut oil does not have to be listed on the labels of foodstuffs or injectable medicines in the United States because it has been granted GRAS status — Generally Recognized as Safe — despite the fact that oil refiners know that it is not possible to remove all allergenic proteins from the oil. A sensitized child might be prescribed a medicine that contains peanut oil, and neither the parent nor doctor would know it, leading to a dangerous situation. However, all of that information is merely an interesting distraction in Heather Fraser’s book; a tangential history of the efficacy of America’s beloved peanut oil that is news to most of us.

no-peanuts-sign1One hundred pages into the book, the mind-boggling bureaucratic roller coaster begins. Four events happened all at once leading up to 1990 so that in 1995 a wave of peanut-allergic kindergarteners was sent to school for the first time.
The events of that perfect storm are:

1. The vitamin K1 shot became part of the general consent for treatment in hospital births in the mid-1980s. The injection was linked to leukemia in 1998, and the formula was changed in 2006. In both the new and the old versions, the popular brands of vitamin K1 contained a hefty dose of aluminum adjuvant to make a “depot” under the skin to slowly release the K1 over at least the next 2 months. The original formula contained castor oil, which is known to cross-sensitize immune systems to peanut oil. The 2006 reformulation of K1 replaced the castor oil with lecithin derived from soybean and egg. Due to the cross-reactivity molecular weights of soybean and peanut, soybean is sensitizing some babies to peanut and tree nut. That depot of aluminum is still in the infant body, churning out an IgE antibody response, at the time the baby receives the two-month vaccines. It is estimated that 4% of injected aluminum remains in the body for an indefinite period of years.
hib vaccine2. The invention of the bacterial Hib vaccine and its subsequent licensing for use in two-month old babies arrived in 1990. Children under the age of two years were not responding to the Hib vaccine’s carbohydrate antigen, which led manufacturers to create the CDC schedule’s first “conjugate vaccine” which covalently bonded the bacterium to a toxic carrier protein that the infants’ bodies would recognize: either tetanus or diphtheria toxin. This new carrier toxin acted as an adjuvant, stimulating an immune response. Two vaccines hit the market in 1988-89 for 15 – 18-month-old babies. By 1990 the age of use had been dropped to two-month-old babies, and an additional two more vaccines were on the market, being administered at the same time as the DTP and polio vaccines. It is now known that the structure and weight of the Hib bacteria proteins are very similar to the structure and weight of the peanut protein, which leads to cross reactivity to peanuts and tree nuts. We are, essentially, creating anaphylactic babies in the same manner researchers create anaphylactic mice: administering a peanut-like protein fused to adjuvant bacterial toxin.

3. By 1995 the countries of the western world were giving five vaccines in one needle for the first time. In the next three years there were 5,000 adverse reports filed in Canada, which is assumed to be only 10% of the actual adverse reactions. The effects of combining five viruses with multiple adjuvants and preservatives in one needle are essentially unstudied, though the Canadian Department of Pediatrics’ sheet on a five-in-one vaccine listed brain inflammation, convulsion, anorexia, infections, anaphylaxis, inconsolable screaming, and death as side effects.
ecbt4. In 1992 the already-crowded CDC vaccination schedule added additional doses of combination vaccines, resulting in load upon load of aluminum and antigens being delivered to the bodies of two-month old babies. Prior to this time the vaccination rates for children four years old and under in the western world were between 55% and 65%. The 1994 National Vaccine Plan aimed for 90% compliance for all infants and spent $500M to achieve it. Vaccinations became a requirement for preschools and daycares for the first time. Canada, Australia, and the U.K. made the same changes at the same time as the United States. Vaccination rates were suddenly at a record high — all well over 90% — on a jam-packed schedule of aluminum-loaded combination vaccines.

In the United States, emergency room records showed that from 1992-1994, 467 people per 100,000 were discharged from the ER after having experienced anaphylaxis. By 1995 that number had almost doubled to 876 per 100,000. By 2008 there were 1,000,000 peanut allergic children under 18 in the US and 2,000,000 adults.

We are overwhelming the immature newborn immune system with this toxic soup. It is not difficult to take Ms. Fraser’s collection of data and extrapolate the effect those reckless changes had on the similar epidemics of autism spectrum disorder, ADHD, asthma, epilepsy, childhood diabetes, and more. This country needs to take a step back and learn from the gigantic elephant in the room, even at the expense of loosening the reins of public health policy and admitting the cost that the vaccination schedule has had in collateral damage.

The most infuriating part of Ms. Fraser’s book is the light she shines into the dark corners of the “search for the cause” of the peanut allergy epidemic. She exposes the game of The Emperor Has No Clothes that has been played between pharmaceutical companies and the governments of the western world for at least the last 85 years. It is only acceptable — and, in fact, of utmost importance — to research a source of any epidemic as long as it is not vaccines, because the fact that vaccines are proven to be safe is unquestionable.

I know from my own research that the non-stop pressure to shout about vaccine safety from the rooftops is levied on the media by the pharmaceutical companies who pay advertising revenue for top-selling drugs, like those for erectile dysfunction or to chemically lower cholesterol. That pressure has birthed the media trend of promoting “blame the mother” research — blame her not only for what she ate while pregnant that caused an anaphylactic child, but for taking a dose of Tylenol while pregnant and causing ADHD in her child, or for catching the flu while pregnant and causing autism in her child.

As Ms. Fraser points out time and time again, no publicly promoted theory can explain the tidal wave of peanut-allergic kindergarteners in 1995 except for the ingredients of vaccines and the schedule they are administered on. Throughout her book she presents a painstakingly researched timeline and builds a convincing case of circumstantial evidence — the kind of facts that juries use to convict criminals every day of the week.

To order Heather Fraser’s book, The Peanut Allergy Epidemic: What’s Causing It and How to Stop It, click here.

~ Robyn Charron

Prior to attending law school, Robyn earned a Bachelor of Science in Biology and worked for two years in laboratories researching genetic disease. When her first child suffered an injury from vaccines at two months old, her conventional parenting went out the window, and she ushered in a world of organic food, supplements, and non-toxic living. She currently lives in Denver where she advocates for allergy awareness and parents’ rights to make medical decisions for their children without government intervention.

Friday, February 21, 2014

CoQ10: The Longevity Factor

Reposted from Life Extension

By Lina Buchanan
Would you like to potentially add 9 years to your life expectancy? That's what research on the nutrient coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) implies is possible.1
CoQ10 is well known for its heart and vascular health benefits.2 By helping the cellular powerhouses known as mitochondria burn fuel more effectively, CoQ10 is able to protect not only the heart but every cell in your body.3
That's why scientists are growing increasingly fascinated with the role of CoQ10 in tissues beyond the cardiovascular system.2 There is evidence for CoQ10's protective effects in the brain and nervous system, in asthma and chronic lung disease, in diabetes and the metabolic syndrome, on ocular health, and even on the aging immune system.
Most excitingly, there's early support for the idea that CoQ10 supplementation can extend the life span of both primitive animals and mammals, laying the groundwork for a similar pro-longevity effect in humans.

