Monthly Archives: August 2011

Aspartame The Dangers and Side Effects Part 1

By Mercola

Source: YouTube

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Why is this “Unsafe” Food Banned When It’s 35,000 Times SAFER Than Others?

By Dr. Mercola

raw milk is safe
Story at-a-glance
  • According to the US government’s own data, you are about 35,000 times more likely to get sick from other foods than you are from raw milk.
  • Between 1999 and 2010, there were only an average of 42 cases of illness per year attributed to raw milk. Meanwhile, an estimated total of 48 million foodborne illnesses occur each year from all foods.
  • Pasteurization protects you from deadly pathogens contained in CAFO milk. However, milk from free-range grass-fed cows does not need to be pasteurized as it is inherently less prone to contamination to begin with.

As you’re probably aware of by now, there’s a war being waged against raw milk. It’s nothing less than an unconstitutional assault on one of your most basic rights, i.e. your right to choose what you want to eat and drink, and one of the excuses used to defend the violent persecution of those who dare sell this healthful food is that unpasteurized (raw) milk endangers human health. 

But is raw milk really a major source of foodborne illness?

NOT according to the US government’s own data!

Food safety chief and former Monsanto lawyer Michael Taylor has defended the FDA’s gun-toting tactics against raw milk producers, calling the campaign “a public health duty.” Furthermore, the new Food Safety Modernization Act, which was enacted earlier this year, grants the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) extraordinary new powers to detain any food the agency suspects to be unsafe, whether there are good grounds for suspicion or not. Taylor himself has stated that the new agency focus will be on preventing food poisoning outbreaks rather than responding to them after the fact.

Government Data Proves Safety of Raw Milk

Research by Dr. Ted Beals, MD, featured in the summer 2011 issue of Wise Traditions, the quarterly journal of the Weston A. Price Foundation, shows that you are about 35,000 times more likely to get sick from other foods than you are from raw milk!  Statistically, you’re also more likely to get injured driving to the farm to pick up your raw milk than becoming ill from drinking it.

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Dr. Beals’ research shows that between 1999 and 2010, there was an average of 42 cases of illness per year attributed to raw milk, and that includes both “confirmed” and “presumed” cases.

The Weston A. Price Foundation writes:

“At last we have access to the numbers we need to determine the risk of consuming raw milk on a per-person basis”… The key figure that permits a calculation of raw milk illnesses on a per-person basis comes from a 2007 Centers for Disease Control (CDC) FoodNet survey, which found that 3.04 percent of the population consumes raw milk, or about 9.4 million people, based on the 2010 census. This number may in fact be larger in 2011 as raw milk is growing in popularity.  For example, sales of raw milk increased 25 percent in California in 2010, while sales of pasteurized milk declined 3 percent.”

In his report, Dr. Beals writes:

“From the perspective of a national public health professional looking at an estimated total of 48 million foodborne illnesses each year [from all foods]… there is no rational justification to focus national attention on raw milk, which may be associated with an average of 42 illnesses maximum among the more than nine million people (about 0.0005 percent) who have chosen to drink milk in its fresh unprocessed form.

Consumption of any food has some risk of illness or adverse reaction. And the consequence of basing public policy on horrific personal experiences is that all foods will ultimately be banned, and we will not be able to participate in any activity.”

If this isn’t food for thought, I don’t know what is. These statistics are the smoking gun proving that the war on raw milk cannot be based on food safety or protecting your health from an even remotely real threat…

The Differences Between Raw Milk and Pasteurized Milk

The FDA would have you believe pasteurization of milk protects you from deadly pathogens contained in raw milk. The fact is however, that if cows are raised as nature intended (free-range and grass-fed), there is no need to process the milk these healthy animals produce.

However, cows raised in concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs) are NOT raised in a manner that makes their milk suitable for drinking raw.

CAFO cows are typically raised on high-protein, soy-based feeds instead of fresh green grass, and instead of free range grazing, they stand in cramped, manure-covered feed lots all day. These conditions are perfect for the proliferation of disease, and yes, this milk MUST be pasteurized in order for it to be safe to drink. These cows also need antibiotics to keep them well, and some are also given genetically modified growth hormones (rBGH) to increase milk production. Needless to say, these hormones and antibiotics also wind up in the milk.

