Thursday, February 25, 2016

Why Skim Milk Will Make You Fat and give you Heart Disease

Reposted from The Healthy Home Economist

Joke: How do you dramatically increase sales of a new or unpopular food product to the American public?
Answer: Call it a health food!

This joke, while funny, is also very sad as it illustrates with humor what common sense, logic, observation, and facts cannot for the vast majority of Westerners. Time and time again, Americans are completely duped by the clever marketing of a food product, falling all over themselves to buy it just because it has been touted in the media and by their (equally duped) doctors as a food that will improve their health.

Don’t believe it? How about margarine? Americans, in the span of just a few short years after World War II, all but completely shunned butter and this behavior pattern continued for decades because saturated fat was supposedly the demon of heart disease. See my blog which explains the truth about butter. Americans are finally waking up to the fact that butter is a wonderful, truly natural healthfood and it is margarine that ironically causes heart disease!

What about soy? This is another supposed “health food” that has been proven to do nothing but cause an epidemic of hypothyroidism is the Western world (you know the symptoms: overweight, losing your hair, depressed, tired all the time). Soy in Asia, as it has been consumed for thousands of years, is always fermented for long periods of time before it can be safely consumed – and even then – in very small quantities! The modern processing of soy which involves grinding up the leftover soy protein, the waste product in the production of soy oil, and putting it in all manner of food products which line our grocery store shelves makes for a dangerous and health robbing line of consumer goods.

I also blogged recently about the latest healthfood scam: agave nectar. Here again is an example of a new food that was marketed using the “health food” label. This approach to selling to the American people is obviously working as these products are readily available in most health food stores despite the fact that this product has a more deadly concentration of fructose than the high fructose corn syrup in soda!

Now, On to Skim Milk!

Hopefully, you are now convinced that labeling an item as a “health food” is a frequently used approach for selling something to the American public. Skim milk falls into this same category.
Prior to World War II, Americans didn’t ever drink skim or lowfat milk. Drinking such a product to stay “thin and healthy” would have been laughable. Americans would only drink whole milk. In fact, the larger the creamline on their milk, the higher quality the milk, and the more likely the consumer was to buy it. Milk wasn’t homogenized in those days, so a consumer could easily see the distinct creamline on the milk to determine quality.

Cream has been considered a true health food for centuries. In Ancient Greece, Olympic athletes drank a bowlful of cream to give them strength and endurance before competition. Why? Because cream steadies blood sugar for an extended period of time. No ups and downs in insulin when your diet has lots of wonderful saturated fat in it. It is only when you eat lowfat that blood sugar issues such as diabetes and hypoglycemia tend to arise.

So, how did skim milk come to be recognized as a healthfood in America? It all ties back to the demonization of saturated fats that began shortly after World War II. Americans started to abandon butter and cream in droves about this time because studies had apparently shown that saturated fat was linked to the growing number of heart disease cases in America. Never mind that atherosclerosis (clogged arteries) was virtually unknown prior to the mid 1920’s when Americans drowned everything in cream and butter. Logic and observation clearly indicated that saturated fat could not possibly be the cause of heart disease – it was obviously something new that had been introduced into the American diet. Of course, this “something” is partially hydrogenated fats which were introduced around 1921 (Enter the first transfat … Crisco. Bingo! First documented heart attack from artherosclerosis in 1927, and it rapidly got worse from there). These factory fats are primarily responsible for the epidemic of heart disease yet saturated fats took the fall anyway.

With Americans abandoning whole milk due to its high saturated fat content, skim milk was touted as the new heart healthy food. Americans bought the scam hook, line, and sinker. Skim milk was the new king of the dairy aisle. This behavior pattern has continued for decades despite the average American getting fatter and fatter and the cases of heart disease showing no signs of abating.
In the 1990’s with the beginnings of the childhood obesity epidemic, doctors even started to encourage parents to switch their children to skim or lowfat milk around age 2. This foolish recommendation has done nothing but make kids fatter (source).

How does drinking skim milk make kids (and adults) fatter? This apparent paradox occurs when you reduce the saturated fat in a person’s diet and he/she turns to carbs (grains and sugars primarily) to fill in the gap. It is the grains and sugars that truly make you fat, not saturated fat. I’ve said before on this blog that the more butter and cream I eat, the easier it is to maintain my weight. MUCH easier. The same goes for all of us. If you drink skim milk, you will be missing out on the satiating, blood sugar and insulin steadying affects of saturated fat, so your body will automatically give you sugar and carb (grains) cravings to make up for it. The body is able to MAKE saturated fat out of sugars, hence the sugar cravings that are impossible to control when you eat a lowfat diet that includes skim milk.

Another big secret is that Big Dairy adds skim milk powder to skim milk. Here’s an excerpt from “Dirty Secrets of the Food Processing Industry” from the Weston A. Price Website:
A note on the production of skim milk powder: liquid milk is forced through a tiny hole at high pressure, and then blown out into the air. This causes a lot of nitrates to form and the cholesterol in the milk is oxidized. Those of you who are familiar with my work know that cholesterol is your best friend; you don’t have to worry about natural cholesterol in your food; however, you do not want to eat oxidized cholesterol. Oxidized cholesterol contributes to the buildup of plaque in the arteries, to atherosclerosis. So when you drink reduced-fat milk thinking that it will help you avoid heart disease, you are actually consuming oxidized cholesterol, which initiates the process of heart disease.
One parting fact: pig farmers love feeding skim milk to their pigs. Why? It makes them REALLY fat! Still want to drink your skim milk? I hope not.

Try it! Increase your consumption of butter, whole milk yogurt and whole milk cheese for a few days and watch your sugar cravings rapidly diminish!

Still confused about fat? Please see my Resources page for where to buy healthy fats and oils.

Sarah, The Healthy Home Economist

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Investigation Reveals First Commercialized GMO Maize Was Toxic to Farm Animals

Reposted from Dr. Mercola

By Dr. Mercola
Genetically engineered (GE) food comes from crops in which genes from one species have been integrated into another species — even between species in which this is biologically impossible in nature. The end result is a gene sequence that would never have occurred naturally.
There are two main types of GE crops:
  1. Herbicide-tolerant crops: Plants engineered to withstand heavy herbicide spraying without sustaining damage, such as Roundup Ready crops
  2. Pesticide-producing crops: So-called Bt plants are engineered to produce their own internal pesticide, so that when a bug takes a bite of the plant, it dies  
Trying to control genetic changes via artificial modification is a dangerous game. An organism's genome is not static but fluid, and its biological functions are interconnected with its environment and vice versa.
Contrary to what the industry would like you to believe, the process of genetic engineering is imprecise at best, and is riddled with unintended and often unforeseeable consequences.
Of course that is about to change with the new technology, CRISPR-Cas9 that I reviewed last month. Once this technology is implemented, we will need to pay very careful attention to what the researchers are planning.

Genetic Engineering Is Riddled With Unintended Consequences

Viruses are typically used to genetically engineer the genes into a new species. These are known as viral transgenes, and there’s a profound lack of understanding of how this process actually works and what the ultimate ramifications are.
Compared to natural genetic modification (vertical gene transfer), artificial genetic modification is inherently hazardous because it lacks the precision of the natural process, enabling genes to be transferred between species that would never have been otherwise exchanged.
Artificial genetic modification uses horizontal gene transfer, which involves injecting a gene from one species into a completely different and naturally incompatible species, yielding unexpected and often unpredictable results — some of which may pose a hazard to animal and human health.