CoQ10 Extends Life Span

Healthy Skin
According to the mitochondrial theory of aging, oxidant damage to the mitochondria is at the root of aging itself.4 Simply put, the more oxidative damage to mitochondria, the shorter the life span of the individual.5,6
Therefore, if we can make mitochondria burn energy more cleanly and efficiently, we can decelerate the aging process. That would mean not only longer life, but a healthier one.
CoQ10 is an essential component of the mitochondrial energy transfer system. When CoQ10 levels fall, mitochondrial dysfunction skyrockets, and aging is accelerated.5
However, when CoQ10 is added back to ailing or aging mitochondria, their function rebounds. Studies show that when supplemented with CoQ10, older worms in the species C. elegans experience a slowing down of the aging process and an extended life span.7
Even studies that don't show life span extension demonstrate a return to youthful behaviors and functions in response to CoQ10 supplementation.8
These benefits aren't restricted to primitive invertebrates, however. Research demonstrates that mice supplemented with CoQ10 live longer. In one case, supplemented animals experienced an 11.7% increase in mean life span, and a 24% increase in maximum life span.1 That increase translates into the equivalent of humans gaining over 9 years, based on today's life expectancy of 78.5 years.9
The benefits of CoQ10 supplementation in mice aren't restricted solely to extending the quantity of life, however. Lifelong dietary supplementation with CoQ10 decreased objective measures of aging even in middle-aged animals.10
CoQ10 appears to achieve these exceptional effects through a multi-targeted set of mechanisms.
It is now evident that CoQ10 directly influences the expression of multiple genes involved in aging, especially those regulating inflammation.11-13 This so-called "epigenetic" effect is at the very forefront of scientific attempts to understand how environmental factors such as nutrition influence our genetic load.
Taken all together, CoQ10's antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and epigenetic mechanisms combine to offer remarkable protection for a host of body systems, especially those hit hardest by mitochondrial aging.

CoQ10 Preserves Brain Structure, Slows Neurodegeneration

Mitochondrial dysfunction from chronic oxidation and the resulting chronic inflammation are a root cause of neurodegenerative conditions like Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, Huntington's, and ALS (Lou Gehrig's disease).6,14-18
CoQ10 is attracting ever-increasing attention as scientists look for a way to prevent these diseases and treat their causes, rather than simply treating symptoms, which is the best that current medicine can offer.17,19
Alzheimer's disease is the largest cause of dementia among Americans, estimated to affect more than 5 million people; it is the sixth leading cause of death.20 While many factors contribute to risk for Alzheimer's, age and oxidant stress in the brain are major contributors to this disease.15,16,21 Accumulated oxidant stress leads to production and deposition of an abnormal protein called amyloid β-peptide, which is itself a trigger for more oxidation and inflammation.21
Eventually, brain cells overwhelmed by amyloid β-peptide lose their function and die, producing the loss of memory, cognition, and physical function we associate with the disease.
CoQ10 shows great promise in laboratory and animal studies of Alzheimer's disease. By slowing oxidant damage, CoQ10 is proven to reduce deposition of destructive amyloid β-peptide proteins in brain cells.22 It reduces the amyloid β-peptide-induced oxidation that contributes to the vicious cycle of oxidation-inflammation-oxidation that accelerates the disease process.23 Finally, and perhaps most importantly, CoQ10 added to amyloid β-peptide-afflicted brain cells causes the destructive protein to become destabilized and weakened even after it is formed.24 This unique CoQ10 mechanism has the potential for reversing Alzheimer's disease at the molecular level.
Neurons in the Brain
Animal studies demonstrate reduced oxidative stress and amyloid β-peptide deposition when CoQ10 is added to feed.22,25-27 CoQ10 supplementation in such animals improves cognitive performance and memory both with CoQ10 alone and when vitamin E is added.28,29 These studies provide a useful model of what recovery from Alzheimer's disease might look like in humans.
Human patients with Alzheimer's disease are known to have lower levels of reduced CoQ10 in their spinal fluid, an indication of the intense oxidant stress in their brains.30

CoQ10 and Parkinson's Disease

Parkinson's disease is the second most common aging-related disorder in the world.31 Like Alzheimer's, it is the result of oxidant stress triggering production of an abnormal, inflammatory protein.32-34 In Parkinson's the protein is called alpha-synuclein, which damages neurons in regions of the brain that control motor function as well as cognition.33,34 Symptoms include slowed movements, weakness, cognitive impairment, and eventually dementia.31
CoQ10 is showing real promise in human studies of Parkinson's disease.18 Unlike current treatments, which improve symptoms without changing disease progression, CoQ10 may fundamentally alter and slow the otherwise inevitable decline of patients with Parkinson's.33
For example, animal studies have shown that CoQ10 significantly reduces damage to neurons in the brain areas affected by Parkinson's disease after the animals were exposed to a pesticide that has been associated with Parkinson's development in humans.33,35
CoQ10 at doses of 300 to 1,200 mg/day have been used in clinical research, though up to 2,400 mg/day is well tolerated.36 In studies using the higher doses, improvements on several Parkinson's disease rating scales have been observed.32,37 In one important study, 1,200 mg/day produced substantial slowing of disease progression compared with placebo.37
A 2011 meta-analysis (a large study combining data from smaller trials) concluded that 1,200 mg/day of CoQ10 was well-tolerated by Parkinson's disease patients, and provided significant improvement on numerous measures of disease severity and progression.38
What You Need to Know
CoQ10 supplementation
Combat Mitochondrial Decline with CoQ10
  • Your mitochondria need to burn fuel cleanly and efficiently to assure their own integrity and your own longevity.
  • CoQ10 is an essential coenzyme that, when added to the diet, acts as a fuel additive to optimize mitochondrial performance, extracting the most energy with the least damage.
  • Animals from primitive worms to laboratory mice enjoy dramatic extension of their life spans when supplemented with mitochondrial-protecting CoQ10.
  • Additional benefits from CoQ10's mitochondrial energy-boosting effects include protection from neurodegenerative diseases and mental health disorders, enhanced lung function, and protection from the effects of elevated glucose in diabetes and metabolic syndrome.
  • New findings are adding to the already impressive list of cardiovascular benefits ascribed to CoQ10 supplementation.