Aside from the manner in which the cows are raised, which significantly alters the milk they produce to begin with, pasteurization has its own problems as it:

  • Transforms the physical structure of the milk proteins and alters the shape of the amino acid configuration into a collection of proteins that is now non-functional and in a shape that can be highly allergenic.  
  • Destroys the friendly bacteria found naturally in milk and drastically reduces the micronutrient and vitamin content.
  • Encourages the growth of harmful bacteria, and turns milk’s naturally occurring sugar (lactose) into beta-lactose. Beta-lactose is rapidly absorbed in the human body, with the result that hunger can return quickly after a glass of milk – especially in children.
  • Makes insoluble most of the calcium found in raw milk, which can lead to a host of health problems in children, among them rickets and bad teeth.
  • Destroys about 20 percent of the iodine available in raw milk, which can cause constipation.
  • When pasteurized milk is also homogenized, a substance known as xanthine oxidase is created. This compound can play a role in oxidative stress by acting as a free radical in your body.

Raw milk from clean, healthy, grass-fed cows bears NO comparison to pasteurized CAFO milk. It’s full of nutrients that your body thrives on, including:

Healthy beneficial bacteria Valuable enzymes, such as phosphatase, which aids the absorption of calcium in your bones, and lipase enzyme, which helps to hydrolyze and absorb fats Natural butterfat, without which your body cannot effectively utilize the vitamins and minerals in the milk. It’s also your best source of preformed vitamin A, and contains re-arranged acids with strong anti-carcinogenic properties.
Cancer-fighting conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) Healthy unoxidized cholesterol High omega-3 and low omega-6 ratios, which is the beneficial ratio between these two essential fats

Total Video Length: 0:54:53

Buying Raw Milk Straight from the Farm

It’s not uncommon for people who drink raw milk to report improvement or disappearance of troubling health issues – everything from allergies to digestive troubles to skin problems like eczema. However, it’s important to understand that the milk you drink will only be as healthy as the cow that produced it. So make sure to source your raw milk from a clean, well-run farm that gives its cows access to pasture.

To locate a local farm or raw milk source near you, visit RealMilk.com. If you’re thinking about purchasing milk from a small farmer, it would be wise to visit the farm in person. Look around and ask questions, such as:

  1. Does the farmer and his family drink the milk themselves?
  2. How long has he been producing raw milk?
  3. Are the cows clean?
  4. What conditions are the cows raised in?
  5. Are there any obvious sanitation questions?

If a cow is covered in filth and manure and stinks, and is wet and cold and doesn’t look particularly comfortable, that could be a warning sign that her milk is less than ideal for raw consumption. Also keep in mind that fresh grasses for foraging will not be available year-round in many areas of the US, so it’s also important to take a look at what the cows are being fed during winter months. According to Mark McAfee (founder of Organic Pastures, one of the largest producers of raw milk in the United States and one of the leaders in this industry), acceptable winter feed includes:

  • Dried (organic) alfalfa
  • Timothy grass, and
  • Other cut pasture or forage that has been dried

Raw Milk Safety Standards Often EXCEED Those of Pasteurized Milk

The dairy cows used to produce most of the pasteurized dairy sold in the United States are raised in deplorable conditions, which is why the milk has to be pasteurized in order to make it safe for human consumption. But high-quality raw dairy farmers march to an entirely different drummer. California, specifically, (where raw milk is legal) has its own special set of standards for raw milk for human consumption, in which farmers must meet or exceed pasteurized milk standards, without pasteurizing.

The conventional dairy industry, realizing that increasing numbers of consumers are recognizing the safety and health benefits of raw milk, are now redoubling their efforts to make sure that raw milk sales cannot expand. If raw dairy really caught on, you might think that the dairy industry would simply follow suit and begin producing raw products to meet the demand. But this would be virtually impossible with the way their overcrowded farms are run. Their business depends on pasteurization, and that is why their powerful lobbyists will stop at nothing to persuade government agencies to keep raw milk bans in full force.

And this is why you keep seeing armed raids taking place on farms and organic co-ops.

One such case is that of Amish Farmer Dan Allgyer, who was caught in an FDA sting operation earlier this summer, after the FDA planted a spy in local buying club he supplies with raw milk. His farm was raided at gun point, and the Department of Justice, at the behest of the FDA, filed suit in Federal District Court to obtain an injunction prohibiting him from transporting and selling raw milk across state lines.

Are You Ready to Stand Up and Protect Food Freedom?

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Allgyer’s case caught the attention of Congressman Ron Paul (TX), who in response introduced House Bill HR 1830: To authorize the interstate traffic of unpasteurized milk and milk products that are packaged for direct human consumption.

While the fight currently revolves around farmer’s rights to sell and transport raw milk across state lines, the FDA claims to have the power to restrict your access to any kind of food it deems harmful, because you have no fundamental right to obtain and eat any particular food whatsoever! It’s also been insinuated that consumers crossing state lines to obtain raw milk may be charged with committing a crime…

So please understand that this issue has the potential to go far beyond raw milk. Now is the time to put on the breaks, before it goes any further, because there’s no telling what food the FDA might target next.

