Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Cold and Flu Remedies

43 Natural Alternatives for Colds and Flu

Posted on: Monday, June 4th 2012 at 6:45 pm
Written By: Pat Robinson
This article is copyrighted by GreenMedInfo LLC, 2012

  1. Echinacea use reduces the incidence and duration of the common cold.
  2. Echinacea appears effective in preventing upper respiratory tract infections in children.
  3. Treatment with Echinacea Plus tea at early onset of cold or flu symptoms was effective for relieving these symptoms in a shorter period of time than a placebo.
  4. A yeast-based fermentation byproduct reduces cold and flu incidence in non-vaccinated individuals.
  5. A yeast-based fermentation byproduct reduces cold and flu symptom duration and severity.
  6. Daily dietary probiotic supplementation oor 6 months is a safe and effective way to reduce fever, rhinorrhea, and cough incidence and duration and antibiotic prescription incidence, as well as the number of missed school days for children 3-5 years of age
  7. Long term use of probiotics and synbiotics reduce the incidence and severity of respiratory diseases during the cold season.
  8. Probiotic bacteria reduce the duration and severity of common cold episodes.
  9. American Ginseng is safe and effective in reducing relative risk and duration of respiratory symptoms associated with "cold and flu" in adults.
  10. American ginseng is safe, well tolerated, and potentially effective for preventing acute respiratory illness due to influenza and respiratory syncytial virus infections.
  11. Elderberry appears to be safe and effective treatment for influenza A and B.
  12. Elderberry significantly reduces the duration of infection from influenza in a safe manner.
  13. Green tea is safe and effective in preventing cold and flu symptoms, and for enhancing T cell function.
  14. Green tea consumption is inversely associated with the incidence of influenza among Japanese schoolchldren.
  15. Vitamin D deficiency is associated with susceptibility to influenza.
  16. An herbal preparation containing echinacea, propolis, and vitamin Cin preventing respiratory tract infections in children.
  17. There is evidence that vitamin Cmay reduce susceptibility to the common cold.
  18. Pelargonium sidoides is a safe and effective treatment for the common cold
  19. A Pelargonium sidoides extract has broad antiviral activity against respiratory viruses.
  20. Homeopathic preparation has therapeutic value in the treatment of influenza-like syndromes.
  21. Homoeopathic Oscillococcinum appears to have therapeutic value in influenza and influenza-like syndromes.
  22. Zinc lozenges may provide an effective treatment for the common cold.
  23. Zinc may inhibit influenza virus.
  24. A combination of fruit and vegetable powder extract reduces symptoms associated with the common cold.
  25. An extract of Baptisa (Wild Indigo), echinacea and thuja is safe and effective in the treatment of upper respiratory infections.
  26. Consumption of yoghurt fermented with L. bulgaricus reduced the risk of catching the common cold in elderly individuals.
  27. Chinese skullcap has significant anti-viral activity against Influenza.
  28. Cordyceps contains a polysaccharide that has beneficial therapeutic effects on influenza A virus.
  29. Andrographis has therapeutic activity against upper respiratory tract infections.
  30. Lactobacillus gasseri, Bifidobacterium longum and Bifidobacterium bifidumsignificantly shortens common cold episodes and reduces the severity of symptoms.
  31. Beet extractprotects against experimental influenza infection.
  32. Cinnamon has antiviral activity against various influenza viruses.
  33. Horseradishextract attenuates influenza infection (in mice).
  34. Pomegranateshave anti-influenza activity.
  35. Selenium supplementation may provide a feasible approach to improving the immune response to viral infections.
  36. Apple pectin, citrus pectin, flaxseed mucilage, gum acacia (gum arabic), and gum myrrh inhibit viral hemagglutinin in vitro.
  37. Agrimony (A. pilosa) has broad spectrum antiviral activity against Influenzas A, B and Avian Influenza.
  38. Black Tea inhibits influenza virus.
  39. Cranberry juice constituents inhibit influenza virus adhesion and infectivity.
  40. A water extract of dandelion exhibits anti-influenza activity.
  41. Maitake mushroom appears to induce the production of certain factors, including TNF-alpha, which are responsible for the inhibition of viral growth in vitro.
  42. Mullein contains antiviral compounds.
  43. Red Marine Algae exhibits strong HSV and Influenza-inhibiting activity.

Did you like this information? You can download a PDF with 143 studies relevant to cold & flu, linked back to the original citation on the National Library of Medicine, at our downloadable document store

Pat Robinson was in the medical industry for decades. She has invested over 10,000 hours learning about natural alternatives, reading hundreds and hundreds of medical research studies, and assisting thousands of people about holistic health issues.

Pat is passionate about sharing the amazing power of the body to heal itself.
Pat's Farmacy focuses on wellness promotion through whole food nutrition, so that you can Heal Thyself!
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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Dr. William Davis, DIY Healthcare: How To Get Off Statins

Dr. William Davis, DIY Healthcare: How To Get Off Statins

Himalayan Salt Lamps Benefits and Real vs. Fake Salt Lamps

Himalayan Salt Lamp Benefits + Real vs. Fake Salt Lamps

What on Earth is a Himalayan salt lamp? Himalayan sea salt is believed to be composed of dried remnants of the original, primal sea dating back to planet Earth’s creation. I’ve talked before about the health benefits of Celtic sea salt and Himalayan salt, but what if I told you that there are actually lamps made from Himalayan salt?
It’s true! They’re called salt lamps or salt rock lamps, and yes, they’re actually made from pink Himalayan salt and are able to light your surroundings — but they’re really not bought for their moderate lighting abilities. There are major claims that a Himalayan salt lamp does much more than provide you with a pretty glow. Himalayan salt lamp benefits supposedly include decreasing air pollution, negative ions and electrosmog caused by electronic devices in addition to symptom reduction for people suffering from from asthma, allergies and other illnesses.
Are there really healthy Himalayan salt lamp benefits, or are they just a glowing, earthy addition to your home? And how can you tell if your salt lamp is the real deal or a fake? I’m glad you asked.

What Is a Himalayan Salt Lamp and Does It Work?
Real Himalayan salt lamps are actually solid blocks of Himalayan salt that have been hand-carved. Deep underground mines in Khewra, Pakistan, located on the western edge of the Himalayan Mountains, are the only source of true Himalayan pink salt. The color of Himalayan salt lamps ranges from a light pink to a pinkish orange with the hue a result of the mineral concentration. Within the hollowed-out center of this block of salt is a light bulb that emits both light and heat. A salt lamp is not a lamp at all if it doesn’t have the light and heat source within it. Without that, it’s just a block of salt.
Salt is hygroscopic, which means it attracts water molecules to itself. Being the big hunk of salt that it is, a Himalayan salt lamp is believed to work by attracting the water molecules. This water vapor can also carry indoor air pollutants like mold, bacteria and allergens. Once the water vapor comes in contact with the salt lamp, the pollutants are believed to remain trapped in the salt. Since the lamp is heated, the salt dries out and is able to continue the cycle of attracting water vapor and pollutants, releasing the water vapor back into the air but holding on to the health-hazardous pollutants.
Just looking at the glow of a Himalayan salt lamp can be calming, which is therapeutic in and of itself, but what about the other health claims? To date, there aren’t any scientific studies focusing specifically on Himalayan salt lamp benefits. However, there is good reason to believe that a real Himalayan salt lamp may provide some health benefits given the other salt research out there as well as many encouraging user testimonies.
According to the Lung Institute, salt (in general) has the following health properties: (1)
  • Antibacterial
  • Anti-inflammatory
  • Loosens excessive mucus and speeds up mucociliary transport
  • Removes pathogens (ie., airborne pollen)
  • Reduces IgE level (immune system oversensitivity)

Himalayan Salt Lamp Benefits
1. Air Purification
Out of all of the possible Himalayan salt lamp benefits, air purification is often the quintessential goal for most buyers. Air-purifying house plants are often bought for this reason as well. There is not doubt that cleaner air in your home is better for your health.
According to research published by the American Society for Horticultural Science, the main component of air pollution or smog is ozone, which is most commonly linked with outdoor air, but it also makes its way into indoor living spaces like your home or office. (2)
As I described earlier, a Himalayan salt lamp by its salty nature is able to easily attract water vapor to it. With this water vapor often comes indoor air pollutants, including allergens, mold and bacteria. When the water hits the heated lamp, the salt traps the pollutants but releases the water vapor. This cycle repeats while the lamp is on and warm. By removing pollutants from the air, the salt lamp leaves you with cleaner, healthier air.
2. Reduction in Electromagnetic Radiation and Airborne Infections
So many things around us nowadays release electromagnetic radiation in the form of unhealthy positive ions — things like your cell phone, computer and television, just to name a few.  This electromagnetic radiation (EM), aka electrosmog, may be invisible but is believed to cause some serious long-term effects. Constant exposure to EM radiation is known primarily to cause fatigue, increase stress and weaken the immune system.
There have been more than 2,000 studies exposing the toxic effects of electromagnetic fields from all sources. Scientists have come to the scary conclusion that “chronic exposure to even low-level radiation (like that from cell phones) can cause a variety of cancers, impair immunity, and contribute to Alzheimer’s disease and dementia, heart disease, and many other ailments.” (3)
An awesome way to increase exposure to negative ions is to spend more time in nature, especially around water. Himalayan salt lamps are said to emit negative ions in small amounts and cancel out positive ones. By neutralizing electromagnetic radiation, they may help reduce the negative health effects of harmful electrosmog. Balancing positive and negative ions also may help reduce airborne infections. (4)

