Hundreds of veterans at risk of HIV and hepatitis after VA dentist failed to follow sanitation procedures
(NaturalNews) Going to the dentist is rarely a pleasant experience, but it has taken on a whole new level of horror for almost 600 veterans who recently learned that they need to get tested for blood-borne diseases, after their dentist was caught using poor sanitation procedures. The dentist in question started working at the Veterans...
Join the Natural News uncensored social media network and escape Facebook's communist-style censorship
(NaturalNews) With Facebook announcing it’s going to suppress independent media stories and showcase “favored publishers” such as fake news fabrication rags like the Washington Post and CNN, it’s time for all Facebook fans of Natural News to switch over to our uncensored social media network. Found at SHARE.NaturalNews.com, our social media network is based on...
Kellogg's found to have financial ties to the money man for cop-killing left-wing HATE groups: George Soros
(NaturalNews) Kellogg’s found to have financial ties to the money man for cop-killing left-wing HATE groups: George Soros – NaturalNews.com When you buy Kellogg’s products, you may be funneling money into the kind of hate-based operations associated with people who advocate killing cops in America. A Breitbart.com investigation found that “W.K. Kellogg Foundation has partnered...
Japan hopes to get elderly drivers off the road by bribing them with ramen noodles
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Boycott of Kellogg's, maker of processed junk foods made with GMOs, expands to massive reader base of Breitbart.com
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Acetaminophen, supplements and other medications may trigger drug-induced liver injury
More than 1,000 medications, with acetaminophen being the most common, have been associated with drug-induced liver injury (DILI). A new article discusses the clinical impact of DILI and reviews the medications that most frequently cause it.
Kratom may have medical benefit as opioid alternative
A delayed U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration ban on kratom would stifle scientific understanding of the herb's active chemical components and documented pharmacologic properties if implemented, according to a new report.
Cellular starvation kills treatment-resistant breast cancer
Cancer rewires the metabolism of tumor cells, converting them into lean, mean, replicating machines. But like Olympic athletes who rely on special diets to perform, tumor cells? amped-up metabolism can also make them dependent on specific nutrients for survival. In a new study, scientists report that cells from a vicious and treatment-resistant form of breast cancer die off rapidly when deprived of a key nutrient called cystine.
It wasn?t long ago, relatively speaking, that humans woke and slept along with the rise and setting of the sun.
While the invention of modern artificial lighting has allowed us to be productive 24 hours a day, even in what would otherwise be the black of night, our bodies have not adapted to this onslaught of light when it should be dark.
Humans have long existed with the glow of firelight, and its corresponding yellow, orange and red wavelengths do not appear to have the detrimental effects (such as suppression of melatonin production) of other wavelengths of light, like white and blue.
Blue light, which is prevalent when the sun is bright and overhead, is particularly problematic. Photoreceptors, or light-sensitive cells, in your eyes track blue light, which in turn triggers different processes in your suprachiasmatic nucleus, a small region in your brain?s hypothalamus.
Among them is relaying to your pineal gland the news that when there is a lot of blue light, the production of melatonin should stop to facilitate wakefulness. As the sun sets and blue light decreases, production of melatonin increases, which helps you fall asleep.
The Introduction of Blue LED Lights
We?re in the midst of an unprecedented light experiment not only because of the widespread use of artificial light in general but also because over the past 20 years powerful blue LED (light-emitting diode) lights have been added to electronics like smartphones, computers and flat-screen TVs.
LED lights are rapidly replacing earlier lighting technology, including incandescent bulbs and compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs). There?s good reason for this, as LEDs are far more energy efficient, longer-lasting and produce excellent light quality compared to other types of lighting.
According to the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), LED lights use at least 75 percent less energy, while lasting 25 times longer, than incandescent lighting.1
It?s estimated that, compared to no LED use, widespread LED use in the U.S. by 2027 could save the equivalent electrical output of 44 large electric power plants each year, which would add up to a total of at least $30 billion in savings, according to DOE.2 LEDs are different from incandescent bulbs in three key ways:
They emit very little heat compared to incandescent bulbs and CFLs, which release 90 percent and 80 percent of their energy as heat, respectively
LEDs emit light in a specific direction, which makes them very efficient and reduces the need for reflectors and diffusers
LEDs contain a mix of red, green and blue light, which are usually combined to make white light;3 the light is brighter, whiter and bluer than incandescent bulbs, which contain far more yellow and red light
The ?white? LED light is so bright and energy efficient that about 10 percent of U.S. municipalities are now using it for their streetlights, with more expected to follow suit.4 Unfortunately, in making these changes a new set of potential problems has emerged.
Blue LED-Lit Screens Confuse Your Brain
When your brain ?sees? blue light at night, the mixed message can add up to serious health issues, and widespread ones at that, since a National Sleep Foundation (NSF) survey found that nearly everyone who responded used a television, computer, cell phone or other electronic device within one hour of going to bed at least a few nights each week.5
In 2011, for instance, researchers found that evening exposure to LED-backlit computer screens affect circadian physiology. Among 13 young men, exposure to five hours of an LED-lit screen at night significantly suppressed melatonin production along with sleepiness.6
Separate research revealed ?blue light from light-emitting diodes elicits a dose-dependent suppression of melatonin in humans.?7
Looking at a tablet for even two hours in the evening is enough to suppress your body?s natural nighttime rise of this hormone,8 while bumping it up to four hours leads to reduced feelings of sleepiness, increased time to fall asleep (by about 10 minutes) and lower quality sleep compared to those who read paper books for the same period.
Even driving home in an LED-lit area may throw your body clock off kilter. At the 2016 Annual Meeting of the American Medical Association (AMA), the AMA issued new guidance for communities on how to ?reduce the harmful human and environmental effects of high-intensity [LED] street lighting.?9
The AMA noted white LED lights ?have a five times greater impact? on circadian sleep rhythms than conventional street lamps. This in turn, may lead to problems with sleep and related conditions.
AMA Board Member Dr. Maya A. Babu said in a news release, "Despite the energy efficiency benefits, some LED lights are harmful when used as street lighting.?10 She cited ?recent large surveys? that found brighter nighttime light in communities is linked with:
Reduced sleep times
Dissatisfaction with sleep quality
Impaired daytime functioning
LED Lights May Harm Your Vision, Endocrine System and More
There are major downsides to LEDs that are not fully appreciated, even beyond their effects on sleep.
In the interview above, Dr. Alexander Wunsch, a world class expert on photobiology, shares the hidden dangers of LED lighting, including that it may actually be one of the most important, non-native EMF radiation exposures you're exposed to on a daily basis.
If you choose to ignore these new insights, it can have very serious long-term ramifications. It could lead to age-related macular degeneration (AMD), which is the leading cause of blindness among the elderly in the U.S.
"Blue has the highest energy in the visible part of the spectrum and produces, infuses, the production of ROS, of oxidative stress. The blue light causes ROS in your tissue, and this stress needs to be balanced with near-infrared that is not present in LEDs.
We need even more regeneration from blue light, but the regenerative part of the spectrum is not found in the blue, in the short wavelength, part. It's found in the long wavelength part, in the red and the near-infrared.
So tissue regeneration and tissue repair results from the wavelengths that are not present in an LED spectrum.
We have increased stress on the short wavelength part and we have reduced regeneration and repair on the long wavelength part. This is the primary problem ? [W]e don't have this kind of light quality in nature. This has consequences. The stress has consequences in the retina; it has consequences in our endocrine system."
How to Make Digital Screens Healthier
When it comes to computer screens, Wunsch suggests reducing the correlated color temperature down to 2,700 K ? even during the day, not just at night. Many use f.lux to do this, but I have a great surprise for you as I have found a FAR better alternative that was created by Daniel, a 22 year old Bulgarian programmer that Ben Greenfield introduced to me.
He is one of the rare people that already knew most of the information in this article. So he was using f.lux but was very frustrated with the controls. He attempted to contact them but they never got back to him. So he created a massively superior alternative called Iris. It is free, but you'll want to pay the $2 and reward Daniel with the donation. You can purchase the $2 Iris software here.OLED screen technology is another development that may be better than conventional screens.
"[With] the OLEDs technology, I'm not sure if the color is really stable in every angle you can look at the display," Wunsch says. "But definitely, if you have the screen technology where black is really black, then you have less radiation coming into your eyes and the OLEDs technology is able to provide this.