The Farm-to-Consumer Defense Fund has created a petition page for HR 1830 that also automatically faxes your message to your US Senators and House Representative. You can even choose to send your message to your nearest daily newspaper. I urge you to take a moment to sign the petition to support HR 1830 right now!

You might also consider getting involved with organizations like the Weston A. Price Foundation and the Farm-to-Consumer Legal Defense Fund who are working toward true freedom of choice for American consumers.


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16 Reasons Why You Can’t Stick to Your Diet

reasons why you can't stick to your dietEver wonder why those last few pounds just won’t come off – or why you might even gain weight when you’re on a diet? Believe it or not, you may be sabotaging yourself with some bad diet habits without realizing it. In a 16-point list, Bodhifitonline talks about diet habits that can wreak havoc with a weight loss program.

For example, simply not eating enough could be the one thing that sets you up to fail. You may already have guessed that following celebrity diets isn’t always a good thing – but did you know that the government’s food guidelines not only can ruin a diet but make you gain weight? The good news is that once you know what you’re doing wrong, it’s easy to get back on track.

Click on the link below to read all 16 reasons why you can’t stick to your diet.


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Even if You Do Everything Else Right – This Frequently Overlooked Threat can Destroy Your Health

your house making you illThe U.S. EPA has stated that levels of about a dozen common chemical pollutants are two to five times higher inside homes than outside of them. Scientists are beginning to suspect that indoor pollutants may be in part responsible for rising rates of asthma and other respiratory diseases.

Indoor pollution has also been known to cause headaches, flu-like symptoms, and even neurological problems.  MSN Health has compiled a list of steps you can take to minimize your family’s exposure with a few simple steps. They include:

  • Wait a few days before picking up your dry cleaning. Dry-cleaned clothes emit chemicals that have been linked to cancer and neurological problems right after cleaning.
  • Go fragrance-free. Some scented air fresheners can release compounds that cause headaches and eye, nose, and throat irritation.
  • Make sure your fireplace flue is working properly.  This will keep the lung-irritating particles in wood smoke out of your indoor air.

To read the rest of their tips, you can click on the link below.


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Powerful Antioxidant Found Useful for Most Common Cause of Death

marine carotenoid powerful antioxidantA new study on marine carotenoids – nutritive properties of marine plants – shows that two carotenoids in particular, astaxanthin and fucoxanthin, have strong antioxidant properties, and possible anti-cancer effects. According to Marine Drugs:

“They are substances with very special and remarkable properties that no other groups of substances possess and that form the basis of their many, varied functions and actions in all kinds of living organisms. … The potential role of these carotenoids as dietary anti-oxidants has been suggested to be one of the main mechanisms for their preventive effects against cancer and inflammatory diseases.”

Scientists have found yet another positive property in another antioxidant, resveratrol, a chemical compound found in certain plants like grapes, blueberries and cranberries. In a study published in the Journal of Cellular and Molecular Medicine, scientists reported that cardiac stem cells treated with resveratrol in mice helped cardiac function that lasted several months, and improved heart cell regeneration.


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Why is the Media Ignoring this Presidential Candidate? A Personal Interview

Story at-a-glance
  • This week Ron Paul is running within 2 points of Barack Obama in Gallup poll.
  • Congressman and Republican GOP candidate Ron Paul (TX) is a medical doctor with a strong track record of promoting health, defending health freedom and upholding the US Constitution.
  • Dr. Paul’s ideology includes a move toward smaller government; cancelling the US debt to the Federal Reserve; and reinstating gold-backed US currency.

Dr. Ron Paul earned his medical degree from Duke University School of Medicine in 1961. He’s been a U.S. Congressman (TX) since 1997, and is now running for President of the United States for the second time. He recently authored the book Liberty Defined: 50 Essential Issues That Affect Our Freedom. Here, he discusses the concept of liberty, and why every American should be concerned about maintaining their health freedom, as well as his ideas for how to solve the still-looming debt ceiling problem.

In the recent Iowa Straw Poll Michelle Bachman came in first. That fact was reported by most of the national media. However, in an incredible display of conformity bias, virtually all of the major media blacked out the fact that Rep. Ron Paul came in a virtual tie with her. There was less than 1 percent difference between them, yet he was completely ignored by all the major media. 

The New American Reports:

“The glaring hypocrisy of the “lamestream media” commentators in pretending to be objectively reporting on the event while blatantly censoring Ron Paul out of existence was too much for liberal comedian/commentator Jon Stewart of Comedy Central’s in a recent episode of The Daily Show.