3. Eases Asthma and Allergy Symptoms
Himalayan salt is now used in inhalers to bring relief to asthma and allergy sufferers. Salt therapy is also used to treat chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) patients. COPD is a debilitating and degenerative lung disease characterized by the restriction of airflow in and out of the lungs. According to the Lung Institute, “Some people have found salt therapy to be an effective option for relieving symptoms of lung disease, resulting in easier breathing.”
Numerous clinical studies have demonstrated highly impressive salt therapy benefits, including helping: (5)
Salt therapy for breathing problems is said to have begun with Siberian salt mine workers in the later 1800s who had a surprisingly small number of respiratory problems compared to people around them with less salty professions. Nowadays, you can find salt caves at various spas, and this salt cave experience is also trying to be re-created with the invention of salt pipe inhalers. Salt lamps are another smaller-scale way to bring the salt cave experience (and hopefully the health benefits) home. (6)
4. Mood Booster and Sleep Promoter
Another possible health benefit of the Himalayan salt lamp is a reduction in anxiety symptoms. According to color therapy as well as general human enjoyment, the warm pinkish to orange glow of the salt lamp is a calming and happy presence in a room. Additionally, as a real piece of nature, Himalayan salt gives off negative ions like a waterfall (but in much smaller amounts). Since Himalayan salt lamps release negative ions into the air, they can help reduce anxiety and also encourage a relaxing atmosphere for sleep. (7) Many people like to keep salt lamps in their bedrooms for their calming effect.
Why are negative ions so great? You can’t taste, smell or see them, but they’re some impressive molecules. Once negative ions reach the bloodstream, they’re believed to produce biochemical reactions that increase levels of the mood chemical serotonin, helping alleviate depression, relieve stress and boost daytime energy. (8)

How to Tell a Real vs. Fake Himalayan Salt Lamp
If you’re in the market for a Himalayan salt lamp, you want to do your homework to make sure you choose the best option possible. There are said to be several ways to tell if you have a salt lamp that’s the real deal. Unfortunately, some of these characteristics will only be made known to you if you read reviews very carefully or, the less desirable scenario, once you’ve been actually using it in your home for a while (so hang on to that receipt!).
Top signs that your Himalayan salt lamp is a fake include: (9)
1. Poor Return Policy
Real Himalayan salt lamps are made of salt so it’s not surprising that they’re fragile objects. A good manufacturer knows this and has return policies that are flexible since there could be some damage in transit. If a salt lamp’s maker is extremely strict (like a “NO RETURNS” policy), then it makes you wonder if it’s a scam operation. This might not necessarily be the case, but some fake retailers have been known not to permit any returns because they know they’re not giving you the real thing.
2. Highly Durable 
As I just said, Himalayan salt lamps are inherently fragile. Once you own one, you definitely need to be careful not to drop it or bang it into other solid objects because the salt crystal can be damaged very easily. This is actually a rare time when durability is not desirable. If your salt lamp is unaffected by a collision, it could likely be an imposter.
3. Very Bright Light
If all you’re looking for is a bright light source, a salt lamp is not the way to go. Due to its high content of numerous minerals, a Himalayan salt lamp gives off light in an irregular and muffled manner. A true salt lamp does not give off enough light to completely illuminate a room. If yours does, then it’s most likely not the real deal.
4. Inexpensive White Crystal 
You’ll typically find Himalayan salt lamps that give off a warm pinkish or orange hue. There is such a thing as a white Himalayan salt lamp, but it’s extremely rare and a lot more pricey than the colored ones. So if you find a white salt crystal lamp that’s not substantially more expensive than the pink/orange versions, steer clear because this is likely an imposter.
5. No Mention of Pakistan
Deep underground mines in Khewra, Pakistan, are the only source of true Himalayan pink salt. If you’re questioning whether you have a real Himalayan salt lamp, look for mention of Pakistan as the salt crystal’s country of origin. You can also ask the lamp’s maker about the salt’s origin, keeping in mind that it may list the country of origin as the location of the lamp’s assembly.
6. Moisture-Resistant
By its inherent nature, salt is an absorber of water. If your salt lamp has no problem being near a moisture source (like a shower), this is a good sign that you own a fake. A true salt lamp is prone to some sweating when exposed to moisture.
7. Not Experiencing Any Benefits
If you’re sure that you bought the appropriately sized salt lamp for the space you’re using it in and you’ve also been exposed to it on a regular basis and don’t see any positive effects whatsoever, then you may not have a real Himalayan salt lamp.

Why Himalayan Salt Is Good for You
Himalayan pink salt is an extremely pure, hand-mined salt that comes from ancient sea salt deposits in the Punjab region of Pakistan. It’s believed to be the purest form of salt available. As a pink salt, Himalayan salt is rich in iron, calcium, potassium, magnesium and copper. All these nutrients are actually what give Himalayan salt its pretty pink color. (10)
When ingested, real Himalayan salt is said to:
  • Make drinking water alkaline water
  • Provide essential minerals and trace minerals
  • Balance the body’s pH
  • Normalize metabolic functions
  • Be readily absorbed by your body’s cells
  • Increases energy flow and circulation

Himalayan Salt Lamp Buying Tips and Precautions
When it comes to buying Himalayan pink salt lamps, take into consideration the size of the room in which you wish to use your lamp. The coverage of a salt lamp is determined by the size of the salt crystal. For the average-sized bedroom, a smaller lamp is usually adequate, but if you’re looking to use it in a larger area like your living room, you want to go bigger. On average, to effectively cleanse the air of a space, you need one pound of salt rock for every 16 square feet (four feet by four feet) area. If needed, you can always use multiple salt lamps spread out in a single room.
Salt is hygroscopic, which means it absorbs water. This is why Himalayan pink salt crystals start to melt with prolonged exposure to high humidity. Thus, you should keep them away from household moisture sources like showers, dishwashers and laundry washing machines. It can be dangerous if the salt begins leaking onto the lamp holder. To avoid buying a substandard lamp holder, purchase a salt lamp that’s firmly connected to the base. It’s also ideal to find a salt lamp that has UL certification, which is an extra measure of safety assurance. (11)
As with any lamp, always practice proper fire safety, including keeping it in a place where a child cannot pull it down or knock it over.

Final Thoughts on a Himalayan Salt Lamp
So far, scientists don’t seem to be too interested in the therapeutic glow of Himalayan salt lamps. Hopefully some specific studies on the benefits of salt lamps will be conducted soon, but in the meantime, the other salt research that’s out there is quite impressive and encouraging.
If you’re looking to make a Himalayan salt lamp the newest addition to your home or office, just make sure you get the real thing. If you buy a true Himalayan salt lamp and use it regularly, you may just notice easier breathing, a calmer demeanor and better sleep in your near future.