So the high contrasts between the black and white, all the black areas in the thin-film-transistor (TFT) screen or the standard screen are not really black. They are also emitting shortwave radiation. The OLED screen only emits where you see light, where there is black on the screen, there is no light. This might be preferable as long as you have no problems with the [viewing] angle."
To Protect Your Health and Vision, Stick to Incandescent Lights
LEDs are a perfect example of how we're sabotaging our health with otherwise useful technology. However, with knowledge, we can proactively prevent the harm from occurring. In summary, we really need to limit our exposure to blue light, both during the daytime and at night. So for nighttime use, swap out your LEDs for clear bulb incandescents, or low-voltage incandescent halogen lights that are run on DC power.
I also strongly recommend using blue-blocking glasses after sundown, even if you use incandescent light bulbs. Without these modifications, the excessive blue light from LEDs and electronic screens will trigger your body to overproduce ROS and decrease production of melatonin, both in your pineal gland and your retina, the latter of which will prevent repair and regeneration, thereby speeding up the degeneration of your eyesight.
"One thing to emphasize again, it's not the blue light coming from the sun itself which we should be concerned about. It's the blue light, the singular high energy visual light (HEV), which comes from cold energy-efficient non-thermal light sources. This is what causes the problem, not the blue light which comes together with longer wavelengths in a kind of natural cocktail that has the beneficial near-infrared spectrum ?
The light surrogates from non-thermal light sources, these are [what cause] problems, and you have to be clever to avoid these Trojan horses. If you want to make it [safe], stay with the candles, stay with the incandescents," Wunsch says.
Another Healthy Light Alternative
Candles are even a better light source than incandescent bulbs, as there is no electricity involved and is the light that our ancestors have used for many millennia so our bodies are already adapted to it. The only problem is that you need to be very careful about using just any old candle as most are toxic.
As you may or may not know, many candles available today are riddled with toxins, especially paraffin candles. Did you know that paraffin is a petroleum by-product created when crude oil is refined into gasoline? Further, a number of known carcinogens and toxins are added to the paraffin to increase burn stability, not including the potential for lead added to wicks, and soot invading your lungs.
To complicate matters, a lot of candles, both paraffin and soy, are corrupted with toxic dyes and fragrances; some soy candles are only partially soy with many other additives and/or use GMO soy. There seems to be a strange mind-set that exposure to small amounts of toxins is OK, even though the exposure is exponential over time!
The soy is non-GMO, is clean burning without harmful fumes or soot, is grown in the U.S. and is both sustainable and renewable. Also, my candles are completely free of dyes. The soy in these candles is not tested on animals, is free of herbicides and pesticides.
It's also kosher, 100 percent natural and biodegradable. All of my fragrances are body safe, phthalate- and paraben-free, and contain no California prop 65 ingredients. The wicks are simply flat braided cotton coated in a natural vegetable wax and self-trimming, which reduces carbon build up.
Enjoying a Circle of Life Farms naturally good soy candle and following the simple burn instructions ? located inside the candle lid ? will give approximately 70+ hours of burn time. Every candle is hand-poured with love for you to enjoy a cooler, cleaner burn, all while being kind to the both the environment and yourself.
You can search online healthy candles, but if you like, you can use the ones I found at www.circleoflifefarms.com. This is not an affiliate link and I earn no commissions on these candles; I just thought you might benefit from the ones I now use in my home
A golden-yellow oil (a pale-green color if you look closer) with a faintly pleasant odor,1 borage oil is derived from borage (borago officinalis) or ?starflower,? a wildflower from the Boraginaceae family.
Borage is an annual herb that?s native to Syria but now grows throughout North Africa, the Middle East, Europe, South America, and many Mediterranean regions.2 It?s identified by its bright blue, star-shaped flowers, ferny leaves covered in prickly white hair and cucumber-like fruit.
Borage is also called the ?bee plant? and ?bee bread,? because its bright flowers attract bees all summer long.3
There are many speculations on where the name ?borage? came from. Some say its Latin name ?borago? comes from words ?cor? or ?heart? and ?ago? or ?I bring,? meaning ?one that brings a cordial or pleasant effect.?
In some Mediterranean countries, it?s spelled ?borrago,? derived from the Italian ?borra? and French ?bourra,? meaning ?hair? or ?flock of wool,? pertaining to its prickly white hair.4
Borage oil?s benefits have been well-known in medieval Syria and Turkish Asia (Asia Minor) for quite some time. The Moorish Arabs brought borage and borage oil to Spain, where they became more popular.
Borage even became a source of inspiration for the poem ?An Epistle Containing the Strange Medical Experience of Karshish, the Arab Physician? written by 19th-century English writer Robert Browning. In this poem, he described borage as ?very nitrous.?5
Uses of Borage Oil
Borage has a history of medicinal and culinary use that dates back over 1,500 years. It?s cultivated and widely used in Europe for its healing properties and as a nice addition to salads, soups and sauces, or eaten by itself as a healthy side dish.
Even borage flowers are edible, and are often candied as a cake decoration or made into sweet syrup. Borage oil is one of the herbal oils that I recommend for helping alleviate pain and other symptoms of inflammation. This oil has many other uses, such as:
? Moisturizing your skin. It?s an effective natural anti-aging oil that repairs and hydrates your skin.
? Aid in relieving discomfort among women , such as breast tenderness, premenstrual stress, endometriosis,6 PMS symptoms and menopausal symptoms.7 Borage oil also helps ease related cramping and pain.8
? Assist in easing respiratory disorders. Borage oil has long been used in folk medicine to help treat cough and sore throat. It contains a gel-like substance called mucilage, which help soothe your mucous membranes.
? Reducing stress and high blood pressure A study conducted on 30 Canadian university students found that those who took borage oil capsules reduced their stress vulnerability after 28 days of supplementation.9
Borage oil is used in aromatherapy. It can be inhaled or vaporized, but can also be used as carrier oil for more powerful and ultra-concentrated essential oils. It blends well with other thin and easily absorbed oils like jojoba, rosehip, thistle and sweet almond oils.
Borage oil is said to have an uplifting and euphoric effect, and may help ease mood swings and depression.10
Composition of Borage Oil
Borage is packed with macronutrients (protein, carbohydrates, fiber, and fats), vitamins (A, C, niacin, choline, thiamine and riboflavin), minerals and other plant compounds.11 Meanwhile, borage oil is loaded with healthful fatty acids, which sets it apart from other herbal oils.
Borage oil is the richest natural source of gamma-linoleic acid or GLA (17 to 25 percent), followed by black currant oil (15 to 20 percent) and evening primrose oil (7 to 10 percent).12,13 GLA is an important polyunsaturated omega-6 fat that helps keep your skin and joints healthy.
It is converted by your body into prostaglandins, which regulate your immune system and help fight inflammation. GLA can also suppress inflammatory responses by directly influencing inflammatory cells.14
Another essential fatty acid found in borage oil is linoleic acid, which is converted into GLA in your body. This herbal oil is also rich in oleic, icosenoic, docosenoic, stearic and palmitic fatty acid chains.
Benefits of Borage Oil
Along with evening primrose and black currant, borage oil is one of the natural anti-inflammatories I highly recommend. The essential fatty acids in this herbal oil are useful for healthy metabolic functions, and can help support optimum brain function and maintain bone, skin, and hair health.
Here are other inflammation-related health conditions that borage oil may help alleviate:
? Rheumatoid arthritis ? A study from the University of Pennsylvania found that rheumatoid arthritis patients given 1.4 grams of borage oil daily experienced reduced pain and swelling in their joints.15
? Skin conditions ? This herbal oil can help treat acne, eczema, or psoriasis. Animal studies found that skin disorders caused by fatty acid imbalances may be treated with borage oil. A 2009 study published in the British Journal of Nutrition also found that women who had skin conditions that caused irritation and reddening experienced relief after taking flaxseed or borage oil.16
? Periodontitis ? A study published in Prostaglandins, Leukotrienes, and Essential Fatty Acids found that people who took borage oil supplements had improved gum health and reduced periodontitis-related gingivitis.
? Multiple sclerosis (MS) ? It may help minimize symptoms such as muscle spasms and numbness that are associated with this nerve disorder. Borage oil also helps combat nerve damage and contribute to healthy nerve development over time.
