Friday, June 30, 2017

How Taurine Deficiency can cause brain shrinkage, anxiety, and depression

How taurine deficiency can cause brain shrinkage, anxiety and depression
Posted by: Lori Alton, staff writer in Nutrition News September 30, 2015 1 Comment

(NaturalHealth365) Although you may not have heard of taurine, a lack of this important amino acid could result in a whole host of serious health problems. Taurine has been linked to brain function, heart and kidney function, and mental wellness, among other health conditions.
Because symptoms are so broad, it’s possible to suffer from a taurine deficiency and not even realize it. But the toll it takes on your health will be noticeable. You could even be doing things, like consuming foods containing MSG, that reduce the amount of taurine available to your body.
Good reason why the body needs taurine
Taurine is an amino acid that your body can make from two other amino acids, cysteine and methionine. Low taurine levels have been found in patients suffering from a long list of conditions, including hypertension, anxiety, depression, gout, hypothyroidism, autism, obesity, kidney failure and infertility, among others.
Taurine plays a critical role in several of the body’s systems, including cardiac function, brain and nervous system and vision. Research also shows that taurine promotes new brain cell formation and restoration of aging brain cells.
But taurine plays additional roles as well. It works as an antioxidant, removing potentially damaging oxidizing agents. Taurine also plays a critical role in detoxifying the body. It aids in fat absorption and elimination of toxins, while also helping to eliminate cholesterol through bile.
The connection between taurine deficiency and chronic diseases
There are a number of symptoms that can signal a taurine deficiency, including feelings of anxiety, depression, insomnia, restlessness, migraines, insomnia, agitation, irritability, and obsessions. It’s quite possible to be suffering a taurine deficiency without even recognizing it.
You are also at greater risk if you are obese, a smoker or have heart disease. Low or high levels of iron in the blood can also be a signal of taurine deficiency. Certain medical conditions can set the stage for taurine deficiency as well. For example, if you suffer from candida or are infected with disease-producing anaerobic bacteria, you are more likely to be at risk.
When should I get tested for a taurine deficiency?
You may want to consider being tested for a taurine deficiency if you have any of the symptoms noted above. You may also want to consider being tested if you are under heavy physical demands, or if you suspect intestinal, immune system or liver problems.
Animal and fish protein, eggs and brewer’s yeast are some of the best dietary sources for ensuring adequate amounts of taurine. According to Dr. Leonard Smith, surgeon and expert in the use of nutrition and natural supplementation, the most accurate test for taurine is a whole blood test.
He suggests expectant mothers and breastfeeding mothers should also be tested. Taurine deficiency can be particularly risky for fetuses and newborns.
What are the best recommendations for supplementation? Dr. Smith notes that recommended supplemental dosages of taurine range from 500 mg to 6 g. Signs of toxicity from too much taurine are peptic ulcers and diarrhea.
The recommended dosage for adults is 13-16 mg. per 2.2 lbs. of bodyweight. Infants and small children need only take 27-58 mg. per 2.2 lbs. of body weight.
Keep in mind, certain health conditions will warrant different dosages. For example, if you suffer from heart disease, you will want to take 5 to 6 grams of a taurine supplement, divided into three dosages.

Ko Bong’s Try Mind

Ko Bong’s Try Mind

Why Strength Training is so Important for Optimal Health

Why Strength Training Is so Important for Optimal Health


Story at-a-glance
  • Nearly everyone, regardless of age and gender, will benefit from strength training. It promotes fat loss, helps maintain healthy bone mass and prevents age-related muscle loss
  • Strength training also improves insulin sensitivity, lowers your risk of metabolic syndrome, reduces perimenopausal symptoms in women, combats inflammation and improves cognitive function, mood and cardiovascular fitness
  • Workout strategies that effectively boost muscle growth while being very safe for the elderly and/or unfit individuals include SuperSlow weight training, blood flow restriction training and the nitric oxide dump