Monday, October 30, 2017

Fires, Hurricanes: Successful Weapons Testing - with Elana Freeland

Broccoli Helps Heal Leaky Gut

New Finding: Broccoli Helps Heal Leaky Gut

  • 4.4K 

Story at-a-glance
  • Broccoli is well-known for its chemoprotective properties. New research shows this cruciferous vegetable can also be very helpful in the treatment of colitis and leaky gut
  • Leaky gut occurs when gaps develop between the cells making up the membrane lining your intestinal wall. These gaps allow substances that should be confined to your digestive tract to enter your bloodstream
  • When you eat broccoli, a compound called indolocarbazole (ICZ) is produced. By binding to and activating certain receptors on your gut lining, ICZ boosts immune function and improves the balance of your gut microbiome
  • To achieve this healing effect, you’d need to eat about 3.5 cups of broccoli per day. You can obtain an equivalent amount of ICZ from a single cup of Brussels sprouts, as they contain three times the ICZ of broccoli
  • Broccoli also has many other health benefits, boosting mitochondrial health and energy metabolism, and protecting against obesity, Type 2 diabetes, heart disease, neurodegenerative diseases and cancer
By Dr. Mercola
Broccoli, a close relative of Brussels sprouts, cabbage and cauliflower, is perhaps most well-known for its chemoprotective properties. It's an excellent source of phytonutrient glucosinolates, flavonoids and other health-boosting antioxidant and anticancer compounds. One of the compounds in broccoli known to have anticancer activity is sulforaphane, a naturally occurring organic sulfur.
Studies have shown sulforaphane supports normal cell function and division while causing apoptosis (programmed cell death) in colon,1 prostate,2 breast3 and tobacco-induced lung cancer4 cells, and reducing the number of cancerous liver tumors in mice.5 Three servings of broccoli per week may reduce your risk of prostate cancer by more than 60 percent.6
Its beneficial effects on obesity, Type 2 diabetes and nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) have also been highlighted in a number of studies. Researchers have now identified yet another major health benefit of this cruciferous vegetable: a healthy gut. In fact, researchers suggest broccoli can be very helpful in the treatment of colitis and leaky gut.7,8,9,10 As reported by CBS:11
"The Penn State study was carried out with mice, who were found to be much more capable of tolerating digestive issues than those who weren't put on a broccoli diet. The scientists added that the results could be a breakthrough for humans, as digestive problems can reportedly lead to other severe issues."
Broccoli Helps Heal a Leaky Gut
What they discovered is that when you eat broccoli, a compound called indolocarbazole (ICZ) is produced, which catalyzes a healthy balance not only in your gut but also in your immune system, as the two are intricately connected. In this study, 15 percent of the animals' diet was swapped out for raw broccoli, equating to a human eating 3.5 cups of broccoli per day.
Admittedly, that's quite a bit of broccoli, but the researchers note you can obtain an equivalent amount of ICZ from a single cup of Brussels sprouts, as they contain three times the ICZ of broccoli. Earlier studies had confirmed that one of the health benefits of broccoli is its ability to quench inflammation, so it makes sense it would be helpful for gastrointestinal (GI) inflammation as well.
Leaky gut is a condition that occurs due to the development of gaps between the cells (enterocytes) that make up the membrane lining your intestinal wall. These tiny gaps allow substances such as undigested food, bacteria and metabolic wastes that should be confined to your digestive tract to escape into your bloodstream.
Once the integrity of your intestinal lining is compromised, allowing toxic substances to enter your bloodstream, your body experiences a significant increase in inflammation. Your immune system may also become confused and begin to attack your own body as if it were an enemy — a hallmark of autoimmunity disorders.
Chronic inflammation in your body can also contribute and/or lead to other health conditions such as arthritis and heart disease. While leaky gut syndrome is primarily associated with inflammatory bowel diseases like Crohn's and ulcerative colitis and celiac disease, even healthy people can have varying degrees of intestinal permeability leading to a wide variety of health symptoms, and this can be significantly influenced by your diet.
Removing lectins from your diet will also go a long way to healing a leaky gut. You can learn more about the details of this in the previous interview I did with Dr. Steven Gundry, who wrote the book "The Plant Paradox."
How Broccoli Improves Gut Function
A key component of a healthy gut is having good barrier function to prevent particles from escaping from your intestinal tract into your bloodstream. Receptors located on the lining of your gut wall called aryl hydrocarbon receptors (AHRs) play a vital role in maintaining a well-functioning barrier. One of their primary jobs is to trigger a reaction when toxins are detected.
As mentioned, broccoli and other cruciferous vegetables contain glucosinolate compounds, which are broken down into ICZ and other byproducts during digestion in your stomach. By binding to and activating AHR, ICZ helps boost your immune function and improve the balance of the microbiome in your gut.
The compound sulforaphane also inhibits inflammation by reducing damaging reactive oxygen species (ROS) by as much as 73 percent.12 Sulforaphane is also an immune stimulant,13 so broccoli beneficially influences your immune function in more ways than one.
Interestingly, excessive activation of AHR will have an opposite, detrimental effect. According to the researchers in the featured study, dioxin activates this receptor, but in this case the resulting hyperactivation triggers toxicity. Lead author Gary Perdew, professor of agricultural sciences, said,14 "What we were interested in is: Could you locally activate the receptor naturally at a level that would cause only modest AHR activation in the gut, but not cause systemic activation, which could possibly lead to negative effects?"
The answer, as you may have guessed, is yes, you can — with cruciferous vegetables. Importantly, broccoli and other sulfur-rich cruciferous vegetables also improve detoxification, which is another important factor that influences your health, including your gut health. Broccoli sprouts, in particular, have been shown to help detox environmental pollutants such as benzene.15,16,17  As noted by The World's Healthiest Foods:18
"… [S]ulforaphane increases the activity of the liver's phase 2 detoxification enzymes. These enzymes … are well-known for their ability to clear a wide variety of toxic compounds from the body including not only many carcinogens, but also many reactive oxygen species, a particularly nasty type of free radical.
By jump-starting these important detoxification enzymes, compounds in crucifers provide protection against cell mutations … and numerous other harmful effects that would otherwise be caused by these toxins."
The Importance of Fiber for Healthy Gut Function
Broccoli and other members of this family are also good sources of fiber — another important ingredient for good gut health. Fiber helps nourish your gut microbiome to strengthen your immune function and reduce your risk of inflammatory diseases.19 Fiber also activates a gene called T-bet, which is essential for producing immune cells in the lining of your digestive tract.20
These immune cells, called innate lymphoid cells (ILCs), help maintain balance between immunity and inflammation in your body and produce interleukin-22, a hormone that helps protect your body from pathogenic bacteria. ILCs even help resolve cancerous lesions and prevent the development of bowel cancers and other inflammatory diseases.
Broccoli Has Many Valuable Health Benefits
As you can see, the benefits of broccoli are significant, making it well worth adding a few spears and/or broccoli sprouts to your meals on a regular basis. Doing so has been shown to:21
Boost mitochondrial health and energy metabolism via nicotinamide mononucleotide (NMN), an enzyme in broccoli that your body needs to produce nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD).
NAD may slow age-related decline in health by restoring your metabolism to more youthful levels22,23,24 Once in your system, NMN is quickly converted into NAD
Aid with weight loss. Sulforaphane has been shown to slow weight gain, especially the accumulation of dangerous visceral fat, by speeding up tissue browning, a heat-generating type of fat that burns energy rather than storing it, and decreasing gut bacteria associated with obesity25,26,27
Boost overall immune function, thanks to compounds such as diindolylmethane (DIM). DIM has also been shown to be a valuable player in the prevention and treatment of cancer28,29
Lower your risk for atherosclerosis and neurodegenerative diseases such as Parkinson's and Alzheimer's, thanks to phenolic compounds that reduce free radicals
Improve digestion and gut health, courtesy of significant amounts of fiber and AHR-activating ICZ
Support eye health, thanks to high levels of the carotenoids lutein and zeaxanthin
Benefit your skin, as sulforaphane helps repair skin damage
Fight allergies, thanks to the flavonoid kaempferol
Provide important vitamins and minerals, including magnesium, potassium, calcium, protein and vitamin C
Help reduce blood sugar levels, as it contains both soluble fiber and chromium
Support heart health and help prevent thickening of your arteries
Reduce your risk of developing NAFLD by lowering triglyceride levels in your liver30,31
Reduce inflammation, which is at the root of many chronic diseases, including asthma, Type 2 diabetes and heart disease32,33,34
Improve Type 2 diabetes by lowering blood glucose levels and improving gene expression in your liver35,36
How to Get the Most Out of Your Broccoli

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Contrary to what you might think, the medicinal qualities of mature broccoli are actually optimized through cooking. Precision is key, however, as there's a fine line between optimizing its nutrient content and destroying it through overcooking. Here are some tips and guidelines to help you get the most out of your broccoli:
Adhere to ideal cooking times: Research37 shows steaming mature broccoli spears for three to four minutes will increase the available 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. The latter is important, because without myrosinase, you cannot get absorb the sulforaphane.
Make sure you do not exceed the five-minute mark, as you start losing valuable compounds beyond that point. If you opt for boiling, blanch it in boiling water for no more than 20 to 30 seconds, then immerse it in cold water to stop the cooking process.
Eat cruciferous veggies with mustard seed powder or other myrosinase-rich food: Eating your cruciferous veggies with a myrosinase-containing food38 such as mustard seed powder, which contains a particularly resilient form of myrosinase,39 will further maximize sulforaphane content. Aside from mustard seed, other alternatives include daikon radishes, wasabi, arugula or coleslaw. Adding a myrosinase-rich food is particularly important if you eat the broccoli raw, or use frozen broccoli.
Opt for fresh: Ideally, use raw, freshly harvested broccoli whenever possible as frozen broccoli has diminished ability to produce sulforaphane. This is because myrosinase40 is quickly destroyed during the blanching process.41 Broccoli can also lose 80 percent of its glucoraphanin — the precursor of sulforaphane — in the first 10 days after harvest.
For recipes calling for longer cooking times, chop and wait before cooking: When a cruciferous vegetable is chopped, 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, or 30-second blanching, without risking sulforaphane loss.42

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. As an example, if making broccoli soup, blend the raw broccoli first; wait 40 minutes for the sulforaphane to form, then boil it.