? Alzheimer?s disease ? Borage oil canboost the transmission of nerve impulses, which may be valuable in treating this debilitating disease.
Borage oil is also cited as effective for helping treat rosacea, gout, female infertility, impotence and even diabetic neuropathy.17
How to Make Borage Oil
Borage oil is derived by cold-pressing the seeds of the flower. However, unlike other herbs that can be cold- or heat-infused with a carrier oil, such as lavender and calendula oils, infusing borage may not be practical and may not yield the same amount of nutrients.
I advise you to purchase high-quality borage oil with high levels of GLA. Look for a cold-pressed product, as heat during processing may damage or break down the fatty acids found in the oil.
How Does Borage Oil Work?
Borage oil can be applied topically or ingested. If taken orally, borage oil can help repair cellular activity and keep your internal organs healthy. If used externally, its healing effects are felt more specifically on where it is applied, but it can still be absorbed deep into your skin and into your bloodstream.
Borage oil is best used directly from the bottle. Avoid heating it, as heat can break down the fatty acids in the oil and render its beneficial compounds useless. To maintain its freshness and potency, store it in a cool place or in the refrigerator after opening.
Is Borage Oil Safe?
Borage oil is safe as long as it?s taken in the right dosage. Ideally, you can take 1,000 to 1,300 milligrams of borage oil daily, which provides you with 240 to 300 milligrams of GLA. If using borage oil orally, take it with food to boost GLA absorption and minimize the side effects. This oil is also available in softgel or capsule form.18 Look for a high-quality product that guarantees freshness and safe manufacturing processes.
You should make sure that your borage oil is free of pyrrolizidine alkaloids (PA), a carcinogenic liver toxin. Exposure to even small amounts of PA may cause severe veno-occlusive disease, so opt for borage oil that?s certified ?hepatotoxic PA-free.?19 If you are nursing, pregnant, or considering getting pregnant, I recommend avoiding borage oil, as there are still no studies confirming its safety on a developing fetus or with an infant.
Side Effects of Borage Oil
There are some reported side effects associated with borage oil, such as nausea, indigestion and stomach upset, constipation or diarrhea, rashes, belching and bloating, but these are rare.
Borage oil may lower the seizure threshold in some patients, thereby increasing the likelihood of seizure. It may also act moderately as an anti-clotting agent or blood thinner, and may interact with medications like warfarin. If you are taking seizure medications or blood thinners, avoid using borage oil.
Sunlight has a profound impact on your mental health ? more so than any other weather phenomenon. That's the conclusion of a recent study looking at links between weather and depression.1
Mental health data from more than 16,000 Brigham Young University students was used. Assessments had been filled out several times by each person over the course of six years. Each assessment was then matched to local weather data.
Nineteen different environmental factors, including solar irradiance (the amount of sunlight reaching the Earth), cloud cover, rain, wind chill, barometric pressure and smog levels were accounted for.
In the end, the only factor that really mattered was the amount of time between sunrise and sunset. None of the other factors had any significant association with emotional distress ? provided there was enough sunlight.
This doesn't surprise me. It's been estimated2 that as many as 20 percent of Americans are affected by Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) each winter, suffering from the blues, fatigue and in some cases, more serious depression, as sunlight grows scarce.
What differentiates SAD from regular depression is that a full remission occurs in the spring and summer months.
Depression Rates Rise During Fall and Winter
Indeed, as the days got shorter through fall and winter, self-reports of depression rose, whether the student had been diagnosed with SAD or not. According to the authors:
"These findings suggest the need for institutions and public health entities to plan for intervention and prevention resources and strategies during periods of reduced sun time."
The researchers note that more research is needed to evaluate related factors such as vitamin D intake, amount of time actually spent outdoors and sunbed use. Indeed, a deficiency of the vital nutrient of vitamin D, which can be counteracted with vitamin D3 supplements, is strongly associated with a higher risk of depression.
For example, research has shown having a vitamin D level below 20 nanograms per milliliter (ng/mL) can raise your risk for depression by as much as 85 percent, compared to having a vitamin D level greater than 30 ng/mL.
A number of studies have also confirmed that vitamin D supplementation can help alleviate symptoms of depression.3
A study published in 2015,4 which looked at healthy women aged 18 to 25 who lived in the Pacific Northwest during the fall, winter and spring, found that vitamin D insufficiency (30 ng/ml or lower) could predict the emergence of clinically significant depressive symptoms.
The link remained even after controlling for factors such as season, body mass index, race, diet, exercise and time spent outdoors.
By the fourth and final week of the study, 46 percent of the women had insufficient levels of vitamin D, and during the course of the study up to 42 percent of them showed signs of clinically significant depression, based on the Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression scale. As reported by HCP Live:5
"'Vitamin D supplements are inexpensive and readily available,' [lead author David] Kerr concluded, adding that the findings are consistent with literature that supports seasonal depressive symptoms."
I am somewhat skeptical of using oral vitamin D to address this problem. Vitamin D levels in the above study likely correlate well with SAD as they indicate sunlight exposure. When you separate the sunlight from vitamin D by swallowing it, I suspect you are dramatically reducing the mental benefits.
Sun Exposure Affects Health in Many Ways Besides Vitamin D
When we talk about sun exposure to optimize vitamin D production, we're really only looking at a small portion of the action spectrum of light, because ultraviolet B radiation is the only portion able to photosynthesize vitamin D in your skin.
But the health effects and benefits of sunlight are not restricted to ultraviolet B. Swiss specialist Dr. Auguste Rollier, who has written text books on heliotherapy, emphasized that the composition of the different parts of the light spectrum are of crucial importance to achieve all of the benefits you can get from the sun.
According to Dr. Alexander Wunsch, a German physician and one of the world's leading experts in photobiology, humans are adapted to sunlight as a complex stimulus, and when you remove that stimulus (sunlight), you end up with a variety of problems. As noted by Wunsch in a previous interview:
"Sunlight induces coordinated endocrine adaptation effects. It affects sympathetic and parasympathetic activity, and is a major circadian and seasonal stimulus for the body clock ?
Our system, via the eyes and via the skin, detects the colors of the light in the environment in order to adapt the hormonal system to the specific needs of the time and place."
How Sunlight Can Influence Your Mood
According to a paper published in the journal Dermato-Endocrinology,6 a large number of molecules (chromophores) found in the different layers of your skin absorb and interact with ultraviolet rays, producing a number of complex and synergistic effects.
There are additional chromophores in your mitochondria electron transport chain that respond to near infrared. This complex stimulus of sunlight affects not only your physical health by preventing diseases, it also impacts your mood and mental health. For example:
? Your body uses the near-infrared light spectrum to produce mitochondrial energy and maintain systemic equilibrium.
Near-infrared also primes the cells in your retina for repair and regeneration, which explains why light-emitting diode (LED) lighting ? which is devoid of infrared ? is so harmful for your eyes. To learn more about this, please see my interview with Wunsch, "How LED Lighting May Compromise Your Health."
Now, if near-infrared plays such an important role in your body's energy production, it seems reasonable to conclude that if you're running low on adenosine triphosphate (ATP) ? cellular energy ? due to insufficient amounts of sunlight exposure, you'd start feeling sluggish and tired, and possibly depressed.
? Sunlight also regulates your circadian rhythm, and light therapy has been shown to be effective against depression, both SAD and non-seasonal major depression.
When it's dark, your melatonin levels increase, which is why you may feel tired when the sun starts to set. In the heart of winter, this may be at as early as 4:00 p.m.
? Ultraviolet (UV) light also stimulates epidermal cells known as keratinocytes to make beta-endorphins, which have a mood-boosting effect.
? Serotonin is also released in response to sunlight, which helps elevate your mood and energy.
? UVA generates nitric oxide (NO) in your skin, which influences your body in a number of beneficial ways. It stimulates up to 60 percent of your blood to flow to your skin capillaries where they absorb this energy and infrared radiation.
The UVA actually helps kill any infections in your blood while the infrared recharges your cellular battery.
NO also protects your heart by relaxing your blood vessels and lowering your blood pressure, stimulates your brain and acts as a natural antioxidant. By lowering inflammation, it could have a beneficial impact on your mental health, as depression is strongly linked to chronic, low-grade inflammation.