By Dr. Mercola
Research confirms that exercise is the best "preventive drug" for many common ailments and chronic diseases, from psychiatric disorders and pain to heart disease, diabetes and cancer.1,2 As stated by Dr. Timothy Church, director of preventive medicine research at the Pennington Biomedical Research Center in Baton Rouge:3
"Exercise strengthens the entire human machine — the heart, the brain, the blood vessels, the bones, the muscles. The most important thing you can do for your long-term health is lead an active life."
Unfortunately, many make the mistake of focusing on cardiovascular exercise to the exclusion of everything else. Strength training is overlooked by many for a number of different reasons. Women may think they'll bulk up and look manly, the elderly might worry about it being too strenuous or dangerous, and parents might think weight training is too risky for their children for these same reasons.
The truth is, nearly everyone, regardless of age or gender, will benefit from strength training. Working your muscles will help you shed excess fat, maintain healthy bone mass and prevent age-related muscle loss, the latter of which can start as early as your 30s if you do not actively counteract it. As noted in a recent Time magazine article:4
"For many, weight training calls to mind bodybuilders pumping iron in pursuit of beefy biceps and bulging pecs. But experts say it's well past time to discard those antiquated notions of what resistance training can do for your physique and health. Modern exercise science shows that working with weights — whether that weight is a light dumbbell or your own body — may be the best exercise for lifelong physical function and fitness."
Why Load-Bearing Exercise Is so Important for Health
As noted in the featured article, load-bearing exercises help counteract bone loss and postural deficits that occur with each passing year. During your youth, bone resorption is well-balanced, ensuring healthy bone growth and sustained strength. However, as bone loss accelerates, it starts to outpace your body's ability to create new bone. The more sedentary you are, the weaker your bones get as a result.
The same can be said for your muscle, and without good muscle tone, your mobility starts to suffer. Worse, muscle weakness in combination with brittle bone structure is a recipe for falls that can result in crippling disability. Resistance training also:
• Improves your insulin sensitivity, thereby lowering your risk of most chronic diseases. As noted by Mark Peterson, assistant professor of physical medicine at the University of Michigan, "Muscle is very metabolically active, and it uses glucose, or blood sugar, for energy"5
• Reduces your risk of metabolic syndrome, a cluster of conditions (large waist circumference, high triglycerides, low HDL cholesterol, high blood pressure and high blood sugar) that raise your risk of type 2 diabetes and heart disease.
Recent research shows working out with weights for just under an hour per week can cut your risk of metabolic syndrome by 29 percent.6,7,8 Other recent research found a twice-weekly resistance training program improved insulin sensitivity and reduced abdominal fat in older men who had already developed type 2 diabetes, without any dietary changes9
• Reduces perimenopausal symptoms in women, such as anxiety and depression, mood swings, irregular periods, weight gain and brain fog, in part by increasing production of testosterone.
While typically thought of as a male sex hormone that women don't need or want too much of, testosterone is actually beneficial for women during this stage of life, as during perimenopause, natural testosterone production can drop by as much as 50 percent.10 While women should not take testosterone, improving your body's natural production of this hormone is a safe way to address perimenopausal symptoms
• Lowers inflammation, a hallmark of most chronic disease, especially heart disease and cancer
• Improves cognitive function and reduces anxiety and depression, promoting greater well-being
Weight Training Also Improves Your Cardiovascular Fitness
While it's generally recommended to include some form of cardiovascular and high intensity training in a well-rounded fitness program, strength training actually works your cardiovascular system as well.
As noted by fitness experts like Dr. Doug McGuff and Phil Campbell, you cannot fully access your cardiovascular system unless you perform mechanical work with your muscles. How you do that is up to you; you can do it on an elliptical machine, on weight training equipment or using free-weights.
So, weight training isn't just strength training, it's a cardiovascular workout as well. Moreover, to get a better grasp on why high-intensity interval training (HIIT), such as Peak Fitness or SuperSlow strength training (the HIIT version of weightlifting) is so much more effective than regular cardio and/or regular strength training, you need to know understand the metabolic processes of your heart. Your heart actually has two primary metabolic processes to provide fuel:
  • Aerobic, which requires oxygen for fuel
  • Anaerobic, which does not require oxygen
Traditional strength training and cardio exercises work primarily the aerobic process while HIIT and SuperSlow strength training work both your aerobic AND your anaerobic processes, which is what you need for optimal cardiovascular benefit. You're actually getting greater benefits from HIIT/SuperSlow than you do from an aerobic/cardio workout, and in a fraction of the time.
For example, you only need about 12 minutes of SuperSlow type strength training once a week, or 20 minutes of Peak Fitness sprints to optimize your growth hormone production. When compared to regular cardio, you're literally saving hours each week. Whether you're using weights or not, intensity is the key here. It needs to be high enough that you reach muscle fatigue.
The SuperSlow weightlifting technique involves removing the momentum. By disallowing muscle rest, you "super charge" muscle growth because your muscle has to continuously work throughout the entire movement. However, while intense, SuperSlow weightlifting is actually quite safe, because you're going very slow, using controlled movements and, typically, can get away with using lighter weights.
In this regard, SuperSlow weight training is ideal for older people, as it significantly reduces your risk of injury. To learn more, please see my previous interview with McGuff on his SuperSlow weight training recommendations.
Strength Training Basics
There are two basic terms you must understand before planning your strength training routine:
  • Reps: A rep (repetition) indicates one complete motion of an exercise. Be mindful of performing each rep using full range of motion
  • Set: A set is a group of reps
If you performed two sets of 10 reps of bicep curls, this means you did 10 bicep curls, rested, then did 10 more. How many reps should you do? That really depends on your fitness level and your goals. Here are some general guidelines:
  • For building strength and bulk, it's generally recommended to do fewer than eight to 10 reps per set with heavier weights
  • For tone and general conditioning, aim for 10 to 12 reps using more moderate weight
  • For SuperSlow weight training, aim for only one set of eight to 10 reps. You should not be able to do the last rep no matter how hard you try. If you can do 11 then increase the weight. If you can't do eight then decrease the weight
Regardless of how many sets you do, make sure the last rep in your set is done to failure. You want to fully fatigue that muscle in the last rep, while still maintaining control of the weight so you don't lose your form, as this could lead to injury. Adjust the amount of weight you use for each exercise depending on which muscles you are working. Larger muscles such as your thighs, chest and upper back are stronger and will require a bit heavier weight. Smaller muscles, such as your shoulders and arms, require less weight.
Find Exercises That Match Your Current Fitness Level
As mentioned earlier, strength training is for everyone, regardless of your age. All you have to do is find a suitable starting point. I've previously published articles detailing sample workouts for differing levels of fitness and age groups, including a basic guide of seated balance and coordination exercises for the elderly and infirm, easy strength training moves for seniors, and a slightly more advanced strength training guide for fitter, older adults.
I've also addressed resistance training for young children, and have published a beginner's guide to strength training, SuperSlow instructions, "best of" sample strength exercises that deliver great results, advanced strength training suggestions, bodyweight exercises and much more. For ideas and guidance, simply browse through my fitness archive.
The Benefits of Blood Restriction Training

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Another technique you may want to try — which is also excellent for the elderly, or athletes recovering from an injury — is blood flow restriction training or Kaatsu training. I'll publish a full-length article on this shortly but, in brief, it involves performing strength training exercises while restricting venous blood flow (but not arterial flow) to the extremity being worked.
A significant benefit of the method is that you can do strength exercises using just 30 to 50 percent of the weight you'd normally use while still reaping maximum benefits. By restricting blood flow to the muscle, lactic acid and other waste products build up, giving you the same benefit as heavy lifting but without the dangers associated with heavy weights. For this reason, it's a great strategy for the elderly and those who are recuperating from an injury.
Put another way, by forcing blood to remain inside your muscle longer than normal, you force more rapid muscle fatigue and muscle failure that sets into motion subsequent repair and regeneration processes.
It's said blood flow restriction training can stimulate muscle growth and strength in about half the time, using about one-third of the weight, compared to standard weight training. In the video above, Dr. Jim Stray-Gundersen, a leading proponent and teacher of Kaatsu in the U.S., discusses the method and its benefits.
A typical training session would involve three sets, with repetitions ranging from 20 to 30 reps per set, using half or less of the weight you'd normally use. Rest periods between sets is typically short, say 30 seconds. This means you end up doing upward of 90 repetitions of any given exercise.
The American College of Sports Medicine claims you need to lift a weight that is at least 70 percent of your single rep max (1RM) to produce muscle growth,11 but studies assessing low-intensity exercise in combination with blood flow restriction have shown you can go as low as 20 percent of 1RM and still reap the benefits.
For most, 20 percent of 1RM is lighter than a warmup, virtually guaranteeing you will not sustain any kind of injury. Indeed, blood flow restriction training is used to rehabilitate the old and infirm in Japan, allowing them to rebuild muscle and regain some of their lost mobility.
Nitric Oxide Dump — A Great Exercise for Aging Muscles