Sunday, October 29, 2017

Richard Doty : Air Force Office of Special Investigations

How the West Re-colonized China

Moringa for pets

The Pet Superfood You Probably Haven't Heard About

  • 443 

  • Moringa is a superfood that has grown very popular in recent years for both its nutritional and healing properties
  • Moringa is loaded with nutrients and antioxidants, and in humans has been shown to help lower blood pressure, reduce inflammation and maintain healthy cholesterol levels
  • Moringa also has antiviral and anticancer properties and may help regulate thyroid function
  • Moringa is safe to use in dogs, cats, birds and small mammals and has the same health benefits for pets as it does for people
By Dr. Becker
Moringa oleifera is a fast-growing tree native to South Asia and now found throughout the tropics. Its leaves have been used as part of traditional medicine for centuries, and the Ayurvedic system of medicine associates it with the cure or prevention of about 300 diseases.1
Moringa, sometimes referred to as the "miracle tree," "drumstick tree" or "horseradish tree," has small, rounded leaves that are packed with an incredible amount of nutrition: protein, calcium, beta carotene, vitamin C, potassium… you name it, moringa's got it.
6 Reasons Moringa Is a Superfood for Pets
1. It's a nutritional powerhouse
Moringa leaves are loaded with vitamins, minerals, essential amino acids and more. One hundred grams of dry moringa leaf contains:2
9 times the protein of yogurt
10 times the vitamin A of carrots
12 times the vitamin C of oranges
15 times the potassium of bananas
17 times the calcium of milk
26 times the iron of spinach
2. It's loaded with antioxidants
Moringa leaves are rich in antioxidants, including vitamin C, beta-carotene, quercetin and chlorogenic acid. The latter, chlorogenic acid, has been shown to slow cells' absorption of sugar and animal studies have found it to lower blood sugar levels. According to the Asian Pacific Journal of Cancer Prevention:
"The leaves of the Moringa oleifera tree have been reported to demonstrate antioxidant activity due to its high amount of polyphenols. Moringa oleifera extracts of both mature and tender leaves exhibit strong antioxidant activity against free radicals, prevent oxidative damage to major biomolecules, and give significant protection against oxidative damage."3
3. Lowers blood sugar levels
Moringa appears to have anti-diabetic effects, likely due to beneficial plant compounds contained in the leaves, including isothiocyanates.4 In one study of human diabetic patients, adding 50 grams of moringa leaves to a meal reduced the rise in blood sugar by 21 percent.5
4. Reduces inflammation
The isothiocyanates, flavonoids and phenolic acids in moringa leaves, pods and seeds also have anti-inflammatory properties. According to the Epoch Times:
"The tree's strong anti-inflammatory action is traditionally used to treat stomach ulcers. Moringa oil (sometimes called Ben oil) has been shown to protect the liver from chronic inflammation. The oil is unique in that, unlike most vegetable oils, moringa resists rancidity.
This quality makes it a good preservative for foods that can spoil quickly. This sweet oil is used for both frying or in a salad dressing. It is also used topically to treat antifungal problems, arthritis, and is an excellent skin moisturizer."6
5. Maintains healthy cholesterol levels
Moringa also has cholesterol-lowering properties. As noted in the Journal of Ethnopharmacology:
"Moringa oleifera is used in Thai traditional medicine as cardiotonic. Recent studies demonstrated its hypocholesterolemic effect.
... In hypercholesterol-fed rabbits, at 12 weeks of treatment, it significantly (P<0 .05="" 50="" 86="" about="" and="" at="" atherosclerotic="" cholesterol="" comparable="" degrees="" effects="" formation="" i="" levels="" lowered="" of="" percent="" plaque="" reduced="" respectively.="" simvastatin.="" the="" these="" those="" to="" were="">
... The results indicate that this plant possesses antioxidant, hypolipidaemic, and antiatherosclerotic activities, and has therapeutic potential for the prevention of cardiovascular diseases."7
6. Protects against arsenic toxicity
The leaves and seeds of moringa may protect against some of the effects of arsenic toxicity, which is especially important in light of news that common staple foods, such as rice, may be contaminated.8 Contamination of ground water by arsenic has also become a cause of global public health concern, and one study revealed:
"Co-administration of M. oleifera [moringa] seed powder (250 and 500 mg/kg, orally) with arsenic significantly increased the activities of SOD [superoxide dismutase], catalase and GPx with elevation in reduced GSH level in tissues (liver, kidney, and brain).
These changes were accompanied by approximately 57 [percent], 64 [percent] and 17 [percent] decrease in blood ROS [reactive oxygen species], liver metallothionein (MT) and lipid peroxidation respectively in animal co-administered with M. oleifera and arsenic.
Another interesting observation has been the reduced uptake of arsenic in soft tissues (55 [percent] in blood, 65 [percent] in liver, 54 [percent] in kidneys and 34 [percent] in brain) following administration of M. oleifera seed powder (particularly at the dose of 500 mg/kg).
It can thus be concluded from the present study that concomitant administration of M. oleifera seed powder with arsenic could significantly protect animals from oxidative stress and in reducing tissue arsenic concentration. Administration of M. oleifera seed powder thus could also be beneficial during chelation therapy …"9
This is one of the ways I use moringa in practice. I first learned about it when I was looking for a natural way to remove heavy metals from a toxic Rose Breasted Cockatoo over 10 years ago. He wasn't strong enough to undergo the standard chelation treatment, so I tried moringa instead.
Over several months, it naturally returned his heavy metal values to a normal range without any side effects, and I've been using it ever since for birds, cats and dogs as a natural detoxifier.
Additional Benefits of Moringa
Moringa is high in fiber that may be beneficial for certain pets. In addition, the isothiocyanates in moringa have antibacterial properties. Interestingly, moringa seeds have even been found to work better for water purification than many of the conventional synthetic materials in use today. According to Uppsala University:
"A protein in the seeds binds to impurities causing them to aggregate so that the clusters can be separated from the water. The study … published in the journal Colloids and Surfaces A takes a step towards optimization of the water purification process.10
Researchers in Uppsala together with colleagues from Lund as well as Namibia, Botswana, France, and the USA have studied the microscopic structure of aggregates formed with the protein.
The results show that the clusters of material (flocs) that are produced with the protein are much more tightly packed than those formed with conventional flocculating agents. This is better for water purification as such flocs are more easily separated."11
It's possible moringa's ability to attach itself to harmful materials may also happen in the body, making it a potential detoxification tool. According to Fox News Health,12 the potential healing powers of the moringa plant include treating inflammation, infectious disorders and problems of the cardiovascular and digestive systems. It may also improve liver function and enhance milk flow in nursing mothers.
Moringa is rich in health-enhancing compounds, including moringine, moringinine, quercetin, kaempferol, rhamnetin and various polyphenols. The leaves are popular for the ability to reduce high blood pressure and cholesterol levels. Studies also show that moringa leaves possess not only antiviral activity, but also antitumor and anticancer properties, due in part to the compound niaziminin. Other compounds in the leaves may help regulate thyroid function, especially in cases of hyperthyroidism.
How Moringa Can Be Beneficial for Pets
As you can see, moringa is a diversified plant with many amazing health benefits, all of which apply to animals. Because of the nutrient density, I've used this herb as a whole food iron supplement to assist anemic animals in producing more red blood cells. I've also used it as a whole food supplement for pets consuming less than optimal nutrition (often animals coming out of shelters) to quickly bolster cellular nutrition.
Because the body views moringa as food, I've found this herb to be exceptionally beneficial for sensitive patients who can't tolerate other supplements, and have given it to very old hyperthyroid cats and diabetic ferrets, and have mixed it in a hand feeding formula for neonatal parrots.
I've found moringa to be one of the most diverse herbs on the planet and one you may decide would be a nice addition for your pet to assist in managing a health condition or just as an all-around superfood.

