Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Nine Foods You Should Never Eat

Reposted from Dr. Mercola

http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2013/06/10/9-unhealthy-foods.aspx?utm_source=facebook.com&utm_medium=referral&utm_content=facebookmercola_ranart&utm_campaign=20170620_9-unhealthy-foods

By Dr. Mercola
Many foods have been heavily promoted as being healthy when they are nothing more than pernicious junk foods. In the featured article, Clean Plates1 founder Jared Koch shared his list of nine staple foods that are far less "good for you" than you've been led to believe.
Here, I expand on the selections that are mentioned in the featured article.

1. Canned Tomatoes

Many leading brands of canned foods contain BPA -- a toxic chemical linked to reproductive abnormalities, neurological effects, heightened risk of breast and prostate cancers, diabetes, heart disease and other serious health problems. According to Consumer Reports' testing, just a couple of servings of canned food can exceed the safety limits for daily BPA exposure for children.
High acidity — a prominent characteristic of tomatoes – causes BPA to leach into your food. To avoid this hazardous chemical, avoid canned foods entirely and stick to fresh fruits and vegetables, or switch over to brands that use glass containers instead—especially for acidic foods like tomatoes.

2. Processed Meats

As Koch warns, processed deli meats like salami, ham, and roast beef are typically made with meats from animals raised in confined animal feeding operations (CAFOs).
This means they're given growth hormones, antibiotics and other veterinary drugs, and raised in deplorable conditions that promote disease, these meats are also filled with sodium nitrite (a commonly used preservative and antimicrobial agent that also adds color and flavor) and other chemical flavorings and dyes.
Nitrites can be converted into nitrosamines in your body, which are potent cancer-causing chemicals. Research has linked nitrites to higher rates of colorectal, stomach and pancreatic cancer. But that's not all. Most processed deli meats also contain other cancer-promoting chemicals that are created during cooking. These include:
  • Heterocyclic Amines (HCAs) which are hazardous compounds created in meats and other foods that have been cooked at high temperatures. According to research, processed meats are clearly associated with an increased risk of stomach, colon and breast cancers.
  • Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons (PAHs): Many processed meats are smoked as part of the curing process, which causes PAHs to form. PAHs can also form when grilling. When fat drips onto the heat source, causing excess smoke, and the smoke surrounds your food, it can transfer cancer-causing PAHs to the meat.
  • Advanced Glycation End Products (AGEs): When food is cooked at high temperatures—including when it is pasteurized or sterilized—it increases the formation of AGEs in your food. AGEs build up in your body over time leading to oxidative stress, inflammation and an increased risk of heart disease, diabetes and kidney disease.
The truth is, processed meats are not a healthful choice for anyone and should be avoided entirely, according to a 2011 review of more than 7,000 clinical studies examining the connection between diet and cancer. The report was commissioned by The World Cancer Research Fund2 (WCRF) using money raised from the general public. Therefore the findings were not influenced by any vested interests, which makes it all the more reliable.
It's the biggest review of the evidence ever undertaken, and it confirms previous findings: Processed meats increase your risk of cancer, especially bowel cancer, and NO amount of processed meat is "safe." You're far better off ditching the deli meats and opting instead for fresh organically-raised grass-fed meats, or wild caught salmon.

3. Margarine

The unfortunate result of the low-fat diet craze has been the shunning of healthful fats such as butter, and public health has declined as a result of this folly. There are a myriad of unhealthy components to margarine and other butter impostors, including:
  • Trans fats: These unnatural fats in margarine, shortenings and spreads are formed during the process of hydrogenation, which turns liquid vegetable oils into a solid fat. Trans fats contribute to heart disease, cancer, bone problems, hormonal imbalance and skin disease; infertility, difficulties in pregnancy and problems with lactation; and low birth weight, growth problems and learning disabilities in children. A US government panel of scientists determined that man-made trans fats are unsafe at any level.
  • Free radicals: Free radicals and other toxic breakdown products are the result of high temperature industrial processing of vegetable oils. They contribute to numerous health problems, including cancer and heart disease.
  • Emulsifiers and preservatives: Numerous additives of questionable safety are added to margarines and spreads. Most vegetable shortening is stabilized with preservatives like BHT.
  • Hexane and other solvents: Used in the extraction process, these industrial chemicals can have toxic effects.
Good-old-fashioned butter, when made from grass-fed cows, is rich in a substance called conjugated linoleic acid (CLA). Much of the reason why butter is vilified is because it contains saturated fat. If you're still in the mindset that saturated fat is harmful for your health, then please read the Healthy Fats section of my Optimized Nutrition Plan to learn why saturated fat is actually good for you.

4. Vegetable Oils

Of all the destructive foods available to us, those made with heated vegetable oils are some of the worst. Make no mistake about it--vegetable oils are not the health food that you were lead to believe they were. This is largely due to the fact that they are highly processed, and when consumed in massive amounts, as they are by most Americans, they seriously distort the important omega-6 to omega-3 ratio. Ideally, this ratio is 1:1.
Anytime you cook a food, you run the risk of creating heat-induced damage. The oils you choose to cook with must be stable enough to resist chemical changes when heated to high temperatures, or you run the risk of damaging your health. One of the ways vegetable oils can inflict damage is by converting your good cholesterol into bad cholesterol—by oxidizing it. When you cook with polyunsaturated vegetable oils (such as canola, corn, and soy oils), oxidized cholesterol is introduced into your system.
As the oil is heated and mixed with oxygen, it goes rancid. Rancid oil is oxidized oil and should NOT be consumed—it leads directly to vascular disease. Trans-fats are introduced when these oils are hydrogenated, which increases your risk of chronic diseases like breast cancer and heart disease.
So what's the best oil to cook with?
Of all the available oils, coconut oil is the oil of choice for cooking because it is nearly a completely saturated fat, which means it is much less susceptible to heat damage. And coconut oil is one of the most unique and beneficial fats for your body. For more in-depth information about the many benefits of coconut oil, please see this special report. Olive oil, while certainly a healthful oil, is easily damaged by heat and is best reserved for drizzling cold over salad.

5. Microwave Popcorn

Perfluoroalkyls, which include perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), and perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS), are chemicals used to keep grease from leaking through fast food wrappers, are being ingested by people through their food and showing up as contaminants in blood. Microwave popcorn bags are lined with PFOA, and when they are heated the compound leaches onto the popcorn.
These chemicals are part of an expanding group of chemicals commonly referred to as "gender-bending" chemicals, because they can disrupt your endocrine system and affect your sex hormones. The EPA has ruled PFCs as "likely carcinogens," and has stated that PFOA "poses developmental and reproductive risks to humans." Researchers have also linked various PFCs to a range of other health dangers, such as:
  • Infertility -- A study published in the journal Human Reproduction3 found that both PFOA and PFOS (perfluorooctane sulfonate), dramatically increased the odds of infertility. PFOA was linked to a 60 to 154 percent increase in the chance of infertility.
  • Thyroid disease -- A 2010 study4 found that PFOA can damage your thyroid function. Individuals with the highest PFOA concentrations were more than twice as likely to report current thyroid disease, compared to those with the lowest PFOA concentrations. Your thyroid contains thyroglobulin protein, which binds to iodine to form hormones, which in turn influence essentially every organ, tissue and cell in your body. Thyroid hormones are also required for growth and development in children. Thyroid disease, if left untreated, can lead to heart disease, infertility, muscle weakness, and osteoporosis.
  • Cancer -- PFOA has been associated with tumors in at least four different organs in animal tests (liver, pancreas, testicles and mammary glands in rats), and has been associated with increases in prostate cancer in PFOA plant workers.
  • Immune system problems -- Several studies by scientists in Sweden indicate that PFCs have an adverse effect on your immune system. As described in a report on PFCs by the Environmental Working Group (EWG), PFOA was found to decrease all immune cell subpopulations studied, in the thymus and spleen, and caused immunosupression.
  • Increased LDL cholesterol levels – A 2010 study in the Archives of Pediatric & Adolescent Medicine5 found that children and teens with higher PFOA levels had higher levels of total cholesterol and LDL or "bad" cholesterol, while PFOS was associated with increased total cholesterol, including both LDL cholesterol and HDL or "good" cholesterol.
I strongly recommend avoiding any product you know containing these toxic compounds, particularly non-stick cookware, but also foods sold in grease-proof food packaging, such as fast food and microwave popcorn. Clearly, if you're eating fast food or junk food, PFCs from the wrapper may be the least of your problems, but I think it's still important to realize that not only are you not getting proper nutrition from the food itself, the wrappers may also add to your toxic burden.

