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The Real Reason Pharma Companies Hate Medical Marijuana (Because It Works)
(NaturalNews) Former Federal Judge Nancy Gertner was appointed to the federal bench by Bill Clinton in 1994. She presided over trials for 17 years. And Sunday, she stood before a crowd at The Aspen Ideas Festival to denounce most punishments that she imposed.(Article by , republished...
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Elevated Blood Sugar Sets the Stage for Cancer Growth
By Dr. Mercola
The fact that sugar and obesity are linked to an increased risk of cancer is now becoming well-recognized. Obesity has also been linked to an increased risk of death from all causes.
According to research published in 2013, nearly 1 in 5 U.S. deaths is associated with obesity.1 More recently, researchers published findings from a meta analysis of 239 studies covering four continents, saying excess body weight is responsible for 1 in 5 of all premature deaths in the U.S. and 1 in 7 in Europe.2,3,4
On average, carrying excess weight may reduce your life expectancy by about one year, while being moderately obese may result in a three-year reduction in lifespan. Those of normal weight had the longest life expectancy and the lowest risk of dying before the age of 70.
Considering facts such as these, it's no surprise that the financial burden of excessive sugar consumption is also great.
According to the Credit Suisse Research Institute's 2013 study5 "Sugar: Consumption at a Crossroads," as much as 40 percent of U.S. healthcare expenditures are for diseases directly related to the overconsumption of sugar, and this includes obesity, diabetes and cancer.
So, sugary processed foods may be cheap on the front end, but they exact a hefty price tag down the line.
Diet Can Influence Your Cancer Risk in More Ways Than One
Your diet plays a crucial role when it comes to obesity and related health problems such as elevated blood sugar, insulin resistance and cancer. Research suggests obesity can promote cancer via a number of different mechanisms.
One of the key mechanisms by which sugar promotes cancer and other chronic disease is by causing mitochondrial dysfunction. Sugar is not an ideal fuel for your body as it burns "dirty," creating far more reactive oxygen species (ROS) than fat does when it's metabolized.
As a result, excessive amounts of free radicals are generated when you eat excessive sugar, which in turn causes mitochondrial and nuclear DNA damage, along with cell membrane and protein impairment.
So, contrary to conventional teaching, nuclear genetic defects do not cause cancer. Rather, mitochondrial damage happens first, and this then triggers nuclear genetic mutations.
Research6 has shown that chronic overeating in general has a similar effect, as it places stress on the endoplasmic reticulum (ER), the membranous network found inside the mitochondria of your cells.
When the ER receives more nutrients than it can process, it signals the cell to dampen the sensitivity of the insulin receptors on the surface of the cell.
Thus continuously eating more than your body really needs promotes insulin resistance by the mere fact that your cells are stressed by the additional work placed on them by the excess nutrients. Insulin resistance in turn is at the heart of most chronic disease, including cancer.
Sugar Is a Key Contributor to Cancer
Most people who overeat also tend to eat many sugar-laden foods, which promotes elevated blood sugar levels and insulin resistance. So overeating sugary foods equates to a double-whammy in terms of cancer risk, compared to overeating whole, unprocessed fare.
In fact, recent research has identified sugar as the top contributor to the worldwide cancer surge. According to a report7 on the global cancer burden, published in 2014, obesity is responsible for an estimated 500,000 cancer cases worldwide each year.
The reason for this is because cancer cells are primarily fueled by the burning of sugar anaerobically. Without sugar, most cancer cells simply lack the metabolic flexibility to survive.
Normal, healthy cells have the metabolic flexibility to adapt from using glucose to using ketone bodies from dietary fats. Most cancer cells lack this ability so when you reduce net carbs (total carbs minus fiber), you effectively starve the cancer. This is why nutritional ketosis appears to be so effective against cancer.
According to recent research from the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, refined sugar not only significantly increases your risk of breast cancer; it also raises your risk of tumors spreading to other organs.8
It was primarily the refined fructose in high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS) found in most processed foods and beverages that was responsible for the breast tumors and the metastasis.
The Role of Genetics, Proteins and Hormones
While genetic defects are not a primary cause of cancer, genes can still play a role. Scientists have discovered that a number of genes known to promote cancer by influencing cell division ? including a gene called AKT ? also regulate cells' consumption of nutrients.
So certain genes actually appear to play a role in cancer cells' overconsumption of sugar. Whereas healthy cells have a feedback mechanism that makes it conserve resources when there's a lack of food, cancer cells do not have this mechanism and feed continuously.
Recent research has also found that overweight women who lost weight reduced their risk of cancer by lowering their levels of certain proteins linked to cancer development.9
These proteins (VEGF, PAI-1 and PEDF) promote angiogenesis, a process your body uses to build blood vessels that tumors need to thrive. The greater the women's weight loss, the greater their reduction in these proteins.
Previous research suggests losing weight can reduce your risk of breast, colon and prostate cancer by as much as 20 percent, and this effect is thought to be due to reductions in these proteins and other inflammatory compounds stored in fat cells.10
Obesity also triggers overproduction of certain hormones, such as estrogen, which is associated with an increased risk for breast cancer.
Links Between Diabetes and Cancer Are Getting Stronger
Overall, insulin resistance is one of the key contributors to a heightened cancer risk, and many studies have confirmed that type 2 diabetics are at greater risk.
One recent study, which included more than 1 million adult cancer patients, found that those diagnosed with type 2 diabetes were 23 percent more likely to have received a cancer diagnosis during the decade preceding their diabetes diagnosis compared to non-diabetics.11,12
Recent research has also noted that a growing number of obese Americans have poor blood sugar control, which in turn promotes rising rates of type 2 diabetes and associated health conditions. To combat this trend, the researchers urge overweight people to consider "serious weight loss efforts." As reported by WebMD:13
"Between 1988 and 2014, rates of diabetes rose from 11 percent to 19 percent, which was due to increases in blood sugar, the researchers said.
The investigators found that the rate of obese adults without the three key risk factors for heart disease ? diabetes, high cholesterol and high blood pressure ? held steady at just 15 percent.
But the rate of obese adults with all three risk factors rose 37 percent ? to nearly  in  ... Risk for all three factors increased progressively from age 40 on ...
'We have two choices: letting this population get sick and provide monies for treatment of complications and disability; or intervene early and prevent diabetes by encouraging weight loss, leading to a healthier and more productive life,' [Dr. Joel] Zonszein, [director of the Clinical Diabetes Center at Montefiore Medical Center] said."
Prediabetes Also Raises Your Cancer Risk
Both of these findings tend to strengthen previous research showing that even prediabetes is a risk factor for cancer. More than 1 in 3 Americans aged 20 and older has prediabetes,14 a condition in which your glucose (blood sugar) levels are higher than normal but not yet high enough to be diagnosed as full-blown diabetes.
Of those with prediabetes, 15 percent to 30 percent will develop type 2 diabetes within five years.
A meta-analysis15 published in 2014, which included data from nearly 900,000 people, found that those with prediabetes have a 15 percent higher risk of cancer, especially cancers of the liver, stomach, pancreas, breast and endometrium. Other research has shown that people with the highest insulin levels at the time of a cancer diagnosis have significantly increased risks of cancer recurrence, as well as a greater risk of being diagnosed with a particularly aggressive form of cancer.16
From my perspective these findings aren't the least surprising and precisely what you would predict if you understand the mechanism of most cancers, which are essentially being fueled by a metabolism that is driven by sugar (glucose), generating loads of unnecessary and damaging free radicals, as opposed to clean burning, high-quality fats that generate far less ROS.
