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Monthly Archives: May 2012
By Dr. Mercola
Sippy cups, bottles and pacifiers are the last items you’d expect to hurt your child. After all, their very purpose is designed for nourishment, nurturing and comfort …
However, a new study has revealed that these objects can be extremely hazardous for young children, and in this case it’s not referring to plastics chemicals like bisphenol-A, but instead their ability to cause an alarmingly high rate of injuries.
One Child Hurt Every Four Hours …
A new study found that an average of 2,270 children under 3 are treated in emergency rooms every year due to injuries related to bottles, pacifiers and sippy cups.i In all, more than 45,000 such injuries were reported from 1991 to 2010, which equates to about one child harmed every four hours. Since the study only looked at emergency room visits, it’s likely there were actually far more injuries as well, which were treated either at home or by a pediatrician.
Most often (in 86 percent of cases), the injury occurred when a child fell while using the product, often leading to a laceration of the mouth. As you might suspect, 1-year-olds were injured most often, likely because they’re still unsteady on their feet and are more prone to falling down. Bottles were the most common cause of injury, followed by pacifiers and then sippy cups.
It’s estimated that half of 1- and 2-year-olds still use a bottle, while more than three-quarters in this age group use a sippy cup,ii even though the American Academy of Pediatrics officially recommends transitioning to a regular, lidless cup around age 1.The researchers reasoned that up to 80 percent of the injuries could be prevented if these guidelines were followed, primarily because most parents would make sure that their young children were seated while using a lidless cup to avoid spills, and this, in turn, greatly reduces the risk of injury.
Button Batteries Also a Major Source of Injury
A second study revealed that nearly 66,000 children and teens were treated at emergency rooms due to battery-related injuries from 1990 to 2009 — and the rate doubled during the study period.iii Children under 5 were particularly at risk from a battery-related injury.
Small “button” batteries, such as lithium-cell batteries, were the most common source of injury (nearly 84 percent of cases), and most often they were swallowed. This presents not only a serious risk of choking, but in the case of lithium batteries severe tissue damage can result in a matter of two hours. Past research noted that 13 deaths have been reported due to ingestion of lithium cell batteries, which can lead to esophageal perforation, vocal cord paralysis and other serious problems if they become lodged in the esophagus.iv
Top 5 Dangerous Things Kids Like to Swallow
Batteries are only one of the dangers on this list, so if you have a small child at home, keep reading. These 5 objects reported by Timev are incredibly common, and can be enticing to toddlers who love to pick up anything and everything and put it in their mouths. You might not perceive them as particularly dangerous, but each poses a unique danger if ingested.
1. Tiny Magnets
Magnets have been linked to deaths and serious injury in children. Particularly dangerous are magnets made from neodymium and formed into Buckyballs, which are small, very high-powered magnets, but any magnet can pose a danger. Once ingested, magnets can connect across the intestinal wall, causing serious intestinal injury, like punching holes in the stomach and intestines. In recent months, a 1-year-old boy from Mississippi has lost 90 percent of his intestines after swallowing 8 magnetic beads from an adult desk toy, and a 3-year-old from Oregon also underwent surgery after swallowing 37 Buckyball magnets. Incidences are on the rise.
2. Button Batteries
As mentioned above, button batteries, particularly the 20-mm lithium variety used in children’s toys, hearing aids and watches, are incredibly dangerous. Two deaths and 19 serious complications occurred in the 3,400 children who swallowed lithium batteries in 2010. When the batteries are swallowed, they release an electrical current that causes a hazardous chemical reaction in just two hours. The esophagus and vocal cords can be so badly damaged that a feeding tube is required.
If a child eats enough hair, it can lead to a hairball called a bezoar (a mass trapped in your stomach). Along with causing pain and stomach obstruction, surgery may be required to remove it in severe cases.
4. Pills and Alcohol
Certain medications and even vitamins (especially those that contain iron) can be deadly to small children, as can small amounts of alcohol (including medications containing alcohol). Prescription pain medications, heart pills, aspirin, antidepressants, and diabetes drugs are particularly dangerous. For an infant, even half a tablet of a drug like hydrocodone can be lethal. Because medications are so common, a child can be exposed not only at home when a parent takes a bottle out of the medicine cabinet, but also just about anywhere a pill can fall out of someone’s pocket or be left on a table.
5. Nails, Needles, Pins and Tacks
Young children are drawn to these shiny metal objects, which can easily puncture their esophagus, stomach or intestines when swallowed. Seek medication attention immediately if you see your child swallow any sharp object, although fortunately in most cases, the items noted above will pass through naturally in a day or two. Parents should keep a watchful eye out for any signs of complications, however, including blood in the stool, pain or vomiting.
8 Simple Child Safety Tips
It takes only an instant for a child to get injured or swallow an object that could cause lasting, or even deadly, damage. The tips that follow can help keep your child safe from the common hazards noted above:
- Only give your children a sippy cup or bottle when they are seated
- Transition your children away from using a pacifier at about 6 months of age, and transition to a lidless cup around 1 year
- Keep all medications, whether prescription or over-the-counter, pill form or liquid, out of the reach of children, and do not remove the child-proof caps
- Be very careful not to drop any pills on the floor (at home or when you’re visiting a friend or in a public place)
- Install child-safety locks on cabinets to keep little hands out
- Do not leave button batteries within the reach of children, and only give children battery-powered toys if they have a child-proof battery compartment
- Be very careful about keeping magnets in your home; small magnets should be treated as a deadly substance and should be kept out of the reach of children
- Be mindful of small objects anywhere in your home, and do a quick check of floors and countertops for pins, tacks, buttons, batteries, hair balls, etc., before allowing your child access to the space
- i Pediatrics May 14, 2012
- ii The New York Times May 14, 2012
- iii Pediatrics May 14, 2012 (doi: 10.1542/peds.2011-0012)
- iv Pediatrics Vol. 125 No. 6 June 1, 2010, pp. 1178 -1183
- v Time Healthland March 6, 2012
By Dr. Mercola
When you wake up in the morning, there’s a good chance you start your day by showering, shaving, washing your hair, and putting on deodorant and any number of other lotions, cosmetics and personal care products.
It’s a mundane routine virtually everyone reading this is familiar with – but in so doing you’re most likely exposing your body to more than a handful of hormone-mimicking chemicals – each and every day.
Anything you eat, inhale, or spread on your skin can be absorbed into your body and potentially cause damage over time, including each and every one of your personal care products if they contain parabens and other synthetic hormone-mimicking chemicals.
Now research is showing just how serious exposure to hormone-mimicking chemicals has become — especially for children, whose natural hormones may be overshadowed by synthetic ones.
99 Percent of Breast Cancer Tissue Samples Contain Hormone-Mimicking Chemicals
Research published in March detected the presence of paraben esters in 99 percent of breast cancer tissues sampled.i The study examined 40 women who were being treated for primary breast cancer. In 60 percent of cases, five of the different paraben esters were present.
Parabens are chemicals with estrogen-like properties, and estrogen is one of the hormones involved in the development of breast cancer. A new report discussing the findings, published in May,ii revealed several disturbing pieces of information, as reported by GreenMedInfo:iii
- The ester form of parabens found within the breast tissue samples indicated a dermal route of exposure, as would occur through skin care products and underarm deodorants.
- The paraben residues were found at concentrations up to 1 million times higher than the estrogen (estradiol) levels naturally found in human breast tissue.
- Propylparaben was found in the highest concentration in the underarm area (axilla), where underarm deodorants are most used and breast cancer prevalence is at its highest.
Hormone-Mimicking Chemicals May be “Eclipsing” Natural Hormones
Methylparaben has been detected in the urine of more than 99 percent of Americans, while propylparaben has been found in nearly 93 percent.iv Parabens inhibit the growth of bacteria, yeast, and molds, and are used as preservatives in countless consumer products, including:
Deodorants and antiperspirants Shampoos and conditioners Shaving gel Toothpaste Lotions and sunscreens Make-up / cosmetics Pharmaceutical drugs Food additives
Cosmetic companies and even the World Health Organization often state that the estrogenic properties of parabens are a low health risk because they are much less potent than the natural hormone estradiol, but the paraben residues being found in human breast tissue tells a different story. Clearly these chemicals are accumulating at alarmingly high concentrations, likely because of their widespread and persistent daily use. But safety assessments do not account for these chronic, low-dose exposures, nor the health effects of synergistic exposures to other hormone-mimicking chemicals like bisphenol-A (BPA) and phthalates.