Approval Does Not Mean GE Crops Have a Proven Safety Record

In 1995, Novartis (which later became Syngenta) received approval to cultivate the GE maize known as Bt1761 in the U.S. It was the first Bt corn commercialized for animal feed. Due to controversies, it never gained much market success and the registration was allowed to lapse in 2001.2
In Europe, it was officially withdrawn from the market in 2007. Last month, Professor Gilles-Eric Séralini published a feeding study on this particular Bt corn, showing it was in fact toxic to cows over the long-term.
Prior to its introduction, Novartis had conducted just one feeding test on four cows for the duration of two weeks.3 One of the animals died one week into the test with electrolyte and mucosal problems. No scientific explanation could be found for the death, and the cow was removed from the protocol.
It’s really important to realize that animal feeding trials are not required to be done prior to the commercial release of a GMO, and if they are done, they’re typically extremely small, and very short in duration, like this one was.

Long-Term Studies Keep Finding Serious Health Problems With GMOs and Associated Chemicals

As an expert for the French government within the Biomolecular Engineering Commission, Séralini had access to the industry dossier on Bt176, and expressed strong objections to and concern over the lack of long-term feeding tests — the kind that have since become Séralini’s own hallmark specialty.
As you may recall, Séralini produced the first-ever lifetime feeding study on rats in 2012. The 2-year-long study evaluated lifelong effects of a Monsanto-produced GE corn that is prevalent in the U.S. food supply.
The rats developed massive breast tumors, kidney and liver damage, and early death. The major onslaught of diseases set in during the 13th month, which in human terms equate to about the age of 43, assuming that the average person lives to the age of 80.
Séralini has also investigated the health effects of glyphosate and Roundup.
In a study4,5 published last year, he found that long-term exposure to ultra-low amounts of Roundup — which is used on both GE and conventional crops in ample amounts — may cause tumors, along with liver and kidney damage in rats.

First GE Corn Shown to Be Toxic to Cows in the Long Term

In 1997, Gottfried Glöckner, an award-winning dairy farmer in Germany, became the first farmer to grow and feed Bt176 corn to his prized Holstein cows. The test continued until 2002.
According to Séralini, this was the longest running and most detailed observation of farm animals ever performed for a GE crop.
Since 1986, when Glöckner took over the farm, he’d had no cases of serious disease on his farm. That all changed once he started feeding his cows Bt176 in 1997. As noted on Séralini’s website:6
“When partial paralysis (paresis) accompanied by great fatigue, and problems in the kidneys and mucosal membranes arose in the animals, followed by death in 10 percent of cases, microbial causes were sought. All kinds of analyses were conducted ...
At this time, the dose of GMO Bt maize, which had been progressively introduced, had reached 40 percent of the diet. By 2002, the farmer had become convinced that Bt maize was the cause of the diseases. He sued Syngenta and had partial compensation for his losses7 ...
After all these court cases ended, Prof. Séralini gained access to veterinary records and to very complete archived data for each cow ... For the first time ever, an analysis of these data has been published8 ... New scientific data on Bt toxins and a thorough study of the records show that this GMO Bt maize is most probably toxic over the long term.
This study reveals once again the urgent need for specific labeling of the identity and quantity of GMOs, especially in food and feed. Long-term testing of GM food and the pesticides they are designed to contain must be carried out and made public. This is now more essential than ever.”

The Higher the GMO Content, the Greater the Health Risks

As Glöckner increased the amount of Bt176 corn in the cows’ feed, gradually going from 2 to 40 percent over the course of two years, the worse his cows fared. At the outset, 70 percent of his cows produced high yields of milk, which is considered normal.
Once the GMO content of the feed reached 40 percent, a mere 40 percent of his cows were high-yielding. In 2000, milk tested positive for the Bt176 DNA specific fragment, which under European law meant the milk had to be labeled as coming from GE-fed animals.
Peak mortality was reached in 2002, when 10 percent of his cows died after suffering a long period of partial paralysis. Thirty percent of the herd was sick with a variety of ailments.
A number of cows were diagnosed with liver disease, mucosa problems, irregular heart function, mammary gland breaks (which is exactly as disturbing as it sounds: the study includes pictures), and general “abnormal behavior” suggesting chronic lack of energy.
As the GMO ratio peaked, fertility also began to drop significantly. Some of the animals tested positive for Chlamydia, but had no visible infection. Overall, kidney function appeared to be the most affected.
Because the farmer introduced new cows to his herd here and there to replace those who had died or were too sick to be milked, the toxic effects may actually be underestimated, as the replacement animals had not previously eaten the GMO feed, and were therefore exposed to it for a much shorter duration.
Indeed, Séralini points out that toxic effects such as these would likely be missed under common conditions on factory farms with high and rapid animal turnover for that very reason. Especially when the feed is not specifically labeled, identifying the type of GMO and precise amount.

Pesticide-Producing Plants May Also Harm Human Health

Like other Bt crops, Bt176 was genetically engineered to produce Bacillus thuringiensis(Bt toxin) — a pesticide that breaks open the stomach of certain insects and kills them. Bt plants are engineered to produce this pesticide internally, so it’s present in every cell of the plant, from root to tip, and cannot be washed off.
Previous in vitro experiments9,10 have shown that the Bt toxin these plants produce affects human cells, both alone and in combination with glyphosate-based herbicide residues.
Pesticidal crystal proteins Cry1Ab and Cry1Ac, two subspecies of the Bt toxin, were tested on cells from the embryonic kidney cell line 293, looking at specific biomarkers indicating cell death. Concentrations ranged from 10 parts per billion (ppb) up to 100 parts per million (ppm). 
Cry1Ab caused cell death starting at 100 ppm. Roundup alone was found to cause necrosis (cell death resulting from acute injury) and apoptosis (cellular “suicide” or self-destruction) starting at 50 ppm, which the researchers noted is “far below agricultural dilutions.”
According to the authors: “In these results, we argue that modified Bt toxins are not inert on nontarget human cells, and that they can present combined side effects with other residues of pesticides specific to GM plants.”
Monsanto and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) claimed the Bt toxin produced inside the plant would be completely safe for human consumption because it would be destroyed in the human digestive system. This has been proven false more than once.
Research11 published in 2007 found that antibiotic resistance marker genes from Bt176 maize were able to survive for longer periods in gastric juices taken from patients on anti-acid drug treatment, thereby potentially increasing the risk of antibiotic resistance. According to the authors:
“Our data indicate the possibility that in particular cases the survival time could be so delayed that, as a consequence, some traits of DNA could reach the intestine. In general, this aspect must be considered for vulnerable consumers (people suffering from gastrointestinal diseases related to altered digestive functionality, physiological problems or drug side-effects) in the risk analysis usually referred to healthy subjects.”
Then, in 2011, doctors at Sherbrooke University Hospital in Quebec found Bt-toxin in the blood of 93 percent of pregnant women tested, 80 percent of umbilical blood in their babies, and 67 percent of non-pregnant women.12 It’s quite clear that Bt toxin is not destroyed when passing through your digestive system, and that it can bioaccumulate in your body.
According to one study,13 Bt toxin may produce a wide variety of immune responses, including elevated IgE and IgG antibodies, typically associated with allergies and infections, and an increase in cytokines, associated with allergic and inflammatory responses — conditions that have markedly risen in prevalence since the advent of Bt crops.