6. Non-Organic Potatoes and Other Fresh Produce Known for High Pesticide Contamination

Your best bet is to buy only organic fruits and vegetables, as synthetic agricultural chemicals are not permissible under the USDA organic rules. That said, not all conventionally grown fruits and vegetables are subjected to the same amount of pesticide load. While Koch focuses on potatoes, as they tend to take up a lot of pesticides and other agricultural chemicals present in the soil, I would recommend reviewing the "Shopper's Guide to Pesticides in Produce"6 by the Environmental Working Group.
Of the 48 different fruit and vegetable categories tested by the EWG for the 2013 guide, the following 15 fruits and vegetables had the highest pesticide load, making them the most important to buy or grow organically:
Apples CeleryCherry tomatoes
CucumbersGrapesHot peppers
Nectarines (imported)Peaches Potatoes
Spinach StrawberriesSweet bell peppers
KaleCollard greensSummer squash
In contrast, the following foods were found to have the lowest residual pesticide load, making them the safest bet among conventionally grown vegetables. Note that a small amount of sweet corn and most Hawaiian papaya, although low in pesticides, are genetically engineered (GE). If you're unsure of whether the sweet corn or papaya is GE, I'd recommend opting for organic varieties:
Asparagus Avocado Cabbage
CantaloupeSweet corn (non-GMO)Eggplant
GrapefruitKiwifruitMango
MushroomsOnionsPapayas (non-GMO. Most Hawaiian papaya is GMO)
PineappleSweet peas (frozen)Sweet potatoes

7. Table Salt

Salt is essential for life—you cannot live without it. However, regular 'table salt' and the salt found in processed foods are NOT identical to the salt your body really needs. In fact, table salt has practically nothing in common with natural salt. One is health damaging, and the other is healing.
  • Processed salt is 98 percent sodium chloride, and the remaining two percent comprises man-made chemicals, such as moisture absorbents, and a little added iodine. These are dangerous chemicals like ferrocyanide and aluminosilicate. Some European countries, where water fluoridation is not practiced, also add fluoride to table salt
  • Natural salt is about 84 percent sodium chloride. The remaining 16 percent of natural salt consists of other naturally occurring minerals, including trace minerals like silicon, phosphorous and vanadium
Given that salt is absolutely essential to good health, I recommend switching to a pure, unrefined salt. My favorite is an ancient, all-natural sea salt from the Himalayas. Himalayan salt is completely pure, having spent many thousands of years maturing under extreme tectonic pressure, far away from impurities, so it isn't polluted with the heavy metals and industrial toxins of today. And it's hand-mined, hand-washed, and minimally processed. Himalayan salt is only 85 percent sodium chloride, the remaining 15 percent contains 84 trace minerals from our prehistoric seas. Unrefined natural salt is important to many biological processes, including:
  • Being a major component of your blood plasma, lymphatic fluid, extracellular fluid, and even amniotic fluid
  • Carrying nutrients into and out of your cells
  • Maintain and regulate blood pressure
  • Increasing the glial cells in your brain, which are responsible for creative thinking and long-term planning
  • Helping your brain communicate with your muscles, so that you can move on demand via sodium-potassium ion exchange
While natural unprocessed salt has many health benefits, that does not mean you should use it with impunity. Another important factor is the potassium to sodium ratio of your diet. Imbalance in this ratio can not only lead to hypertension (high blood pressure) and other health problems, including heart disease, memory decline, erectile dysfunction and more. The easiest way to avoid this imbalance is by avoiding processed foods, which are notoriously low in potassium while high in sodium. Instead, eat a diet of whole, ideally organically-grown foods to ensure optimal nutrient content. This type of diet will naturally provide much larger amounts of potassium in relation to sodium.

8. Soy Protein Isolate and Other Unfermented Soy Products

Sadly, most of what you have been led to believe by the media about soy is simply untrue. One of the worst problems with soy comes from the fact that 90 to 95 percent of soybeans grown in the US are genetically engineered (GE), and these are used to create soy protein isolate. Genetically engineered soybeans are designed to be "Roundup ready," which means they're engineered to withstand otherwise lethal doses of herbicide.
The active ingredient in Roundup herbicide is called glyphosate, which is responsible for the disruption of the delicate hormonal balance of the female reproductive cycle. What's more, glyphosate is toxic to the placenta, which is responsible for delivering vital nutrients from mother to child, and eliminating waste products. Once the placenta has been damaged or destroyed, the result can be miscarriage. In those children born to mothers who have been exposed to even a small amount of glyphosate, serious birth defects can result.
Glyphosate's mechanism of harm was only recently identified, and demonstrates how this chemical disrupts cellular function and induce many of our modern diseases, including autism. Soy protein isolate can be found in protein bars, meal replacement shakes, bottled fruit drinks, soups and sauces, meat analogs, baked goods, breakfast cereals and some dietary supplements.
Even if you are not a vegetarian and do not use soymilk or tofu, it is important to be a serious label reader. There are so many different names for soy additives, you could be bringing home a genetically modified soy-based product without even realizing it. Soy expert Dr. Kaayla Daniel offers a free Special Report7, "Where the Soys Are," on her Web site. It lists the many "aliases" that soy might be hiding under in ingredient lists -- words like "bouillon," "natural flavor" and "textured plant protein."
Besides soy protein isolate, ALL unfermented soy products are best avoided if you value your health. Thousands of studies have linked unfermented soy to malnutrition, digestive distress, immune-system breakdown, thyroid dysfunction, cognitive decline, reproductive disorders and infertility—even cancer and heart disease.
The only soy with health benefits is organic soy that has been properly fermented, and these are the only soy products I ever recommend consuming. After a long fermentation process, the phytate and "anti-nutrient" levels of soybeans are reduced, and their beneficial properties become available to your digestive system. To learn more, please see this previous article detailing the dangers of unfermented soy.

9. Artificial Sweeteners

Contrary to popular belief, studies have found that artificial sweeteners such as aspartame can stimulate your appetite, increase carbohydrate cravings, and stimulate fat storage and weight gain. In one of the most recent of such studies8, saccharin and aspartame were found to cause greater weight gain than sugar.
Aspartame is perhaps one of the most problematic. It is primarily made up of aspartic acid and phenylalanine. The phenylalanine has been synthetically modified to carry a methyl group, which provides the majority of the sweetness. That phenylalanine methyl bond, called a methyl ester, is very weak, which allows the methyl group on the phenylalanine to easily break off and form methanol.
You may have heard the claim that aspartame is harmless because methanol is also found in fruits and vegetables. However, in fruits and vegetables, the methanol is firmly bonded to pectin, allowing it to be safely passed through your digestive tract. Not so with the methanol created by aspartame; there it's not bonded to anything that can help eliminate it from your body.
Methanol acts as a Trojan horse; it's carried into susceptible tissues in your body, like your brain and bone marrow, where the alcohol dehydrogenase (ADH) enzyme converts it into formaldehyde, which wreaks havoc with sensitive proteins and DNA. All animals EXCEPT HUMANS have a protective mechanism that allows methanol to be broken down into harmless formic acid. This is why toxicology testing on animals is a flawed model. It doesn't fully apply to people.