In the last video above, Ron Paul explains his positions to Judy Woodruff, including his stance on raw milk, which comes up at 10:03 in the interview.


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Deficiency of This Vital Mineral May Result in a Shorter Life

bran as source of magnesiumLow serum magnesium levels have been connected with the development of left ventricular hypertrophy. This link exists independently of other common cardiovascular risk factors, according to research.

A recent study postulated that, since left ventricular hypertrophy has significant prognostic implications, serum magnesium levels might be associated with cardiovascular mortality.

According to the study, as linked by Green Med Info:

“Mortality in subjects with [magnesium deficiency] was significantly higher for all-cause deaths …and cardiovascular deaths … This corresponds well with recent findings that hypomagnesemia is associated with the increase of left ventricular mass over the following years.”

To read more about magnesium, you can click on the Green Med Info links below.


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What You Must Know – if You’re Diagnosed With High Blood Pressure

drug companies create diseases for profitBy Dr. Mercola

What if you’d thought for years that you were in danger of dying from heart disease because of your high blood pressure? And what if you were taking powerful blood pressure drugs – which come loaded with dangerous side effects And then what if several years later you found out you were never at risk for heart disease to start with, and you’d been taking those dangerous drugs for nothing?

We don’t know for certain how many Americans were in this very position when a recent article in the New York Times suggested that as many as 100 million people who’ve been told they’re at risk for heart disease may not be at risk at all. But we do know that a new study shows that trying to lower blood pressure too much can actually increase your risk of both heart problems and death!

Conflicts of Interest May Jeopardize Your Health More than You Think…

The current definition normal blood pressure was created in 2003 by the Joint National Committee on Prevention, Detection, Evaluation and Treatment of High Blood Pressure. Rife with drug industry conflicts of interest, both declared and indirect – this panel decided that relatively low blood pressure readings were a risk for heart disease. They acknowledged the new affliction – dubbed prehypertension – didn’t necessarily equate to a need for medication. But as the New York Times reported, they still urged doctors:

“…to take high blood pressure more seriously, and treat it more aggressively, often with more than one drug.”

And that’s how an additional 45 million people, and millions more over the years, were suddenly labeled abnormal, and in need of “treatment” for a condition that didn’t exist in medical literature until that panel met. What’s disturbing is that other so-called non-biased professionals not on the committee, but with obvious conflicts of interest, joined the panel’s call for aggressive treatment by suggesting that everyone over age 55 automatically be treated for heart disease!

It’s quite similar to what happened in 2001, when the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute lowered the guidelines for cholesterol levels, categorizing an additional 23 million Americans as in need of “aggressive treatment” with statins; another drug with dangerous side effects. Eight of the nine authors of these new guidelines had financial ties to statin makers.

Again, it’s hard to guess how many people since then have been taking blood pressure drugs and statins unnecessarily just because their doctors chose to treat them “aggressively.” But what’s criminal is that these are just two examples of how drug companies can boost sales by covertly influencing how normally benign conditions are defined and treated.

Where the Heart Is – He Who Pays the Piper Calls the Tune

In their book, “Selling Sickness: How the World’s Biggest Pharmaceutical Companies are Turning Us All into Patients,” Ray Moynihan and Alan Cassels talk about the “perverted truth” of how Big Pharma helps create diseases by influencing how treatment standards are set. The problem is so pervasive that it’s hard to conceive just how many unnecessary drugs the world may be taking, the authors say.

The list of sickness-for-sale conditions and drugs is long. But here are three of the most prevalent:

  • Attention Deficit Disorder – In 1960 there were hardly any children diagnosed with, let alone treated for, attention deficit disorder. But once children’s normal behavior (inattention, hyperactivity and impulsivity) was categorized as a mental disorder called attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and therefore drug treatable, the use of psychostimulants to “control” these behaviors increased six-fold. In the 1990s, there was a 700 percent increase in drugs prescribed for ADHD. Today, state attorneys general are busy suing drug companies for illegal marketing tactics that put millions of children on these drugs.

    This accomplishment was achieved in part by drug companies “partnering” with or sponsoring ADHD support groups, befriending prescribing physicians, and through heavy marketing, Moynihan and Cassels assert. And they’re not far off – numerous psychiatry blogs and studies accuse the industry of unduly causing an ADHD “epidemic.” And now that adult ADHD is a household word the epidemic is getting even larger.

  • Depression – With an onslaught of new drugs and plenty of new disorders defining sadness, the DSM (psychiatry’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders) and its industry-connected creators have managed to make depression drugs a $50-billion-a-year business. In 2006, 100 percent of the DSM’s Mood Disorders panel had drug industry ties; 56 percent of all the DSM panels had financial ties to industry. Lawsuits in this category are bountiful too.

