Monday, October 16, 2017

!4 Reasons to Stock a Bottle of Castor Oil at home

14 Practical Reasons to Stock a Bottle of Castor Oil at Home

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Story at-a-glance
  • Castor oil is made by pressing the seeds of the castor plant (Ricinus communis). It’s a triglyceride that is composed of fatty acids, 90 percent of which is ricinoleic acid, the primary healing ingredient in castor oil
  • Aside from rubbing or massaging it directly on your skin, you can also make a castor oil pack, which I believe is the coup de grace of this holistic therapy
  • There are notable benefits from using this versatile oil, 14 of which are highlighted in this article
By Dr. Mercola
Many of you are probably familiar with castor oil as the go-to concoction that old-time healers recommend for a wide range of ailments — from constipation to colds and fever, and even as treatment against parasitical worms.1 Castor oil is claimed to be one of the best remedies there is.
I have previously written about the mysteries — and potential health uses — of castor oil, and despite having minimal research backing up its potential medicinal effects, I do believe that there are notable benefits from using this versatile oil.
It’s one of the most well-known natural remedies with a long enough history to at least warrant greater scientific exploration — nevertheless, a little careful at-home experimentation before using it wouldn’t hurt.  
The Uses of Castor Oil Date Back Centuries Ago
Castor oil is made by pressing the seeds of the castor plant (Ricinus communis), which is native to India, although it is now cultivated in Mediterranean countries such as Algeria, Egypt and Greece. In France, castor is grown as an ornamental plant because of its large and lovely foliage.2
Many ancient civilizations, including early Egyptians, Chinese and Persians, valued the castor plant for its many uses, such as fuel for lamps and as an ingredient in balms and ointments.
During the Middle Ages, the castor plant became well known in Europe for treating skin ailments. The Greek physician Dioscorides even described how to extract the oil from the plant, but warned that the seeds should be used externally only as they are “extremely purgative.”3
Castor oil is a triglyceride that is composed of fatty acids, 90 percent of which is ricinoleic acid. Other seeds and oils, like soybean oil and cottonseed oil,4 also contain this unique fatty acid, although in much lower concentrations.
Ricinoleic acid is said to be the primary healing ingredient in castor oil and, according to David Williams, a medical researcher, chiropractor and biochemist, it’s:5
“[E]ffective in preventing the growth of numerous species of viruses, bacteria, yeasts and molds. It's successful as a topical treatment for ringworm, keratoses, skin inflammation, abrasions, fungal-infected [fingers] and toenails, acne and chronic pruritus (itching).”
In his article, Williams also says that in India, castor seed plants are traditionally used for various health conditions such as dysentery, asthma, constipation, inflammatory bowel disease and bladder and vaginal infections.
“The most effective use of castor oil is castor oil packs or poultices, which increase topical absorption. When used properly, castor oil packs improve the function of the thymus gland and other immune system functions,” he adds.6
14 Ways You Can Use Castor Oil at Home










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If you have a bottle of castor oil ready at home, then good for you; if not, then you should consider buying a high-quality brand right away. You will surely be impressed by this versatile oil’s many uses. The website Natural Living Ideas7 gives 14 ways on how you can use castor oil, which I’ve summarized below:
1. Safe and natural laxative. A 2010 study highlighted how castor oil packs helped to effectively reduce constipation among the elderly.8 The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) actually deems this oil "generally regarded as safe and effective" for use as a stimulant laxative.9
Oral ingestion of castor oil can "purge" the digestive tract within two to five hours. However, remember to take it in the appropriate dose. Adults can take 1 to 2 tablespoons, while children 2 to 12 years old should be given only 1 to 2 teaspoons.
Infants below 2 years old are not advised to take more than a teaspoon at a time. When giving it to children, try mixing it in freshly squeezed juice so it becomes more palatable.
2. Muscle pain relief. Rub it on your muscles after an intense workout to promote blood circulation and relieve soreness. Mix it with peppermint oil or Roman chamomile oil for extra healing and soothing effect.
3. Alleviates joint pain. The ricinoleic acid in castor oil has a decongestant effect on the lymphatic system, which is responsible for collecting waste from your tissues and carrying it to your bloodstream to be eliminated.
If the lymphatic system is not working properly, such as in people with arthritis, joint pain occurs. Massaging castor oil on the joints can help ease the congestion and jumpstart your lymphatic system.
A 2009 study published in Phytotherapy Research supports this, and reveals that castor oil helps relieve pain among patients with knee osteoarthritis.10
4. Helps treat fungal diseases. It’s said that castor oil is just as effective as anti-fungal drugs in treating common infections like ringworm, jock itch (tinea cruris) and athlete’s foot.
Simply warm the oil, apply onto the affected area before bedtime and leave it on overnight. Repeat for a week or until the infection has disappeared completely.
5. Promotes healthy hair growth. Massaging warm castor oil on your scalp (and even your eyebrows) may stimulate the follicles and result in extra hair growth. Do this every night, and you might see improvement in as little as two weeks. Castor oil may work on areas that have been affected by alopecia as well.
6. Gives your hair a richer color. Castor oil locks in the moisture in your hair, giving it a richer and thicker appearance. To get this effect, warm a tablespoon of the oil and use your fingertips to coat each strand, running your fingers through your locks to get it on as much hair as possible.
7. Natural mascara. Melt a tablespoon of beeswax in a double boiler, then add 2 tablespoons of charcoal or cocoa powder (depending on your hair color) and castor oil and mix until you get the desired consistency.
This homemade mascara contains no toxic chemical ingredients, unlike other conventional beauty products out there. Alternately, you can apply castor oil to your lashes every night to make them look fuller and thicker.
8. Skin moisturizer. The fatty acids in castor oil can nourish and moisturize dry skin. Due to its viscous nature, it stays put and easily penetrates into your skin tissue.
Remember that a little goes a long way — simply rub a teaspoonful between your palms and apply all over your skin.
9. Banishes blemishes and other skin problems. Say goodbye to unsightly and embarrassing skin growths with the help of castor oil.
Because of its antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties, it may have some beneficial effects on skin tags, acne and warts. One study published in the Journal of International Toxicology also found that castor oil may have positive effects against occupational dermatitis.11
10. Assisting a good night’s sleep. It’s said that dabbing a small amount of castor oil on your eyelids can help you fall asleep much easier. Castor oil may promote a deeper and longer sleep.
11. Works great for colicky infants. Colic sometimes occurs during the first few months of a baby’s life and can lead to long periods of excessive crying. Its exact cause is still unknown, although gas is believed to be a major culprit. To use castor oil for colic, simply rub it gently all over your child’s abdomen. 
12. Safely treats your pets’ wounds. If you see minor cuts or wounds on your dog’s or cat’s skin, dab a bit of castor oil to help facilitate healing, due to its antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory effects. If your pet licks the wound (as most pets do), the oil is not harmful but could lead to loose stools.
13. Can be used as a food preservative. Dried grain products can be coated with castor oil to prevent them not only from spoiling, but also protect them from microbes and pests. Generally speaking, however, grains should be kept to a minimum for optimal health.
14. All-around lubricant. If you have items around the home that need lubrication, such as squeaky hinges, scissors or meat grinders, castor oil works just great. Due to its consistent viscosity, castor oil does not freeze, so it can be ideal for either hot or very cold temperatures.
When used topically, it’s not necessary to blend castor oil with a carrier oil; just make sure to test the oil on a small part of your skin to check for any allergy or skin reaction.
Aside from rubbing or massaging it directly on your skin, you can make a castor oil pack, which I believe is the coup de grace of this holistic therapy. The late psychic healer Edgar Cayce was the first to promote the use of castor oil packs for healing. It was then later researched by Dr. William McGarey of Phoenix, Arizona.
McGarey, a primary care physician and follower of Cayce’s teachings, said that if used properly, castor oil packs can greatly benefit your immune system. He shares his findings in his book, “The Oil That Heals: A Physician's Successes With Castor Oil Treatments.”
To learn how to make and use a castor oil pack, watch this video from Edgar Cayce’s Association for Research and Enlightenment, a foundation that aims to transform people’s lives through the teachings of Cayce.