Transgenic Bt Crops Promote Resistant Pests and Destroys Soil Biology

One of the selling points and touted benefits of GE crops like Bt cotton and Bt corn is reduced pesticide usage, as the plant itself will kill any bug that chews on it. As with so many other GMO claims, this one cannot stand up to scrutiny. For starters, just like exaggerated herbicide use has led to the rapid development of resistant superweeds, so have Bt plants led to the emergence of resistant pests.
According to The Times of India,14 farmers in Punjab and Haryana are seeing significant losses of their Bt cotton crops to the whitefly. To address the problem, increasing amounts of pesticides have been applied. During an outbreak in 2002 farmers applied so much pesticide to fend off the whiteflies that soil and groundwater are thought to have been affected.
Many now blame the exaggerated use of pesticides on the clustering of cancer cases being detected among those living in India’s cotton belt. Research15 has also shown that Bt crops, just like topical pesticides and herbicides, alter and destroys soil microbiology. According to the authors:
“Our data showed that the cultivation of Bt maize significantly increased the saturated to unsaturated lipid ratios in soils which appeared to negatively affect microbial activity.” 

Beware: Bt Toxin Produced by Bt Plants Is Not Counted Toward Total Pesticide Exposure

Last but not least, it’s well worth noting that the Bt toxin produced in these Bt crops are NOT included as part of the total human pesticide exposure. This despite the fact that Bt plants are actually registered with the EPA as a pesticide.16 This also helps explain why Bt plants damage the soil just like topical pesticides do.
Ignoring Bt toxin produced by Bt plants, as if it never were to reach a dinner plate, is a gross misrepresentation of facts and outright fraudulent propaganda. How can they claim reductions in pesticide exposure as a result of Bt plants when every single cell of the plant contains it?
And how can they not include the plants in the pesticide usage data when the plant itself is registered as a pesticide? The failure to count the toxin inside the plant, and only counting the pesticides applied topically, is a significant loophole that makes Bt plants appear to provide a benefit that in reality simply isn’t true.
In reality, Bt exposure has likely increased exponentially with the introduction of Bt plants. Why? Because the plant-produced version of the poison is thousands of times more concentrated than the topical spray, and while topically applied Bt toxin biodegrades in sunlight and can be washed off, the Bt toxin in these GE plants does not degrade, nor can it be removed or cleaned off the food since it’s integrated into every cell of the plant.
Besides that, Bt toxin in GE soy, cotton, and corn has also been exempted from residue tolerance levels by the EPA, so absolutely no one is looking for or paying any attention to the amount of Bt toxin you’re exposed to via the food you eat!

How to Avoid Bt Crops

So, if you want to avoid eating Bt plants, which foods end up on the “buy certified organic” list? The following list shows which Bt crops have received approval for commercialization in which countries as of 2013.17,18 (A Bt poplar tree has also been approved for planting in China.)
Cotton is of course not a food, but is used for cotton clothing. The genetic engineering of cotton is one reason why I recommend buying clothing made with organic cotton.
Bt cropCountry
Cotton Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Burkina Faso, Canada, China, Colombia, Costa Rica, European Union (EU), India, Japan, Mexico, Myanmar, New Zealand, Pakistan, Paraguay, Philippines, Singapore, South Africa, South Korea, and United States of America (USA)
Eggplant Bangladesh
Maize/Corn Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, China, Colombia, Egypt, El Salvador, EU, Honduras, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Panama, Paraguay, Philippines, Russian Federation, Singapore, South Africa, South Korea, Switzerland, Taiwan, Thailand, Turkey, USA, and Uruguay
Potato (“Atlantic NewLeaf potato”19,20) Australia, Canada, Japan, Mexico, New Zealand, Philippines, Russian Federation, South Korea, and USA
Rice China and Iran
Soybean Argentina, Australia, Brazil,21 Canada, China, Colombia, EU, Japan, Mexico, New Zealand, Paraguay, South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand, USA, Uruguay
Tomato22,23,24 Canada, Chile, and USA

What You Need to Know About GMOs
Genetically modified organisms (GMOs), or genetically “engineered” (GE) foods, are live organisms whose genetic components have been artificially manipulated in a laboratory setting through creating unstable combinations of plant, animal, bacteria, and even viral genes that do not occur in nature or through traditional crossbreeding methods.
GMO proponents claim that genetic engineering is “safe and beneficial,” and that it advances the agricultural industry. They also say that GMOs help ensure the global food supply and sustainability. But is there any truth to these claims? I believe not. For years, I've stated the belief that GMOs pose one of the greatest threats to life on the planet. Genetic engineering is NOT the safe and beneficial technology that it is touted to be.
The FDA cleared the way for GE (Genetically Engineered) Atlantic salmon to be farmed for human consumption. Thanks to added language in the federal spending bill, the product will require special labeling so at least consumers will have the ability to identify the GE salmon in stores. However, it’s imperative ALL GE foods be labeled, which is currently still being denied.

The FDA is threatening the existence of our food supply. We have to start taking action now. I urge you to share this article with friends and family. If we act together, we can make a difference and put an end to the absurdity.

QR Codes Are NOT an Adequate Substitute for Package Labels

The biotech industry is trying to push the QR code as an answer for consumer concerns about GE foods. QR stands for Quick Response, and the code can be scanned and read by smart phones and other QR readers.
The code brings you to a product website that provides further details about the product. The video below shows you why this is not an ideal solution. There’s nothing forcing companies to declare GMOs on their website. On the contrary, GE foods are allowed to be promoted as “natural,” which further adds to the confusion. 

These so-called "Smart Labels" hardly improve access to information. Instead, by making finding the truth time-consuming and cumbersome, food makers can be assured that most Americans will remain ignorant about the presence of GMOs in their products. Besides, everyone has a right to know what's in the food. You shouldn't have to own a smartphone to obtain this information.

Non-GMO Food Resources by Country

If you are searching for non-GMO foods here is a list of trusted sites you can visit.

How to Take Niacin (Vitamin B3) for Depression and Anxiety

Reposted from Food Matters

Niacin is vitamin B-3, one of the water soluble B-complex vitamins. One of niacin's unique properties is its ability to help you naturally relax and get to sleep more rapidly at night. And it is well established that niacin helps reduce harmful cholesterol levels in the bloodstream. Abram Hoffer, M.D., Ph.D. explains: "Niacin is one of the best substances for elevating high density lipoprotein cholesterol (the "good cholesterol) and so decreases the ratio of the total cholesterol over high density cholesterol." 
 Another niacin feature is its ability to greatly reduce anxiety and depression. Yet another feature of niacin is that it dilates blood vessels and creates a sensation of warmth, called a "niacin flush." This is often accompanied with a blushing of the skin. It is this "flush" or sensation of heat that indicates a temporary saturation of niacin, and that is our topic here.

When you flush, you can literally see and feel that you've taken enough niacin. The idea is to initially take just enough niacin to have a slight flush. This means a pinkness about the cheeks, ears, neck, forearms and perhaps elsewhere. A slight niacin flush should end in about ten minutes or so. If you take too much niacin, the flush may be more pronounced and longer lasting. If you flush beet red for half an hour and feel weird, well, you took too much. And large doses of niacin on an empty stomach is certain to cause profound flushing.

Dr. Hoffer writes: "With larger initial doses, the flush is more pronounced and lasts longer," says Dr. Hoffer. "But with each additional dose, the intensity of the flush decreases and in most patients becomes a minor nuisance rather than an irritant. Niacin should always be taken immediately after finishing ones meal."

I have found that the best way for me to accurately control the flushing sensation is to start with very small amounts of niacin and gradually increase until the first flush is noticed. One method is to start with a mere 25 milligrams (25 mg) three times a day, say with each meal. The next day, try 50 mg at breakfast, 25 mg at lunch and 25 mg at supper. The following day, one might try 50 mg at breakfast, 50 mg at lunch, and 25 mg at supper. And, the next day, 50 mg at each of the three meals. The next day, 75 mg, 50 mg and 50 mg. Then, 75. 75 and 50, and so on. In this way you have increased at the easy rate of only 25 mg per day. One would continue to increase the dosage by 25 mg per day until the flush occurs.