Ketogenic Diet May Be Key to Cancer Recovery
Nutritional ketosis is part of the answer here. In this type of diet, you replace net carbs (total carbs minus fiber) with moderate amounts of high-quality protein and high amounts of beneficial fat. Since cancer cells need glucose to thrive, and carbohydrates devoid of fiber turn into glucose in your body, cutting out net carbs quite literally starves the cancer cells. Additionally, low protein intake tends to minimize the mTOR pathway, which also helps restrict cell proliferation.
The video above features Thomas Seyfried, Ph.D., who discusses how, as a metabolic disorder involving the dysregulation of respiration, malignant cancer (in this case brain cancer) can be managed by altering your metabolic environment.
That said, this kind of diet (low in net carbs, moderate in high-quality protein and high in healthy fats) will also help normalize your weight and boost your general health for the simple reason that it helps you convert from carb burning mode to fat burning, which helps optimize your mitochondrial function.
How Fasting May Benefit Cancer Patients
Fasting is another strategy that helps reverse obesity and optimize mitochondrial function, and it too can offer hope in the fight against cancer. In fact, one research group is reportedly looking into the possibility of getting intermittent fasting approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as an adjunct therapy for cancer patients.17,18,19
Valter Longo, Ph.D., has published a number of studies on fasting and its impact on cancer. His most recent research, published in the journal Cancer Cell,20 found that fasting during chemotherapy boosts cancer-killing T cell activity, thereby improving the effectiveness of the chemotherapy. As reported by Science Daily:21
"[R]odents that received caloric restriction mimetics alone or chemotherapy combined with a fasting-mimicking diet had smaller tumor masses over time than those that received only chemotherapy ...
Mice with breast or skin cancers were given a low-sugar, low-protein, high-fat, low-calorie diet and were observed for [six] weeks while receiving doxorubicin, cyclophosphamide or no chemotherapeutic drugs. All of the mice receiving the diet-drug combination saw their tumors shrink to half the volume of the tumors in mice that received chemotherapy alone."
According to Longo:22 "The biggest factor exposing cancer cells to the T cells is the effect on the enzyme heme oxygenase-1, which is normally at high levels in cancer cells. Fasting reduces oxygenase levels and gives rise to a number of changes that included the increase of tumor-killing cytotoxic T cells."
What to Eat for Optimal Health and Cancer Prevention
From my perspective, ignoring diet as a cancer prevention tool is foolhardy at best. I'm convinced most cancers are preventable through proper nutrition. Avoiding toxic exposures (such as pesticides) is another important factor, and this is one reason why I recommend eating organic foods, especially grass-fed or pastured meats and animal products, whenever possible.
Make no mistake about it, the FIRST thing you want to do if you want to avoid or treat cancer if you have insulin or leptin resistance is to cut out all forms of sugar/fructose and grain carbs from your diet. This step will optimize the signaling pathways that otherwise might contribute to malignant transformation.
Remember, the foundational aspect that must be addressed is the metabolic mitochondrial defect discussed earlier, and this involves radically reducing the net (non-fiber) carbohydrates in your diet and replacing them with high-quality fats. Moderating your consumption of protein, and being mindful of the quality of the protein, is also important, as excessive protein can also trigger cancer growth. To learn more about this, please see my previous article, "The Very Real Risks of Consuming Too Much Protein".
So, in summary, for optimal health you need sufficient amounts of carbohydrates, fats and protein. However, there are healthy carbs and unhealthy ones. Ditto for fat and protein. From my review of the molecular biology required to optimize mitochondrial function, it may be wise to aim for a diet with the following nutrient ratios:
? Healthy fats, 75 to 85 percent of your total calories. Beneficial monosaturated and saturated fats include olives and olive oil, coconuts and coconut oil, butter made from raw grass-fed organic milk, raw nuts such as macadamia and pecans, seeds like black sesame, black cumin, pumpkin and hemp seeds, avocados, grass-fed meats, lard and tallow, ghee (clarified butter), raw cacao butter, organic pastured egg yolks, animal-based omega-3 fats and small fatty fish like sardines and anchovies.
Harmful fats that contribute to disease are primarily trans fats and highly refined polyunsaturated omega-6 vegetable oils (PUFAs). Remember, glucose is an inherently "dirty" fuel as it generates far more ROS than fat burning does. But to burn fat, your cells must be healthy and normal. Cancer cells lack the metabolic flexibility to burn fat and this why a diet high in healthy fats appears to be such an effective anti-cancer strategy.
When you switch from burning glucose as your primary fuel to burning fat for fuel, cancer cells must struggle to stay alive, as most of their mitochondria are dysfunctional and can't use oxygen to burn fuel. At the same time, healthy cells are given an ideal and preferred fuel, which lowers oxidative damage and optimizes mitochondrial function. The sum effect is that healthy cells begin to thrive while cancer cells are "starved" to death.
? Carbohydrates, 8 to 15 percent of your daily calories. Aim for twice as many fiber carbs as non-fiber (net) carbs. This means if your total carbs is 10 percent of your daily calories, at least half of that should be fiber. Fiber has a number of other health benefits, including weight management and a lower risk for certain cancers.23
I personally believe that most would benefit from reducing net carbs (not just fructose) to less than 100 grams (g) per day, and keeping your total fructose intake to a maximum of 25 g per day from all sources. If you are insulin resistant, you'd do well to make your upper fructose limit 15 g per day.
Cancer patients would likely be best served by even stricter limits. By reducing the amount of net carbs you eat, you will accomplish four things that will result in lowered inflammation and reduced stimulation of cancer growth. You will:
Lower your serum glucose level
Reduce your mTOR level
Reduce your insulin level
Lower insulin growth factor-1 (IGF-1, a potent hormone that acts on your pituitary gland to induce metabolic and endocrine effects, including cell growth and replication. Elevated IGF-1 levels are associated with breast and other cancers)
I typically keep my net carbs around 50 to 60 g per day While this may sound awfully complicated, the easiest way to dramatically cut down on your sugar and fructose consumption is to switch to real foods, as the vast majority of added sugar and fructose you end up with comes from processed fare.
Excellent sources of high-fiber carbs that you can eat plenty of include chia seeds, berries, raw nuts, cauliflower, root vegetables and tubers such as onions and sweet potatoes, green beans, peas, broccoli, Brussels sprouts and psyllium seed husk.
? Protein, 7 to 10 percent of your total calories. Quality is important, so look for high-quality grass-fed or pastured meats and animal products. As a general rule, I recommend limiting your protein to 0.5 g of protein per pound of lean body mass, which for most people amounts to 40 to 70 g of protein a day.
(To estimate your protein requirements, first determine your lean body mass. Subtract your percent body fat from 100. For example, if you have 20 percent body fat, then you have 80 percent lean body mass. Just multiply that percentage by your current weight to get your lean body mass in pounds or kilos.)
Again, the reason for limiting protein is because excessive amounts have a stimulating effect on the mTOR pathway, which plays an important role in many diseases, including cancer. When you reduce protein to what your body needs for cell repair and maintenance, mTOR remains inhibited, which helps minimize your chances of cancer growth.
Gout is one of the more than 100 different types of arthritis.1 Once called the ?Disease of Kings? or ?rich man?s disease,? the number of people suffering from gout is on the rise.