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Castor Oil Can Stimulate Labor — But Extreme Caution Is Advised
Another popular traditional use for castor oil is as a labor stimulant. Researchers found in mice studies that ricinoleic acid causes the intestines and uterus to contract, which can then stimulate labor. A study found that among 100 pregnant women tested, more than half of the group who were given castor oil went into labor in a period of 24 hours.12 However, I don’t advise using it in this way due to its potentially harmful side effects. 
One 2001 study reported that all pregnant women who took castor oil experienced nausea afterwards.13 Another study also warned that the castor oil-induced contractions may lead to the passage of meconium (a baby’s first stool) while still inside the womb — putting him at risk of meconium aspiration that may result in neonatal respiratory distress. According to the study authors:14
“Most side effects caused by taking castor oil are fatigue, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. Also, castor oil affected newborn's APGOR score at the first minute … It is very important that women get the appropriate dosage from midwife or obstetrician before trying any castor oil induction.”
Did You Know Castor Seeds Contain a Deadly Ingredient?
Despite its potentially healing properties, you should know that the castor plant also contains a potent poison called ricin. Found in raw castor beans and the “mash” that’s left behind after castor oil has been processed, ricin, through oral, nasal or intravenous transfusion, prevents protein synthesis and kills your cells.
Ricin is so potent that ingesting or inhaling just 1 milligram may be fatal,15 just as eating four to eight castor seeds can lead to death.16 There is no antidote for it; that’s why ricin is even used as a chemical warfare agent. In 2013, there were reports of ricin being mailed to U.S. Senators and even to President Obama.17
However, you don’t need to worry about ricin poisoning from castor oil, as it is extracted from the beans during the manufacturing process. The International Journal of Toxicology's Final Report on Castor Oil18 confirms this, saying that ricin does not "partition" into the castor oil, which is why castor oil has been safely added to cosmetic products without any effects.
Use Castor Oil, but Keep an Eye Out for Potential Side Effects
As with any herbal oil, I recommend that you use castor oil with care, as it can have potentially negative side effects. Those with sensitive skin may experience allergic reactions19 if they use this oil topically, which is why I advise doing a skin patch test prior to applying it copiously on large skin areas.
If taken internally, the ricinoleic acid in it works as an irritant to the intestinal lining, which is responsible for alleviating constipation. Nevertheless, it may also lead to gastrointestinal upset and discomfort, as well as dizziness and nausea. So if you suffer from any digestive problems like irritable bowel syndrome, ulcers, cramps, diverticulitis, colitis or hemorrhoids, I advise you to avoid using this oil. Those who have recently undergone surgery should also refrain from using castor oil.

Lastly, make sure that you purchase organic castor oil from a reputable source. Much of commercial castor oil sold in stores today comes from castor seeds that were likely heavily sprayed with pesticides or processed with solvents and other chemical pollutants, which damage its beneficial components and may even contaminate the oil.
Why Organic Mustard Seed Powder Is an Essential Kitchen Staple

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Story at-a-glance
  • Mustard seed contains compounds that inhibit cancer proliferation. It also contains compounds that augment the cancer-fighting potential of other cruciferous veggies, delivering a double-punch when combined
  • For this reason, I recommend keeping organic mustard seed powder in your kitchen at all times. Mustard seed powder can also be used to whip up homemade topical remedies, such as plasters and baths to relieve pain
  • A compound found in brown mustard seed lowered the risk of bladder cancer by 34.5 percent and was 100 percent effective at preventing the spread of cancer into surrounding muscle cells
  • The enzyme myrosinase is critical for the conversion of glucosinolates into isothiocyanates — chemoprotective compounds. While all cruciferous veggies contain some myrosinase, you significantly boost conversion by eating them together with a particularly myrosinase-rich food such as mustard seed powder
  • Cooking can also affect the health benefits of cruciferous vegetables. To maximize health benefits of broccoli, steam it for three to four minutes. Do not go past five minutes
By Dr. Mercola
A number of foods have known anti-cancer activity. Among the more well-known are members of the cruciferous family, with broccoli leading the pack when it comes to undergoing scientific investigation. One of the lesser-known ones is mustard seed, which also belongs to the brassica genus.1,2
As it turns out, not only does mustard seed contain compounds shown to inhibit cancer proliferation, it also contains compounds that augment the cancer-fighting potential of other cruciferous veggies, delivering a real double-punch when combined. For this reason, I recommend keeping organic mustard seed powder in your kitchen at all times. Mustard seed powder can also be used to whip up homemade topical remedies, such as plasters and baths to relieve pain.
Mustard Seed Compound Effectively Blocks Bladder Cancer Progression
One 2010 study3 discovered a compound found in both brown mustard and cruciferous vegetables called allyl isothiocyanate (AITC), also known as mustard oil, lowered the risk of bladder cancer by 34.5 percent and was 100 percent effective at preventing the spread of cancer into surrounding muscle cells. The complete stop of cancer progression is quite remarkable considering the cancer metastasized into surrounding tissues 71 percent of the time in untreated controls.
Importantly, the whole food — mustard seed powder — was more effective than the purified form. Dry mustard seed contain a compound called sinigrin, a precursor to AITC. When combined with water (which is what happens in your stomach), an enzyme called myrosinase converts the sinigrin into AITC.
A related form of this enzyme is found in the human digestive tract, but the plant-based one is far more effective, accomplishing a more complete conversion. This is likely why the whole food worked better than the isolated compound.4 Another interesting finding was that higher doses were not more effective. Animals given 71.5 milligrams (mg) of mustard seed powder per kilo of body weight were the ones in which cancer occurrence was reduced by 34 percent and metastasis completely blocked.
In animals treated with 715 mg of mustard seed powder per kilo, tumor growth was reduced by just 23 percent, and tumor invasion still occurred up to 62 percent of the time. So, a little can go a long way! Other studies have made similar findings. As reported by Natural Society: 5 
“A similar conclusion was found by Dr. Anthony Di Pasqua, a bioinorganic chemist at the University of North Carolina and his colleague Dr. Fung-Lung Chung from Georgetown University. Their studies support Bhattacharya’s conclusions about AITC is brown mustard seed.
Dr. Di Pasqua said:6 ‘Our studies have shown that, once inside the cell, ITCs [isothiocyanates7] bind to proteins and that protein binding affinities are closely associated with the ability to induce apoptosis (cell suicide).’”
Myrosinase Is the Key to Maximizing Chemoprotective Effects of Cruciferous Veggies
ITCs are derivatives of sulfur-containing compounds called glucosinolates, found in cruciferous vegetables. Different glucosinolates hydrolyze into different ITCs. Broccoli, for example, is high in glucoraphanin, a glucosinolate precursor to sulforaphane, which has well-established chemoprotective effects.8,9 Sulforaphane also helps improve blood pressure, heart health10 and kidney function. 
Scientists believe sulforaphane's benefits are related to improved DNA methylation, which is crucial for normal cellular function and proper gene expression, especially in the easily damaged inner lining of the arteries (endothelium). Broccoli, like mustard seed, also contains sinigrin, the precursor to AITC.  As mentioned, glucosinolate hydrolysis is catalyzed by a class of enzymes called myrosinase. Plant sources known to be particularly high in myrosinase include:
Mustard seed
Garden cress
Daikon radish
Arugula
Coleslaw

