Thursday, June 30, 2016

How to Prevent Chlamydia

How to Prevent Chlamydia
| 2,613 views


There are two major ways to prevent yourself from becoming infected with chlamydia and from further spreading this disease to other people. The first is by making sure you don't have unprotected sex with your partner (whether it's vaginal, anal, or oral sex)1 given that chlamydia is a sexually transmitted infection (STI). 
This isn't to say that you should avoid having sexual intercourse altogether. Sexual intercourse is actually linked to a number of benefits such as: 
  • Better immunity and heart health
  • Improved sleep
  • Optimal bladder control (for women), 
  • Decreased blood pressure levels
  • Reduced pain and better stress relief
  • Lower risk for prostate cancer
  • Improved intimacy between partners
If you're sexually active, make sure that you and your partner use contraceptives such as condoms unless you're certain that both of you are not infected with chlamydia.2 Communication is key between the two of you — inform your partner of infections that you may currently have or are being treated for.
Furthermore, if you or your partner is already diagnosed with chlamydia, see to it that the treatment is completed first and that you or your partner is retested for the infection prior to having sex again.3
Being tested for chlamydia is the other way to help prevent spreading this STI. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that sexually active women aged 25 and under should be screened for chlamydia yearly.
Likewise, older women who have multiple sexual partners or other risk factors for chlamydia should be examined for this STI.4 A woman who was already diagnosed with chlamydia should be retested around three months after treatment.5
The CDC also advises that sexually active men (whether homosexual, bisexual, or men who have sex with men [MSM]) should have an annual screening not just for chlamydia, but also for other STIs.6 Young men should also think about being checked for chlamydia, especially when there's a rampant surge in chlamydia cases among people he may be acquainted with.7
Meanwhile, if you're a couple who plans on having a child, you should undergo tests for chlamydia and other STIs prior to conceiving. If you happen to have been diagnosed with chlamydia already, do not attempt to conceive until the disease has been treated.

A mother with chlamydia may infect her child during birth when the baby passes through the vaginal canal.8 This leads to instances of pneumonia and conjunctivitis or pink eye (this is the inflammation or swelling of the conjunctiva, a tissue located in your eye) in the newborn.9,10

You have Graves Disease and had Radioactive Iodine (RAI) or a Thyroidectomy. Now What?


You have Graves’ disease and had Radioactive Iodine (RAI) or a Thyroidectomy. Now What?
July 25, 2014 by Dana Trentini 48 Comments

Graves’ disease is an autoimmune disease that leads to overactivity of the thyroid gland (hyperthyroidism). I have Hypothyroid Mom readers struggling with hypothyroidism now since treatment for their Graves’ with radioactive iodine (RAI) or thyroidectomy. I welcome Barbara Lougheed, author of the book Tired Thyroid: From Hyper to Hypo to Healing – Breaking the TSH Rule.
Barbara has generously offered her book to 3 lucky readers! Don’t miss the GIVEAWAY below.
Written by Barbara Lougheed, founder of Tired Thyroid
First, you have to figure out what your optimal type and dose of thyroid hormone would be. There are three types of medications: levothyroxine or T4, liothyronine or T3, and natural desiccated thyroid. A normal thyroid gland secretes about 100 mcg of T4 and at least 6 mcg of T3 daily.1 For this reason, most people feel best when some form of T3 is part of their daily dose. Some Graves’ patients report an increase in their antibodies on desiccated thyroid, so these patients prefer synthetic T4 and T3 combinations. Other patients prefer desiccated thyroid. Finding your optimal dose boils down to trying out different combinations. I combine levothyroxine (generic T4) with desiccated thyroid to give me the T3 and T4 my own gland would have produced.
Second, you may still be dealing with Graves’ antibodies, which is a separate issue from not having any thyroid hormone production. The Graves’ antibodies are responsible for conditions like thyroid eye disease (TED) and disfiguring skin conditions (pretibial myxedema, acropachy). Destroying the thyroid gland may have no effect on the Graves’ antibodies, since white blood cells produce the antibodies, not the thyroid gland. In a few unfortunate patients, RAI may actually increase the antibodies and worsen or induce thyroid eye disease, which can be painful and disfiguring.2 Smokers are at higher risk for this complication.
Graves’ antibodies tend to decrease over time after a thyroidectomy or anti-thyroid drug therapy. However, antibodies usually increase significantly during the first three months after RAI, then slowly decrease, but levels can still remain above the reference range even after five years.3 In some patients, as the antibodies regress, their Thyroid Stimulating Hormone (TSH) returns.4 In fact, the return of TSH in a Graves’ patient on anti-thyroid drugs is a sign that the medication is working. Some Graves’ patients have achieved remission after years of therapy using anti-thyroid drugs combined with levothyroxine (modified block and replace therapy).5
Some who underwent RAI treatment suffer from some degree of damage to the stomach, salivary,6 lacrimal (tear) glands7 and other organs, because those organs also collect iodine. I did not suffer any severe side effects from the RAI, probably because of the low dose (8 mCi) given to me. Some people are given twice the dose (16 or more mCi), and others have had more than one RAI treatment, because their thyroid glands still produced hormone after the first treatment. I felt terribly hypothyroid 6 weeks after my RAI treatment, but after I’d stabilized on the 88 mcg dose of T4 that was prescribed to me, I don’t remember feeling any differently. However, I was probably hypo to some degree before the RAI. Hypothyroid Graves’ refers to the hypothyroid phase that often precedes the hyperthyroid phase of Graves’.8
Patients should take both T4 and T3 to replicate normal thyroid gland output, but the TSH level is not a good indicator of whether a dose is correct. Graves’ patients can have a TSH close to zero even if their T4 and T3 are low and below the reference range. A suppressed TSH usually indicates hyperthyroidism, or high thyroid levels, but Graves’ patients have TSH Receptor antibodies that cause non-stop stimulation of the TSH Receptor; this keeps their TSH suppressed even when T4 and/or T3 levels are dangerously low. In fact, Graves’ patients who’d had RAI reach TSH suppression on much lower T4 doses than thyroid cancer patients who’d had a thyroidectomy, or patients who simply had non-functioning glands.9 This may be due to Graves’ antibodies that are still present after RAI.
I have no TSH, but I believe this is due to the T3 I take, not active Graves’. TSH drops whenever anyone (not just Graves’ patients) takes any type of thyroid hormone manually, but it does not mean the patient is overmedicated. In fact, because TSH is so sensitive to supplemental thyroid hormone, anyone on T4 with a normal TSH probably has a Free T3 (FT3) level that is lower than that found in healthy people. (FT3 is the blood test that most correlates with symptoms.10) It is an either or proposition on T4 medication: if TSH is normal, then FT3 must be lower than that found in healthy controls. If FT3 is at a healthy level, then TSH must be lower than normal. Patients cannot have both FT3 and TSH at healthy levels on T4 replacement,11 and a decision to follow the TSH, especially in a Graves’ patient, leaves the patient undermedicated, sometimes heartbreakingly so. If a Graves’ patient still has active TSH Receptor antibodies (after a thyroidectomy or RAI), then their TSH will remain suppressed or “normal” even though they may have very little thyroid hormone in their body. With no source of thyroid hormone, they can slide into the horrors of myxedema (severe hypothyroid state–person is disabled). Doctors who refuse to prescribe enough thyroid hormone to these patients because of their suppressed or normal TSH have ruined patients’ lives.