The Environmental Working Group reported:v
“Many cosmetic companies argue that the level of a harmful chemical in any one product is not enough to harm you, on the basis of studies of chemical exposure in adults. However, science is finding the timing of exposure is crucial, and that even a very small dose of some chemicals can have serious consequences in children and young women who are still developing.
Moreover, we are rarely exposed to a chemical just one time. We may use the same product every day, several days a week, for months or years. In addition, we use dozens of personal care products daily, not just one. So while exposure from one product on one day may be small, we in fact use numerous products a day for extended periods of time. As a result, scientists are finding accumulations of chemicals such as parabens and phthalates in our bodies.”
Children are, indeed, those most at risk. The May study published in the Journal of Applied Toxicology noted:
“For exposures in children, concern has already been raised that ‘the estrogenic burden of parabens and their metabolites in blood may exceed the action of endogenous estradiol in childhood and the safety margin for propylparaben is very low when comparing worst-case exposure.”
What this means is that your child may be exposed to so many synthetic hormone-mimicking chemicals that they may begin to overtake the actions of his or her natural hormones! GreenMedInfo summed it up nicely:
“In other words, synthetic hormones from chemicals like parabens may actually be eclipsing the activity of endogenously produced (natural) hormones in our children.”
Why Isn’t the FDA Regulating Parabens?
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does not “approve” cosmetic ingredients the way they do drugs. Generally, cosmetic manufacturers can use any ingredient they choose, including parabens (which are, in fact, the most widely used preservatives in cosmetics). On their Web site, the FDA cites an outdated Cosmetic Ingredient Review (CIR) conducted in 1984, which claimed methylparaben, propylparaben, and butylparaben were safe for use in cosmetic products at levels up to 25 percent, although typically they are used at levels ranging from 0.01 to 0.3 percent.
Again in 2005, CIR “decided to re-open the safety assessment for parabens to request exposure estimates and a risk assessment for cosmetic uses,” and again determined “after considering the margins of safety for exposure to women and infants, the Panel determined that there was no need to change its original conclusion that parabens are safe as used in cosmetics.”vi But these findings should do little to quell your concerns, as CIR is an industry-run organization that reviews the safety of its own ingredients. Once again, the fox is guarding the hen house, and it is not at all surprising that they only re-affirmed the “safety” of one of their most widely used chemicals.
The FDA is only furthering this false sense of security by stating, “FDA believes that at the present time there is no reason for consumers to be concerned about the use of cosmetics containing parabens.”
This statement is based on a study that is more than a decade old, which found synthetic parabens have lower estrogenic activity than naturally occurring estrogen … but that completely ignores the risks of chronic, low-dose exposures from multiple sources and the fact that in the aforementioned study parabens were found to accumulate in the human body at, again, 1 million times higher concentrations than natural estrogen. As incredible as it sounds, despite the fact that parabens are used in such a wide variety of products, the toxicology of these chemicals has barely been investigated – and the more recent studies that have come out showing cause for alarm are being all but ignored by U.S. regulatory agencies.
How to Avoid Hormone-Mimicking Chemicals
Avoiding parabens and other harmful chemicals requires becoming an avid label reader. Beware that products boasting “all-natural” labels can still contain harmful chemicals, including parabens, so make sure to check the list of ingredients. On the label they may be listed as:
Isobutyl paraben Ethyl paraben Butyl paraben E216
Another alternative is to make your own personal care products. In many cases it’s much easier than you might think. Michael DeJong, environmentalist and author of books on green living has a book called Clean Cures, which is chockfull of affordable, easy, natural remedies you can prepare at home to treat ordinary ailments with items you have in your own refrigerator and pantry. You can also find many natural recipes for free by searching online.
When it comes to deodorants, one option is to skip it altogether. Simple soap and water works quite well, and for some additional odor-protection, try a pinch of baking soda mixed with a small amount of water.
Parabens are only one of many hormone-mimicking chemicals to watch out for. The following 12 measures can be implemented right away to help protect yourself and your children from a variety of common hormone-disrupting substances:
- As much as possible, buy and eat organic produce and free-range, organic meats to reduce your exposure to added hormones, pesticides and fertilizers. Also avoid milk and other dairy products that contain the genetically engineered recombinant bovine growth hormone (rBGH or rBST)
- Eat mostly raw, fresh foods. Processed, prepackaged foods (of all kinds) are a major source of soy and chemicals such as BPA and phthalates.
- Store your food and beverages in glass rather than plastic, and avoid using plastic wrap and canned foods (which are often lined with BPA-containing liners).
- Use glass baby bottles and BPA-free sippy cups for your little ones.
- Make sure your baby’s toys are BPA-free, such as pacifiers, teething rings and anything your child may be prone to suck on.
- Only use natural cleaning products in your home to avoid phthalates.
- Switch over to truly natural brands of toiletries such as shampoo, toothpaste, antiperspirants and cosmetics.
- Avoid using artificial air fresheners, dryer sheets, fabric softeners or other synthetic fragrances, many of which can also disrupt your hormone balance.
- Replace your non-stick pots and pans with ceramic or glass cookware.
- When redoing your home, look for “green,” toxin-free alternatives in lieu of regular paint and vinyl floor coverings.
- Replace your vinyl shower curtain with one made of fabric.
- Avoid non-fermented soy, especially if you’re pregnant and in infant formula.
- i Journal of Applied Toxicology March 2012; 32(3): 219-232
- ii Journal of Applied Toxicology May 2012
- iii GreenMedInfo May 9, 2012
- iv Environ Health Perspect. 2010 May;118(5):679-85. Epub 2010 Jan 4
- v Environmental Working Group, Safe Cosmetics
- vi U.S. Food and Drug Administration, Selected Cosmetic Ingredients, Parabens
By Dr. Mercola
Commercial cleaning products, even “green” ones like Simple Green, clean faster than soap and water can. But this is because they contain small amounts of the most powerful grease-cutting class of chemicals known — glycol ethers.
Overexposure to glycol ethers can cause anemia, intoxication, and irritation of the eyes and nose.
In laboratory animals, low-level exposure to glycol ethers has caused birth defects and damage to sperm and testicles. The most commonly used glycol ether, 2-butoxyethanol, has been shown to cause liver cancer in animals. AlterNet reports:
“You are exposed to the glycol ethers when you inhale them as the cleaner is used … Most glycol ethers can silently penetrate your skin and enter your bloodstream … If that were not enough, the glycol ethers also go through natural rubber gloves and many types of plastic gloves without changing their appearance.”
The typical American home contains 3-10 gallons of toxic materials, in the form of about 60 different kinds of hazardous household cleaning products. That’s right, the very things you use to clean your house are actually the primary sources of toxins and indoor air pollution that Americans expose themselves to year after year. And many of the new “green” alternatives now being offered by major corporations are only green in name, as you will soon discover.
The Cost of Cleaning Your Home
Having a clean home should never cost you something as valuable as your health, but that’s exactly what you’re putting at risk when you use household cleaners and laundry detergents filled with many of the hazardous chemicals on the market today.
The problem is, when the chemicals in these common household products hit your skin and lungs, they go directly into your bloodstream, bypassing your body’s natural defense system against toxins (the liver and kidneys).
This type of indoor pollution is particularly harmful to your health because just one application of a typical household cleaner can leave dangerous chemicals lingering in your indoor air for hours at a time. For people who spend a large amount of their day indoors, this can amount to a frequent chemical attacks on your lungs.
So, which Ingredients are Toxic?
Some of the ingredients in common household cleaners, laundry detergents, and even “green” cleaners that can create a toxic indoor environment include:
- Glycol ethers – Widespread use in paints, perfumes, soaps, cosmetics and foods. Cause fatigue, lethargy, nausea, and possible liver and kidney damage.