Alpha Lipoic Acid may be a miracle for liver health

Why alpha lipoic acid may be a miracle nutrient for liver health
Posted by: Lori Alton, staff writer in Nutrition News October 27, 2017 0 Comments

(NaturalHealth365) According to the Mayo Clinic, non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is currently the most common liver ailment in the country. Affecting between 80 and 100 million people, NAFLD constitutes over 75 percent of all chronic liver disease in the United States – a likely byproduct of the increasing national incidence of obesity and type 2 diabetes. But, here comes alpha lipoic acid to the rescue.
Powerful nutrition news: exciting new studies on the liver-protective effects of alpha lipoic acid, a natural nutrient and antioxidant compound, are giving rise to hopes that this disturbing trend can be reversed – without resorting to toxic medications.
NAFLD can set the stage for life-threatening liver disease
As the name indicates, NAFLD is simply the accumulation of excess fats in the liver – in the absence of heavy drinking. Although fatty liver disease used to be associated almost exclusively with excessive alcohol intake, the presence of the condition in non- drinkers or light drinkers is becoming increasingly widespread.
NAFLD is closely linked to metabolic syndrome – a cluster of harmful conditions such as high blood pressure, high blood sugar, abdominal fat, elevated fats in the blood and low levels of beneficial HDL cholesterol. It most commonly affects people in their 40s and 50s.
There are two forms of NAFLD. In steatosis, the milder – and reversible – form, the deposits of fat haven’t yet caused inflammation or tissue damage. In the more serious form, non-alcoholic steatohepatitis or NASH, inflammation and liver scarring are present.
In severe cases, NASH can progress to liver failure and cirrhosis.
Alpha lipoic acid benefits the liver with multiple methods of action
Alpha lipoic acid (ALA), an organosulfur compound produced naturally by the body, is responsible for turning nutrients into energy. It also protects fragile cell mitochondria, increases cellular energy and promotes efficient metabolism.
ALA is a potent antioxidant that can neutralize harmful free radicals. And, it has a unique “superpower” – it is both water-soluble and fat-soluble. This means it is readily biologically available, and can penetrate – and benefit – every cell in the body.
ALA recharges and regenerates other liver-protective antioxidants, including vitamins C and E, glutathione and coQ10. In addition, it binds to and detoxifies heavy metals such as mercury and lead.
Burton Berkson, MD, PhD, an expert consultant on ALA for the Centers for Disease Control, is one of the world’s foremost authorities on the use of ALA for liver disease. Dr. Berkson reports that alpha lipoic acid lowers liver enzymes, reduces viral loads and alleviates symptoms of liver disease.
Over the past two decades, Dr. Berkson has used ALA to treat a variety of liver disorders, including NAFLD, hepatitis B and C, autoimmune hepatitis and primary biliary cirrhosis.
The research is in: Alpha lipoic acid can help REVERSE NAFLD
In several recent animal and laboratory studies, researchers were able to confirm the therapeutic effects of ALA, and to discover something of the nuts and bolts of how it works.
In a study published in Obesity, ALA supplementation prevented the accumulation of triglycerides in the liver. Researchers reported that ALA accomplished this by activating specific AMPK pathways, while stimulating the SIRT1 and SIRT3 genes. The team suggested that ALA could be particularly useful in preventing NAFLD in obese individuals with insulin resistance.
In another eye-opening study published in The Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry, researchers discovered that ALA can actually prevent non-alcoholic steatosis brought on by excessive intake of fats. As a bonus: alpha lipoic acid also helped to prevent weight gain.
And, in research published in Nutrition, the team confirmed ALA’s potent antioxidant benefits – which were especially effective when it came to alleviating oxidative stress associated with a high-fat diet.
Finally, an extremely promising 2014 animal study, published in Journal of Medicinal Foods, examined the effects of ALA on diet-induced NAFLD. Researchers found that ALA cut levels of malondialdehyde, a biomarker of oxidative stress, and improved the liver’s antioxidant capacity by increasing the activity of superoxide dismutase, manganese, and glutathione.
The scientists also found increased amounts of DHA, or docosahexaenoic acid – a beneficial substance that works with ALA as an anti-inflammatory and antioxidant agent to alleviate liver disease.
How should I take ALA for liver health?
Although ALA is produced naturally in the body – and exists in virtually all foods – experts say that levels decline steadily with age.
In fact, Dr. Berkson recommends ALA supplementation for everyone over 45, whether liver ailments are present or not.  Many integrative physicians advise ALA intake in the range of 25 to 50 mgs a day for general antioxidant benefits, with higher dosages for liver problems.
Dr. Berkson recommends what he calls “triple therapy,” which features 600 mg of ALA, 900 mg of silymarin – derived from milk thistle – and 400 mcg of selenium – an essential mineral. The combination should be taken in divided doses, twice a day.
If you are interested in supplementing with ALA, discuss the matter with a trusted, healthcare provider – who can advise you on correct dosages. If you think you may have liver disease, (obviously) seek medical help.
Of course, the encouraging studies (above) shouldn’t be taken as a license to take ALA and then consume excessive fats while miraculously avoiding any damage. The takeaway of the research is that a safe, inexpensive natural nutrient can help to actively prevent fatty liver disease, and NASH from developing and worsening.
Editor’s note: The NaturalHealth365 Store offers the finest quality nutritional supplements on the market. Click here to shop today!
Sources for this article include:

Saturday, October 28, 2017

The Dark Side of Wheat

1[The second part of this article entitled "Opening Pandora's Box: The Critical Role of Wheat Lectin in Human Disease" can be viewed here]
[View the growing list of Diseases linked to wheat consumption in the biomedical literature here.]

by Sayer Ji
The globe-spanning presence of wheat and its exalted status among secular and sacred institutions alike differentiates this food from all others presently enjoyed by humans. Yet the unparalleled rise of wheat as the very catalyst for the emergence of ancient civilization has not occurred without a great price. While wheat was the engine of civilization’s expansion and was glorified as a "necessary food," both in the physical (staff of life) and spiritual sense (the body of Christ), those suffering from celiac disease are living testimony to the lesser known dark side of wheat. A study of celiac disease and may help unlock the mystery of why modern man, who dines daily at the table of wheat, is the sickest animal yet to have arisen on this strange planet of ours.

The Celiac Iceberg

Celiac disease (CD) was once considered an extremely rare affliction, limited to individuals of European descent. Today, however, a growing number of studies indicate that celiac disease is found throughout the world at a rate of up to 1 in every 100 persons, which is several orders of magnitude higher than previously estimated.   

These findings have led researchers to visualize CD as an iceberg. The tip of the iceberg represents the relatively small number of the world’s population whose gross presentation of clinical symptoms often leads to the diagnosis of celiac disease. This is the classical case of CD characterized by gastrointestinal symptoms, malabsorption and malnourishment. It is confirmed with the "gold standard" of an intestinal biopsy. The submerged middle portion of the iceberg is largely invisible to classical clinical diagnosis, but not to modern serological screening methods in the form of antibody testing. This middle portion is composed of asymptomatic and latent celiac disease as well as "out of the intestine" varieties of wheat intolerance. Finally, at the base of this massive iceberg sits approximately 20-30% of the world’s population – those who have been found to carry the HLA-DQ locus of genetic susceptibility to celiac disease on chromosome 6.*

The "Celiac Iceberg" may not simply illustrate the problems and issues associated with diagnosis and disease prevalence, but may represent the need for a paradigm shift in how we view both CD and wheat consumption among non-CD populations.

First let us address the traditional view of CD as a rare, but clinically distinct species of genetically-determined disease, which I believe is now running itself aground upon the emerging, post-Genomic perspective, whose implications for understanding and treating disease are Titanic in proportion. 

It Is Not In the Genes, But What We Expose Them To
Despite common misconceptions, monogenic diseases, or diseases that result from errors in the nucleotide sequence of a single gene are exceedingly rare. Perhaps only 1% of all diseases fall within this category, and Celiac disease is not one of them. In fact, following the completion of the Human Genome Project (HGP) in 2003 it is no longer accurate to say that our genes "cause" disease, any more than it is accurate to say that DNA alone is sufficient to account for all the proteins in our body. Despite initial expectations, the HGP revealed that there are only 20,000-25,000 genes in human DNA (genome), rather than the 100,000 + believed necessary to encode the 100,000 + proteins found in the human body (proteome).
The "blueprint" model of genetics: one gene → one protein → one cellular behavior, which was once the holy grail of biology, has now been supplanted by a model of the cell where epigenetic factors (literally: "beyond the control of the gene") are primary in determining how DNA will be interpreted, translated and expressed. A single gene can be used by the cell to express a multitude of proteins and it is not the DNA alone that determines how or what genes will be expressed. Rather, we must look to the epigenetic factors to understand what makes a liver cell different from a skin cell or brain cell. All of these cells share the exact same 3 billion base pairs that make up our genome, but it is the epigenetic factors, e.g. regulatory proteins and post-translational modifications, that make the determination as to which genes to turn on and which to silence, resulting in each cell’s unique phenotype. Moreover, epigenetic factors are directly and indirectly influenced by the presence or absence of key nutrients in the diet, as well as exposures to chemicals, pathogens and other environmental influences. 
In a nutshell, what we eat and what we are exposed to in our environment directly affects our DNA and its expression.
Within the scope of this new perspective even classical monogenic diseases like cystic fibrosis (CF) can be viewed in a new, more promising light. In CF many of the adverse changes that result from the defective expression of the Cystic Fibrosis Transmembrane Conductance Regulator (CFTR) gene may be preventable or reversible, owing to the fact that the misfolding of the CFTR gene product has been shown to undergo partial or full correction (in the rodent model) when exposed to phytochemicals found in turmeric, cayenne, and soybean Moreover, nutritional deficiencies of seleniun, zinc, riboflavin, vitamin e, etc. in the womb or early in life, may "trigger" the faulty expression or folding patterns of the CFTR gene in cystic fibrosis which might otherwise have avoided epigenetic activation. This would explain why it is possible to live into one’s late seventies with this condition, as was the case for Katherine Shores (1925-2004). The implications of these findings are rather extraordinary: epigenetic and not genetic factors are primary in determining disease outcome. Even if we exclude the possibility of reversing certain monogenic diseases, the basic lesson from the post-Genomic era is that we can’t blame our DNA for causing disease. Rather, it may have more to do with what we choose to expose our DNA to.
Celiac Disease Revisited

What all of this means for CD is that the genetic susceptibility locus, HLA-DQ, does not by itself determine the exact clinical outcome of the disease. Instead of being 'the cause,' the HLA genes may be activated as a consequence of the disease process. Thus, we may need to shift our epidemiological focus from viewing this as a classical "disease" involving a passive subject controlled by aberrant genes, to viewing it as an expression of a natural, protective response to the ingestion of something that the human body was not designed to consume.