About Barbara Lougheed 
Barbara Lougheed had RAI for Graves’ disease in 1993 and takes T4 with desiccated thyroid. She spent years researching thyroid physiology, looking for her optimal dose. She compiled this research into a book called Tired Thyroid: From Hyper to Hypo to Healing – Breaking the TSH Rule. Topics include treatment options for Graves’ patients, a case study of a Graves’ patient who achieved remission using LDN (low dose naltrexone) and tapazole (an anti-thyroid drug), studies that prove that dosing by TSH is illogical, and that T3 is essential because it enhances an enzyme that converts T4 to T3. She writes the TiredThyroid.com website and blog for all hypothyroid patients.


References:


  1. Bunevicius, Robertas, et al. “Thyroxine vs thyroxine plus triiodothyronine in treatment of hypothyroidism after thyroidectomy for Graves’ disease.” Endocrine 18.2 (2002): 129-133 
  2. Batra, Ruchika, et al. “Post-radioiodine De Novo Onset Graves’ Ophthalmopathy: Case Reports and a Review of the Literature.” Seminars in ophthalmology. No. 0. New York: Informa Healthcare USA, Inc., 2013 
  3. Laurberg, Peter, et al. “TSH-receptor autoimmunity in Graves’ disease after therapy with anti-thyroid drugs, surgery, or radioiodine: a 5-year prospective randomized study.” European Journal of Endocrinology 158.1 (2008): 69-75 
  4. Kabadi, Udaya M., and Bhartur N. Premachandra. “Serum thyrotropin in Graves’ disease: a more reliable index of circulating thyroid-stimulating immunoglobulin level than thyroid function?” Endocrine Practice 13.6 (2007): 615-619 
  5. Laurberg, Peter, et al. “Sustained control of Graves’ hyperthyroidism during long-term low-dose antithyroid drug therapy of patients with severe Graves’ orbitopathy.” Thyroid 21.9 (2011): 951-956 
  6. Raza, Hasan, et al. “Quantitative evaluation of salivary gland dysfunction after radioiodine therapy using salivary gland scintigraphy.” Nuclear medicine communications 27.6 (2006): 495-499 
  7. Aydogan, F., et al. “Effect of Radioactive Iodine Therapy on Lacrimal Gland Functions in Patients With Hyperthyroidism.” Clinical nuclear medicine (2013) 
  8. Starrenburg-Razenberg, A. J., et al. “Four patients with hypothyroid Graves’ disease.” Neth J Med 68.4 (2010): 178-80 
  9. Burmeister, L. A., et al. “Levothyroxine dose requirements for thyrotropin suppression in the treatment of differentiated thyroid cancer.” The Journal of clinical endocrinology and metabolism 75.2 (1992): 344-350 
  10. Baisier, W. V., J. Hertoghe, and W. Eeckhaut. “Thyroid insufficiency. Is TSH measurement the only diagnostic tool?” Journal of Nutritional and Environmental Medicine 10.2 (2000): 105-113 
  11. Ito, Mitsuru, et al. “TSH-suppressive doses of levothyroxine are required to achieve preoperative native serum triiodothyronine levels in patients who have undergone total thyroidectomy.” European Journal of Endocrinology 167.3 (2012): 373-378 

the trouble with Tinnitus

The Trouble With Tinnitus
June 30, 2016 | 20,140 views





By Dr. Mercola
Tinnitus, or chronic ringing in your ears, affects about 1 in 5 people. While it's typically not serious, it can significantly impact your quality of life, and it may get worse with age or be a symptom of an underlying condition, such as age-related hearing loss, ear injury or a circulatory system disorder.1
In the majority of cases, tinnitus is diagnosed after the age of 50 years, however, recent research has shown that tinnitus in youth is surprisingly common and on the rise, likely due to increased exposure to loud music and other environmental noise.2
Worse still, it may be a sign of permanent nerve damage that could predict future hearing impairment.
One-Quarter of Youth May Experience Tinnitus, Risk Hearing Loss Later in Life
In a study of 170 students between the ages of 11 and 17 years, researchers from McMaster University in Canada found "risky listening habits," including exposure to loud noise at parties or concerts, listening to music with ear buds and use of mobile phones excluding texting, were the norm.
More than half of the study participants reported experiencing tinnitus in the past, such as experiencing ringing in the ears for a day following a loud concert.
This is considered a warning sign; however, nearly 29 percent of the students were found to have already developed chronic tinnitus, as evidenced by a psychoacoustic examination conducted in a sound booth.3
Youth with and without tinnitus had a similar ability to hear, but those with tinnitus had significantly reduced tolerance for loud noise and tended to be more protective of their hearing.
Reduced sound level tolerance is a sign of damage to the auditory nerves because, when nerves used to process sound are damaged, it prompts brain cells to increase their sensitivity to noise, essentially making sounds seem louder than they are.
Prevention Is the Best Solution to Tinnitus
Auditory nerve injury that's associated with tinnitus and heightened sensitivity to loud noises cannot be detected by typical hearing tests, which is why it's sometimes called "hidden hearing loss." Further, such damage is permanent and tends to worsen over time, causing increasing hearing loss later in life.
Because there is no known cure, the best solution is prevention. Study author Larry Roberts, Ph.D., of McMaster University's Department of Psychology, Neuroscience and Behaviour has compared the emerging risks from loud noises to early warnings about smoking.
At this point, many people are unaware that listening to loud music via earbuds or at parties may be permanently damaging their hearing, particularly since they may still hear normally at this point in time.
If more people were aware of the risks, more would take steps to turn down the volume and give their ears a break. Roberts told Science Daily:4
"It's a growing problem and I think it's going to get worse … My personal view is that there is a major public health challenge coming down the road in terms of difficulties with hearing …
The levels of sound exposure that are quite commonplace in our environment, particularly among youth, appear to be sufficient to produce hidden cochlear injuries … The message is, 'Protect your ears.'"
Tinnitus Is Associated With Psychiatric Disorders and Stress
In adults, the majority of people with tinnitus (77 percent) may suffer from co-existing psychiatric disorders ranging from anxiety to personality disorders. Further, 62 percent of tinnitus patients may suffer from depressive disorders while 45 percent may have anxiety disorders.5
Further, there appears to be a close link between tinnitus and stress, such that stress may make tinnitus worse and vice versa. In one study, emotional exhaustion — or the feeling of being drained due to chronic stress — was a strong predictor of tinnitus severity.6
In addition, chronic stress may be as large a risk factor for developing tinnitus as exposure to occupational noise. Research has found that exposure to highly stressful situations and occupational noise each double the risk of tinnitus.7
Further, stress is especially influential in the transition from mild to severe tinnitus, with researchers concluding, "Stress management strategies should be included in hearing conservation programs, especially for individuals with mild tinnitus who report a high stress load."8
Also of note, many people with tinnitus first noticed the ringing in their ears during a stressful life event, such as divorce, being laid off, sickness in family members, accidents or surgery. As noted in the Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery, and Psychiatry (JNNP):9
"These events can heighten the brain's arousal, and the tinnitus may be noted cortically [by the cerebral cortex]. This interaction between reduced auditory sensation and brain compensation might explain why some people are very bothered by their tinnitus and others just adjust to it."
The researchers have suggested that tinnitus is not simply a condition affecting the auditory system but rather is neuropsychiatric in nature, which would explain why it often occurs alongside cognitive and behavioral symptoms.
Other Tinnitus Associations to Be Aware Of: Sleep, Trauma, Headaches and More
Tinnitus is often described as a symptom, not a disease in itself, and it may result from a variety of conditions. Traumatic brain injury (TBI) is one common cause, with nearly 40 percent of military personnel with TBI also experiencing tinnitus.10
Tinnitus is also associated with pain disorders and headaches, including migraines, and often leads to sleep difficulties such as delayed sleep, mid-sleep awakenings and chronic fatigue. In addition, tinnitus is also associated with cognitive deficits, including slowed cognitive processing speed and problems with attention.11
There are different types of tinnitus as well, and the variety may give clues as to its origin. For instance, tinnitus may occur in one or both ears and be described as:12
  • Throbbing or pulsing, which may be due to vascular tumors near the ear
  • High-pitched and continuous (this is most common)
  • Clicking, which may be related to muscle spasms in the roof of your mouth, which cause the Eustachian tube in your ear to open and close; temporomandibular joint (TMJ) issues may also cause a clicking sound in your ear
  • Buzzing or humming
Abnormal bone growth in the middle ear, known as otosclerosis, may also cause tinnitus, as can damage to your vestibulocochlear nerve, which transmits sound from your ear to your brain. Such damage may occur from acoustic neuroma tumor or drug toxicity, for instance.