CoQ10 Preserves Brain Function, Fights Migraine, Mental Illness

CoQ10 Preserves Brain Function, Fights Migraine, Mental Illness
CoQ10 is essential not only in preventing brain structural deterioration, but in maintaining normal function at all ages. Studies are revealing some startling associations in two areas of brain function in particular: migraine headaches and common mental health problems such as depression and schizophrenia.
Migraine headaches occur in an estimated 8.7 million women and 2.6 million men in the United States producing moderate to severe disability. More than 3 million women and 1 million men are estimated to suffer 1 or more attacks/month.39,40
The exact chain of events leading up to a migraine is unclear, but it may be related to brain energy levels, as indicated by low CoQ10 levels in people with migraines (almost 33% of a population with migraine had levels below the standard in one study).41 Studies of CoQ10 supplementation in children, adolescents, and adults show substantial decreases in the frequency of migraine episodes, number of days with migraine symptoms, headache disability, and frequency of nausea, a common feature of migraines.41-43
CoQ10 is so effective in managing migraine headaches that it is now listed among the 11 most effective "drugs" for preventing migraines by the Canadian Headache Society.44
Major depression, bipolar disorder, and schizophrenia, long considered separate entities, are now recognized as having common roots in mitochondrial dysfunction and elevated brain oxidative stress levels.45,46 People with these conditions have higher markers of oxidant damage and lower cellular antioxidant levels than do healthy controls, and CoQ10 is typically lower than normal.45,47 In one study, 51.4% of depressed patients' CoQ10 levels fell below the lowest values in control subjects.48
CoQ10 deficiency is particularly marked in people whose depression responds poorly to medication, a possible indication that the deficiency needs to be corrected in order for prescription meds to work.48
A major breakthrough in our understanding of the causes of mental illness came in 2011 and 2012, when researchers discovered that oxidative and other related stresses in the brain were capable of creating new molecular configurations that triggered an autoimmune response in the brains of people with depression and schizophrenia.45,49,50
Restoring natural levels of antioxidants such as CoQ10 is therefore an attractive approach in these conditions. One study of depression in older adults with bipolar disorder found a significant reduction in symptom severity during treatment with CoQ10 at 1,200 mg/day.51
The ubiquinol form of CoQ10 is far better absorbed, so a much lower dose, perhaps around 400 mg/day of ubiquinol should provide benefits seen when much higher doses of the more common ubiquinone form of CoQ10 is used.
Finally, some medications in common use against depression, such as amitryptiline, are capable of lowering CoQ10 levels in the blood, further reducing available energy in the brain. Thus, people taking such drugs are especially likely to benefit from CoQ10 supplementation.52

CoQ10 Protects Lung Function

Your lungs face the most immediate threat of oxidant damage because they interact directly with the 21% oxygen in air you breathe.53 It's not surprising, therefore, that the major diseases of the lung, asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), involve a severe imbalance of oxidation and the body's natural preventive measures, including CoQ10.54
Levels of CoQ10 are markedly lower in both asthmatics and patients with COPD.55-57 Conversely, supplementing with CoQ10 offers substantial benefits. In one study, asthmatic patients on chronic steroid treatment to reduce inflammation were able to significantly reduce the amount of steroids they had to give themselves each day.58 And a study of COPD patients showed improvements in exercise performance, tissue oxygenation, and heart rate on CoQ10 supplementation at 90 mg/day.59

CoQ10 Fights Metabolic Syndrome and Diabetes

In both metabolic syndrome and diabetes, tissue levels of oxidant stress are markedly elevated.60,61 Not surprisingly, levels of the antioxidant CoQ10 are reduced in humans and lab animals with these conditions.60,62,63
Low CoQ10 levels are now recognized as being closely correlated with problematic long-term blood sugar control and many of the complications of diabetes, including diabetic neuropathy (nerve damage), nephropathy (kidney damage), and of course endothelial dysfunction and the resulting cardiovascular damage.61,64
Fortunately, supplementation with CoQ10 is a remarkably simple way to restore deficient levels and get better long-term control of blood sugar. Human studies show that adding CoQ10 to the already healthful Mediterranean diet further reduces oxidant stress and fat oxidation in the period immediately following a meal, when your body is especially vulnerable to damage.65
Statin Drugs Drastically Deplete CoQ10
Human Studies
Drugs in the so-called "statin" category are an effective pharmaceutical means of lowering blood lipids, and they may play a role in protecting against Alzheimer's disease.79
But statins, like all prescription medicines, have concerning side effects. One important effect of statin treatment is a reduction in blood levels of CoQ10, which may account for some of the muscle pain and other side effects experienced by many people on these drugs.2
New evidence suggests that low CoQ10 levels in the brain may be related to cognitive dysfunction in animals treated with the statin drug atorvastatin (Lipitor®).79
Those taking a statin drug are strongly urged to ensure adequate supplementation with CoQ10.
This has beneficial effects on long-term blood sugar control. Supplementation with 200 mg/day of CoQ10 (in the ubiquinol form) reduced levels of hemoglobin A1c, a marker of blood sugar control over time, to less than 7%, the upper limit of normal.66,67 In both human and animal studies, the supplemented groups had significant decreases in elevated blood pressure and improvements in endothelial function.61,68,69
Animal studies demonstrate improved nerve conduction velocity, a measure of nerve function, in diabetic animals supplemented with CoQ10.64 Human studies show improvement in endothelial function in diabetics taking 200 mg/day of CoQ10.70 CoQ10 supplements mitigate glucose and oxidant stress-induced damage to kidney tissue in diabetic animal models, restoring kidney function to near-normal levels.71,72

New Developments in CoQ10 and Cardiovascular Health

New Developments in CoQ10 and Cardiovascular Health
It's not only people with the metabolic syndrome and diabetes, however, who can benefit from CoQ10 supplementation with regard to cardiovascular disease. The heart and blood vessels are rich with mitochondria, and that requires highly effective and efficient use of energy in those tissues. That's what led the earliest researchers to study CoQ10 as a way of improving heart and blood vessel health.
In less than a decade, we've seen the emergence of remarkable new findings about CoQ10 and its cardiovascular benefits. Here are some highlights:
CoQ10 supplements improve the function of the heart's dominant left ventricle during the vital diastolic, or relaxation phase. This is critical because the diastolic phase is when the heart receives its own surge of blood flow, and statin drugs impair diastolic function.73
Eight weeks of CoQ10 supplementation at 300 mg/day improved heart muscle function during the systolic, or pumping phase, by enhancing mitochondrial performance and endothelial function.74
The addition of CoQ10 to enalapril, a blood pressure drug, promoted normalization of endothelial function and enhanced blood pressure control in patients with "essential hypertension."75
The combination of CoQ10 with selenium, another important coenzyme with antioxidant powers, cut the death rate from cardiovascular disease by more than half (to 5.9% from 12.6%) in a group of older adults.76
CoQ10 plus aged garlic extract, another supplement known to improve endothelial function and slow atherosclerosis, reduced blood vessel stiffness and slowed arterial calcium accumulation in a group of firefighters.77,78