Prevention Doesn’t Play – or Pay – on Wall Street

Another way drug companies “sell” sickness is through direct-to-consumer (DTC) advertising. In a 60-second TV commercial and a simple line like “Tell someone” (Merck’s 2006 introductory ad for its HPV vaccine, Gardasil) a company can kindle consumers’ interest  in a product even before the FDA allows them to market it. Critics call this tactic disease mongering, but Big Pharma calls it disease awareness. Whichever, the strategy is to create demand and sell the product – and ultimately pay dividends to stockholders.

According to a study done by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, every $1 invested in direct-to-consumer ads generates $4.20 in sales. And that makes stockholders happy. It might sound shallow, but prevention doesn’t play or pay on Wall Street: the business of drug companies is to treat you, not make you well. In Merck’s case, DTC advertising did well for stockholders – earning $1.5 billion in sales in its first year.

Just Three Steps to Making You Dependent on Drugs

In a 2003 commentary called “The Art of Branding a Condition,” marketing professional Vince Parry outlined three steps for creating a need for Big Pharma products. To get a guaranteed bottom line for sales, all you need to do, he said, is adopt one or more of the following strategies:

  1. Elevate the importance of an existing condition
  2. Redefine an existing condition to reduce a stigma
  3. Develop a new condition to build recognition for an unmet market need

Warner-Lambert did this with finesse, Parry said, with Listerine in the 1920s.

The mouthwash had been around for a while, and was used for a variety of conditions including dandruff, but sales were flat until the company played it up as a cure for a foul-sounding condition – halitosis. With a new name, the stigma of bad breath caught on, and Listerine sales skyrocketed from $100,000 to $4 million over a six-year period. That is what you call “effective branding,

Prime examples of effective branding of scary-sounding diseases today are premenstrual problems, heartburn and impotence. With their new names of premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD), gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) and erectile dysfunction, these once-benign afflictions have been transformed into serious illnesses with insurance billing codes and expensive prescription drug treatments – all to the tune of billions of dollars in annual revenues for Big Pharma.

Breaking News: Former APA Head Admits to Facilitating Epidemics

Quite possibly, one of the biggest epidemics ever created in the medical world is mental illness. From the practice of turning shyness into a social phobia to diagnosing babies with schizophrenia to the off-label prescribing of psychotropic drugs to both children and the elderly, the branding of various forms of mental illness has been a Big Pharma cash cow for years. According to Parry:

“Watching the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) balloon in size over the decades to its current phonebook dimensions would have us believe that the world is a more unstable place today than ever.”… Not surprisingly, many of these newly coined conditions were brought to light through direct funding by pharmaceutical companies, in research, in publicity or both.”

And if that’s not damning enough, then how about hearing it straight from a former chief of the American Psychiatric Association, who admits that some of the “mistakes” the APA made in its diagnostic manual have had “terrible consequences,” which have mislabeled millions of children and adults, and facilitated epidemics of mental illness that don’t exist.

How Insurance Companies Encourage Disease Mongering

The United States spends 50 to 100 percent more per person on health care than any other industrialized nation. Yet, we have the worst overall health outcomes, according to a World Health Organization report on the world’s health care systems. In an analysis of why this could be, a special team used statins to compare six different countries’ guidelines on preventing deaths from coronary artery disease, and found that our low cholesterol guidelines cause us to treat twice as many patients as the country with the most efficient statin guideline in the world (New Zealand), with very few additional lives saved.

In the US, it costs $200,000 in statin drug consumption by 198 people each year to prevent just one death from coronary artery disease. That’s twice the amount spent in any other country to save just that one individual. And that’s not counting office visits and other health maintenance expenses – or the side effects, some of which can be death.

You’d think statistics like this would cause insurance companies to try to rein in the costs by refusing to pay them. But once the government has issued treatment guidelines (such as those for blood pressure and cholesterol levels) and “medicalized” a condition by giving it a billing code by which claims can be made through Medicare and Medicaid, insurance almost always has to follow the lead.

So where do they save their money?

By refusing to pay anything that hasn’t been “medicalized” with a diagnosis for disease. Oh, they say they pay for preventive health care, but what they’re paying for are screenings for diseases you already have, not for preventive services or products like health club memberships or foods and supplements that can keep you from getting sick in the first place.

Dodge Sickness and Disease by Choosing to Take Control of Your Health

Governments mandate health policy because they believe you can’t think for yourself when it comes to getting and staying well. Citing endless studies that are supposed to prove that invasive health measures like vaccines and screening tests such as annual mammograms are the best preventive measures there are, the U.S. government has a litany of reasons why they “know better than you” when it comes to avoiding disease.