Guidelines for Healthy Food

Whatever food you're looking to eat, whether organic or locally grown, from either your local supermarket or a farmer's market, the following are signs of a high-quality, healthy food. Most often, the best place to find these foods is from a sustainable agricultural group in your area. You can also review my free nutrition plan to get started on a healthy eating program today:
  • It's grown without pesticides and chemical fertilizers (organic foods fit this description, but so do some non-organic foods)
  • It's not genetically engineered
  • It contains no added growth hormones, antibiotics, or other drugs
  • It does not contain artificial anything, nor any preservatives
  • It is fresh (if you have to choose between wilted organic produce or fresh conventional produce, the latter may still be the better option as freshness is important for optimal nutrient content)
  • It was not grown in a factory farm
  • It is grown with the laws of nature in mind (meaning animals are fed their native diets, not a mix of grains and animal byproducts, and have free-range access to the outdoors)
  • It is grown in a sustainable way (using minimal amounts of water, protecting the soil from burnout, and turning animal wastes into natural fertilizers instead of environmental pollutants)

Monday, June 19, 2017

Scientists Blow the Lid off the Supposed Cancer and Sunscreen Myth

Reposted from The Hearty Soul

http://theheartysoul.com/sunlight-prevents-cancer/?t=DrM

According to a presentation at the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center (MSKCC), most cases of melanoma skin cancer are not related to sunlight exposure.

Does Sunscreen Cause Cancer?

According to his findings, most melanomas are not related to chronic sun exposure. Instead, Coit explains how melanomas are more dependant on gene mutations and a genetic history of the cancer.
Coit even explains how those who are constantly being exposed to the sun have a lesser risk of developing melanoma than those who are only occasionally exposed to it.

“Individuals exposed to intermittent or recreational sun exposure had much higher risk than those exposed to chronic occupational exposure,” the study, published in the HHS Public Access manuscripts, stated. “Melanoma risk can be substantially increased by inconsistent sun protection.”
Several other studies have also linked sunlight exposure to cancer-protective benefits.
One Swedish study that was published in the Journal of Internal Medicine found that non-smoking individuals who chronically avoided sun exposure had the same life expectancy as smokers who were regularly exposed to the sun.

Another study published in Environmental Health Perspectives also came to the conclusion that sunlight can protect against cancer.
Researchers found that vitamin D absorbed from the sun was able to enhance calcium digestion and metabolism. They also found that taking two to four times the recommended daily intake of both vitamin D and calcium resulted in a 77% reduction of cancer rates in test subjects, theoretically making sunlight exposure an effective method of preventing cancer.

This information comes in contrast to the various studies and promotions used by sunscreen companies which state that sunlight exposure directly correlates to cancer.

To find out more about ways to naturally lower your cancer risk, click here.

Saturday, June 17, 2017

The Lymphatic System: Detox with Gentle Herbal Methods

Reposted from SeleneRiverPress

https://www.seleneriverpress.com/lymphatic-system-detox-gentle-herbal-methods/

The lymphatic system is often associated with cancer, so I thought it would be good to alert my readers to some TLC (tender loving care) methods that may prevent some of the more serious disorders that come with toxic lymph glands.
 The importance of keeping the lymph glands healthy applies to just about all of us: men and women, the young, the middle aged, and the elderly. Yes, anyone can develop cancerous cells!  Without going into a deeper scientific understanding of this complex system, let’s nevertheless get a better grip on why it’s important to learn the basics. I also want to discuss some outstanding herbs, whole food supplements, and herbal recipes that will provide a gentle and continual method to keep the system healthy in the long term.
Understanding the lymphatic system is like trying to understand the immune system, which I discuss at length in my blog post “Healing the Immune System.” When visualizing the lymph system, you may imagine that it looks like a hollow tube that runs down our sides, under our arms, and past the breast area. However, at this point our brain seems to go blank, and we think to ourselves, “Huh? And then what?” To be fair, that mental visual is to some extent correct. Nevertheless, the lymphatic system is much more than a long, hollow tube running down the sides of our bodies!

 Where and What Are My Lymph Glands?

“The lymphatic system is a system of capillaries, vessels, nodes, and other organs that transport a fluid called lymph from the tissues as it returns to the bloodstream. The lymphatic tissue of these organs filters and cleans the lymph of any debris, abnormal cells, or pathogens. The lymphatic system also transports fatty acids from the intestines to the circulatory system.”
Excerpt from InnerBody.com
Personal note: We can therefore see from the diagram in the link above that the lymphatic system is a network of capillaries, blood vessels, and lymph nodes running throughout the entire body! Yes, our precious lymphatic system is an intricate part of the immune system. As such, it’s worthy of some very special care.

 Major Sites of Lymph Tissue

  • Lymph nodes: Lymph nodes are bean-sized collections of lymphocytes and other immune system cells throughout the body, including inside the chest, abdomen, and pelvis. They are connected by a system of lymphatic vessels.
  • Spleen: The spleen is an organ under the lower ribs on the left side of the body. The spleen makes lymphocytes and other immune system cells. It also stores healthy blood cells and filters out damaged blood cells, bacteria, and cell waste.
  • Bone marrow: The bone marrow is the spongy tissue inside certain bones. This is where new blood cells (including some lymphocytes) are made.
  • Thymus: The thymus is a small organ behind the upper part of the breastbone and in front of the heart. It’s important in the development of T lymphocytes.
  • Adenoids and tonsils: These are collections of lymph tissue in the back of the throat. They help make antibodies against germs that are breathed in or swallowed.
  • Digestive tract: The stomach, intestines, and many other organs also have lymph tissue.
    —The above bullet list is excerpted from Cancer.org.

What Causes Swollen Lymph Nodes?

Lymph nodes often swell in one location, particularly when an injury, infection, tumor, or other condition develops nearby. Identifying which lymph nodes are swollen can help you address the problem.
  • The glands on either side of the neck, under the jaw, or behind the ears commonly swell when you have a cold or sore throat. Glands can also swell following an injury, such as a cut or bite, near the gland or when a tumor or infection occurs in the mouth, head, or neck.
  • Glands in the armpit (axillary lymph nodes) may swell from an injury or infection to the arm or hand. A rare cause of axillary swelling may be breast cancer or lymphoma.
  • The lymph nodes in the groin (femoral or inguinal lymph nodes) may swell from an injury or infection in the foot, leg, groin, or genitals. In rare cases, testicular cancer, lymphoma, or melanoma may cause a lump in this area.
  • Glands above the collarbone (supraclavicular lymph nodes) may swell from an infection or tumor in the areas of the lungs, breasts, neck, or abdomen
    —The above bullet list is excerpted from WebMD.com.

Could Your Bra Be Killing You?

“Over and over, C.J. McDaniel has observed stagnant lymph vessels, re-routing lymph, lymph enlargement and swollen glands in her patients at exactly the areas where bra elastic tightens and squeezes. She says, ‘Without a doubt, we do see breast lymph congestion and connective tissue restrictions exactly where the bra line hits and above and below the breast including the armpits. Bras cross major lymph vessel pathways and may act like a tourniquet.’ This is especially true for large-breasted women, whose breasts are large enough to put considerable strain on the straps and bands, causing breast pain. It’s even more true for those women choosing to wear thin strapped bras and underwires.
“Breast tissue has poor lymph flow to begin with because the muscle is under the gland instead of on top of it. Why should you care?  Well, the lymph system is designed to keep the body’s fluids in balance and evacuate toxins, proteins, and excess fluid from the extra-cellular spaces.  In addition to trash collection, the lymph system transports hormones and immune cells throughout the body. It’s a vital piece of your immune system. And much of the lymph system is located in and around the chest and armpits (axillas).”