In England and New Zealand, the number of people evaluated at the hospital for symptoms of gout rose by 80 percent in the past decade.2 In the past 50 years the incidence of gout has nearly doubled in the U.S.3
Like a window into your metabolic health, gout is an outward sign of what?s happening on the inside of your body. Symptoms of the condition, and long-term treatment, are related to your lifestyle choices and nutritional habits. In other words, you have some degree of control over your condition.
In 2011, gout affected 8.3 million, or 4 percent of Americans.4 Although the numbers of people diagnosed are rising, it may not be an accurate representation of the number of people who experience the condition each year.
Many people suffer from an episodic gout condition, experiencing several occurrences over their lifetime.5 However, according to Dr. Allen Anandarajah, an associate professor of medicine and a rheumatologist at the University of Rochester Medical Center, many don?t see their doctor for these periodic occurrences.6
This means the number of people who have gout each year could actually be as high as 10 percent of the population. Symptoms include:7
? Pain, often in the big toe, starting at night
? Warmth, swelling and redness in the affected area
? Both fingers and toes or feet may be affected
? Extreme tenderness in the affected joint
? Red or purple coloring on the skin over the joint
? Joint may appear to be infected
? Limited movement in the joint
? Skin may itch or peel as the gout resolves
Symptoms Are Related to an End Product of Metabolism
These symptoms are the result of uric acid crystal deposits in the joint space. There is evidence that these deposits are related to metabolic syndrome,8 a constellation of health conditions characterized by insulin and leptin resistance, central or abdominal obesity, high blood pressure, and a fasting glucose greater than 100 milligram per deciliter (mg/dL).9
Purine, a compound found in certain foods, contributes to energy metabolism and is a component in some co-enzymes. All cells require purine for growth and survival. The final compound in the breakdown of purine is uric acid.
Only humans don?t have the enzyme uricase that converts uric acid to a compound easily excreted in the urine. It?s the buildup of serum uric acid that is associated with the severity of your gout.10
When your metabolic processes controlling serum uric acid don?t function effectively, it can result in an overproduction of uric acid and crystalline deposits in a joint space.11
Drugs Are Not an Ideal Long-Term Solution
Conventional treatment for gout includes the use of medications such as:
Allopurinol, which reduces uric acid production
Colchicine, which blocks inflammation caused by uric acid crystals and may be used for long-term prevention of recurring episodes
In the short-term, these medications may effectively treat your symptoms. But gout may be a lifelong condition and the side effects from these drugs make them dangerous for long-term use.
Allopurinol is used during an episode of gout. Common side effects include nausea, diarrhea or drowsiness. Other side effects may include increased bleeding, signs of infection, kidney problems, yellowing skin or eyes, eye pain or vision changes and unexplained weight loss.12
Colchicine is used as a prophylaxis to prevent a recurrence. You may experience diarrhea, nausea, cramping and vomiting when you begin the medication.
Serious side effects include muscle weakness, numbness or tingling of your hands or feet, pale color to your lips, tongue or palms of your hands, unusual weakness, fast heart rate and shortness of breath.13
Side effects from long-term or consistent use of NSAIDs are well documented. Severe intestinal damage,14 increased risk of heart attack and stroke, increased risk of ulcers and reduced blood flow to the kidneys are some of the risks of NSAID use.15
Lifestyle Choices That May Limit or Prevent Gout
Gout is more common among men than women, and more often between the ages of 40 and 50.16 Although you may not have symptoms of gout today, it?s never too early to use a proactive approach to preventing illness. The preventive lifestyle choices to reduce your risk of gout will also help reduce your risk for other diseases.
? Exercise Daily
Regular exercise and consistent movement may help to normalize your insulin and leptin levels and reduce buildup of uric acid. If you suffer symptoms of gout you may want to limit your exercise to reduce the potential for permanent joint damage. For instance:
Don?t exercise a joint with active symptoms of gout
Choose another exercise if you feel pain in a joint an hour after finishing your workout
Enlist the help of a professional therapist to identify a safe range of workouts
If you don?t have symptoms of gout, consider high-intensity interval training combined with strength training.
? Optimize Your Vitamin D Levels
Research has demonstrated the importance of vitamin D to your overall health and the prevention of many diseases, including diabetes, cancer and heart disease. Evidence also suggests it plays a preventive role in the development of metabolic syndrome.17
Sensible sun exposure is the best way to raise your vitamin D levels. This way your body naturally creates vitamin D3. You?ll know that you have accomplished this when your skin turns to the lightest shade of pink. Staying in the sun beyond this point will only promote burning and skin damage.
If you live in an area where sunlight isn?t abundant, you can take a vitamin D3 (25-hydroxyvitamin D3) supplement along with a vitamin K2 MK-7 supplement. Your ideal dosage is one that will help you reach and maintain a healthy vitamin D level of 40 to 60 nanograms per milliliter (ng/ml).
? Enough Sleep
Quality sleep each night benefits your overall health and reduces your risk of abdominal fat deposits. Sleep deprivation suppresses your immune system, increases your appetite and leads to premature aging.
How much sleep you need depends on several medical and physical factors unique to you. According to the National Sleep Foundation, young adults between 18 and 64 years need between seven and nine hours of sleep each night.18
Grounding may reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease and may thin your blood, both good things when you want to reduce your risk for gout. If you want to try grounding, start by walking in a dewy, grassy area barefoot.
If you live near a large body of water, that?s a great location for walking barefoot, as seawater is a good conductor.
? Reduce Your Stress
Stress is almost inevitable in a fast-paced life. It may increase your release of cortisol, reducing your body?s sensitivity to the hormone and increasing the amount of inflammation in your system.
Inflammation reduces your ability to fight infections and is one factor in the development of several different diseases.
If you aren?t sure where to start reducing your stress, try the Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT). This process works much the same as acupuncture, but using pressure and tapping to stimulate the energy meridian points in your head and chest.
Limiting Fructose Is Critical if You Have Gout
Uric acid is a byproduct of fructose metabolism. In fact, fructose is the ONLY type of sugar that will raise your uric acid levels and will typically generate uric acid within minutes of ingestion. The ideal range for uric acid is between 3 to 5.5 mg/dL. The connection between fructose consumption and increased uric acid is so reliable that a uric acid level taken from your blood can actually be used as a marker for fructose toxicity.
I became fully aware of the dramatic and devastating impact fructose has on your uric acid levels when I interviewed Dr. Richard Johnson on this topic. You can watch that interview above.
Sensible food choices are important to your overall health and wellness. Your cells produce energy and replicate based on the nutrition you feed them. The choices you make can increase or reduce your risk of experiencing a bout of gout. Fructose is at the very top of the list of foods to avoid if you have gout.
As a general rule, I recommend limiting your total fructose to 25 grams (g) per day. If you?re insulin resistant or have gout, you would be wise to limit fructose to 15 g per day or even less, until your symptoms have resolved.
Other dietary considerations that may be helpful include the following:
? Limit Fructose
According to Johnson's research, a quarter of the U.S. population consumes a whopping 134 g of fructose a day. This is a staggering amount of fructose when you consider the fact that you need to restrict your fructose intake to below 25 g a day in order to maintain good health.
If you have gout, this is extremely important, and you must take into account the fructose you consume from fruit and other foods. For instance, if you eat cherries for their therapeutic value, 10 sweet cherries or 1 cup of sour cherries contain about 4 g of fructose.