To reiterate, the enzyme myrosinase is critical for the conversion of the various glucosinolates into ITCs11 — the compounds that ultimately provide you with health benefits such as chemoprotection — and, while most if not all cruciferous veggies do contain some myrosinase, you can significantly boost the conversion by eating cruciferous vegetables together with a particularly myrosinase-rich food.
Doing so is a simple way to really maximize the chemoprotective effects of these vegetables. Wasabi, for example, has been shown to increase the chemoprotective effects of cruciferous vegetables by as much as 40 percent.12  
Mustard seed appears to be the most effective, however, as it contains a particularly resilient form of myrosinase. Research confirms mustard seed can boost sulforaphane formation even in boiled broccoli, which is typically not recommended as boiling prevents sulforaphane formation by inactivating the myrosinase in the broccoli.13
ITCs Also Increase Levels of Master Antioxidant in Your Body
Once ITCs are absorbed, they turn into glutathione in your liver. Known as your body's most powerful antioxidant, glutathione is a tripeptide found in every single cell in your body. It is called "master antioxidant" because it is intracellular and has the unique ability of maximizing the performance of all the other antioxidants, including vitamins C and E, CoQ10, alpha-lipoic acid, as well as the fresh vegetables and fruits that you eat. 
Glutathione's primary function is to protect your cells and mitochondria from oxidative and peroxidative damage. It is also essential for detoxification, energy utilization, and preventing the diseases we associate with aging. Glutathione also eliminates toxins from your cells and gives protection from the damaging effects of radiation, chemicals and environmental pollutants.
Add Mustard to All Cruciferous Veggies
AITC is found in all cruciferous vegetables, not just mustard. Here’s a list of vegetables that belong to this important family.14 Adding one or more of these foods to your diet each week may go a long way toward lowering your cancer risk. And, remember, to really boost the chemoprotective effects of these cruciferous veggies, be sure to add some mustard seed powder or other myrosinase-rich food (see earlier list).
Bok choi
Broccoli
Broccoli rabe
Broccoli Romanesco
Brussels sprouts
Cauliflower
Chinese broccoli
Chinese cabbage
Collard greens
Garden cress
Horseradish
Kale
Kohlrabi
Komatsuna
Land cress
Maca
Mustard (leaves and seed; brown, green, white and black)
Mizuna
Radish
Rutabaga
Tatsoi
Pak choi
Turnips (roots and greens)
Wasabi
Watercress
Cooking Also Affects Anticancer Potential of Cruciferous Vegetables










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Another factor that can affect the health benefits of cruciferous vegetables to a significant degree is the way you cook them. Studies have not been done on every single member of this family, but research clearly demonstrates there’s an ideal way to prepare and eat mature broccoli.
In the video above, Elizabeth Jeffery, Ph.D., a researcher and professor in the department of food science and human nutrition at the University of Illinois, delves into this research,15 which shows that steaming your broccoli for three to four minutes is ideal. Do not go past five minutes. While I normally recommend eating most of your vegetables raw, mature broccoli and some other cruciferous vegetables are exceptions to this rule.
When you eat raw mature broccoli, you only get about 12 percent of the total sulforaphane content theoretically available based on the parent compound. Steaming your broccoli spears for three to four minutes will optimize the sulforaphane content by eliminating epithiospecifier protein — a heat-sensitive sulfur-grabbing protein that inactivates sulforaphane — while still retaining the enzyme myrosinase, which converts glucoraphanin to sulforaphane.
Again, without myrosinase, you cannot get any sulforaphane. Boiling your broccoli past the one-minute mark is not recommended, as it will destroy a majority of the myrosinase. If you want to boil your broccoli, blanch it in boiling water for no more than 20 to 30 seconds, immerse it in cold water to stop the cooking process, and be sure to add some mustard seed powder to your dish.
Cauliflower also contains sulforaphane. Boiling or blanching cauliflower causes the greatest loss of antioxidants,16 so steaming appears to be your best bet for cauliflower as well. Unfortunately, while research has identified the ideal steaming times for broccoli, the same has not been identified for cauliflower specifically, but it is likely similar to broccoli’s.
Moreover, research17 reveals different varieties of cauliflower respond differently to various levels of heat and cooking times. In one study, blanching purple cauliflower at 70 degrees C (158 degrees F) significantly increased sulforaphane content compared to 50 degrees C (120 degrees F), while immersion time had no significant influence. In Roman cauliflower, on the other hand, both temperature and immersion time played a role. 
Broccoli Sprouts — Grow Them at Home and Eat Them Raw
Broccoli SPROUTS, on the other hand, are best eaten raw, and are an excellent alternative if you don't like the taste or smell of mature broccoli.
Sprouted broccoli seeds are also far more potent, nutritionally speaking, than mature broccoli, so you don’t need to eat nearly as much to reap the clinical benefits from key therapeutic compounds. Research shows that even small quantities of broccoli sprout extract have the power to markedly reduce the size of rat mammary tumors induced by chemical carcinogens. As noted by researchers at Johns Hopkins University:18,19
"Three-day-old broccoli sprouts consistently contain 20 to 50 times the amount of chemoprotective compounds found in mature broccoli heads, and may offer a simple, dietary means of chemically reducing cancer risk."
Broccoli sprouts are easy and inexpensive to grow at home. Growing your own is also the best way to ensure the active ingredients in the sprouts have not been destroyed by processing. Commercially-available broccoli sprouts are typically heated in order to kill off harmful bacteria. However, use of high heat may also render the sprouts worthless, as it will negatively affect the conversion of glucosinolates to ITCs.
A recent study20 evaluating ways of eliminating microbial contaminants on broccoli sprouts found treating the sprouts with high pressure could kill off bacteria while leaving heat-sensitive nutrients intact. What’s more, the pressure treatment actually boosted glucosinolate to ITC conversion. As reported by Science Daily:21
“Results showed that processing broccoli sprouts at 400 to 600 megapascals increased the amount of glucosinolates that turned into isothiocyanates. Up to 85 percent of glucosinolates were converted under high pressure processing, boosting the plants' potential health-promoting compounds.
The rate of conversion for mild heat treatment at 60 degrees Celsius was 69 percent. Isothiocyanate levels in boiled samples were undetectable or not quantifiable. Thus, the researchers say high pressure could be a preferred method over heating for processing broccoli sprouts.”
Other Medicinal Uses for Mustard Seed
Getting back to mustard seed, powdered mustard seed actually has a long history of use, especially in Ayurvedic medicine, where it was used topically to improve blood circulation and detoxification. Taken internally, 1 teaspoon of mustard seed powder twice a day can be used as a remedy for constipation. Mustard plaster and mustard baths were also common folk remedies for muscle and joint pain. Part of the pain-relieving effect is due to the mustard seed’s high magnesium and selenium content.
You can easily recreate such remedies today using inexpensive household ingredients. For a soothing, pain-relieving mustard bath, fill your tub with warm water. In a glass jar, mix together the following ingredients, then add to your bath and soak:22
Ingredients:
  • 1/4 cup baking soda
  • 1 tablespoon mustard powder
  • 1 or 2 drops wintergreen or peppermint essential oil
  • 1 or 2 drops rosemary essential oil
  • 1 or 2 drops eucalyptus essential oil