- Phthalates – Cause reproductive harm, endocrine disruption, cancer, organ damage.
- Perfumes – Cause headaches, sinus problems, asthma, may cause intoxication and “addiction.”
- Phosphates – Manufacturers have reduced eliminated phosphates from laundry products, but no action has ever been taken on dishwasher detergents. Causes widespread environmental damage.
- Nonylphenol ethoxylates (NPEs), a common ingredient in laundry detergents and all-purpose cleaners, is banned in Europe, and known to be a potent endocrine disrupter. It’s already thought to be the cause of male fish transforming into females in waterways around the world!
- Formaldehyde, found in spray and wick deodorizers, is a suspected carcinogen.
- Volatile organic compounds (VOCs), including 1,4-dichlorobenzene – Cause nose and throat irritation, dizziness, asthma.
- Petroleum solvents in floor cleaners may damage mucous membranes.
- Butyl cellosolve, found in many all-purpose and window cleaners. May damage your kidneys, bone marrow, liver and nervous system.
- Ammonia – irritating to the skin, eyes and lungs.
- Chlorine – irritating to the skin, eyes and lungs.
- Ethanolamines – irritating to the skin, eyes and lungs.
- Sodium Lauryl Sulfate – skin irritant, eye irritant, potential cancer causer.
Why “Green” Cleaning Products May NOT Necessarily be Green!
As more and more consumers are learning about the dangers of the products they use in their homes, “green” environmentally friendly options have sparked an industry revolution with a growing number of companies offering their own versions of eco-friendly cleaners. Some examples are Clorox Green Works Natural All-Purpose Cleaner, Simple Green, and Purex Natural Elements.
Unfortunately, the terms “green” and “natural” are nothing more than marketing terms; they’re not rigid well accepted scientific terms, and they do not automatically equate to safety. This shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone who is even slightly familiar with how multinational corporations use marketing to manipulate the image of their products.
If you want a real treat, please pick up and read a highly recommended book on this subject called Subliminal Persuasion: Influence & Marketing Secrets They Don’t Want You To Know. This book reveals the systematic techniques used to form opinions or ideologies, in ways that we never suspect. Multinational corporations, like big drug companies, are using these techniques all the time to deceive you.
Many large corporations are chomping at the bit, eager to reach into the wallets of modern, environmentally concerned consumers searching for green alternatives to the toxic stew of chemicals found in conventional cleaning products. “Green” cleaning products are a growing niche market, with green cleaning product U.S. sales totaling $100 million in 2010.
But most “green” cleaning products like Simple Green are still loaded with glycol ethers, which are anything but good for your health when inhaled or when they touch your skin. Folks, the simple truth is that if a substance cuts through grease and dirt any faster than soap and water, then there are chemicals in there that most likely aren’t very good for your health.
Why Glycol Ethers are BAD for You
Glycol ether is a generic term for over thirty solvents derived from crude oil, all with different properties, which are used in applications ranging from paints to inks to degreasing agents and cleaning products. Generally speaking, glycol ethers are hazardous when they get on your skin or when they get in your lungs. This is especially true with cleaning products, which are often applied indoors and without proper ventilation.
The glycol ether named ethylene glycol monoethyl ether may be linked to lower sperm count in men, and has caused low birth weight and reproductive abnormalities in animal studies. Pregnant women and small children in particular should avoid expose to glycol ethers, as these groups are more susceptible to damage.
Reading the Labels Won’t Always Help
I always advocate reading the labels on the foods and cleaning products you buy, but in the case of household cleaners even the most meticulous eye for labels won’t get you very far.
Because many of the most dangerous chemicals will not even be on the label. The manufacturers have conveniently lobbied the government to exempt them from this requirement and can omit any ingredient that is considered a secret formula from its label. Many of these non-disclosed ingredients are actually toxic and carcinogenic.
Household goods are still very much an unregulated market. And, cleaning product manufacturers — even those that claim to be “green” — are not required by law to disclose all of their ingredients on their labels. So while it’s still better to read the label than not, be aware that a lack of ingredient on a label doesn’t necessarily mean it’s not in the product!
How to Clean and Sanitize Without Harmful Chemicals
Some common household items, such as vinegar, baking soda, and lemon juice can get the job done just as well — sometimes even better — than their toxic counterparts. Here’s a simple starter list of what you need to make your own natural cleaning products:
- Baking soda
- White vinegar
- Lemon juice
- Hydrogen peroxide
- Liquid castile soap
- Organic essential oils (optional)
- Mixing bowls
- Spray bottles
- Micro fiber cloths
For a great video on how to use these ingredients and other tips for cleaning your home without hazardous chemicals, please review the article: How to Keep Your Home Clean Naturally. For example, vinegar combined with hydrogen peroxide works exceptionally well as both a disinfectant and sanitizer.
Cleaning mirrors and windows is as easy as adding a quarter-cup of white vinegar per quart of water. Add a few drops of liquid dish soap to the mixture if windows or mirrors are really dirty, but be very careful not to use any that contain harmful antibacterial substances.
Most people know that baking soda is an ideal means to absorb odors in your refrigerator, but did you know it’s also a real powerhouse when it comes to cleaning?
Half-a-Dozen Uses for Baking Soda
Here are half a dozen examples of how plain and simple baking soda can replace dangerous commercial cleaning products in your home:
- Use as a safe non-scratch scrub — for metals and porcelain.
- To clean your oven — simply sprinkle a cup or more of baking soda over the bottom of the oven, then cover the baking soda with enough water to make a thick paste. Let the mixture set overnight. The next morning the grease will be easy to wipe up because the grime will have loosened. When you have cleaned up the worst of the mess, dab a bit of liquid detergent or soap on a sponge, and wash the remaining residue from the oven.
- To unclog a drain — pour 1/2 – 1 cup of baking soda down the drain, then slowly pour 1/2 – 1 cup of vinegar in after it. Cover the drain and let it sit for 15 minutes. If it bubbles like a volcano, it means it’s working as planned. Flush with a gallon of boiling water.
- Deodorize dry carpets — by sprinkling liberally with baking soda. Wait at least 15 minutes, then vacuum.
- To rid your garbage disposal of foul smells — add vinegar to water for ice cubes, then let a few of them get chopped by your disposal.
- To clean your silver — boil 2-3 inches of water in a shallow pan with 1 teaspoon of salt, 1 teaspoon of baking soda, and a sheet of aluminum foil. Totally submerge silver and boil for 2-3 minutes more. Remove silver from the pan and wipe away the tarnish with a clean cotton cloth.
Genuine Green Products are Out There!
Dr. Bronner has long made a natural castile soap free of toxic chemicals. This is just one of many truly “green” products available to consumers who are discerning and want to avoid the glycol ethers and phthalates found in most cleaning and laundry products.
For the past four years I have been researching a safe alternative to conventional laundry detergents that are typically chocked full of perfumes, solvents and bleaches that don’t belong anywhere near your skin.
I am pleased to announce that I have been able to develop a product that cleans your clothes just as good as conventional laundry detergent, but uses plant and vegetable enzymes to get the job done.
Final Thoughts on Green Cleaners
Don’t be fooled by the marketing, or by ingredients that are purposely left off of labels.
The toxic chemicals listed above are found in a wide variety of everyday cleaners and detergents and pose a significant health risk. We are starting to see that now with increased and unexplained cancers, increased infertility and difficulty in reproduction, exploding neurological disorders, ADHD and autism in our children.
These diseases are thought by many to be linked to environmental causes. And many of the toxic ingredients in cleaning products are among the suspected culprits.
Remember, if you have trouble finding safe alternatives, there is nothing wrong with natural soap and water for cleaning most surfaces. It will take a little more elbow grease, and you’ll have to rinse the soap off, but the benefit of avoiding toxic chemicals far outweighs any extra effort you might have to put in.
Additionally, we are in the process of developing a full line of Greener Cleaners.
articles.mercola.com Internationally renowned natural health physician and Mercola.com founder Dr. Joseph Mercola discusses the research behind obesity, weight gain and a healthy diet with Gary Taubes, author of "Good Calories, Bad Calories" and "Why We Get Fat".