The enzyme cofactor CoQ10 can help your mitochondria burn more cleanly and efficiently. That reduces the amount of oxidant stress and damage to mitochondria, helping to slow pathologic aging processes.
Reducing mitochondrial damage and enhancing performance with CoQ10 supplementation are well known to support cardiovascular function. Scientists are now discovering that CoQ10 contributes to a longer life, the result of the supplement's augmentation of mitochondrial function in brain structure and function, lung defense mechanisms, and disorders related to poor glycemic control and the metabolic syndrome.
Total body health depends heavily on maintaining mitochondrial integrity. CoQ10 represents an efficient way to optimize mitochondrial output by maintaining coenzyme Q10 blood levels in youthful ranges.
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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38. Liu J, Wang L, Zhan SY, Xia Y. Coenzyme Q10 for Parkinson's disease. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2011 (12):CD008150.
39. Diamond S, Bigal ME, Silberstein S, Loder E, Reed M, Lipton RB. Patterns of diagnosis and acute and preventive treatment for migraine in the United States: results from the American Migraine Prevalence and Prevention study. Headache. 2007 Mar;47(3):355-63.
40. Tepper SJ. A pivotal moment in 50 years of headache history: the first American Migraine Study. Headache. 2008 May;48(5):730-1; discussion 32.
41. Hershey AD, Powers SW, Vockell AL, et al. Coenzyme Q10 deficiency and response to supplementation in pediatric and adolescent migraine. Headache. 2007 Jan;47(1):73-80.
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43. Slater SK, Nelson TD, Kabbouche MA, et al. A randomized, double-blinded, placebo-controlled, crossover, add-on study of CoEnzyme Q10 in the prevention of pediatric and adolescent migraine. Cephalalgia. 2011 Jun;31(8):897-905.
44. Pringsheim T, Davenport W, Mackie G, et al. Canadian Headache Society guideline for migraine prophylaxis. Can J Neurol Sci. 2012 Mar;39(2 Suppl 2):S1-59.
45. Maes M, Galecki P, Chang YS, Berk M. A review on the oxidative and nitrosative stress (O&NS) pathways in major depression and their possible contribution to the (neuro)degenerative processes in that illness. Prog Neuropsychopharmacol Biol Psychiatry. 2011 Apr 29;35(3):676-92.
46. Nierenberg AA, Kansky C, Brennan BP, Shelton RC, Perlis R, Iosifescu DV. Mitochondrial modulators for bipolar disorder: A pathophysiologically informed paradigm for new drug development. Aust N Z J Psychiatry. 2012 Jun 18.
47. Imagawa M. Low erythrocyte coenzyme Q10 level in schizophrenic patients. Jpn J Psychiatry Neurol. 1989 Jun;43(2):143-5.
48. Maes M, Mihaylova I, Kubera M, Uytterhoeven M, Vrydags N, Bosmans E. Lower plasma Coenzyme Q10 in depression: a marker for treatment resistance and chronic fatigue in depression and a risk factor to cardiovascular disorder in that illness. Neuro Endocrinol Lett. 2009;30(4):462-9.
49. Anderson GA, Maes M, Berk M. Schizophrenia is primed for an increased expression of depression through activation of immuno-inflammatory, oxidative and nitrosative stress, and tryptophan catabolite pathways. Prog Neuropsychopharmacol Biol Psychiatry. 2012 Aug 22.
50. Leonard B, Maes M. Mechanistic explanations how cell-mediated immune activation, inflammation and oxidative and nitrosative stress pathways and their sequels and concomitants play a role in the pathophysiology of unipolar depression. Neurosci Biobehav Rev. 2012 Feb;36(2):764-85.
51. Forester BP, Zuo CS, Ravichandran C, et al. Coenzyme Q10 effects on creatine kinase activity and mood in geriatric bipolar depression. J Geriatr Psychiatry Neurol. 2012 Mar;25(1):43-50.
52. Moreno-Fernandez AM, Cordero MD, Garrido-Maraver J, et al. Oral treatment with amitriptyline induces coenzyme Q deficiency and oxidative stress in psychiatric patients. J Psychiatr Res. 2012 Mar;46(3):341-5.
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55. Tanrikulu AC, Abakay A, Evliyaoglu O, Palanci Y. Coenzyme Q10, copper, zinc, and lipid peroxidation levels in serum of patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Biol Trace Elem Res. 2011 Nov;143(2):659-67.
56. Gazdik F, Gvozdjakova A, Nadvornikova R, et al. Decreased levels of coenzyme Q(10) in patients with bronchial asthma. Allergy. 2002 Sep;57(9):811-4.
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58. Gvozdjakova A, Kucharska J, Bartkovjakova M, Gazdikova K, Gazdik FE. Coenzyme Q10 supplementation reduces corticosteroids dosage in patients with bronchial asthma. Biofactors. 2005;25(1-4):235-40.
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62. El-ghoroury EA, Raslan HM, Badawy EA, et al. Malondialdehyde and coenzyme Q10 in platelets and serum in type 2 diabetes mellitus: correlation with glycemic control. Blood Coagul Fibrinolysis. 2009 Jun;20(4):248-51.
63. Gvozdjakova A, Kucharska J, Tkacov M, Singh RB, Hlavata A. Ratio of lipid parameters to coenzyme Q10 could be used as biomarker of the development of early complications of obesity in children. Bratisl Lek Listy. 2012;113(1):21-5.
64. Ayaz M, Tuncer S, Okudan N, Gokbel H. Coenzyme Q(10) and alpha-lipoic acid supplementation in diabetic rats: conduction velocity distributions. Methods Find Exp Clin Pharmacol. 2008 Jun;30(5):367-74.
65. Yubero-Serrano EM, Delgado-Casado N, Delgado-Lista J, et al. Postprandial antioxidant effect of the Mediterranean diet supplemented with coenzyme Q10 in elderly men and women. Age (Dordr). 2011 Dec;33(4):579-90.
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68. Sena CM, Nunes E, Gomes A, et al. Supplementation of coenzyme Q10 and alpha-tocopherol lowers glycated hemoglobin level and lipid peroxidation in pancreas of diabetic rats. Nutr Res. 2008 Feb;28(2):113-21.
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Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Sugar Doubles The Risk Of Cardiac Death

Reposted from Life Extension

by Maylin Rodriguez-Paez, RN

Have scientists been looking at heart disease from the wrong angle? The answer may be yes, according to the results of a new study.

Since the 1980’s, the consumption of sugar has been rising steadily, and it has become a significant source of calories in the United States.

Naturally, many experts agree that Americans are eating way more sugar than they should.