Take-Home Message
There are a number of take-home messages here. First, as a group, cruciferous vegetables are known to have a wide range of health benefits, including the quelling of inflammation and prevention of cancer, and the list of cruciferous vegetables is far longer than most people realize. This means you have plenty to choose from should broccoli, cauliflower or Brussels sprouts fail to tantalize your taste buds.
Secondly, cruciferous veggies contain several different chemoprotective compounds, but they require the enzyme myrosinase to work. Not only do some cruciferous vegetables contain higher amounts of this critical enzyme, but preparation and cooking can greatly affect its activity, and therein lies the problem. After all, some veggies — Brussels sprouts, for example — are not particularly delectable raw. So, the question is, how do you cook these foods without forgoing the health benefits?
To recap, your best bet for many cruciferous veggies is to lightly steam them and eat them in combination with a myrosinase-rich food. Mustard seed is the most potent. Doing this is a “hack” that basically gives you the benefit of raw food even though it’s been lightly cooked. But there’s yet another trick, presented by Dr. Michael Greger in the video below,23 which he dubs the “hack and hold” technique.
One More Cooking Trick to Boost Sulforaphane Content










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When a cruciferous vegetable is chopped, the myrosinase is activated. So, by chopping the food and waiting about 40 minutes, the sulforaphane will have formed, allowing you to cook the food (in excess of the recommended three to four minutes of steaming) without risking sulforaphane loss.

The reason for this is because both the precursor to sulforaphane and the sulforaphane itself are largely resistant to heat. It’s the myrosinase that gets destroyed during cooking, which then prevents the formation of sulforaphane. By allowing the sulforaphane to form before you cook it, you circumvent this chain of events. An example given by Greger is the making of broccoli soup. When making the soup, you’ll want to blend the raw broccoli first; wait 40 minutes for the sulforaphane to form, then boil it.

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Dr Steven Greer / June 27th 2017

5 Amazing Healing Honey Facts

5 Amazing Healing Honey Facts

Posted on: Friday, October 13th 2017 at 5:45 am
Written By: Sayer Ji, Founder
This article is copyrighted by GreenMedInfo LLC, 2017

Honey, unlike almost everything else we consume in our diet, was intended solely to be a form of nourishment – albeit, for the bees.  Only milk, to my knowledge, shares this singular biological imperative. But honey is far more than a source of sweetness and quick energy within the human diet.
Honey has profound medicinal applications, some of which are as follows:
  • Feeds the good bacteria: it is a little-known fact that bees have a diverse population of beneficial lactic acid bacteria (LAB) in their honey crop, the bulge between the esophagus and the gizzard of the bee. In fact, according to newly published research in PLoS, "studies of LAB in all extant honeybee species plus related apid bees reveal one of the largest collections of novel species from the genera Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium ever discovered within a single insect and suggest a long (>80 mya) history of association."[i]  Indeed, raw honey feeds good bacteria. It has been experimentally demonstrated in in vitro (petri dish) conditions to increase the number of Lactobacillus acidophilus and Lactobacillus plantarum counts 10-100 fold compared with sucrose.[ii]
  • Fights the "bad" bacteria, i.e. MRSA: Reports of honey eradicating MRSA infection have been reported in the medical literature for well over a decade.[iii]  MRSA, an acronym for methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, produces a biofilm which makes it especially resistant to conventional antimicrobial agents. Honey has been shown to be effective at killing biofilm-associated MRSA isolates from patients suffering from chronic rhinosinusitus.[iv] This has also been demonstrated in human research, with a 70% effective rate in destroying MRSA in chronic venous ulcers.[v]  Moreover, manuka also synergizes with conventional antibiotics making MRSA bacterial isolates more susceptible to their antibacterial action.[vi]
  • Kills Dental Plaque-Causing Bacteria: Manuka honey, a special honey produced by the flowers of the manuka plant that grows in New Zealand and Australia, was shown at least as effective as the chemical chlorhexidine gluconate, often used in mouthwash, in reducing plaque formation as a mouthwash.[vii]
  • Superior to Pharmaceutical at Killing Herpes:  A 2004 study published in the Medical Science Monitor, showed that topical  honey was far superior to the drug acyclovir (trade name Zovirax) in treating both labial (lip) and genital herpes lesion. According to the amazing study "For labial herpes, the mean duration of attacks and pain, occurrence of crusting, and mean healing time with honey treatment were 35%, 39%, 28% and 43% better, respectively, than with acyclovir treatment. For genital herpes, the mean duration of attacks and pain, occurrence of crusting, and mean healing time with honey treatment were 53%, 50%, 49% and 59% better, respectively, than with acyclovir. Two cases of labial herpes and one case of genital herpes remitted completely with the use of honey. The lesions crusted in 3 patients with labial herpes and in 4 patients with genital herpes. With acyclovir treatment, none of the attacks remitted, and all the lesions, labial and genital, developed crust. No side effects were observed with repeated applications of honey, whereas 3 patients developed local itching with acyclovir."[viii]
  • Protective Against Gastric Damage: Honey has been shown to prevent alcohol-, indomethacin- (a NSAID pain-killer) and aspirin-induced lesions.[ix]
This is just a sampling of the research indicating the profound medicinal value of honey. If you would like to view the full range of demonstrable health benefits of honey, take a look at our page dedicated to the topic which now includes research 120+ ailments and/or symptoms which may benefit from its use. 