Yet, our government has failed us in almost every area when it comes to making us better.

It’s no secret that Americans are dissatisfied with their health “care.” Every year, the Employment Benefit Research Institute surveys American workers on what they think of the government-guided, and insurance-led, care they’re getting. And every year, including the one for 2010, the survey shows that a majority of Americans rate the U.S. health care system as poor or fair. And the leading factor in this is cost, compared to the care they’re getting.

So what can we do about it?

The answer is easy, but it requires giving up passive acceptance of government’s intrusion into our health and taking a proactive approach with a plan for dodging sickness and disease. If you’ve read even a few of my newsletters, you already know that the power to take control of your health is in your own hands.

One reason people give for not following good health measures in their diet and daily routine is that it costs too much. But studies show that out-of-pocket expenses for treating sickness and disease have escalated to more than $7,200 every year. Just think what you could do with that, if you only used it to make a few easy lifestyle changes, beginning with a good nutrition plan.

Add peak fitness exercise to it, and you’re on the road to good health. Follow up with other good health measures such as getting a good night’s sleep and learning how to instill positive emotions that ensure good mental health, and you’ll be on the right track to getting and staying well, no matter how many new illnesses industry thinks up and sells!


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This Almost Perfect Natural Oil Could Slow Down Your Aging Clock

krill oil beats common diseasesBy Dr. Mercola

I was one of the first to promote krill as an exceptional source of animal based omega-3 dietary fats. Many have, and some still criticize me for recommending this over fish oil, for the lack of studies to back it up, but the bulk of the new emerging studies are confirming that krill is the better option.

It merely took time for the science to document what was obvious clinically, that krill had the identical fats as fish oil but was a far higher quality source due to astaxanthin protecting the perishable fats, and the phospholipids that massively increase the absorption of the fats.

Please remember that omega-3 fats are essential to the health of your heart and brain, among other body systems. What you may not be aware of is the ever-widening array of diseases for which krill may have a positive impact. New research is emerging all the time revealing benefits that broaden the scope of what this powerful natural source of fat can do for you.

The research regarding omega-3 fats and krill has really exploded over the past two years, and it’s getting downright hard to keep up. This article will focus on the research specific to krill, but realize that there’s a massive body of research out there on omega-3 fats in general that I will only touch on, which has direct applicability to krill. By the end of this article, it should be obvious why I’m such a fan. Before we begin to talk about the health benefits of krill oil, allow me to refresh your memory about why you need omega-3 fats in the first place.

Plant-Based and Animal-Based Omega-3 Fats

Most people today are deficient in omega-3 fats and consume far too many damaged omega-6 fats, which are found in vegetable oils and processed foods. The ideal ratio is 1:1, but the average American’s ratio is more like 20:1, or even 50:1 in favor of omega-6. Because of this severe imbalance, I recommend you supplement your diet with a source of high-quality omega-3 fats, while simultaneously reducing your omega-6 intake to bring this ratio into balance.

There are both plant and animal sources for omega-3 fats, and there are differences between them. All have different ratios of three important omega-3 fatty acids—ALA, EPA and DHA. DHA is the most important for your brain. EPA is also required by your brain, but in smaller amounts.

Plant-based omega-3 sources like flax, hemp and chia seeds are high in ALA, but low in EPA and DHA. Although ALA is an essential nutrient, the key point to remember is that the conversion of ALA to the far more essential EPA and DHA is typically quite inhibited by impaired delta 6 desaturase, an enzyme necessary for you to convert the ALA into the longer chain EPA and DHA.

Elevated insulin levels impair this enzyme, and more than 80 percent of the U.S. population has elevated insulin levels. So from that perspective alone, it is important to include animal-based sources of omega-3 fats in your diet.

How Omega-3 Fats Influence Gene Expression and Overall Health

Omega 3 fats affect cellular health and DNA chiefly by how they influence your cell membranes. It is these cell membran­­­­es that are critical in switching your genes on and off, because cell membranes contain receptors that respond to hormones and other agents, and these are affected by the fatty acids on their surface. Your cell membranes contain EPA, DHA and phospholipids, and all help to shuttle molecules into and out of your cells.