Additionally, certain medications, including certain cancer drugs, sedatives, and anti-inflammatories like ibuprophen and aspirin may also trigger tinnitus.  

If this condition is causing you serious emotional or physical distress, seek professional help. In many cases, however, natural interventions such as those described below may help.  
Effective Tinnitus Treatments
A slew of pharmaceuticals, including antidepressants, anxiety drugs, mood stabilizers and anticonvulsants, have been used to treat tinnitus.  A meta-analysis of a range of tinnitus management strategies revealed only antidepressants had a possible benefit, but even that study could not conclude that antidepressants were the answer.13
Considering their risks, and the fact that some antidepressants may cause ringing in the ears, non-drug options present the best course of action — and of these there are many.14
In many cases natural interventions, including the following, may help:
Cognitive behavioral therapy: which has been shown to improve quality of life in people with tinnitus.15 Even internet-based guided CBT has been shown to effectively manage tinnitus.16
Acupuncture: which was found to improve tinnitus severity and patients' quality of life.17
Nutritional interventions, herbal remedies and melatonin: specifically, zinc deficiency and vitamin B12 deficiency may be associated with tinnitus.18,19 Herbal remedies, including Japanese cornel, dogwood, bayberry, hawthorn leaf, ginkgo and black cohosh may also be useful.20
In animal studies, ginkgo extract led to significant improvement in tinnitus, including complete relief in some cases.21 Melatonin also shows promise, and in one study melatonin supplementation led to a significant decrease in tinnitus intensity and improved sleep quality in patients with chronic tinnitus.22
Organic black coffee: research has shown that women who consumed higher amounts of caffeine (mostly in the form of coffee) were less likely to have tinnitus.23
Specifically, women who consumed less than 150 milligrams of caffeine a day (the amount in about 12 ounces of coffee) were 15 percent more likely to develop tinnitus than those who consumed 450 milligrams to 599 milligrams.24 The researchers weren't sure why caffeine may reduce tinnitus risk, although past research has shown it has a direct effect on the inner ear or may be involved through its role in stimulating your central nervous system.
Stress management: including exercise, relaxation exercises and the Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT), is important for tinnitus treatment and prevention.
Simple Home Remedies May Provide Relief
If tinnitus is interfering with your quality of life, home remedies may help to relieve your symptoms (and if not, there's no harm done in trying). Organic Facts compiled several examples worth considering:25
Warm salt pillow: fill a fabric bag with warm salt. Lie down on the pillow and alternate each ear on the bag. Reheat the salt as necessary and repeat several times a day.
Foot baths: alternate your feet in hot and cold foot baths. This may dilate your blood vessels and stimulate blood flow toward your head, helping to relieve tinnitus symptoms.
Garlic oil: blend six cloves of fresh garlic with 1 cup of olive oil (the garlic should be finely minced in the process). Let the mixture steep for a week then strain out the garlic. Apply a few drops of the oil in each ear.
Music: soft soothing music, white noise, nature sounds or even humming to yourself may help relieve tinnitus.
Stimulate your little toe: use a toothpick to gently stimulate the edge of your little toe near the toenail. This should result in a tingling sensation near the top of your toe. Doing this once a day may relieve tinnitus symptoms.
Ear drumming: gently drum on each ear using your fingertips for two to three minutes twice a day to help relieve ringing.
Jawbone massage: massage the hollow and top areas of your jawbone behind your earlobes using coconut oil or sesame oil. You can also apply a hot compress to this neck area for relief.

How to Protect Your Ears From Loud Noise Exposures
While there are many causes of tinnitus, loud noise exposure is a primary culprit, especially among youth. It's far easier to prevent related damage to your ears than it is to treat it. The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends teens and young people take the following steps to protect their hearing and avoid hearing loss (although the advice applies to people of all ages):

Turn down the volume on personal audio devices
Try a decibel meter app for your smartphone, which will flash a warning if the volume is turned up to a potentially damaging level
Wear earplugs when you visit noisy venues (or when using loud equipment like lawnmowers or leaf blowers)
Use carefully fitted noise-cancelling earphones/headphones, which may allow you to listen comfortably at a lower volume
Limit the amount of time you spend engaged in noisy activities
Take regular listening breaks when using personal audio devices
Restrict the daily use of personal audio devices to less than one hour

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

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Eyebright Improves Eyesight Even in People older than 70 years


This Herb Improves Eyesight Even in People Older Than 70 Years. Solves Problems With the Eyes, Vision and Eye Pressure!
June 29, 2016
2016-06-29T09:04:55+00:00
Hildamus is a researcher who was able to improve vision even in those people who are older than 70 or 80 years.Eyebright is still available and helpful remedy for those one who are having problems wth struggling with vision and eye diseases,no matter if it appears due to ageing or it is just infection.
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  • Composition and healing properties of the eyebright
    Vitamin C,Glycoside rinantin,essential oil,Eufrastan acid and bitter substances are contained in eyebright.But the alternative medicine has also recognized eyesight as a excellent remedy for people who are having eye infections,destroying viruses,accelerating the healing and bacteria in their eyes.
    Here is what eyebright can help with:
    • Eye infection
    • Inflammation of tear ducts
    • Infection of the eyes
    • Iritis
    • Inflammation of the eyelid
    • Dry eyes
    • Eye fatigue
    • Irritation as a result f prolonged computer use
    • Short-sightedness
    • Inflammation of the cornea
    Improve your eyesight with tea and compresses
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    If you notice any eye-related problems use a plant’s fresh juice or a dry variant.Fresh eyebright juice is also a natural substitut for eye drops which you just need to dilute it with distilled water and 2 drops per eye.
    Mix 2 dl of boiling water and half a teaspoon of dry eyebright material and then leave it to stay for 3-5 minutes.Needless to say that the dry variant can be used in order to prepare tea that can rinse your eye.With this mxture you should rinse your eyes 2 or 3 times per day.
    Compress for treating sty
    You have to pour 200 ml of boiling water over 3 tablespoons of dry eyebright material and then let it to stay for about 10 minutes.After this just wrap the strained eyebright in gauze and place it on the stye.Leave it to stay or 5 minutes because after 5 minutes tha warmth of the compress will act therapeutically and will boost the healing process.
    Tea – helps to improve eyesight
    Pout 2 dl of boiling water over 3 tablespoons of fry eyebright and leave them for about 15 minutes.
    3 times a day drnk a cup of tea(drink it unsweetened).
    Treating other ailments
    Eyebright is also very helpul with other health problems beside eye-related ailments.Bronchitis,rhinitis and flu can also be treated.
    Eyebright can relieve stomach pain and digestive problems.Despite this it can also treat fever allergy and it can reduce eye burning,watering and redness in the eyes.It is also very effective,so it can help you with insomnia,headaches and anxiety.Nicotine,alcohol and poisoning can e treated.