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References

[i] Alejandra Vásquez, Eva Forsgren, Ingemar Fries, Robert J Paxton, Emilie Flaberg, Laszlo Szekely, Tobias C Olofsson Symbionts as major modulators of insect health: lactic acid bacteria and honeybees. PLoS One. 2012 ;7(3):e33188. Epub 2012 Mar 12. PMID: 22427985


[ii] T R Shamala, Y Shri Jyothi, P Saibaba Stimulatory effect of honey on multiplication of lactic acid bacteria under in vitro and in vivo conditions. Lett Appl Microbiol. 2000 Jun ;30(6):453-5. PMID: 10849275


[iii] S Natarajan, D Williamson, J Grey, K G Harding, R A Cooper Healing of an MRSA-colonized, hydroxyurea-induced leg ulcer with honey. J Dermatolog Treat. 2001 Mar;12(1):33-6. PMID: 12171686


[iv] Talal Alandejani, Joseph Marsan, Wendy Ferris, Robert Slinger, Frank Chan Effectiveness of honey on Staphylococcus aureus and Pseudomonas aeruginosa biofilms. Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 2009 Jul;141(1):114-8. Epub 2009 Mar 9. PMID: 19559969    


[v] G Gethin, S Cowman Bacteriological changes in sloughy venous leg ulcers treated with manuka honey or hydrogel: an RCT. J Wound Care. 2008 Jun;17(6):241-4, 246-7. PMID: 18666717


[vi] Rowena E Jenkins, Rose Cooper Synergy between oxacillin and manuka honey sensitizes methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus to oxacillin. J Antimicrob Chemother. 2012 Mar 1. Epub 2012 Mar 1. PMID: 22382468


[vii] Prathibha A Nayak, Ullal A Nayak, R Mythili Effect of Manuka honey, chlorhexidine gluconate and xylitol on the clinical levels of dental plaque. Contemp Clin Dent. 2010 Oct ;1(4):214-7. PMID: 22114423


[viii] Noori S Al-Waili Topical honey application vs. acyclovir for the treatment of recurrent herpes simplex lesions. Med Sci Monit. 2004 Aug;10(8):MT94-8. Epub 2004 Jul 23. PMID: 15278008


[ix] Kamel Gharzouli, Smain Amira, Akila Gharzouli, Seddik Khennouf  Gastroprotective effects of honey and glucose-fructose-sucrose-maltose mixture against ethanol-, indomethacin-, and acidified aspirin-induced lesions in the rat. Exp Toxicol Pathol. 2002 Nov;54(3):217-21. PMID: 12484559



Sayer Ji is founder of Greenmedinfo.com, a reviewer at the International Journal of Human Nutrition and Functional Medicine, Co-founder and CEO of Systome Biomed, Vice Chairman of the Board of the National Health Federation, Steering Committee Member of the Global Non-GMO Foundation.
Disclaimer: This article is not intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Views expressed here do not necessarily reflect those of GreenMedInfo or its staff.
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Saturday, October 14, 2017

How Long Should you Wash your hands?

How Long Should You Wash Your Hands?

Oct 2017
Story at-a-glance
  • Handwashing is an important strategy to reduce the spread of infections, colds and the flu; the key is to perform the task correctly and for the right amount of time
  • Research has shown 84 to 95 percent of people do not wash their hands long enough to remove germs after using the bathroom; 7 percent of women and 15 percent of men didn't wash their hands at all
  • While washing prevents the spread of infection, excessive washing may increase your risk of infection as it removes protective oils from your skin faster that can be replaced, resulting in red, raw, chapped hands
  • Antibacterial soap is neither necessary nor healthy; research shows regular soap is as effective, and does not promote antibiotic resistance as does antibacterial soap
By Dr. Mercola
Handwashing is one of the top strategies you can use to prevent the spread of colds, flu, salmonella and other germs that cause illness. The key to this technique is to do it correctly and for the proper amount of time. Several studies have evaluated compliance with handwashing in the general public and health care facilities. You may be surprised by the results.
In a study from Michigan State University,1 researchers watched more than 3,700 people after using the bathroom and reported that 95 percent did not wash their hands long enough to kill germs.2
The average amount of time people spent washing was only six seconds. Even more disturbing was that 7 percent of women and 15 percent of men didn't wash their hands at all. A recent study of 2,000 people from Britain found similar results after using the bathroom, as 84 percent were not washing their hands long enough to reduce the spread of infection.3
Poor hand hygiene is also an issue in health care. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), health care providers wash their hands less than half the time that they should.4 The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates only an average of 40 percent of providers wash their hands when appropriate. Passing germs from patient to provider to patient,5 and poor patient handwashing, may be reasons an estimated 1 in every 4 patients who leave the hospital will have a superbug on their hands.6
Handwashing Is Your First Line of Defense Against Germs
Proper handwashing that removes microbes and viruses from your hands is one of the single most important ways of reducing the spread of infection.7 You can infect yourself when you touch your mouth, eyes and nose with fingers contaminated with bacteria, and you may spread those germs to others when you touch them or an inanimate object that they then touch.
A new study released by the British Royal Pharmaceutical Society found that washing your hands for just 20 seconds8 will remove germs and reduce the need for antibiotics.9
Infections triggering a cold, flu or diarrhea may spread when an infected person touches an inanimate object, like a handrail, shopping cart, table tops or toys, thereby transferring the germ. You pick up those germs when you touch the objects. Unwashed hands can transfer germs into your food at restaurants or during food preparation at home. Some bacteria may multiply in food under certain conditions, increasing the likelihood the person eating will get sick.10 Handwashing education has demonstrated a:11
  • 31 percent reduction in the number of people who get diarrhea
  • 58 percent reduction in people who get diarrhea who have a weakened immune system
  • 16 to 21 percent reduction in people who get respiratory illnesses
Military Study Shows Handwashing Reduces Rates of Respiratory Illness
The military was able to achieve a higher reduction in numbers of people who suffered from respiratory illness after an experiment with Navy recruits.12 The most common cause of lost duty time in the military is a respiratory illness. In the past, the military had used ultraviolet lights, vaccines and disinfectant vapors to reduce the number of lost hours.
During the study period, recruits were ordered to wash their hands five times a day, and the drill instructors received education monthly on the importance of handwashing.13 After two years, the handwashing recruits had 45 percent fewer cases of respiratory illnesses than recruits the year before the program began.
Vaccinations and Antibiotics Are Not the Answer
There are at least 200 different viruses that can cause a cold and several different strains of influenza virus that can cause the flu.14 Although it may seem as if the flu is a very bad cold, the two develop after infection from two different types of viruses and trigger two different types of illness. In fact, even when your physician believes you have the influenza virus, you may have rhinovirus that presents like the flu.
The only way to tell the difference is by taking a culture, which many physicians and patients opt not to do as it doesn't change the treatment. It does, however, impact the number of deaths the CDC attributes to the flu. Each year, the CDC reports an estimate of 36,000 deaths from the flu.15
However, according to the National Vital Statistics Report in 2016, the number of people who actually died from the flu was just over 4,500,16 while the publicly reported number for death attributed to the combination of influenza and pneumonia was just over 55,000, a vastly larger number consisting mostly of people who had died from pneumonia.
Most pneumonia deaths are actually unrelated to the flu. According to the American Lung Association, there are 30 different causes of pneumonia and the flu is only one of them.17 It’s also worth noting that only 10 to 30 percent of flu-like respiratory illnesses at any point in a given flu season are actually caused by influenza type A or B,18 which is what the flu shot is supposed to prevent.
As mentioned, there are more than 200 types of viruses that cause respiratory flu-like symptoms,19 in addition to illness caused by bacteria,20 but they are not included in the influenza vaccine. So, since most of the flu-like illness in any given flu season is not caused by type A or B influenza, the scientific evidence is simply not there for the government to order every child and adult in America to get the flu shot.
Since the flu and rhinovirus are both caused by viruses, antibiotics are also useless against them.21 Only in cases where individuals who have compromised or weakened immune systems, such as children, the elderly or those with specific chronic illnesses, are antibiotics useful when a secondary bacterial infection may develop. The best and most effective way of preventing colds and the flu is to use effective handwashing techniques.
When and How Do You Wash Your Hands?