By Dr. Mercola
A new generation of insect larvae is eating the roots of genetically engineered corn intended to be resistant to such pests. The failure of Monsanto’s genetically modified Bt corn could be the most serious threat ever to a genetically modified crop in the U.S.
And the economic impact could be huge. Billions of dollars are at stake, as Bt corn accounts for 65 percent of all corn grown in the US.
The strain of corn, engineered to kill the larvae of beetles, such as the corn rootworm, contains a gene copied from an insect-killing bacterium called Bacillus thuringiensis, or Bt.
But even though a scientific advisory panel warned the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) that the threat of insects developing resistance was high, Monsanto argued that the steps necessary to prevent such an occurrence — which would have entailed less of the corn being planted — were an unnecessary precaution, and the EPA naively agreed.
“The scientists who called for caution now are saying ‘I told you so,’ because there are signs that a new strain of resistant rootworms is emerging…[A] committee of experts at the EPA is now recommending that biotech companies put into action, for the first time, a ‘remedial action plan’ aimed at stopping the spread of such resistant insects …
The EPA’s experts also are suggesting that the agency reconsider its approval of a new kind of rootworm-killing corn, which Monsanto calls SmartStax. This new version of Bt corn includes two different Bt genes that are supposed to kill the rootworm in different ways. This should help prevent resistance from emerging, and the EPA is allowing farmers to plant it on up to 95 percent of their corn acres. But if one of those genes is already compromised… such a high percentage of Bt corn could rapidly produce insects that are resistant to the second one, too.”
There can be little doubt that genetically engineered crops are the most dangerous aspect of modern agriculture. Not only are we seeing rapid emergence of super-weeds resistant to glyphosate, courtesy of Roundup Ready crops, we now also have evidence of emerging Bt-resistant insects. Add to that the emergence of a brand new organism capable of producing disease and infertility in both plants and animals, and a wide variety of evidence showing harm to human health, and the only reasonable expectation one can glean is that humanity as a whole is being seriously threatened by this foolhardy technology.
Bt Corn—a Most Dangerous Failure
Monsanto’s genetically modified “Bt corn” has been equipped with a gene from soil bacteria called Bt (Bacillus thuringiensis), which produces the Bt-toxin. It’s a pesticide that breaks open the stomach of certain insects and kills them.
This pesticide-producing corn entered the food supply in the late 1990′s, and over the past decade, the horror stories have started piling up. And the problem with Bt crops go far beyond the creation of Bt-resistant insects.
Monsanto and the EPA swore that the genetically engineered corn would only harm insects. The Bt-toxin produced inside the plant would be completely destroyed in the human digestive system and would not have any impact at all on consumers, they claimed. Alas, they’ve been proven wrong on that account as well, because not only is Bt corn producing resistant “super-pests,” researchers have also found that the Bt-toxin can indeed wreak havoc on human health.
Bt-Toxin Now Found in Many People’s Blood!
Last year, doctors at Sherbrooke University Hospital in Quebec found Bt-toxin in the blood of:
- 93 percent of pregnant women tested
- 80 percent of umbilical blood in their babies, and
- 67 percent of non-pregnant women
The study authors speculate that the Bt toxin was likely consumed in the normal diet of the Canadian middle class—which makes sense when you consider that genetically engineered corn is present in the vast majority of all processed foods and drinks in the form of high fructose corn syrup. They also suggest that the toxin may have come from eating meat from animals fed Bt corn, which most livestock raised in confined animal feeding operations (CAFO, or so-called “factory farms”) are.
These shocking results raise the frightening possibility that eating Bt corn might actually turn your intestinal flora into a sort of “living pesticide factory”… essentially manufacturing Bt-toxin from within your digestive system on a continuing basis.
If this hypothesis is correct, is it then also possible that the Bt-toxin might damage the integrity of your digestive tract in the same way it damages insects? Remember, the toxin actually ruptures the stomach of insects, causing them to die. The biotech industry has insisted that the Bt-toxin doesn’t bind or interact with the intestinal walls of mammals (which would include humans). But again, there are peer-reviewed published research showing that Bt-toxin does bind with mouse small intestines and with intestinal tissue from rhesus monkeys.
Bt-Toxin Linked to Allergies, Auto-Immune Disease, and More
If Bt genes are indeed capable of colonizing the bacteria living in the human digestive tract, scientists believe it could reasonably result in:
- Gastrointestinal problems
- Autoimmune diseases
- Food allergies
- Childhood learning disorders
And lo and behold, all of these health problems are indeed on the rise… The discovery of Bt-toxin in human blood is not proof positive of this link, but it certainly raises a warning flag. And there’s plenty of other evidence showing that the Bt-toxin produced in GM corn and cotton plants is toxic to humans and mammals and triggers immune system responses. For example, in government-sponsored research in Italy , mice fed Monsanto’s Bt corn showed a wide range of immune responses, such as:
- Elevated IgE and IgG antibodies, which are typically associated with allergies and infections
- An increase in cytokines, which are associated with allergic and inflammatory responses. The specific cytokines (interleukins) that were found to be elevated are also higher in humans who suffer from a wide range of disorders, from arthritis and inflammatory bowel disease, to MS and cancer
- Elevated T cells (gamma delta), which are increased in people with asthma, and in children with food allergies, juvenile arthritis, and connective tissue diseases.
Rats fed another of Monsanto’s Bt corn varieties called MON 863, also experienced an activation of their immune systems, showing higher numbers of basophils, lymphocytes, and white blood cells. These can indicate possible allergies, infections, toxins, and various disease states including cancer. There were also signs of liver- and kidney toxicity.
Topical versus Internal Toxins
Farmers have used Bt-toxin from soil bacteria as a natural pesticide for years, and biotech companies have therefore claimed that Bt-toxin has a “history of safe use in agriculture.” But there’s a huge difference between spraying it on plants, where it biodegrades in sunlight and can be carefully washed off, and genetically altering the plant to produce it internally.
Bt crops have the Bt-toxin gene built-in, so the toxin cannot be washed off. You simply cannot avoid consuming it. Furthermore, the plant-produced version of the poison is thousands of times more concentrated than the spray.
There are also peer-reviewed studies showing that natural Bt-toxin from soil bacteria is not a safe pesticide either:
- When natural Bt-toxin was fed to mice, they had tissue damage, immune responses as powerful as cholera toxin , and even started reacting to other foods that were formerly harmless.
- Farm workers exposed to Bt also showed immune responses .
- The EPA’s Bt Plant-Pesticides Risk and Benefits Assessment, created by their expert Scientific Advisory Panel, states that “Bt proteins could act as antigenic and allergenic sources.”
Do You Know what You’re Eating?
Did you know that two years ago, the American Academy of Environmental Medicine (AAEM) called on all physicians to prescribe diets without genetically modified (GM) foods to all patients?
They sure did, although few doctors seem to have gotten the memo. They also called for a moratorium on genetically modified organisms (GMOs), long-term independent studies, and labeling, stating:
“Several animal studies indicate serious health risks associated with GM food, including infertility, immune problems, accelerated aging, insulin regulation, and changes in major organs and the gastrointestinal system. …There is more than a casual association between GM foods and adverse health effects. There is causation…”
I couldn’t agree more. Avoiding genetically engineered foods should be at the top of everyone’s list—at least if you want a decent shot at optimal health.
The simplest way to avoid genetically engineered (GE) foods is to buy whole, certified organic foods. By definition, foods that are certified organic must never intentionally use GE ingredients, and must be produced without artificial pesticides or fertilizers. Animals must also be reared without the routine use of antibiotics, growth promoters or other drugs. Additionally, grass-fed beef will not have been fed GE corn feed.