It is difficult to predict a saturation level for niacin because each person is different. As a general rule, the more you hold, the more you need. If you flush early, you don't need much niacin. If flushing doesn't happen until a high level, then your body is obviously using the higher amount of the vitamin.

Now that you've had your first flush, what next? Since a flush indicates saturation of niacin, it is desirable to continue to repeat the flushing, just very slightly, to continue the saturation. This could be done three or more times a day. To get to sleep sooner at night, niacin can be taken to saturation at bedtime, too. You might be asleep before you even notice the flush.

An important point here is that niacin is a vitamin, not a drug. It is not habit forming. Niacin does not require a prescription because it is that safe. It is a nutrient that everyone needs each day. Different people in different circumstances require different amounts of niacin.

Says Dr. Hoffer: "A person's "upper limit is that amount which causes nausea, and, if not reduced, vomiting. The dose should never be allowed to remain at this upper limit. The usual dose range is 3,000 to 9,000 milligrams daily divided into three doses, but occasionally some patients may need more. The toxic dose for dogs is about 5,000 milligrams per 2.2 pounds (1 kilogram) body weight. We do not know the toxic dose for humans since niacin has never killed anyone."

Inevitable physician skepticism and questions about niacin's proven safety and effectiveness are best answered in Orthomolecular Psychiatry, edited by David Hawkins, M.D. and Linus Pauling, Ph.D. This nearly 700 page textbook is the standard reference for details on niacin therapy. Persons with a history of heavy alcohol use, liver disorders, diabetes, or pregnancy will especially want to have their physician monitor their use of niacin in quantity. Monitoring long-term use of niacin is a good idea for anyone. It consists of having your doctor check your liver function with a simple blood test.

Plain and simple niacin may be purchased in tablets at any pharmacy or health food store. Tablets typically are available in 50 mg, 100 mg, or 250 mg dosages. The tablets are usually scored down the middle so you can break them in half easily. You can break the halves in half, too, to get the exact amount you want.

If a niacin tablet is taken on an empty stomach, a flush will occur (if it is going to occur at all) within about 20 minutes. If niacin is taken right after a meal, a flush may be delayed. In fact, the flush may occur long enough afterwards that you forgot that you took the niacin! Don't let the flush surprise you. Remember that niacin does that, and you can monitor it easily.

If you want a flush right away, you can powder the niacin tablet. This is easily done by crushing it between two spoons. Powdered niacin on an empty stomach can result in a flush within minutes. Sustained release niacin is often advertised as not causing a flush at all. This claim may not be completely true; sometimes the flush is just postponed. It would probably be difficult to determine your saturation level with a sustained- or time-released product. They are also more costly.

There is nothing wrong with niacinAMIDE, by the way. That form of vitamin B-3 is frequently found in multiple vitamins and B-complex preparations. Niacinamide does not cause a flush at all. In my opinion, it is less effective in inducing relaxation and calming effects. Niacinamide also does not significantly lower serum cholesterol. This is an important distinction to make when purchasing.

It is a good idea to take all the other B-complex vitamins in a separate supplement in addition to the niacin. The B-vitamins, like professional baseball players, work best as a team. Still, the body seems to need proportionally more niacin than the other B vitamins. Even the U.S. Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) for niacin is much more than for any other B-vitamin. Many physicians consider the current RDA for niacin of only 20 mg to be way too low for optimum health. While the government continues to discuss this, it is possible to decide for yourself based on the success of doctors that use niacin for their patients every day.

TO FLUSH OR NOT TO FLUSH? That is this reader’s question

”We have learned a great deal from your site and your books and also enjoy them. We have also incorporated some of your suggestions in our lifestyle. My question for you is an attempt to clarify what seems to be a difference of opinion about the niacin flush between you and Dr. Hoffer. He had written that the niacin flush is normal with many people and will diminish or go away as the patient continues to use niacin at his recommended level of 3,000 milligrams per day. You, however, state that the flush is an indication of no niacin deficiency. Who is correct or am I misinterpreting one of you?”

Andrew Saul’s Response:
This is how I look at it: Generally speaking, people in fairly good health usually choose to increase their doses gradually in order to minimize flushing. If they do increase the dose slowly, what I describe is pretty accurate. For instance, I've been taking niacin for years, in daily but varying doses depending on my stress level or dietary intake. I know by the flush when I've had enough for the moment. It is like turning off the hot water when the tub is full enough for a nice bath. Dr Hoffer is highly experienced with serious psychiatric cases. Such patients have a niacin dependency, not a mere deficiency. Let’s let him speak for himself:

Abram Hoffer, MD, writes:
“We are both correct. Most people flush at the beginning and gradually get adapted to it unless they stop for a few days and then resume it. A few cannot ever get used to it, and they take the no-flush preparations. But the intensity of the flush is very variable. Generally people who need it the most flush the least. That includes arthritics, schizophrenics, and elderly people with cardiovascular problems. Some schizophrenics do not flush until they get well and then they do. But the presence of the flush or its intensity can not be uniquely used measure the need as there are too many variables such as food in the stomach, whether the drink with it is hot or cold, the kind of food, other medication.

Monday, February 8, 2016

Reducing Salt Intake Might Harm Heart Failure Patients, Study Claims

Reposted from Dr. Mercola

By Dr. Mercola
Close to 6 million Americans have heart failure while more than 870,000 cases are diagnosed each year. If you have heart failure, it means your heart isn’t pumping as well as it should be and, as a result, your body is probably not getting enough oxygen. In other words, you have a weak heart.
Once-simple activities, like walking or carrying groceries, may become difficult, and you may also experience fatigue, shortness of breath, fluid build-up and coughing.1
Because heart failure is associated with fluid build-up, a low-salt diet is typically recommended. Excess sodium may cause your body to retain water and, so the conventional thinking goes, may worsen the fluid build-up associated with heart failure.
This dietary dogma is touted as fact, but in reality you may want to think twice about slashing your salt intake if you have heart failure, as new research has linked it with an increased risk of death.

Cutting Down Salt Intake Might Worsen Health of Heart Failure Patients

Researchers from Rush University Medical Center in Chicago followed more than 800 heart failure patients for an average of three years. Both their health status and salt intake were analyzed.2
It turned out that those following a low-sodium diet were 85 percent more likely to die or require hospitalization for heart disease compared to those who didn’t restrict their salt intake.3
Among those restricting their sodium intake, 42 percent died or were hospitalized for heart problems during the study, compared to 26 percent of those with no salt restrictions.
The researchers concluded, “In symptomatic patients with chronic HF [heart failure], sodium restriction may have a detrimental impact on outcome.”4 It’s possible that restricting salt could backfire by altering a person’s fluid volumes. Lead researcher Dr. Rami Doukky told Medical Xpress:5
“The idea is sodium restriction leads to a contraction of the fluid volume in the body, and that turns on certain hormones which try to retain fluids in the body and may potentially accelerate the heart failure process."