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    Antibacterial Clothing

    Antibacterial clothing – a fashionable threat to human health
    29 December, 2011

    By Pat Thomas
    NYR Natural News
    Natural Health NewsFabrics treated with antibacterial chemicals are leeching these toxic substances into the environment every time they are washed, according to Swedish scientists.
    As reported earlier in the year on this site, the Swedish government has developed national plan for a toxin free everyday environment and this latest study is part of its commitment to understand how chemicals spread throughout the environment and what their effects on human health are.
    The scientists at the Swedish Chemicals Agency analysed 30 representative items of clothing treated with three common antibacterial treatments:  silver, trichlocarban and triclosan. Textiles are increasingly impregnated with these substances to reduce bacterial growth and thus control odour.
    Down the drain
    Levels of these chemicals were measured before washing, and again after 3 and 10 washes. Silver was found in 16 of the 30 samples before washing. A combination of triclosan and trichlocarban was found in two samples.
    Washing rapidly removed these chemicals in all the clothes. In the case of triclosan and trichlocarban more than half of the original content was washed out after 10 washes. With silver both the original concentration and washed-out content varied enormously but in many of the clothes, half of the silver had been washed after just 3 washes.
    The scientists noted that although there is very little research to guide us about the direct health risks of wearing clothing impregnated with these substances, washing these chemicals into the environment does risk both human health and that of other living organisms and ecosystems.
    Silver, for example, doesn’t degrade at all (and levels in the environment have been rising since it became a common fabric treatment). Trichlocarban and triclosan degrade very slowly.
    Washed from our clothes these substances contaminate the sludge from treatment plants. The sludge is then spread on farmland as fertiliser, taken up by crops and eventually ends up in animal feed and food consumed by humans.
    An environmental nightmare
    The authors of the study expressed concern about the increasing use of what are essentially pesticides in products we use every day.
    Silver in ionic form, triclosan and trichlorcarban are, for instance, very toxic to aquatic organisms. Previous studies in 2008 and 2009 found that washing textiles treated with nanosilver released substantial amounts of the substance into waterways where it could potentially poison fish and other aquatic organisms.
    There is evidence that nanosilver can cross the egg membranes and move into the fish embryos, causing malformations even death to small fish at various stages of development.
    Triclosan, and its related compound trichlorcarban, is an hormone disruptor, that can affect male and female reproductive hormones and possibly fetal development, and also shown to alter thyroid function.
    In the US the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) also has found that triclosan is present in the urine of 75% of the US population, and that concentrations have increased by 42% since 2004.
    Children at risk
    In addition to the environmental aspects there is also concern for direct exposure of young children who might suck on biocide-treated clothes. Newborn babies already have more than 200 contaminants in their blood when they are born. These are substances have been transferred from their mothers, who, in turn, have been exposed through substances in their food and drink, the air they breathe and what is absorbed through the skin.
    There are also concerns that biocide use is contributing to the development of resistant bacteria and the development of cross-resistance to antibiotics, which in turn can lead to intractable diseases. Resistance to antibiotics is a serious global problem.
    Awaiting legislation
    Most governments have been slow to deal with this threat.
    In Europe according to the Environmental Code, the REACH chemicals legislation and the Product Safety Directive, manufacturers are responsible for ensuring that products they sell do not present risks to humans and the environment.
    Under a new EU Biocidal Products Regulation, which comes into force in September 2013, it will no longer permitted to release biocidal products on the EU market unless the active ingredients are approved for the intended application.
    For example, different silver compounds must be approved for use to protect against smell in textile fibres. This requirement will also apply to articles imported from countries outside the EU.
    If a manufacturer makes an ‘antibacterial’ claim, the article will have to be labelled with the name of the active substance used and the effectiveness of the biocidal treatment will need to be documented.
    In the US there is as yet no legislation to limit the use of these substances in commercial products. This in spite of the fact that scores of public health and advocacy groups, local state departments of health and the environment, as well as municipal and national wastewater treatment agencies submitted are calling for an end to triclosan in consumer products.
    Earlier this year over 10,000 individuals contacted the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), via email and docketed comments, in support of a petition to ban triclosan instigated by environmental  groups Beyond Pesticides and Food and Water Watch.
    Don’t buy it
    Even though they have become increasingly popular, with good hygiene, there is no real need for antibacterial textiles, which are used or things like sock, shoes, sports clothing and children’s clothes. What is more, because these chemicals wash out quickly there is a question mark over just how effective they are over the long-term.

    Worryingly not all fabrics are explicit about whether they have been treated or what they have been treated with. If a garment claims to be ‘anti-odour’, ‘for lasting freshness’, ‘hygienic’ or ‘antibacterial’, however, the best advice is to assume it has been treated with an antibacterial substance and look for untreated clothing instead.

    High Lead levels in many foods, supplements, spices and pet foods

    Food Forensics exposes alarmingly high lead levels in breakfast cereals, supplements, spices and pet treats
    Tuesday, June 28, 2016 by: Daniel Barker
    Tags: Food Forensics, Mike Adams, heavy metals
    ========================

    ========================

    (NaturalNews) Dangerous levels of lead are present in many commonly-purchased foods, according to Natural News founder/editor Mike Adams' groundbreaking new book, Food Forensics, which will become available at all major booksellers on July 26.

    In Food Forensics: The Hidden Toxins Lurking in Your Food and How to Avoid Them for Lifelong Health, you'll find the results of Mike "The Health Ranger" Adams' independent laboratory tests on the foods we eat, along with lots of other valuable information on the toxins found therein – and most importantly, how to reduce your exposure to these dangerous contaminants.

    When the Health Ranger tested a number of common foods for lead contamination at his independent, internationally-accredited CWC Labs, he found alarmingly high levels of lead in many of the foods sampled – including those that were organically-raised.

    Lead confirmed in more than 80 percent of food samples
    An excerpt from Food Forensics:

    "Too many times, foodstuffs purchased at grocery stores across the country have later been found to be tainted with troubling levels of lead, though not enough testing is done to prevent them from entering into the food supply. These high levels of lead are not limited to conventional or imported foods but also appear in foods raised organically.

    "The Environmental Law Foundation commissioned a study in 2010 that sampled nearly 150 popular children's food products, including fruit juices, fruit cocktail mixes, and even processed baby food. Foods tested were chosen from both conventional and organic sources. Using an EPA-certified lab in Berkeley, California, to test the nearly 400 samples taken, it was determined that an astounding 125 out of 146 foods contained disconcerting amounts of lead.

    "The results were so damning that the FDA was compelled to respond, although the organization only tested thirteen samples of similar foods for comparison. The agency claimed that, while lead was found in the items, it was in parts per billion, and thus, was less than the 0.1 parts per million, or 100 ppb, the agency had set for candy in children.