Part of why vitamin D appears to improve depression relates to the fact that it's a potent anti-inflammatory.
Vitamin D Deficiency Predisposes You to Depression
Getting back to vitamin D, there's ample evidence suggesting vitamin D plays an important role in mental health, so if fall and winter months leave you feeling blue, you'd be wise to get your levels checked. If you're below 40 ng/mL, a vitamin D supplement would be advisable.
In one 2006 study, seniors with vitamin D levels below 20 ng/ml were found to be 1,100 percent more prone to be depressed than those with higher levels7
A 2007 study suggested that vitamin D deficiency is responsible for symptoms of depression and anxiety in patients with fibromyalgia8
Vitamin D deficiency is also a well-recognized cause in SAD9
A double-blind randomized trial published in 2008 suggested there's a CAUSAL relationship between low vitamin D levels and depression, noting that high doses of vitamin D were effective at ameliorating symptoms of depression10
In a 2011 study, the authors also pointed out that:11 "Effective detection and treatment of inadequate vitamin D levels in persons with depression and other mental disorders may be an easy and cost-effective therapy which could improve patients' long-term health outcomes as well as their quality of life"
Based on the evaluation of healthy populations that get plenty of natural sun exposure, the optimal range for general physical and mental health appears to be somewhere between 40 and 70 ng/ml. So, if you're depressed, get your vitamin D level checked, and to address any insufficiency or deficiency. The D*Action Project by GrassrootsHealth is one cost effective testing solution.
Just keep in mind that if you opt for a vitamin D supplement, you also need to take vitamin K2 and magnesium, as these nutrients work in tandem. Also, since vitamin D is fat-soluble, taking it some form of healthy fat will help optimize absorption. Vitamin A, zinc and boron are other important cofactors that interact with vitamin D.
How to Learn More About Photobiology
There is a load of complex variables that factor into how to optimally treat SAD with artificial light that are well beyond the scope of this article. If you want to learn more about how to optimize your light exposure and get some real sunlight and warmth this winter, I will be teaching for three days in South Florida in January.
There will also be world class experts in nutritional ketosis. The event will be in West Palm Beach, Florida January 20 to 22, 2017, so you can escape the cold and spend some time to learn. International experts Dominic D'Agostino, Ph.D., and Dr. Zac Bush will be there.
Additionally, Miriam Kalamian, who is helping me write my next book on this topic, will be there. She is Thomas Seyfried's (author of "Cancer as a Metabolic Disease") nutritionist and has helped over 400 cancer patients implement this program, and for many it would be worth it just to see her. If you have any interest at all in this event, I would encourage you to register now as most likely the event will be sold out and you can only be placed on a waiting list.
Sadly, the event is limited to a maximum of 200 people so if you have any interest in picking my brain about how understanding photobiology can change your life, best to sign up now.
Other Tips for Beating the Winter Blues
Light is a major factor in overcoming SAD and depression, but you can also help boost your mood naturally during the dark, cold winter by:
1. Exercising: Regular physical activity has been found to work better than antidepressant drugs. In fact, it's one of the most powerful strategies available to prevent and treat depression and boost your mood. Exercise works by helping to normalize your insulin levels while simultaneously boosting "feel good" hormones in your brain. Researchers have also discovered that exercise allows your body to eliminate kynurenine, a harmful protein associated with depression.12
2. Going to sleep early, and/or addressing insomnia. The link between depression and lack of sleep is well established. Of the approximately 18 million Americans with depression, more than half of them struggle with insomnia. While it was long thought that insomnia was a symptom of depression, it now seems that insomnia may precede depression in some cases.13
In one study, 87 percent of depression patients who resolved their insomnia had major improvements to their depression, with symptoms disappearing after eight weeks. Other research also found that sleep therapy resulted in remarkable improvements in depressed patients.
While there are individual differences, as a general rule, aim for about eight hours of sleep per night. If you don't already have a fitness tracker that records your sleep, I would encourage you to get one. It's difficult to change a habit when you're not monitoring it, and chances are you're not getting nearly as much sleep as you think you do. Using a sleep tracker can help motivate you to get to bed earlier so you can get eight hours of sleep.
3. Avoiding processed foods. A factor that cannot be overlooked is your diet. Foods have an immense impact on your mood and ability to cope, and eating a diet of fresh, whole foods as described in my nutrition plan will best support your mental health.
Processed foods, most of which are chockful of refined sugar, processed fructose and synthetic chemicals, are known to have a very detrimental impact on your brain function and mental health in general. Cutting out artificial sweeteners will also eliminate your chances of suffering their toxic effects.
4. Optimizing your gut health. Fermented foods such as fermented vegetables are also important for optimal mental health, as they are key for optimizing your gut health. Many fail to realize that your gut is literally your second brain, and can significantly influence your mind, mood, and behavior. Your gut actually produces more mood-regulating serotonin than your brain does.
5. Increasing high quality animal-based omega-3 fats This may be the single most important nutrient for optimal brain function, thereby easing symptoms of depression. One 2009 study14 showed that people with lower blood levels of omega-3s were more likely to have symptoms of depression and a more negative outlook while those with higher blood levels demonstrated the opposite emotional states. Vitamin B12 deficiency can also contribute to depression, and affects one in four people.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 1 in 3 American adults (about 70 million people) have high blood pressure.1 About half have uncontrolled high blood pressure, which increases your risk for a number of serious health problems, including:
Cognitive decline, dementia and Alzheimer's disease3,4
Globally, more than 1 billion people struggle with high blood pressure, and prevalence has nearly doubled in the past four decades.5,6
Overall, men tend to have higher blood pressure than women, and while high-income nations have seen a significant decline in hypertension, prevalence in low- and middle-income countries, such as South Asia and Africa, is spiking. According to researchers, prevalence is "completely inverse" to national income.
Worldwide, high blood pressure is thought to cause nearly 13 percent of all deaths, or about 7.5 million deaths annually.
What Causes High Blood Pressure?
According to medical physiology textbooks, as much as 95 percent of hypertension is called essential hypertension, meaning the underlying cause is unknown. From my perspective, this simply isn't true. A number of factors have been identified as contributing to high blood pressure, including but not limited to:
? Insulin and leptin resistance. As your insulin and leptin levels rise, it causes your blood pressure to increase7,8
? Elevated uric acid levels are also significantly associated with hypertension, so any program adopted to address high blood pressure needs to normalize your uric acid level as well
? Poor nutrition in childhood has been shown to raise the risk of high blood pressure in adulthood9
? Lead exposure
? Pollution. As your insulin and leptin levels rise, it causes your blood pressure to increase
? Insulin and leptin resistance. Air pollution affects blood pressure by causing inflammation while noise pollution asserts an effect via your nervous and hormonal systems.
Air pollution has been shown to increase your risk of high blood pressure to the same degree as having a body mass index (BMI) of 25 to 30.
Living in an area plagued by constant noise pollution (busy city streets with night time traffic) has been shown to increase the risk of hypertension by 6 percent, compared to living in an area where noise levels are at least 20 percent lower10
The Importance of Diet and Insulin Sensitivity
As noted by the lead author Majid Ezzati, Ph.D., a professor of global environmental health at Imperial College London:11
"The perception is that people are not getting enough calories, but the reality is, they're not getting healthy calories. Making fresh, healthy food affordable and accessible for everybody should be a priority."
One of the most important dietary changes needed to improve high blood pressure is to eliminate or dramatically reduce sugar and processed fructose from your diet. The easiest way to do that is to replace processed foods with real, whole foods. This will address not only insulin and leptin resistance but also elevated uric acid levels.
One 2010 study12 discovered that those who consumed 74 grams or more per day of fructose (the equivalent of about 2.5 sugary drinks) had a 77 percent greater risk of having blood pressure levels of 160/100 mmHg (stage 2 hypertension).
Consuming 74 grams or more of fructose per day also increased the risk of a 135/85 blood pressure reading by 26 percent, and a reading of 140/90 by 30 percent. To learn more about healthy eating, please see my optimal nutrition plan, which will guide you through the necessary changes step-by-step.
To ascertain whether insulin/leptin resistance is at play, be sure to check your fasting insulin level. If your hypertension is the result of elevated insulin levels, dietary intervention will be key.