Researchers wanted to evaluate if this increase in sugar intake was linked to cardiovascular death. And what they found was pretty alarming.

Study Links Sugar with the Risk of Cardiac Death

Data were taken from nutritional surveys and analyzed after a 14-year period. Researchers looked at the amount of added sugar consumed in the American diet.

They found that most Americans had been consuming about 10% or more of their calories from added sugar, and 10% of the population had been consuming as much as 25%.

Those who consumed 17–21% of their calories from added sugar had a 38% increased risk of cardiovascular death compared to people who only ate 8% of their calories from added sugar. People who ate more than 21% of their daily calories from added sugar doubled their risk of cardiac death.1

Sugar Contributes to Plaque Build-Up

The results of this study weren't really that surprising to us. For years, we’ve been warning people about the dangers of excess sugar.

Cholesterol gets all of the attention, but sugar plays a key role in heart disease. It damages blood vessels and contributes to plaque build-up.

So if you want a healthy heart, you need to cut back on your sugar intake.

Watch Your Sugar Intake

Sugar creeps up in the most unlikely of foods. And it can really add up.

The natural sugars found in whole fruits are okay, but processed foods are notorious for containing added sugar.

Always check your food labels. This includes yogurt, health bars, salad dressings, condiments, and even organic cereals.

For optimal health, it’s best to avoid all added sugars.

Check your Fasting Blood Sugar Level

Check your fasting blood sugar level. Many people are under the impression they don’t have to worry about it unless they’re diabetic, but nothing could be further from the truth.

More than 80% of American adults have fasting glucose levels over 85 mg/dL.2 A fasting blood sugar level above 85 mg/dL has been shown to increase the risk of heart attack.3

Maintain a Healthy Blood Sugar Level

If your blood sugar is not at an optimal range, take measures to support it. Exercising, eating a low glycemic diet, and taking certain nutrients can help to maintain a healthy level.

Please take special note of these nutrients, which have demonstrated significant blood sugar lowering effects:

  1. White mulberry leaf extract4, 5
  2. Sorghum bran extract6, 7
  3. Green coffee bean extract8


  1. JAMA Intern Med. 2014 Feb 3.
  2. Am J Med. 2008 Jun;121(6):519-24.
  3. Diabetes Care. 1999 Jan;22(1):45-9.
  4. J Clin Biochem Nutr. 2010 Sep;47(2):155-61.
  5. J Agric Food Chem.2007 Jul 11;55(14):5869-74.
  6. Nutr Metab (Lond). 2012; 9: 106.
  7. Nutr Res Pract. 2012 August; 6(4): 322–327.
  8. Nagendran MV. Effect of Green Coffee Bean Extract (GCE), High in Chlorogenic Acids, on Glucose Metabolism. Poster presentation number: 45-LB-P. Obesity 2011, the 29th Annual Scientific Meeting of the Obesity Society. Orlando, Florida. October 1-5, 2011.

Food Allergies - Is There A Natural Cure?

Reposted from Food Matters

Written by Phillip Day

Allergies occur when the immune system produces antibodies against substances in the environment (allergens) that are usually harmless. These substances can include pollens, dust, foods, cosmetics, etc. The body produces antibodies to neutralize the foreign substance, which triggers the release of histamine, which produces what we see as allergies or asthma. As allergies are a result of the histamine inflammatory system we need to first address the body's hydration levels and intake of adequate whole salts. In his insightful book "Water and Salt" Dr. F. Batmanghelidj proclaims the following:

“You can naturally prevent allergies and asthma by drinking more water. When you understand the physiology of the human body and the role of histamine in its water regulation and drought management, you realize that chronic dehydration in a vast majority of people is the primary cause of allergies and asthma. Increased water intake—on a forced, regular basis—should be adopted as a preventive measure as well as the treatment of choice.

In those who have had attacks of asthma or allergic reactions to different pollens foods, more strict attention to daily water intake should become a pre-emptive measure. These people will also have other indicators of dehydration they need to recognize and treat accordingly before a crisis attack of asthma endangers their lives and exposes them to possible, premature death. Don’t forget, the chemical pathways dealing with dehydration have no ‘brain’; they rush forward like a cascade. They are actually called ‘chemical cascades’. These dehydration-induced chemical cascades kill many thousands of asthmatics a year. They are easily ‘turned off’ by water and salt, two strong, natural antihistamines.”

Common food intolerances, such as those for wheat (gluten), milk (casein), chocolate, eggs, oranges and other salicylates may disrupt hormone levels, resulting in mental symptoms that can range from depression to schizophrenia and the classic ‘straitjacket’ problems.

How allergies can lead to mental illness, if untreated

Many of these disorders occurring later in life, described as mental illnesses, may begin early in childhood and show up as eczema, infantile colic, rashes, fits and temper tantrums, excessive mucus formations, frequent rapid colds, hyperactivity, speech difficulties, anxiety, seasonal allergies and coeliac disease (malabsorption of food). All these initially should be regarded as dehydration issues. In the book "Health Wars", I examine the problems brought on by infants force-fed cow’s milk during their first two years’ of life. This is a vulnerable period for a small child, whose immune system usually has not fully developed until the third year. Assaulting the child with multiple vaccinations, foreign and often hostile proteins, such as those found in wheat and cow’s milk, can lead to all sorts of problems such as autism and type 1 diabetes, especially when the child has not been adequately breast-fed to ensure the full spectrum of immune factors are taken to begin with.

Once the immune system is formed, there may be imperfections in how the system performs when assaulted with particles the body identifies as toxins. Damage and scarring to the intestinal wall by gluten/gliaden in wheat, barley, rye and oats, for instance, destroys the finger-like villi which absorb nutrients, leading to coeliac disease, where the food can pass unprocessed through the small intestine. Leaky gut syndrome, where undigested food particles permeate the damaged intestinal wall and enter the bloodstream, is typified by systemic poisoning and a chronic-fatigue reaction of lethargy, listlessness and depression.

Experimental double-blind studies and control trials conclusively demonstrate that wheat, milk, cane sugar, eggs (often the whites), tobacco and food additives are the chief culprits. In one control study, 96 patients diagnosed as suffering from alcohol dependence, major depressive disorders and schizophrenia were compared with 62 control subjects selected from adult hospital staff members for possible food/chemical intolerances. Those suffering as ‘depressives’ were found to be the highest suffering from allergies: 80% were found to be allergic to barley and 100% were allergic to egg white. Over 50% of the alcoholics were found to be allergic to egg white, milk, rye and barley. Of the schizophrenic group, 80% were found to be allergic to both milk and eggs. Only 9% of the control group were found to suffer from any allergies. Dr Batmanghelidj states that the body’s predisposition to react in these ways may be due to the specific ways it behaves during drought-management.