    "My own testing of foods for lead has found alarming results, including:

    * 500 ppb lead in cacao superfoods
    * Over 500 ppb lead in certified organic rice protein
    * Over 11 ppm (11,000 ppb) lead in organic mangosteen powder
    * Over 300 ppb lead in turmeric supplements
    * Over 400 ppb lead in green superfood powders
    * Over 800 ppb in sea vegetable superfoods
    * Over 150 ppb in healthy breakfast cereals
    * Over 300 ppb in cilantro powder
    * Over 1,000 ppb in chopped clams
    * Over 300 ppb in maca root powder
    * Over 100 ppb in some spirulina powders (from India)
    * Over 500 ppb in common cooking spices
    * Over 1,800 ppb in popular pet treats (made in China)
    * Over 8,000 ppb in calcium supplements
    * Over 600 ppb in some trace mineral supplements
    * Over 7,000 ppb in citrus tree fertilizers
    * Over 900 ppb in chlorella supplements grown in China (other samples of chlorella
    were far cleaner)

    "These are extraordinary results the FDA seems to pretend do not exist. Yet these results were derived from off-the-shelf purchases of foods and supplements consumed by people every single day."

    As the Health Rangers' laboratory tests revealed, the actual levels of lead contamination in many foods are far higher than the FDA wants to admit. Exposure to lead can lead to serious health problems, including dementia, learning disabilities, seizures and many other illnesses.

    Join the Food Revolution movement!
    These tests illustrate why the publication of Food Forensics is so important: It's part of the push for a "Food Revolution" that demands "food transparency, honest ingredients and clean food!" As the Health Ranger has said: "This isn't a BOOK ... it's a MOVEMENT!"

    These are vital issues that concern everyone – the quality of the food that you eat is directly related to your health, longevity and general well-being, and you have the right to know exactly what is in it.

    When you purchase Food Forensics you become part of the Food Revolution. You'll be supporting further research, while gaining valuable knowledge on how to protect yourself and your family from exposure to heavy metals and other hidden toxins found in food.

    For more information, visit FoodForensics.com.

    Sources:






    David Godman - 2nd Buddha at the Gas Pump Interview

    Monday, June 27, 2016

    Your Most Important Blood Test Hemoglobin A1c


    Your Most Important Blood Test
    .entry-header
    This week, the British Journal of Cancer published an incredibly important report that found a strong relationship between a simple blood test and the risk for various forms of cancer. The study found that the common blood test used by diabetics to measure their average blood sugar, A1c, was strongly predictive in terms of cancer development.
    For those of you who are not diabetic, you may not be familiar with this simple test that has profound health implications well beyond diabetes. Basically, the A1c test measures the amount of glycation that the protein hemoglobin has undergone. Glycation simply means that sugar has become bonded to a protein, in this case hemoglobin, and this is a relatively slow process. Hence, it’s a way to get a sense as to how high the blood sugar has been, in this case over a 3-4 month period of time, and this is why it’s so helpful for diabetics.
    But with this new report, we now understand that having elevated A1c translates to risk for cancer, and as I’ve explained in Grain Brain, it is also a powerful indicator of risk for developing dementia. If you look at the chart on page 117 of the book, reproduced below, you’ll note that A1c is also directly related to the rate at which the brain shrinks on an annual basis.

    Think of it, this one simple blood test can give you incredibly important information about cancer risk, risk for dementia, and even risk for shrinkage of your brain!
    Most commonly people are told that having an A1c of 5.6 – 5.8 should be considered normal, but when you look at the graph above, these levels already put you in the second highest category for brain shrinkage! I believe that, based on this information, we should strive to keep our A1c at 5.2 or even lower. The way to accomplish this is simply by reducing your consumption of carbohydrates and sugar. Who knew!
    Why the process of glycation is such a bad player for health likely stems from the fact that when proteins are glycated (bound to sugar), it dramatically increases the production of damaging chemicals called free radicals. Free radicals end up damaging our protein, fat and even our DNA.  In addition, glycation of proteins dramatically increases the chemical mediators of inflammation, and inflammation is the pivotal player in so many issues including diabetes, heart disease, cancer, Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, multiple sclerosis, asthma and arthritis, just to name a few.
    Beyond keeping your carbs low, there are several “anti-glycating” supplements that are helpful to reduce this process. These include alpha-lipoic acid, the omega-3 DHA, and a form of thiamine called benfotiamine.
    .entry-content
    RELATED TOPICS

    Nutrients or Chemicals? Informational Differences in Biological Systems




    Posted on:
    Sunday, June 26th 2016 at 10:30 am
    Written By: Sayer Ji, Founder
    This article is copyrighted by GreenMedInfo LLC, 2016

    Concerning research reveals that the infant brain is capable of absorbing and accumulating synthetic vitamin E. This petrochemical derivative may have significant downstream adverse effects on gene expression, immune function, and even neurodevelopment.
    A provocative new study published in the British Journal of Nutrition titled, “The naturally occurring α-tocopherol stereoisomer RRR-α-tocopherol is predominant in the human infant brain,” has found that the infant brain preferentially absorbs and accumulates the natural form of vitamin E over the synthetic form, but it does so incompletely.  
    The researchers obtained their findings analyzing both the total α-tocopherol (RRR-α-tocopherol/natural) and α-tocopherol stereoisomers (8 different synthetic molecules) in the frontal cortex (FC), hippocampus (HPC) and visual cortex (VC) of infants (n 36) who died of sudden infant death syndrome or other conditions. They summarized their results as follows:
    “These findings reveal that RRR-α-tocopherol is the predominant stereoisomer in infant brain. These data also indicate that the infant brain discriminates against the synthetic 2R stereoisomers, but is unable to do so completely. On the basis of these findings, investigation into the impact of α-tocopherol stereoisomers on neurodevelopment is warranted.”
    With the near universal prevalence of synthetic vitamin E as the predominant form in both breast milk (presumably via maternal supplementation) and infant formula, the discovery of synthetic vitamin E within the infant brain while not surprising is concerning. Why?  
    Clearly, if the infant brain discriminates against synthetic vitamin E, it should not be considered biologically equivalent to natural vitamin E; which is still a common assumption, and which justifies the use of this petrochemically-derived set of 8 molecular analogs in tens of thousands of consumer products today.
    The authors address the difference here:                                          
    We believe this finding raises important questions, as biological discrimination often reflects biological importance. Emerging evidence suggests that RRR-α-tocopherol and all-rac-α-tocopherol may have differential cellular effects mediated through gene expression(34)."
    The “emerging evidence” cited above refers to a 2010 study published in Archives of Biochemistry and Biophysics, titled, “Differential effects of natural and synthetic vitamin E on gene transcription in murine T lymphocytes,” which reveals that the two kinds of vitamin E are qualitatively much different, especially when it comes to their ability to modulate the expression of genes and/or cell signaling processes:        
    The data presented here provide the first starting point in the utility of the immune response to differentiate biological effects of synthetic and natural form of vitamin E. It has been accepted, in recent years, that vitamin E effects cannot be solely attributed to an alleged antioxidant function, but one has to take into consideration the vitamin E effect on the regulation of signal transduction and gene expression. Until now, the paradigm has been that only quantitative differences were exerted by the two forms of vitamins and that an appropriate increase of the dosage of the synthetic form would make it indistinguishable from the natural one. The data discussed above clearly show that, if the physicochemical properties of the synthetic and natural vitamin E forms are identical, their biological effects at the level of the regulation of gene expression are not...
    The data obtained indicate significant qualitative and quantitative differences between the two vitamin forms in regulating gene expression in response to T-cell stimulation.”       