So, having adequate fatty acids in your system is crucial to keeping your cell membranes working properly. Both fish oil and krill oil contain omega-3 fats. However, krill oil is superior to fish oil for the following five reasons:

  1. Krill oil may be 48 times more potent than fish oil. This means you need far less of it than fish oil, as confirmed by this 2011 study published in the journal Lipids.
  2. Krill oil contains phospholipids, so the omega-3 fats are already in the form that your body can use. This bioavailability means krill oil is absorbed very quickly and crosses your blood-brain barrier, so is able to reach important brain structures.
  3. Fish oil is quite perishable and subject to oxidation, and oxidation leads to the formation of free radicals. Consuming free radicals further increases your need for antioxidants. Fish oil is weak in antioxidant content, whereas krill oil is rich in antioxidants. Krill oil contains astaxanthin—probably the most potent antioxidant in nature—which is why it is so stable and resistant to oxidation.
  4. Many, if not most types of fish and fish oil are now contaminated with mercury and other heavy metals, even fish that is thousands of miles away from coal plants and other environment-polluting industries. Antarctic krill is not subject to this contamination.
  5. Krill is also far more sustainable as a food source than is fish because it’s the largest biomass in the world, making krill harvesting one of the most sustainable practices on the planet.

Fatty acids are water soluble, but they can’t be transported in their free form in your blood—they require “packaging” into lipoprotein vehicles. The omega-3s in krill are already in these perfect packages, so your body doesn’t have to DO anything to them to prepare them for transport in your bloodstream. Also, phospholipids are one of the principle compounds in high-density lipoproteins (HDL), which you want more of.

Omega-3 Deficiency is a Major Factor in Cardiovascular Disease and Type 2 Diabetes

Three studies in 2009 showed that omega-3 fat deficiency might cause or contribute to up to 96,000 premature deaths each year. Compare that to the estimated 40,000 women who die from breast cancer in the U.S. annually, and the implications of omega-3 deficiency become quite clear. Omega-3 fats from krill have been shown to be more effective than fish oil in combating some metabolic symptoms, including elevated fat levels in your heart and liver. Studies show that both fish-sourced and krill-sourced omega-3 fats are effective in reducing fat levels, but krill is MORE effective.

There is now enough research to safely say that krill oil can reduce your risk for metabolic syndrome, obesity and type-2 diabetes.

In one study, krill oil was found to reduce fat levels in the hearts of rats by 42 percent, compared to two percent for fish oil. Similarly, krill was found to reduce fat in the liver by 60 percent, compared to 38 percent for fish oil. The buildup of fat in your liver can lead to insulin sensitivity, metabolic syndrome and eventually full-blown type 2 diabetes. It isn’t clear just how krill oil does this so effectively, but researchers hypothesize the long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids in krill (LCPUFAs) may reduce activity in your endocannabinoid system. The endocannabinoid system is a biochemical system in your body that modulates appetite, pain sensation, mood and memory.

And speaking of mood and memory…

Young or Old—Krill Oil Helps Protect Your Brain

Some omega-3 fats—especially DHA—are critical for your nervous system, particularly your brain. DHA is converted into substances called neuroprotectins. Alzheimer’s disease is associated with a shortage of these neuroprotectins. Fats make up the majority of your brain tissue (about two-thirds). Myelin, the protective sheath that covers your neurons, is composed of 30 percent protein and 70 percent fat. These fats are not just important for adults. Omega-3s are also important to infants and children, for proper cognitive development and vision.

A number of interesting omega-3 studies have emerged in the past two years. Here are a few:

  • A study published April 2010 found that older adults with higher blood levels of omega-3 fat were 33 percent less likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease and 38 percent less likely to develop dementia than those with lower omega-3 levels.
  • Yurko-Mauro, et al studied the effects of algal DHA on the memory of healthy older adults. After six months of treatment, their performance on memory tests significantly improved. After completion of treatment, participants’ learning and memory skills were equivalent to those of people “three years younger,” researchers said.
  • A 2010 study found that DHA-derived neuroprotectins promote good neuro-signalling and overall brain health.
  • Another 2010 study found omega-3 fat so effective for treating psychotic disorders that they concluded omega 3s are “a safe alternative to anti-psychotic drugs.” Researchers also stated that omega-3s may delay the onset of schizophrenia.

Low concentrations of EPA and DHA are known to accelerate cognitive decline and increase your risk for mood swings and mood disorders. Those suffering from depression have been found to have lower levels of omega-3 in their blood, compared to nondepressed individuals. A 2010 study involving 46 depressed elderly women concluded that omega-3 supplementation is an effective treatment for depression and can improve quality of life.

According to a report published in 2007 in the Alternative Medicine Review, DHA and EPA in krill oil can lessen a variety of brain and mental disorders, including autism and dyslexia. DHA also protects your cells from gene mutations that can lead to brain diseases such as Parkinson’s and some forms of Alzheimer’s disease, by preventing “misfolding” of certain proteins that occur as a result of those mutations.