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Another exceptionally safe way to improve your muscle strength and general fitness is the nitric oxide dump — a revision and, I think, significant improvement of my Peak Fitness program. Instead of doing 20 minutes' worth of HIIT on an exercise bike or elliptical machine, you can reap the same or better benefits doing four simple exercises that take just three minutes. These exercises should ideally be done three times a day, for a total of nine minutes a day.
For a full demonstration, see the video above. You can start with three sets of 10 reps but as you become more fit, you can increase to 20 reps. Even though this exercise is only a few minutes, it will make you short of breath. Please be sure to breathe only through your nose, not your mouth. The four movements are:
  • 10 squats, raising your arms parallel to the floor as you squat and getting your butt back as far as possible, making sure your knees stay behind your toes
  • 10 perpendicular arm raises, stopping when your arms are the height of your shoulders
  • 10 jumping jack motions without the jumping; just moving your hands overhead and touching on the upper and lower portions
  • 10 overhead shoulder presses, making sure to keep your chest out and shoulder blades pinched together
Do each set in rapid succession, without resting in between. When you're done, you'll have completed a total of 120 to 240 movements. Done three times a day, with at least two hours in between each session, you'll end up doing 360 to 920 movements a day. This exercise will:
• Trigger the release of nitric oxide, a gas with antioxidant properties that protects your heart by relaxing your blood vessels and lowering your blood pressure; stimulates your brain; kills bacteria and even defends against tumor cells
• Stimulate anabolic muscle building in addition to thinning your blood, making it less likely to clot and improving your immune function. Nitric oxide is a potent bronchodilator and vasodilator, so it helps significantly increases your lungs' oxygen-absorbing capacity
• Give you more exercise benefits in a shorter time. You get most of the benefits from this exercise that you would get from most things you do in a gym in an hour. And, if you do it three times a day, that means you may be getting three to 10 times the metabolic benefit you'd get by going to the gym. Not that going to the gym is unwise; it's just that your body needs exercise throughout the day
• Stimulate mitochondrial function and health. Your skeletal muscle derives its energy from your mitochondria — the energy storehouse of your cells, responsible for the utilization of energy for all metabolic functions. Mitochondria make up, on average, about 1 percent to 2 percent of your skeletal muscle by volume, which is generally enough to provide the needed energy for your daily movements.
Your mitochondria produce energy in their electron transport chains in which they pass electrons from the reduced form of the food you eat to combine it with oxygen from the air you breathe, ultimately forming water. This process drives protons across the mitochondrial membrane, which recharges ATP (adenosine triphosphate) from ADP (adenosine diphosphate). ATP is the carrier of energy throughout your body.
Mitochondrial decline is closely linked to reduced cardiorespiratory fitness, and decreased resting mitochondrial ATP production may be involved in the development of insulin resistance with aging. By forcing your mitochondria to work harder, exercises such as this one will trigger your body to produce more mitochondria to keep up with the increased energy demand, and promote mitochondrial function and health
Non-Exercise Movement Is Equally Important
Hopefully, you realize the importance of exercise in general and strength training in particular, and feel inspired enough to get started. However, also remember that non-exercise movement is another crucial component for health and longevity. Compelling evidence suggests that even if you exercise regularly, prolonged sitting is itself a risk factor for chronic disease and reduced life span. So, ideally, you'll want to exercise regularly and avoid sitting, or frequently interrupt your sitting.
I've interviewed a number of experts on this topic, including Dr. Joan Vernikos, author of "Sitting Kills, Moving Heals" and Dr. James Levine, author of "Get Up!: Why Your Chair Is Killing You and What You Can Do About It" — both of whom are leading trailblazers and researchers in this field.

Katy Bowman, author of "Move Your DNA: Restore Your Health Through Natural Movement," and Kelly Starrett, Ph.D., who wrote the book "Deskbound: Standing Up to a Sitting World," also testify to the importance of getting more movement into your day-to-day life. All of these interviews contain a wide variety of suggestions for how to break the cycle of inactivity and get moving.