The Healing Power of Light

Reposted from Dr. Mercola

http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2015/03/22/healing-power-sunlight.aspx?utm_source=facebook.com&utm_medium=referral&utm_content=facebookmercola_ranart&utm_campaign=20170617_healing-power-sunlight

By Dr. Mercola
By now you're probably aware of the importance of vitamin D. Ideally, it's best to get it from the sun, because sunlight provides a number of other benefits as well, over and beyond vitamin D synthesis, that you simply cannot get from food or a supplement.
Alexander Wunsch is a German physician of holistic medicine and photobiology. He's also the CEO of Medical Light Consulting in Heidelberg, Germany. He believes, like I do, that the sun is a great healer.
He believes that it's the unity of biophysics and biochemistry that allows for life, and provides the human body with the essential ingredients for optimal health.
Earlier in his career, he invented a cranial electrotherapy stimulation (CES) device, which helps you to optimize your brain function and beneficially influence your nervous system and hormone system.
"It was called Brainman and was in the early '90s. [Then] I got interested in other frequency ranges; not only the brainwave frequencies but the frequencies we can capture with our ears and detect with our eyes," he says.
I got interested in the method called chromotherapy... which is the treatment of the body with colored light...
For example, green initiates a chain reaction in your system, which tends to balance your autonomous reactions. The blue light of the sky induces other specific reactions. I found out that I could use this quite successfully to alter biological functions."

The Importance of Heliotherapy for Optimal Health

After working with the visible part of the color spectrum, Alexander began investigating the effects of near-infrared, which is the frequency range coming after visible red, at the end of the rainbow color spectrum. Near-infrared is a very important radiation, and more than 40 percent of visible light is near-infrared.
"In nature, it's a very important spectral portion of the whole spectrum we are given by the sun," he says. "Finally, I got interested in the effects of ultraviolet light.
I knew from my medical studies that we have to be careful with ultraviolet light. I started to collect old textbooks on light therapy, light biology, or photobiology. What I learned from these books was quite amazing.
Most of them were written in the times before the era of antibiotics. The doctors, the physicians, had to be very diligent using sunlight and also using ultraviolet light sources for artificial application of ultraviolet radiation. Finally, I came to the conclusion that we are perfectly adapted to the radiation of our sun."
Heliotherapy, or sun therapy, is when you use sunlight directly without removing or altering any part of the light spectrum. Early examples of heliotherapy include the use of sunlight to treat tuberculosis prior to the discovery of antibiotics, and they did that quite successfully.
Sunlight was also used to treat rickets and other diseases associated with light deficiency (which we now know as vitamin D deficiency). According to Alexander humans are adapted to sunlight as a complex stimulus, and when you remove that stimulus (sunlight), you end up with problems.
"We need the stimulus at a certain dosage to keep our system running," he says. "Sunlight exposure is definitely much more than tanning. Tanning is just what you see, what is visible on your skin...
This is one very important part: if your skin is exposed to sunlight, you will experience some invisible changes in your circulatory system. The capillaries, for example, will be modified under the influence of sunlight.
The skin is closely linked to the autonomic nervous system (ANS). It's a kind of an external organ of the vegetative system in your body. For example, when you live under summer conditions, we need much more water in our system in order to produce enough sweat, in order to cool down our body.
This means that sunlight not only influences the skin, but it influences all the inner organs as well. It's a kind of concert, which is started by the stimulus of sunlight."

Vitamin D: A Chronobiological Stress Hormone

Wunsch views vitamin D as a kind of "seasonal stress hormone," explaining that chronobiological stress hormones such as adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH), and adrenaline-cortisol hormone blends are what enable you to get up in the morning, and help regulate the blood sugar concentration in your body, just to name a couple of their functions. 
"When you think about the different tasks between summer and winter, it's like reprogramming your heating system in your house, because in summer, the main focus is cooling down the system.
You have an intake of 1.5 kilowatts on the square meter, which means if you stay naked out in the sun, your body has to digest a lot of energy, which in the end, is transformed into thermal energy.
Cooling is the main task during the summertime and heating is the main task during winter time. This is linked to, for example, the circulatory system. It's linked to our digestive system and so on," he explains.
When we talk about sun exposure to optimize vitamin D production, we're really only looking at a small portion of the action spectrum of light, because ultraviolet B radiation is the only portion able to photosynthesize vitamin D in your skin.
"As a consequence, when you think vitamin D is the only benefit you can get from sunlight, you will automatically focus on the ultraviolet B radiation [while ignoring all other portions of the light spectrum]," he notes.
But the health effects and benefits of sunlight are not restricted to ultraviolet B. Swiss specialist Dr. Auguste Rollier, who has written text books on heliotherapy, emphasized that the composition of the different parts of the light spectrum are of crucial importance to achieve all of the benefits you can get from the sun.
"For example, when you look at the cellular effects of ultraviolet B and ultraviolet A, it really depends on the dose if the radiation is beneficial to your system, or if the radiation unfolds odd reactions or effects as well. What we can say is that ultraviolet radiation photosynthesizes vitamin D on one hand, but on the other hand, it's able to seriously damage cells. Ultraviolet B can alter the DNA structure. Ultraviolet A can produce and photosynthesize the reactive oxygen species in the tissue.
To cope with these side effects, your skin needs other parts in the spectrum. For example, the near-infrared and the red light, which we find in sunlight in a pretty large amount, provide metabolic power to the cells...I'm convinced that the full blend of specific wavelengths we have under the sun enables our body to react in the best way," Mr. Wunsch says.

The Drawbacks of Windows and Artificial Lighting

It's important to realize that when we're talking about sunlight exposure, the light spectrum you're exposed to when sitting by a window is not the same as the spectrum you're exposed to outdoors. Sunlight filtering through a window is actually more akin to poor quality artificial light, due to the fact that parts of the light spectrum are being filtered out. In order to be energy efficient, modern windows filter near-infrared light, and as mentioned, this range actually helps counteract some of the harmful effects of ultraviolet light.
"We face a common problem in the artificial light area and in the use of window glass. Both are factors which eliminate important parts of the spectrum," Wunsch says. "For that reason, we have to be careful with windows and artificial light. Let's say, you sit in your office and your eyes signal, "There is enough light around me." Your intrinsic hunger for light may be satisfied by the light you perceive through your eyes. But there is an expression called "biological darkness." This is what most of us might experience when we are indoors, sitting behind windows under artificial light sources."
One of the ways you can avoid that, when the weather cooperates, is to open up your windows to get unfiltered sunlight exposure. Alternatively, take a walk outside, wearing minimal clothing. Interestingly, and contrary to what most of us have been told elsewhere, Wunsch notes that the only artificial light source that provides natural full-spectrum light is the incandescent lamp, which is currently being phased out and replaced with energy-saving bulbs like LEDs.
"You have all the different wavelengths contained in the spectrum [in the incandescent bulb]. There is a cut in the emission by the glass tube in the short wavelength part, but in the visible part and in the near-infrared part, the incandescent lamp is pretty active. The incandescent lamp is the only artificial light source with a natural spectrum, with a natural spectral distribution," he says.
"I have a distinction regarding artificial light: 1) artificial light with natural spectrum represented by incandescent lamps and halogen lamps, and 2) artificial light with the synthetic spectrum, which produces a kind of light surrogate. It's a low-quality replacement of what your body expects from light. In nature, there is a natural alliance between luminance on one hand and warmth or heat on the other. All natural light sources represent this alliance of heat and luminosity. This is what your body expects and this is what your body needs...
All the spectra, which are produced in the way that you have light and heat in combination, lies between the color temperature of a candle with 2,000 kelvin and the color temperature of sunlight with 6,500 or 6,000 kelvin. In between we have the incandescent lamp with 2,700 kelvin, which gives you as well 100 percent or CRI 99 to 100 color rendition. This already demonstrates that our eye seems to be closely adapted to the natural way to produce light. This is thermal light...
Our eyes are very intelligent sensors, which make a kind of white balance automatically. When you measure or even when you look at colors under candlelight, and this is the only light source around, you will have a full-color rendering. You have the full-color rendering with incandescent lamp, halogen lamp, and you have it with sunlight as well. I measured it personally. I do not believe what I'm told. I always try to get direct proof. I measured it, and it's true. Our eye is able to adapt to the color temperature of the light as long as the light follows the natural laws, which are represented by the natural light sources – sunlight and fire."