    If you consider how synthetic vitamin E is produced, namely, from highly toxic petrochemicals such as toluene and 2,3,5-trimethyl-hydroquinone, it is no wonder that it acts differently than natural vitamin E and may cause harm. Below is described one method for its manufacture:
    It is synthesised from a mixture of toluene and 2,3,5-trimethyl-hydroquinone that reacts with isophytol to all-rac-alpha-tocopherol using iron in the presence of hydrogen chloride gas as catalyst. The reaction mixture obtained is filtered and extracted with aqueous caustic soda. Toluene is removed by evaporation and the residue (all-rac-alpha-tocopherol) is purified by vacuum distillation." [Source: Toxnet]
    I believe we are on the eve of a new era of “informational medicine,” where we must always consider biological processes and biologically active substances not simply through their physio-chemical quantities and mechanics, but through their informational/qualitative effects. This means that in the case of synthetic vitamin E, a petrochemically-derived set of 8 different molecules, their ability to affect and/or disrupt a wide range of genetic and epigenetic pathways must be taken into account in order fully grasp both their functions and potential risks. If synthetic vitamin E is capable of disrupting normal gene expression in the infant brain within which it accumulates then clearly it could have an affect on neurodevelopment, and should be considered a significant health risk to be avoided in favor of natural substances that have millions of co-evolutionary history within mammalian systems. 
    For more information on synthetic vitamin E, you can view our database on the subject:

    Also, consider that synthetic vitamin E is not the only problem with infant formula today. Even USDA certified organic infant formulas contain toxic, pesticidal ingredients.

    There has never been a more important time to highlight science that points to the health benefits of breast milk so that we, as a society, can better support women in this most primal endeavor. To learn more about breast feeding health benefits you can use our database on the topic: Breastfeeding Health Benefits.

    Mama-Maga Astro Healing : Can You Allow Your Emotions Their Truth Expres...

    https://truthkings.com/dont-stop-dead-one-chemtrail-expert-says/#
    Mid-Year Health Check: How Do You Measure Up?
    June 27, 2016 | 71,229 views




    By Dr. Mercola
    Making a commitment to live healthier is an ongoing process. It's virtually impossible to make all the needed changes in one fell swoop. To assist you with this process, I've created a plan you can implement little by little, one step at a time.
    Perhaps you made a New Year's resolution to live healthier. The following list consisting of nine general categories will give you an indication of how far you've actually come.
    If you're still missing a few pieces, make the commitment to address one item at a time going forward. I've created a helpful Health Check Tip Sheet you can print out and post in a conspicuous location to keep you motivated.



    For more in-depth information on any given topic, please follow the hyperlinks provided.
    #1 Replace Soda With Water, Tea and Black Organic Coffee
    Obesity, diabetes, heart disease, kidney disease, liver damage, osteoporosis and acid reflux are just some of the health conditions linked to soda consumption.
    Making the commitment to swap your soda for healthier beverages like water, sparkling water and the occasional cup of tea and/or organic black coffee can go a long way toward improving your health.
    Remember, the only beverage your body really needs is clean, pure water. In fact, many common health complaints are simply due to dehydration, including tiredness, headache, irritability, confusion, constipation, dry skin and more.
    Unfortunately, most water supplies are heavily polluted these days, even in the United States, so a high-quality water filtration system is a wise investment. Most water supplies contain a number of potentially hazardous contaminants, including fluoride, drugs and disinfection byproducts (DBPs), just to name a few.
    How much water do you need each day for optimal health? While many still recommend drinking eight glasses of water a day, individual water needs vary so widely, your best bet is to:
    • Use your thirst as a guide. Once your body has lost 1 to 2 percent of its water content, you will feel thirsty. This is a sign that you need to replenish the lost liquids
    • Look at the color of your urine. Drink enough water to turn your urine a light-colored yellow (keep in mind certain vitamin supplements can affect the color of your urine)
    • Monitor the frequency of urination. If your urine is scant or if you haven't urinated in several hours, that too is an indication you need to drink more
    Besides water, tea and coffee also have their place if you enjoy them. According to the 2015 edition of Dietary Guidelines for Americans, you can safely consume up to five cups of coffee a day without detrimental effects.1
    Recent research even suggests drinking up to six cups of coffee a day may actually be beneficial for your heart and cardiovascular health, and is inversely associated with premature death.2,3,4,5,6
    Tea and Coffee Caveats
    Both coffee and tea contain caffeine (provided it's not decaffeinated), which has been linked to adverse health effects such as elevated blood pressure, gastric upset and anxiety. However, both coffee and tea contain other health-promoting ingredients that appear to outweigh the drawbacks of caffeine.
    Among them are beneficial antioxidants, and according to researchers, coffee, (because of the volume consumed, not because of its high amount) is the primary source of antioxidants in the American diet.7 As with water, quality and purity is not a given though. You need to use discernment with these beverages.
    Most coffee is heavily contaminated with pesticides, so when we speak about the benefits of coffee, let it be understood that we're talking about coffee that is:
    • Organic (ideally fair trade), to avoid pesticides
    • Freshly ground. Once ground, coffee quickly goes stale and rancid, so for optimal freshness grind your own coffee beans
    • Dark roast, such as French Roast, espresso or Turkish coffee tends to have the highest amounts of beneficial antioxidants. Dark roast coffee also produces more of a chemical that helps prevent the production of excess stomach acid, so it may be easier on your stomach8
    • Served black, meaning without milk or sugar. Adding dairy may interfere with your body's absorption of beneficial chlorogenic acids, while the added sugar will contribute to insulin resistance, which is at the heart of most chronic disease
    • Brewed with non-bleached filters to avoid chlorine and DBPs such as dioxin
    As for tea, both black and green teas tend to be naturally high in fluoride, even if organically grown without pesticides. This is because the plant readily absorbs fluoride thorough its root system, including naturally occurring fluoride in the soil.
    So, as with coffee, when selecting tea, opt for organic (to avoid pesticides), grown in a pristine environment (to avoid fluoride, heavy metals, and other toxins from contaminated soil and water).
    #2 Eat 2 Meals a Day Within an 8-Hour Window

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    Your body probably only needs two meals a day, and eating this way has a number of health benefits, including weight loss, disease prevention, resolving insulin resistance, optimizing your mitochondrial function and preventing cellular damage from occurring.
    As long as you restrict your eating to a six- to eight-hour window each day, and avoid eating for at least three hours before bed, you can choose between having breakfast and lunch, or lunch and dinner, but avoid having both breakfast and dinner.
    Which two meals you prefer are up to you; let your body, and your lifestyle, be your guide. There are also a number of other intermittent fasting plans to choose from, should this daily eating schedule not appeal to you.

    Embed this infographic on your website:
    Intermittent Fasting
    Intermittent fasting is not a form of starvation but a way for you to time your meals to maximize your body's ability to burn fat. Embed this infographic on your site to serve as a guide for you to create a healthy eating plan, and reap the many benefits of fasting done the right way. Use the embed code to share it on your website or visit our infographic page for the high-res version.
    <img src="http://media.mercola.com/assets/images/infographic/intermittent-fasting.jpg" alt="Intermittent Fasting" border="0" style="max-width:100%; min-width:300px; margin: 0 auto 20px auto; display:block;"><p style="max-width:800px; min-width:300px; margin:0 auto; text-align:center;">"<a href="http://www.mercola.com/infographics/intermittent-fasting.htm">Intermittent fasting</a>" is not a form of starvation but a way for you to time your meals to maximize your body's ability to burn fat. Embed this infographic on your site to serve as a guide for you to create a healthy eating plan, and reap the many benefits of fasting done the right way. Visit our infographic page for the high-res version.</p>
    Click on the code area and press CTRL + C (for Windows) / CMD + C (for Macintosh) to copy the code
    EFT Can Increase Your Intermittent Fasting Success