Antibiotics Side Effects and Alternatives by Kelly Brogan MD

Antibiotics: Side Effects and Alternatives
We use a lot of antibiotics. For coughs, cuts, urinary tract infections, and many times “just in case.” You could be considered reckless or ignorant if you opted to not use them. “But you could die of a deadly infection that could kill you!” chants the choir of voices entrained by a system that sees dangerous enemies lurking behind every life experience.
What may surprise you is that the real danger could lie in assaulting your body with an “anti-life” (the actual meaning of the word!) chemical that could very well be a Russian Roulette of unintended harms. Some of these harms are so significant that they could change the course of your entire life as you know it. Given that, I bet that if you knew that there were effective, safe “alternatives,” you’d seriously consider them.
To make your own decisions about health, you must inform yourself. Informed consent around medical interventions involves exploration of the risks, benefits, and alternatives. In our reactivity, however, we are accustomed to focusing only on the promise – knock that infection out and feel better quick! – without any meaningful information around the full breadth of scientifically-evidenced risks and treatment options.
The Benefits
Antibiotics obviously work, right? Well, we are learning that our dogmatic assumptions about the sacred cows of conventional medicine may be leaning on a house of cards. Or a house of placebos to be more exact. The reality is that infections have a natural course with an inbuilt capacity for robust recovery, so we may be giving undue credit to antibiotics. This appears to be possible based on the published literature. For instance, this study[1] on rhinosinusitis concluded:  “…the risks of potential side effects need to be weighed against the potential benefit that antibiotics give to the patient. This is especially pertinent as usage of the placebo has shown to be almost as efficacious as using the antibiotic therapy, and also much safer.”
WIth rising rates of antibiotic-resistant infections (which have resulted from rampant antibiotic use), and fewer novel medications in the pipeline, it seems we are coming to a point of reckoning around our belief that the rampant extinguishing of life is a health-promoting practice.
The Risks
“Catherine, you have an upper respiratory infection. We aren’t sure whether it is necessarily bacterial, but you should go ahead and take that Z pack just in case…oh, and it’s unlikely, but it’s possible that you could be left bed-bound from neurological damage, develop a serious opportunistic infection, and possibly even a brand new psychiatric diagnosis like Bipolar Disorder. Hope you feel better soon!”
Microbiome-dependent risks
With the discovery of the microbiome, conventional medicine as we know it should have gone back to the drawing board. With the understanding that an inner ecosystem drives our epigenetic expression, ranging from nutrient production to metabolic health to hormonal balance to immunity and inflammatory response, the ‘body as machine’ model became obsolete. We need to better understand what makes a microbiome healthy and what hurts it.
So far, we have been left with many questions and few answers[2]. We have looked at super healthy modern hunter gatherers to try to quantify their gut health, we have studied the beneficial effects of probiotics, and we have learned that chemicals like Monsanto’s Roundup wreak havoc on our bugs. We have learned that the transfer of bacteria occurs well before birth, and continues throughout breastfeeding, setting the stage for adult health by age 2. And it has almost become common knowledge that the indiscriminate killing of bacteria through the use of antibiotics may come with a cost. But will the cost really be anything more than a yeast infection or a bout of diarrhea?
Perhaps. We have ample evidence that antibiotics take out the “good” with the “bad” bacteria and leave a trail of imbalance that leaves the patient more vulnerable[3]. A 2017 review[4] references the increased risk of foodborne infection, including antibiotic-resistant strains, in those who took antibiotics during travel, with unpredictable recovery rates that seem to get dismally worse with repeated antibiotic exposure:
“Even short antibiotic exposures disrupt the gut microbiome up to a year or more, and repeated exposures appear to attenuate recovery from ever occurring.”
Similarly, up to a one-third reduction in biome diversity can persist longer than 6 months, even after one short course of the popularly-dispensed antibiotic, Cipro.[5] This decrease in diversity can, itself, be a precursor to new illness. For instance, inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) is one of several chronic illnesses associated with low levels of beneficial bacteria[6]. Dysbiosis (imbalanced gut bacteria) is also a precursor to autoimmunity,[7] obesity, and weight gain[8].
Yeah, we all should be using less antibiotics – but what if we have to take an antibiotic? Then can’t we just take a probiotic afterward?
There is, unfortunately, scant evidence to support this seemingly logical integrative medicine practice. While hamster studies suggest recovery of damage is possible[9], the broad spectrum of antibiotic effects and probiotic options makes personalization of this support method challenging. Most probiotics contain only a few bacterial species, and our gut contains thousands.
Microbiome-independent risks
As if that weren’t enough to slow your pace to the CVS pharmacy counter, there is a growing body of literature focused on the non-microbiome-based risks of antibiotics. From slowed fracture healing[10] to acute liver injury[11], antibiotics have effects at the cellular level beyond simply inducing dysbiosis. These include changes in up to 87% of gut metabolites[12] functional in the gut, injury and destruction of mitochondria (the energy centers of the cell), and damage to gut tissue.
Of significant interest to me are the known and well-documented psychiatric risks of antibiotics. I imagine there are few patients consented for acute onset psychosis or suicidality before being prescribed an antibiotic. An excellent 2017 review by Zareifopoulos and Panayiotakopoulos[13] suggests that patients should be told of these risks including irritability, confusion, encephalopathy, suicidality, psychosis, and mania. These researchers conclude:
“The neuropsychiatric effects of antimicrobial drugs are extensively documented in the literature. A number of antimicrobial drugs have the potential to exert CNS effects and many are associated with stimulant, psychotomimetic and epileptogenic properties, mediated by GABA antagonism (beta-lactams, quinolones and clarithromycin), NMDA agonism (D-cycloserine, aminoglycosides, and perhaps quinolones), MAO inhibition (linezolid, metronidazole and isoniazid weakly) as well as more exotic mechanisms, as in the case of trimethoprim, isoniazid, ethambutol, rifampicin and the tetracyclines.”
In fact, the term ‘antibiomania’ has been coined around the potential for antibiotics to induce manic symptoms. In a recent review, two-thirds of the mania-inductions were in male subjects[14]. The resolution of acute-onset mania with charcoal suggests that these psychiatric risks may be both microbiome-dependent and independent. Relatedly, data suggests that there is a dose-dependent risk of new-onset depression; the higher the antibiotic exposure, the higher the risk of depression[15].
If you don’t know to connect these dots, then you could end up believing that your “mental illness” is an entirely new diagnosis requiring lifelong treatment.
The Alternatives
Fortunately, many alternative strategies exist that resolve bacterial imbalances without the side effects of pharmaceutical antibiotics. Even better – many of the plant-derived therapies can be easily incorporated in your everyday meals as a tasty preventative approach to resiliancey.
Colloidal Silver
Also called silver nanoparticles, colloidal silver has been used for over 2,000 years to resolve bacterial infections[16]. As such, silver is commonly used in intravenous catheters, dental fillings, wound dressings, and bone implants[17]. Though the exact antimicrobial mechanisms are still debated, colloidal silver generally works by damaging the cell membranes of pathogenic bacteria. Depending on the surface charge of the silver nanoparticles and the type of bacteria, bacteria can be killed by the formation of free radicals, accumulation of nanoparticles in bacterial cell walls, or depletion of cell membrane components[18]. Colloidal silver is effective both as a topical treatment for skin infections, like MRSA (methicillin resistant Staphylococcus aureus)[19], as well as an oral antibiotic[20].
Botanical Herbs
For centuries, botanical herbs have been used as antibiotics. Since there are countless herbal remedies for various types of infections[21],[22],[23], I’ll just list a few common herbs that have been validated by modern research. For example, the herb Inula helenium, also called elecampane, was shown to be 100% effective against 200 isolates of Staphylococcus aureus (commonly known as “staph infection”).[24] Similarly, a study that evaluated Alpinia galanga, a plant in the ginger family that has been traditionally used in Asian countries, found that this herb was effective against Salmonella typhi and E. coli, as well as against other drug-resistant bacterial strains.[25] Extract from Nigella sativa, a flowering plant native to south Asia, kills MRSA,[26] while cinnamon and oregano are potent selective antibiotics against many drug-resistant species[27]. Similarly, easy-to-find spices like cumin[28] and rosemary[29] are powerful antimicrobials, as are child-friendly options like elderberry[30],[31]. Many high-quality herbal products combine evidence-based herbs such as oregano[32],[33], echinacea[34],[35],[36], and goldenseal[37],[38],[39] into an effective immune support formula.
A great way to prevent imbalances from making you sick is by strengthening your beneficial bacteria, also called probiotics. Incorporating probiotics improve your metabolic and immune functioning while also crowding out pathogenic bacteria. Probiotics can resolve bacterial infections ranging from oral gingivitis[40] to H. pylori-mediated gastric infections[41] to bacterial vaginosis[42]. As one of the earliest and richest sources of probiotics is breastmilk, it isn’t surprising that breastmilk probiotics have been shown superior to antibiotics to treat mastitis, a common infection during lactation[43] (just another reason to breastfeed!). I recommend that people get probiotics through fermented foods like kimchi and sauerkraut[44], as these contain many more complementary bacterial strains than supplements for daily prevention.
‘Let food be thy medicine,’ decreed Hippocrates, the father of modern medicine – and he would have ranked garlic as one of the most medicinal foods. Numerous studies have shown the antimicrobial effects of garlic, including a report in which researchers tested garlic-water against 133 multidrug-resistant species, showing remarkable antimicrobial properties[45]. A randomized controlled clinical trial showed that garlic was more effective than a standard antibiotic, metronidazole, for bacterial vaginosis. Authors remarked that garlic provided both increased therapeutic efficacy as well as decreased side effects[46]. Garlic is an effective treatment for stomach infections caused by H. pylori[47] and C. difficile,[48] as well as for pneumonia[49] and other lung infections[50]. Amazingly, consuming garlic not only protects against bacterial infections, but also lowers blood pressure[51],[52], stabilizes blood sugar[53], and decreases cancer risk.[54]
Manuka Honey
Raw Manuka honey is one of the tastiest ways to stay healthy. This honey comes from bees in New Zealand who pollinate the Manuka bush, and it has been used for thousands of years by various cultures to promote wellness. This high-antioxidant golden honey is a popular ingredient in high-end skin care products, as it is broadly anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial[55]. Inside the body, manuka honey can cure antibiotic-resistant C. difficile infection[56],[57], Strep throat[58],[59], urinary tract infections[60], and MRSA[61]. A bonus of eating honey is that it can include propolis, a mixture of bee saliva and wax known as “bee glue,” which contains over 300 therapeutic compounds that fight cancer[62],[63] as well as harmful bacteria[64],[65].
Here is where I recommend purchasing high quality supplements.
Make a Truce
It requires a mindset shift to stop fighting. Stop fighting each other, stop fighting nature, and stop fighting our own bodies. We need to break out of our patterned programs of control and domination and understand that this only strengthens our perceived enemies. We need to reconnect to the sacred complexity of pregnancy, birth, and breastfeeding as the origin of our health resiliency rather than a time to throw pharmaceuticals into the black box of undisclosed risks. The microbiome itself has taught us – through the poetry of biology – that we are inextricably connected to and dependent upon the web of the natural world. And that it is not possible to simply pull one thread of that web while leaving the rest of it intact. Remember that symptoms give us an opportunity, and perhaps the next time you have an antibiotic prescription dancing in your sights, you might see what it feels like to bring your body love and support rather than the detonation of grenades.
Visit the research dashboard on to do your own exploration of risks, benefits, and alternatives to conventional pharmaceuticals. 

