Thursday, October 31, 2013

Just Say No: When It Makes Sense Not to Take Your Medicine

Just Say No: When It Makes Sense Not to Take Your Medicine
October 31, 2013

By Dr. Mercola
You’ve probably heard the advice that eating healthier, exercising and relieving your stress – all facets of a healthy lifestyle – can help you to prevent and even treat diseases.
But perhaps you haven’t really taken it to heart. The problem is that this knowledge doesn’t always translate into actions, and rather than starting an exercise program or drinking a freshly prepared green vegetable juice, many visit their physicians and receive a prescription for medication.

Even many physicians neglect to tell their patients about the simple and, oftentimes, free changes they can make to dramatically improve their health, simply because they have been brainwashed by the conventional system and are convinced that drugs are part of the, if not the sole, answer for virtually any health condition.
Sometimes It Is Better to Skip the Medication
There are clearly some cases where medications are useful and even lifesaving. I am not opposed to medication – provided it is used correctly and only when necessary. And that latter point is key. Medications are often promoted as necessary when they actually aren’t.
Take type 2 diabetes. A new systematic review and meta-analysis combed through data of nine randomized, controlled trials of patients who were at risk of developing diabetes.
The study revealed that ‘comprehensive lifestyle interventions,’ which included factors like exercise and dietary changes, effectively decreased the incidence of type 2 diabetes in high-risk patients.1
Or consider cancer. Another study found that women who walked, cut their breast cancer risk by 14 percent, and those who exercised vigorously cut it by 25 percent, compared to those who didn’t exercise.2 Similarly, men with prostate cancer had more longer-lived cells if they ate right, managed their stress and lead healthy lifestyles.3
And in one particularly revealing study, researchers found that simply being married was associated with significantly greater survival among people with cancer, compared to those who were separated, divorced, widowed or never married.
The implication is that social support appears to have a large impact on your ability to survive a disease, and this study even found that the survival benefits of marriage for cancer patients were greater than those from chemotherapy!4

Still, the dangerous misconception persists in the US, among both patients and physicians, that when you’re sick you virtually always need a drug to feel better.
Examples of additional health problems that typically don’t require drug intervention include short-term conditions like colds and flu, headaches and minor aches and pains to chronic conditions like:
Be Prepared: The ‘Health Care’ System Is Set Up to Prescribe Drugs
The business of being a doctor in the US has been largely reduced to being the front man for a multi-billion dollar drug business whose primary mission seems to be enriching their bottom line by keeping you sick and dependent on drugs to relieve — but not cure — your health complaints.
The system is carefully orchestrated to sell the quick fix, the drug, and that is precisely why so many Americans equate prescription medications with wellness. In reality, in many cases, the “cure” merely adds new problems to a patient’s list of complaints…
During your last appointment with a physician of any sort, specialist or primary care, what happened?
  • Did you have a discussion about diet, exercise, nutrition, eating plans, sleep or stress management? 
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  • Were you cautioned not to consume too much refined sugar or flour, trans fats or processed meats?
  • Were you given advice on natural supplements or lifestyle changes that can help you achieve optimal health?
Or did the entire appointment simply address the symptoms you came in with or a screening for an illness you might have? And did it end with the doctor giving you a prescription? Unless your physician specializes in nutrition or holistic medicine, the prescription was probably the main focus of your appointment. That’s because treating symptoms and diseases — and prescribing drugs for them — is what modern doctors are trained to do. As reported in TIME:5
“The U.S. health care system is designed to react to disease and treat it once symptoms set in — the reimbursement structure is founded on doctors diagnosing problems and treating them, for example, most often with medications. ‘The focus of our system is embedded in disease treatment. People make a lot of money off the way it was built, so we give lip service to prevention. But exercise is free.’”
Do You Really Know the Power of a Healthy Lifestyle?
I regularly scour news feeds to find out about the latest research that may be relevant to improving health, so I’m continually amazed and impressed by the power of lifestyle interventions. But perhaps you haven’t heard some of the recent revelations that show just how powerful a player your lifestyle is in your overall health.
  • A growing body of research suggests there may be a powerful connection between the foods you eat and your risk of Alzheimer’s disease and dementia, via similar pathways that cause type 2 diabetes.
  • Chronic stress results in alterations in your brain-gut connection, which can cause or worsen numerous gastrointestinal disorders, including inflammatory bowel disease, irritable bowel syndrome, food allergies, GERD and more. 
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  • Exercise is one of the safest, most effective ways to prevent and treat chronic diseases such as heart disease. After reviewing 305 randomized controlled trials, researchers found no statistically detectable differences between physical activity and medications, such as statins and beta-blockers, for pre-diabetes and heart disease.6
  • Practicing mindfulness meditation for just four days affects pain responses in your brain. Brain activity decreases in areas devoted to monitoring a painful body part and also in areas responsible for relaying sensory information.
Not to Mention, Medications Can Be Deadly
No one wants to treat any disease only to find that their treatment has caused a new problem that may be even worse than their initial disease… but prescription drugs now kill more people than illegal drugs. Death by prescription drugs is a 21st century epidemic, now killing even more Americans than motor vehicle accidents.
Drug fatalities more than doubled for teens and young adults between 2000 and 2008, and more than tripled among people age 50 to 69. It’s estimated there are 450,000 preventable adverse events related to medications in the US every year, accounting for a substantial proportion of emergency room visits. And when you add in deaths from hospital-acquired infections, unnecessary medical procedures, and adverse surgical outcomes, conventional medicine should top the list of theleading causes of death in the US. The average annual prescription rate for children, adults and seniors in the US is now:7
  • More than 4 prescriptions per child (age 0-18)
  • Nearly 12 prescriptions per adult
  • 28 prescriptions per senior, aged 65 and over
Does this sound excessive to you? If so, it’s important to remember that you are the only one who can be fully responsible for your health. You can choose to believe that this responsibility rests on someone else’s shoulders, but at the end of the day, you are the one

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who has to live with the consequences, for better or worse. This is why some of the most important common-sense questions you need to ask before you take any drug include:
  • Do I really need it?
  • What are the alternatives? (lifestyle-based or otherwise)
  • Is it prescribed appropriately, or is it being prescribed for an off-label use?
  • What are the side effects? (Both common and uncommon side effects)
  • Is it addictive and is it known to interact with any other drugs, supplements, or foods that I’m taking?
Ready? Set… Go! Take Control of Your Health
Viewing drugs as a last resort rather than a first-line defense will go a long way toward keeping you healthy, as will embracing positive lifestyle choices. You CAN take control of your health, and this trend appears to be catching on. TIME reported on one excellent program being used by New York City physicians to encourage patients to eat more produce:8
“At Lincoln Medical Center and Harlem Hospital in New York City, doctors are starting to focus more on prevention by making diet changes a priority for patients — before they find themselves diagnosed with a disease like diabetes or heart trouble. The hospitals have launched the Fruit and Vegetable Prescription, a four-month pilot program, which allows patients with prescriptions — written by their doctors — to get coupons for fresh produce at farmers’ markets and the city’s green carts.”
It certainly helps to have a physician who thinks beyond drugs… but if yours doesn’t, it’s up to you to find one who does. And it’s also up to you to embrace the healthy lifestyle that can make you feel better. An excellent starting point is my free nutrition plan, which virtually anyone can follow starting right now. What are you waiting for? TIME summed it up well:9

“It’s not that prescription medicines… don’t have a place in modern medicine. They do… But if it’s possible to avoid disease altogether, and if patients can do it without expensive medications that can cause complications, why wouldn’t they? Wouldn’t you?”
Sources and References