One of the oldest folk remedies for gout was eating cherries. Research has also demonstrated that eating approximately 10 cherries can reduce your risk for gout by almost 35 percent.19
However, cherries are also high in fructose, one of the primary means of increasing your uric acid production and therefore your risk of gout. The key is to eat them in moderation and include the grams of fructose from your cherries in your daily allotment of fructose.
? Celery Seed Extract
Unique to celery is compound 3-n-butylphthalide, which gives celery a distinctive flavor. While still in early stages, research has found a positive association between 3-n-butylphthalide and a reduction in pain and inflammation.20 The results were statistically significant, with some participants achieving 100 percent pain relief.
? Eat Potassium-Rich Foods
Potassium citrate helps alkalize your urine and improves the excretion of uric acid. Potassium is widely available in fruits and vegetables. The most beneficial sources include broccoli, celery, avocado, spinach and romaine lettuce. If you want to supplement, consider using potassium bicarbonate, which is probably the best potassium source to use as a supplement.
? Avoid Soy
There has been research associating the use of soy milk with a 10 percent increase in serum urate concentrations, increasing your risk of developing gout.21
? Limit Alcohol
Regular alcohol use has a demonstrable association with the development of gout.22 Beer appears to have a slightly higher risk than hard liquor, while wine has very little effect on the development of gout.23
? Drink Enough Fluid
Liberal intake of water helps to reduce the concentration and promote the excretion of waste products in your urine. Diluting your urine also reduces the risk of kidney stones. Drink enough each day to keep your urine a light straw color, which indicates you?re well hydrated. When the color is darker you aren?t drinking enough and if your urine doesn?t have any color you may be drinking too much.
? Avoid Foods High in Purines
Organ meats, brewer?s yeast, sardines and tuna packed in oil, chicken livers and beef fillet all have over 100 mg of purine per 100 g of product.24 Foods high in purine will breakdown to uric acid.
Tens of millions of people are taking drugs to lower their cholesterol levels. Most of those medications are in a drug class known as statins. Some doctors are even starting to recommend children use statin drugs to control their cholesterol levels.1 I couldn?t disagree more.
The challenge with statin drugs is that they address surface issues with cholesterol in a simplistic manner. But your body is a complex organism that uses cholesterol every day to build new cell walls, in the formation of vitamin D and in the production of hormones.
Statin drugs are HMG-CoA reductase inhibitors. They function by blocking the enzyme in your liver that naturally produces cholesterol for your bodily functions.
The drug essentially reduces your total cholesterol number, without addressing your high-density lipoproteins (HDL), low-density lipoproteins (LDL), very low-density lipoproteins (VLDL) or triglyceride levels.kri
While your total cholesterol number gives you a general overview, it isn?t the information needed to evaluate your risk of cardiovascular disease. Instead, you?ll need to compare your HDL, LDL, VLDL and triglyceride numbers against your total cholesterol.
Statins May Trigger Neuromuscular Disease
Statin drugs are notorious for causing side effects like muscle damage and weakness. What has been less publicized is a potential link between statins and a progression of muscle wasting that may lead to a diagnosis of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), also known as Lou Gehrig's disease.
The World Health Organization (WHO) Foundation Collaborating Centre for International Drug Monitoring receives safety reports associated with statin medications and has noted a disproportionately high number of patients with upper motor neuron lesions among those taking statin medications.2
The lead researcher, Ivor Ralph Edwards, is an expert in toxicology, acute and chronic poisoning and adverse drug reactions.3 He also is the senior adviser at the WHO Uppsala Monitoring Centre in Sweden, and he says:4
?We do advocate that trial discontinuation of a statin should be considered in patients with serious neuromuscular disease such as the ALS-like syndrome, given the poor prognosis and a possibility that progression of the disease may be halted or even reversed.?
Researchers from Johns Hopkins Medical School cautioned patients that although they discovered a link between taking statins and the development of a rare neuromuscular autoimmune disease, this condition could be treated with steroids and other immunosuppressive drugs.5
The researchers stated there was no need to fear this popular ?fantastic medication.?6 Dr. Andrew L. Mammen, a neurologist who treats patients with statin-associated myopathies at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, is quoted in a Johns Hopkins press release saying, ?Statins save a huge number of lives. They dramatically reduce the risk of strokes and heart attacks.?
The implication is you need statins in order to reduce your risk of heart attacks and strokes, and you should take them despite the risk for developing a degenerative neurological disease for which you will require medication to suppress your immune system.
This despite the knowledge that total cholesterol numbers are not indicative of your overall risk for cardiovascular disease. I would advise you to seriously evaluate the risks and benefits and consider your alternatives before you start taking a statin drug.
More Adverse Effects of Statins
In the video above, Dr. Beatrice Golomb7 talks with me about the manipulation of "scientific evidence" and other well-publicized misinformation about medications.
In 2012 Golomb was recognized for a study she led on muscle and tendon adverse events linked to statins, which showed that muscle problems were related to the strength of the statin being taken.8
Other studies concur that side effects from statin drugs may be different for different patients depending upon your past medical history, the particular statin and the dose used.9
Research from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine suggests that research results have been ?cherry-picked? so the results presented the best possible light for the drug company.10 According to Pacific Standard:11
?Sometimes the negative side effects of statins are downplayed, and conclusions can be skewed by the limited parameters of the trials. As a 2007 Scripps Mercy Hospital study noted:
?The incidence of statin-induced rhabdomyolysis (acute breakdown of skeletal muscles) is higher in practice than in controlled trials because of the exclusion of potentially susceptible subjects.??
Another study found 17 percent of patients suffered side effects that included muscle pain, nervous system problems and nausea.12 Two-thirds who reported side effects stopped taking the drugs and approximately half stopped at least temporarily.
A review of the literature, published in the American Journal of Cardiovascular Drugs, evaluated 900 previous studies looking at the adverse effects of statin drugs.13
Adverse effects are dose-dependent, and your health risks can be amplified by a number of factors, such as taking other drugs (which may increase statin potency), metabolic syndrome or thyroid disease. Some of the consequences of taking statin drugs in strong doses or for a lengthy amount of time include:14,15,16
? Difficulty sleeping
? High blood sugar (type 2 diabetes)
? Vision changes
? Bladder pain
? Difficulty breathing
? Dry mouth
? Lower back or side pain
? Loss of consciousness
? Swollen joints
? Blistering or peeling skin
? Weight changes
? Cognitive loss
? Frequent fevers
? Sexual dysfunction
? Pancreatic dysfunction
? Immune system suppression
? Polyneuropathy (nerve damage in hands and feet)
? Liver dysfunction
? Increased risk of cancer
? Degenerative muscle tissue (rhabdomyolysis)
If You Feel You Must Take Statins You Need to Take Ubiquinol or CoQ10
Statins work by inhibiting the enzyme your liver uses to produce cholesterol. However, the same pathway may promote the suppression of the precursor to coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10), an antioxidant your mitochondria use to produce energy. In theory, when your body is deficient in CoQ10, mitochondrial energy production is depressed, which may trigger or accelerate neuropathies like ALS.17
If you take statin drugs without taking CoQ10 or the reduced form, ubiquinol, your health may be at serious risk. Unfortunately, this describes the majority of people who take statins in the United States. The loss of energy at the cellular level can damage your mitochondrial DNA and set into motion a vicious cycle of rising free radicals and mitochondrial damage.