You can also avoid genetically modified (GM) ingredients in processed foods, if you know what to look for. There are currently eight genetically modified food crops on the market:
Soy Sugar from sugar beets Corn Hawaiian papaya Cottonseed (used in vegetable cooking oils) Some varieties of zucchini Canola (canola oil) Crookneck squash
This means you should avoid products with corn, soy, canola, and any of their derivatives listed as an ingredient, unless it’s labeled USDA 100% Organic. As of late last year, this also includes sweet corn, as Monsanto introduced a brand new genetically engineered sweet corn called Seminis®, which contains not just one but TWO types of Bt-toxin, PLUS the Roundup Ready gene for weed control! So besides containing the insecticide, their toxic Roundup herbicide will also accumulate in the kernels.
Why We MUST Insist on Mandatory Labeling of GM Foods
Mandatory labeling may be the only way to stop the proliferation of GM foods in the U.S. because while GM seeds are banned in several European countries, in the U.S., certain states are actually passing legislation that protects the use of GM seeds and allows for unabated expansion! At present, no less than 14 states have passed such legislation. Michigan’s Senate Bill 777i, if passed, would make that 15. The Michigan bill would prevent anti-GMO laws, and would remove “any authority local governments may have to adopt and enforce ordinances that prohibit or regulate the labeling, sale, storage, transportation, distribution, use, or planting of agricultural, vegetable, flower or forest tree seeds.”
While legislation like this sounds like crazy nonsense to normal people, such bills are essentially bought and paid for through the millions of dollars Monsanto and other biotech companies spend lobbying the US government each year. In the first quarter of 2011 alone, Monsanto spent $1.4 million on lobbying the federal government — a drop from a year earlier, when they spent $2.5 million during the same quarter.
Their efforts of persuasion are also made infinitely easier by the fact that an ever growing list of former Monsanto employees are now in positions of power within the federal government.
Proof Positive that GMO Labeling WILL Change the Food Industry
Many don’t fully appreciate the strategy of seeking to have genetically engineered foods labeled in California. The belief is that large companies would refuse to have dual labeling; one for California and another for the rest of the country. It would be very expensive and a logistical nightmare. So rather than have two labels, they would simply not carry the product, especially if the new label would be the equivalent of a skull and crossbones. This is why we are so committed to this initiative as victory here will likely eliminate genetically engineered foods from the US.
Powerful confirmation of this belief occurred in early 2012 when both Coca-Cola Company and PepsiCo Inc. chose to alter one of their soda ingredients as a result of California’s labeling requirements for carcinogensii:
“Coca-Cola Co. and PepsiCo Inc. are changing the way they make the caramel coloring used in their sodas as a result of a California law that mandates drinks containing a certain level of carcinogens bear a cancer warning label. The companies said the changes will be expanded nationally to streamline their manufacturing processes. They’ve already been made for drinks sold in California.”
This is a PERFECT example of the national impact a California GMO labeling mandate can, and no doubt WILL, have. While California is the only state requiring the label to state that the product contains the offending ingredient, these companies are switching their formula for the entire US market, rather than have two different labels. According to USA Today:
“A representative for Coca-Cola, Diana Garza Ciarlante, said the company directed its caramel suppliers to modify their manufacturing processes to reduce the levels of the chemical 4-methylimidazole, which can be formed during the cooking process and as a result may be found in trace amounts in many foods. “While we believe that there is no public health risk that justifies any such change, we did ask our caramel suppliers to take this step so that our products would not be subject to the requirement of a scientifically unfounded warning,” Garza-Giarlante said in an email.”
To learn more about GM foods, I highly recommend the following films and lectures:
Important Action Item: Support California’s Ballot Initiative to Label GMO’s!
In 2007, then-Presidential candidate Obama promised to “immediately” require GM labeling if elected. So far, nothing of the sort has transpired.
Fortunately, 24 U.S. states have (as part of their state governance) something called the Initiative Process, where residents can bring to ballot any law they want enacted, as long as it has sufficient support. California has been busy organizing just such a ballot initiative to get mandatory labeling for genetically engineered foods sold in their state. The proposed law will be on the 2012 ballot.
Since California is the 8th largest economy in the world, a win for the California Initiative would be a huge step forward, and would affect ingredients and labeling nation-wide. A coalition of consumer, public health and environmental organizations, food companies, and individuals has submitted the California Right to Know Genetically Engineered Food Act to the State Attorney General. Now, they need 800,000 signatures to get the Act on this year’s ballot.
I urge you to get involved and help in any way you can. Be assured that what happens in California will affect the remainder of the U.S. states, so please support this important state initiative, even if you do not live there!
- Whether you live in California or not, please donate money to this historic effort
- Talk to organic producers and stores and ask them to actively support the California Ballot. It may be the only chance we have to label genetically engineered foods.
- Distribute WIDELY the Non-GMO Shopping Guide to help you identify and avoid foods with GMOs. Look for products (including organic products) that feature the Non-GMO Project Verified Seal to be sure that at-risk ingredients have been tested for GMO content. You can also download the free iPhone application that is available in the iTunes store. You can find it by searching for ShopNoGMO in the applications.
- For timely updates, please join the Organic Consumers Association on Facebook, or follow them on Twitter.
- Look for in-depth coverage of the issue at the Institute for Responsible Technology, subscribe to Spilling the Beans, and check out their Facebook or Twitter.
By Dr. Mercola
The debate over the dangers of fluoride has been ongoing for more than six decades. Study after study shows that fluoride is a dangerous, toxic poison that is ineffective at preventing dental decay.
Yet, even while it’s being dumped every day into U.S. municipal water systems, health officials that should know better are flooding the media with lies and propaganda singing the praises of fluoridation.
The video above exposes the zealous fluoridation promoters, their hidden agendas, and the harms that have come to people who have no choice in whether fluoride is added to their drinking water.
Top 10 Health Achievements of the 20th Century?
The following statement is often spouted as “proof” that water fluoridation is a panacea for oral health, but really it is an overused piece of propaganda:
“The CDC has stated that fluoridation is one of the top 10 public health achievements of the 20th century.”
The information behind this quote comes from 1999 issue of Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR), which includes fluoridation in a list of “Ten Great Public Health Achievements―1900-1999.”
The contents of MMWR are published entirely by staff of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC); it is often called “the voice of CDC.” None of the information it contains has been independently peer-reviewed, and MMWR does not publish any article or research that runs counter to CDC policy or positions.
The CDC is unabashed in their support for water fluoridation, even though their support is at odds with a now very large body of scientific evidence detailing the profound and detrimental impact of fluoride on multiple biological functions.
And in the case of the statement above, which is often used as authoritative “proof” that fluoride is to drinking water what gold is to the economy, it comes from material written by a dentist who had not published any papers on fluoride before, and an economist. Neither of them had any credentials in toxicology, which is what is required to accurately assess the dangers of this poison. It’s not surprising, though, considering the CDC’s water fluoridation stance has been controlled by dentists for over 35 years …
CDC’s Support for Water Fluoridation Based on Flimsy, Insufficient Data
Last April, the CDC responded to an FOIA request asking for the names and job descriptions of all parties at the CDC who have had input into the agency’s decision to support water fluoridation.i
As it turns out, ever since the mid-1970s, when fluoridation activities transferred from the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) to the CDC under the directorship of William Bock, dental health professionals have been the sole body of experts directing the agency’s stance on water fluoridation. Glaringly absent from this list are … well, any health expert outside the Oral Health Division. Apparently, no toxicologist has ever been directly involved in the decision process, nor any minority health professionals, or experts on internal medicine or diabetes, for example.
This flies in the face of what the agency claims, and what water-, health- and political leaders have believed about the way the CDC operates. Without these additional experts from other fields, can we reasonably believe that the agency has properly assessed the research on whole-body harm from fluoridation?
While the CDC officially claims that “extensive research conducted over the past 60 years has shown that fluoridation of public water supplies is safe and effective for all community residents,”ii this claim appears to have the flimsiest of foundations.
According to a 2006 report from the National Research Council,iii extensive amounts of research are inconclusive, or still missing and need to be conducted to evaluate the whole-body impact of fluoride …
Not only that, but their scientific review also identified research suggesting a variety of harmful effects, from skeletal fluorosis, bone fractures, and, potentially, even cancer. With that in mind, how can the CDC claim that “extensive research” has concluded water fluoridation is safe for ALL community residents, without differentiation between infants and adults, the sick or the healthy? Not to mention, how can the CDC accurately claim that water fluoridation is one of the top public health achievements of the last century?