Aim for a fasting insulin level of 2 to 3 microU per mL (mcU/mL). If it's 5 mcU/mL or above, you definitely need to lower your insulin level to reduce your risk of high blood pressure and other cardiovascular health problems.
Keep in mind that the so-called "normal" fasting insulin level is anywhere from 5 to 25 mcU/mL, but please do not make the mistake of thinking that this "normal" insulin range equates to optimal.
Do You Have High Blood Pressure?
A blood pressure reading gives you two numbers. The upper or first number is your systolic blood pressure reading. The lower or second number is your diastolic pressure. For example, a blood pressure reading of 120 over 80 (120/80) means you have a systolic arterial pressure of 120 and a diastolic arterial pressure of 80.
Your systolic pressure is the highest pressure in your arteries. It occurs when your ventricles contract at the beginning of your cardiac cycle. Diastolic pressure refers to the lowest arterial pressure, and occurs during the resting phase of your cardiac cycle. Ideally, your blood pressure should be about 120/80 without medication.
If you're over the age of 60, your systolic pressure is the most important cardiovascular risk factor. If you're under 60 and have no other major risk factors for cardiovascular disease, your diastolic pressure is believed to be a more important risk factor.13
According to guidelines14,15,16 issued by the Joint National Committee (JNC) on Prevention, Detection, Evaluation and Treatment of High Blood Pressure in 2014, the following blood pressure classifications are used to determine whether you might suffer from hypertension:17
Blood Pressure Classification
Systolic Pressure (mmHg)
Diastolic Pressure (mmHg)
Systolic Pressure (mmHg): <120
Diastolic Pressure (mmHg): <80
Systolic Pressure (mmHg): 120-139
Diastolic Pressure (mmHg): 80-89
? Stage 1 Hypertension
Systolic Pressure (mmHg): 140-159
Diastolic Pressure (mmHg): 90-99
? Stage 2 Hypertension
Systolic Pressure (mmHg): ?160
Diastolic Pressure (mmHg): ?100
How to Avoid a False Hypertension Diagnosis
To avoid a false hypertension diagnosis, keep in mind that your blood pressure reading can vary significantly from day to day, and even from one hour to the next, so don't overreact if you get one high reading here or there. It's when your blood pressure remains consistently or chronically elevated that significant health problems can occur. The following variables can also affect the validity of your blood pressure reading:
? Incorrect blood pressure cuff size: If you're overweight, taking your reading with a size "average" blood pressure cuff can lead to a falsely elevated blood pressure reading, so make sure your doctor or health care professional is using the right size cuff for your arm.
? Incorrect arm position: If your blood pressure is taken while your arm is parallel to your body, your reading can be up to 10 percent higher than it really is. Blood pressure readings should always be taken with your arm at a right angle to your body.
? Nervousness: "White coat hypertension" is a term used for when a high blood pressure reading is caused by the stress or fear associated with a doctor or hospital visit. This can be a transient yet serious concern. If this applies to you, stress reduction is key.
To decrease your risk of being falsely diagnosed with hypertension in this situation, take a moment to calm down (be sure to arrive for your appointment ahead of time so you can unwind), then breathe deeply and relax when you're getting your blood pressure taken.
Measuring Pressure on Both Arms May Provide Valuable Health Info
More recently, researchers are urging healthcare providers to measure blood pressure twice, once on each arm. A number of studies have revealed that a significant difference between your right and left arm pressure may indicate circulatory problems that raise your risk for stroke, peripheral artery disease or other cardiovascular problems.18
Slight variations in blood pressure between left and right is normal, but when the difference is five points or greater, it could signal trouble. A British study found that people with a five-point or more difference between arms had nearly double the risk of dying from heart disease in the next eight years.19
Another analysis of 20 studies found that those with a right-to-left arm difference in blood pressure of 15 points or more were twice as likely to have peripheral artery disease in the arms and/or legs. As noted by Harvard Health Publications:20
"In younger people, side-to-side differences in blood pressure can occur when a muscle or something else compresses an artery supplying the arm, or by a structural problem that prevents smooth blood flow through an artery. In older people, it's usually due to a blockage arising from atherosclerosis, the artery-clogging disease process at the root of most heart attacks, strokes, peripheral artery disease and other cardiovascular conditions.
A less common cause of a between-arm difference in blood pressure is an aortic dissection. This is a tear inside the wall of the aorta, the main pipeline of oxygenated blood from the heart to the body. At your next doctor's visit, ask to have your blood pressure checked in both arms. If there's a difference greater than 10 point, another test called the ankle-brachial index might be in order to check for peripheral artery disease."
If you're between the ages of 18 and 59 without major health conditions, or if you're 60 or older with diabetes and/or chronic kidney disease, conventional medicine recommends drug treatment if your blood pressure is at or above 140/90. In those over 60 who do not have diabetes or chronic kidney disease, the panel suggests delaying drug treatment until you're above 150/90. According to the JNC panel members:21
"For all persons with hypertension, the potential benefits of a healthy diet, weight control and regular exercise cannot be overemphasized. These lifestyle treatments have the potential to improve BP control and even reduce medication needs. Although the authors of this hypertension guideline did not conduct an evidence review of lifestyle treatments in patients taking and not taking antihypertensive medication, we support the recommendations of the 2013 Lifestyle Work Group."22
While recommending diet and exercise is a step in the right direction, the panel didn't take it all the way. In my experience, even stage 1 and 2 hypertension can be successfully addressed with lifestyle interventions, to where drugs become unnecessary.
The key is to be sufficiently aggressive in your diet and lifestyle modifications. There are plenty of clinical success stories that vouch for this stance.23 That said, if you have seriously elevated blood pressure, it would be wise to be on medication to prevent a stroke while you implement these lifestyle changes.
Omega-3 Is Vital for Healthy Blood Pressure
Recent research highlights the importance of animal-based omega-3 fats for healthy blood pressure ? especially in young adults. More than 2,000 healthy men and women between the ages of 25 and 41 participated in the study. Diabetics and those with a BMI over 35, which is considered obese, were excluded.
The findings showed that those with the highest serum levels of omega-3 also had the lowest blood pressure readings. On average, their systolic pressure was 4 millimeters of mercury (mm Hg) lower and their diastolic pressure was 2 mm Hg lower compared to those with the lowest omega-3 blood levels. As reported by WebMD:24
"'This suggests that promoting diets rich in omega-3 foods could be a strategy to prevent high blood pressure,' [Dr. Mark] Filipovic said ? Even a small reduction in pressure, as little as about 5 mm Hg, could prevent a great number of strokes and heart events in the general population ?
Another recent study found that doses of omega-3 fatty acids as low as less than a gram a day could help those who already have high blood pressure reduce their numbers ? The fish oil may work by improving blood vessel function and reducing inflammation, among other things,' Filipovic said."
Animal-Based Versus Plant-Based Omega-3s
You can obtain omega-3 fats from both plants and marine animals like fish and krill. However, it's really important to realize that these sources provide very different types of omega-3 and, as explained by Nils Hoem, Ph.D., a Norwegian scientist specializing in omega-3 phospholipids, they are NOT interchangeable.
The short-chain fatty acids found in plants are simply food ? they're a source of energy ? while the long-chain fatty acids found in fish and krill, especially docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), are structural elements that actually make up your cells. This is a MAJOR difference between plant- and animal-based sources.
There are specific transporters for long-chained omega-3s in your blood-brain barrier, the placenta (in pregnant women), and likely also in your liver, which transport these molecules in a very precise way into the cell membranes where they belong. No such transporters exist for the short-chained omega-3s.
So please, don't make the mistake of confusing plant-based (short-chained) and animal-based (long-chained) omega-3, as doing so could have severe health consequences. You absolutely need animal-based omega-3, and you simply cannot obtain the same benefits from plant-based sources because the conversion rate of plant-based ALA omega 3 fats to DHA is clinically insignificant.
Fish and krill also have differences worth noting. One of the most important differences is the fact that krill oil is bound to phospholipids, which allows the omega-3 fats to travel efficiently into your hepatic system; hence, they're more bioavailable. Phospholipids are also a principal compound in high-density lipoproteins (HDL), which you want more of, and by allowing your cells to maintain structural integrity, phospholipids help your cells function properly.