CoQ10 is an effective adjunct treatment for heart failure, an important piece of information as statins may decrease the function of your heart muscle.18 In this study researchers found the control group, those who were not taking statin drugs to protect their cardiovascular health, fared better.19 They concluded, ?Statin therapy is associated with decreased myocardial function as evaluated with SI (strain imaging).?
The importance of your mitochondrial energy function can?t be overstated. Statin Study Group, led by Golomb, concluded the malfunction of mitochondrial energy production due to the interference of statin medications was the underlying causative factor in all of the adverse effects associated with the medication.
After reviewing the evidence, if you choose to take a CoQ10 supplement it?s important to take the form your body can easily assimilate.20 CoQ10 can typically be used by people 30 and younger. However, if you are over 30 you?ll want to consider ubiquinol, the reduced version of CoQ10, as it is far more effective.
LDL Particle Number More Important Than Total Cholesterol
It is likely the focus on lowering cholesterol has missed the boat completely, as high total cholesterol is not the cause of heart disease, unless it?s over 300. Other risk factors are much more powerful. One of the more important tests you may consider to determine your real risk of heart disease is the NMR LipoProfile, which measures your LDL particle number.
This particular test also includes markers to determine if you are insulin resistant, a primary cause of an elevated LDL particle number. When your insulin secretion rises, so does your cholesterol production. Elevated insulin levels, or a decrease in insulin sensitivity, is related to the foods you eat and your exercise. Two other blood test ratios that will tell you more about your cardiovascular disease risk are:
HDL to total cholesterol ratio. This is a fasting test and should be higher than 25 percent. It measures the amount of HDL you have against your total cholesterol number.
Triglyceride to HDL ratio, which should be below 2.
Health officials in the United States urge everyone over the age of 20 to have their cholesterol tested once every five years. Part of this test is your total cholesterol, or the sum of your blood's cholesterol content, including HDL, LDLs, and VLDLs.
Keep in mind these are still simply guidelines, and there's a lot more that goes into your risk of heart disease than any one number can tell you. It was only after researchers found total cholesterol was a poor predictor of heart disease that HDL and LDL cholesterol were measured. They give you a closer idea of what's going on, but they still do not show you everything.
Naturally Improve Your Cholesterol Levels
The only time there is a real reason to take medications to control your cholesterol level may be if you suffer from familial hypercholesterolemia. This is a genetic condition, passed down through your family. It begins at birth and affects your LDL levels, sometimes causing heart attacks at an early age.21
In other instances, your cholesterol can be controlled by making different lifestyle and nutritional choices. The fact is that 75 percent of your cholesterol is produced by your liver, which is influenced by your insulin levels. 22,23 This means if you optimize your insulin levels you will also be optimizing your cholesterol levels. In order to safely regulate your blood sugar, insulin sensitivity and cholesterol levels it is important to modify your diet and lifestyle choices.
? Normalize Your Weight and Reduce Carbohydrates, Especially Fructose
Normalize your weight using a plan of eliminating grains and sugars in your diet. Take special care to get no more than 25 grams of fructose each day. These products spike your insulin level and trigger the development of cholesterol. Ideally, you'll also want to consume a good portion of your food raw.
? Include Heart Healthy Foods
Make sure you are getting plenty of high-quality, animal-based omega-3 fats. Other heart-healthy foods include olive oil, coconut and coconut oil, organic raw dairy products and eggs, avocados, raw nuts and seeds, and organic grass-fed meats.
? Increase Your Daily Movement and Exercise Regularly
While I strongly recommend incorporating Peak Fitness exercises, which also optimize your human growth hormone (HGH) production, non-exercise movement may be even more important. Ideally, stay active as much as you can each day. I recommend standing up at work, and try to get as much walking in as possible. Then, in addition to that, aim for a comprehensive fitness program that includes strength training and high intensity exercises.
? Reduce Your Stress Levels
Each of us experience stress in a fast-paced life. You may consider addressing your emotional challenges using my favorite technique for stress management, Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT). You can easily learn to use these techniques at home and incorporate them even when you?re out and about.
Alcohol is high in net carbohydrates, which affect your insulin levels. Tobacco has an effect on your arterial system, temporarily raising your blood pressure.
? Replace Vegetable Oils
Replace harmful vegetable oils and synthetic trans fats with healthy fats, such as olive oil, butter and coconut oil (remember olive oil should be used cold only; use coconut oil for cooking and baking).
? Include Fermented Foods
Include fermented foods in your daily diet. These will not only optimize your intestinal microflora, which will boost your overall immunity, but will also introduce beneficial bacteria into your mouth. Poor oral health is another powerful indicator of increased heart disease risk.
In 2014, 90-year-old World War II veteran Arnold Abbott was arrested in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, for feeding the homeless. The city had recently passed a controversial ordinance that restricts where charitable groups can feed the homeless on public property.
The ordinance was described as a way to control the area's growing homeless population. Abbott, however, had no plans of stopping his altruistic acts. After being arrested on November 2, 2014 ? along with two pastors ? police cited him again on November 6, 2014.
Mayor Jack Seiler defended the arrest and told Abbott to secure an indoor location instead. In response, Abbott said no indoor venues to feed the homeless were available, and he intended to continue with his mission outside until the mayor found him a suitable location indoors.1
Meanwhile, by last year at least five lawsuits had been filed against Fort Lauderdale, alleging that the law is unconstitutional.2 The case of Abbott versus Fort Lauderdale may seem like an extreme example, but it is, unfortunately, not unique.
More Than 70 US Cities Have Attempted to Ban Food Sharing
According to the National Coalition for the Homeless, citywide restrictions on food sharing are growing in the U.S. More than 70 cities have passed or attempted to pass laws that make feeding the homeless a criminal offense.3
The legislation works in a number of ways. For instance, some cities require permits be obtained (for a fee) before food may be distributed on public property.
Other legislation restricts food sharing on the grounds of food safety, requiring organizations sharing food to comply with overly strict food-safety regulations, such as only preparing food in approved locations or serving only pre-packaged meals. Mother Jones reported in 2014:
"When the issue of food safety was raised during a court hearing on Myrtle Beach, South Carolina's food-sharing law, the legal director of the state's ACLU [American Civil Liberties Union] chapter pointed out that similar restrictions weren't being levied against family reunions in parks, for instance, and that it had never received a single report of homeless people getting sick from the food.
A Utah state representative said the same thing about Salt Lake City's food-sharing law."
Food-Sharing Bans Attempt to Move the Problem of Homelessness Elsewhere
In some cases, community members may force the food-sharing organization to relocate or stop operating in order to make the location "less attractive" for homeless people. According to a National Coalition for the Homeless report:4
"The final, and most difficult to measure, method to restrict food-sharing with people experiencing homelessness is through community actions driven by the principle of 'Not In My Back Yard (NIMBY).'
In most cases, business- and home-owners [sic] who do not want people experiencing homelessness to be attracted to their communities, place tremendous pressure, and sometimes even harass, the organization responsible for the food-sharing program to cease or relocate their programs."
The National Coalition for the Homeless believes, however, that simply stopping food sharing will not make homeless people disappear ? nor will sharing food encourage people to be homeless.
Instead, they cite lack of affordable housing and job opportunities, mental health problems, addiction and physical disabilities as top reasons that perpetuate homelessness.
Is it Illegal to Buy a Meal From Your Neighbor?