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Handwashing is important before or after different activities. This short video will demonstrate how to wash your hands, and the list below may help you to determine if it might be time to head to the sink for some soap and water.
When your hands are visibly soiled
After coming in from outside
Often during cold and flu season
Before sitting down to eat
After coughing or sneezing
Visiting or caring for sick people
After playing with children or handling children's toys
After handling garbage, using the phone or shaking hands
After touching your pet, animal waste, pet food or treats
After going to the bathroom or changing a diaper
Before and after handling food, being especially careful with raw eggs, meat, seafood and poultry
After coming home from the grocery store, school, the mall or church where you may have touched objects
Washing your hands helps to reduce the rising problem with antibiotic resistance as it can prevent respiratory infections and infections causing diarrhea, when antibiotics may be unnecessarily prescribed.22 Preventing the overuse of antibiotics is an important factor in reducing the growing problem of antibiotic resistance. Correctly washing your hands will help to reduce the bacteria living on your hands that may be transferred from person to person. To be truly effective for disease control, consider the following guidelines:
  • Use warm, running water and a mild soap. You do NOT need antibacterial soap, and this has been scientifically verified. Even the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has stated,23 "There is currently no evidence that [antibacterial soaps] are any more effective at preventing illness than washing with plain soap and water."
  • Start with wet hands, add soap and work up a good lather, all the way up to your wrists, scrubbing for at least 15 or 20 seconds (most people only wash for about six seconds). A good way to time this is to sing the "Happy Birthday" song twice.
  • Make sure you cover all surfaces, including the backs of your hands, wrists, between your fingers and around and below your fingernails.
  • Rinse thoroughly under running water.
  • Thoroughly dry your hands, ideally using a paper towel. In public places, also use a paper towel to open the door as a protection from germs that the handles may harbor.
Too Much of a Good Thing Is Not Better
Handwashing to prevent spreading germs is a good thing, but overwashing your hands can actually increase your risk of getting sick. When you wash your hands frequently, it removes protective oils on your skin and increases your risk of skin cracks and breaks that let in bacteria. Irritant contact dermatitis is a condition that leads to red, raw and cracked skin that is 4.5 times more likely in health care workers who wash their hands appropriately.24
Washing your hands frequently removes more oils than your skin can produce. Once this happens, it can be challenging to heal.25 Dry, winter air combined with excessive washing at home may lead to the same problem.
The same issue may occur over your body if you shower more than once daily, especially in the winter months. Another reason you don’t want to wash frequently is that not all bacteria living on your skin is bad bacteria. When you clear your hands completely, you open the door to pathogenic bacteria to take up residence on your hands.26
Scientists are attempting to work out what "clean" means, if it doesn't mean bacteria-free. A group of University of Oregon scientists argues27 that it's time the medical community rethinks the definition of clean, outside of the necessity for sterile conditions in an operating room. In the past, researchers used jelly-based agar plates to grow bacterial colonies they swabbed from your skin. Today researchers have found that not all bacteria grow on these plates.
Using DNA sequencing, scientists discovered a vast diversity of bacteria growing on different areas of your body. In fact, the bacteria growing on your elbows is different from that growing on the oily part of your nose or the skin under your arms. If you find yourself becoming anxious about the normal colonies of bacteria living on your skin, it could lead to excessive handwashing that is a symptom of obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD).28 This is in high contrast to people who leave the bathroom without washing their hands.
Fear of germs and dirt, with the compulsion to wash your hands over and over, doesn't occur overnight and is one of the more common manifestations of OCD. In this case, your behavior is a result of more than a desire for cleanliness. The real purpose of your actions is to reduce your feelings of fear and anxiety. While washing your hands excessively with regular soap may increase your risk for significant skin rashes and cracking, using antibacterial soap is actually worse.
Ditch the Antibacterial Soap