Heart Benefits of Salt Restriction Increasingly Questioned

The heart benefits of restricting salt intake have been questioned for some time. In 2011, a systematic review of data involving 6,500 people also found evidence was lacking to recommend salt restriction.6
Among people with high blood pressure or normal blood pressure, salt restriction was not significantly associated with overall mortality or cardiovascular mortality. Among those with congestive heart failure, meanwhile, salt restriction was associated with increased mortality risk.
An update to the review, published in 2014, also found “there is insufficient power to confirm clinically important effects of dietary advice and salt substitution on cardiovascular mortality” among people with high blood pressure or normal blood pressure.7
Yet another meta-analysis found that people with heart failure who limited their sodium intake had a 160 percent higher risk of death than those who did not.8
Some studies have shown a modest benefit to salt restriction among some people with high blood pressure, but the evidence does not extend to the rest of the population. So what’s really going on?
For starters, there’s a huge difference between natural salt and the processed salt added to processed foods and salt shakers in most homes and restaurants. The former is essential for good health, whereas the latter is best avoided altogether.
Sally Fallon Morell, president of the Weston A. Price Foundation, stated:9
"A study from 1991 indicates that people need about one and one-half teaspoons of salt per day.
Anything less triggers a cascade of hormones to recuperate sodium from the waste stream, hormones that make people vulnerable to heart disease and kidney problems. This is proven biochemistry.”

Too Little Salt May be Dangerous

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Food Safety Inspection Service (FSIS) recommend limiting your daily sodium intake to less than 2,300 milligrams (mg).
They advise a further reduction to 1,500 mg (just over one-half teaspoon) for people who are age 51 and older, African-American, or who have hypertension, diabetes or chronic kidney disease (this encompasses about half of the U.S. population).
However, there are very real risks from eating too little salt, and population-wide recommendations to restrict salt intake to very low levels could in fact increase rates of a wide range of diseases.
For instance, in one study a low-salt diet led to an increase in insulin resistance, which is a risk factor for type 2 diabetes — and the change occurred in just seven days.10
Research published in JAMA also found that consuming less than 3,000 mg of sodium per day may increase your risk of dying from heart disease.11
A low-sodium diet is even linked to increases in LDL cholesterol and triglycerides,12 and an increased risk of death for diabetics (another population that’s often advised to restrict their sodium intake).13
There’s also hyponatremia, in which your body has too little sodium, causing fluid levels to rise and your cells to swell. Hyponatremia is most common in older adults and athletes (whose sodium levels may become depleted by excessive sweating and drinking too much water).
This swelling can cause a number of health problems, from mild to severe. At its worst, hyponatremia can be life threatening, leading to brain swelling, coma and death.
But mild to moderate hyponatremia has more subtle effects that you or your health care provider may not even connect with a sodium-deficiency problem, including:
Nausea, vomiting, and changes in appetite HeadacheConfusionHallucinations
Loss of energyFatigueUrinary incontinenceNervousness, restlessness and irritability, and other mood changes
Muscle weakness, spasms or crampsSeizuresUnconsciousnessComa

Your Sodium:Potassium Ratio

Another factor that can have a significant impact on whether salt will harm or help your health is the ratio between the salt and potassium in your diet.
Your body needs potassium to maintain proper pH levels in your body fluids, and it also plays an integral role in regulating your blood pressure. It’s possible that potassium deficiency may be more responsible for hypertension (which is a risk factor for heart disease) than excess sodium.
Imbalance in your sodium:potassium ratio can lead to hypertension, and the easiest way to achieve this imbalance is by consuming a diet of processed foods, which are notoriously low in potassium while high in sodium.
Processed foods are also loaded with fructose, which is clearly associated with increased hypertension risk, as well as virtually all chronic diseases. This may also explain why high-sodium diets appear to affect some people but not others.
According to a 2011 federal study into sodium and potassium intake, those at greatest risk of cardiovascular disease were those who got a combination of too much sodium along with too little potassium.14
According to Dr. Elena Kuklina, one of the lead authors of the study, potassium may neutralize the heart-damaging effects of salt. Tellingly, those who ate a lot of salt and very little potassium were more than twice as likely to die from a heart attack as those who ate about equal amounts of both nutrients.
While potassium is found in many foods commonly consumed in the U.S. – including fruits, vegetables, dairy products, salmon, sardines, and nuts – only 2 percent of U.S. adults get the recommended daily amount of 4,700 mg.15 The easiest way to achieve an imbalance in your sodium-to-potassium ratio is by consuming a diet of processed foods, which are notoriously low in potassium while high in processed salt.
According to the FDA, 77 percent of Americans sodium intake comes from processed and restaurant foods; when you reduce processed foods in your diet, you’ll automatically reduce your intake of processed salt as well.

How to Improve Your Sodium-Potassium Ratio

If you eat a lot of processed foods and not many vegetables, there’s a good chance your sodium-to-potassium ratio is unbalanced. If you’re not sure, try a free app like My Fitness Pal, which allows you to enter the foods you eat and then calculates the ratio automatically.
It's generally recommended that you consume five times more potassium than sodium, but most Americans get two times more sodium than potassium. If your ratio is out of balance:
  • Ditch all processed foods, which are very high in processed salt and low in potassium and other essential nutrients
  • Eat a diet of whole, unprocessed foods, ideally organically and locally grown to ensure optimal nutrient content. This type of diet will naturally provide much larger amounts of potassium in relation to sodium
  • When using added salt, use a natural salt. I believe Himalayan salt may be ideal, as it contains lower sodium and higher potassium levels compared to other salts16
It can be difficult to get enough potassium from diet, but the best way to do so is to increase the amount of vegetables you consume. Green vegetable juicing is an excellent way to ensure you’re getting enough nutrients for optimal health, including about 300 to 400 mg of potassium per cup. Some additional rich sources of potassium are:
  • Lima beans (955 mg/cup)
  • Winter squash (896 mg/cup)
  • Cooked spinach (839 mg/cup)
  • Avocado (500 mg per medium)
Other potassium-rich fruits and vegetables include:
  • Fruits: papayas, prunes, cantaloupe, and bananas. (But be careful of bananas as they are high in sugar and have half the potassium of an equivalent amount of green vegetables. It is a myth that you are getting loads of potassium from bananas; the potassium is twice as high in green vegetables)
  • Vegetables: broccoli, Brussels sprouts, avocados, asparagus, pumpkin, Swiss chard, and beet greens

Top Tips to Prevent Heart Failure and Other Heart Problems

There are many strategies that can protect your heart no matter what your age. Please don't wait until you experience heart attack symptoms or heart failure to take action because by then it may be too late. Do so now in order to prevent any long-lasting damage:
  • Eat unprocessed saturated animal fats, and ignore the media, as you will benefit from these fats. Many may also benefit from increasing the healthy fat in their diet to 50 to 85 percent of daily calories.
  • Avoid sugars, including processed fructose and grains if you are insulin and leptin resistant. It doesn't matter if they are conventional or organic, as a high-sugar, high-grain diet promotes insulin and leptin resistance, which is a primary driver of heart disease.
  • Minimize your intake of salt from processed foods and instead use natural Himalayan salt to flavor your real food.
  • Exercise regularly. People who engage in at least 150 minutes of moderate exercise, or 75 minutes of vigorous exercise a week, had a 33 percent lower risk of heart failure than inactive people.17 Use a combination of high-intensity interval training, strength training, stretching, and core work.
  • Avoid excess sitting; aim for three hours a day or less of sitting and try to take 10,000 steps a day (in addition to your exercise program).
  • Regularly walk barefoot to ground with the earth. When you do, free electrons are transferred from the earth into your body; this grounding effect is one of the most potent antioxidants we know of and helps alleviate inflammation throughout your body.
  • Manage your stress daily. One of my favorite tools for stress management is the Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT).