Finally, many vegans are using marine-based DHA supplements, which makes sense but is still less than ideal, as you not only need DHA but the whole complex of supporting fatting acids. Do your best to get your DHA from healthy, nontoxic seafood, and if that is not possible, then use a high-quality full spectrum DHA supplement like krill oil.
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Beetroot Juice May Help Lower Blood Pressure
Another food that has been found to have a beneficial effect on blood pressure is beetroot juice.25 In one small placebo-controlled trial, one glass (250 milliliters or 8.5 ounces) of beetroot juice per day for one month reduced blood pressure in those diagnosed with hypertension by an average of 8 mmHg systolic and 4 mmHg diastolic pressure.26
This 8/4 mmHg reduction is very close to that provided by blood pressure mediations, which typically can reduce blood pressure by about 9/5 mmHg, and for many it was enough to bring their blood pressure down to normal levels. The treatment group also saw a 20 percent improvement in blood vessel dilation capacity and a 10 percent reduction in arterial stiffness.
However, within two weeks of stopping the juice, their blood pressure returned to their previous levels, so you'd have to keep drinking it consistently. For this reason, I would advise against viewing beetroot juice as a primary solution. A better strategy would be to incorporate a glass of beetroot juice as a short-term solution while you're implementing other dietary changes and exercise.
The beneficial effects are related to the nitrate (NO3) found in beetroot juice. Your body converts the NO3 into bioactive nitrite (NO2) and nitric oxide (NO), the latter of which helps relax and dilate your blood vessels, and helps prevent blood clots. Other vegetables high in NO3 include:
? Mustard greens
? Turnip tops
? String beans
Garlic Is Also Helpful
Two other foods known to dilate blood vessels, albeit in different ways from beetroot juice, are garlic and watermelon. In an experiment by the British BBC series, "Trust Me, I'm a Doctor," designed to evaluate which of these three foods was the most effective for lowering blood pressure, found that beetroot produced the greatest results.
It lowered blood pressure of the 28 participants from an average baseline of 133.6 mmHg to 128.7 mmHg in one week. Garlic came in second place, lowering blood pressure to an average of 129.3 mmHg. Watermelon, in last place, lowered blood pressure to an average of 129.8 mmHg. As noted by BBC:27
"Our small study adds to a growing number which suggest that eating beetroot and garlic regularly may help reduce your blood pressure. But these aren't the only foods that can do this. The active ingredient in beetroot, nitrate, is present in plenty of green vegetables: celery; lettuce; watercress; rocket; spinach; chard; broccoli; for example.
And the active ingredient in garlic ? allicin ? is also present in onions, shallots, leeks, chives and spring onions. It turns out there are several foods which can help keep our blood pressure low."
Vitamin D Can Also Relax Your Arteries and Improve Blood Pressure
Vitamin D deficiency, associated with both arterial stiffness and hypertension,28 is another important consideration. According to researchers from the Emory/Georgia Tech Predictive Health Institute,29 even if you're considered generally "healthy," if you're deficient in vitamin D then your arteries are likely stiffer than they should be. As a result, your blood pressure may run high due to your blood vessels being unable to relax.
In their study, having a serum level of vitamin D lower than 20 nanograms per milliliter (ng/ml) was considered a deficiency state that raises your hypertension risk. Less than 30 ng/ml was deemed insufficient. Previous research30 has also shown that the farther you live from the equator, the higher your risk of developing high blood pressure.
Blood pressure also tends to be higher in winter months than during the summer. Exposing your bare skin to sunlight affects your blood pressure through a variety of different mechanisms, including the following:
? Sun exposure causes your body to produce vitamin D. Lack of sunlight reduces your vitamin D stores and increases parathyroid hormone production, which increases blood pressure.
? Vitamin D deficiency has also been linked to insulin resistance and metabolic syndrome, a group of health problems that can include insulin resistance, elevated cholesterol and triglyceride levels, obesity and high blood pressure.
? Research31 shows that sun exposure increases the level of NO in your skin. This dilates your blood vessels, thereby reducing your blood pressure. (For comparison, and to show how various factors tie together, uric acid, produced when you eat sugar/fructose, raises your blood pressure by inhibiting NO in your blood vessels ? the opposite effect of sun exposure.)
? Vitamin D is also a negative inhibitor of your body's renin-angiotensin system (RAS), which regulates blood pressure.32 If you're vitamin D deficient, it can cause inappropriate activation of your RAS, which may lead to hypertension.
? Exposure to ultraviolet (UV) rays is thought to cause the release of endorphins, chemicals in your brain that produce feelings of euphoria and relief from pain. Endorphins naturally relieve stress, and stress management is an important factor in resolving hypertension.
Key Lifestyle Strategies for Lowering Your Blood Pressure
In summary, here are several suggestions that can help lower your blood pressure naturally.
? Address insulin and leptin resistance
As mentioned earlier, high blood pressure is typically associated with insulin resistance, which results from eating a diet too high in sugar. As your insulin level elevates, so does your blood pressure. Insulin stores magnesium, but if your insulin receptors are blunted and your cells grow resistant to insulin, you can't store magnesium so it passes out of your body through urination.
Magnesium stored in your cells relaxes muscles. If your magnesium level is too low, your blood vessels will constrict rather than relax, and this constriction raises your blood pressure.
Fructose also elevates uric acid, which drives up your blood pressure by inhibiting the NO in your blood vessels. (Uric acid is a byproduct of fructose metabolism. In fact, fructose typically generates uric acid within minutes of ingestion.) NO helps your vessels maintain their elasticity, so NO suppression leads to increases in blood pressure.
If you're healthy, and want to stay that way, the general rule is to keep your total fructose intake to 25 grams per day or less. If you're insulin resistant and/or have high blood pressure, keep your total fructose to 15 grams or less per day until your condition has resolved.
? Eat real food
A processed food diet, loaded with net carbohydrates (non-fiber carbs like sugar, fructose and grains) and trans fat (margarines and vegetable oils) is a recipe for hypertension. Instead, make whole, ideally organic foods the focus of your diet.
Also remember to swap non-fiber carbs for healthy fats such as avocados, butter made from raw, grass-fed organic milk, organic pastured egg yolks, coconuts and coconut oil, raw nuts such as pecans and macadamia, grass-fed meats and pasture raised poultry. To learn more about healthy eating, please see my optimal nutrition plan.
? Mind your sodium to potassium ratio
According to Lawrence Appel, lead researcher on the DASH diet and director of the Welch Center for Prevention, Epidemiology and Clinical Research at Johns Hopkins, your diet as a whole is the key to controlling hypertension ? not salt reduction alone.
He believes a major part of the equation is this balance of minerals ? i.e., most people need less sodium and more potassium, calcium and magnesium. According to Appel:33 "Higher levels of potassium blunt the effects of sodium. If you can't reduce or won't reduce sodium, adding potassium may help. But doing both is better."
Indeed, maintaining a proper potassium to sodium ratio in your diet is very important, and hypertension is but one of many side effects of an imbalance. A processed food diet virtually guarantees you'll have a lopsided ratio of too much sodium to potassium. Making the switch from processed foods to whole foods will automatically improve your ratios.
? Load up on veggies
Juicing is a simple way to increase the amount of vegetables in your diet, and many NO3-rich veggies (which raise your NO level) are suitable for juicing, such as beets, kale, celery, spinach, carrots and more. Allicin-rich garlic, leeks, challots and chives also help improve your blood pressure, and are easy to add to salads and various dishes.
The best way to boost your omega-3 is to eat plenty of oily fish that are low in mercury and other pollutants. Good options include wild caught Alaskan salmon, sardines and anchovies. Alternatively, take a high-quality krill oil or fish oil supplement. As noted earlier, krill oil has certain advantages over fish oil, which is why I prefer it.
? Consider intermittent fasting
Intermittent fasting is one of the most effective ways I've found to normalize your insulin/leptin sensitivity. It's not a diet in conventional terms, but rather a way of scheduling your eating in such a way as to promote efficient energy use.
Essentially, intermittent fasting means eating your calories during a specific window of the day, and choosing not to eat food during the rest. When you eat, your body reacts by elevating insulin and leptin.
? Exercise regularly
A comprehensive fitness program can go a long way toward regaining your insulin sensitivity and normalizing your blood pressure. To reap the greatest rewards, I recommend including high intensity interval exercises in your routine.