Schizophrenics, routinely treated with drugs, were randomly assigned milk- and gluten-free diets while on the locked ward. They were discharged nearly twice as rapidly as control patients assigned a high-cereal diet. Wheat gluten secretly added to the cereal-free diet undid this effect, showing that wheat gluten was a player in the behavior of these schizophrenic patients.

Eliminating allergens from your diet

Removing problem foods and then reintroducing them one by one under controlled conditions to see if the problems reoccur is known as elimination/challenge testing. This should always be done under clinical supervision, especially when side-effects may be quite severe, such as fits, asthma, anaphylactic shock, severe depression and violent, psychotic episodes.

The anti-histamine effect

In the book "The Mind Game", I examine the effects of histadelia, or excess histamine, in the body, and its association to mental illness. It is interesting to note that many psychiatric medications are very similar in their chemical profiles to antihistamines, and indeed are designed to suppress brain histamine receptors. Tricyclic and antidepressant drugs, such as imipramine (Tofranil) and amitriptyline, are in this group. Other drugs, such as chlorpromazine and promazine, are designed to inhibit histamine production and promazine is used to treat allergies. This seems to confirm the role of histamine excess in related emotional disorders and therefore Batmanghelidj, Pfeiffer, Holford and Hoffer encourage physicians to adapt their patients’ diets before resorting to potentially debilitating medication. Carl Pfeiffer has also devoted much of his professional research time to examining B6 (pyridoxine), zinc and manganese deficiencies, and their role in restoring his patients to health, quoting:

“Several vitamins are noted for their effectiveness in reducing allergic symptoms. Vitamins C and B6 are probably the most effective. Dr William Philpott has used both of these vitamins intravenously to turn off allergic symptoms provoked by testing for allergies. The patients on adequate vitamin C will have fewer allergic symptoms. B6 should be given to the point of nightly dream recall and the minerals calcium and potassium should be plentiful in the diet. Zinc and manganese are also needed by the allergic patient. Elimination of the offending foods may be needed for several months. For multiple food allergies, in which this approach would severely limit the diet, a four-day rotation diet in which each food is eaten only once every four days should be tried. If this approach is unsuccessful, intradermal allergy testing to determine the degree of allergy and the neutralising dose of each allergen is recommended.”

Most patients suffering from food allergies also have pyroluria, where excessive pyrrole chemicals are found in the urine, binding vitamin B6 and zinc (see Pyroluria). Since coeliac damage to the intestinal wall may result in malabsorption of nutrients into the body, while often allowing undigested food proteins into the blood creating allergy, healing of the intestinal system is vital to a restoration of the patient to full nutritional homeostasis.

What you can do today

As a guide your intake should be half of your bodyweight in ounces. i.e. a 140 lb woman should drink 70 oz of water a day (8-10 glasses). Salt used should be organic, unrefined Himalayan, Celtic or sea salt; half a teaspoon per 10 glasses of water per day. Those having trouble sleeping may put a small pinch of salt on their tongue and allow to melt after turning in. This is also a good idea after drinking two glasses of water upon rising. Sensors on the tongue detect salt intake and help suspend the body’s production of histamine.


Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Water Fluoridation: A U.S. Public Health Disaster

Reposted from Dr. Brownstein

In 2014, Israel will end the process of fluoridating water.  Israel will join most of the other wealthy Western countries in not adding fluoride to the public water supply. In fact, over 97% of the population of Europe lives in a non-fluoridated area. 

Why is Israel stopping the process of fluoridation of the water supply?  The answer is simple:  The Israeli health ministry realizes that there is no data that adding fluoride to the water supply has any health benefit and they understand that water fluoridation is harmful.

In response to the Israeli decision to end water fluoridation, Paul Connett, PhD, an expert on fluoride wrote, “Zealous fluoridation promoters try to convince the American public that ‘everyone drinks fluoridated water.’  But the opposite is true.  An overwhelming number of countries do not fluoridate.  In fact, over half the people in the world drinking fluoridated water live in the U.S. We are the odd ones out.” Fluoridation is an outdated, unscientific, failed public health blunder.”(1)

Over 60 years ago, in the U.S., water fluoridation was promoted in order to decrease the number of tooth cavities.  However, even 60 years ago, there were no studies proving that fluoridation of water would result in a decrease in cavities.  Now, 60 years later, there still are no studies showing that there is any significant tooth benefit from water fluoridation.  Data from the World Health Organization show that there is no difference in cavity rate between countries that do and do not fluoridate their water. 

However, there are numerous studies showing the dangers of water fluoridation including an increased risk of osteosarcoma, arthritis, bone fractures, lowered IQ, cardiovascular disease, as well as tooth and skeletal fluorosis.  Fluoride poisons hundreds of enzymes in the body. 

Studying the history of water fluoridation should lead any rational, thinking person to conclude that fluoridation of the water supply doesn’t make either scientific sense or common sense. 

What can you do? If your city supplies fluoridated water, it is best to filter it out.  I suggest contacting Tom Lee who put a water filtration system that removes fluoride in my house and one in my office.  Tom has been in the water business for over 40 years.  You can contact Tom at:  248.318.1554. 

More information about fluoride can be found in my book, Iodine:  Why You Need It, Why You Can’t Live Without It, 5th Edition.

Note: I have no financial dealings with Tom Lee. 

(1)  Accessed 2.10.14

Monday, February 10, 2014

Six Easy Ways To Aviod GMOs

Reposted from Food Matters

By Jonathan Benson (NaturalNews)

Awareness about the presence of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) in the food supply is at an all-time high throughout America, thanks in large part to the Proposition 37 ballot initiative in California. But many people are now asking the question, "If GMOs aren't labeled, how can I know whether or not the foods I buy contain them?" To help you make the best effort at avoiding GMOs while shopping at the grocery store, here are six recommendations on what to look for and what to avoid.

1. Corn, Soy, Cottonseed, Canola 

Avoid purchasing foods that contain non-organic soy, corn, cottonseed or canola ingredients. Practically every processed food found in the "middle aisle" section of the grocery store contains some form of soy, corn, cottonseed, or canola, all crops of which are typically GMO if not certified organic. Everything from cookies and crackers to cereals and snack food items contain them, which means you will want to avoid them like the plague.

Common ingredients to specifically watch out for include some of the more obvious ones like high-fructose corn syrup, soybean oil, and canola oil. But several others you will want to be aware of include soy lecithin, an emulsifier added to all sorts of foods, including "health" foods, as well as soy protein, textured vegetable protein, mixed tocopherols (vitamin E), and food starch. Unless certified organic, all of these ingredients are likely GMO.