Water Fluoridation Blamed on Communist Conspiracy
The other widely used propaganda piece noted in the video is from Stanley Kubrick’s 1964 film Dr. Strangelove. In the film, General Jack D. Ripper tries to stop a Communist conspiracy to harm Americans with fluoridated water, and at one point states:
“Do you realize that fluoridation is the most monstrously conceived and dangerous Communist plot we have ever had to face?”
Of course, water fluoridation was not a communist plot — it was started by the U.S. Public Health Service. But the film pokes fun at the John Birch Society, an extreme right wing group that happened to be anti-fluoridation. So, of course, anyone at the time who dared speak out against fluoridation was also ruled to be a fanatic, a radical or just a lunatic – even when they could point to legitimate science to back up their claims. This stigma has, unfortunately, stuck through the decades, although now the walls are beginning to crumble.
Fluoride Harms Go “Mainstream”
Earlier this year, the New Hampshire House of Representatives voted 253-23 in favor of mandating infant fluoride warnings on all water bills in fluoridated communities (the bill will now go to the Senate). According to the text of the bill, the warning would read, in part:
“According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, if your child under the age of 6 months is exclusively consuming infant formula reconstituted with fluoridated water, there may be an increased chance of dental fluorosis.”
But dental fluorosis is not “just cosmetic.” It can also be an indication that other tissues, such as your bones and internal organs, including your brain, have been overexposed to fluoride as well. There are more than 100 published studies illustrating fluoride’s harm to the brain,iv plus 25 published studies directly linking fluoride exposure to reduced IQ in children! Fluoride is a toxic agent that is biologically active in the human body where it accumulates in sensitive tissues over time, wreaks havoc with enzymes and produces a number of serious adverse health effects—including neurological and endocrine dysfunctions.
Adding insult to injury, even promoters of fluoridation now admit that fluoride’s predominant action is on the surface of the tooth (although even this is now questionable) and not from inside the body – so why are so many Americans still being forced to swallow it? Swallowing fluoride provides little or no benefit to your teeth!
Even China does NOT allow water fluoridation because it’s too toxic and causes damage, according to their studies. Instead, the waste product from their phosphate fertilizer industry is shipped to the United States, where we add it to our water supply! This is a very important point: the fluoride added to your water is NOT even pharmaceutical grade.
It’s a toxic industrial waste product, which is also contaminated with lead, arsenic, radionucleotides, aluminum and other industrial contaminants. The story gets even more convoluted, as now declassified files of the Manhattan Project and the Atomic Energy Commission show that the original motivation for promoting fluoride and water fluoridation in the United States was to protect the bomb-, aluminum-, and other fluoride-polluting industries from liability. In the early days some of the sodium fluoride used to fluoridate water supplies in the U.S. came from Alcoa.
A couple of years later, they switched to the even more hazardous waste product hydrofluorosilicic acid from the phosphate fertilizer industry. But none of the studies on fluoride actually used the far more toxic and contaminated hydrofluorosilicic acid that is presently added to the water supply. Rather, they use pharmaceutical-grade fluoride, which while harmful, is not quite as bad as what’s being used for water fluoridation. So, the health hazards are likely FAR worse than any study has so far discerned.
Unethical, Ineffective, Toxic and Compulsory: Are You Angry Yet?
I recently interviewed Jeff Green, who has been an activist in the movement to eliminate toxic fluoride from your water supply for the past 15 years. One element he addressed is that many of us who are first exposed to issues such as this enter into a world of anger at injustice, where we see the problem so passionately and so clearly that we carry the burden of truth and are in a hurry to tell others to set it right, viewing anyone who does not immediately agree with our view as opposition that must be overwhelmed with facts and a list of “shoulds.”
In this state we look angry, and are easily characterized as a zealot, probably because we are. Asking someone without our passion to join us may not be that inviting.
Should we expect that this would be any different when speaking to authorities and asking them to act? If you are able to suspend your anger at injustice, able to switch your focus from stating the problem to addressing solutions, there are avenues available. If you would like to elevate your discussions from the argumentative “he said, she said” to letting the facts declare themselves, and you are in a position of authority from which you can champion the performance of due diligence, contact us for access to guidance and further information.
If you are capable of being an advocate of safe drinking water and would like to assist in identifying a champion for due diligence in your community, contact us for approaches and further information.
What You Can Do TODAY!
The Fluoride Action Network has a game plan to END water fluoridation in both Canada and the United States. Our fluoride initiative will primarily focus on Canada since 60 percent of Canada is already non-fluoridated. If we can get Calgary and the rest of Canada to stop fluoridating their water, we believe the U.S. will be forced to follow.
Please, join the anti-fluoride movement in Canada and United States by contacting the representative for your area below.
Contact Information for Canadian Communities:
Contact Information for American Communities:
We’re also going to address three U.S. communities: New York City, Austin, and San Diego:
- New York City, NY: The anti-fluoridation movement has a great champion in New York City councilor Peter Vallone, Jr. who introduced legislation “prohibiting the addition of fluoride to the water supply.” A victory there could signal the beginning of the end of fluoridation in the U.S.
If you live in the New York area I implore you to participate in this effort as your contribution could have a MAJOR difference. Remember that one person can make a difference.
The point person for this area is Carol Kopf, at the New York Coalition Opposed to Fluoridation (NYSCOF). Email her at NYSCOF@aol.com. Please contact her if you’re interested in helping with this effort.
- Austin, Texas: Join the effort by contacting Rae Nadler-Olenick at either: email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org, or by regular mail or telephone:
Austin, Texas 78713
Phone: (512) 371-3786
- San Diego, California: Contact Patty Ducey-Brooks, publisher of the Presidio Sentinel at email@example.com.
In addition, you can:
- Make a tax-deductible donation to the Fluoride Action Network, to help them fight for your rights to fluoride-free food and water.
- Check out FAN’s Action Page, as they are working on multiple fronts to rid our food and water supplies of fluoride.
- For timely updates, join the Fluoride Action Network Facebook page.
- i CDC responds to FOIA request, April 2011
- ii Department of Health and Human Services, CDC, Frequently Asked Questions: Tooth Decay and Fluoride
- iii National Research Council Fluoride in Drinking Water: A Scientific Review of EPA’s Standards 2006
- iv The Case Against Fluoride, Endnotes
To watch the free belly fat videos, click here: funpal.org According to Dr. Joseph Mercola, there are several things that we can do to lose belly fat. The first is that we reduce our consumption of fructose (and high fructose corn syrup) to fewer than 25 grams per day. Fructose typically throws-off our bodies natural hormone balance, which typically leads to weight gain. In fact, there are many who would argue that hormone imbalance is the number one cause of obesity. Dr. Mercola also says that we should eliminate trans fats from our diet, which are not only unhealthy for us but they are also more likely to be stored as body fat. Instead, Dr. Mercola encourages us to replace these trans fats with healthy fats like coconut oil and grass-fed butter. (I personally try to buy raw butter from grass-fed cows whenever I can find it). Lastly, Dr. Mercola also encourages us to remove all gluten from your diet. Most people do not tolerate gluten very well, and it can also damage our thyroid which can lead to rapid weight gain. Source: articles.mercola.com Video Title: Dr. Mercola’s Diet Tips for Losing Belly Fat YouTube URL: www.youtube.com
By Dr. Mercola
About one-third of Americans are considered obese, but the latest data shows that when other methods of measuring obesity, such as body fat percentage, are factored in with body-mass index (BMI), that number may be closer to 60 percent.i
As rates of overweight and obesity continue to climb, so has the use of weight loss surgery, which has increased 10-fold since 2000.ii
In the short-term, weight loss surgeries may produce greater weight loss compared to lifestyle modification alone, but they have many negative long-term health consequences, including a significant risk of premature death.
Now researchers are looking into another type of bariatric surgery, which they say not only helps you lose weight and lowers your risk of obesity-related diseases, but does so with fewer side effects than the more common weight loss surgeries like gastric banding and bypass — but is this really a wise solution?