Sleep Is Critical for Brain Detoxification, Groundbreaking Research Finds

October 31, 2013 | 133,944 views

By Dr. Mercola
Scientists have long tried to tease out the purpose of sleep, and countless studies have concluded that sleep is deeply interconnected with your health in a myriad of ways. As just one example, previous research has found that sleep deprivation has the same effect on your immune system as physical stress or illness.1
Quite simply, even if you do everything else right, if you don’t sleep enough, your health and well-being will still suffer. You may even die prematurely, should poor sleep plague you long-term.
Now, researchers at the University of Rochester Medical Center (URMC) Center for Translational Neuromedicine believe they may have discovered yet another clue as to why sleep is mandatory for good health—especially brain health.
Their report, published in the journal Science,2 reveals that your brain has a unique method of removing toxic waste through what’s been dubbed the glymphatic system.3, 4, 5, 6, 7
The clincher is that this system ramps up its activity during sleep, thereby allowing your brain to clear out toxins, including harmful proteins linked to brain disorders such as Alzheimer’s for example.
What’s more, they discovered that your brain cells actually shrink by about 60 percent during sleep, which allows for more efficient waste removal. According to lead author Maiken Nedergaard, M.D., D.M.Sc., featured in the video above:
“This study shows that the brain has different functional states when asleep and when awake. In fact, the restorative nature of sleep appears to be the result of the active clearance of the by-products of neural activity that accumulate during wakefulness.”
What Is the Glymphatic System?
In your body, the lymphatic system is the system responsible for eliminating cellular waste products. However, the lymphatic system does not include your brain. The reason for this is that your brain is a closed system, protected by the blood-brain barrier, which controls what can go through and what cannot.
In a previous animal study,8 Dr. Nedergaard showed that the brain actually has its own unique waste disposal system, similar to that of the lymphatic system. This system, called the glymphatic system, “piggybacks” on the blood vessels in your brain. The “g” in glymphatic is a nod to “glial cells”—the brain cells that manage this system.
By pumping cerebral spinal fluid through your brain’s tissues, the glymphatic system flushes the waste, from your brain, back into your body’s circulatory system. From there, the waste eventually reaches your liver, where it’s ultimately eliminated.
During sleep, the glymphatic system becomes 10 times more active than during wakefulness. Simultaneously, your brain cells are reduced in size by about 60 percent.
This creates more space in-between the cells, giving the cerebrospinal fluid more space to flush out the debris. Amyloid-beta, for example—proteins that form the notorious plaque found in the brains of Alzheimer’s patients—is removed in significantly greater quantities during sleep. As stated by Time Magazine:9
“The findings raise interesting questions about how sleep may affect the progression of Alzheimer’s or other neurogenerative disorders, but they also provide a strong warning for anybody who skips sleep. The short version: don’t.”
According to Dr. Nedergaard:10
“The brain only has limited energy at its disposal and it appears that it must choose between two different functional states — awake and aware or asleep and cleaning up. You can think of it like having a house party. You can either entertain the guests or clean up the house, but you can’t really do both at the same time.
...These findings have significant implications for treating ‘dirty brain’ disease like Alzheimer’s. Understanding precisely how and when the brain activates the glymphatic system and clears waste is a critical first step in efforts to potentially modulate this system and make it work more efficiently.”

How Sleep Influences Your Physical Health
Sleep is usually one of the first things people sacrifice when the going gets tough, and this could be a critical mistake. First of all, significant memory impairment can occur after a single night of poor sleep—meaning sleeping only 4 to 6 hours. It also has a detrimental impact on your ability to think clearly the next day, and decreases your problem solving ability.
But foggy-headedness and forgetfulness are the least of your worries should you ignore your poor sleeping habits. Aside from impacting your immune function as briefly mentioned earlier, poor sleep is now known to have multi-varied detrimental effects on your health, courtesy of your circadian system, which "drives" the rhythms of biological activity at the cellular level. Disruptions to this biological clock tend to cascade outward throughout your entire body.  For example, interrupted or impaired sleep can:
Increase your risk of heart disease.11
Harm your brain by halting new cell production. Sleep deprivation can increase levels of corticosterone (a stress hormone), resulting in fewer new brain cells being created in your hippocampus.
Impair your ability to lose excess pounds or maintain your ideal weight. This is likely the effect of altered metabolism, because when you’re sleep deprived, leptin (the hormone that signals satiety) falls, while ghrelin (which signals hunger) rises.
Contribute to a pre-diabetic state, making you feel hungry even if you've already eaten, which can wreak havoc on your weight.
Accelerate tumor growth, primarily due to disrupted melatonin production. Melatonin inhibits the proliferation of a wide range of cancer cell types, as well as triggering cancer cell apoptosis (self destruction). The hormone also interferes with the new blood supply tumors require for their rapid growth (angiogenesis)
Contribute to premature aging by interfering with your growth hormone production, normally released by your pituitary gland during deep sleep (and during certain types of exercise, such as high intensity interval training).
 Raise your blood pressure.
Increase your risk of dying from any cause.

Furthermore, lack of sleep can further exacerbate chronic diseases such as:
Multiple Sclerosis (MS)
Gastrointestinal tract disorders
Kidney disease
Behavioral problems in children
Why You Shouldn’t Reach For a Sleeping Pill When You Can’t Sleep...
Chronic lack of sleep has a cumulative effect when it comes to disrupting your health, so you can’t skimp on sleep on weekdays, thinking you’ll “catch up” over the weekend. You need consistency. Generally speaking, adults need between six and eight hours of sleep every night. There are plenty of exceptions though. Some people might need as little as five hours a night, while others cannot function optimally unless they get nine or 10 hours.
My strong recommendation and advice is quite simply to listen to your body. If you feel tired when you wake up, you probably need more sleep. Frequent yawning throughout the day is another dead giveaway that you need more shut-eye. Personally, I find that when I am reading during the day, if my eyes close and I tend to doze off, I know I did not get enough sleep the night before. However, above all, should insomnia strike, don’t make the mistake of reaching for a sleeping pill.
Not only do sleeping pills not address any of the underlying causes of insomnia, researchers have repeatedly shown that sleeping pills don’t work, but your brain is being tricked into thinking they do... One analysis found that, on average, sleeping pills help people fall asleep approximately 10 minutes sooner, and increase total sleep time by a mere 15-20 minutes. They also discovered that while most sleeping pills caused poor, fragmented sleep, they induced amnesia, so upon waking, the participants could not recall how poorly they’d actually slept!
In terms of health consequences, this could end up being worse than not sleeping and being aware of that fact. At least then you’d be encouraged to find and address the root cause of your sleeplessness. Besides not working as advertised, sleeping pills have also been linked to significant adverse health effects, including a nearly four-fold increase in the risk of death, and a 35 percent increased risk of cancer.
How to Optimize Your Sleep
Below are half a dozen of my top guidelines for promoting good sleep. For a comprehensive sleep guide, please see my article "33 Secrets to a Good Night's Sleep."
  1. Avoid watching TV or using your computer at night—or at least about an hour or so before going to bed—as these technologies can have a significantly detrimental impact on your sleep. TV and computer screens emit blue light; nearly identical to the light you're exposed to outdoors during the day. This tricks your brain into thinking it's still daytime, thereby shutting down melatonin secretion.
  2. Under normal circumstances, your brain starts secreting melatonin between 9 or 10 pm, which makes you sleepy. When this natural secretion cycle is disrupted, due to excessive light exposure after sunset, insomnia can ensue.
  3. Sleep in complete darkness, or as close to it as possible. Even the slightest bit of light in the room can disrupt your internal clock and your pineal gland's production of melatonin and serotonin. So close your bedroom door, and get rid of night-lights. Refrain from turning on any light at all during the night, even when getting up to go to the bathroom. Cover up your clock radio.
  4. Make sure to cover your windows—I recommend using blackout shades or drapes.
  5. Keep the temperature in your bedroom no higher than 70 degrees F. Many people keep their homes and particularly their upstairs bedrooms too warm. Studies show that the optimal room temperature for sleep is between 60 to 68 degrees. Keeping your room cooler or hotter can lead to restless sleep. This is because when you sleep, your body's internal temperature drops to its lowest level, generally about four hours after you fall asleep. Scientists believe a cooler bedroom may therefore be most conducive to sleep, since it mimics your body's natural temperature drop.
  6. Take a hot bath 90 to 120 minutes before bedtime. This increases your core body temperature, and when you get out of the bath it abruptly drops, signaling your body that you are ready for sleep.
  7. Check your bedroom for electro-magnetic fields (EMFs). These can disrupt your pineal gland and the production of melatonin and serotonin, and may have other negative effects as well. To do this, you need a gauss meter. You can find various models online, starting around $50 to $200. Some experts even recommend pulling your circuit breaker before bed to shut down all power in your house.
  8. Move alarm clocks and other electrical devices away from your bed. If these devices must be used, keep them as far away from your bed as possible, preferably at least three feet. This serves at least two functions. First, it can be stressful to see the time when you can't fall asleep, or wake up in the middle of the night. Secondly, the glow from a clock radio can be enough to suppress melatonin production and interfere with your sleep. Cell phones, cordless phones and their charging stations should ideally be kept three rooms away from your bedroom to prevent harmful EMFs.
Sleeping Well Is Part of a Healthy Lifestyle Plan
There's convincing evidence showing that if you do not sleep enough, you're really jeopardizing your health. Everybody loses sleep here and there, and your body can adjust for temporary shortcomings. But if you develop a chronic pattern of sleeping less than five or six hours a night, then you're increasing your risk of a number of health conditions, including weakening your immune system and increasing your risk of degenerative brain disorders. If you’re feeling anxious or restless, try using the Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT), which can help you address any emotional issues that might keep you tossing and turning at night.