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Why Exposing Fake News Matters | James O’Keefe and Stefan Molyneux

Why Most Doctors are Dead Wrong about Osteoporosis

Why Most Doctors Are Dead Wrong About Osteoporosis

Posted on: Thursday, June 29th 2017 at 5:30 am
Written By: Sayer Ji, Founder
This article is copyrighted by GreenMedInfo LLC, 2017

What if everything your doctor told you about osteoporosis and osteopenia was wrong? 
What if osteoporosis were not the primary cause of fractures in aging populations? What if both the definitions of osteoporosis and osteopenia used to justify pharmaceutical treatment were both misleading and age inappropriate?
These are questions we explored in a previous exposé titled, "Osteoporosis Myth: The Dangers of High Bone Mineral Density," wherein we explored evidence showing the so-called "osteoporosis epidemic" is not an evidence-based concept but a manufactured one designed to serve the interests of a growing industrial medical/pharmaceutical complex.  
A paper published in the Journal of Internal Medicine titled, "Osteoporosis: the emperor has no clothes," confirms that the primary cause of what are normally labeled "osteoporotic fractures" are falls and related modifiable lifestyle factors and not osteoporosis, i.e. abnormally "porous" or low-density bones.
The new study pointed out three false notions that can be disputed:
  1. Mistaken pathophysiology: "Most fracture patients have fallen, but actually do not have osteoporosis. A high likelihood of falling, in turn, is attributable to an ageing-related decline in physical functioning and general frailty."
  2. Ineffective screening: "Currently available fracture risk prediction strategies including bone densitometry and multifactorial prediction tools are unable to identify a large proportion of patients who will sustain a fracture, whereas many of those with a high fracture risk score will not sustain a fracture."
  3. Unproven and unsafe treatment: "The evidence for the viability of bone-targeted pharmacotherapy in preventing hip fracture and other clinical fragility fractures is mainly limited to women aged 65–80 years with osteoporosis, whereas the proof of hip fracture-preventing efficacy in women over 80 years of age and in men at all ages is meagre or absent. Further, the antihip fracture efficacy shown in clinical trials is absent in real-life studies. Many drugs for the treatment of osteoporosis have also been associated with increased risks of serious adverse events. There are also considerable uncertainties related to the efficacy of drug therapy in preventing clinical vertebral fractures, whereas the efficacy for preventing other fractures (relative risk reductions of 20–25%) remains moderate, particularly in terms of the low absolute risk reduction in fractures with this treatment"
The open access study is well worth reading in its entirety, but below are a few takeaways that we want to highlight.
Falling and Not Low Bone Mineral Density Is The Primary Cause of Fractures
Millions of men and women whose bones are actually normal for their age group (Z-score) are being manipulated into thinking that their bones should remain as dense as an approximately 30-year-old young adult (T-score) despite the natural process of bone thinning and reduction of density that attends the aging process. This T-score based bone density system pathologizes/over-medicalizes normal bone density variations, creating disease diagnoses where none should be found -- a situation that is incredibly lucrative from the perspective of the bottom line of pharmaceutical and medical services companies. This has lead to a massive problem with overdiagnosis and overtreatment -- two euphemistic technical terms to describe what happens when asymptomatic and otherwise healthy populations are told they have a 'specific disease' that they do not have (overdiagnosis), and subsequently pressured into taking pharmaceuticals (overtreatment), whose adverse effects often contribute to morbidity and premature mortality.