2. PLU Codes On Fruit & Veg 

If PLU code on fruits, vegetables starts with an "8," avoid such produce. When shopping for fruits and vegetables, your first choice will want to be those labeled with a five-digit PLU that begins with a "9," which indicates that it is certified organic. Produce items containing a four-digit PLU are considered "conventional," which means they are not technically GMO, but may still contain pesticides and other toxic residues. The Environmental Working Group (EWG) has created a helpful shopping guide for picking out safe produce.

Produce items you will want to specifically and always avoid are those bearing a five-digit PLU beginning with the number "8," as these are GMOs. The vast majority of non-organic papaya, as well as several varieties of non-organic zucchini and squash are also of GM origin, so you will want to specifically purchase organic varieties of these foods as well. Genetic manipulators are also now working on a GM apple that does not turn brown, so watch out for any apple that stays unnaturally white when sliced or bruised.

3. Sinister Sugars

Unless added sugar is specifically identified as "cane," it likely comes from GM sugar beets. At least 90 percent of the sugar beet crop grown in the U.S. is of GM origin, which means if any food product contains "sugar" or some other sugar derivative like glucose or sucrose, it is more than likely a GMO. Always look for "cane sugar," or preferably "evaporated cane juice," in order to avoid GM sugar. Raw agave nectar, pure stevia extract, and xylitol are also safe, non-GMO sugar and sugar substitutes.

4. Artificial Sweeteners 

If it contains artificial sweetener, it likely contains GMOs. The popular artificial sugar substitute aspartame, which goes by the trade names Equal, NutraSweet and AminoSweet, is produced using GM bacterial strains of E. coli, which means it, too, is a GMO. Anything containing aspartame is a no-no when it comes to food.

5. Ambiguous Additives

Watch out for ambiguous additives like xanthan gum, citric acid, maltodextrin, and other common GMO offenders. Many common food texturizing agents, flavor enhancers, thickeners, sweeteners, and fortifiers are also derived from GMOs. Some of the more common offenders include ingredients like xanthan gum, citric acid, maltodextrin, lactic acid, dextrose, caramel color, baking powder, malt syrup, modified food starch, mono and diglycerides, sorbitol, stearic acid, and triglycerides. The Institute for Responsible Technology (IRT) has created a helpful list of "invisible GM ingredients" that you can reference while shopping.

"We are poisoning ourselves with highly processed, nutrient deficient foods." - Dr Ian Brighthope (Food Matters Film)

6. Dairy Products

Avoid any dairy products that are non-organic, or that do not contain a "No rBGH" label. Unless a dairy product is specifically labeled as being certified organic, or as not containing the artificial growth hormone rBGH, which is sometimes labeled as rBST, it likely contains GMOs. Short for recombinant bovine growth hormone, rBGH is created using GMO E. coli just like aspartame, and is used in conventional cattle unless otherwise labeled.

This means that all non-organic yogurt, cheese, butter, milk, and ice cream that does not specifically bear a "No rBGH" label of some sort is likely made with GMOs. Non-organic dairy cows are also likely fed GM feed, which means your best bet is to stick only with certified organic or non-GMO dairy products at all times.

The Non-GMO Project has also developed a certification program by which food manufacturers can uniformly label food products not made with GMOs. Many food products now bear the Non-GMO Project "Verified" label, which will help give you peace of mind that the food you are buying is clean, safe, and free of GMOs.

You might also want to download the FREE 2012 Shopper's Guide to Pesticides, so that you can take it with you when you go shopping. It highlights the dirty dozen fruit and vegetables that are laden with pesticides and should be avoided unless they are organic, and the clean 15 that are OK to not buy organic if you don't have access to them, as their pesticide levels are a lot lower.


Saturday, February 8, 2014

Excess Sugar May Double Heart Disease Risk, Study Finds

Reposted from Bloomberg

High sugar consumption may double the chance of dying from heart disease, according to a study that adds to evidence that high levels of the sweetener in processed foods and drink is bad for a person’s health.
People whose sugar intake is about a quarter or more of their total daily calories had twice the risk of dying from heart disease than those who whose intake was 7 percent, according to the research today in JAMA Internal Medicine. For those whose intake of added sugar was about 19 percent, their risk of dying from heart disease was about 38 percent higher.
Today’s study is the first to link on a national level the amount of sugar American adults eat to their risk of dying from heart disease after taking into account weight, age, health, exercise and diet, said lead study author Quanhe Yang, an epidemiologist at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Research has already linked sugar consumption to diabetes, weight gain and obesity.
“Too much sugar can make you fat; it can also make you sick, sick from diseases like cardiovascular disease, which is the No. 1 killer in America,” said Laura Schmidt, a school of medicine professor at the University of California at San Francisco, in a telephone interview. “Small amounts of sugar are fine. It’s consuming massive amounts of sugar that’s a growing problem in America.”
The study also found that regular consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages, seven servings or more each week, was linked to an increased risk of dying from heart disease.

600,000 Deaths

Heart disease, which can cause heart attack, chest pain and heart failure, is the leading cause of death worldwide for both men and women and kills more than 600,000 Americans each year, according to the Atlanta-based CDC.
There is no specific national guideline for sugar consumption. The Institute of Medicine recommends sugar be less than 25 percent of total calories, the World Health Organization recommends less than 10 percent, while the American Heart Association suggests limiting sugar to less than 150 calories a day for men and less than 100 calories a day for women, the authors wrote.
‘The majority of us are consuming more added sugar than the recommendations,’’ Yang said in a telephone interview.
About 37 percent of added sugar in U.S. diets comes from sugar-sweetened beverages, while the rest comes from grain-based desserts, fruit drinks, dairy desserts and candy, the authors said. Sugar from fresh fruits and vegetables isn’t considered added sugar.
Better food labels would help people identify their sugar intake, said Schmidt, who wrote an editorial accompanying the study.

Sugar Effects

Scientists don’t have a clear understanding why sugar may raise the risk of dying from heart disease, Yang said. Sugar may increase blood pressure and weight gain, both risk factors for heart disease, or it may raise bad cholesterol and triglycerides and lower good cholesterol. Sugar may also increase insulin resistance, a factor in diabetes, or increase fat accumulation in the liver, he said.
Researchers in the study looked at data from several National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys, which provides nationally representative information on U.S. adults.
They found that U.S. adults consumed about 14.9 percent of daily calories from added sugar in 2005-2010, down from 16.8 percent in 1999-2004. For most U.S. adults, added sugar made up 10 percent or more of their daily calories during 2005-2010 and for 10 percent of people, sugar made up 25 percent or more of their daily calories.
Today’s findings support recommendations to limit intake of sugar-added foods and drinks, Yang said.
“We are in the midst of a paradigm shift in research on the health effects of sugar, one fueled by extremely high rates of added sugar overconsumption in the American public,” Schmidt said in an editorial accompanying the study.
To contact the reporter on this story: Nicole Ostrow in New York at

Monday, February 3, 2014

Is Sunscreen Really That Bad For You

Reposted from Hungry for Change

By Kris Carr

I love summer. Bare feet. Swimming holes. Veggie gardening. And the soul-warming sun. In my earlier days, I had a dangerous love affair with those radiant rays. Sunscreen? Yeah, right. Nothing was going to stand between me, my baby oil, a Body Glove surfer bikini and a golden tan (or rather, a lobster-red sunburn!).
Today, I’m much wiser, but not just about the importance of wearing sunscreen. I’m also aware that we all need to be savvy consumers when choosing a non-toxic brand of sunscreen.
When it comes to sun exposure and protection, there are a lot of questions to answer. How much sun-basking is too much? Are there benefits to not wearing sunscreen sometimes? What kind of protection does sunscreen provide? How do I choose the safest and most effective brand? And what ingredients should I avoid? Today I answer these questions and more.