Disregarding Biological Adaptations Tend to Promote Poor Health

Your body is adapted to very specific lighting conditions: bright unfiltered daylight during the day, and low level fire-light in the evening followed by darkness. This rhythm of light and dark is what drives your circadian clock. This is discussed in much greater depth in my interview with Dan Pardi. Modern life, however, has inverted these natural conditions, leading to light deficiency during the day, and light excess at night. To correct the situation, you need to make sure you receive a healthy dose of sunlight ideally around high noon, and at night, try to reduce the levels of light you're exposed to. I recommend getting an hour or more of sunlight during the middle of the day if you can, but 30 minutes may suffice.
To avoid skin damage from overexposure, start out with just a few minutes in early spring, and note how your skin reacts over the next two to four hours. If you notice your skin taking on a pinkish tint, stop the exposure and go inside. This is admittedly hard to do if you have darker skin, but you should still be able to notice a slight reddishness. Staying out beyond this phase is not going to provide you with any benefit, only potential skin damage, so do pay attention and avoid overexposure. That said, your body is intrinsically able to quickly adapt to sun exposure, Alexander says, provided you train it in a gradual manner.
"Start, for example, with five minutes. The next day you can expose yourself for 10 minutes. You just double the exposure time looking at your individual reaction in the afternoon or at night, because there is a delay in our skin reactions. There is a delay time of two to four hours... [Also, when] you go out into the sun, my recommendation would be to expose those parts of your body which normally are covered by clothes, and cover those parts of the body which normally are exposed. It means it's advisable to wear, for example, a hat with a large rim in order to protect your head and your face from overexposure."
On cloudy days, the benefit you will receive is clearly going to be reduced. However, Mr. Wunsch believes that being outside is a good idea regardless, because the heat or cold on your skin brings your skin into a reaction flow. He describes the skin is an organ that responds to environmental factors such as light and temperature, and these environmental factors allow your skin to cleanse and perform a number of adaptive functions. For example, your skin becomes thinner during the winter and thicker during the summer—provided you expose your skin in a diligent way to natural sunlight. So do go outside and expose yourself to whatever climate conditions you find yourself in.
I believe this is all sage advice worth applying. Because the more I study natural medicine, the simpler it becomes. The ultimate strategy is to replicate the practices of our ancient ancestors as closely as possible; by our lifestyle, our exposure to sun, our contact with the earth, the food that we eat and the water we drink. The further you veer off from your ancestral adaptations, exposing yourself to newer strategies and toxic chemicals, the more likely you are to contract disease, because your body is not adapted to those exposures.

Scientific Evidence of Biophotons

Dr. Fritz-Albert Popp was a pioneer of biophoton research, which is still widely disregarded in the US, despite the scientific evidence for their existence. As Mr. Wunsch notes, you can measure biophotons, and basic chemistry tells you that every chemical reaction goes along with an exchange of photonic energy. In the past, I suggested that elevated biophoton levels might be one of the benefits of eating raw food.  He agrees that biophotons are surrogate markers for the "liveliness" of food, adding:
"In each of single cell [of your body], in every second, you have around 100,000 chemical reactions going on in order to maintain the processes of life, the biological functions [of the cell]. There are some methods to measure if there is light coming from a living cell. In fact there is light coming from it. These biophotons, which are produced by biochemical reactions, you cannot say they do not exist because you can measure them.
But most scientists are unwilling to believe that these biophotons have anything to do with the regulation of the chemical processes. This is kind of strange because, as a scientist, you should not go into 'believe' or 'not believing' things. If you only look at biochemistry, you only look at 50 percent of the truth. The process of life is only understandable when you take biophysical and biochemical processes into account at a portion of 50 percent each. The biophysical part is fairly covered by the biophoton theory."

More Information

The majority of Alexander Wunsch's work is published in German, but his blog, PhotonBlog.de, is bilingual, and does contain some English material. His website, SpectroChrome.de, has both English and German language options, and provides basic information on how to use colored light in your home to improve your personal health. General awareness about the health benefits and importance of sunlight may still be lacking, but there are changes afoot. The United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) has declared 2015 The International Year of Light,1 for the purpose of raising public awareness about the importance of light on human health.
"We all should be aware of the fact that when the sun were to stop shining, nothing would be alive in two or three days on this planet," Wunsch says. "When we are eating, we are eating transformed light. We can prove this scientifically, as you know. I think even if we are not able to estimate the influence light has on our biological system as a whole, it starts on the single cell [level] and it ends in our consciousness, in our mental functions. Light is a symbol in our culture, which will always be our companion."

Monday, June 12, 2017

Neem Shows Promise in Prostate Cancer Treatment

Reposted from Dr. Mercola

http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2016/10/24/neem-prostate-cancer.aspx?utm_source=facebook.com&utm_medium=referral&utm_content=facebookmercola_ranart-ths&utm_campaign=20170612_neem-prostate-cancer

Prostate cancer is one of the most common cancers in men. According to the latest statistics, about 181,000 men get diagnosed with prostate cancer every year in the U.S.
However, while common, it has a survival rate of about 86 percent. Of those diagnosed, about 26,000 die from the disease each year.1
Unfortunately, conventional diagnostics and treatment options for prostate cancer leave much to be desired. Conventional diagnosis includes PSA testing and biopsy, which are prone to false positives and carry risks of side effects.
Treatment typically involves drugs, surgery and/or radiation, all of which are risky. There ARE safer, less invasive ways to diagnose and treat prostate cancer, however, so men would be wise to investigate their options.
Last year, I interviewed award-winning filmmaker and prostate cancer survivor Peter Starr on this topic, which is also covered in his latest documentary, "Surviving Prostate Cancer Without Surgery, Drugs or Radiation."2
A number of safe and all-natural strategies have been shown effective against prostate cancer, including nutritional ketosis, exercise and supplements. Most recently, researchers discovered a bioactive compound in the neem plant (Azadirachta indica) appears to have potent ability to quell prostate cancer.

Neem Has a Long History of Medicinal Use

Neem has been used in Ayurvedic medicine for thousands of years, and the ancient Vedas refer to neem as a tree "capable of curing every illness." It has well-established benefits for your skin, and is commonly used in personal care products.3
It also is used to ease gastrointestinal problems and strengthen immune function, and as both a spermicide and an insect repellent. As noted in the Biojournal of Science and Technology (BJST):4
"[Neem's] leaves, barks, fruits, seeds and roots contain compounds with proven anti-inflammatory, anti-pyretic, anti-histamine, anti-fungal, antibacterial, anti-ulcer, analgesic, anti-arrhythmic, anti-tubercular, anti-malarial, diuretic, spermicide, anti-arthritic, anti-protozoal, insect repellant, anti-feedant, anti-hormonal properties and anti-cancerous uses. …
From various research articles it can be presumed that [neem] has chemopreventive and chemotherapeutic potential against cancer models … [including] acting against the breast cancer cells, against gastrointestinal tract and associated cancers … [and] ovary cancer cells."