If you are insulin resistant, you'll also want to include weight training. When you work individual muscle groups, you increase blood flow to those muscles, and good blood flow will increase your insulin sensitivity.
I also recommend training yourself to breathe through your nose when exercising, as mouth breathing during exercise can raise your heart rate and blood pressure, sometimes resulting in fatigue and dizziness. To learn more about this, please refer to my previous article on the Buteyko breathing method.
? Avoid smoking and other forms of pollution
Smoking is known to contribute to high blood pressure, as are other forms of air pollution, and even noise pollution. To address these, avoid smoking, consider using ear plugs during sleep if you live in a noisy neighborhood (provided you cannot move), and take steps to improve your indoor air quality.
? Walk barefoot
Going barefoot will help you ground to the earth. Experiments show that walking barefoot outside (also referred to as Earthing or grounding) improves blood viscosity and blood flow, which help regulate blood pressure.So, do yourself a favor and ditch your shoes now and then.
Grounding also calms your sympathetic nervous system, which supports your heart rate variability. This in turn promotes homeostatis, or balance, in your autonomic nervous system. In essence, anytime you improve heart rate variability, you're improving your entire body and all of its functions.
? Address your stress
The connection between stress and hypertension is well documented, yet still does not receive the emphasis it deserves. In fact, it has been shown that people with heart disease can lower their risk of subsequent cardiac events by over 70 percent simply by learning to manage their stress.
Suppressed negative emotions such as fear, anger and sadness can severely limit your ability to cope with the unavoidable every day stresses of life. It's not the stressful events themselves that are harmful, but your lack of ability to cope.
The good news is, strategies exist to quickly and effectively transform your suppressed, negative emotions, and relieve stress. My preferred method is the Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT), an easy to learn, easy to use technique for releasing negative emotions.
EFT combines visualization with calm, relaxed breathing, while employing gentle tapping to "reprogram" deeply seated emotional patterns.
More Than Half of Americans Have Chronic Illnesses
By Dr. Mercola
The cost of health care in the U.S. jumped to over 17 percent of the GDP in 2015.1 However, even though the U.S. tops $3 trillion in spending on health care each year, it is the worst performing system ranked by multiple aspects of care.2
Americans spend, on average, over $9,500 per capita on healthcare. This is the highest amount spent over 11 developed countries, but the U.S. ranks 11th in terms of health. The most glaring difference is that the last ranked U.S. per capita expenditure is more than double that of the first ranked expense in the U.K.
Not only is healthcare in the U.S. more expensive, less effective and performs poorly when compared to other countries, recent research demonstrates half of Americans are living with chronic illness.
Although the study included only a particular group of physical illnesses that create chronic problems, results show half of the population is living with a continuing health problem.
Research Demonstrates Rising Numbers of People With Chronic Illness
Researchers from Emory University scrutinized public health records to determine the number of individuals living with a chronic health problem, substance abuse problem or mental health disability, and how these conditions may be related to living in poverty.3
They found more than half of Americans are living with at least one chronic illness, a substance abuse problem or a mental health condition.
According to study authors Elizabeth Reisinger Walker, Ph.D., assistant research professor and Dr. Benjamin Druss, professor at Rollins School of Public Health at Emory University:4
"The health of individuals in the U.S.A. is increasingly being defined by complexity and multi-morbidity, the co-occurrence of two or more chronic medical conditions.?
Overall, the study revealed 18.4 percent of adults have suffered with a mental illness in the past year and 8.6 percent of those have reported a substance abuse or dependence during the same time. Nearly 40 percent of the records studied had one or more chronic medical conditions.5
The researchers acknowledge some limitations to the study, but point out overlapping conditions contribute to multi-morbidity and poor health in the U.S.6
According to the report, the study included only the following chronic conditions in their calculations. If other chronic health conditions were to be included, it would likely increase the percentage suffering from chronic disease.
Exposure to environmental factors that may cause chronic illness may begin even before birth.7 In a unique study published in the Journal of Environmental Science and Technology, researchers tested the blood of 77 pregnant women and umbilical cord blood from 65 women once their babies were born.8
Researchers sampled women living in San Francisco between 2010 and 2011. The study is the first to measure exposure to 59 different environmental pollutants and toxic chemicals.
Many of these chemicals have been detected in 99 percent of pregnant women in the U.S., according to National Health and Nutritional Examination Survey results.9
Some of the chemicals measured included polybrominated diphenyl ethers, (PBDEs), polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), perfluorinated compounds (PFCs), organochlorine pesticides (OCPs), lead, mercury and other chemicals. In this study the median number of chemicals found in maternal blood was 25, and 17 in cord blood.10
Almost 80 percent of the chemicals found in maternal blood were also found in the infant cord blood, with concentrations of mercury and some PBDEs higher in cord blood than maternal samples.11 These chemicals are linked to developmental problems and long-term chronic illnesses.12,13,14,15
However, one-third of the participants potentially had much less exposure to environmental toxic chemicals as they had been born in Mexico where these chemicals are not as widely used, meaning the percentage of exposure in the study is likely lower than the overall population of the U.S.
Americans Continue to Struggle With Access to Medical Care
In this portion of my lecture at Harper College, I outline some of the problems with our current health care system. The latest report from the Commonwealth Fund has not changed appreciably in the past 15 years despite the recent overhaul to health care access under the Affordable Care Act, colloquially referred to as Obamacare.16
Americans continue to pay far more for health care than other countries, but with little to demonstrate for the outlay. Key findings from the most recent Commonwealth Fund report include:17
? Comparing adults in 11 countries, Americans are sicker and more economically disadvantaged, which is subsequently magnified by higher health care costs and low spending on social services.
? Americans ranked last, with 41 percent experiencing multiple chronic conditions compared to France?s 23 percent.
? Of the chronically ill people in the U.S., 14 percent said they didn?t get needed support from providers to manage their health conditions. This was twice the rate of Germany, the Netherlands, Switzerland, New Zealand and Australia.
? American adults were more likely than adults in 10 other countries to go without health care for reasons of high cost.
The number of adults who went without care, failed to fill a prescription or did not see a doctor when sick improved from 37 percent to 33 percent since 2013. However, only between 7 and 8 percent of people in Germany, the U.K., the Netherlands and Sweden experienced an issue with affordability.
Commonwealth Fund president Dr. David Blumenthal commented on the results from the latest report:18
"The U.S. spends more on health care than any other country, but what we get for these significant resources falls short in terms of access to care, affordability, and coordination.
We can learn from what is working in other nations. If we're going to do better for our patients, we need to create a health care system that addresses the needs of everyone, especially our sickest patients, and those who struggle to make ends meet."
Cost Burden of Chronic Illness Impacts Families, Business and Politics
The cost of providing health care in the U.S. is staggering, and individuals are suffering under the burden. In 1960 health care was 5.1 percent of the GDP, but now is expected to be greater than 20 percent by 2020.19 Those costs are not all related to your care.
Hospital administration eats up 8 percent of health care costs, while comparatively those same costs are 2 percent in Finland.20 And the care inside hospitals doesn?t appear to have gotten safer. Ten years after a report released in 2000 from the Institute of Medicine, researchers did not find evidence of widespread improvement.21
The cost of health care is driving many people into bankruptcy. Unpaid medical bills affected nearly 2 million people in 2013.22 Of the total number of bankruptcies filed in 2013 for health care costs, the majority of individuals were between 35 and 54 years old.
NerdWallet analyzed data from Commonwealth Fund, U.S. census and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and estimated that 10 million adults who carried insurance year-round would accumulate medical bills they couldn?t pay. NerdWallet Health Vice President Christina LaMontagne said:23
"With an average American family bringing home $50,000 in income, a high medical bill and a high-deductible insurance plan can quickly become something they are unable to pay. If you have an out-of-pocket maximum of $5,000 or $10,000, that's really tough.?
While the Affordable Care Act has increased the number of low-income people who are insured, it is not a panacea. The incoming U.S. president has promised to make changes to the Act, and possibly completely repeal it. However, in an interview with The Wall Street Journal, president-elect Donald Trump said he is considering keeping two popular provisions, an indication he?ll possibly compromise on his campaign promise.24
Is Access to Health Care the Answer?