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In this short video, you'll discover that even research from the FDA shows using antibacterial soap increases the potential for the development of antibiotic-resistant superbugs. Studies have repeatedly demonstrated that regular soap is as effective, if not more so, than antibacterial soaps in preventing the spread of infectious disease.
Most antibacterial soaps contain triclosan that kills all germs except for those that are already antibiotic resistant. This increases the potential for growth of superbugs as they now have less bacterial competition in the same area.
Triclosan was originally introduced as a pesticide in the 1960s, and it is still used in some applications today.29 Dangers from triclosan have been studied and are becoming more widely known. It is an endocrine disruptor, has been associated with early onset of puberty and can accumulate in fat tissue. The chemical has been found in human blood, breast milk and urine samples.
Once released into wastewater into the environment, the chemical reacts to light and converts into a form of dioxin, another known carcinogen. Triclosan promotes the development and growth of drug-resistant bacteria and is linked to allergies, thyroid dysfunction, weight gain, liver damage30 and an increased inflammatory response.31 Although many recommend hand sanitizer for widespread use, triclosan has been linked with hormone dysregulation in pregnant women and may affect the development of the unborn child.32,33
It is important to remember that antibacterial soaps are aimed at bacteria, and colds and the flu are caused by viruses. Antibacterial soap is no more effective against viruses than regular soap. The action of using a surfactant agent and friction causes the viruses and bacteria to slip off your hand and not to kill the germs.
Thus, regular soap is as effective against spreading infection without the added danger of exposure to triclosan or other chemicals added to antibacterial products. It is also best to avoid alcohol-based sanitizers. These products will significantly reduce bacterial diversity on your skin. Decreasing diversity may increase your potential for carrying a potential pathogen when you eliminate the naturally-occurring protective species. 34
It's No Secret — A Healthy Immune System Helps Prevent Illness
You may believe a common misconception that if a virus or bacteria enters your body, you will get sick. However, a simple exposure does not determine whether or not you suffer from an illness. Instead, it is the state of your immune system that dictates your body's response and therefore your likelihood of illness. In one study, 17 people were purposely infected with the flu virus, but only half got sick.35 When researchers tested the participant's blood, each had an immune response.
In the patients who became symptomatic, the response indicated both antiviral and an inflammatory response that may have been related to virus-induced oxidative stress.
But the patients who did not exhibit clinical symptoms had more tightly-regulated cell-mediated responses and an elevated expression of genes that function in an antioxidant response. In other words, half of the group were able to fight off the virus effectively. This means that while handwashing is effective in reducing the spread of germs, you also want to nurture an active immune system.

There are many factors that influence your immune system over which you have control. Sleep, gut microbiome, sun exposure, grounding, sugar consumption and nutrition are all ways of having a significant impact on the development and support of a strong immune system.
Not a conspiracy theory: Educrats discover alarming new ways to data mine our children
Aug 12, 2016 by External Resource

By Emmett McGroarty, Jane Robbins –
Opponents of the progressive-education elitists on issues such as the Common Core scheme are routinely accused of spouting paranoid conspiracy theories. This smear is particularly common in discussing technology-driven “digital learning.” It’s ridiculous, educrats say, to suggest that schools — meaning the government —and their corporate ed-tech allies will be probing the psyches of our children. Track children’s eye movements or scan their brains? That’s crazy talk!Except that federally funded researchers now brag about doing just that.
Ed Week reports that Carnegie Mellon University researchers are using brain scans to create computer software to adapt to what a student is actually thinking as he solves math problems. The premise is this:
Researchers can now use brain-imaging techniques to identify the mental stages humans go through while solving math problems. From there, they can use machine-learning algorithms to find the connections between patterns of human brain activity and patterns in the data generated by students as they interact with math software. Armed with that information, the researchers hope, they can build better educational software programs capable of quickly detecting how students are attempting to solve a given problem, then responding in a personalized way.
For years the U.S. Department of Education (USED) has promoted this cutting-edge research, in pursuit of “transforming” education by “personalizing” it. One reportPromoting Grit, Tenacity, and Perseverance” — describes USED’s goals in creepy detail. The Grit report explains how a child’s emotions, such as frustration, anxiety, and boredom, “may be measured through analysis of facial expressions, EEG brain wave patterns, skin conductance, heart rate variability, posture, and eye-tracking” (p. 41).
A separate USED report, “Expanding Evidence: Approaches for Learning in a Digital World,” explores how sophisticated software of the type being developed by Carnegie Mellon can map a child’s brain as he works: “[L]earning systems can capture micro-level data on [students’] problem-solving sequences, knowledge, and strategy use, including each student’s selections or inputs, the number of attempts a student makes, the number of hints and feedback given, and the time allocated across each part of the problem…” (p. 12).
What parent doesn’t want the government tracking their child’s emotional state?
What happens to this brain-mapping data (“billions” of data points, according to one ed-tech CEO) that is collected from each student as he interacts with the software? Maybe the software vendor keeps it for the company’s benefit, such as creating new products. Maybe the school/government retains it in the longitudinal data system for various reasons — tracking the child’s social-emotional development (which the progressive-education establishment now considers more important than instilling academic knowledge), or predicting the child’s future behavior, or sharing with other agencies that may have an interest (health, law-enforcement, etc.). The possibilities are endless. And frightening.
Carnegie Mellon has long taken the lead in this Minority Report/Gattaca research. Professor John Anderson enthuses about delving into a child’s psyche by mapping his brain. As he told Ed Week, researchers will soon be “tracking and responding in real time to students’ actual brain activity, as opposed to the indirect process that happens now.” And models will include “information gleaned from tracking students’ emotional, or affective, state, such as frustration or excitement.”
Terrific. What parent doesn’t want the government tracking their child’s emotional state?
Obviously, to transmit all this data, the child must be connected in some way to the software. In this respect Anderson hails “the advent of cheaper new tools such as high-quality commercial eye-tracking technology and even wearable EEG reading devices … .” (Photos helpfully provided in the Grit report (p. 44).)
Anderson concedes that his cutting-edge technology could be “misused,” but he thinks the ends justify the means. USED obviously agrees.
Predictably, much support for Carnegie Mellon’s mis-usable research comes from the federal government. Anderson (who himself has been invited to selective White House conferences on probing children’s brains) helps direct the Pittsburgh Science of Learning Center, which is funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF) to the tune of almost $50 million.
As we’ve reported, one recent grant from the NSF to Carnegie Mellon and other partners is to create LearnSphere, which will expand a massive repository to store student data generated through use of these sophisticated interactive software systems. LearnSphere will be designed to store behavioral and even physiological data on students.
Does anyone believe the federal government will pour millions of dollars into collecting this data without the ability, eventually, to access it? Is it even conceivably acceptable to have this extraordinarily sensitive data about American citizens in the clutches of government and of private industry — especially when parents won’t even be told what’s happening?
Information is power. This type of information of the inner workings of an individual’s thinking process is overwhelming. For one person to have that type of information about another is intimidating. And for the government to have it will make a farce of citizen-directed government. One cannot direct that which intimidates him.
“Paranoia” indeed.

Study says there is no link between cholesterol and heart disease

Study says there's no link between cholesterol and heart disease
Monday June 13 2016
Sections