For even more helpful guidance on how to improve your sleep, please review my 33 Secrets to a Good Night's Sleep. If you're even slightly sleep deprived, I encourage you to implement some of these tips tonight, as high-quality sleep is one of the most important factors in your health and quality of life.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Ginger Root Kills Ovarian & Prostate Cancer Cells Better than Chemo

October 27th, 2013
Updated 10/27/2013 at 10:42 am

Thanks to research from the University of Michigan and nearly three centuries of medicinal use, we can now utilize ginger root to not only kill ovarian cancer cells, but also prostate cancer cells with zero toxicity.
Truly among the great medicines of the world, ginger has long been used to treat inflammation and nausea, but the results presented in a session at the American Association for Cancer Research show that in every single instance where ginger powder was used to treat cancer cells, they all died as a result of being exposed to the compound. In medical lingo this is called apoptosis (cancer cell suicide.) When ginger is present, the cells even attack one another, called autophagy.
While ginger has been deemed a great natural remedy for those who are undergoing chemotherapy, it can also be used in larger quantities to treat cancer of its own accord.

Another study showing ginger’s ability to fight ovarian cancer concludes with:
“Ginger inhibits growth and modulates secretion of angiogenic factors in ovarian cancer cells. The use of dietary agents such as ginger may have potential in the treatment and prevention of ovarian cancer.”
Ginger has also been proven to treatprostate cancer. The British Journal of Nutrition published the results of an American study recently in which ginger extract (zingiber officinale) killed human prostate cancer cells while healthy prostate cells were left alone. Whole ginger extract was revealed to shrink prostate tumor size by a whopping 56%
Further adding to the benefits of ginger, the spice has no toxicity when consumed even in high doses, and does not cause people to endure the very uncomfortable side effects of chemo and radiation treatments. The American Cancer Society admits  that more than 15% of men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer, and more than 20,000 American women will be diagnosed with ovarian cancer this year. Many of these cases can be helped with ginger root.
While Big Pharma would have these men and women endure very invasive treatments, some simple ginger root powder can cause their cancer cells to commit a certain death.

Monday, October 28, 2013

CSIRO GMO Wheat can Silence Human Genes, Causes Early Death

Posted by Christina Sarich on October 28, 2013 at 1:39 pm

Two Australian researchers have found that CSIRO-developed GMO wheat which was created to silence particular genes within the crop can also silence certain rNA and DNA sequences in the human body, causing fatality as early as age five or six. The researchers are calling the GMO wheat a ‘safety’ issue, which requires more profundity before the genetically modified crop is planted in more areas of Australia and offered in products in grocery stores.
Professor Jack Heinemann of the University of Canterbury, NZ, and Associate Professor Judy Carman, a biochemist at Flinders University, released their expert scientific opinions on the safety of CSIRO’s GM wheat at a press conference in Melbourne. The Safe Food Foundation & Institute has a video of their conference, here.
While studies on the wheat have been released by CSIRO, the scientists point out that there are some grave holes in the overall assessment of the crop that have serious repercussions for people who consume it.
According to the Heinemann and Carman, extended testing should be performed before the wheat is put on store shelves.
“We firmly believe that long term chronic toxicological feeding studies are required in addition to the detailed requests . . . for the DNA sequences used. . .The industry routinely does feeding studies anyway, so it should not be too much more difficult to do long term (lifetime) studies and include inhalation studies.”
“The technology is too new,” the scientists said in the press conference, “What we found is that the molecules created in this wheat intended to silence wheat genes can match human genes and through ingestion can possibly silence human genes. We found over 770 pages of potential matches between the genes in wheat and the human genome.” This is the cause for concern.
The issue may end up in Australian courts if the company does not respond to the scientist’s and publics concerns about the GM wheat.
Additional Sources:

What I Wish Everyone Knew About Parkinson's Disease

SEPTEMBER 20, 2013 4:39 AM EDT

Parkinson’s disease, which now afflicts close to one million Americans, and gained center stage attention this week when yet another celebrity revealed that her professional career had been brought to an end as a consequence of this condition. Singer Linda Ronstadt has released a new book of memoirs and in it she reveals that she, like 60,000 Americans each year, was given a diagnosis of Parkinson’s, a disease characterized by progressive degeneration of the brain.
There are a variety of pharmaceutical interventions offered up for Parkinson’s patients. And each day when I’m seeing a new patient with this disease one of the first questions I ask is, “What are you doing to treat this disorder?”
I typically get a list of drugs, dosages and how often the pills are taken.
It’s then that I feel compelled to explain that the potpourri of pills that they’ve been given actually do not treat the disease at all. They simply manage the symptoms. And this distinction is fundamentally important. By and large, giving symptom-managing medications to Parkinson’s patients is about as far as the standard doctor-patient interaction goes. And that’s like treating the smoke and ignoring the fire.

It turns out that lifestyle choices are critically influential in determining how rapidly a patient’s functionality will decline over the longer term. So while medications that can help with the Parkinsonian tremor and rigidity clearly have their place, physicians need to look at the broader picture and ask themselves what information they can provide to patients that can help preserve their ability to participate in life’s activities in the longer term.
Recently, an important brain protective chemical was identified that is associated with a dramatic slowing of decline in Parkinson’s patients. This novel chemical has been shown to provide aggressive brain antioxidant protection, helping to reduce the damaging effects of villainous toxins called free radicals.
What’s more, it has been discovered that this brain protective substance actually serves as the precursor for such brain supportive chemicals as vitamin D, estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone.
It is called cholesterol.
Yes, the very same cholesterol that has been demonized for decades as the cause of everything from heart attacks to who-knows-what is actually one of the most important players in brain health.
Specifically in relation to Parkinson’s disease, a recent study published by researchers from Pennsylvania State University and Harvard revealed a direct relationship between higher cholesterol levels and slowing in the rate of decline in the 744 Parkinson’s patients they followed. Those whose cholesterol levels were the highest faired significantly better and maintained higher levels of functionality in the long run.
We need to take notice of reports like this, as this kind of information will no doubt lead to changes in how we respond to advertisements in medical journals calling for us do everything we can to “aggressively lower cholesterol.”
We’ve got to pay attention when the FDA mandates warnings on cholesterol-lowering statin drugs indicating they can affect brain function (as they rightly did in 2012).
As a practicing neurologist, I’m grateful to have medicines that can help control symptoms of Parkinson’s disease. But more needs to be done to gain a fuller understanding of the processes that underlie the actual brain degeneration. And now that this information is coming to light, patients deserve to know the full story.
Knowledge is empowering, especially as it relates to putting out the fire.
So here are some ideas for Parkinson’s patients to discuss with their treating physicians:
1. Ask one simple question: “Do I really need to lower my cholesterol?”
2. Don’t refrain from foods that contain cholesterol like grass-fed beef, free range chicken, and even free-range eggs.
3. Add supplemental fats to your diet like extra virgin organic olive oil, nuts, seeds, and coconut oil.
Add Coenzyme Q10, a nutritional supplement, to your program. We generally recommend at least 400mg daily. Research confirms that this supplement slows the decline in Parkinson’s patients.
4. Reduce carbohydrates in your diet.
5. Get regular aerobic exercise, and concentrate on exercises that move opposite sides of your body in rapid succession like using an elliptical machine.
6. Make sure you take enough vitamin D to get your blood level up to around 70-80ng/ml. This may require up to 5,000 or even 10,000 units of vitamin D3 daily.