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    Compliance is a critical factor for any intermittent fasting plan, and stress about fasting can sabotage your success. The Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT) can be a helpful ally here, allowing you to tap away your anxiety about fasting. It's one of the most powerful tools for reducing stress and anxiety I know of.
    In 2012, a triple blind study9 found that EFT reduced cortisol levels and symptoms of psychological distress by 24 percent — more than any other intervention tested. Do you worry you'll be hungry all the time? Are you afraid you'll feel deprived or suffer unbearable cravings? Are you worried it won't work for you? EFT practitioner Julie Schiffman covers all of these issues in her video — and more.
    The first few weeks of fasting are typically the most challenging, while your body is making the necessary biochemical adjustments to its metabolic engine. Tapping can be extraordinarily beneficial for eliminating anxiety and cravings during this time. EFT is easy to learn and once you do, it's always at your fingertips — whenever and wherever you need it.
    #3 Clean Up Your Diet
    As for what to eat when you do eat, the most basic of recommendations is to simply eat REAL FOOD. With that foundation in mind, I also recommend you:
    Replace net carbs with healthy fats
    Replace net carbs (total carbohydrates minus fiber; think sugars and grains) with high-quality healthy fats. Fats are a "cleaner" type of fuel for your body compared to carbs, and most would benefit getting anywhere from 50 to 85 percent of daily calories from healthy fats, such as that from avocados, butter made from raw grass-fed organic milk, raw dairy, organic pastured eggs, coconuts, coconut oil, organic nut oils, raw nuts (especially macadamias and pecans), seeds, and grass-fed meats.
    Dietary fats can be generally classified as saturated, monounsaturated and polyunsaturated (PUFA). A "saturated" fat means that all carbon atoms have their bonds filled with hydrogen atoms and as a result they are far less likely to oxidize and go rancid. Fats in foods contain a mixture of fats, but in foods of animal origin a large proportion are saturated.
    Research shows avoiding saturated fat does NOT help prevent heart disease or improve longevity. In fact, saturated fats have protective effects. The benefits of saturated fat are many, and some appear to be uniquely traceable to saturated fat. For example, you need saturated fats for brain and immune system health.
    Another argument is that animal foods in general, including meat cheese, butter, dairy, and eggs, contain high amounts of vitamins. Vitamins A, D, E, and K are fat soluble, and you have to have the fat that comes naturally in animal foods along with the vitamins in order to absorb those vitamins.
    The fats you need to avoid to protect your heart health are trans fats and processed vegetables oils, which are high in damaged omega-6 fats and PUFAs.
    Eat more fiber
    You can have virtually unlimited amounts of high-fiber vegetables, which are low in net carbs, Several studies have shown a 10 percent drop in risk for any cause of death with each 10-gram-per-day increase in fiber intake.
    Soluble fiber helps nourish beneficial bacteria that assist with digestion and absorption of your food, and play a significant role in your immune function. Studies have also linked a high-fiber diet to beneficial reductions in cholesterol and blood pressure, improved insulin sensitivity, and reduced inflammation — all of which can influence your mortality risk.
    Vegetable juicing
    Vegetable juicing is an easy way to boost your vegetable intake, providing your body with important nutrients in an easily digestible form. The bulk of your juice should come from organic, green veggies – spinach, celery, kale, Swiss chard, etc. — not fruits, which are too high in fructose.

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    Grow (and eat) sprouts
    Sprouts allow you to get the most benefit out of a plant in its most biologically concentrated form. When you sprout foods, you increase proteolytic enzymes that make both carbohydrates and proteins digestible. Sprouts are not only an excellent source of fiber, they also offer some of the highest levels of nutrition available, including vitamins, minerals and antioxidants that help protect against free radical damage, plus various plant chemicals unique to any given sprout.
    Sunflower seed and pea shoots are both typically about 30 times more nutritious than organic vegetables, and are among the highest in protein. Sprouts are one of the easiest foods to grow at home, even in small spaces, allowing you to improve your diet at a low cost. You can find sprout starter kits and different kinds of sprouting seeds in my online shop.

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    Optimize your omega-3 to omega-6 ratio
    It's important to understand the difference between plant- and animal-based omega-3 fats. Many believe plant-based omega-3 is preferable to animal-based omega-3, but they're not really interchangeable. Ideally, you want both, but animal-based omega-3 is particularly important for optimal health and many are deficient in it.
    Part of the problem is not eating enough omega-3 rich foods, like wild-caught Alaskan salmon and small fatty fish like sardines. The other side of the equation is eating far too many processed vegetable oils like corn, soy, and canola, which are high in damaged omega-6 oils. Ideally, you want an omega-3 to omega-6 ratio of about 1:1. To achieve that, you likely need to increase your animal-based omega-3 and decrease your omega-6.
    Barring high consumption of fatty fish, your next best option is to take a high-quality omega-3 supplement. I prefer krill oil, as it's both superior in its activity to fish oil, and more environmentally sustainable.

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    Moderate your protein consumption and choose quality over quantity
    Eating too much protein may be more hazardous to your health, than eating too much sugar. I recommend eating a moderate amount of high-quality protein (think grass-fed meats and eggs, for example), based on a formula of one-half gram of protein per pound of lean body mass (or 1 gram per kilo of lean body mass).
    Eat fermented vegetables
    In the U.S., the preparation of fermented foods is a largely lost art. I'm trying to change that, as fermented vegetables are such an inexpensive and effective way to optimize your gut microbiome and improve both your physical and mental health. When your GI tract is not properly balanced, a wide range of health problems can appear, including allergies and autoimmune diseases.
    In fact, over the past several years, research has revealed that microbes of all kinds — bacteria, fungi, and even viruses — play instrumental roles in the functioning of your body, influencing everything from vitamin production and detoxification, to your affecting your weight and mood.
    Fermented foods are packed with beneficial microorganisms that most people do not get elsewhere. Just one-quarter to one-half cup of fermented vegetables, eaten with one to three meals per day, can have a dramatically beneficial impact on your health.
    To learn how to make your own, please review the video below and read through my previous article, "Tips for Fermenting at Home." Aside from your choice of vegetables, all you need are some wide-mouth glass jars with lids. There are other accessories that can be helpful, such as pounders, weights and carbon filter jar lids that help reduce odors, but they're not essential.
    One addition you may want to consider though is a starter culture. Besides speeding up the fermentation process, some can provide additional benefits. I like using a starter culture specifically designed to optimize vitamin K2. My research team found we could get 400 to 500 micrograms of vitamin K2 in a 2-ounce serving of fermented vegetables using such a starter culture, which is a clinically therapeutic dose for K2.