Gut Bacteria and Fat Cells May Interact to Produce “Perfect Storm” of Inflammation That Promotes Diabetes and Other Chronic Disease

Reposted from Dr. Mercola

By Dr. Mercola
A wide array of health problems, including but not limited to obesity, insulin resistance, type 2 diabetes, periodontal disease, stroke, and heart disease all have inflammation as a part of the disease.
The majority of inflammatory diseases start in your gut.
Chronic inflammation in your gut can disrupt the normal functioning of many bodily systems. There also appears to be a connection between certain types of bacteria and body fat that produces a heightened inflammatory response and drives the inflammatory process.
For example, recent research1 suggests that superantigens—toxic molecules produced by pathogenic bacteria such as staph—may play a role in the development of type 2 diabetes through their effect on fat cells. As reported by the featured article:2
“The idea is that when fat cells (adipocytes) interact with environmental agents -- in this case, bacterial toxins -- they then trigger a chronic inflammatory process... [B]acterial toxins stimulate fat cells to release molecules called cytokines, which promote inflammation...
All staph bacteria make toxins called superantigens -- molecules that disrupt the immune system. Schlievert's research has previously shown that superantigens cause the deadly effects of various staph infections, such as toxic shock syndrome, sepsis, and endocarditis.
... [T]he chronic inflammation caused by the superantigens may also hinder wound healing in diabetic foot ulcers. The ulcers, which affect 15 to 25 percent of people with diabetes, are notoriously difficult to heal and can often lead to amputation.”

'Perfect Storm' of Inflammation Promotes Diabetes

Previous research has shown that obese people have different intestinal bacteria than slim people. Lean people tend to have higher amounts of various healthy or beneficial bacteria compared to those who carry a lot of excess weight, who tend to have greater colonization of pathogenic bacteria. 
For instance, the human adenovirus-36 (Ad-36) -- a cause of respiratory infections and pinkeye – might play a role in promoting obesity by transforming adult stem cells into fat cells that are capable of storing additional fat.
Researchers have also discovered that certain gut bacteria, including Staphylococcus aureus (staph) and E. coli, trigger fat cells to produce inflammatory cytokines. Researchers have proposed that this interaction can provoke the development of diabetes, which is a well-known “side effect” of obesity.
Staph bacteria in particular appear to play an important role in diabetes, and according to the featured article, there are two primary reasons for this:
  • Obese people have a tendency to become heavily colonized with staph bacteria
  • Staph bacteria is the most common bacteria found in diabetic foot ulcers
The featured study found that when both staph and E. coli are present (both of which produce superantigens), the inflammatory cytokine response in fat cells are further amplified, thereby boosting your risk of diabetes. According to the co-author of the study, Patrick Schlievert, Ph.D:
"The E. coli that resides in our gut produces LPS [lipopolysaccharide, a toxin] and every day a small amount of this toxin gets into our circulation, but it is generally cleared from the circulation by the liver. However, people colonized by staph bacteria are also chronically exposed to superantigens, which shut down the LPS detoxification pathway.
That creates a synergy between the 'uncleared' LPS and the superantigen. All these two molecules do is cause inflammation and cytokine production. So in essence, their presence together creates a perfect storm for inflammation."
Previous studies have come to similar conclusions. For example, one study3 found that babies with high numbers of bifidobacteria (beneficial bacteria) and low numbers of Staphylococcus aureus, appeared to be protected from excess weight gain.
This may also be one reason why breast-fed babies have a lower risk of obesity, as bifidobacteria flourish in the guts of breast-fed babies.

The Link Between Gum Inflammation and Heart Health

A related news item further highlights the role of inflammation in the development of chronic disease. According to Medical News Today:4
“Researchers at Columbia University in New York suggest that if you look after your gums, you could also be reducing your risk of heart disease. They claim that improving dental care slows the speed with which plaque builds up in the arteries.5
This isn’t the first time researchers have found that your oral health can have a significant impact on your cardiovascular and heart health. For example, a 2010 study6 found that those with the worst oral hygiene increased their risk of developing heart disease by a whopping 70 percent, compared to those who brush their teeth twice a day.
In this prospective study, improved gum health was shown to significantly slow down the progression of atherosclerosis—the buildup of plaque in your arteries, which increases your risk of heart disease, stroke, and death. According to the featured article:7
“Previous studies have linked an increase in carotid IMT [intima-medial thickness] of 0.033 mm per year (about 0.1 mm over 3 years), to a more than double increase in risk of heart attack and stroke. In this study, the participants whose gum health got worse over the 3 years showed a 0.1 mm increase in carotid IMT, compared with the participants whose gum health improved.
Co-author Panos N. Papapanou, professor at Columbia's College of Dental Medicine, says: 'Our results show a clear relationship between what is happening in the mouth and thickening of the carotid artery, even before the onset of full-fledged periodontal disease. This suggests that incipient periodontal disease should not be ignored.'”
Here, bacteria are again playing a preeminent role, as periodontal disease is the result of the colonization of certain bacteria in your mouth. This bacterial profile, by the way, is again linked to an imbalance of  beneficial and pathogenic bacteria in your gut. A few months after I added fermented vegetables to my daily diet, I was able to cut down my dental cleaning visits from every month to every quarter. I’ve had a longstanding problem of persistent plaque formation, and the addition of fermented foods proved to be an essential missing ingredient for me to successfully address this problem.
It’s important to realize that periodontal disease involves both bone and the tissue that is in contact with that bone. From this contact, bacteria and toxic inflammatory compounds can easily enter your blood stream. Once in your blood stream, these toxic compounds can harm the lining of your blood vessels, which can lead to both strokes and heart attacks. So, reducing inflammation is of primary importance for your overall health, and brushing your teeth regularly is one way to combat chronic inflammation in your body.
Findings such as these offer potent testimony to the fact that heart disease is a condition that can be prevented, most of the time, by leading a healthy lifestyle -- which includes the simple act of brushing your teeth regularly to prevent periodontal disease, and optimizing your gut health by eating foods that allow healthy bacteria to flourish and keep pathogenic bacteria in check.

Diet and Environmental Factors Affect Your Gut Flora

I have long stated that it's generally a wise choice to "reseed" your body with good bacteria, ideally by regularly eating non-pasteurized, traditionally fermented foods such as:
One of the reasons why fermented foods are so beneficial is because they contain lactic acid producing bacteria, which has been shown to be particularly beneficial for weight loss, as well as a wide variety of other beneficial bacteria. Ideally, you want to eat a variety of fermented foods to maximize the variety of bacteria you’re getting. If for whatever reason you decide not to eat fermented foods, taking a high-quality probiotic supplement is definitely recommended.
Keep in mind that eating fermented foods may not be enough if the rest of your diet is really poor. Your gut bacteria are an active and integrated part of your body, and as such are vulnerable to your overall lifestyle. If you eat a lot of processed foods for instance, your gut bacteria are going to be compromised because processed foods in general will destroy healthy microflora and feed bad bacteria and yeast. Your gut bacteria are also very sensitive to the following factors—all of which should ideally be avoided as much as possible in order to optimize your gut flora:
  • Antibiotics, including antibiotic-traces found in meats from factory farmed meats and animal products
  • Agricultural chemicals, especially glyphosate
  • Chlorinated water
  • Antibacterial soap
  • Pollution