Is This Hot Pepper Ingredient the Future of Weight Loss?
Capsaicin, the substance that makes chili peppers spicy, was the “secret weapon” used by a team of researchers from Brigham and Women’s Hospital. Their animal study involved two surgeries:
- Vagotomy: The surgical cutting of your vagus nerve, the tenth cranial nerve that runs from your brain stem down to your abdomen. The vagus nerve is the primary route your gut bacteria use to transmit information to your brain, and it plays a role in appetite stimulating brain hormones like ghrelin.
Past research has shown an average of 18 percent weight loss following the procedure, with few serious side effects.iii However, a commentary in Digestive Diseases and Sciences notes that the procedure may result in “gastric stasis and ”dumping” of food from the stomach to the intestine, causing unpleasant sensations, including nausea.”iv In the current study, researchers noted the procedure significantly reduced total body fat and visceral abdominal fat.v
- Vagal de-afferentation: Rather than severing the vagus nerve completely, researchers used capsaicin to selectively destroy nerve fibers that transmit information from the gut to the brain. This procedure reportedly has fewer side effects than vagotomy, but it had a less significant impact on weight loss. That said, researchers still noted that this procedure had a “remarkable” impact on weight.
“Truncal vagotomy led to significant reductions in both diet-induced weight gain and visceral abdominal fat deposition. Vagal de-afferentation led to a more modest, but clinically and statistically significant, reduction in visceral abdominal fat. As increased visceral abdominal fat is associated with excess morbidity and mortality, vagal de-afferentation may be a useful adjunct in bariatric surgery.”
Should You Destroy Your Vagus Nerve to Lose Weight?
It may sound tempting to opt for a minimally invasive procedure that may help you lose weight, including dangerous visceral fat, but the long-term effects of this procedure are very much unknown. Severing your vagus nerve, or even selectively destroying nerve fibers that transmit signals from your gut to your brain (while leaving those that transmit from your brain to your gut intact), could have serious long-term implications on your health.
Recent research shows that beneficial bacteria in your gut have a direct effect on brain chemistry, transmitting mood- and behavior-regulating signals to your brain via the vagus nerve.
For instance, the probiotic Lactobacillus rhamnosus was found to have a marked effect on GABA levels in certain brain regions and lowered the stress-induced hormone corticosterone, resulting in reduced anxiety- and depression-related behavior … this is but one pathway that might be severed using vagotomy or even vagal de-afferentation, with unknown consequences.
Using capsaicin as a surgical tool to destroy nerve fibers seems like a drastic and potentially dangerous step, particularly when there are so many other weight loss options available – including adding capsaicin to your diet instead.
The Potential of Thermogenic Foods for Weight Loss
It turns out capsaicin may be effective when added to your diet, as opposed to your surgery! Studies have shown the substance may help fight obesity by decreasing calorie intake, shrinking fat tissue, and lowering blood fat levels, as well as fight fat buildup by triggering beneficial protein changes in your body.vii Again, this was when capsaicin was used as a dietary addition … with no surgery required.
Part of the benefit may be due to capsaicin’s heat potential, as it is a thermogenic substance that may temporarily increase thermogenesis in your body, where your body burns fuel such as fat to create heat, with beneficial impacts on your metabolism and fat-burning potential. Research suggests that consuming thermogenic ingredients may boost your metabolism by up to 5 percent, and increase fat burning by up to 16 percent.viii It may even help counteract the decrease in metabolic rate that often occurs during weight loss.
Capsaicin is only one example of a thermogenic substance. Others include turmeric (curcumin), caffeine and different teas such as green, white and oolong tea. One study even found that a combination of capsaicin and green tea helped suppress hunger and improved feelings of satiety.ix
Before You Go Under the Knife – Do This First
If you’re significantly overweight, you may feel you’d be willing to do anything to get the weight off, even resorting to surgery. But you have to understand that nearly 40 percent of patients who undergo weight loss surgery experience major complications, including loss of limbs, liver failure, malnutrition and even death.
Many weight loss centers will also require that you make lifestyle changes, such as exercise after the surgery, and prior to the surgery that you stop smoking, drinking soda and eating fast food. Many will also require you to lose weight prior to the surgery!
If you can lose weight for that, you can continue on and reach a healthy goal weight without any type of medical intervention whatsoever. Since success depends on your ability to modify your behavior anyway, why not simply modify your behavior without going through the surgical procedure and taking all those health risks? At the very least, before you decide that weight loss surgery is your only option, use this dietary strategy that is remarkably effective for weight loss:
Strictly limit your fructose consumption!
If you are serious about losing weight, you have got to strictly limit the amount of fructose in your diet, as evidence is mounting that excess sugar, and fructose in particular, is the primary driving factor in the obesity epidemic. So cutting soda from your diet is essential, as is limiting fructose found in processed foods, fruit juice, excessive fruit and so-called “healthy” sweeteners like agave.
Ideally you should keep your total fructose consumption below 25 grams per day and this includes fruits. This is especially true if you have insulin resistance and are overweight, have high blood pressure, diabetes or high cholesterol.
In addition to eliminating or severely limiting fructose, it will be vital to eliminate all grains and milk (even raw) in your diet. Milk has a sugar called lactose, which has been shown to increase insulin resistance so it will be wise to avoid it if you are seeking to lose weight. Refined carbohydrates like breakfast cereals, bagels, waffles, pretzels, and most other processed foods also quickly break down to sugar, increase your insulin levels, and cause insulin resistance, which is the number one underlying factor of nearly every chronic disease and condition known to man, including weight gain.
As you cut these dietary troublemakers from your meals, you need to replace them with healthy substitutes like vegetables and healthy fats (including natural saturated fats!). Your body prefers the carbohydrates in vegetables rather than grains and sugars because it slows the conversion to simple sugars like glucose, and decreases your insulin level. When you cut grains and sugar from your meals, you typically will need to radically increase the amount of vegetables you eat, as well as make sure you are also consuming protein and healthy fats regularly.
I’ve detailed a step-by-step guide to this type of healthy eating program in my comprehensive nutrition plan, and I urge you to consult this guide if you are trying to lose weight, and especially if you are considering any form of weight loss surgery. The foods you choose to eat will be the driving force behind successfully achieving your weight loss goals — high-intensity, short-burst-type exercises, such as my Peak Fitness Program, two to three times per week, combined with a comprehensive fitness plan, is important too, but be sure you’re targeting your diet as a primary weight loss tool.
- i PLoS One. 2012;7(4):e33308. Epub 2012 Apr 2.
- ii BMJ August 26, 2010 Aug 26;341:c4296
- iii USA Today July 2, 2007
- iv Digestive Diseases and Sciences Volume 57, Number 5 (2012), 1115-1117
- v Digestive Diseases and Sciences Volume 57, Number 5 (2012), 1281-1290
- vi Digestive Diseases and Sciences Volume 57, Number 5 (2012), 1281-1290
- vii J Proteome Res. 2010 Jun 4;9(6):2977-87.
- viii Int J Obes (Lond). 2010 Apr;34(4):659-69. Epub 2010 Feb 9.
- ix Clin Nutr. 2009 Jun;28(3):260-5. Epub 2009 Apr 3.
By Dr. Mercola
What do restaurant menus, hands-free faucets, ATM machines and your physician’s scrubs have in common? They are all among the “germiest” objects on Earth.
As much as you might like to give the gold medal to toilet seats when it comes to squeamishly germ-ridden locations, science suggests there are much “germier” places that you’re probably frequenting daily.
For example, one study found that each key on an ATM keypad harbors 1,200 germs, including E. coli and cold and flu viruses. The worst button is the “Enter” button, because everyone has to touch it. Flu viruses can survive on hard surfaces such as restaurant menus for as long as 18 hours, according to an article in Mental Flossi. Some of the other dirtiest places and objects might surprise you:
- Restaurant Condiment
- Toy Stores
- Hotel Bedspreads and Pillows
- Light Switches
- Drinking Fountains
- Wet laundry—after it’s been washed
- Escalator Handrails
- Shopping Cart Handles
Hospitals are Some of the Germiest Places on Earth
When you see hospital staff in bright, cheerfully colored scrubs and crisp white lab coats, do you think bacteria? That’s exactly what you should think, considering the findings of several recent studies that show hospitals are not the safe, clean environments we’d like them to be.