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What Are The Health Benefits of Apples?

October 28, 2013 | 26,478 views

By Dr. Mercola
Apples are the second most popular fruit in the US (bananas are the first),1 with each American eating about 19 pounds a year. 2
Undoubtedly, many of those apples are consumed right now, during the fall, which is peak season for apples in the US. This is one sweet treat that you can feel good about eating, too, as apples are packed with disease-fighting vitamins, antioxidants and more, easily making them one of the top-ranked fruits for your health.
Apples Ranked Second Highest for Antioxidant Activity
Compared to other commonly consumed fruits in the US, apples ranked second for highest antioxidant activity. However, they ranked highest for the proportion of free phenolic compounds, which means they are not bound to other compounds in the fruit and therefore may be more easily absorbed into your bloodstream.3
Notably, much of apples’ antioxidant power is contained in the peel, where you’ll find antioxidants like catechin, procyanidins, chlorogenic acid, ploridizin and more. According to the New York Fruit Quarterly:4
“Since apples are so high in antioxidants, it is no surprise that apples, specifically, are associated with a decreased risk of chronic disease.
Three studies have specifically linked apple consumption with a decreased risk for cancer… [and] a study has shown that apple and pear consumption has been associated with a decreased risk of asthma.
Apple consumption has also been associated with a decreased risk of coronary heart disease… [and] a reduced risk of Type II diabetes was associated with apple and berry consumption in another major Finnish study.
In the laboratory, apples and the compounds in them have properties that may explain their effects in protecting against disease. Our lab has found that apples, and especially apple peels, have powerful antioxidant activity and can greatly inhibit the growth of liver cancer and colon cancer cells.
Based on results from all of these studies, it appears that apples may play a significant role in reducing the risk of a wide variety of diseases.”
I have four apple trees where I live in Chicago but hadn’t eaten that many of them. After reviewing this information, I think I will be consuming more next year, as the harvest season just finished for this year.
An Apple a Day to Keep 5 Chronic Diseases Away?
A wealth of research suggests that eating apples may impact your health in a number of beneficial ways:5
  • Brain Health: Apples have been found to protect neuron cells against oxidative stress-induced neurotoxicity and may play an important role in reducing the risk of neurodegenerative disorders, such as Alzheimer's disease.6
  • Stroke: Eating apples is linked to a decreased risk of stroke.7
  • Diabetes: Three servings of apples (and other fruits, such as blueberries and grapes) is linked to a 7 percent lower risk of type 2 diabetes.8 This may be due to their beneficial role in blood sugar regulation, as apples contain compounds that may:9
  • Lessen absorption of glucose from your digestive tract
  • Stimulate beta cells in your pancreas to secrete insulin
  • Increase uptake of glucose from your blood by stimulating insulin receptors
  • Cancer: Apples have a number of properties that may help reduce the risk of cancer, including antimutagenic activity, antioxidant activity, anti-inflammatory mechanisms, antiproliferative and apoptosis-inducing activity, as well as "novel mechanisms on epigenetic events and innate immunity." According to the journal Planta Medica:10
“Apple products have been shown to prevent skin, mammary and colon carcinogenesis in animal models. Epidemiological observations indicate that regular consumption of one or more apples a day may reduce the risk for lung and colon cancer.”
  • Heart Disease: Eating apples is associated with a lower risk of death from heart disease, an association that’s thought to be related to their content of antioxidant flavonoids.11
Eat Whole Apples for the Most Health 'Bang' for Your Buck
While applesauce and apple juice do contain some valuable vitamins and antioxidants, eating apples in their whole form will give you the synergistic blend of nutrients and fiber the way nature intended. This is important for a number of reasons. For instance, apples are often thought of as a high-fiber food and many of its heart health benefits are linked to a type of fiber called pectin.
In reality, apples really only contain about two to three grams of fiber per ounce, of which pectin accounts for about half. Even though this is a modest amount of pectin, it has a powerful impact on your health because of its interactions with other apple phytonutrients. As explained by the World’s Healthiest Foods:12
“… this relatively modest amount of pectin found in whole apples has now been shown to interact with other apple phytonutrients to give us the kind of blood fat lowering effects that would typically be associated with much higher amounts of soluble fiber intake.
In recent comparisons with laboratory animals, the blood fat lowering effects of whole apple were shown to be greatly reduced when whole apples were eliminated from the diet and replaced by pectin alone.
In summary, it's not fiber alone that explains the cardiovascular benefits of apple, but the interaction of fiber with other phytonutrients in this wonderful fruit. If you want the full cardiovascular benefits of apples, it's the whole food form that you'll want to choose. Only this form can provide you with those unique fiber-plus-phytonutrient combinations.”
Similarly, research shows that eating a whole apple before a meal may lead you to eat 15 percent fewer calories – an effect that was not associated with applesauce or apple juice.13 Eating a whole apple was also linked with greater feelings of satiety after a meal.
Some People May Need to Eat Apples in Moderation
The other variable we haven’t yet covered is fructose, a type of sugar that is linked to many chronic health problems when consumed in excess. I believe most will benefit from restricting their fructose to 25 grams a day, and as little as 15 grams a day if you have insulin or leptin resistance.

This includes fructose from whole fruits like apples. Apples are a relatively high-fructose fruit, with 9.5 grams in a medium-sized apple. Apple juice will contain considerably more, which is another reason why you’re better off eating apples in their whole form.
It is also important to time your eating of fructose-rich foods like apple correctly. One of the tricks that I personally use is to time my fruit intake. Eating one after a calorie-rich meal for ‘dessert’ will not have the same effect as if you eat it after a glycogen-depleting workout.

In the former case, the apple’s fructose is more likely to contribute to weight gain and insulin resistance; in the latter case, it will harmlessly replenish your glycogen stores within your muscles or be burned directly during your workout. I have actually been able to lose weight by increasing my fruit intake in this fashion. This works far better if you are metabolically adapted to burn fat as your primary fuel. 
If you’re insulin or leptin resistant (are overweight, diabetic, hypertensive, or have high cholesterol), which includes about 80 percent of Americans, then it would be advisable for you to limit your fruit intake to about 15 grams per day, which would be equivalent to eating approximately one apple and a handful of blueberries -- unless you timed the fruit consumption as described above and were doing fairly significant exercise in which you were burning a few hundred calories.
If you are not insulin/leptin resistant, (are normal weight without diabetes, hypertension or high cholesterol) and regularly engage in strenuous physical activity or manual labor, then higher fructose intake is unlikely to cause any health problems. In this case, you can probably eat more fruit without giving it much thought.
What Else Should You Look for in an Apple?
Because much of the antioxidant content of an apple is found in its peel, you’ll want to leave the peel on when you eat it. For this reason, look for organic apples, which will be free from pesticides and other chemicals. Apples are one of the most pesticide-contaminated fruits there is,14 so if you’re planning to eat more apples, make them organic. If you purchase conventional apples, briefly soaking them in a solution of 10 percent vinegar to 90 percent water may help to remove some pesticides (and bacteria).
But keep in mind that many pesticides are lipophilic, and are therefore capable of entering through the surface of conventional produce deep into the flesh of the fruit or vegetable within minutes. If you have your own apple trees, you can integrate high-performance agriculture techniques that will radically increase the nutrient content and also virtually eliminate any diseases that the apples might be acquire. When it comes to choosing an apple, the Washington State Apple Commission recommends:15
  • Choosing an apple with shiny, not dull, skin (dull apples will not be crisp)
  • Firm apples free from bruises and punctures
  • Refrigerating apples at 39 degrees F to maintain crispness
  • Protecting cut apples from browning by dipping them into a solution of one part citrus juice to three parts water

If you’re looking for even more apple facts and nutrition information, be sure to check out our apple food facts page.