The issue of food sharing stretches far beyond feeding the homeless. What if, for instance, you were ill, too busy or simply did not want to cook meals for yourself and your family?
And what if a neighbor loved cooking and wanted to cook meals for you regularly, which you would purchase for an agreed-upon fee and pick up at their doorstep at an agreed-upon time?
Such is the premise behind California food-startup company Josephine, which "connects you to friends and neighbors making home cooked meals."
Thousands of people have joined and raved about not only the meals they've picked up but also the sense of community ? some even called it family ? that the simple act of picking up home-cooked meals has brought them. There are others, too. Fast Company reported:5
"Feastly and EatWith facilitate pop-up dinners in people's homes. Mytable, MealSurfers and Umi Kitchen deliver meals from home chefs' kitchens.
Homemade, a similar concept, acts like a Shopify for food, providing software to enable anyone to sell their empanadas or jerk chicken dish from their apartment. Even Etsy has a fairly extensive homemade food inventory."
You may be wondering if sharing food in this way is legal. In many areas, technically it's not.
In order to sell food, many states require that it be prepared in a "commercial kitchen," which must contain nonabsorbent (i.e., stainless steel) countertops, two sinks (one for washing and preparing food and one, with three compartments, for washing dishes), and other requirements that would be impractical and undesirable in a typical home kitchen.
Many start-up companies begin their operations and forge ahead anyway. In Josephine's case, the company was eventually presented with a wave of cease-and-desist letters from various government officials ? but not before it sponsored a bill that would have removed the commercial kitchen requirement from the California Retail Code, essentially making it legal to sell food cooked at home.
The bill was immediately opposed and pulled, however, and it remains to be seen whether Josephine will ultimately survive. Still, the company, and other start-ups like it, is clearly fulfilling a void for home-cooked meals in many people's lives.
Why Cottage Food Laws Don't Cut It
You may be wondering how people can "get away" with selling homemade goods at farmer's markets and craft fairs. This is because most states have "cottage food" laws that allow certain home-cooked foods to be sold publically on a limited basis.
The foods permitted to be sold are typically limited to "non-potentially hazardous" items, such as baked goods, dried fruits, jams, jellies and popcorn. There is some variance by state, such as in Wyoming, where most home-cooked food can be sold, and Wisconsin, where not even baked goods can be sold.6
In addition, the operations are typically limited by how much they can earn each year. In Illinois, for instance, the Cottage Food Law limits sales from homemade products to $36,000 per year or less.7
The person selling the product must also be registered with the state and must obtain an Illinois Food Service Sanitation Manager Certificate ? so there are still plenty of regulatory hurdles to cross, even when selling your homemade goods is "legal."
Police Raids to Confiscate Raw Milk Continue
The war against raw milk in the U.S. is an assault to food freedom and should strike a nerve with anyone who believes it is his or her own right (and not the government's) to choose what to eat and drink.
In recent months in Texas, for instance, at least two police raids have occurred to break up raw milk sales. In one case, about 50 people picking up raw milk from a farmer in a church parking lot in Katy, Texas, were stopped by police.8
In another instance, inspectors from the Austin Health Department and the Texas Department of State Health Services stopped people in the private driveway of an Austin, Texas home. The people were picking up raw milk they had already purchased, and the health officials said they could not have it.
These raids occurred despite the operations being LEGAL; in Texas, people can purchase raw milk from farms or have someone pick it up for them. The police and health department raids occurred, seemingly, because the customers hired a courier to deliver the legally purchased milk to them.9
Even Representative Dan Flynn (R-Van), Chairman House Pensions, sent a letter to the Attorney General's Office defending the raw-milk consumers and calling the health officials' actions "harassment of the farmer, the couriers and the customers."
"Not one illness has been reported, no pathogens have been found in this farmers [sic] milk, and there is absolutely no health basis for this action," he wrote.10
Meanwhile, Big Dairy, including the National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF), Dairy Farmers of America, and Land O'Lakes, has been accused of combining to form Cooperatives Working Together (CWT) and engaging in a price-fixing plot to inflate milk prices. CWT reportedly was involved in slaughtering half a million young cows in order to reduce milk supply and inflate prices, which resulted in more than $9.5 billion in profits.11
In contrast, many small raw milk farmers are struggling to survive. In Pennsylvania, the Pennsylvania Milk Marketing Board sets price points and, as a result, small farmers may have to sell their milk at a loss. Ray Kuzma, a Pennsylvania farmer who sells raw milk produced by his 200 Holstein cattle, receives $15 for 100 pounds of raw milk ? an $8 loss compared to the cost of milk production. At that price, he's losing at least $10,000 a month.12
The Federal Milk Marketing Improvement Act of 2011, sponsored by Progressive Agriculture Cooperative, is an old senate bill that could help struggling farmers like Kuzma if it's reintroduced, as it would set a national average to price milk based on the farmer's cost.13
The Right to Food
The right to food is included in the 1948 U.N. Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which states, "Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself and his family, including food."14 Yet, in the developed world this right to food increasingly means the right to food that comes from industrial food conglomerates as opposed to food from the origin of your choosing.
Government officials have crossed the line in telling people what types of food they can and can't eat ? from attempting to shut down home cooks interested in selling their meals to making the sale of raw milk illegal across state lines and arresting those attempting to share food with the homeless.
The system is set up to protect industrialized, centralized food production and distribution, while efforts to decentralize food are kept strictly under wraps. Even small farmers attempting to offer grass-fed beef are met with hurdles unbeknownst to many Americans.
PRIME Act Would Help Support Food Freedom
All U.S. farmers must use USDA-approved slaughterhouses, and laws place special restrictions on grass-fed slaughtering. If a grass-fed rancher doesn't have access to a slaughterhouse, he cannot stay in business.
This shrewd strategy effectively maintains the status quo of CAFOs (concentrated animal feeding operations), because grass-fed ranchers are often forced to ship their cattle hundreds of miles for "processing" ? a move that's both costly and stressful. Large slaughterhouses can also refuse smaller jobs, as they ? just like CAFOs ? operate on economy of scale.
Basically, there may be plenty of demand for grass-fed beef, and plenty of supply, but USDA rules and regulations prevent the American-bred supply from ever reaching the customer. Across the U.S., smaller slaughterhouses catering to grass-fed ranchers have been closing up shop, pushed out by larger processors, adding to the shortage of processing facilities to choose from.
So while every human has the right to food, in the U.S. rules and regulations may make it difficult, impossible or even illegal to purchase and consume the food of your choosing. Fortunately, there is some small farm-friendly legislation in the works, including the Processing Revival and Intrastate Meat Exemption (PRIME) Act (S. 2651), introduced by Senators Angus King (I-ME) and Rand Paul (R-KY) earlier this year.
Representatives Thomas Massie (R-KY) and Chellie Pingree (D-ME) introduced an identical bill, H.R. 3187, in the House of Representatives last summer. If passed, the PRIME Act would allow states to permit sale of meat processed locally, thereby making it easier for small farms and ranches to serve their consumers. I encourage you to call your senators and urge them to support the PRIME Act.
Measures such as this support a decentralized, locally based food system, which is key for securing your right to food freedom, including fresh, naturally raised food. At an individual level, you can support your local food producers by frequenting farmer's markets, local farms and even testing out food-sharing opportunities.
Regarding the PRIME Act, you can find your senators' contact information by clicking the button below or by calling the Capitol Switchboard at 202-224-3121.