Your Diet Is Key for Reducing Chronic Inflammation

As you can see, the running thread linking a wide variety of common health problems—from obesity and diabetes to heart disease and stroke—is chronic inflammation. Clearly, addressing your oral health is an important step, but the real key to reducing chronic inflammation in your body starts with your diet.
Diet accounts for about 80 percent of the health benefits you reap from a healthful lifestyle, and keeping inflammation in check is a major part of these benefits. It's important to realize that dietary components can either trigger or prevent inflammation from taking root in your body.
For example, whereas trans fats and sugar, particularly fructose, will increase inflammation, eating healthy fats such as animal-based omega-3 fats found in krill oil, or the essential fatty acid gamma linolenic acid (GLA) will help to reduce them. Research published in the Scandinavian Journal of Gastroenterology8 two years ago again confirmed that dietary supplementation with krill oil effectively reduced inflammation and oxidative stress. To reduce or prevent inflammation in your body, you’ll want to AVOID the following dietary culprits:
  • Sugar/fructose and grains (If your fasting insulin level is not lower than three, consider eliminating grains and sugars until you optimize your insulin level, as insulin resistance this is a primary driver of chronic inflammation)
  • Oxidized cholesterol (cholesterol that has gone rancid, such as that from overcooked, scrambled eggs)
  • Foods cooked at high temperatures
  • Trans fats
Replacing processed foods with whole, ideally organic, foods will automatically address most of these factors, especially if you eat a large portion of your food raw. Equally important is making sure you’re regularly reseeding your gut with beneficial bacteria, as discussed above. The ideal way, again, is by adding a variety of non-pasteurized traditionally fermented foods to your daily diet. To help you get started on a healthier diet, I suggest following my free Optimized Nutrition Plan, which starts at the beginner phase and systematically guides you step-by-step to the advanced level.
Optimizing your vitamin D levels is another important aspect of optimizing your gut health and immune function. According to recent research, vitamin D appears to be nearly as effective as animal-based omega-3 fats in countering inflammatory bowel diseases like Crohn’s and ulcerative colitis for example. One of the reasons for this may be because it helps your body produce over 200 anti-microbial peptides capable of fighting all sorts of infections. In simple terms, if you’re vitamin D deficient, your immune system will not activate to do its job. And since vitamin D also modulates (balances) your immune response, it helps prevent overreaction in the form of inflammation.

Grounding—An Underused Anti-Inflammatory Lifestyle Strategy

Another simple lifestyle strategy that can help prevent chronic inflammation is grounding or Earthing. Stated in the simplest terms possible, earthing is simply walking barefoot; grounding your body to the Earth. Your skin in general is a very good conductor, so you can connect any part of your skin to the Earth, but if you compare various parts there is one that is especially potent, and that's right in the middle of the ball of your foot; a point known to acupuncturists as Kidney 1 (K1). It's a well-known point that conductively connects to all of the acupuncture meridians and essentially connects to every nook and cranny of your body.
By looking at what happens during grounding, the answer to why chronic inflammation is so prevalent, and what is needed to prevent it, is becoming better understood. When you're grounded there's a transfer of free electrons from the Earth into your body. And these free electrons are probably the most potent antioxidants known to man. These antioxidants are responsible for the clinical observations from grounding experiments, such as beneficial changes in heart rate and blood pressure, decreased skin resistance, and decreased levels of inflammation. Furthermore, researchers have also discovered that grounding actually thins your blood, making it less viscous.
This discovery can have a profound impact on cardiovascular disease, which is now the number one killer in the world. Virtually every aspect of cardiovascular disease has been correlated with elevated blood viscosity. It turns out that when you ground to the earth, your zeta potential quickly rises, which means your red blood cells have more charge on their surface, which forces them apart from each other. This action causes your blood to thin and flow easier. It also causes your blood pressure to drop.
By repelling each other, your red blood cells are also less inclined to stick together and form a clot. Additionally, if your zeta potential is high, which grounding can facilitate, you not only decrease your heart disease risk but also your risk of multi-infarct dementias, where you start losing brain tissue due to micro-clotting in your brain. To learn more about this simple but potent method, please see my interview with Dr. Oschman, who is widely recognized as an authority in the biophysics of energy medicine. Grounding may also work by increasing the structured water in your cells.

For Optimal Health, Address and Avoid Chronic Inflammation

Remember, the micro-organisms living in your digestive tract form a very important "inner ecosystem" that influences countless aspects of health. More specifically, the type and quantity of organisms in your gut interact with your body in ways that can either prevent or encourage the development of chronic inflammation, which is at the heart of many diseases, including heart disease and diabetes. The composition of your microflora may even dictate the ease with which you’re able to shed unwanted pounds.
Since virtually all of us are exposed to factors that destroy beneficial bacteria in your gut, such as antibiotics (whether you take them for an illness or get them from contaminated animal products), chlorinated water, antibacterial soap, agricultural chemicals, and pollution, ensuring your gut bacteria remain balanced should be considered an ongoing process.
Cultured foods like raw milk yogurt and kefir, some cheeses, and fermented vegetables are good sources of natural, healthy bacteria. So my strong recommendation would be to make cultured or fermented foods a regular part of your diet; this can be your primary strategy to optimize your body's good bacteria. If you do not eat fermented foods on a regular basis, taking a high-quality probiotic supplement would be a wise decision for most people.
Besides that, replacing processed foods, sugar/fructose and grains with whole foods is a critical step to address chronic inflammation. Optimizing your vitamin D levels and making sure you’re getting plenty of animal-based omega-3 fat in your diet is also important, along with grounding, to keep inflammation in check.

Friday, February 5, 2016

Antiperspirants Can Make You Smell Worse by Altering Armpit Bacteria

Reposted from Dr. Mercola

Sometimes "the cure" leads to a worsening of the very problem you're trying to solve. Such may be the case when it comes to antiperspirants. As reported by Real Clear Science,1 antiperspirants affect the bacterial balance in your armpits, leading to an even more foul-smelling sweat problem.
The reason your sweat smells is because the bacteria living in your armpits break down lipids and amino acids found in your sweat into substances that have a distinct odor.
Antiperspirants address this problem using antimicrobial agents to kill bacteria, and other ingredients such as aluminum that block your sweat glands. According to the featured article:
"To uncover how deodorants and antiperspirants affect armpit bacteria... a team of researchers recruited eight subjects for a task a great many people (and especially their friends) might deem unbearable:
Six males and two females pledged not to use deodorant or antiperspirant for an entire month. Specifically, four subjects stopped using their deodorants and another four stopped using their antiperspirant deodorant....
Another control subject who did not regularly use either was asked to use deodorant for a month. The duration was chosen because it takes approximately 28 days for a new layer of skin cells to form."

What Happens When You Use Antiperspirant?

Every subject in this study ended up altering the bacterial composition of their armpits. While it was a challenge to determine the exact changes, since every person's microbiome is distinct and individual, the researchers did find one clear trend.
Those who used antiperspirants saw a definitive increase in Actinobacteria. These bacteria are hugely responsible for that foul-smelling armpit odor. Other bacteria found living in people's armpits include Firmicutes and Staphylococcus, but the odors they produce are milder, and they're not produced quite as readily. 
The situation here is much like it is in your gut. When you eat foods or take drugs that kill off beneficial bacteria, more potentially harmful microbes are allowed to take over the turf.  
Here, the less odor-causing bacteria are killed off by the aluminum compounds (the active ingredient in most antiperspirants), allowing bacteria that produce more pungent odors to thrive instead. 
In some participants, abstaining from antiperspirant caused the population of Actinobacteria to dwindle into virtual nonexistence. The take-home message: using an antiperspirant can make the stink from your armpits more pronounced, while quitting antiperspirants may eventually mellow the smell. 
Unfortunately, altering the microbiome in your armpit isn't the worst thing that can happen when you regularly use antiperspirants. 