Krill Oil is a Potent Anti-Inflammatory

Fatty acids play an important role in inflammation. They produce compounds called resolvins and protectins, which help quell inflammation before it can do too much damage to your tissues. Several studies have been published on the remarkable effectiveness of krill oil in combating inflammation-related disorders, such as arthritis. Three notable ones are:

  • A 2007 study in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition investigated krill oil’s ability to reduce inflammation. Researchers found that 300 mg krill oil per day significantly reduced inflammation, pain, stiffness and functional impairment after just 7 days, and even more profoundly after 14 days.
  • A study published in the American Journal of Gastroenterology in 2005 showed similar findings with respect to reducing inflammation and arthritis symptoms, for both rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis sufferers.
  • In 2010, a Swiss animal study provided even more confirmation about krill oil’s anti-inflammatory properties. Mice consuming krill oil showed less joint inflammation from rheumatoid arthritis than did the control group.

Krill May Even Slow Down Aging

One of the most exciting recent studies found that increased dietary intake of omega-3 fat is associated with prolonged survival in patients with coronary artery disease. The benefit has to do with actually preventing telomere shortening. The study, published in the prestigious Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), followed 608 people in California with stable coronary artery disease for five years. At the end of the five years, those with the highest blood levels of DHA and EPA had the smallest change in telomere length.

If you aren’t familiar with telomeres, telomeres may be one of the KEYS to understanding aging. They are found at the tip of each arm of your chromosomes. Throughout your life, your telomeres shorten every time a cell divides. Free radicals can also cleave telomeres, which is thought to accelerate aging. So, we have seen that krill oil can offer benefits for your heart and brain, and maybe even slow your aging process and help reduce your chances of dying from many causes. But there’s more.

The Verdict is in: Krill Oil May Help with Literally DOZENS of Diseases

Overwhelmingly positive results from earlier scientific studies about the health benefits of krill oil have stimulated a flurry of ongoing interest by medical researchers. Krill oil is now one of the hottest topic in omega-3 research, and numerous companies have introduced new krill products over the past year.

The GreenMedInfo.com’s krill research page documents that there are now 25 different diseases that krill may help prevent or reverse. Of course, if you extend the search to include everything related to omega-3 fats, the list of benefits expands even more, since the gifts of krill oil include everything known to be good about omega-3s. The implications are truly profound, and I’m sure you’ll be seeing much more krill research in the future. The following table includes links to a number of studies specific to krill oil, by disease category:

Cardiovascular disease, hyperlipidemia Inflammation, and C-Reactive Protein Oxidative stress
Arthritis: Osteoarthritis and Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) Metabolic syndrome, including obesity and fatty liver Premenstrual syndrome (PMS) and dysmenorrhea
Brain disease: Cognitive dysfunction, memory loss, brain aging, learning disorders and ADHD Cancer Kidney disease

If you wish to dive into the studies, or look at what the science says about a particular omega-3 fat, try visiting the following pages on the GreenMedInfo site, which contain hundreds of scientific studies:

A Final Note on Krill Oil Supplements

Please remember that I don’t advocate taking truckloads of supplements. It is far better to receive you nutrients from food. If it weren’t for the polluted waterways of the world I would not recommend omega-3 supplements, but unfortunately that is not the case. As you can see by this article, omega-3 fats are essential for a healthy life so I do recommend most people consider taking a high quality omega-3 oil, like krill oil.

Quality is of the essence when selecting any supplement and krill oil is no exception.

The only kind of krill oil I recommend is from genuine Antarctic krill. Look for a brand that is cold-processed, which preserves its biological benefits. Please make sure that hexane is not used to extract the oil from the krill as some of the most popular krill oils on the market use this dangerous technique. It should also be free of heavy metals, PCBs, dioxins and other contaminants. The krill should also be harvested in compliance with international conservation standards.

References:


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Probably the Best Way to Enhance Your Baby’s Gut and Brain Development

breastfeeding promotes baby's gut and brain developmentA vast amount of research has reported that breast-feeding plays an important role for the development of a newborn. Non-breast fed premature infants have higher risk of developing infantile diarrhea and necrotizing enterocolitis.

In a recent study, the content of brain cell growth factors and cytokines in human breast milk was analyzed.  Growth factors and cytokines were found in all breast milk samples at varying concentrations.

According to the study, as linked by Green Med Info:

“It could be demonstrated that protein extracts of breast milk increased the amount of surviving enteric neurones as well as neurite outgrowth. Additionally it was shown, that the number of nestin and S100-expressing glial cells increased significantly after incubating in breast milk protein extracts. The data suggest that milk-born proteins support the development of the enteric nervous system.”

For more information about the benefits of breast milk and breastfeeding, you can click on the Green Med Info links below.


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