Monsanto Benefits Hand Over Fist From Tax Dollar Subsidies
By Dr. Mercola
In the video above, Funny or Die pokes fun at Monsanto's "feeding the world" message by highlighting some of the most obvious features of genetically engineered (GE) foods, such as the unnatural crossing of genetic material between plant and animal kingdoms, the use of toxic chemicals and Monsanto's ever-expanding monopoly.
"I own everything!" Mama Monsanto exclaims, and that's pretty close to the truth. Monsanto has gobbled up seed companies, chemical competitors and even research institutions investigating the impact of pesticides on bee die-offs.
Not to mention the influence the company wields over the U.S. government. It sure seems to "own" that too.
Why the US Government Refuses to Turn on Monsanto
Many have pondered how Monsanto managed to rise to such a powerful position with respect to its influence over the U.S. government, and I think journalist Abby Martin may have pin-pointed the source of this obnoxious loyalty in her recent video report, "America's Monster" (below).
In it, she details Monsanto's history as an American "war horse," which began with its involvement in the Manhattan Project and the creation of the atomic bomb. Monsanto's contributions to the U.S. war machine continued during the Vietnam War, when the company became a leading producer of Agent Orange.
These war contributions appear to have cemented a long-lasting and loyal relationship between the U.S. government and Monsanto that continues to this day, to the detriment of the American people.
Sixty-four other nations have been labeling genetically modified organisms (GMOs) for years. Here in the U.S., Monsanto's influence runs so deep, we just became the first country in the world to UNLABEL GMOs, as President Obama will soon sign a bill that nullifies Vermont's GMO labeling law, which just went into effect July 1.
Throughout its entire history, which began with the foundation of Monsanto Chemical Works in 1901, Monsanto has specialized in the production of toxic chemicals. Despite attempts to shed its destructive image, Monsanto has utterly failed to do so, for the simple fact that it never actually changed its basic modus operandi.
Nor did it actually change its direction from purveyor of toxins to a life-giving agricultural company. Its focus remains producing and selling toxins. It simply discovered it could sell more chemicals, and ensure ever-increasing profits, by producing GE seeds with herbicide-resistant properties.
Voluntary 'Smart Label' Preempts State and Consumer Rights
Earlier this month, Senate Agriculture Chairman Pat Roberts and ranking Democrat Debbie Stabenow announced they'd reached a deal1 to create a national labeling standard for GMOs using voluntary "Smart Labels" (so-called QR codes2) rather than clear labeling.
This despite the fact that polls show 88 percent of Americans have said they do NOT want to be forced into using a smartphone app to find this important information.
The bill, S. 2609, which amends the Agricultural Marketing Act of 1946 with a national bioengineered food disclosure standard,3,4 is now more or less a done deal. On July 14, the U.S. House passed the bill, 306 to 117, and President Obama has already indicated he will sign it.5
The legislation will supersede and nullify Vermont's GMO labeling requirement, which took effect mere weeks ago.
It will also bar any other state from enacting GMO labeling requirements that differ from the national standard, and delays the disclosure requirement another two years; three years for smaller food companies.
What's worse, the new legislation changes and significantly narrows the definition of bioengineering, as applied under this law only, such that the newest biotech methods are exempt from the disclosure standards.
As a result, most GE food products currently on the market will end up being excluded anyway.
With the passing of this bill, the U.S. "war horse" Monsanto won again. Your elected representatives sold you out to the highest bidder. Senator Jeff Merkley has even stated that the bill was "written by and for Monsanto." As reported by Sputnik International:6
"Markley explained that because of loopholes in the legislation, Monsanto-made products 'would not be covered by it, because the definition excludes them.'"
Monsanto Benefits From Farm and Biofuel Subsidies
I recently discussed how government-subsidized commodities such as corn, soy and wheat contribute to the obesity and disease epidemics in the U.S.7,8,9 The Western processed food diet is chockfull of refined added sugars and unhealthy vegetable oils, which are cheap as a result of farm subsidies.
However, as much as 65 percent of the 94.1 million acres of corn grown in the U.S. actually doesn't enter the food system at all.10 It's used to produce ethanol fuel.
In a 2009 speech, Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus said that "energy reform is a strategic imperative,"11 calling for the deployment of "the Great Green Fleet ... composed of nuclear ships, surface combatants equipped with hybrid electric alternative power systems running biofuel and aircraft flying only [on] biofuels."
Mabus had put down 2016 as the deadline for this naval energy reform, but it didn't come to pass. As noted by Vice News:12
"[C]ongressional Republicans ... have blocked the Navy from spending more on a gallon of biofuel than it does on a gallon of regular diesel.
Since it costs more to turn seeds, weeds or beef trimmings into usable fuel than it does to extract fossil fuels from the ground and refine them, it's all but impossible for the fleet to use substantial amounts of biofuels with crude oil prices are as low as they currently are."
Part of the problem is the low production of biofuel, which drives up the price. According to a 2015 report13 by the World Resources Institute (WRI), in order to meet just 20 percent of the global energy demand by 2050, using plant-based biofuels, we would have to DOUBLE the global annual harvest of plant material "in all its forms."
This makes the "quest for bioenergy at a meaningful scale ... both unrealistic and unsustainable," according to the report. Despite such bleak prognoses, the Biodiesel Tax Incentive Reform and Extension Act of 201614 would provide a $1.00 subsidy for each gallon of biodiesel produced during the taxable year.
In short, not only are your tax dollars continuing the expansion of corn for the production of biofuel, which is "unrealistic and unsustainable" to begin with, government subsidies are also used to grow crops that are primary contributors to obesity and ill health ? and both of these schemes end up benefiting Monsanto, since the vast majority of corn grown in the U.S. is genetically modified.
'The Dumbest Guys in the Room'
In an article titled, "GMO Industry: The Dumbest Guys in the Room,"15 columnist Kurt Cobb16 makes a number of strikingly accurate observations.
"I am now convinced the GMO industry has managed to hire the worst public relations strategists in human history. By supporting a deeply flawed GMO labeling bill in the U.S. Congress ... the industry is about to open a Pandora's Box of PR nightmares for years to come," he writes.
"The anti-GMO groups will likely put out lists of the worst labeling violators and lists of their products containing GMOs. And, of course, there will be lists based on those enigmatic QR codes. Perhaps those codes will become the equivalent of the skull and crossbones feared by one GMO executive.17"
Cobb likely predicts the future here, as I believe the QR code will become exactly that ? the mark of products and brands that are trying to make a mint from deception by making it as difficult as possible for you to find out the truth about their ingredients. The QR code will become known as the Mark of Monsanto, and shoppers will be able to simply assume admission of guilt when they see it, without ever taking the time to rummage through entire websites filled with extraneous information and advertising.
Forbes contributor Nancy Fink Huehnergarth has made similar observations,18 noting that "Big Food may be shooting itself in the foot again," as the QR code will make it appear they have something to hide.
"Food/drink packaging already has an ingredient label and nutrition facts panel. How simple would it be to mandate that all food packaging add a few words or a universal symbol to communicate the inclusion of GMO ingredients?" she says.
Why Eat GMOs When They Have No Health Advantages?
Cobb makes another great point when he says:
"[T]he industry's business and public relations strategists are the same ones who made a colossal marketing error ? while believing they had achieved a regulatory coup ? when they steamrolled the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) into ruling that GMOs are 'substantially equivalent' to their non-GMO counterparts and therefore require no testing ...