Neem May Be a Potent Ally Against Prostate Cancer

Now, animal research suggests nimbolide — a bioactive terpenoid compound found in neem — may shrink prostate tumors by as much as 70 percent, and suppress metastasis by about 50 percent when taken orally for three months.5,6,7,8 No noticeable side effects were observed.
According to lead researcher Gautam Sethi, Ph.D., associate professor of pharmacology at the Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine at the National University of Singapore:9
"Although the diverse anti-cancer effects of nimbolide have been reported in different cancer types, its potential effects on prostate cancer initiation and progression have not been demonstrated in scientific studies.
In this research, we have demonstrated that nimbolide can inhibit tumor cell viability — a cellular process that directly affects the ability of a cell to proliferate, grow, divide or repair damaged cell components — and induce programmed cell death in prostate cancer cells …
[A] direct target of nimbolide in prostate cancer is glutathione reductase, an enzyme which is responsible for maintaining the antioxidant system that regulates the STAT3 gene in the body.
The activation of the STAT3 gene has been reported to contribute to prostate tumor growth and metastasis. We have found that nimbolide can substantially inhibit STAT3 activation and thereby abrogating the growth and metastasis of prostate tumor."

Other Research Supporting Neem as an Anti-Cancer Aid

While exceptionally promising in rodents, nimbolide has not yet been tested in humans, so further research will be required. The team intends to continue investigating the compound to evaluate its efficacy in combination with commonly used prostate cancer drugs as well.
That said, consuming neem either in supplement or tea form will automatically provide nimbolide.
Even though the whole herb will provide only a small amount of nimbolide (compared to the straight compound given to the animals in this study), previous research has indeed found neem extract to be useful against prostate cancer. In 2006, researchers reported that:10
"[A]n ethanolic extract of neem has been shown to cause cell death of prostate cancer cells … by inducing apoptosis as evidenced by a dose-dependent increase in DNA fragmentation and a decrease in cell viability … So the neem extract could be potentially effective against prostate cancer … "

Lifestyle and Prostate Cancer

Treating and preventing prostate cancer (and other cancers) requires more than taking a supplement. Your diet is a vital part of the healing equation and exercise is another important metabolic optimizer. 
Previous research suggests losing weight can reduce your risk of prostate, breast and colon cancer by as much as 20 percent, and this effect is thought to be due to reductions in these proteins and other inflammatory compounds stored in fat cells.11
According to a 2011 study published in PLoS One,12 aggressive prostate cancer was associated with obesity.
Another cohort study published in Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention13 in 2013 found that men who were overweight or obese increased their risk of prostate cancer by 57 percent.
Here, the association between obesity and prostate cancer held for all cases — low-grade and high-grade, early stage and late, nonaggressive and aggressive prostate cancer.
When it comes to exercise, research suggests maintaining a high level of cardiorespiratory fitness (CRF) in middle age helps cut men's chances of dying from prostate cancer by nearly one-third (32 percent).14,15
Exercise reduction of cancer is most likely related to improving insulin receptor sensitivity and PGC 1-alpha that increases mitochondrial biogenesis.
Optimizing your vitamin D level, which is ideally done through sensible sun exposure, is another key ingredient for cancer prevention. Vitamin D deficiency has been linked to several common cancers, including cancers of the breast, colon and prostate.
Researchers at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine recently discovered that men diagnosed with aggressive prostate cancer tend to have vitamin D levels below 23 nanograms per milliliter (ng/ml). According to this study, vitamin D may actually be used as a biomarker to predict cancer:
"[B]ecause vitamin D is a biomarker for bone health and aggressiveness of other diseases, all men should check their levels, [lead investigator Dr. Adam] Murphy said. 'All men should be replenishing their vitamin D to normal levels,' Murphy said. 'It's smart preventive health care.'" 
You can also improve your benefit from vitamin D by increasing your healthy levels through sensible sun exposure and not by swallowing it.

Other Important Anti-Cancer Nutrients

In addition to vitamin D, vitamin K2 appears to be a noteworthy player in prostate cancer.
German doctors evaluating the effect of vitamins K1 and K2 on the development and treatment of prostate cancer found that those who consumed the greatest amount of K2 had a 63 percent reduced incidence of advanced prostate cancer.16,17
Vitamin K1 intake did not offer any prostate benefits. Other nutrients and foods shown to influence your prostate cancer risk include (but are not limited to) the following:
Foods rich in omega-3 fats have been shown to prevent prostate cancer from spreading.
One clinical study18 published in 2006 found that while omega-6 fats (the kind found in most vegetable oils) increased the spread of prostatic tumor cells into bone marrow, the spread of cancer cells was BLOCKED by omega-3 fats, suggesting that a diet rich in omega-3 fats could potentially inhibit the disease in men with early stage prostate cancer.
A more recent meta-analysis19 of available research, published in 2010, found that fish consumption was associated with a 63 percent reduction in prostate cancer-specific mortality, even though no association between fish consumption and a significant reduction in prostate cancer incidence could be found. This is related to the fact that toxin-free seafood is the ideal source of DHA, not omega-3 fats from plants that are poorly converted to DHA.
Sulforaphane found in cruciferous vegetables like broccoli has been shown to cause apoptosis (programmed cell death) in prostate cancer cells.20 Three servings of broccoli per week may reduce your risk of prostate cancer by more than 60 percent.21

Supplements That Support Prostate Health

Besides neem extract, other nutritional supplements that promote prostate health may be helpful in the prevention and/or treatment of prostate cancer, such as:
Saw palmetto. This herb is widely used to improve prostate health, and can help raise testosterone by inhibiting up-conversion to dihydrotestosterone (DHT) by as much as 40 percent.22 As explained by drug industry insider Rudi Moerck, Ph.D., (see hyperlink above), while many conventional experts believe elevated testosterone can promote prostate cancer, this risk appears more strongly correlated to the testosterone breakdown product DHT.
Testosterone levels in healthy men typically decline with age, which is one of the factors involved in prostate cancer, as your prostate gland requires testosterone to remain healthy. One doctor who is trying to re-educate people on this point is Harvard-based Dr. Abraham Morgentaler. He has meticulously demonstrated that restoring testosterone levels in aging men does not increase their risk of prostate cancer.
On the contrary, those with low testosterone are the ones at greater risk. For an interesting article that contains a lot more information about this, read Abraham Morgentaler's report "Destroying the Myth About Testosterone Replacement and Prostate Cancer."23
While the evidence is limited, a small number of laboratory studies suggest saw palmetto may be helpful against prostate cancer by targeting mitochondria, activating the apoptopic pathway and reducing inflammation.24,25
When choosing a saw palmetto supplement, be sure to look for an organic supercritical CO2 extract of saw palmetto oil, which is dark green in color. Since saw palmetto is a fat-soluble supplement, taking it with a small amount of healthy fat, such as coconut oil, MCT oil, avocado or eggs, will enhance the absorption of its nutrients.
A more recent meta-analysis of available research, published in 2010, found that fish consumption was associated with a 63 percent reduction in prostate cancer-specific mortality, even though no association between fish consumption and a significant reduction in prostate cancer incidence could be found. This is related to the fact that toxin-free seafood is the ideal source of DHA, not omega-3 fats from plants that are poorly converted to DHA.
Astaxanthin in combination with saw palmetto. Research suggests taking astaxanthin in combination with saw palmetto can provide significant synergistic benefits. One 2009 study found that an optimal dose of saw palmetto and astaxanthin decreased both DHT and estrogen while simultaneously increasing testosterone.26
Ashwagandha. This ancient Indian herb is known as an adaptogen, which can help boost stamina, endurance and sexual energy. Research published in 201027 found that men taking the herb Ashwagandha experienced a significant increase in testosterone levels. I recommend using only 100 percent organic Ashwagandha root, free of fillers, additives and excipients, to ensure quality.