The reality, however, is that falling and not low bone mineral density are the primary reason why fractures occur. Since it is a statistical fact that the older you get the more often you fall, and since the older you get the less dense your bones become, it is easy to confuse the lower bone mineral density as a "cause" and not just an "association" with increased fracture risk. The authors of the new study provided this clever cartoon to drive the point home:

Given the reality behind what causes (and prevents) fracture, exercise and its resultant muscular and neurological health effects are of vital importance when it comes to minimizing the risk of falls, as well as surviving them without a fracture. And yet the reality is that the x-ray based DXA scans used to ascertain bone density do nothing but determine the density of the skeletal system, and not bone quality, i.e. strength. Nor can the DXA scan ascertain the structure/function (and therefore health) of the other tissues within the body that directly contribute to determining the risk of falling and the effects that the impact of a fall will have on the skeletal system. The following diagram shows the discrepancy that emerges between reality and the DXA image:

Where is the Evidence for Pharmaceutical "Prevention" of Fracture?
While anti-resportive bone drugs like Fosamax (a bisphosphonate) may contribute to increased bone mineral density, they do not necessarily improve bone quality and strength. Very dense bone created by destroying osteoclasts (bone-degrading cells) may be far more brittle than less dense bone where there is healthy turnover of the osteoclasts and osteoblasts (bone-building cells). In fact, drugs like Fosamax are notorious for contributing to bone degeneration in the jawbone (osteonecrosis). Also, we have discovered an extensive body of research indicating higher-than-normal bone density greatly increases the risk of malignant breast cancer, further calling into question the present day fixation on increasing bone density at any cost with highly toxic calcium supplements and drugs. Moreover, the new study points out that meta-analyses of the clinical literature on pharmacological treatment of osteoporosis for fracture risk reduction have produced almost no supportive evidence. Despite this, they point out that, "Osteoporosis guidelines systematically ignore the obvious 'evidence void' in the RCTs."

The authors conclude: "Given all this, should 'osteoporosis' be added to a long list of diagnoses for which doing less, or even nothing, is better than our contemporary practice?"
Thankfully, we don't just have to "do nothing." Exercise, nutrition, and practices like yoga, tai chi, etc., can go a long way to reduce the risk of fracture, as well as supporting healthy bone mineral density, and more importantly, bone strength and structural integrity. To learn more use our natural osteoporosis prevention and treatment database to explore study abstracts and articles relevant to this topic. 

Sayer Ji is founder of, a reviewer at the International Journal of Human Nutrition and Functional Medicine, Co-founder and CEO of Systome Biomed, Vice Chairman of the Board of the National Health Federation, Steering Committee Member of the Global Non-GMO Foundation.
Disclaimer: This article is not intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Views expressed here do not necessarily reflect those of GreenMedInfo or its staff.
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Wednesday, June 28, 2017

How to Get Rid of a Stye in your Eye

How to Get Rid of a Stye in Your Eye

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  • June 28, 2017 • 20,714 views

Story at-a-glance
  • Your eyelids protect your eye from injury, regulate how much light is admitted to your retina and maintain a film of tears by distributing tears over your eye
  • A stye is formed after dirt, dust or skin cells block your Meibomian gland duct and bacterial growth forms a lump, similar to a pimple or a boil, at the edge of your eyelid; this should be differentiated from a chalazion or cellulitis
  • Home treatments for a stye include warm compresses, coriander seed tea wash, tea bag compresses and washing your eyelids with mild soap to eliminate the dirt and dead skin cells that plug your oil gland duct