- A study published in 2011 in the American Journal of Infection Controlii found that more than 60 percent of healthcare workers’ uniforms tested positive for potentially dangerous bacteria, including germs that cause pneumonia, bloodstream infections and drug-resistant infections such as MRSA. The samples were obtained from the sleeves, waists, and pockets of 75 registered nurses and 60 physicians at a busy university-based hospital. Eleven percent of the bugs were resistant to multiple front-line antibiotics. This study suggests healthcare workers’ attire may be one surprising route by which pathogenic bacteria are transmitted from staff to patients.
- Another 2011 studyiii found pathogenic bacteria—including MRSA—on the privacy curtains that separate care spaces in hospitals and clinics.
- A 2009 studyiv showed that pathogenic microorganisms can even survive on the paper commonly used in clinical settings—so the penicillin script your physician hands you may come with its own colony of dangerous bacteria
- A 2009 studyv of U.K. nursing homes found 24 percent of residents and seven percent of staff were colonized with MRSA, which means they were carrying the bacteria on their skin (and lab coats) but not showing signs of infection.
Rates of MRSA in health care settings have been climbing steadily. Statistically, six out of seven people infected with MRSA contract it at a healthcare facility, where the infection shows up in surgical wounds or around feeding tubes, catheters or other invasive devicesvi. However, these “super bugs” are no longer originating only in healthcare facilities. The bacteria are constantly adapting, and now they are being found in livestock that ends up on your dinner plate.
The “Farming” of Super Bugs
Today, as much as 70 percent of all antibiotic use in the United States takes place at concentrated animal feedlot operations (CAFOs), and these factory-scale farms are now brewing a novel strain of MRSA. CAFO animals are often fed antibiotics at low doses to prevent disease and promote growth.
MRSA, short for “Methicillin Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus,” is a very dangerous strain of staph bacteria that has developed resistance to the broad-spectrum antibiotics commonly used to treat it (methicillin, penicillin, oxacillin, amoxicillin, etc.). Initially, these “super bugs” were coming exclusively from hospital environments, but they’ve now adapted and spread to other public settings, such as schools, gyms, and locker rooms. And now a new strain has appeared in livestock animals as a direct result of antibiotic overuse.
Experts are concerned this new MRSA strain in livestock could begin to infect humans all over the globe.
Realizing that antibiotics abuse threatens public health, the U.S. FDA plans to issue new regulations for the use of antibiotics in the livestock industry by requiring a veterinarian’s prescription before antibiotics can be given.vii
Other countries have also realized the inherent hazards of antibiotic overuse and have opted for a healthier approach to the raising of livestock. For example, Denmark stopped the widespread use of antibiotics in their pork industry 12 years ago. After they implemented the antibiotic ban, a Danish study later confirmed that Denmark had drastically reduced antibiotic-resistant bacteria in their animals and food. This is one reason why I feel it’s so important to support smaller, local farms that raise livestock and poultry without antibiotics, on pastures where the animals graze on natural grasses, as opposed to confined to buildings and fed grains.
Bad Bugs, Bad Bugs… Whatchya Gonna Do?
As hard as you might try, you simply can’t outrun or outsmart the microbes. They’re literally everywhere, including all over you as you read this right now. We are their reproductive vectors–they ride around on us and hop from person to person, using us like an interpersonal railway system. Knowing this, how do you live your life without fearing an attack from every mustard bottle or stationary bike handle you come across?
Relax. You don’t have to worry, as long as your immune system is in good shape.
We have shared our lives with the microbial world for many thousands of years, and we will probably do so for millions more. If your defenses are strong, your body will be pretty successful in fighting off invaders. It’s only when your immune system is compromised that you’re more likely to become ill.
And many of these microorganisms are beneficial—even the pathological ones. Some microbial exposure actually makes you stronger by “training” your immune system to react appropriately, especially when the exposure occurs in childhood. This concept is known as the “hygiene hypothesis.“
There is evidence that our modern germophobic culture, with hand sanitizers on every shelf, is counterproductive to good health. Science has found that overly sterile environments are linked with higher rates of depression, increased inflammation, heart disease, asthma, allergies, and eczema. That said, some of today’s pathogens are quite a bit more dangerous than those present a century ago, so taking some reasonable precautions is advisable. One of the simplest and most effective preventative measures is proper hand washing.
Your Number ONE Defense Against Germs: Proper Hand Washing
Getting back to basics is often the best advice, and that definitely applies here. Good old-fashioned hand washing with plain soap and water is one of the oldest and most powerful antibacterial treatments there is; no harsh disinfectants or antimicrobial soaps required. To make sure you’re actually removing the germs when you wash your hands, follow these guidelines:
1. Use warm water 2. Use a mild non-antibacterial soap 3. Work up a good lather, all the way up to your wrists, for at least 10 or 15 seconds 4. Make sure you cover all surfaces, including the backs of your hands, wrists, between your fingers, and around and below your fingernails 5. Rinse thoroughly under running water 6. In public places, use a paper towel to open the door as a protection from germs that the handles may harbor
Also remember that your skin is your primary defense against bacteria—not the soap. So resist the urge to become obsessive about washing your hands. Washing too vigorously or too frequently can extract many of the protective oils in your skin, causing it to crack and potentially even bleed, providing germs a point of entry into your body where they can do harm. So mild to moderate washing is really all you need.
AVOID Anti-Bacterial Soaps
You should especially avoid the use of antibacterial soaps and wipes, especially those containing triclosan and triclocarban, chemicals that can worsen the problem of bacterial resistance. There is also recent evidence that triclosan may disrupt your hormone balance. If you wish to use a hand sanitizer, make sure it’s made with safe plant-based ingredients such as rice bran extract, aloe vera, chamomile and tea tree oil, rather than the chemical agents you typically find. Now that you’ve taken care of your outer defenses, you should pay some attention to your inner defenses—your immune system.
My Basic Recipe for Building a Strong Immune System
Maintaining a strong immune system requires following the basic tenets of good health. There is no magic bullet. Staying healthy, or regaining your health, requires some diligence in making good choices about nutrition, exercise, sleep and the rest, over the long term. Good health habits will minimize your risk of getting sick from ANY cause.
Manage your stress; science has proven that stress and unresolved emotional issues have lingering adverse effects on your health Optimize your vitamin D level with exposure to sunlight or a safe tanning bed; if this isn’t possible, take an oral vitamin D supplement Drink plenty of clean water Eat foods that are best for your body, according to my Nutrition Plan Optimize your insulin and leptin levels Avoid excess sugar (especially fructose) and grain consumption Avoid processed foods, chemical additives, artificial sweeteners, MSG, and all genetically modified ingredients Consider taking a high-quality probiotic supplement, as your gastrointestinal system is an important part of your immune system Exercise three to five times a week Get plenty of restorative sleep every night
- i Mental Floss January 11, 2012
- ii Am J Infection Control September 2011
- iii Am J Infection Control April 2011
- iv AJN December 2011
- v Journal of the American Geriatrics Society April 2009
- vi Seattle Times
- vii MNN April 12, 2012
To watch the belly fat videos, click here: funpal.org Sadly, agave nectar is extremely high in fructose (sugar) which will almost certainly cause you to gain extra body fat. As a matter of fact, agave nectar contains more fructose than high fructose corn syrup does! Unfortunately, eating fructose will throw off our body’s hormonal balance, which leads to weight gain and other health problems. Dr. Joseph Mercola recommends that you eat no more than 25 grams of fructose each day — and if you are consuming agave nectar on a regular basis, you will almost certainly blast right through this number! If you are looking for a sensible alternative to agave nectar, I would recommend that you use berries or stevia in its place. Berries can be added to most solid foods such as pancakes while stevia is great to add to beverages like herbal tea. Source: www.westonaprice.org Video Title: Eat Agave Nectar to Lose Belly Fat? YouTube URL: www.youtube.com