How Coconut Oil May Rescue The Brain From Alzheimer's Disease

Posted on: Sunday, October 27th 2013 at 6:15 pm
Written By: Sayer Ji, Founder

The internet loves a good "natural cure" recovery story.  For instance, when Dr. Mary Newport, MD, dramatically reverses her husband's symptoms of Alzheimer's disease after just two weeks of adding coconut oil to his diet, thousands enthusiastically share the story.  But despite their popularity, anecdotes rarely stand the test of time, nor the scrutiny of the medical community, at least not like experimental research published in peer-reviewed biomedical journals.  
All the more reason to celebrate a promising new study soon to be published in the Journal of Alzheimer's Disease titled, "Coconut Oil Attenuates the Effects of Amyloid-β on Cortical Neurons In Vitro."[i]  The study lends fresh experimental support to an accumulating body of anecdotal reports that coconut oil may alleviate and/or regress cognitive deficits associated with aging and neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer's disease and Parkinson's.
Medical researchers from the Memorial University of Newfoundland, St. John's, NL, Canada, undertook a pilot study to investigate the effects of coconut oil supplementation directly on cortical neurons treated with amyloid-β (Aβ) peptide in vitro.  Aβ peptide is the main component of certain deposits found in the brains of patients with Alzheimer's disease believed to contribute to the disease.
The researchers noted that a recent clinical trial, which we reported on in our article MCT Fats Found in Coconut Oil Boost Brain Function in Only One Dose, reported significant improvements in Alzheimer's disease patients after 45 and 90 days of treatment with medium chain triglycerides from coconut oil.  They pointed out that this trial led to the marketing of the FDA-approved 'medical food' caprylidene (trade name Axona), but that the public has shown greater interest in coconut oil itself as a potential therapy, owing to its far greater affordability and availability.
The researchers sought to test the hypothesis that coconut oil is beneficial for neurodegenerative conditions using a cell model.  Live rat neurons were exposed to various combinations of Aβ peptide and coconut oil, with the result that Aβ peptide reduced survival of neurons and coconut protected against this Aβ-induced reduction in survival time.  The researchers noted that coconut treated Aβ cultured neurons appeared "healthier," and that coconut oil "rescued" Aβ-treated neurons from mitochondrial damage caused by their toxicity.  The researchers observed coconut oil preventing Aβ-induced changes in mitochondrial size and circularity. These findings have great significance, as mitochondria function is often compromised in the brains of Alzheimer's disease patients.

According to the researchers, "The rationale for using coconut oil as a potential AD [Alzheimer's Disease] therapy is related to the possibility that it could be metabolized to ketone bodies that would provide an alternative energy source for neurons, and thus compensate for mitochondrial dysfunction."  The researchers proposed that ketone bodies formed as a byproduct of coconut oil metabolism may offset Aβ-induced impairment of mitochondrial function and thus energy metabolism.  Considering that the medium chain triglyceride found in coconut known as caprylic acid does cross the blood-brain barrier, and has recently been found to have anti-convulsant, in addition to, ketogenic effects, coconut oil likely does have a neuroprotective effect.[ii]

The researchers concluded, "The results of this pilot study provide a basis for further investigation of the effects of coconut oil, or its constituents, on neuronal survival focusing on mechanisms that may be involved."
Clearly, one of the ways that coconut oil can 'rescue' the brains of Alzheimer's patients is by addressing the metabolic derangement in the brain associated with the condition, or what is known as "type 3 diabetes." As the brain ages, it becomes increasingly resistant to insulin, and therefore incapable of using glucose efficiently to meet its significant energy needs -- hence the metaphor "type 3 diabetes." Thankfully, nature has devised an alternative fuel source for the brain that is independent of glucose utilization and the insulin signaling system, namely, the use of ketone bodies.  Coconut oil provides the substrate for the immediate production of these ketone bodies, enabling significant quantities to be produced within a matter of only minutes following ingestion. This metabolic restoration of function may explain why remarkable recoveries in cognitive function and memory have been observed, anecdotally.
Putting the science aside for a moment, coconut, like walnuts, both obey the so-called 'doctrine of signatures.' Both foods are encased by a skull-like shell, and contain within a fatty acid-rich 'meat,' that feed the organ – the brain – they resemble.  Could the poetry of our direct experience tell us something about the value this food has to our brain, or should we continue to play agnostic and exercise great caution incorporating a 'food as medicine' approach until the men in white coats, and powerful economic forces behind them willing to shell out millions, if not billions of dollars, to "prove" in randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled fashion something we probably already know is true?
For additional research on the benefits of coconut oil visit our research page on the topic: coconut oil health benefits. Or, visit our neurodegenerative diseases page for dozens of natural substances studied that may help these conditions.

[ii] Wlaz P, Socala K, Nieoczym D, Luszczki JJ, Zarnowska 296 I, Zarnowski T, Czuczwar SJ, Gasior M (2012) Anticon- 297 vulsant profile of caprylic acid, a main constituent of the 298 medium-chain triglyceride (MCT) ketogenic diet, in mice. 299 Neuropharmacology 62, 1882-1889.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Coconut oil miraculously helps Parkinson's patient regain quality of life

Wednesday, October 23, 2013 by: Ethan A. Huff, staff writer
Tags: coconut oil, Parkinson''s patient, quality of life


(NaturalNews) Imagine for a moment that you are a 74-year-old man diagnosed with Parkinson's disease, and you are quickly losing your ability to think, move and function, despite adhering to an intense regimen of all the latest pharmaceutical offerings for this miserable disease. Then imagine that nearly all of your symptoms subside almost miraculously after beginning a dietary routine that involves taking large doses of all-natural coconut oil every day.

Would you not tell the world about your amazing healing experience and encourage others in similar situations to do the same thing for their own health? This is what one older man did recently when he shared his powerful story on, a question and answer support forum for people suffering from all sorts of illnesses and health conditions.

When drugs failed him, man adopted coconut oil regimen that changed his life
In a forum posting entitled "Coconut oil has improved my life," the man, who identifies himself by the handle "fwes," explains how his quality of life deteriorated quite rapidly after agreeing to undergo conventional treatment for Parkinson's at the renowned Mayo Clinic. He explains how he had been taking drugs like Mirapex Er (pramipexole dihydrochloride), Azilect (rasagiline) and Sinemet (Carbidopa/Levodopa) to no avail.

His symptoms reportedly worsened on these drugs, leaving him in a state of catatonic pain and immobility. He describes his symptoms as including severe slowness, distorted facial expressions, chronic stiffness and joint pain, unsteadiness, severe swelling on his left leg and extreme lower back pain. These and many other symptoms are characteristic of late-stage Parkinson's, and eventually lead to a total inability to take care of one's self.

After three-and-a-half excruciating years of taking these multiple drugs for his condition and seeing no improvements, the man decided to take matters into his own hands. Research he discovered over at, the blog of Dr. Mary Newport, M.D., led him to start taking coconut oil every day and building himself up to a tolerance of eight tablespoons daily. And the results were astounding.

Drastic improvements observed after just a few days on coconut oil
According to his personal account, the man experienced "significant improvements" after just a couple of days on the coconut oil. Family and friends were both shocked and delighted that he was suddenly able to move around the house quickly, for instance, and rise from any chair unassisted. He was also able to start performing what he describes as "football agility drills," or shifting right and left and moving forward and backward in response to commands.

As long as he takes his coconut oil every day -- four tablespoons at breakfast, two at lunch and two at dinner is his routine -- then he experiences minimal symptoms and is able to go about his daily life in a mostly normal fashion. Besides improved agility and higher movement capacity, the man says his facial expressions have improved as a result of the coconut oil, and he no longer has any swelling on his left leg.

"I still have Parkinson['s] symptoms, but my quality of life has vastly improved," he writes. "We are about at the end of 3 months, and the benefits are maintaining. Something real has happened to me."