By Dr. Mercola
Your eyelids protect your eye from injury, help regulate how much light is admitted to your retina and maintain a film of tears by distributing tears over your eye and pumping tears from the conjunctival and lacrimal sacs. You have Meibomian glands at the base of your eyelids, near your eye lashes.
These glands secrete an oil that combines with your watery tears to lubricate and protect your eye from drying.1 Without enough quality tears to lubricate and nourish the eye, the orb can become irritated and you may develop an inflammation of the cornea, leading to blurry vision, redness and a burning and scratchy sensation, if left untreated.2
A stye may develop on your eyelid in the Meibomian gland duct. These irritations present as red lumps along the edge of the eyelid. While they can be annoying or painful, they are rarely serious. Styes can often be successfully treated at home, but before determining your course of treatment, you’ll want to make sure you’re not dealing with chalazion or cellulitis, which may require other or additional medical treatment.
What Is a Stye?
A stye is also known as a hordeolum. It is an infection, often involving the bacteria staphylococcus3 that grows along the edge of your eyelid. The infection creates a small painful bump that may take on the appearance of a small pimple or boil. It’s common for it to be filled with pus. More often than not, styes appear one at a time, as they are not contagious and don’t spread along the lid in the way other infections may.
However, it is possible to have more than one stye at a time. A stye is formed when dead skin, dirt or oil builds up in the oil glands along the edge of your eyelids and bacteria begins to grow inside, causing the stye to develop.4 A stye may also occur under the eyelid, as there are oil gland openings there as well. When this happens it is called an internal hordeolum.5 These styes are treated in the same way as those you find along the edge of your eyelid.
How to Identify a Stye
As a stye grows, your eyelid may become swollen, red and inflamed. The growth period often lasts three days before the stye naturally breaks open and begins to drain.6 Your eyelid may become painful and it may feel like there is something in your eye that doesn’t come out.
A stye may be itchy, but refrain from scratching it. The area may also have crust along the edges of the stye and your eye may water.7 The infected gland triggers these symptoms but, while irritating, they do not threaten your eyesight and are not serious. It is important to differentiate between a stye and another infection of your eyelid that is far more serious and may threaten your eyesight, such as cellulitis.
Cellulitis is also an infection and may occur on the eyelid tissue, but it is an infection that affects a larger area and doesn’t appear similar to a pimple or boil. This infection is often triggered by a trauma to the eyelid, such as an insect bite, or from a sinus infection.8 Although both a stye and cellulitis may cause redness and swelling of the eyelid, cellulitis often causes a greater amount of swelling, including the tissue around your eye.
Complications from cellulitis may include spread of the infection to the eye socket and the eyeball, causing eye pain, vision problems and even blindness. Confusing a stye with cellulitis may lead to serious permanent problems. Take care to fully evaluate your eye swelling and infection before deciding to treat your eye at home.
How to Treat Your Stye at Home
A stye infection typically responds relatively quickly to the treatments you use at home. If you notice the infection getting worse, spreading or becoming more painful, seek medical care for evaluation and treatment. These strategies help reduce the swelling from the stye and help it to mature and heal more quickly.9,10,11
Wash hands frequently
Keep your hands away from your eyes and your face as much as possible. Your hands carry small particles of dust, dirt and grime that may easily clog your oil glands, triggering a stye, or may irritate a stye you already have. Washing your hands frequently helps to reduce the irritation to your eyelid and speed healing.
Warm compress
The most effective means of treating a stye and reducing your discomfort are warm wet compresses over the eyelid. You may make these with a wash cloth and warm water from the sink. Never warm the washcloth in the microwave with the intent of placing it over the delicate skin of your eye as it may burn your skin. Test your warm compress against the skin of your wrist to ensure it’s not too hot.
Keep the compress over your eye for 15 minutes, three to four times each day. When the wet compress becomes cold, run it under warm water again. If it doesn’t cause too much discomfort, you may massage the area while the compress is in place.
Keep your eyelids clean
Styes may be triggered when the glands on your eyelids become clogged, so keeping them clean helps to prevent a new stye and will help to heal the one you already have. Use a mild, chemical-free soap to gently wash your face and eye area.
Refrain from using makeup or contact lenses
The stye is filled with bacteria, so you may infect your makeup and contact lenses with the bacteria and reinfect yourself later.
This includes any makeup that is applied near your eye, such as mascara, eye shadow or concealer. Contact lenses may not only carry the bacteria but may also increase the risk of damage to your eye or your contact lens from the stye. Be sure to throw away any items used near your eye right before the stye developed to avoid reinfection.
Let the stye open naturally
Squeezing the stye can release pus filled with bacteria, and thus spread the infection to other oil glands or to your other eye.
Coriander seed wash
Coriander has antibacterial qualities that may help your stye to heal. Brew a coriander tea from the seeds and then use the fluid to clean your eyes after the fluid has cooled.
Warm tea bags
Typically black or green tea bags work well for warm compresses over your eye. Naturally antibacterial and anti-inflammatory, tea will help reduce the irritating inflammation around your eye and help heal the infection in the stye. Steep a cup of tea and let the bag cool so it doesn’t burn your skin when you apply it. Keep it over your closed eye for 10 minutes and discard the tea bag after one use.
Discomfort relief
Cool moisture helps to bring relief from the discomfort of the stye and reduce the inflammation. Cold cucumber slices are a simple and effective method of reducing the irritation from a stye. Slice a cucumber from the refrigerator and place a slice on your eye for 10 minutes.
Avoid painkillers
A stye is uncomfortable and irritating, but over-the-counter painkillers do nothing to reduce the inflammation or treat the infection. A better option is to frequently use warm compresses and intersperse these with cool moisture to help alleviate the discomfort.
When to Call the Doctor
An infection on your eyelid has the potential for reaching your eye socket or your eye, increasing your risk of vision loss. These are some of the symptoms that may indicate it’s time to seek medical attention:12,13
The stye gets worse quickly
The stye bleeds
Your vision is affected
The stye spreads to your eyeball
The skin around your eye or cheeks becomes red and swollen
Your eye, not just the eyelid, hurts
You can’t open your eye from the swelling
You get recurring styes
Your eyelid turns red
Your stye gets very large
What May Trigger a Stye?
Once you’ve had a stye or eye infection, it’s important to replace your eye makeup, including your mascara and eye shadow, to prevent recurrence of an infection. Eye makeup should also be replaced every six months as it may become a breeding ground for bacterial growth, increasing your risk of infection. Wearing too much eye makeup, eye liner or sharing eye makeup with other women may increase your risk of developing a stye.
Wearing makeup overnight increases the risk of plugging your glands with mascara or eye liner and developing an environment for bacterial growth.14 Men and women who are under a significant amount of stress may also find they experience an increased risk of developing a stye.15 If you touch your eyes frequently, or insert your contact lenses without disinfecting them, you may increase your risk of depositing dust or dirt near the Meibomian gland duct.16
A stye may be triggered when the oil glands are blocked by dirt, grime and dust, so keeping your eyelashes clean helps to prevent styes from developing. A lack of essential fatty acids in your diet may result in flaky skin, which may also block your oil glands. Essential fatty acids are not produced by your body and must be consumed in your diet.
Essential fatty acids help the formation of healthy cell membranes, thyroid and adrenal activity, and support healthy skin and hair and hormone production.17 Linoleic acid is an omega-6 fatty acid and a-linolenic acid is an omega-3 fatty acid, both of which are needed in your diet since you cannot synthesize them in your body. A lack of these fatty acids increases the risk of your skin becoming flaky, and thus increases the risk dead skin may plug your Meibomian glands and develop into a stye.
You might be at higher risk of developing a stye if you suffer from blepharitis, or inflammation of the eyelids when the oil glands are blocked. This may occur more frequently when you suffer from environmental allergies, such as allergies to pollen.18 The condition triggers the formation of dandruff-type scales along the eyelid and eyelashes. In many cases, a regular cleaning routine to your eyelashes will help control the condition.
Stye or Chalazion?
A stye is very similar to a chalazion. In the case of a stye, the inflammation and swelling is the result of a bacterial infection. A chalazion is triggered from some of the same risk factors discussed above, but the swelling does not include a bacterial infection. A stye often resolves within a week with simple home treatments, while a chalazion will present with swelling and redness but not discomfort or pain.
A chalazion is often larger than a stye and will be located under the upper lid and not along the eyelid. The formation of a chalazion occurs when your oil glands are blocked and the oil forms a swelling. The lump is painless, often on the upper lid, and less frequently on the lower lid.19 The fluid in the oil gland thickens and is unable to be excreted. You may experience tearing, mild irritation and blurred vision if the lump is large enough to press against the eyeball.