What Are The Pros and Cons Of Sun Exposure?

Pro: Vitamin D
Vitamin D is an essential hormone for healthy bones, immune function and blood cell formation. Luckily, your body produces vitamin D every time you step into the sunlight. Easy, right? Just keep in mind that you don’t need much unprotected sun exposure to meet your needs. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), 5-15 minutes of unprotected sun exposure a few times a week is all that’s required to maintain healthy vitamin D levels.
Cons: Skin Damage & Skin Cancer
Ultraviolet A (UVA) and ultraviolet B (UVB) are the two types of sun rays that travel through the earth’s atmosphere and shine directly on your pretty skin. We just learned that a little unprotected fun in the sun is good for you, but what about longer stretches of time? UVA and UVB rays are responsible for the golden tan so many people try to attain each year. You might think that this sun-kissed tone is healthy. Think again.
When your skin darkens, it’s actually a warning sign that your body is trying to prevent further DNA damage. This is just one example of the ways UVA and UVB impact your health. Let’s explore the difference between the two, so that we know why it’s important to protect our skin from both.
UVA rays penetrate beneath the top layer of your skin. They’re mostly to blame for wrinkles, leathery skin, sagging and sun spots. These stealth ninjas can bust through clouds on a gloomy day, seep through your car windows, and they can even sneak through some clothing. Although UVA rays are less likely to give you a sunburn, they’re still linked to increasing your risk of skin cancer because they can damage your basal and squamous skin cells.
UVB rays impact the top layer of your skin. They’re the main contributor to skin cancer and your worst enemy when it comes to sunburns. UVB rays are strongest between 10am and 4pm, especially during the summer months. Clearly UVA and UVB rays are nothing to take lightly.

How Well Does Sunscreen Protect Your Skin?

If you’re relying on that bottle of sunscreen to protect you from all the risks of sun exposure, you’re not seeing the big picture. Sun protection is two-fold. Safe sunscreen plus safe sun habits. Sunscreen isn’t a magic bullet and when you throw human error into the mix, its effectiveness gets even more dicey.
It’s still very important, but slathering some on once a day doesn’t give you a free pass.

What Do The Letters and Numbers Mean On Sunscreen Bottles?

Sun Protection Factor (SPF)
SPF only protects you from sunburn (UVB rays). When you see the SPF number on a bottle, think of it as a measure of time. The math is pretty simple. If your skin would typically burn after 10 minutes in the sun, a sunscreen with SPF 15 should allow you to stay in the sun 15 times longer (150 minutes) before your skin would start to burn. But that number doesn’t take your activities into account. Sweating, swimming and other physical exercise can lower the effectiveness of your sunscreen’s SPF, which means you may need to apply it more often.

UVA & UVB Protection

Your sunscreen may be protecting you from sunburn by blocking UVB rays (if you’re re-applying it often enough and using a sufficient amount), but you’re still vulnerable to skin damage if you’re not protected from UVA rays as well. Although the US has added UVA protection to many sunscreens, we’re still behind countries in Europe in terms of the level of protection. Don’t get me wrong — some UVA protection is better than none, but European sunscreens provide much stronger coverage. So unless you know a Parisian sunscreen smuggler, it’s a good idea to adjust your sun-loving habits (including what lotions to buy).

How To Select A Safer Sunscreen

When choosing any personal care product, be your own health advocate. There are chemicals in the products on your drugstore’s shelves that have been linked with cancer, birth defects and a variety of other health issues. Sunscreen is not exempt.
For starters, here are a few red flags to look out for when scanning sunscreen labels:
  • Vitamin A (retinyl palmitate or “retinol”): Linked to increased cancer cell growth.
  • Oxybenzone: Hormone disrupter—experts caution against using it on children.
  • Powder or spray mineral-based sunscreens (usually on ingredient label as zinc oxide and titanium dioxide): These ingredients are typically safe in lotion form, but can cause internal damage if inhaled.
The EWG Guide to Sunscreens 2013 is chock full of research and product information. Check it out to get the scoop on more than 1,800 products including sunscreens, lip balms with SPF, moisturizers and makeup.
Access the guide here.
And here are some of EWG’s top-rated sun care products in the beach and sport sunscreens category, for adults and kids:
  • Green Screen D Organic Sunscreen, Original, SPF 35
  • Kiss My Face Natural Mineral Sunscreen with Hydresia, SPF 40
  • Aubrey Organics Natural Sun Sunscreen, Green Tea, SPF 30+
  • Aubrey Organics Natural Sun Sport Stick Sunscreen, SPF 30+
  • Releve’ Organic Skincare by Emerald Essentials Sun-Lite Sunscreen, SPF 20
  • Badger Baby Sunscreen Cream, SPF 30
  • Seventh Generation Wee Generation Baby Sunscreen, SPF 30

5 Tips To Have A Healthy Relationship With The Sun

Now that you’re a sun aficionado, here are five steps to creating a comprehensive sun protection plan without sacrificing the benefits and joy those radical rays offer us each day.
1. Get your D. Spend 5-15 minutes in the sun (sans sunscreen) a few times per week to meet your vitamin D needs.
2. Buy safer sunscreen.
Check labels for toxic chemicals and use EWG’s guide to choose the best sunscreen for you. Look for broad spectrum (UVA/UVB) coverage and a SPF of at least 15 and no more than 50.
3. Use sunscreen responsibly. Apply the recommended amount (usually about 1 shot glass) 30 minutes before sun exposure. Reapply according to the SPF or even more often if you are sweating or swimming.
4. Cover up! The best protection from the sun is complete protection. Hats, clothing, a shady tree or an umbrella are some of the easiest ways to help prevent sun damage.
5. Always be prepared. Carry sun protection and sunscreen with you at all times. You never know when you or your children will need it.

Now, go have a blast this summer — just be smart about it!