Whether access to health care is the ultimate answer or not, the reality is that health care in the U.S. is financially out of reach for many, causes a financial burden for others and the return on the investment is not paying dividends for the users.
The research published by Emory University demonstrates that health issues are multifactorial and complex. Poverty, availability of social services and poor lifestyle choices are contributors that a strong hospital system can?t solve. While the Affordable Care Act increased the number of people who can access health care, it has not made a difference in the health of Americans.25
Cost continues to be a barrier to seeking care from physicians and filling prescriptions, as does a growing number of people suffering from heart disease, asthma, diabetes and other chronic illnesses. Big Pharma is fueling the opioid epidemic and society continues to shun people with mental illness.
It is highly improbable that addressing just one aspect of health and wellness will make a significant impact on the whole. Making changes to the health of American people will require significant changes to lifestyle choices as our current health care system is more about managing diseases than promoting health.
Disease Management Versus Promoting Good Health
The current health care system is dependent upon a pharmaceutical economy and invasive surgeries without much attention paid to healthy living choices and preventive care. The system is rooted in maximized profits as opposed to helping people maintain or regain their health.
The majority of the diseases we're trying to "manage" in this manner are lifestyle-related, and if you don't address this root cause, you'll never get better. You're just paying for overpriced bandages that do absolutely nothing to fix the underlying cause and create long-term health and wellness.
I promote integrative medicine (IM), as it offers a combination of conventional medicine and complementary or alternative therapies. IM places a greater emphasis on preventing problems rather than treatment once a problem arises, using conventional drug and surgery approaches sparingly or as a last resort.
Our current system does the exact opposite. Drugs and surgery are employed first and, then, when the patient has exhausted all conventional avenues, he or she will sometimes turn to alternative therapies or nutritional interventions out of sheer desperation, frequently on their own and at their own expense. Often this is what ends up saving that person's life. Unfortunately, many have been financially ruined by the time they've worked their way through the conventional system.
Reducing Prevalence of Chronic Illness 1 Decision at a Time
Incorporating healthy lifestyle choices will increase the potential you?ll enjoy optimal health and will give you the best chance to live longer without disease. Remember, it is never too late to take control of your health. It?s clear the American health care system is flawed and in need of a serious overhaul to reduce cost and improve health.
At the present rate the current system is not sustainable. However, I suggest you don?t wait for a miracle, but start focusing on simple, inexpensive lifestyle changes that can help prevent some of the most common health problems plaguing the U.S. today. The majority of deaths today are due to chronic disease, such as cancer, heart disease, diabetes and obesity ? all of which are largely preventable with simple lifestyle changes.
Getting passed up for a promotion at work can sting. After dedicating may years to a career, finding out that you are not qualified for higher positions has a way of serving as a wakeup call. This is your chance to make a difference. You can continue on the path you are currently on, or …
4 Shocking Ways Being Online Too Much Is Bad for Your Health
Advancements in technology often herald fantastic developments related to medicine and longer life expectancy. But sometimes it also means an introduction to a different set of health pitfalls. The pervasiveness of mobile device use is no exception. While mobile devices mean 24/7 connectivity and entertainment, it also makes many susceptible to… 1. Social media anxiety disorder …
Aging With Grace May Be Beyond What We Can Currently Imagine
Longevity Secrets: Aging With Grace May Be More Than We Can Imagine With anti-aging skin cream, hand cream, and supplements high on demand these days, topics on Longevity give us much to ponder about our future quality of life. Most of us would love to age with grace and dignity. Researcher are beginning to …
Trump and your health: Chronic inflammation and disease due to air pollution
What are the concerns regarding pollution and chronic inflammatory diseases? It is normal for people in the US to fear the removal of Obamacare, however if you think that is the most important impact under the policies of president Donald Trump, then think again: Get ready for more chronic inflammation, which in turn leads to …
6 Tips On Choosing A Facial Oil That Is Right For Your Skin
Before modern serums and creams were invented, oils were used all over the world to achieve faultless skin. Oils are also loaded with elements that can keep your skin hydrated and healthy. If you’d rather use organic skin care products over artificial ones, then choosing facial oils over synthetic cosmetics is a solid first step. But you might be puzzled …
How Kids Can Talk to Parents About Depression Treating and Living with Anxiety Addiction and Depression: Treating Co-Occurring Disorders A Navigation Guide to Self-Discovery During Your Addiction Recovery Journey Recognizing and Treating Depression During Pregnancy Marriage and Mental Health: How to Cope When Your Spouse Has Been Diagnosed with Schizophrenia 7 Tips for Creating […]
http://www.medscape.com/ http://www.medscape.com/ http://www.medscape.com/ Hot off the press new protocol for improving cognitive function and reversing many measurable parameters of mild cognitive impairment (MCI), the precursor to early dementia and eventually Alzheimer’s, which until now has been considered an irreversible disease. No drugs have worked. The “new protocol” (book will be published in the spring, by Dr. […]
I am developing a deep cellular detox to begin Thursday September 22 and run for 6-9 weeks depending on personal need. Most detox programs are designed to help you pee, poop and sweat more effectively. That’s great! And we’ll start there, but I want to go deeper and get into cleaning up the gut-brain axis, which will allow […]
If you are looking for a good weight loss program, I do recommend ORENDA's Clean/Burn/Shape program. Check it out. Very high quality, and with enough variety to maintain all necessary nutrients, based on whole foods but adding thermogenic (fat burning) ingredients. There's a lot about this program on the ORENDA website.
What I want to focus on here is the AWAKEN/CLEANSE/FEED program, which is truly unique and designed to facilitate deep detox. You get a discount if you buy the whole system, called the ORENDA ULTIMATE PACK.
Deep cleaning involves improving immune function. Our immune system is mostly white blood cells, and the lymphatic channels. White blood cells contain sacks of enzymes, called lysosomes, which break down any ?foreign? tissue in the body, including parasites, pathogenic bacteria, viruses, fungal overgrowth, and undigestible food. About 75% of the burden on our immune system over our lifetime occurs across the ?tube? (gastro-intestinal tract). The other 25% is through the nose and into the lungs.
I propose a 10-day commitment to really clean eating, with 3 saunas, 2 colonics, 1 ozone “Russian” steam and 1 therapeutic massage during the 10-14 day time frame. There will be 3 classes as follows, all on Sundays, at NOW Spa, at 4 PM for about 45 minutes: April 30 — intro to food plan. Optional supplements to […]
The holiday season stirs up thoughts of frankincense, a substance derived from the Boswellia tree and a natural remedy with a long history of healing powers. However, not all of the benefits attributed to the herbal supplement have met the rigors of scientific scrutiny, so it seems like an appropriate time to review some of those findings.
One doctor admits that the way you dress when you go for a check-up can affect the level of healthcare you get. But it's a two-way street ? research shows that the way your doctor dresses can affect your healthcare too!
Doctors treat all their patients the same without discrimination, right? In theory, that's what doctors should be doing.
Foods to help with Blood Sugar Balancing - Video Cookery Demonstration
Sharyn Singer enthuses you to eat foods that help with balancing blood sugar and gives you some healthy options to foods we may love that are high in sugar.Click here to read full article about reactive hypoglycaemia....
The full ingredients for Pea Protein Plus are:Food blend: Amaranth, brown rice grain, spirulina, quinoa, flax seed hull lignans, chia, chlorella, millet, alfalfa, carrot, broccoli, rice bran and germ, artichoke, spinach, asparagus, kale, beetroot, parsley, chlorophyll.Sunflower oil, fructose.Fibre:...
We're all recommended to have a good breakfast to reduce the likelihood of energy slumps. Protein is the key component in our food that does this. We don't always have time to cook bacon and eggs and cereals just don't quite do it, plus they are often high in hidden sugars.Having protein in the morn...
Despite the fact that European legislation is increasingly restrictive on what we can say about food supplements and also what we can buy to keep ourselves healthy (along with the most important thing - good food), we can now legitimately show that food supplements are the safest substances to which...
Misinformation From Academic's Leaked Letter to the Health Minister
The Alliance of Natural Health decided to leak a Reading University academic's letter attempting to influence the Health Minister. Elizabeth Williamson, a professor in pharmacology, was trying to get Andrew Lansley, the UK Health Minister, to push his medicines agency to bank a wide range of food su...