You can read the man's full story by visiting

You can also learn more about the work of Dr. Mary Newport, and how coconut oil may be able to help you or a loved one experience relief from degenerative disease or dementia, by visiting

Sources for this article include:

Future Doctors Unprepared to Manage Pain

October 26, 2013 | 13,725 views

By Dr. Mercola
Chronic pain affects 100 million Americans – that’s more than the number impacted by diabetes, heart disease and cancer combined.1 Most suffering from pain turn to their family physician for help, but many leave the office with nothing more than a prescription for painkillers in hand.
The reason?
Many physicians simply do not know how to help their patients manage, or eliminate, chronic pain, and this trend is going to continue for the foreseeable future unless a radical change occurs.
As it stands, the APPEAL (Advancing the Provision of Pain Education And Learning) study revealed that new physicians are learning shockingly little about how to treat pain, despite it being one of the most common, and most debilitating, medical conditions around.
Just 12 Hours of Pain Education in Six Years of Medical School
The study, which surveyed undergraduate medical schools in Europe, found that even when compulsory pain courses are in place, they represent just 12 hours of the six-year program – or 0.2 percent.2
Further, most of the schools actually have no required courses on pain that all students must take. This means that 12 hours of pain study represents a best-case scenario; at 82 percent of medical schools without compulsory pain courses, the students may be receiving even less… or no pain training at all.
Even when the pain courses are compulsory, there is no consistency in what topics are covered, and most of the schools included only classroom-based teaching, not practical-based or placement-based teaching that could offer future physicians valuable hands-on experience.
The researchers called for a major overhaul to address the urgent public health need to adequately manage chronic pain, including:
  • The establishment of a European framework for pain education to ensure consistency in pain teaching
  • The introduction of compulsory pain teaching for all undergraduate medical students in Europe
  • Improved documentation of pain teaching within the undergraduate medical curriculum
Pain Education in North American Medical Schools ‘Limited’ and ‘Fragmentary’
Though the featured study took place in Europe, it echoes a similar trend identified in the US and Canada by a separate study published in The Journal of Pain.3
Most of the schools offered pain education as only a part of general education courses. Less than 4 percent of the schools had a required course in pain and many offered no dedicated courses at all.
Even at those schools offering pain curriculum, the education amounted to less than five hours.4 Those researchers similarly concluded:
“Significant gaps between recommended pain curricula and documented educational content were identified. In short, pain education [in US and Canadian medical schools] was limited and fragmentary. Innovative and integrated pain education in primary medical education is needed.”
This is clearly out of sync with the needs of Americans. So many are suffering daily with pain that surveys show seven in 10 Americans believe pain research and management should be one of the medical community’s top priorities!5 Instead, it receives barely a passing mention…
What Happens When Physicians Don’t Know How to Treat Pain?
They resort to the only treatment they know: prescription drugs. And now we’re facing another epidemic on top of chronic pain: prescription drug abuse.
The latter has been called the fastest-growing drug problem in the US by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), as the number of deaths from opioid painkillers like hydrocodone and oxycodone rose nearly four-fold between 1999 and 2009.
The overdoses now kill more people than cocaine and heroin combined. As USA Today recently reported, more US states are now taking action to try and stop this growing problem:6
  • Alabama has instituted three new laws that give more medical personnel access to the state’s prescription monitoring program database, as well as tighten regulations on pain management clinics and making ‘doctor shopping’ to get multiple prescriptions punishable by jail time
  • Indiana instituted new oversight powers to the state attorney general on pain management clinics and is considering mandatory annual drug screening of people prescribed opioids
  • Kentucky now requires pain clinics to be licensed and mandates that physicians check electronic prescription records before writing opioid prescriptions
  • Washington state has set dosage limits for physicians who prescribe pain medications, and prescriptions over a certain amount must be approved by a pain specialist
  • New York has a requirement that physicians and pharmacists check the state’s drug-monitoring program database before prescribing opioids
Prescription Painkillers are Addictive and Often Deadly
Painkillers (opioids) like morphine, codeine, oxycodone, hydrocodone and fentanyl are one of the most commonly abused drug classes. These drugs are not only addictive, they can lead to slowed breathing and death if too much is taken, and the risks are compounded if you add alcohol to the equation.
Hydrocodone, a prescription opiate, is synthetic heroin. It's indistinguishable from any other heroin as far as your brain and body is concerned. So, if you're hooked on hydrocodone, you are in fact a good-old-fashioned heroin addict.
Worse, pain-killing drugs like fentanyl are actually 100 times more potent than natural opioids like morphine, making the addictive potential and side effects associated with prescription drug use much higher.
Congressional testimony from the American Society of Interventional Pain Physicians stated that Americans consume 80 percent of the pain pills in the world,7 and once you start, they set off a cascade of reactions in your body that make it extremely difficult to stop. Dr. Sanjay Gupta, associate chief of neurosurgery at Grady Memorial Hospital and CNN's chief medical correspondent, reported:8
“ … after just a few months of taking the pills, something starts to change in the body. The effectiveness wears off, and patients typically report getting only about 30% pain relief, compared with when they started. Even more concerning, a subgroup of these patients develop a condition known as hyperalgesia, an increased sensitivity to pain.
As you might guess, all of this creates a situation where the person starts to take more and more pills. And even though they are no longer providing much pain relief, they can still diminish the body's drive to breathe.
If you are awake you may not notice it, but if you fall asleep with too many of these pills in your system, you never wake up. Add alcohol, and the problem is exponentially worse. People who take pain or sleeping pills and drink a couple glasses of wine are playing Russian roulette.”
Every Physician Should Have an Arsenal of Non-Toxic Options for Treating Chronic Pain
And at the top of this list should be an explanation of why dietary changes are so important for long-term pain relief. If you suffer from chronic pain, there’s a good chance your physician has neglected to tell you this:
  • Start taking a high-quality, animal-based omega-3 fat like krill oil. Omega-3 fats are precursors to mediators of inflammation called prostaglandins. (In fact, that is how anti-inflammatory painkillers work, they positively influence prostaglandins.) The omega-3 fats EPA and DHA contained in krill oil have been found in many animal and clinical studies to have anti-inflammatory properties, which are beneficial for pain relief.
  • Reduce your intake of most processed foods as not only do they contain sugar and additives but most are loaded with omega-6 fats that upset your delicate omega-3:omega-6 ratio, which will contribute to inflammation, a key factor in most pain.
  • Eliminate or radically reduce most grains and sugars (especially fructose) from your diet. Avoiding grains and sugars will lower your insulin and leptin levels. Elevated insulin and leptin levels are one of the most profound stimulators of inflammatory prostaglandin production. That is why eliminating sugar and grains is so important to controlling your pain.
  • Optimize your production of vitamin D by getting regular, appropriate sun exposure, which will work through a variety of different mechanisms to reduce your pain.
Try These Natural Options Before Even Considering Painkillers for Chronic Pain
Once you’ve addressed the basics above, your physician should be able to suggest a number of non-harmful methods to give you pain relief now, while you wait for your body to become rebalanced and heal thanks to the foundational lifestyle changes you’re making. If your physician is not familiar with pain-relief techniques other than prescription drugs, it may be time to find one who is. Non-drug options may include:
  • Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT): Few people want to be told that their pain is psychological or emotional in origin, but there's quite a bit of evidence that backs this up. Underlying emotional issues and unresolved trauma can have a massive influence on your health, particularly as it relates to physical pain. According to Dr. John Sarno, a psychiatrist who uses mind-body techniques to treat patients with severe low back pain, EFT has a greater than 80 percent success rate
  • Chiropractic adjustments: According to a study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine9 and funded by the National Institutes of Health, patients with neck pain who used a chiropractor and/or exercise were more than twice as likely to be pain free in 12 weeks compared to those who took medication.
  • Massage: Massage releases endorphins, which help induce relaxation, relieve pain, and reduce levels of stress chemicals such as cortisol and noradrenaline – reversing the damaging effects of stress by slowing heart rate, respiration and metabolism and lowering raised blood pressure. It is a particularly effective therapy for stress-related tension, which experts believe accounts for as much as 80 to 90 percent of disease.
  • Acupuncture: Researchers concluded that acupuncture has a definite effect in reducing chronic pain, such as back pain and headaches – more so than standard pain treatment.10
  • Relearn proper posture: The Gokhale Method addresses the root cause of physical pain, which is typically caused by improper posture. The method teaches you to reclaim your primal posture, which is the way your body was designed to stand, sit and move. You can also try Foundation Training—an innovative method developed by Dr. Eric Goodman to treat his own chronic low back pain. The exercises are designed to help you strengthen your entire core and move the way nature intended.
Alternatives to Prescription Painkillers That Virtually Every Physician Should Know
If you have chronic pain of any kind, please understand that there are many safe and effective alternatives to prescription and over-the-counter painkillers. These are the types of pain remedies that medical students should be learning about, as they provide excellent pain relief without any of the health hazards that pain medications often carry.