If we view celiac disease not as an unhealthy response to a healthy food, but as a healthy response to an unhealthy food, classical CD symptoms like diarrhea may make more sense. Diarrhea can be the body’s way to reduce the duration of exposure to a toxin or pathogen, and villous atrophy can be the body’s way of preventing the absorption and hence, the systemic effects of chronic exposure to wheat. 

I believe we would be better served by viewing the symptoms of CD as expressions of bodily intelligence rather than deviance. We must shift the focus back to the disease trigger, which is wheat itself.

People with celiac disease may actually have an advantage over the apparently non-afflicted because those who are "non-symptomatic" and whose wheat intolerance goes undiagnosed or misdiagnosed because they lack the classical symptoms and may suffer in ways that are equally or more damaging, but expressed more subtly, or in distant organs. Within this view celiac disease would be redefined as a protective (healthy?) response to exposure to an inappropriate substance, whereas "asymptomatic" ingestion of the grain with its concomitant "out of the intestine" and mostly silent symptoms, would be considered the unhealthy response insofar as it does not signal in an obvious and acute manner that there is a problem with consuming wheat. 

It is possible that celiac disease represents both an extreme reaction to a global, species-specific intolerance to wheat that we all share in varying degrees. CD symptoms may reflect the body’s innate intelligence when faced with the consumption of a substance that is inherently toxic. Let me illustrate this point using wheat germ agglutinin (WGA), as an example. 

WGA is classified as a lectin and is known to play a key role in kidney pathologies, such as IgA nephropathy. In the article: "Do dietary lectins cause disease?" the Allergist David L J Freed points out that WGA binds to "glomerular capillary walls, mesangial cells and tubules of human kidney and (in rodents) binds IgA and induces IgA mesangial deposits," indicating that wheat consumption may lead to kidney damage in susceptible individuals. Indeed, a study from the Mario Negri Institute for Pharmacological Research in Milan Italy published in 2007 in the International Journal of Cancer looked at bread consumption and the risk of kidney cancer. They found that those who consumed the most bread had a 94% higher risk of developing kidney cancer compared to those who consumed the least bread. Given the inherently toxic effect that WGA may have on kidney function, it is possible that in certain genetically predisposed individuals (e.g. HLA-DQ2/DQ8) the body – in its innate intelligence – makes an executive decision: either continue to allow damage to the kidneys (or possibly other organs) until kidney failure and rapid death result, or launch an autoimmune attack on the villi to prevent the absorption of the offending substance which results in a prolonged though relatively malnourished life. This is the explanation typically given for the body’s reflexive formation of mucous following exposure to certain highly allergenic or potentially toxic foods, e.g. dairy products, sugar, etc? The mucous coats the offending substance, preventing its absorption and facilitating safe elimination via the gastrointestinal tract.   From this perspective the HLA-DQ locus of disease susceptibility in the celiac is not simply activated but utilized as a defensive adaptation to continual exposure to a harmful substance. In those who do not have the HLA-DQ locus, an autoimmune destruction of the villi will not occur as rapidly, and exposure to the universally toxic effects of WGA will likely go unabated until silent damage to distant organs leads to the diagnosis of a disease that is apparently unrelated to wheat consumption.  

Loss of kidney function may only be the "tip of the iceberg," when it comes to the possible adverse effects that wheat proteins and wheat lectin can generate in the body. If kidney cancer is a likely possibility, then other cancers may eventually be linked to wheat consumption as well. This correlation would fly in the face of globally sanctioned and reified assumptions about the inherent benefits of wheat consumption. It would require that we suspend cultural, socio-economic, political and even religious assumptions about its inherent benefits. In many ways, the reassessment of the value of wheat as a food requires a William Boroughs-like moment of shocking clarity when we perceive "in a frozen moment….what is on the end of every fork." Let’s take a closer look at what is on the end of our forks.

Our biologically inappropriate diet

In a previous article, I discussed the role that wheat plays as an industrial adhesive (e.g. paints, paper mache’, and book binding-glue) in order to illustrate the point that it may not be such a good thing for us to eat. The problem is implicit in the word gluten, which literally means "glue" in Latin and in words like pastry and pasta, which derives from wheatpaste, the original concoction of wheat flour and water which made such good plaster in ancient times. What gives gluten its adhesive and difficult-to-digest qualities are the high levels of disulfide bonds it contains. These same sulfur-to-sulfur bonds are found in hair and vulcanized rubber products, which we all know are difficult to decompose and are responsible for the sulfurous odor they give off when burned. 

There will be 676 million metric tons of wheat produced this year alone, making it the primary cereal of temperate regions and third most prolific cereal grass on the planet. This global dominance of wheat is signified by the Food & Agricultural Organization’s (FAO) (the United Nation’s international agency for defeating hunger) use of a head of wheat as its official symbol. Any effort to indict the credibility of this "king of grains" will prove challenging. As Rudolf Hauschka once remarked, wheat is "a kind of earth-spanning organism." It has vast socio-economic, political, and cultural significance.   For example, in the Catholic Church, a wafer made of wheat is considered irreplaceable as the embodiment of Christ. . 

Our dependence on wheat is matched only by its dependence on us. As Europeans have spread across the planet, so has this grain. We have assumed total responsibility for all phases of the wheat life cycle: from fending off its pests; to providing its ideal growing conditions; to facilitating reproduction and expansion into new territories. We have become so inextricably interdependent that neither species is sustainable at current population levels without this symbiotic relationship.  

It is this co-dependence that may explain why our culture has for so long consistently confined wheat intolerance to categorically distinct, "genetically-based" diseases like "celiac." These categorizations may protect us from the realization that wheat exerts a vast number of deleterious effects on human health in the same way that "lactose intolerance" distracts attention from the deeper problems associated with the casein protein found in cow’s milk. Rather than see wheat for what it very well may be: a biologically inappropriate food source, we "blame the victim," and look for genetic explanations for what’s wrong with small subgroups of our population who have the most obvious forms of intolerance to wheat consumption, e.g. celiac disease, dermatitis herpetiformis, etc.   The medical justification for these classifications may be secondary to economic and cultural imperatives that require the inherent problems associated with wheat consumption be minimized or occluded.

In all probability the celiac genotype represents a surviving vestigial branch of a once universal genotype, which through accident or intention, have had through successive generations only limited exposure to wheat. The celiac genotype, no doubt, survived through numerous bottlenecks or "die offs" represented by a dramatic shift from hunted and foraged/gathered foods to gluten-grain consumption, and for whatever reason simply did not have adequate time to adapt or select out the gluten-grain incompatible genes. The celiac response may indeed reflect a prior, species-wide intolerance to a novel food source: the seed storage form of the monocotyledonous cereal grasses which our species only began consuming 1-500 generations ago at the advent of the Neolithic transition (10-12,000 BC). Let us return to the image of the celiac iceberg for greater clarification.