Toxins May Increase Your Prostate Cancer Risk

Avoiding toxins is also important. As with breast cancer, many of the chemicals that are ubiquitous in our homes and environment have been shown to increase your risk of cancer. Some of the most common culprits are those that disrupt your endocrine function.
Based on a review of more than 1,300 studies, an Endocrine Society task force recently issued a new scientific statement28,29 on endocrine-disrupting chemicals, noting that everyone needs to take proactive steps to avoid them.
Similarly, a report30 co-produced by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP), issued in February 2014, suggests an outright ban on endocrine disrupting chemicals may be needed to protect the health of future generations.
Touted as the most comprehensive report on endocrine disrupting chemicals to date, it highlights a wide variety of health problems associated with exposure, including prostate cancer. Some of the most ubiquitous endocrine disrupters to watch out for include:
Atrazine.31 This herbicide is the second most commonly used agricultural chemical, and one of the most common water contaminants in the U.S.Atrazine is a potent endocrine disruptor, and studies show it can chemically castrate and feminize wildlife, and may induce both prostate and breast cancer.
Phthalates
Bisphenol-A and bisphenol-S (BPA and BPS). BPA, which mimics the hormone estrogen, has been linked to increased prostate size, decreased sperm production, hypospadias32 (penis deformation), erectile dysfunction33 and stimulation of prostate cancer cells.
Be aware your exposure may be far greater than you ever suspected. A 2011 study34 found that simply eating canned soup for five days increased study participants' urinary concentrations of BPA by more than 1,000 percent compared to eating freshly made soup.

Should You Get Screened for Prostate Cancer?

According to a report by the Institute of Medicine, approximately 30 percent of all medical procedures, tests and medications may be unnecessary.35 The American Academy of Family Physicians' (AAFP) "Choosing Wisely" campaign has also identified more than a dozen procedures that appear to have little value, and in many cases do more harm than good.36 Included in this list is routine screening for prostate cancer using a prostate-specific antigen (PSA) test.
The PSA test tends to result in over-diagnosis of prostate tumors, many of which are benign and do not actually require treatment. The U.S. spends $10 billion per year treating prostate cancer, but studies suggest the 30 million men who get screened annually for prostate cancer are actually put at risk due to the ridiculously high numbers of false positives.
According to the Prostate Cancer Foundation, 30 to 40 percent of men treated for prostate cancer actually have harmless tumors that would never have caused a problem.37 As noted by Dr. Jessica Herzstein, a preventive-medicine consultant and member of the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force, "You're going to die with them, not of them."
Estimates suggest 15 prostates must be removed in order to prevent just ONE prostate cancer death, and these surgical procedures carry serious side effects including impotence and incontinence.
More than half of older men have pathologic evidence of prostate cancer, so PSA screening makes little sense. The PSA is an indicator of inflammation, and inflammation can be an indicator of health problems besides prostatitis, benign prostatic hyperplasia or cancer. It's certainly not a definitive test, and should not be the sole basis for the decision to do a biopsy, as the biopsy itself can cause significant damage.
One alternative is to get an annual digital rectal exam. Your doctor can feel your prostate to find out whether it's hard, or whether there are noticeable nodules. Then, rather than getting a biopsy done right away, consider getting a 3D-color Doppler ultrasound done first. For more information, please see my previous article, "How to Survive Prostate Cancer Without Surgery, Drugs or Radiation."

To Prevent Cancer, Remember the Basics

Remember, your lifestyle can be more or less predictive of your cancer risk, so always start with the basics: Make sure you're eating a nutrient-dense, non-toxic diet, which basically means ditching processed foods and focusing your diet around whole, fresh foods, ideally organically grown to avoid toxic pesticides that can increase your cancer risk.
Avoid animal products from concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs), as these animals are routinely raised with hormones, antibiotics and glyphosate-contaminated genetically engineered (GE) grains. Processed foods in general are anathema to good health, but particularly when you're trying to prevent or heal cancer.
If a toxicology screen reveals high amounts of toxins in your body, a detoxification program would be in order. My absolute favorite form of detox is a full spectrum infrared sauna that has near-infrared frequencies and low EMF. Most infrared saunas have only far-infrared and are high in EMF. I believe selecting a sauna that keeps your head out of the heat is also important and I am working on developing one that meets this spec early next year.
You may also want to do a saliva panel to check your hormone levels. Low testosterone and/or excessive estrogen may be factors that need to be corrected. For low testosterone, you could start out with herbal supplements, high intensity exercise and/or intermittent fasting rather than jumping right into testosterone replacement therapy.
Also remember to check your vitamin D. For optimal health and cancer prevention, make sure you maintain a clinically relevant level of 40 to 60 ng/ml year-round. If you already have cancer, you may want to consider an even higher level.

You Can Prevent, and Beat, Prostate Cancer

Checking for insulin resistance goes along with your dietary intervention. If you're insulin resistant, you need to be particularly careful about cutting down on sugar, ideally limiting your total fructose consumption from all sources to less than 15 grams per day. Thankfully, nutritional ketosis is one of the best ways to improve your insulin receptor sensitivity.
If you are overweight, you can use fasting as a very powerful therapeutic tool and the best resource for that is Dr. Jason Fung's book "The Complete Guide to Fasting." I would strongly encourage you to listen to my recent interview with Fung.
Another powerful tool to maintain nutritional ketosis is intermittent fasting. Nutritional ketosis is not something you maintain for your entire life, but is part of a feast and famine cycling that allows your body to repair and regenerate while maintaining its ability to burn fat.
Once you've cleaned up your diet, adding certain herbal supplements such as saw palmetto (with or without astaxanthin) and Ashwagandha may help support your prostate health.
These are just some suggestions that can minimize your risk of prostate cancer and help treat it should you be diagnosed. There are many others. For example, increasing selenium and magnesium while decreasing calcium may reduce your prostate cancer risk, and simple strategies such as prostate massage can be a helpful adjunct to prostate cancer treatment.
The main take-home message is that you have options when it comes to prevention, diagnostics and treatment. Also remember that, while any cancer diagnosis is distressing, when it comes to prostate cancer, you likely do have time to pursue alternative routes of treatment. Rarely is it necessary to jump right into drugs, surgery or radiation. So try not to let fear rule your decision-making process.

Sunday, June 11, 2017

Mental Health May Depend on the Health of Your Gut Flora

Reposted from Dr. Mercola

http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2015/11/12/mental-health-gut-flora.aspx?utm_source=facebook.com&utm_medium=referral&utm_content=facebookmercola_ranart&utm_campaign=20170610_mental-health-gut-flora

By Dr. Mercola
When it comes to your mental health, your behavior, and even your mood, we tend to think that the brain is in charge. In reality, your gut may be calling the shots. In the 1800s and early 1900s, it was thought that wastes in your colon could produce infections that lead to depression and psychosis.
Widely accepted for a time, mental-health patients were often treated with colonic purges and bowel surgeries, but eventually this was regarded as quackery.
Today, research is bearing out what the scientists of yesteryear were already privy to – that your mental health is very much dependent on the microbes in your gut. As Scientific American reported:1
"Scientists are increasingly convinced that the vast assemblage of microfauna in our intestines may have a major impact on our state of mind."

Your Gut Is Intricately Connected to Your Brain

In addition to the brain in your head, embedded in the wall of your gut is your enteric nervous system (ENS), which works both independently of and in conjunction with the brain in your head.
Your ENS contains 500 million neurons and is thought to be largely responsible for your "gut instincts," responding to environmental threats and sending information to your brain that affects your well-being.
This communication between your "two brains" runs both ways and is the pathway for how foods affect your mood.
For example, fatty foods make you feel good because fatty acids are detected by cell receptors in the lining of your gut, which then send warm and fuzzy nerve signals to your brain.
However, this gut-brain connection is far more than just comfort food or butterflies in your stomach. According to Scientific American:2
"The gut-brain axis seems to be bidirectional—the brain acts on gastrointestinal and immune functions that help to shape the gut's microbial makeup, and gut microbes make neuroactive compounds, including neurotransmitters and metabolites that also act on the brain.
These interactions could occur in various ways: microbial compounds communicate via the vagus nerve, which connects the brain and the digestive tract, and microbially derived metabolites interact with the immune system, which maintains its own communication with the brain."