  • Where did the story come from?
  • What kind of research was this?
  • What did the research involve?
  • What were the basic results?
  • How did the researchers interpret the results?
  • Conclusion
"Controversial report claims there's no link between 'bad cholesterol' and heart disease," the Daily Mail reports, while The Times states: "Bad cholesterol 'helps you live longer',".
The headlines are based on a new review which aimed to gather evidence from previous observational studies on whether LDL cholesterol (so-called "bad cholesterol") was linked with mortality in older adults aged over 60. The conventional view is that having high LDL cholesterol levels increases your risk of dying of cardiovascular diseases, such as heart disease.
Researchers chose 30 studies in total to analyse. 28 studies looked at the link with death from any cause. Twelve found no link between LDL and mortality, but 16 actually found that lower LDL was linked with higher mortality risk – the opposite to what was expected.
Only nine studies looked at cardiovascular mortality link specifically – seven found no link and two found the opposite link to what was expected.
However, there are many important limitations to this review. This includes the possibility that the search methods may have missed relevant studies, not looking at levels of other blood fats (e.g. total and HDL cholesterol), and the possibility that other health and lifestyle factors are influencing the link.
Most importantly, as the researchers acknowledge, these findings do not take account of statin use, which lowers cholesterol. People found to have high LDL cholesterol at the study's start may have subsequently been started on statins, which could have prevented deaths.  
Where did the story come from?
The study was carried out by researchers from the University of South Florida, the Japan Institute of Pharmacovigilance and various other international institutions in Japan, Sweden, UK, Ireland, US and Italy.
Funding was provided by the Western Vascular Institute. The study was published in the peer-reviewed BMJ Open and, as the journal name suggests, the article is open-access, so can be read for free.
Four of the study authors have previously written book(s) criticising "the cholesterol hypothesis". It should also be noted that nine of the authors are members of THINCS – The International Network of Cholesterol Skeptics. This is described as a group of scientists who "oppose…that animal fat and high cholesterol play a role [in heart disease]".
If you were playing Devil's Advocate, you could argue that this represents a preconceived view of the authors regarding the role of cholesterol, rather than the open, unbiased mind you would hope for in the spirit of scientific enquiry. That said, many important scientific breakthroughs happened due to the efforts of individuals who challenged a prevailing orthodoxy of thinking.
In general, the UK media provided fairly balanced reporting, presenting both sides of the argument – supporting the findings, but with critical views from other experts.
What kind of research was this?
This was a systematic review which aimed to gather evidence from cohort studies to see whether LDL – "bad" – cholesterol is associated with mortality in older adults.
It has long been thought that cholesterol is a key cause of the fatty build-up in arteries (atherosclerosis) that causes heart disease. However, the researchers say there are contradictions to this view. Recent research has suggested that total cholesterol becomes less of a risk factor for all-cause or cardiovascular mortality the older people get. Less is known about LDL specifically and that's what this research aimed to look at.
A systematic review is the best way of gathering evidence from cohort studies that have looked at the link between an exposure or risk factor and an outcome. However, the strength of a review's findings is only as good as the studies they include. In cohort studies, it is often difficult to directly attribute an outcome to a specific cause, and there is always the potential that other factors are influencing the outcome. 
What did the research involve?
The researchers searched one literature database (PubMed) in December 2015 to identify English-language cohort studies that had included a general population sample aged 60 and over. Studies had to have taken baseline measures of LDL cholesterol and then followed participants up over time, looking at the link with all-cause or cardiovascular mortality.
Three authors reviewed potential studies and extracted data. From an initial 2,894 hits, 19 publications, covering 30 cohorts and including 68,094 participants, were included. The majority of studies were excluded outright, as they didn't seem to contain anything relevant in the study title or abstract (summary). The other reasons for exclusion were non-English language, participants not being representative of the general population, not measuring LDL cholesterol at baseline, and not giving separate data for older adults or looking at mortality outcomes.
What were the basic results?
The researchers did not pool the results of the individual cohorts in a meta-analysis, but gave a narrative summary of the findings.
Overall, they reported that 16 cohorts (representing 92% of individuals in the review) of 28 examining all-cause mortality found an inverse relationship between LDL cholesterol and all-cause mortality. That is, as LDL cholesterol went down, all-cause mortality went up – higher LDL was apparently linked to lower all-cause mortality. In 14 of these 16, this was said to be a statistically significant link. The remaining 12 cohorts found no link with all-cause mortality.
Only nine of the identified cohorts specifically reported cardiovascular mortality. Seven found no link between LDL cholesterol and cardiovascular mortality. The other two found that those in the lowest fourth (quartile) of LDL levels actually had the highest cardiovascular mortality.
How did the researchers interpret the results?
The researchers concluded that, "High LDL-C is inversely associated with mortality in most people over 60 years". They said their finding contradicts the cholesterol hypothesis: that cholesterol, particularly LDL, causes fatty build-up in the arteries. 
They consider that as they found older adults with high LDL live just as long as those with low LDL, this "provides the rationale for a re-evaluation of guidelines recommending pharmacological reduction of LDL-C in the elderly".
Conclusion
This research suggests that – contrary to common belief – LDL cholesterol is not as "bad" as may be thought, and higher levels are not linked to all-cause or cardiovascular mortality.
However, before accepting this as fact, there are many important limitations to consider – both to the review and the included studies – many of which the review authors themselves acknowledge:
  • There is the potential that many studies relevant to this question may have been missed out. The review searched only a single literature database, excluded studies only available in non-English language, and excluded studies where the title and abstract did not appear to contain information on the link between LDL and mortality in older adults.
  • The study only looked at the link in older adults aged over 60. LDL-cholesterol levels may show different links with long-term mortality in younger adults. Though this was intended to represent the general older-age population, some studies had excluded people with specific conditions such as dementia, diabetes or terminal illness.
  • The studies varied widely in adjustment for confounding factors that could be having an influence on the link between LDL and mortality. Age, gender and body mass index (BMI) were common factors that studies took into account, but others variably accounted for lifestyle factors (e.g. smoking, alcohol), socioeconomic factors, presence of conditions, and use of medications.
  • Only LDL cholesterol was examined. Levels of total cholesterol, trigylcerides, and the ratio of LDL to HDL "good" cholesterol could be having an effect and mediating the link between LDL and mortality.
  • Most of the evidence for this review is for the link with all-cause mortality – not cardiovascular mortality. High LDL-cholesterol is believed to be linked with the development of atherosclerosis and cardiovascular disease. This review does not provide enough firm evidence to refute this link. The review cannot with certainty explain the reasons for the apparent link between LDL levels and death from any cause – with roughly half of studies finding a link and half not.
  • Importantly, the study does not provide evidence that statins are "a waste of time". These are not trials examining mortality between people prescribed statins or not. The researchers openly acknowledge that the use of statins – which they haven't directly examined – may be confounding the links in these studies. For example, the people found to have the highest LDL cholesterol levels at the study's start may have then been started on statins, and this could have dramatically cut their reduced mortality risk.
The findings of this review and possible explanations will need to be explored further, but for now this review doesn't provide solid evidence that high LDL cholesterol is good for you, or that statins are of no help. People given statins should continue to take them as prescribed.
"Fat is actually good for you" may be a great headline for a newspaper, and there are always researchers who are willing to make such a case, as we saw with the recent National Obesity Forum report.
These types of stories are often based on a selective view of evidence, rather than a comprehensive systematic review. There is currently no comprehensive body of evidence that contradicts current official advice on saturated fat consumption – which recommends no more than 30g of saturated fat a day for men and 20g for women.
Analysis by Bazian 
Edited by NHS Choices

Links to the headlines
Daily Mail, June 13 2016
The Daily Telegraph, June 13 2016
Daily Mirror, June 12 2016
The Guardian, June 13 2016
Links to the science