Our Submerged Grain-Free Prehistory
The iceberg metaphor is an excellent way to expand our understanding of what was once considered to be an extraordinarily rare disease into one that has statistical relevance for us all, but it has a few limitations. For one, it reiterates the commonly held view that Celiac is a numerically distinct disease entity or "disease island," floating alongside other numerically distinct disease "ice cubes" in the vast sea of normal health. Though accurate in describing the sense of social and psychological isolation many of the afflicted feel, the celiac iceberg/condition may not be a distinct disease entity at all. 
Although the HLA-DQ locus of disease susceptibility on chromosome 6 offers us a place to project blame, I believe we need to shift the emphasis of responsibility for the condition back to the disease "trigger" itself: namely, wheat and other prolamine rich grains, e.g. barley, rye, spelt, and oats. Without these grains the typical afflictions we call celiac would not exist. Within the scope of this view the "celiac iceberg" is not actually free floating but an outcropping from an entire submerged subcontinent, representing our long-forgotten (cultural time) but relatively recent metabolic prehistory as hunters-and-gatherers (biological time), where grain consumption was, in all likelihood, non-existent, except in instances of near-starvation.
The pressure on the celiac to be viewed as an exceptional case or deviation may have everything to do with our preconscious belief that wheat, and grains as a whole are the "health foods," and very little to do with a rigorous investigations of the facts.    
Grains have been heralded since time immemorial as the "staff of life," when in fact they are more accurately described as a cane, precariously propping up a body starved of the nutrient-dense, low-starch vegetables, fruits, edible seeds and meats, they have so thoroughly supplanted (c.f. Paleolithic Diet). Most of the diseases of affluence, e.g. type 2 diabetes, coronary heart disease, cancer, etc. can be linked to the consumption of a grain-based diet, including secondary "hidden sources" of grain consumption in grain-fed fish, poultry, meat and milk products.
Our modern belief that grains make for good food, is simply not supported by the facts. The cereal grasses are within an entirely different family: monocotyledonous (one leafed embryo) than that from which our body sustained itself for millions of years: dicotyledonous (two leafed embryo). The preponderance of scientific evidence points to a human origin in the tropical rainforests of Africa where dicotyledonous fruits would have been available for year round consumption. It would not have been monocotyledonous plants, but the flesh of hunted animals that would have allowed for the migration out of Africa 60,000 years ago into the northern latitudes where vegetation would have been sparse or non-existent during winter months. Collecting and cooking grains would have been improbable given the low nutrient and caloric content of grains and the inadequate development of pyrotechnology and associated cooking utensils necessary to consume them with any efficiency. It was not until the end of the last Ice Age 20,000 years ago that our human ancestors would have slowly transitioned to a cereal grass based diet coterminous with emergence of civilization.   20,000 years is probably not enough time to fully adapt to the consumption of grains. Even animals like cows with a head start of thousands of years, having evolved to graze on monocotyledons and equipped as ruminants with the four-chambered fore-stomach enabling the breakdown of cellulose and anti-nutrient rich plants, are not designed to consume grains. Cows are designed to consume the sprouted mature form of the grasses and not their seed storage form. Grains are so acidic/toxic in reaction that exclusively grain-fed cattle are prone to developing severe acidosis and subsequent liver abscesses and infections, etc. Feeding wheat to cattle provides an even greater challenge:
"Beef:  Feeding wheat to ruminants requires some caution as it tends to be more apt than other cereal grains to cause acute indigestion in animals which are unadapted to it. The primary problem appears to be the high gluten content of which wheat in the rumen can result in a "pasty" consistency to the rumen contents and reduced rumen motility."
(source: Ontario ministry of Agriculture food & Rural affairs)
Seeds, after all, are the "babies" of these plants, and are invested with not only the entire hope for continuance of its species, but a vast armory of anti-nutrients to help it accomplish this task: toxic lectins, phytates and oxalates, alpha-amalyase and trypsin inhibitors, and endocrine disrupters. These not so appetizing phytochemicals enable plants to resist predation of their seeds, or at least preventing them from "going out without a punch."  
Wheat: An Exceptionally Unwholesome Grain
Wheat presents a special case insofar as wild and selective breeding has produced variations which include up to 6 sets of chromosomes (3x the human genome worth!) capable of generating a massive number of proteins each with a distinct potentiality for antigenicity. Common bread wheat (Triticum aestivum), for instance, has over 23,788 proteins cataloged thus far. In fact, the genome for common bread wheat is actually 6.5 times larger than that of the human genome!
With up to a 50% increase in gluten content of some varieties of wheat, it is amazing that we continue to consider "glue-eating" a normal behavior, whereas wheat-avoidance is left to the "celiac" who is still perceived by the majority of health care practitioners as mounting a "freak" reaction to the consumption of something intrinsically wholesome.
Thankfully we don’t need to rely on our intuition, or even (not so) common sense to draw conclusions about the inherently unhealthy nature of wheat. A wide range of investigation has occurred over the past decade revealing the problem with the alcohol soluble protein component of wheat known as gliadin, the sugar-binding protein known as lectin (Wheat Germ Agglutinin), the exorphin known as gliadomorphin, and the excitotoxic potentials of high levels of aspartic and glutamic acid found in wheat. Add to these the anti-nutrients found in grains such as phytates, enzyme inhibitors, etc. and you have a substance which we may more appropriately consider the farthest thing from wholesome. 
The remainder of this article will demonstrate the following adverse effects of wheat on both celiac and non-celiac populations: 1) wheat causes damage to the intestines 2) wheat causes intestinal permeability 3) wheat has pharmacologically active properties 4) wheat causes damage that is "out of the intestine" affecting distant organs 5) wheat induces molecular mimicry 6) wheat contains high concentrations of excitoxins.
Gliadin is classified as a prolamin, which is a wheat storage protein high in the amino acids proline and glutamine and soluble in strong alcohol solutions. Gliadin, once deamidated by the enzyme Tissue Transglutaminase, is considered the primary epitope for T-cell activation and subsequent autoimmune destruction of intestinal villi. Yet gliadin does not need to activate an autoimmune response, e.g. Celiac disease, in order to have a deleterious effect on intestinal tissue.
In a study published in GUT in 2007 a group of researchers asked the question: "Is gliadin really safe for non-coeliac individuals?"   In order to test the hypothesis that an innate immune response to gliadin is common in patients with celiac disease and without celiac disease, intestinal biopsy cultures were taken from both groups and challenged with crude gliadin, the gliadin synthetic 19-mer (19 amino acid long gliadin peptide) and 33-mer deamidated peptides.   Results showed that all patients with or without Celiac disease when challenged with the various forms of gliadin produced an interleukin-15-mediated response. The researchers concluded:
"The data obtained in this pilot study supports the hypothesis that gluten elicits its harmful effect, throughout an IL15 innate immune response, on all individuals [my italics]."
The primary difference between the two groups is that the celiac disease patients experienced both an innate and an adaptive immune response to the gliadin, whereas the non-celiacs experienced only the innate response.   The researchers hypothesized that the difference between the two groups may be attributable to greater genetic susceptibility at the HLA-DQ locus for triggering an adaptive immune response, higher levels of immune mediators or receptors, or perhaps greater permeability in the celiac intestine. It is possible that over and above the possibility of greater genetic susceptibility, most of the differences are from epigenetic factors that are influenced by the presence or absence of certain nutrients in the diet. Other factors such as exposure to NSAIDs like naproxen or aspirin can profoundly increase intestinal permeability in the non-celiac, rendering them susceptible to gliadin’s potential for activating secondary adaptive immune responses. This may explain why in up to 5% of all cases of classically defined celiac disease the typical HLA-DQ haplotypes are not found. However, determining the factors associated greater or lesser degrees of susceptibility to gliadin’s intrinsically toxic effect should be a secondary to the fact that it is has been demonstrated to be toxic to both non-celiacs and celiacs. 
Gliadin upregulates the production of a protein known as zonulin, which modulates intestinal permeability. Over-expression of zonulin is involved in a number of autoimmune disorders, including celiac disease and Type 1 diabetes. Researchers have studied the effect of gliadin on increased zonulin production and subsequent gut permeability in both celiac and non-celiac intestines, and have found that "gliadin activates zonulin signaling irrespective of the genetic expression of autoimmunity, leading to increased intestinal permeability to macromolecules."10   These results indicate, once again, that a pathological response to wheat gluten is a normal or human, species specific response, and is not based entirely on genetic susceptibilities. Because intestinal permeability is associated with wide range of disease states, including cardiovascular illness, liver disease and many autoimmune disorders, I believe this research indicates that gliadin (and therefore wheat) should be avoided as a matter of principle.
Gliadin can be broken down into various amino acid lengths or peptides. Gliadorphin is a 7 amino acid long peptide: Tyr-Pro-Gln-Pro-Gln-Pro-Phe which forms when the gastrointestinal system is compromised. When digestive enzymes are insufficient to break gliadorphin down into 2-3 amino acid lengths and a compromised intestinal wall allows for the leakage of the entire 7 amino acid long fragment into the blood, glaidorphin can pass through to the brain through circumventricular organs and activate opioid receptors resulting in disrupted brain function. 
There have been a number of gluten exorphins identified: gluten exorphin A4, A5, B4, B5 and C, and many of them have been hypothesized to play a role in autism, schizophrenia, ADHD and related neurological conditions.   In the same way that the celiac iceberg illustrated the illusion that intolerance to wheat is rare, it is possible, even probable, that wheat exerts pharmacological influences on everyone. What distinguishes the schizophrenic or autistic individual from the functional wheat consumer is the degree to which they are affected.
Below the tip of the "Gluten Iceberg," we might find these opiate-like peptides to be responsible for bread’s general popularity as a "comfort food", and our use of phrases like "I love bread," or "this bread is to die for" to be indicative of wheat’s narcotic properties. I believe a strong argument can be made that the agricultural revolution that occurred approximately 10-12,000 years ago as we shifted from the Paleolithic into the Neolithic era was precipitated as much by environmental necessities and human ingenuity, as it was by the addictive qualities of psychoactive peptides in the grains themselves.  
The world-historical reorganization of society, culture and consciousness accomplished through the symbiotic relationship with cereal grasses, may have had as much to do with our ability to master agriculture, as to be mastered by it.   The presence of pharmacologically active peptides would have further sweetened the deal, making it hard to distance ourselves from what became a global fascination with wheat.
An interesting example of wheat’s addictive potential pertains to the Roman army. The Roman Empire was once known as the "Wheat Empire," with soldiers being paid in wheat rations. Rome’s entire war machine, and its vast expansion, was predicated on the availability of wheat. Forts were actually granaries, holding up to a year’s worth of grain in order to endure sieges from their enemies. Historians describe soldiers’ punishment included being deprived of wheat rations and being given barley instead.   The Roman Empire went on to facilitate the global dissemination of wheat cultivation which fostered a form of imperialism with biological as well as cultural roots.
The Roman appreciation for wheat, like our own, may have had less to do with its nutritional value as "health food" than its ability to generate a unique narcotic reaction. It may fulfill our hunger while generating a repetitive, ceaseless cycle of craving more of the same, and by doing so, enabling the surreptitious control of human behavior. Other researchers have come to similar conclusions. According to the biologists Greg Wadley & Angus Martin:
 "Cereals have important qualities that differentiate them from most other drugs. They are a food source as well as a drug, and can be stored and transported easily. They are ingested in frequent small doses (not occasional large ones), and do not impede work performance in most people. A desire for the drug, even cravings or withdrawal, can be confused with hunger. These features make cereals the ideal facilitator of civilization (and may also have contributed to the long delay in recognizing their pharmacological properties)."
Wheat contains a lectin known as Wheat Germ Agglutinin which is responsible for causing direct, non-immune mediated damage to our intestines, and subsequent to entry into the bloodstream, damage to distant organs in our body. 
Lectins are sugar-binding proteins which are highly selective for their sugar moieties. It is believed that wheat lectin, which binds to the monosaccharide N-acetyl glucosamine (NAG), provides defense against predation from bacteria, insects and animals. Bacteria have NAG in their cell wall, insects have an exoskeleton composed of polymers of NAG called chitin, and the epithelial tissue of mammals, e.g. gastrointestinal tract, have a "sugar coat" called the glycocalyx which is composed, in part, of NAG. The glycocalyx can be found on the outer surface (apical portion) of the microvilli within the small intestine.
There is evidence that WGA may cause increased shedding of the intestinal brush border membrane, reduction in surface area, acceleration of cell losses and shortening of villi, via binding to the surface of the villi. WGA can mimic the effects of epidermal growth factor (EGF) at the cellular level, indicating that the crypt hyperplasia seen in celiac disease may be due to a mitogenic reponse induced by WGA. WGA has been implicated in obesity and "leptin resistance" by blocking the receptor in the hypothalamus for the appetite satiating hormone leptin. WGA has also been shown to have an insulin-mimetic action, potentially contributing to weight gain and insulin resistance.15   And, as discussed earlier, wheat lectin has been shown to induce IgA mediated damage to the kidney, indicating that nephropathy and kidney cancer may be associated with wheat consumption.
Gliadorphin and gluten exporphins exhibit a form of molecular mimicry that affects the nervous system, but other wheat proteins effect different organ systems. The digestion of gliadin produces a peptide that is 33 amino acids long and is known as 33-mer which has a remarkable homology to the internal sequence of pertactin, the immunodominant sequence in the Bordetella pertussis bacteria (whooping cough). Pertactin is considered a highly immunogenic virulence factor, and is used in vaccines to amplify the adaptive immune response. It is possible the immune system may confuse this 33-mer with a pathogen resulting in either or both a cell-mediated and adaptive immune response against Self.  
John B. Symes, D.V.M. is responsible for drawing attention to the potential excitotoxicity of wheat, dairy, and soy, due to their exceptionally high levels of the non-essential amino acids glutamic and aspartic acid. Excitotoxicity is a pathological process where glutamic and aspartic acid cause an over-activation of the nerve cell receptors (e.g. NMDA and AMPA receptor) leading to calcium induced nerve and brain injury.   Of all cereal grasses commonly consumed wheat contains the highest levels of glutamic acid and aspartic acid. Glutamic acid is largely responsible for wheat’s exceptional taste. The Japanese coined the word umami to describe the extraordinary "yummy" effect that glutamic acid exerts on the tongue and palate, and invented monosodium glutamate (MSG) to amplify this sensation. Though the Japanese first synthesized MSG from kelp, wheat can also be used due to its high glutamic acid content.   It is likely that wheat’s popularity, alongside its opiate-like activity, has everything to do with the natural flavor-enhancers already contained within it. These amino acids may contribute to neurodegenerative conditions such as multiple sclerosis, Alzhemier disease, Huntington’s disease, and other nervous disorders such as epilepsy, attention deficit disorder and migraines.
In this article I have proposed that celiac disease be viewed not as a rare "genetically-determined" disorder, but as an extreme example of our body communicating to us a once universal, species-specific affliction: severe intolerance to wheat. Celiac disease reflects back to us how profoundly our diet has diverged from what was, until only recently a grain free diet, and even more recently, a wheat free one. We are so profoundly distanced from that dramatic Neolithic transition in cultural time that "missing is any sense that anything is missing." The body, on the other hand, cannot help but remember a time when cereal grains were alien to the diet, because in biological time it was only moments ago.  
Eliminating wheat, if not all of the members of the cereal grass family, and returning to dicotyledons or pseudo-grains like quinoa, buckwheat and amaranth, may help us roll back the hands of biological and cultural time, to a time of clarity, health and vitality that many of us have never known before. When one eliminates wheat and fills the void left by its absence with fruits, vegetables, high quality meats and foods consistent with our biological needs we may begin to feel a sense of vitality that many would find hard to imagine. If wheat really is more like a drug than a food, anesthetizing us to its ill effects on our body, it will be difficult for us to understand its grasp upon us unless and until we eliminate it from our diet. I encourage everyone to see celiac disease not as a condition alien to our own. Rather, the celiac gives us a glimpse of how profoundly wheat may distort and disfigure our health if we continue to expose ourselves to its ill effects. I hope this article will provide inspiration for non-celiacs to try a wheat free diet and judge for themselves if it is really worth eliminating.  