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    Clean up your condiments
    Commercially prepared condiments are typically a mixture of low-quality, genetically engineered ingredients, chemical preservatives, fillers and taste and texture enhancers that have potential health risks. Fortunately, making your own isn't as difficult as you might imagine. Recipes for homemade mayonnaise, sour cream, salad dressing, ketchup and barbeque sauce can be found in my article, "What's in Your Condiments?"
    #4 Get 8 Hours of Restful Sleep Each Night
    Research shows most adults really need about eight hours of sleep every night for optimal health. What makes sleep deprivation so detrimental is that it doesn't just impact one aspect of your health; it impacts many. It has the same effect on your immune system as physical stress or illness, which may help explain why lack of sleep is tied to an increased risk of numerous chronic diseases.
    For example, sleeping less than six hours per night more than triples your risk of high blood pressure, and women who get less than four hours of shut-eye per night double their chances of dying from heart disease.10 Sleep is also intricately tied to important hormone levels, including melatonin, production of which is disturbed by lack of sleep. This is extremely problematic, as melatonin inhibits the proliferation of a wide range of cancer cell types, as well as triggers cancer cell apoptosis (self-destruction).
    Lack of sleep also decreases levels of your fat-regulating hormone leptin, while increasing the hunger hormone ghrelin. The resulting increase in appetite can easily lead to overeating and weight gain. Poor or insufficient sleep is also the strongest predictor for pain in adults over 50.11
    Small adjustments to your daily routine and sleeping area can go a long way to ensure uninterrupted, restful sleep. If you're not sure how much sleep you're getting, a fitness tracker can be beneficial for helping you keep track of the actual time you're asleep (as opposed to the time spent in bed). If you need more sleep, I suggest you read through my full set of 33 healthy sleep guidelines for details on proper sleep hygiene. You can also find useful tips in my "Top 5 Natural Sleep Aids" article.  
    Key recommendations for improving the amount and quality of your sleep include getting plenty of natural sunlight exposure in the early morning and mid-day, and avoiding blue light exposure in the evening. This includes avoiding electronic screens, which emit blue light unless you've installed light-altering software like f.lux. Another alternative is to use amber-colored glasses that block blue light, which can be purchased for about $10 on Amazon.
    This is an ideal solution if you don't want to change out your light bulbs and skip watching television before going to bed. Also make sure your sleeping quarter is dark to prevent melatonin suppression, which will make it difficult to fall asleep. I recommend installing thick drapes for this reason, but a far cheaper alternative is to use a sleep mask. An eye mask filled with lavender can be particularly soothing.

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    #5 Mind Your Oral Health

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    Poor oral health can contribute to systemic inflammation, raising your risk for bad breath, dementia, pneumonia, erectile dysfunction, kidney disease and head and neck cancers. So make it a habit to brush twice a day and floss daily. Oil pulling with coconut oil is another strategy that can help improve both your oral and general health by deep-cleaning your mouth and drawing out toxins. It also helps promote microbiome homeostasis, which is important for oral health.
    Personally, this technique has significantly reduced my plaque buildup, allowing me to go longer between visits to the dental hygienist. How is it done? Simply rinse your mouth with 1 tablespoon of coconut oil, much like you would using a mouthwash. Work the oil around your mouth by pushing, pulling, and drawing it through your teeth for about 15 minutes.
    When done, spit out the oil (do NOT swallow it) and rinse your mouth with water. I typically spit mine out on the soil outside of my house, being careful to avoid any plants, to avoid clogging up my sink. If you want, you could dissolve a pinch of Himalayan salt in the water and rinse with that. Himalayan salt contains more than 85 different minerals that can also help promote strong, healthy teeth and gums.
    #6 Sit Less, Walk More and Work on Your Flexibility

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    The average American adult spends nine to 10 hours each day sitting, which is so much inactivity that even a 30- or 60-minute workout cannot counteract its adverse effects on your health. While it might seem natural to sit this long since you've probably grown used to it (physically and mentally), it's actually quite contrary to nature.
    Studies looking at life in agriculture environments show that people in agrarian villages sit for about three hours a day. Your body is designed to move around and be active the majority of the day, and significant negative changes occur when you spend the majority of the day sedentary instead. To get more movement into your daily life, consider implementing the following:
    Set a goal to walk about 7,000 to 10,000 steps a day (which is just over three to five U.S. miles, or six to nine kilometers). This should be over and above any exercise regimen you may have. Daily walking has been shown to provide anti-aging benefits that could add an additional three to seven years to your life.
    Walk barefoot more often. Your body is finely tuned to "work" with the Earth in the sense that there's a constant flow of energy between your body and the Earth. When you put your feet on the ground, you absorb large amounts of negative electrons through the soles of your feet.
    The effect is sufficient to maintain your body at the same negatively charged electrical potential as the Earth. This simple process of grounding is one of the most potent antioxidants we know of. Grounding has been shown to relieve pain, reduce inflammation, improve sleep, enhance well being and much more
    Stand up at work if you can, rather than sitting at your desk. A stand-up desk is certainly a worthwhile investment if you have an office job.
    Work on your flexibility. Also make it a point to gain flexibility, which will help keep you functional well into old age. Pilates, yoga, and whole body vibration training are just some of your options.
    #7 Get Your Vitamin D Level Tested
    I recommend testing your vitamin D twice a year: around January, when your level will be at its lowest, and June or July, when it'll be at its peak. This will help guide you as to how much vitamin D you may need to take in order to maintain a clinically relevant level of 40 to 60 nanograms per milliliter year-round. Testing your vitamin D is easy. You don't even need a doctor's prescription.
    As a service that is part of GrassrootsHealth's vitamin D education efforts, I offer vitamin D testing kits in my online shop. I make no profit from these kits. It's the same price you would pay were you to enroll in the GrassrootsHealth D*Action project.

    #8 Make Stress Reduction a Daily Priority
    Stress-related problems, including back pain, insomnia, acid reflux and exacerbations to irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) may account for up to 70 percent of the average American physician's caseload.12 Such health-care expenditures are the third highest in the U.S. after heart disease and cancer. Research suggests these costs could be drastically cut simply by learning how to relax.13
    There are many options here, so try a few to determine which works best. Here are just a few suggestions. For more tips and tricks, check out my "23 (Scientific) Happiness Hacks" article:
    Daily meditation or mindfulness training: both are excellent for stress relief and relaxation. One simple way to incorporate these techniques into your life is to meditate for five or 10 minutes first thing in the morning, even before you get out of bed, to take advantage of your mind being in a quiet zone.
    Yoga: regular yoga practice has been shown to have a positive effect on both sleep and stress. It's also been shown to alleviate mental health problems such as depression, anxiety and attention-deficit, hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).
    Keep a gratitude journal: people who are thankful for what they have are better able to cope with stress, are happier, and better able to reach their goals, and studies show that those who keep a gratitude journal typically end up exercising more and have fewer health complaints. Studies have also linked gratitude to improved sleep, reduced stress, enhanced well-being, improved heart health.
    Learn EFT: one of the most effective tools against anxiety is EFT, which helps correct the biochemical short-circuiting that occurs with chronic anxiety. You can think of EFT as a tool for "reprogramming" your circuitry, and it works on both real and imagined stressors.
    Start a garden: gardening is an excellent "blues buster," helping relieve acute stress and attention fatigue associated with a fast-paced life. Many gardeners start out gardening because they want to sample some homegrown food but end up sticking with gardening because of how it feeds their mind and soul. 
    That said, anyone who's really serious about improving their health will eventually conclude that growing your own food is an important part of the answer. For helpful tips on making your garden a success, please review my previous articles on using wood chips and biochar to optimize your soil quality.
    #9 Help Others and Be Active in Your Community
    Volunteering is a simple way to help others, but it's also a powerful way to help yourself. Beyond the good feelings you'll get from donating your time, and the potential to develop new, meaningful relationships with people in your community, volunteering has a significant impact on your physical health, including a boost to your heart health.
    In one study, people who volunteered for at least 200 hours a year were 40 percent less likely to develop high blood pressure than those who didn't.14 People who volunteer for altruistic reasons, i.e. to help others rather than themselves, may even live longer than those who volunteer for more self-centered reasons.15
    The benefits of being active in your community are particularly pronounced among older adults, a population that tends to slow down once retirement hits. There's a definite social aspect, as if you're socially isolated you may experience poorer health and a shorter lifespan.
    Volunteering also gives you a sense of purpose and can even lead to a so-called "helper's high," which may occur because doing good releases feel-good hormones like oxytocin in your body while lowering levels of stress hormones like cortisol. Giving back is about so much more than even that, though, as it will help you to connect with your community and contribute your time and/or talents to promoting the greater good.