Germ-Free Mice Show the Importance of a Microbiome

So-called germ-free mice, which have no microbiome to speak of, have altered behavior and brain function. In a study by John Cryan from the University College Cork in Ireland, mice without microbes in their intestines are unable to recognize other mice around them.
He believes that microbes may communicate with the brain and help us be social, which in turn allows the microbes to spread to others.3 In addition, mice lacking gut bacteria have been found to engage in "high-risk behavior," and this altered behavior was accompanied by neurochemical changes in the mouse brain.4
When examining the animals' brains, the researchers discovered a number of genetic alterations in the germ-free mice. According to The Guardian:5
"Brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) was significantly up-regulated, and the 5HT1A serotonin receptor sub-type down-regulated, in the dentate gyrus of the hippocampus.
The gene encoding the NR2B subunit of the NMDA receptor was also down-regulated in the amygdala. All three genes have previously been implicated in emotion and anxiety-like behaviors.
BDNF is a growth factor that is essential for proper brain development, and a recent study showed that deleting the BDNF receptor TrkB alters the way in which newborn neurons integrate into hippocampal circuitry and increases anxiety-like behaviors in mice.
Serotonin receptors, which are distributed widely throughout the brain, are well known to be involved in mood, and compounds that activate the 5HT1A subtype also produce anxiety-like behaviors."
Further, researchers have discovered that the absence or presence of gut microorganisms during infancy permanently alters gene expression. Through gene profiling, they were able to discern that absence of gut bacteria altered genes and signaling pathways involved in learning, memory, and motor control.
This suggests that gut bacteria are closely tied to early brain development and subsequent behavior.
These behavioral changes could be reversed as long as the mice were exposed to normal microorganisms early in life. But once the germ-free mice had reached adulthood, colonizing them with bacteria did not influence their behavior.6

Psychobiotics: A New Treatment for Mental Health

Cryan believes beneficial microbes could one day be used to treat mental health problems in humans. He dubbed the compounds "psychobiotics." He told Scientific American:7
"That dietary treatments could be used as either adjunct or sole therapy for mood disorders is not beyond the realm of possibility."
Interesting research led by microbiologist Premsyl Bercik and gastroenterologist Stephen Collins also found that when the intestines of germ-free mice were colonized with bacteria from other mice, they took on aspects of the donor's personality.8
Other research shows that women who had high prolonged fevers during pregnancy are more likely to have children with autism.
The finding held up in mice, too, and the MIA (maternal immune activation) mice were also found to have leaky intestines and abnormal microbiomes – a common occurrence in children with autism as well.9
Of particular importance, when the MIA mice were treated with a microbe called bacteroides fragilis, their gut permeability was corrected and many of their behavioral symptoms went away. According to the researchers:10
"…these findings support a gut-microbiome-brain connection in a mouse model of ASD [autism spectrum disorder] and identify a potential probiotic therapy for GI and particular behavioral symptoms in human neurodevelopmental disorders."

How the GAPS Diet May Help Autism and More

Research by pioneers such as Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride also shows there's a profound dynamic interaction between your gut, your brain, and your immune system.
She has developed what might be one of the most profoundly important treatment strategies for preventing and treating autism, as well as a wide range of other neurological, psychological, and autoimmune disorders—all of which are heavily influenced by your gut health.
Her findings show that children born with severely damaged gut flora are at a significantly increased risk of vaccine damage, which may help explain why some children develop symptoms of autism after receiving one or more childhood vaccinations while others do not.
Autism isn't the only potential outcome in this case. GAPS may manifest as a conglomerate of symptoms that can fit the diagnosis of either autism, or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), attention deficit disorder (ADD), dyslexia, dyspraxia, or obsessive-compulsive disorder, just to name a few possibilities.
Digestive issues, asthma, allergies, skin problems, and autoimmune disorders are also common outgrowths of GAPS, as it can present itself either psychologically or physiologically. It's critically important here to understand that the gut flora your child acquires during vaginal birth is dependent on your—the mother's—gut flora. So if your microflora is abnormal, your child's will be as well. Hence, addressing your gut health prior to, and during pregnancy, is essential.
The GAPS diet consists of easily-digestible foods that are dense in nutrition, including fermented foods. In general, avoiding processed foods and foods high in sugar/fructose is an essential component of a gut-healthy diet, as sugar feeds harmful bacteria and throws your microflora off kilter. For more information, please see my interview with Dr. Campbell-McBride, below.

Probiotics Alter Brain Function in Adults

Much of the research on the gut-brain connection has been conducted on mice, because we don't have "germ-free" humans around… however, research has been conducted on adults with promising results. For instance, women who regularly ate yogurt containing beneficial bacteria had improved brain function compared to those who did not consume probiotics.11 Specifically, they had decreased activity in two brain regions that control central processing of emotion and sensation:
  • The insular cortex (insula), which plays a role in functions typically linked to emotion (including perception, motor control, self-awareness, cognitive functioning, and interpersonal experience) and the regulation of your body's homeostasis
  • The somatosensory cortex, which plays a role in your body's ability to interpret a wide variety of sensations
The fact that this study showed any improvement at all is remarkable, considering they used commercial yogurt preparations that are notoriously unhealthy -- loaded with artificial sweeteners, colors, flavorings, and sugar. Most importantly, the vast majority of commercial yogurts have clinically insignificant levels of beneficial bacteria. Clearly, you would be far better off making your own yogurt from raw milk—especially if you're seeking to address depression through dietary interventions. Keep in mind that some signs of depression aren't widely known or may even be counterintuitive. Following are some of the more subtle signs of depression to keep an eye out for:12
Aggression or hostilityIrritability
Withdrawing from those you loveExtreme fatigue (mental and physical)
Seeking out an affairLashing out or being very short-tempered
PerfectionismInability to concentrate
Extreme guiltSelf-medicating with alcohol, cigarettes, food, or other addictions

How to Help Your Gut Flora Flourish

Your gut bacteria are vulnerable to your diet and lifestyle and can be harmed by:
Antibiotics, unless absolutely necessary (and when you do, make sure to reseed your gut with fermented foods and/or a probiotic supplement) Conventionally raised meats and other animal products, as CAFO animals are routinely fed low-dose antibiotics, plus genetically engineered grains, which have also been implicated in the destruction of gut floraProcessed foods (as the excessive sugars, along with otherwise "dead" nutrients, feed pathogenic bacteria)
Chlorinated and/or fluoridated water, especially in a hot shower, which is worse than drinking it

Antibacterial soapAgricultural chemicals
In addition to avoiding the harmful aspects above, reseeding your gut with beneficial bacteria is essential for maintaining proper balance and achieving optimal physical and mental health. In light of this, here are my recommendations for optimizing your gut bacteria.
Fermented foods are the best route to optimal digestive health, as long as you eat the traditionally made, unpasteurized versions. Healthy choices include lassi (an Indian yoghurt drink, traditionally enjoyed before dinner), fermented grass-fed organic milk such as kefir, various pickled fermentations of cabbage, turnips, eggplant, cucumbers, onions, squash, and carrots, and natto (fermented soy).
Fermented vegetables, in particular, are an excellent way to supply beneficial bacteria back into our gut. As an added bonus, they can also a great source of vitamin K2 if you ferment your own using the proper starter culture. We had samples of high-quality, fermented organic vegetables made with our specific starter culture tested, and a typical serving (about two to three ounces) contained not only 10 trillion beneficial bacteria, but it also had 500 mcg of vitamin K2, which we now know is a vital co-nutrient to both vitamin D and calcium. Most high-quality probiotic supplements will only supply you with a fraction of the beneficial bacteria found in such homemade fermented veggies, so it's your most economical route to optimal gut
Probiotic supplement. Although I'm not a major proponent of taking many supplements (as I believe the majority of your nutrients need to come from food), probiotics is an exception if you don't eat fermented foods on a regular basis.