  • Astaxanthin: One of the most effective oil-soluble antioxidants known. It has very potent anti-inflammatory properties and in many cases works far more effectively than prescription drugs like NSAIDs. Higher doses are typically required and one may need 8 mg or more per day to achieve this benefit.
  • Ginger: This herb is anti-inflammatory and offers pain relief and stomach-settling properties. Fresh ginger works well steeped in boiling water as a tea or grated into vegetable juice.
  • Curcumin: Curcumin is the primary therapeutic compound identified in the spice turmeric. In a study of osteoarthritis patients, those who added only 200 mg of curcumin a day to their treatment plan had reduced pain and increased mobility. In fact, curcumin has been shown in over 50 clinical studies to have potent anti-inflammatory activity, as well as demonstrating the ability in four studies to reduce Tylenol-associated adverse health effects.
  • Boswellia: Also known as boswellin or "Indian frankincense," this herb contains powerful anti-inflammatory properties, which have been prized for thousands of years. This is one of my personal favorites as I have seen it work well with many rheumatoid arthritis patients.
  • Bromelain: This protein-digesting enzyme, found in pineapples, is a natural anti-inflammatory. It can be taken in supplement form, but eating fresh pineapple may also be helpful. Keep in mind that most of the bromelain is found within the core of the pineapple, so consider leaving a little of the pulpy core intact when you consume the fruit.
  • Cetyl Myristoleate (CMO): This oil, found in fish and dairy butter, acts as a "joint lubricant" and an anti-inflammatory. I have used a topical preparation for myself to relieve ganglion cysts and a mild annoying carpal tunnel syndrome that pops up when I type too much on non-ergonomic keyboards.
  • Evening Primrose, Black Currant and Borage Oils: These contain the fatty acid gamma linolenic acid (GLA), which is useful for treating arthritic pain.
  • Cayenne Cream: Also called capsaicin cream, this spice comes from dried hot peppers. It alleviates pain by depleting the body's supply of substance P, a chemical component of nerve cells that transmit pain signals to your brain.

Fatal Flaws in Federal Nutrition Guidelines Promote Obesity

October 26, 2013 | 100,241 views

Total Video Length: 42:14
By Dr. Mercola
According to a new study1 by the Arnold School of Public Health at the University of South Carolina, 40 years of the NHANES American nutrition research funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) may be completely invalid.
The reason for this, the researchers say, is because the method used to collect the nutrition data is seriously flawed. According to the study’s lead author, exercise scientist and epidemiologist Edward Archer:2
“These results suggest that without valid population-level data, speculations regarding the role of energy intake in the rise in the prevalence of obesity are without empirical support.”
It’s no secret that childhood obesity has become a lethal epidemic in the US and many other parts of the world. The trend is so serious, some food advocates, like British chef Jamie Oliver,3 are taking more “dramatic” measures to inspire a collective and cultural U-turn.
Above is the first episode of Oliver’s TV show Food Revolution, which began airing in 2010. A major part of the problem, which Oliver addresses head-on, is that our food culture has changed so drastically over the last 30 years that a majority of today’s youth do not know what fresh, whole food is.
They don’t know where food comes from, or what the food they do eat is made of. Even many adults are at a loss when it comes to understanding the difference between synthetic chemicals added to foods during processing, and bioavailable nutrients found in unprocessed foods.
Tackling one town at a time, Oliver is on a mission to reeducate the masses about what real food is, and how to cook meals that will promote health and longevity rather than obesity and chronic disease. I’m hard-pressed to think of a more noble effort. But as you will see, it’s not an easy task.
Resistance to change—even positive, life-affirming change—can be fierce, and when it comes to altering school lunches, it’s made worse by having to adhere to federal nutritional guidelines that are fatally flawed in more ways than one.
According to the featured study, caloric intake has been under reported for the past four decades, and the rise in obesity isn’t necessarily a side effect of increasing calorie consumption—it might just be an artifact of slight improvements in the reporting.
If that’s true, then what is really at the root of the obesity problem? Not addressed in this study is the fact that the entire “calorie in/calorie out” hypothesis is a myth as well! You don’t get fat because you eat too many calories. You gain weight because you eat the wrong kind of calories, which I’ll get into in a moment.
Federal Nutrition Data Found to Be 'Physiologically Implausible'
In the US, nutrition and health data is compiled by the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES).4 It collects self-reported food and beverage consumption data of children and adults, along with physical examinations to evaluate the health status of the participants. This information is then used by researchers studying the effects of nutrition and diet on the health of Americans.
Now, researchers evaluating the NHANES data and collection methods have concluded that the data is simply “not physiologically credible,” and that blaming obesity on excessive calorie consumption is “without empirical support.” According to the featured article:5
“The study6 examined data from 28,993 men and 34,369 women, 20 to 74 years old, from NHANES I (1971 - 1974) through NHANES (2009 - 2010), and looked at the caloric intake of the participants and their energy expenditure, predicted by height, weight, age and sex.
The results show that - based on the self-reported recall of food and beverages -- the vast majority of the NHANES data 'are physiologically implausible, and therefore invalid,' Archer said. In other words, the 'calories in' reported by participants and the 'calories out,' don't add up and it would be impossible to survive on most of the reported energy intakes.
This misreporting of energy intake varied among participants, and was greatest in obese men and women who underreported their intake by an average 25 percent and 41 percent (i.e., 716 and 856 calories per-day respectively).”
The failure to provide accurate estimates of Americans’ habitual caloric consumption can have far-reaching ramifications when it comes to federal nutritional guidelines. First of all, it points out the limited ability to create public policy that accurately reflects the connections between diet and health.
It also suggests that much of the nutritional research produced over the past four decades is unreliable at best, as it’s not an accurate reflection of people’s actual calorie intake. According to Archer:
"The nation's major surveillance tool for studying the relationships between nutrition and health is not valid. It is time to stop spending tens of millions of health research dollars collecting invalid data and find more accurate measures."
Reality Check—Health Is Dependent on Real Food
I agree we should stop wasting money on collecting invalid data. The question is, what would constitute “more accurate measures”? I’ve long advocated against counting calories at all, as they’re a poor way to evaluate the actual healthfulness of your meal.

You’re not going to improve your health by eating fewer cookies than you did before if your entire diet consists of different kinds of pastries. If you really want to lose weight and, more importantly, improve your health, then you must replace “empty” calories from processed, denatured foods with nutrients from real, whole foods—especially healthful fats, which I’ll address below.
Three decades ago, the food available was mostly fresh and grown locally. Today, the majority of foods served, whether at home, in school or in restaurants, are highly processed foods, filled with sugars and chemical additives. During that same time, childhood obesity has more than tripled. In the US, more than one-third of children and adolescents are now overweight or obese.
Regardless of whether our federal nutrition guidelines are based on accurate calorie intake or not, cutting down on calories alone is not going to fix the problem of childhood obesity and the alarming rise of chronic disease in children and teens. Children need to be fed properly, and Oliver’s TV show clearly pinpoints what’s wrong with the American diet.
Why Counting Calories Doesn’t Work
In a nutshell, it’s FAR more important to look at the source of the calories than counting them. Contrary to popular belief, you do NOT need 45-65 percent of your daily calories in the form of carbs, as recommended by the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans.7
It’s these kinds of nutritional guidelines that are responsible for promoting obesity in the first place! It would be one thing if the recommendation was that half of your diet should consist of vegetable carbs, but that’s not the case. No, the federal recommendations for carbs touted by health agencies and nutritionists around the country include starches, fiber, grains, sugar alcohols, and naturally-occurring and added sugars—the very things that drive obesity and chronic disease rates skyward... According to the 2010 Report of the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee on the Dietary Guidelines for Americans,8 the top 10 sources of calories in the American diet are:
1. Grain-based desserts (cakes, cookies, donuts, pies, crisps, cobblers, and granola bars), 139 calories a day
6. Alcoholic beverages
2. Yeast breads, 129 calories a day
7. Pasta and pasta dishes
3. Chicken and chicken-mixed dishes, 121 calories a day
8. Mexican mixed dishes
4. Soda, energy drinks, and sports drinks, 114 calories a day
9. Beef and beef-mixed dishes
5. Pizza, 98 calories a day
10. Dairy desserts