Aluminum-Containing Antiperspirants May Promote Cancer

The aluminum chloride in antiperspirants, which blocks your pores from releasing sweat, may also contribute to an increased cancer risk. Aluminum chloride actually acts similarly to the way oncogenes work to cause molecular transformations in cancer cells. 
Aluminum salts can also mimic estrogen, and previous research has shown that aluminum is absorbed and deposited into breast tissue.2 The researchers actually suggested that raised levels of aluminum could be used as a biomarker for identification of women at increased risk of developing breast cancer. 
Aluminum is also widely recognized as a neurotoxin, and Alzheimer's patients typically have elevated levels of aluminum in their brains. While there are other sources of aluminum, antiperspirants are a major one, as most people use it on a daily basis.
Aluminum salts can account for 25 percent of the volume of some antiperspirants, and in one study3 reviewing the most common sources of aluminum exposure for humans found that antiperspirant use can significantly increase the amount of aluminum absorbed by your body.  
According to the review, about 0.12 percent of the aluminum applied under your arms is absorbed with each application. When you multiply that by one or more times a day for a lifetime, it can up to a massive amount of aluminum—a poison that may be more toxic than mercury!

Parabens in Antiperspirants Have Also Been Implicated in Breast Cancer

Parabens are another common ingredient in antiperspirants, and research4 examining parabens suggests chronic antiperspirant use may lead to a heightened risk of cancer as well, specifically breast cancer.  
The research in question looked at where breast tumors were appearing, and determined that higher concentrations of parabens were found in the upper quadrants of the breast and axillary area, where antiperspirants are usually applied. One or more paraben esters were found in 99 percent of the 160 tissue samples collected from 40 mastectomies.
Parabens are chemicals that serve as preservatives in antiperspirants and many other cosmetics, including suntan lotions. Previous studies have shown that all parabens have estrogenic activity in human breast cancer cells.  
This research really raises a red flag, and while the authors note that the source of the parabens cannot be established—in fact seven of the 40 patients reportedly never used deodorants or antiperspirants in their lifetime—it tells us that parabens are problematic, regardless of the source. 
It just so happens that antiperspirants and deodorants contain parabens and are used on a daily basis by most women, and the parabens they contain can bioaccumulate in breast tissue.

Even Natural Deodorants Can Contain Aluminum and Parabens

There are many brands of aluminum-free deodorants on the market, and many of these are safe alternatives. But you do need to carefully read the list of ingredients. "Crystal" deodorant stones often claim to be aluminum-free, but some still contain a compound known as alum; the most common form being potassium alum, also known as potassium aluminum sulfate.  
Potassium alum is a natural mineral salt made up of molecules that are too large to be absorbed by your skin. It works by forming a protective layer on your skin that inhibits the growth of odor-causing bacteria. While this may be a better alternative to most antiperspirants and deodorants on the market, it's not completely aluminum-free... When shopping for an alternative, also remember to avoid any product containing parabens.

Bacteria-Containing Lotions and Potions—a New Frontier Opens Up

In a recent New York Times article,5 Julia Scott writes about her participation in a test group trying out a living bacterial skin tonic. The concoction is created by AOBiome. 
"The tonic looks, feels and tastes like water, but each spray bottle of AO+ Refreshing Cosmetic Mist contains billions of cultivated Nitrosomonas eutropha, an ammonia-oxidizing bacteria (AOB) that is most commonly found in dirt and untreated water," she writes. "AOBiome scientists hypothesize that it once lived happily on us too — before we started washing it away with soap and shampoo — acting as a built-in cleanser, deodorant, anti-inflammatory and immune booster by feeding on the ammonia in our sweat and converting it into nitrite and nitric oxide."
For the test, she agreed to mist her face, scalp, and body with the live bacteria twice a day for a month. The theory that adding rather than eradicating bacteria from your body might produce better results seems rather logical, considering what we now know about the gut microbiome, and how the bacterial balance in your armpits affects your sweat odor. And, while Scott reports mixed results, the creators of AOBiome are all long-time users of the product.
"Jamas, a quiet, serial entrepreneur with a doctorate in biotechnology, incorporated N. eutropha into his hygiene routine years ago; today he uses soap just twice a week," Scott writes. "The chairman of the company's board of directors, Jamie Heywood, lathers up once or twice a month and shampoos just three times a year.
The most extreme case is David Whitlock, the M.I.T.-trained chemical engineer who invented AO+. He has not showered for the past 12 years. He occasionally takes a sponge bath to wash away grime but trusts his skin's bacterial colony to do the rest. I met these men. I got close enough to shake their hands, engage in casual conversation and note that they in no way conveyed a sense of being 'unclean' in either the visual or olfactory sense."

It Doesn't Take Much to Eradicate Beneficial Bacteria

Among the benefits, Scott reports improvements in her complexion: softer, smoother skin, fewer breakouts, and smaller pores. Indeed, the cosmetics industry has already taken note. According to Audrey Gueniche, a project director in L'Oréal's research and innovation division, the skin microbiome "has revolutionized the way we study the skin and the results we look for," Scott writes. The company has already patented several bacterial treatments. There are also countless potential uses in the medical field. For example, there's a strong correlation between eczema flare-ups and an increased number of Staphylococcus aureus bacteria on the skin, which has scientists pondering the possibilities for treating the skin disorder with the appropriate skin bacteria.
"As my experiment drew to a close, I found myself reluctant to return to my old routine of daily shampooing and face treatments," Scott writes. "I asked AOBiome which of my products was the biggest threat to the 'good' bacteria on my skin. The answer was equivocal: Sodium lauryl sulfate, the first ingredient in many shampoos, may be the deadliest to N. eutropha, but nearly all common liquid cleansers remove at least some of the bacteria. Antibacterial soaps are most likely the worst culprits, but even soaps made with only vegetable oils or animal fats strip the skin of AOB.
...In the end, I tipped most of my products into the trash and purchased a basic soap and a fragrance-free shampoo with a short list of easily pronounceable ingredients. Then I enjoyed a very long shower, hoping my robust biofilm would hang on tight. One week after the end of the experiment, though, a final skin swab found almost no evidence of N. eutropha anywhere on my skin. It had taken me a month to coax a new colony of bacteria onto my body. It took me three showers to extirpate it."

Do You Really Need an Antiperspirant? My Recommendations

My personal recommendation when it comes to antiperspirants is to avoid them. It's been well over 40 years since I quit using antiperspirant or deodorant--even natural ones.  I noticed they would cause a yellow stain in the armpit of my shirts.  At first I thought the stain was due to my sweat but I quickly realized it was the chemicals in the antiperspirants. Even as a college student, I realized if the chemicals can destroy my clothes, it probably wasn't good for my body, so I elected to avoid it. I find that regularly washing my armpits with soap and making sure my diet is clean with minimal sugar and plenty of fermented vegetables are all that is needed to keep my armpit odor from being offensive.

About the only time I use soap on any body part other than my armpit or groin is when I am doing heavy woodchip work and am covered with woodchip dust. Most of that dust I simply spray off with a hose. If you still need further help, try a pinch of baking soda mixed into water as an effective all-day deodorant. A couple of years ago, I also noticed that if I sunbathe my armpits regularly, the UV light actually "sterilizes" the area. Even when I don't use soap and water, there's still no detectable odor at all. The drawback is that the effect is not long-lasting. The bacteria repopulate in a few days unless you expose your armpits to sunlight on a regular basis.

Soap tends to remove the protective sebum that is full of beneficial fats that your body uses to protect your skin. So sad and wasteful that so many regularly use soap to wash their entire skin surface and remove this protective covering and then pay money to apply lotions to restore what they just removed. The irony is that most of the lotions are far inferior to sebum and many, if not most, are loaded with toxic ingredients that ultimately will worsen your health.

Science is clearly showing that your body's microbiome plays a major role not just in your health, promoting or warding off skin diseases for example; it can also dramatically alter things like body odor. So, it's really in your best interest to work with your microbiome, rather than against it. Doing so could help you avoid all sorts of chemical toxins that most people slather on themselves without thinking twice about what it's doing to their microbiome, or their health