A critically acclaimed internet classic, The Dark Side of Wheat is now available to own as a downloadable document exclusively from GreenMedInfo.com. It includes two hard-hitting essays that represent a seachange in the way wheat intolerance is comprehended; no longer a rare, strictly genetically-based disease, wheat is revealed to be a species-specific intolerance, whose role in health and disease has been greatly misunderstood since ancient times. The downloadable document also includes a 90-page quick reference guide containing hyperlinks to research on the National Library of Medicine on over 120 diseases that have been linked to wheat consumption.
The Dark Side of Wheat has changed many minds about the exalted status of wheat among secular and sacred institutions alike.
As Dr. Ron Hoggan, co-author of "Dangerous Grains" puts it in the foreword: "Sir Isaac Newton's famous metaphor (perhaps quoting others) said something to the effect that we see further, not because of any special endowment of our own, but because we are standing on the shoulders of giants. After reading Sayer's work on wheat, I felt as if I had just been boosted to a higher plane from which I could see and understand much, much more. Sayer's insights continue to shape and inform much of my effort to understand the various impacts of grains on human health."

2 Richard Logan is responsible for first introducing the "Celiac Iceberg" metaphor in 1991
3 Antibody testing for gliadin, tissue transglutaminase and endomysium indicates that "silent" or "latent" celiac disease is up to a 100 times more frequent than represented by the classical form.
4 Frontiers in Celiac Disease by Alessio Fasano, R. Troncone, D. Branski  Published by Karger Publishers, pg. 242
6 Cystic Fibrosis: a perinatal manifestation of selenium deficiency. Wallach JD, Germaise B. In:
Hemphill DD, ed. Trace substances in environmental health. Columbia: University of Missouri Press, 1979; 469-76
12 Unglued: The Sticky Truth About Wheat, Dairy, Corn and Soy. Scott-Free Newsletter, Autumn 2008
15 Footnote 7, supra.
21 Insulin-mimetic actions of wheat germ agglutinin and concanavalin A on specific mRNA levels. Archives of Biochemistry and Biophysics 1987 Apr;254(1):110-5.  [the 2nd part of this article entitled "Opening Pandora's Box: The Critical Role of Wheat Lectin in Human Disease" can be viewed here]