Looking at this list, it should be fairly easy to see the dietary roots of the American weight problem. Four of the top five sources of calories are carbs—sugars (primarily fructose) and grains—just as recommended. And while soda has dropped down to number four (it used to be number one), I still believe a lot of people, particularly teenagers, probably get a majority of their calories from sugary beverages like soda.
To Optimize Your Health, Pay Attention to the SOURCE of Your Calories
In order to curb the current obesity epidemic, we do not need more accurate reporting of calories; we need to start focusing on eating the right kind of calories. I firmly believe that the primary keys for successful weight management and optimal health are:
  1. Severely restricting carbohydrates (sugars, fructose, and grains) in your diet
  2. Increasing healthy fat consumption
  3. Unlimited consumption of non starchy vegetables. Because they are so low calorie, the majority of the food on your plate will be vegetables
  4. Limit the use of protein to less than one half gram per pound of body weight
Healthful fat can be rich in calories, but these calories will not affect your body in the same way as calories from non-vegetable carbs. As explained by Dr. Robert Lustig, fructose in particular is "isocaloric but not isometabolic." This means you can have the same amount of calories from fructose or glucose, fructose and protein, or fructose and fat, but the metabolic effect will be entirely different despite the identical calorie count. Eating dietary fat isn’t what’s making you pack on the pounds. It’s the sugar/fructose and grains that are adding the padding.
So please, don’t fall for the low-fat myth, as this too is a factor in the rise in chronic health problems such as heart disease and Alzheimer’s. Your brain, heart and cardiovascular system need healthy fat for optimal functioning. In fact, emerging evidence suggests most people need at least half of their daily calories from healthy fat, and possibly as high as 70 percent. My personal diet is about 60-70 percent healthy fat. Add to that a small to medium amount of high-quality protein and plenty of vegetables. You actually need very few carbs besides vegetables; so you see, the federal guidelines are about as lopsided as they could be... pushing you toward obesity and poor health, if you follow them.
Hunger Can Be Used as a Guide to Determine How Much Fat You Need
Many do not realize this, but frequent hunger may be a major clue that you're not eating correctly and are using carbs as your primary fuel. Not only is it an indication that you're consuming the wrong types of food, but it's also a sign that you're likely consuming them in lopsided ratios for your individual biochemistry, and the timing of your eating may benefit from adjustment. Fat is far more satiating than carbs, so if you have cut down on carbs and feel ravenous, thinking you "can't do without the carbs," remember this is a sign that you haven't replaced them with sufficient amounts of fat. So go ahead and add a bit more. You do want to make sure you're adding the correct types of fat though. And vegetable oils like canola and corn oil, with the National Institutes of Health (NIH) recommends is NOT on the healthy list… Sources of healthy fats include:
Olives and olive oil
Coconuts and coconut oil
Butter made from raw grass-fed organic milk
Raw nuts, such as almonds or pecans
Organic pastured egg yolks
Grass-fed meats
Palm oil
Unheated organic nut oils

Another healthful fat you want to be mindful of is animal-based omega-3. Deficiency in this essential fat can cause or contribute to very serious health problems, both mental and physical, and may be a significant underlying factor of up to 96,000 premature deaths each year. For more information about omega-3s and the best sources of this fat, please review this previous article.
Healthy Eating Starts at Home
Home used to be the heart of passing on food culture. This rarely happens anymore, and children are suffering the consequences. School lunches also used to be far more nutritious. Today, as evidenced in the video above, most of the food served at school is processed food, requiring only to be reheated.
Sadly, many parents today don’t even know how to cook with fresh ingredients, because their parents embraced the novel convenience of the TV dinner back in the 50s. I’ve said this for many years, and it’s worth repeating many times over because it’s one of the main solutions to the obesity epidemic—Cook your food from scratch, at home!
Many people are under the mistaken impression that cooking from scratch is an extremely complicated affair that takes lots of time and costs more than they could possibly afford. Part of Jamie Oliver’s mission is to show the fallacy of this kind of thinking. There are plenty of sources for simple recipes, many of which are free if you have access to the internet. In a previous article, Colleen Huber offers a list of helpful guidelines on how to cook whole food from scratch while keeping your day job.
It does require some pre-planning in many cases, but remember that learning to plan your meals may actually reduce your stress levels rather than increase them! Many people resort to fast foods and processed foods simply because they’re too frazzled at the end of their work day to figure out what to cook. Planning a menu and shopping ahead could actually turn meal time into a more relaxed time spent with family.
Also, remember that whatever money you think you’re saving now by using processed foods, you’ll end up paying many times over later on when your health begins to fail. Proper nutrition, consisting mainly of whole, fresh foods, really is your number one health insurance policy. Likewise, children will not know which foods are healthy unless you, as a parent, teach it to them. Please, understand that poor eating habits at home, combined with poor food selections at school, may set your child up for long-term physical and behavioral problems.
Are You Trying to Eat Healthy on a Budget?
While it may not be immediately obvious for people who have grown up relying on ready-made, pre-packaged foods and snacks, you can replace those foods with something equally satisfying that will support, rather than wreck, your health. This requires some strategy, especially if you're working with a tight budget, but it can be done:
  1. Identify a person to prepare meals. Someone has to invest some time in the kitchen. It will be necessary for either you, your spouse, or perhaps someone in your family prepare the meals from locally grown healthful foods. This includes packing lunches for your kids to take to school.
  2. Become resourceful: This is an area where your grandmother can be a wealth of information, as how to use up every morsel of food and stretch out a good meal was common knowledge to generations past. Seek to get back to the basics of cooking – using the bones from a roast chicken to make stock for a pot of soup, extending a Sunday roast to use for weekday dinners, learning how to make hearty stews from inexpensive cuts of meat, using up leftovers and so on.
  3. Plan your meals: If you fail to plan you are planning to fail. This is essential, as you will need to be prepared for mealtimes in advance to be successful. Ideally, this will involve scouting out your local farmer's markets for in-season produce that is priced to sell, and planning your meals accordingly, but you can also use this same premise with supermarket sales. You can generally plan a week of meals at a time, make sure you have all ingredients necessary on hand, and then do any prep work you can ahead of time so that dinner is easy to prepare if you're short on time in the evenings.
    It is no mystery that you will be eating lunch around noon every day so rather than rely on fast food at work, before you go to bed make a plan as to what you are going to take to work the next day. This is a marvelous simple strategy that will let you eat healthier, especially if you take healthy food from home in to work.
  4. Avoid food waste: According to a study published in the journal PloS One, Americans waste an estimated 1,400 calories of food per person, each and every day. The two steps above will help you to mitigate food waste in your home. You may also have seen my article titled "14 Ways to Save Money on Groceries." Among those tips are suggestions for keeping your groceries fresher, longer, and I suggest reviewing those tips now.
  5. Buy organic animal foods. The most important foods to buy organic are animal, not vegetable, products (meat, eggs, butter, etc.), because animal foods tend to concentrate pesticides in higher amounts. If you cannot afford to buy all of your food organic, opt for organic animal foods first.
  6. Keep costs down on grass-fed beef. Pasture-finished beef is far healthier than grain-fed beef (which I don't recommend consuming). To keep cost down, look for inexpensive roasts or ground meat. You may also save money by buying an entire side of beef (or splitting one with two or three other families), if you have enough freezer space to store it.
  7. Buy in bulk when non-perishable items go on sale. If you are fortunate to live near a buyer's club or a co-op, you may also be able to take advantage of buying by the pound from bins, saving both you and the supplier the cost of expensive packaging.
  8. Frequent farmer's markets or grow your own produce. You may be surprised to find out that by going directly to the source you can get amazingly healthy, locally grown, organic food for less than you can find at your supermarket. This gives you the best of both worlds: food that is grown near to you, cutting down on its carbon footprint and giving you optimal freshness, as well as grown without chemicals, genetically modified seeds, and other potential toxins.

Just as restaurants are able to keep their costs down by getting food directly from a supplier, you, too, can take advantage of a direct farm-to-consumer relationship, either on an individual basis or by joining a food coop in your area. Many farmer's markets are also now accepting food stamps, so this is an opportunity most everyone can join in on.