The reason this strategy has turned out to be a colossal marketing error is that as the attacks on GMOs have mounted ... the industry finds itself unable to pivot and point to any advantages that GMO foods have for consumers over non-GMO foods ...
After all, GMO foods are said to be 'substantially equivalent.' That means that the industry cannot give consumers any reasons to prefer GMO foods over their non-GMO counterparts ... So far genetic engineering has focused on creating plants [that] produce insecticides internally ? not a pleasant thought for those eating them ? and which are immune to herbicides made by, you guessed it, the companies producing the GMO seeds."
Chemical Residues ? A Major Reason to Avoid GMOs
Indeed, if GMOs are substantially equivalent to conventional crops in terms of nutritional value yet contain higher amounts of pesticides, why eat them? After all, the idea that pesticides are a boon to health is a tough sell.
As you may have noticed, with the exception of DDT, which was marketed as "good for you," pesticides do not have health claims. And arguments defending the presence of pesticides on food always focus on the notion that the amount present is low enough that it will not produce adverse effects.
However, health statistics tell a different story, and the reason why the "trace defense" doesn't hold water is because it's not just about minor traces of chemicals on certain foods items.
Unless you eat organic foods and use "organic everything," you're exposed to pesticides from most foods, plus the chemicals used in the processing, plus chemicals to add flavor, texture and preservation power, plus chemicals found in the packaging and in the cashier's receipt, plus the chemicals found in just about every product you put on your body every day, including the clothes you wear, and the furniture you sit on. There are even chemicals in the air you breathe and the water you drink.
We are barraged with toxins at every turn, and they all ADD UP. That is the problem. And, unfortunately, food appears to be a major source, so avoiding chemicals in your diet can go a long way toward preserving your health. With that in mind, herbicide-resistant and pesticide-producing food crops are an incredibly foolish idea that contributes absolutely nothing to the health and wellbeing of the global community.
US Right to Know Blows Lid Off Another Monsanto Scheme to Tarnish Organics
Since transparent GMO labeling is not going to happen in the U.S. anytime soon, your options become quite straight forward: Buy organic and/or locally-grown food you can verify being non-GMO. This has always been the best option; just not the least expensive or most convenient. Not surprisingly, in addition to defending the quality and safety of its GE products, Monsanto has also tried to cast doubt on organic ethics and value, in order to curb consumer preference for organics.
Emails obtained via Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests by U.S. Right to Know (USRTK) reveal Monsanto colluded with an organization of "independent" academics to mislead the public into thinking they were being duped by the organic industry. The Huffington Post recently ran an article19 revealing this story. It's well worth reading in its entirety.
USRTK is a nonprofit organization that pursues truth and transparency in the U.S. food system. In 2014, Academics Review, a nonprofit organization composed of "independent academic experts in agriculture and food sciences" issued a 30-page report claiming organic shoppers were over-paying for organics due to deceptive industry marketing practices.
The report, which was "endorsed by an international panel of independent agricultural science, food science, economic and legal experts from respected international institutions" gained traction in the trade press with headlines such as "Organics Exposed!" and "Organic Industry Booming by Deceiving Customers."
The press release announcing the report even hammers home the point of independence by stating that "Academics Review has no conflicts-of-interest associated with this publication, and all associated costs ... were paid for using our general funds without any specific donor influence or direction." Alas, emails obtained by USRTK tell a different story.
Academics Review ? Just Another False Front Group for Monsanto
Monsanto not only helped raise funds for Academics Review, Monsanto executives also "collaborated on strategy and even discussed plans to hide industry funding," The Huffington Post writes, adding:
"Monsanto's motives in attacking the organic industry are obvious: Monsanto's seeds and chemicals are banned from use in organic farming, and a large part of Monsanto's messaging is that its products are superior to organics as tools to boost global food production."
One of the co-founders of Academics Review was Bruce Chassy, Ph.D., professor emeritus at the University of Illinois. In March of this year, an investigation by Chicago WBEZ news20 discovered Monsanto paid the now retired Chassy more than $57,000 over two years for travel, writing and speaking expenses, yet Chassy never disclosed his financial ties to the company on state and university conflict-of-interest disclosure forms.
Between 2005 and 2015, Monsanto gave at least $5.1 million to University of Illinois employees and programs ? all of it undisclosed, as it was funneled via the University of Illinois Foundation, which is exempt from public scrutiny and disclosure.21
Chassy also lobbied federal officials on Monsanto's behalf to prevent further regulations on GMOs. Chassy claims he did this of his own volition, but emails22 show Monsanto's Eric Sachs urged Chassy to get involved. The correspondence also reveals this was in fact part of an industry lobbying effort, "with academics out in front," basically pretending to be acting independently ? just like the Academics Review.
FOIA-recovered emails show Chassy was very eager to attack the organic industry but needed money. Jay Byrne, former head of communications at Monsanto, agreed to help, indicating he would discuss "options for taking the Academic Review project ... forward" by meeting with Val Giddings, former vice president of the biotech industry trade association BIO.
Eric Sachs, who handles Monsanto's public relations, also emailed Chassy discussing funding possibilities for Academics Review while "keeping Monsanto in the background." Unfortunately, mainstream media outlets are often tightly reined in by corporate bias, which prevents the truth to become as widely known as it should. As noted in The Huffington Post:
"Despite the revelations in emails and the disclosure of Chassy's financial ties to Monsanto, the Academics Review website and its report attacking the organic industry are still posted online with all the descriptions claiming independence. And Chassy still enjoys press coverage as an 'independent' expert on GMOs. In May 2016, two separate Associated Press stories quoted Chassy on that topic. Neither story mentioned Chassy's now-public financial ties to Monsanto."
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Epigenetics is the study of genetic variations that are caused within an individual, by external or environmental factors that can switch genes on and off, as opposed to changes in DNA sequence which happen as genes are passed down to the next generation. One of the most potent ways epigenetics can change is through nutrition. […]
A study recently published in the journal Arthritis suggests that a plant-based diet may reduce joint pain and improve functional status in osteoarthritis patients. This six-week, prospective randomized open-label study (n=40) looked at the effects of a whole-foods, plant-based diet as compared with a control omnivorous diet on self-reported symptoms and measures of functional status […]
Depression and antidepressant use have each been hypothesized to increase breast cancer risk, yet previous studies have not considered these factors together. A new prospective study, including data from a cohort of 77,482 women enrolled in the Nurses’ Health Study, looking at both factors together has found that use of selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) […]
Remember to Take Your Vitamin Supplements? 6 Tips to Jog Your Memory
Did you remember to take your vitamin supplements today? Let?s face it: you get busy and distracted and it can be darn easy to forget to take any of your natural supplements unless you set up a system or routine to help you remember.
Millions of people don?t remember to take their prescription drugs either.
Researchers have found an answer as to why severely obese women can?t stop eating, even when they aren?t hungry. According to Dr. Nancy Puzziferri, senior author of a new study from UT Southwestern Medical Center, their findings ?may explain why some people with severe obesity report an underlying drive to eat continually despite not feeling hungry.?
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...
ANH-Intl e-Alert: EU herb directive keeps consumers in the dark Press ReleaseFor immediate release16th February 2011 We have posted this directly from the ANH as it is so important that this gets as wide a coverage as possible as so many people are unaware of what we are about to lose after thousand...