A chalazion is more common in adults than children, while styes are more commonly found in children. Although many chalazions will disappear without treatment, they often recur if you don’t address the trigger that caused the chalazion in the first place. These triggers are the same as those for styes and also include acne rosacea, seborrhea, viral infections and tuberculosis.20

The Truth About The Armenian Genocide

Can Ginger Beat Out The Acid Blockers?

Can Ginger Beat Out The Multi-Billion Dollar Acid Blockers?

Posted on: Sunday, August 19th 2012 at 5:00 am
Written By: Sayer Ji, Founder
This article is copyrighted by GreenMedInfo LLC, 2012

Did you know that the multi-billion drug category known as "acid blockers," despite being used by millions around the world daily, may not work as well as the humble ginger plant in relieving symptoms of indigestion and heartburn? 
Ginger is a spice, a food, and has been used as a medicine safely for millennia by a wide range of world cultures. Research on the health benefits of ginger is simply staggering in its depth and breadth. In fact, the health benefits of ginger have been studied extensively for over 100 health conditions or symptoms, making it one of the world's most versatile, evidence-based remedies.
The biomedical literature on acid blockers, on the other hand, is rife with examples of the many adverse health effects that come with blocking stomach acid production with xenobiotic, patented drugs, i.e. proton pump inhibitors and H2 antagonists. What started out as "heartburn" – which in its chronic form is now called "acid reflux" or "gastroesophageal reflux disorder" – soon becomes stomach acid barrier dysfunction, when these drugs remove the acid which protects us from infection, helps to break down food, and facilitate the absorption of minerals and nutrients.
The list of 30+ harms is extensive, but here are a few of the most well-established adverse effects you may not be aware of:
  • Clostridium Infections
  • Diarrhea
  • Pneumonia
  • Bone Fractures
  • Gastric Lesions and Cancer
Back to our friend – our "plant ally" – ginger.  What happens when Pharma meets Farm in a biomedical face-off? When acid-blocking drugs are compared in efficacy to our little spicy ginger root? Well, this is what the journal Molecular Research and Food Nutrition found back in 2007 ...
Titled, "Inhibition of gastric H+, K+-ATPase and Helicobacter pylori growth by phenolic antioxidants of Zingiber officinale," the study set out to determine the anti-ulcer and anti-Helicobacter plyori (a bacteria commonly implicated in ulcer formation) capacity of ginger extracts versus conventional acid-blocking agents, such as lansoprazole (trade name Prevacid).[i]  Researchers found that one fraction of ginger exhibited six- to eight-fold better potency over lansoprazole at inhibiting acid production (specifically, gastric cell proton potassium ATPase activity). 
But, this was not all. Ginger was also found to have potent antioxidant properties, protecting both lipids from peroxidation (rancidity) and DNA damage, leading the researchers to conclude that specific fractions within ginger have "potential in-expensive multistep blockers against ulcer."

Also, whereas drugs which interfere and/or remove the stomach acid barrier also deactivate acid-dependent protein-digesting (proteolytic enzymes) such as pancreatic protease, and increases the risk of infection as a result of the loss of the anti-infective effects of the stomach's acid, ginger actually has an exactly opposite set of benefits: it contains a proteolytic enzyme several hundred times more potent than the one found in papaya (papain) and has broad-spectrum antibacterial, antiviral and antiparasitic properties, to name but only a few of its 40+ distinct pharmacological actions.
While this study focused on specific isolates of the whole ginger plant, it must be remembered that whole plants are not drugs, nor should be reduced to "nutraceutical" magic-bullets in order to become new palliative drug alternatives, which is to say, symptom-repressors, leaving the real healing job of changing the underlying nutritional, environmental, emotional context to lead to the problem in the first place, unchanged. 
While taking a ginger pill is usually a better choice than a chemical one, for most folks, ginger should be consumed in whole forms, in moderate and balanced quantities, along with a nourishing, organic, whole-food and traditional foods diet, in order to move beyond the paradigm of popping pills, or proprietary fractions of herbs in order to balance out the pendulum of extremes.
Either way, I think its time with awaken from the sorcery-like spell of pharmacia (Greek word meaning: drug, potion, charm, spell, poison), and realize everything we already need is likely in our backyard, our refrigerators or cupboards – if not altogether within ourselves.
Additional Relevant Research: 

[i] Mugur N Siddaraju, Shylaja M Dharmesh Inhibition of gastric H+, K+-ATPase and Helicobacter pylori growth by phenolic antioxidants of Zingiber officinale. Mol Nutr Food Res. 2007 Mar;51(3):324-32. PMID: 17295419

Sayer Ji is founder of, a reviewer at the International Journal of Human Nutrition and Functional Medicine, Co-founder and CEO of Systome Biomed, Vice Chairman of the Board of the National Health Federation, Steering Committee Member of the Global Non-GMO Foundation.
Disclaimer: This article is not intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Views expressed here do not necessarily reflect those of GreenMedInfo or its staff.
Internal Site Commenting is limited to members
Disqus commenting is available to everyone.
To comment: