Natural News hires four science writers to cover the latest discoveries on nutritional science, medicine and technology
(Natural News) As the fake news “establishment” media continues its collapse, with layoffs, downsizing and rapid declines in readership, the popularity of the independent media is exploding. Here at Natural News, even though we’ve been subjected to the most oppressive censorship imaginable (by Google, YouTube, Facebook and all the other internet gatekeepers), public hunger for...
Broccoli's cancer prevention mechanism found to work on "non-coding RNA" to prevent formation of tumors
(Natural News) Cruciferous greens have long been heralded as potent disease fighters. Sulforaphane, a dietary compound found in cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli goes further into the DNA to halt cancer cells from proliferation, giving us more reasons to eat our vegetables. Researchers at the Oregon State University found that the anti-cancer compound helped regulate a certain type of long,...
Parsley and vanilla beans are being used as cellular scaffolding to grow stem cell tissues for human implants
(Natural News) Researchers at the University of Washington-Madison were able to grow skin, brain, bone marrow and blood vessels on plants using a highly-specialized, natural scaffolding from plants like parsley. The team observed that certain plant species possess strength, rigidity and porosity as well as low mass and surface area. These characteristics make for a...
World rapidly running out of rare minerals needed to manufacture cell phones and mobile devices
(Natural News) Scientists warn that the minerals needed for technologies such as cell phones and mobile devices may run out in the next few decades. A new study gathered experts from various government, industrial, and academic groups across five continents who suggested that unless there exists a universal sharing of geoscience data, we will soon face challenges in...
Scared of the dentist? Scientists claim fear of dental drilling may be genetic
(Natural News) Whether it?s the whirring sound of the drill, the blinding sensation of the overhead light, or merely the sight of that familiar padded reclining chair, the prospect of going to the dentist can be enough to make normally fearless individuals more than a little queasy. For some, this fear is so intense that...
Health psychologists now treating functional heartburn, Crohn's Disease, IBS and other GI disorders
Health psychologists have begun treating gastrointestinal disorders that are strongly affected by stress, including irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), Crohn?s disease, functional heartburn, functional dyspepsia and ulcerative colitis.
Eating lots of sugary candy may strain the liver, alter the body?s fatty acid metabolism and increase the risk of cardiometabolic diseases already in childhood. Children?s blood fatty acid composition reflects their diet ? but luckily this composition can be influenced by lifestyle interventions, say researchers.
Surgery may not offer additional benefit to patients with tennis elbow, study shows
Surgical approaches to treating tennis elbow may not offer additional benefit to patients, say researchers. Their study, a randomized, double-blinded clinical trial, explored patient responses to a common surgery aimed at repairing a damaged elbow, compared to a placebo procedure.
Electroacupuncture releases stem cells to relieve pain, promote tissue repair, study finds
A new study demonstrates how electroacupuncture triggers a neurological mechanism that can help promote tissue repair and relieve injury-induced pain. The findings provide the most comprehensive picture yet of how electroacupuncture stimulates the brain to facilitate the release of stem cells and adds new insight relating to the cells' healing properties.
What happens when you begin exercising and cutting back on calories? Some may say "weight loss" and "getting healthier," which are good answers, but researchers have found that resveratrol, a compound in the skin of grapes, blue and purple berries and dark chocolate may impart many of the same neuroprotective benefits that working out and eating smaller portions offers.
In fact, a new study1 reports that resveratrol is comparable to metformin, a drug often prescribed to treat type 2 diabetes, as it helps preserve the muscle fibers that break down during the aging process. It can also protect the neuromuscular junctions (NMJs) between neurons, known as synapses.
Synapses are important for voluntary movement because they relay motor commands from neurons in your spinal cord to your muscles. Scientists say they're hopeful the information will eventually help alleviate the detriments of aging as it did in studies on 2-year-old mice which, in mouse years, is considered elderly.
The mice were treated with resveratrol for a year, during which time the researchers watched how their NMJs performed in comparison with mice fed a typical diet, and found the resveratrol group had fewer age-related symptoms. In fact, their muscles and nerves were more like those of 3-month-old mice.
Gregorio Valdez, Ph.D., an assistant professor at Virginia Tech Carilion Research Institute, where the study took place, who had already found that the double benefits of a good diet along with exercise can protect against age-related synapse damage, led the featured study. He explained:
"We all slow down as we get older. Gait, balance issues and impaired motor coordination contribute to health problems, accidents, lack of mobility and a lower quality of life.
We work on identifying molecular changes that slow down motor deficits that occur with aging. I believe that we are getting closer to tapping into mechanisms to slow age-induced degeneration of neuronal circuits."2
Resveratrol: Designed to Protect, if Sourced Wisely
Resveratrol, which acts like a potent antioxidant, is a compound found in grape skins, red wine, raspberries, pomegranates, raw cacao and dark chocolate, among other plant-based foods.
It's a polyphenol designed to increase the life span of plants through disease resistance and such stressors as drastic changes in climate, too much ultraviolet light and disease.
It was probably intuition that caused scientists to explore what resveratrol might be able to do for humans and, sure enough, it imparts very similar protective benefits. But if you read this and think you'll get the neuroprotective and anti-aging benefits by drinking more red wine, that's not how it works. As Valdez explained:
"In wine, resveratrol is in such small amounts you could not drink enough of it in your life to have the benefits we found in mice given resveratrol. These studies are in mice and I would caution anyone from blasting their bodies with resveratrol in any form.
The next step is to identify the mechanism that enables resveratrol to protect synapses. If we know the mechanism, we can modify resveratrol or look for other molecules that are more effective at protecting the synapses."3
Further, alcoholic beverages like red wine may damage both your brain and your organs and is itself a neurotoxin, which makes drinking large amounts of red wine for this or any other purpose irresponsible and counterproductive. A U.S. National Library of Medicine article backs this up:
"Drinking too much alcohol is a sure-fire way to speed up deterioration of thinking skills and can cause brain damage. Too much alcohol in the long term is linked to several cancers, heart disease, stroke and liver disease."4
One way to access the benefits of resveratrol is by eating muscadine grapes, which contain the highest concentration among foods, especially in the skin. Mulberries and blueberries are other good sources.
Limit your intake to one-half cup per day, however, because fruit also contains fructose. A whole food resveratrol supplement containing bits of muscadine grape skin is another option.
Resveratrol 'Zaps' Free Radicals and Performs Many Other Functions
One of the most dramatic advantages resveratrol provides is its power to annihilate free radicals, produced by your body as a part of normal metabolism. They're a natural biological response to environmental toxins you encounter every day, such as lawn fertilizer, your pet's flea collar, food preservatives and medications.
When your body can't fight the bombardment of toxins, your cells begin to oxidize, a process that's been described as "biological rusting." Free radicals can damage your DNA, cause disease and compromise your entire immune system.
Antioxidants, on the other hand, stave off the damage done by free radicals, which is one reason why resveratrol is so remarkable. It can also help fight the aging process throughout your body, from your skin to your cells. A list of several functions resveratrol may help with includes:
Another crucial way resveratrol helps your brain is that it can cross the blood-brain barrier, or BBB. Examined Existence explains that a century ago, scientists found that blue dye injected into animal tissues turned those tissues blue, but would not permeate the brain or spinal cord.5
That resveratrol is able to get across your brain barrier means that brain inflammation can be regulated and decreased in your central nervous system. Part of the significance of this ability is that brain inflammation is a factor in the development of most neurodegenerative diseases.
Neuroprotective Effects of Resveratrol Positively Impacts Alzheimer's
The fact that resveratrol improves your brain blood flow is an indication that it may also improve brain function. According to a Georgetown University Medical Center (GUMC) report:
"Resveratrol given to Alzheimer's patients appears to restore the integrity of the blood-brain barrier, reducing the ability of harmful immune molecules secreted by immune cells to infiltrate from the body into brain tissues.
The reduction in neuronal inflammation slowed the cognitive decline of patients, compared to a matching group of placebo-treated patients with the disorder."6
Scientists equated the role of resveratrol as imposing a sort of "crowd control" at the brain border, shutting out unwanted immune molecules that can worsen brain inflammation and kill neurons. According to Dr. Charbel Moussa, scientific and clinical research director of the GUMC Translational Neurotherapeutics Program:
"These are very exciting findings because it shows that resveratrol engages the brain in a measurable way, and that the immune response to Alzheimer's disease comes, in part, from outside the brain."7
Medical News Today explains that brain inflammation which, again, makes Alzheimer's worse, is thought to occur because of a reaction to accumulated proteins in the brain, including Abeta40 and Abeta42.
Earlier studies appeared to show inflammation came only from immune cells in the brain. This study ostensibly refuted that belief. Also:
"The primary molecule of interest to the researchers was matrix metalloproteinase-9 (MMP-9). The team found a 50 percent reduction of MMP-9 in the CSF of those taking [a] daily resveratrol dose."8
Another study involving resveratrol given to mice had interesting effects, including increased aerobic activity and running time, protection against diet-induced obesity and insulin resistance, regulated metabolic function and stable health overall.9
Resveratrol Helps Control Inflammation, Present in Most Disease
Inflammation can be implicated in nearly every disease. Dr. Josh Axe, founder of Exodus Health Center, one of the largest functional medicine clinics in the world, asserts that it's also been found to be associated with just about every health condition:
"Although inflammation has long been known to play a role in allergic diseases like asthma, arthritis and Crohn's disease, Alzheimer's disease, cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol levels and Parkinson's disease may all be related to chronic inflammation in the body.
Inflammation isn't always bad; it is the body's natural defense against damaged cells, viruses, bacteria, etc. It aims to remove these harmful or foreign invaders and heal itself."10
Because of resveratrol's extraordinary capabilities as an antioxidant and anti-inflammatory, taking resveratrol supplements and eating the foods that contain it can go a long way toward lowering inflammation. However, another immediate and meaningful way to deal with it is to rid your body of inflammation triggers in your diet. Four common aggravators include:
Oxidized cholesterol, such as from overcooked scrambled eggs
Any food cooked at high temperatures
Trans fats (read labels to avoid interesterified or hydrogenated oils)
Sugar and grain
Several herbs and spices come loaded with potent anti-inflammatory potential as well. Examples cited in Bulletproof 36011 note that one-half teaspoon of ground cinnamon has the same antioxidants as one-half cup of blueberries, and one-half teaspoon of dried oregano has similar antioxidants to those present in 3 cups of raw spinach. Here are more:
A study in Spain discussed how free radicals play a key role in disease, cause DNA damage and leave the door wide open for carcinogens to take root. In fact:
"Epidemiological studies have established a relationship between the incidence of cancer and consumption of certain types of food. The presence of antioxidants in diet has been directly related to lower incidence of cancer.
In fact, chemoprevention has attracted the attention of oncologists and molecular biologists to modulate carcinogenesis. A chemopreventive agent can inhibit carcinogenesis either by blocking initiation or by stopping or reversing promotion and progression."12
Resveratrol is one of the top five chemopreventive agents found in food, among such illustrious players as curcumin, lycopene, capsaicin, lutein, beta carotene, selenium, vitamin E, flavonoids, dietary fiber and many others.13
Additionally, resveratrol's ability to lower inflammation also helps prevent certain enzymes from forming that would trigger the development of cancerous tumors.14 Resveratrol helps cut down cell reproduction, which in turn lowers the number of cell divisions that might cause cancer cell growth.15
An example of the way resveratrol works was shown two different ways in one clinical study at the University of Missouri. Melanoma cancer cells were found to be more vulnerable to radiation treatment when treated with resveratrol beforehand. Notably, resveratrol used by itself caused 44 percent of the cancerous cells to undergo apoptosis, or programmed cell death.16
One very interesting review from Denmark revealed that it's a balance between resveratrol intake via supplementation and food sources, along with exercise, that keeps your sugar levels on an even keel and minimizes inflammation that helps maximize your health.
If you know anyone with osteoporosis, you may be familiar with some of the more overt signs, such as broken bones, weak grip strength or back pain. People with this condition may develop a "stooped" posture or even become shorter because their bones are literally being compressed.
There's good news, though, as a new study has revealed dramatic and positive effects from dried plums. Scientists found that "dried plum not only protects against but more importantly reverses bone loss in two separate models of osteopenia," another name for bone loss and the forerunner of osteoporosis.
Osteoporosis affects both males and females, although more women than men. One study describes it as a "debilitating disorder" exacerbated by age:
"As the demographic shift to a more aged population continues, a growing number of men and women will be afflicted with osteoporosis and a search for potential non-pharmacological alternative therapies for osteoporosis is of prime interest.
Aside from existing drug therapies, certain lifestyle and nutritional factors are known to reduce the risk of osteoporosis.
Our [three]-month clinical trial indicated that the consumption of dried plum daily by postmenopausal women significantly increased serum markers of bone formation, total alkaline phosphatase, bone-specific alkaline phosphatase and insulin-like growth factor-I by 12, 6, and 17 percent, respectively."1
Ironically, several drugs taken for osteoporosis taken for five years or more have been shown to actually cause esophageal cancer, according to an Oxford study.2 However, in exploring non-pharmacological alternative therapies, researchers discovered dried plums may not only protect against, but reverse, the condition.
Researcher Bahram H. Arjmandi, Ph.D., from Florida State University, said that over his entire career, he'd examined many fruits, including figs, dates, strawberries and raisins, but none of them come close to having the effect on bone density that dried plums or prunes have.
He added that in terms of bone health, this particular food is exceptional.3 Studies show that a single serving of dried plums may prevent bone loss in older, osteopenic postmenopausal women as well as the previous recommendation of two servings, equating 100 grams or eight to 10 dried plums.4
Plum History and Description
Closely related to apricots, peaches and almonds, plums are an ancient fruit that experts believe may have originated in China, but were cultivated by Alexander the Great in Mediterranean regions by around 65 B.C.
Plums are about the size of limes, but that's the only similarity. They're dark purple (some have a golden tinge) with smooth, rather dull skins and sweet, delectable flesh inside, wrapped around a single, large pit, the main criteria for a drupe. Prunes are simply dried plums, the latter name thought to be more palatable.
All prunes are plums, but the reverse is not always the case. The high sugar content in plums allows them to be dried without fermentation. Further, like all dried fruit, dried plums are dehydrated by natural drying, sun drying and the use of dehydrators. Medical Daily clarifies:
"So if dried plums are just plums with the water taken out of them, why do they lower our colon cancer risk while fresh plums don't? Not only does dried plum retain both soluble and insoluble fiber from its original form, but it also contains more sorbitol than fresh plums."5
Far more than just a tasty snack, these juicy little fruits are loaded with flavonoid polyphenolic antioxidants, primarily lutein and cryptoxanthin, as well as neochlorogenic and chlorogenic acid, which help prevent cell damage from oxidation of lipid molecules.
All cell membranes, including those in your brain, are mainly composed of fat-containing lipids, found to inhibit LDL cholesterol oxidation and making them a significant factor in preventing chronic disease.6
A Comparison of Nutritional Attributes Between Plums and Prunes
Plums contain 26 percent of the reference dietary intake (RDI) in vitamin C; 13 percent in vitamin K; and 11 percent in vitamin A, or retinol, as well as iron, potassium, thiamine, riboflavin and calcium, plus vitamin B6 and niacin to metabolize one of their most serious drawbacks: high natural sugar and carbohydrate content.
As for prunes, a 1-cup serving gives you 87 percent of the RDI of vitamin K. The Guardian notes that soluble fiber helps slow down the absorption of glucose, which stabilizes blood sugar levels.7
Because prunes are a concentrated source of the nutrients and phytonutrients found in plums, their antioxidant potential is six times that of the fresh fruit. Prunes are also significantly higher in antioxidants than many other dried or fresh fruits or vegetables. Comparing the two, Healthy Eating observes:
"Although most of the vitamin C in plums is destroyed during the drying process, prunes contain significantly higher concentrations of most of the other nutrients found in the fresh fruit.
One cup of pitted prunes provides 129 percent, 36 percent, 27 percent and 9 percent of the daily recommendations for vitamin K, potassium, vitamin A and iron, respectively. Vitamin K is vital to the function of several proteins involved in blood coagulation, and vitamin A promotes healthy vision."8
These vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients have several benefits throughout your entire body, including your skin and improved vision due to the high iron, of which a deficiency can cause hair loss.
Fiber: Good for Gut Health and Colorectal Cancer Prevention
Bone health isn't the only benefit of this oft-neglected fruit, though. Studies indicate dried plums can lower your risk of colon cancer.
One factor that helps give plums and prunes such high marks in this category is fiber, crucial for moving food along smoothly through your colon for elimination, but also the natural chemicals sorbitol and isatin, both helpful for relieving constipation.
These three ingredients are why prunes have the (earned) reputation as a laxative. Media outlet Chatelaine notes that fiber:
"Helps to ? [optimize] cholesterol by soaking up excess bile in the intestine and then excreting it. Bile is made from cholesterol in the liver in order to digest fat.
When the body excretes bile along with the fiber from prunes and plums, the liver must use cholesterol in the body to make more bile thereby lowering the amount in circulation in the body. Soluble fiber may also inhibit the amount of cholesterol manufactured by the liver in the first place."9
Plums contain 2 grams of fiber in a 1-cup serving, which also helps produce beneficial gut microbiota.
One of the big differences between fresh and dried plums is that the dried version contains 12 grams of fiber, which, compared to fresh plums, is about half of the RDI needed for an entire day (although I believe about 50 grams per 1,000 calories consumed is ideal).
According to Alimentary Pharmacology and Therapeutics, prunes are even more effective than psyllium as a laxative.10 Plus, the sorbitol pulls moisture into your digestive tract to help bring about a bowel movement.11 That's where its effectiveness as a colorectal cancer preventive comes in.
More Benefits From Plums and Prunes
An online resource called Colon Cleansing and Constipation recommends stewed prunes to alleviate constipation, or infrequent bowel movements. Eating them regularly can help prevent subsequent stomach pain and hemorrhoids. All of these can become serious enough to necessitate surgery.
Aside from skin cancers, colorectal cancer is the third most common cancer in the U.S. It encompasses both rectal and colon cancer, which together have stricken around 140,000 people in the U.S., and more than 50,000 die from it every year, according to the American Society for Gastrointestinal Endoscopy.12
Medical Daily mentioned one study that found eating dried plums can help lower your risk for colon cancer by maintaining good gut bacteria in your colon, adding that "a diet high in [certain] red meats can increase colon cancer risk while a diet high in fruits ? [and] vegetables ? can reduce colon cancer risk."13
A FASEB Journal study backed up the gut bacteria benefit, noting that their data supported their initial hypothesis:
"Diet is known to alter metabolism and composition of colon microbiota, which has major implications for disease prevention and treatment ?
The hypothesis tested by this experiment was that consumption of dried plums would promote retention of beneficial microbiota and patterns of microbial metabolism throughout the colon, and that by doing so would reduce colon cancer incidence."14
Fructose in Plums and Prunes
It takes around 4 pounds of fresh plums to produce 1 pound of dried plums, and both are very versatile. You can chop them up to add to raw grass-fed yogurt, blend them in smoothies and shakes and add them to salads and vegetable dishes. In fact, just about anything you use raisins for, prunes are a tasty, healthy alternative.
Eating plums and prunes may also help alleviate problems related to obesity, heart disease and diabetes. However, whether it's fresh plums or dried prunes you crave, make sure you consume these in moderation, as they both contain high amounts of sugar. Nutritionist Anshul Jaibharat cautions:
"Prunes are high in natural sugar, so too many may not be good for people watching their weight. After all, excess of anything is stored as fat in your body. Prunes have such high nutritional values ensuring that you can eat just one piece and still gain measurable nutrients."15
However, the sorbitol, which is a sugar alcohol, is not a source of ethanol, the substance found in alcoholic beverages. It's a natural substance found in many fruits and vegetables, and is about 50 percent as sweet as sugar.16
Plums are often used to make the French form of Armagnac, a quickly distilled version of cognac with a raw, earthy body. They also end up soaked in brandy for several desserts, including brûlée. The sugar (and, for the former, alcohol) content in these, however, is considerable and outweighs the nutritional benefits that the fruit provides.
Additionally, prune juice is often loaded with high fructose corn syrup and, even if it's not, will still be a significant source of fructose without the fiber benefits, so be aware that consuming the whole fruit is preferable.
B Vitamins May Protect Against Damaging Effects of Air Pollution, and Improve Cognition and Psychiatric Health
By Dr. Mercola
B vitamins are important for cognition and mental health, but recent research suggests they may have other important functions as well. A small-scale human trial1 found B vitamins may help protect against air pollution.2,3
At high doses, B vitamins were actually able to "completely offset" damage incurred by fine particulate matter.
According to a World Health Organization (WHO) report released last year, only 8 percent of people worldwide are breathing air that meets WHO standards.4 This means 92 percent of the world population are breathing polluted air, and toxic environments are responsible for at least 1 of every 4 deaths reported worldwide.5
Poor air quality can cause serious damage to your lungs, heart and other organ systems. One of the most dangerous air pollutants is very fine particulate matter known as PM2.5, particles smaller than 2.5 micrometers ? about one-thirtieth the width of a human hair ? in diameter.
B Vitamins Help Prevent Damage From Air Pollution
The featured trial,6 the first of its kind, involved just 10 volunteers between the ages of 18 and 60. In the first round, they were exposed to clean air and given a placebo to establish a baseline. In the next round of tests, they inhaled concentrated smog for two hours. Blood samples were collected after each test.
In the next stage of the experiment the participants received a daily supplement of 2.5 milligrams (mg) of folic acid (B9), 50 mg of vitamin B6 and 1 mg of B12 for four weeks before inhaling "hazardous levels" of PM2.5 pollution (PM2.5 concentrated to more than 250 micrograms per cubic meter of air).
It's worth noting the dosages used in this study were very high. The Institute of Medicine recommends a daily intake of just 400 micrograms (mcg) of folate (B9), 1.3 to 1.7 mg of B6 and 2.4 mcg of B12.7
This isn't the first time much higher than normal doses of B vitamins have been shown to have distinct health benefits. Interestingly, four weeks of high-dose supplementation:
Reduced the genetic damage incurred in 10 gene locations by 28 to 76 percent
Protected mitochondrial DNA from the harmful effects of PM2.5
Helped repair some of the genetic damage caused by pollution
"Where we quantify the effect, it is almost close to a complete offset on the epigenome of the air pollution. On the mitochondrial DNA side, it also offset a big proportion of it ?
Biologically, B vitamins in the diet are expected to have the same effect on the epigenome as pill-based supplements ... I would suggest maintaining a healthy, balanced diet with sufficient sources of B vitamins."
B Vitamins Are Also Important for Psychiatric Health
Several vitamin B deficiencies also have the ability to produce symptoms of neuropsychiatric disorders and can be a valuable adjunct in the treatment of everything from attention deficit disorder (ADD) and anxiety to schizophrenia and dementia. This includes vitamins B1, B2, B6, B8 (inositol), B9 and B12.
For example, recent research10,11,12 suggests high doses of vitamins B6, B8 and B12 in combination were very effective for improving schizophrenic symptoms ? more so than standard drug treatments alone, and particularly when implemented early on. Low doses were ineffective.
Previous research and work by Dr. Abram Hoffer have linked psychiatric disorders such as schizophrenia with severe and chronic niacin (B3) deficiency or niacin dependency ? a state that necessitates far more niacin on a regular basis than normal.
Aside from schizophrenia, researchers have found niacin can be successfully used in the treatment of ADD, general psychosis, anxiety, depression and obsessive-compulsive disorder. B12 deficiency can also trigger mania, psychosis and paranoid delusions.13,14
Why B Vitamins Are so Important for Mental Health and Wellbeing
One of the reasons for B vitamins' effect on a wide range of mood disorders and neurological and psychiatric conditions relates to the fact that these vitamins have a direct impact on the methylation cycle, and are required for the production and function of neurotransmitters and the maintenance of myelin, the fatty sheath surrounding your nerve cells.
Without this protective coating, nerve signals become slow and sporadic, which can lead to motor function problems, cognitive losses and changes in mood. B8 also aids in cell communication, allowing your cells to properly interpret chemical messages and respond accordingly.15
Meanwhile, B6, folate and B12 (in combination with S-adenosylmethionine or SAMe) regulate the synthesis and breakdown of brain chemicals involved in mood control, including serotonin, melatonin and dopamine. Hence, a deficiency in one or more of these B vitamins can also play a role in depression.16
B Vitamins Also Protect Against Dementia
Vitamins B6, B9 (folate, or folic acid in its synthetic form) and B12 have also made headlines for their powerful role in preventing cognitive decline and more serious dementia such as Alzheimer's disease. In fact, mental fogginess and memory problems are two of the top warning signs of vitamin B12 deficiency.
One of the mechanisms of action here is the suppression of homocysteine, which tends to be elevated when you have brain degeneration. High homocysteine levels are associated with dementia and Alzheimer's. Vitamins B6, B9, and B12 help convert homocysteine into methionine ? a building block for proteins.
If you don't get enough of these B vitamins, this conversion process is impaired, causing your homocysteine level to rise. Conversely, when you increase intake of folate, vitamin B6 and vitamin B12, your homocysteine levels decrease.
One study confirming this was published in 2010.17 Participants received either a placebo or 800 mcg of folic acid, 500 mcg of B12 and 20 mg of B6. The study was based on the presumption that by controlling homocysteine levels you might be able to reduce brain shrinkage, thereby slowing the onset of Alzheimer's.
Indeed, after two years those who received the vitamin-B regimen had significantly less brain shrinkage compared to the placebo group. Those who had the highest levels of homocysteine at the start of the trial experienced brain shrinkage at half the rate of those taking a placebo.
A 2013 study18 took this research a step further, showing that not only do B vitamins slow brain shrinkage, but they specifically slow shrinkage in brain regions known to be most severely impacted by Alzheimer's disease.
Moreover, in those specific areas the shrinkage is decreased by as much as 700 percent! As in the previous study, participants taking high doses of folic acid and vitamins B6 and B12 lowered their blood levels of homocysteine, and brain shrinkage was decreased by as much as 90 percent.
Vitamin B-Rich Foods
I recommend getting most if not all of your nutrition from real food, ideally organic to avoid toxic pesticides, and locally grown. Depending on your situation and condition, however, you may need one or more supplements. Ideally, select a high-quality food-based supplement containing a broad spectrum of B vitamins. As you can see, being deficient in one or more of them can trigger a range of problematic neurological effects.
Also, considering over 90 percent of people breathe polluted air, getting plenty of B vitamins could be a simple way to ameliorate the harmful effects. To start, review the following listing of foods high in B vitamins. If you find that you rarely or never eat foods rich in one or more of these nutrients, you may want to consider taking a supplement.
Also consider limiting sugar and eating fermented foods. The entire B group vitamin series is produced within your gut provided you have a healthy gut microbiome. Eating real food, ideally organic, along with fermented foods will provide your microbiome with important fiber and beneficial bacteria to help optimize your internal vitamin B production as well.
✓ Thiamine (B1)
Dietary Sources: Pork, dark leafy greens, wheat germ, green peas, lentils and nuts.19
Supplement Recommendations: Adult men and women need 1.2 and 1.1 mg respectively each day.
✓ Riboflavin (B2)
Dietary Sources: Dairy products such as yogurt and cheese, ideally made from raw organic grassfed milk, are high in B2.
Other sources include: asparagus, dark leafy greens like spinach, fish, chicken and eggs.20
Supplement Recommendations: Suggested daily intake is about 1.1 mg for women and 1.3 mg for men.
✓ Niacin (B3)
Dietary Sources: Liver, chicken, veal, peanuts, chili powder, bacon and sun dried tomatoes have some of the highest amounts of niacin per gram.21
Other niacin-rich foods include baker's yeast, paprika, espresso coffee, anchovies, spirulina, duck, shiitake mushrooms and soy sauce.22
Supplement Recommendations: The dietary reference intake established by the Food and Nutrition Board ranges from 14 to 18 mg per day for adults.
Higher amounts are recommended depending on your condition. For a list of recommended dosages, see the Mayo Clinic's website.23
For pellagra, discussed above, doses range from 50 to 1,000 mg daily.
Supplement Recommendations: B8 is not recognized as an essential nutrient and no recommended daily intake has been set.
That said, it's believed you need about 300 mcg per day.
Vitamin B8 is sometimes listed as biotin on supplements. Brewer's yeast is a natural supplemental source.29
✓ Folate (B9)
Dietary Sources: Fresh, raw, organic leafy green vegetables, especially broccoli, asparagus, spinach and turnip greens, and a wide variety of beans, especially lentils, but also pinto beans, garbanzo beans, kidney beans, navy and black beans.30
Supplement Recommendations: Folic acid is a synthetic type of B vitamin used in supplements; folate is the natural form found in foods.
(Think: folate comes from foliage, edible leafy plants.)
For folic acid to be of use, it must first be activated into its biologically active form (L-5-MTHF).
This is the form able to cross the blood-brain barrier to give you the brain benefits noted.
Nearly half of the population has difficulty converting folic acid into the bioactive form due to a genetic reduction in enzyme activity.
For this reason, if you take a B-vitamin supplement, make sure it contains natural folate rather than synthetic folic acid.
Nutritional yeast is an excellent source.31 Adults need about 400 mcg of folate per day.
✓ Vitamin B12
Dietary Sources: Vitamin B12 is found almost exclusively in animal tissues, including foods like beef and beef liver, lamb, snapper, venison, salmon, shrimp, scallops, poultry, eggs and dairy products.
The few plant foods that are sources of B12 are actually B12 analogs that block the uptake of true B12.
Supplement Recommendations: Nutritional yeast is also high in B12, and is highly recommended for vegetarians and vegans.
One serving (2 tbsp.) provides nearly 8 mcg of natural vitamin B12.32
Sublingual (under-the-tongue) fine mist spray or vitamin B12 injections are also effective, as they allow the large B12 molecule to be absorbed directly into your bloodstream.
When you think of breakfast food, the egg is probably one of the first things that will come to mind. Eggs are extremely versatile when it comes to the culinary world ? they can be hard-boiled, soft-boiled, fried or poached. Some people even eat them raw just to make sure that they get the full array of nutritional components they have to offer. (It should be noted, however, that organic eggs should be the only eggs that you eat raw to make sure that you?re not exposing yourself to potential disease-causing bacteria.)
Because eggs have been part of the breakfast scene for a long time, it?s not surprising that people have managed to come up with creative ways to enjoy this poultry produce. One example that you?ll surely love is the bell pepper egg bake.
This recipe mixes the concept of stuffed bell peppers and the baked egg, combining the health benefits and flavors of these two ingredients. Try this quick and easy recipe and enjoy this new appetizing and healthy take on this breakfast mainstay.
Put peppers in a small round baking dish. Crack 1 egg into each pepper. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
Bake until whites are firm and yolks are still a little runny, about 25 minutes. Sprinkle with chopped fresh herbs of your choice.
You?ll Be Impressed by the Benefits You Can Get From This Simple Recipe
Aside from the fact that this recipe yields a rather beautiful dish, it also boasts the combination of all the nutritional components of its ingredients. Here are some of the health benefits that you can get from each individual ingredient:
Bell pepper. This vegetable contains a considerable amount of thiamin, niacin, folate, magnesium and copper. The high concentration of these minerals contributes to its ability to aid in the prevention of diabetes, scurvy, cardiovascular diseases and cholesterol buildup.
The consumption of bell peppers has also been observed to help in the maintenance of eye health, preventing both macular degeneration and the development of cataracts. This is mainly because of the high amounts of lutein and zeaxanthin in this colorful vegetable.
Bell pepper also helps in the prevention of anemia, which is the reduced ability of the blood to carry oxygen. Aside from the fact that bell pepper contains a considerable amount of iron, it?s also rich in vitamin C, which helps in increasing the gut?s ability to absorb iron.
Eggs. If you?re a fan of eggs, you?ve probably heard all about the campaign against the consumption of egg yolks. This is because of the numerous health claims that say that it poses negative effects on the body. This belief has led to the public?s preference for eating egg white omelets and other egg recipes that exclude the yolk.
What people usually overlook is the fact that when you throw out the egg yolk, you?re also throwing out numerous vitamins and minerals that come with it. Eggs contain vitamins A, D, E and K, omega-3 fats, the antioxidants lutein and zeaxanthin, niacin and folate. These vitamins and minerals help you maintain optimal body processes, such as vision, gastrointestinal function and neurological function (memory and muscle control).
Fresh herbs. Aside from adding a boost in flavors, using fresh herbs also gives you various nutritional benefits. Various herbs and spices have been observed to assist in the prevention of diseases, cardiovascular conditions and premature aging.
Some herbs that can be incorporated into this recipe are cloves, oregano, thyme and sage, which all give the dish a savory and earthy flavor.
How Can You Handpick the Best Ingredients for This Recipe?
To ensure that you?re getting the best value for your money, here are a few tips to remember when buying the main ingredients for this recipe:
For eggs, keep in mind that the eggs in the market are not at all equal. Organic eggs will always be superior to eggs produced by hens raised in confined animal feeding operations (CAFO farms).
To make sure that you?re getting the most nutritional value from eggs, purchase organic, free-range or ?pastured? varieties from a local farmer. By buying these kinds of eggs, you?re also minimizing your exposure to disease-causing bacteria like salmonella.
For bell peppers, the first thing you should check is their firmness. Fresh bell peppers are usually firm and have a wrinkle-free texture.
It is also important that you go for bell peppers grown in organic farms. Bell peppers are part of EWG?s 2016 Dirty Dozen list, which means that conventionally grown varieties of this produce contain high amounts of harmful chemicals from pesticides and herbicides.
By choosing organically grown bell peppers, you?re minimizing the risk of accidentally ingesting chemical residues, which can alter essential body processes and even lead to damaging diseases.
Market Rejection of GMOs Grows ? Four-Year Plan to Topple Toxic Agriculture
By Dr. Mercola
Our annual GMO Awareness Week is upon us, and in this interview, Ronnie Cummins, founder of the Organic Consumers Association (OCA) details the current state of the opposition to genetically modified organisms (GMOs).
We first met about six years ago, when we collaborated to create the direct ballot initiative to label GMOs in California.
A lot has happened since then, including the passing of what's colloquially known as the Deny Americans the Right to Know (DARK) Act, ironically misnamed "The Safe and Accurate Food Labeling Act" ? this despite a full 90 percent of consumers supporting mandatory labeling.
The Trump administration has also selected or appointed notorious cheerleaders for GMOs and factory farms to his cabinet ? Mike Pompeo as head of the CIA, Sonny Perdue as USDA Secretary, and Rick Perry as Energy Secretary.
Meanwhile, his Tea Party allies in Congress have called for the abolition of the entire National Organic Program!1
On the upside, in 2016 we saw, for the first time in nearly 20 years, a decrease in the amount of genetically engineered (GE) crops grown around the world, in terms of acreage.
As noted by Cummins, "This represents the fact that this technology is failing, in the sense of superweeds and superpests are popping up all over the world." In the U.S., three-quarters of farmers growing GE crops like soybeans, corn or canola are having problems with these herbicide- and pesticide-resistant pests.
Market Rejection of GMOs Has Grown
Even more importantly, consumers around the world have become aware of the many problems associated with GE crops and the toxic herbicides and pesticides used on them, and do not want any of it on their plates.
In other words, the market has started rejecting GMOs, and that's what we've been fighting for all along. Nothing can or will change unless consumers apply pressure in the form of refusing to buy GMOs.
In the European Union (EU), which is the biggest agriculture market in the world, few if any GMOs are found on supermarket shelves.
In the U.S. ? despite industry spending hundreds of millions of dollars to manipulate market preference ? about 40 percent of Americans still believe GE foods and GE ingredients are dangerous. Another 20 percent are unsure whether GMOs are dangerous or not.
"This combination of consumer rejection and, basically, Mother Nature's resistance, has caused a drop-off," Cummins says. "I think this is the beginning of the end of at least this generation, the first generation, of GMO crops.
Now, industry is saying, 'Don't worry about the fact that we're using more and more toxic pesticides and herbicides ? Don't worry about these pests spreading across the fields. We've got a new generation of GMO crops where we can just do gene editing.
We don't have to pull some DNA from a foreign species and haphazardly splice it into a corn or a soybean crop.'
But the bottom line is that this gene-splicing and this so-called new gene editing are unnatural processes that disrupt the genetic structure, the natural workings of living organisms. These aren't going to work either."
Organics and Grass fed Are Increasing in Popularity
Worldwide, we're also seeing strong growth in organics and grass fed farming and ranching. In the U.S., the organic sector grew 11.5 percent in 2016. Grass fed grew about 50 percent. In France, organics grew by 20 percent.
"This is because people understand this public health crisis has now spread worldwide, and this environmental crisis and its relationship to the climate crisis are all due to an out-of-control, industrial, chemical-intensive GMO agriculture. People are turning away," Cummins says.
In the U.S., we now also have a brand new grass fed certification by the American Grassfed Association (AGA), which is the highest certification you can get for dairy, beef and poultry, including chickens, sheep and goats.
In short, we're seeing a massive demand for healthier foods. A lot more people now know about the drawbacks of factory farmed beef and dairy, for example, and are aware that when herbivores are grazed naturally, without hormones, antibiotics and other drugs, you end up with a far healthier product.
"What's been driving the growth of the grass fed beef and dairy industry are health concerns," Cummins says. "But also, people have become aware over the years that the factory farm system ? is not right. You don't have to be an ethical vegan to have feeling for animals.
Animals are sentient beings ? Industry says if you want cheap food, you've got to go with factory farms. But I think more and more consumers are saying, 'I don't want cheap food if it means it's going to harm my health and the environment, and if you have to be that cruel to animals.'
I think we're seeing the beginning of the end of the factory farm model, which actually has only existed [for] 40 years or so. Most animals used to be raised naturally ?
It's this wonderful coming together in the United States of the American Grassfed Association, merging in the dairy sector with dairy farmers who are already organic, to produce a higher quality 100 percent grass fed dairy.
In the beef industry, there has been a tremendous growth in the demand for 100 percent grass fed, grass finished beef. Unfortunately, most other grass fed beef in the United States is still coming from overseas, from countries like Australia, New Zealand, Argentina, Uruguay and Brazil ?
We still don't have the infrastructure in the United States that we had 50 years ago with processing plants in every region of the country and so on, but we're catching up."
Challenges Involved in Organic Grass fed Beef Production
Indeed, the lack of processing plants is really slowing down the reversal of the system. While American farmers have the capacity to provide an ample supply of grass fed cattle, the problem is there aren't enough processing plants to accommodate a massive increase.
In all, the U.S. has about 500,000 ranchers raising livestock, but there are only three or four major buyers. Ranchers may raise the animals on pasture and treat them well, but after a year and a half or so, they must be sold.
The cattle are sold at auction, and the buyers, such as JBS (a Brazilian firm that has bought out a large part of the beef industry in the U.S.), Cargill and Tyson Foods, will offer you the lowest possible price, regardless of how much you spent on the cattle's health and wellbeing.
This cartel-like system effectively prevents farmers from recouping what they've invested, and slows down the pace at which a farmer can possibly make positive changes that require greater expenses.
Once sold, the animals are transported to gigantic feedlots ? basically animal factories ? where they're placed in tiny pens. GMO grains and drugs are routinely used to fatten the animals up as quickly as possible. However, in doing so, the animals' health and wellbeing suffer. For example, E. coli 0157H, a virulent pathogen, can thrive in the animals' intestines under these conditions.
"The reason why it's illegal for journalists or concerned citizens to go in and film in these giant feedlots is because the industry ? don't want you to see the filth and the cruelty involved," Cummins says.
Factory Farmed Meat Is No Bargain
Next, the animals are sent off to mega slaughterhouses, of which there are only a few dozen in the entire country. As in the feedlots, these are hellish places where photographs and video taping is often illegal. As noted by Cummins:
"The workers are immigrant workers typically, who don't have citizenship papers. Why is this? Because U.S. citizens will not take this kind of job. They would not work under these conditions ? They have terrible health problems, terrible psychological problems. They're underpaid and overworked.
What comes out on the other end is meat that might appear to be cheap ? but it's not cheap in terms of what it does to your health ? It clogs up your veins. You're ingesting pesticide and hormone residues. You end up supersizing yourself ? Yeah, you've got your cheap burger. You've got your cheap steak. But you have damaged your health. That's going to be very costly over time.
You also contributed to massive supply chain damage to the environment. The GMO corn and soybeans that make up the bulk of the feed in the feedlots, they have been sprayed with a horrendous amount of chemicals. These factory farms are the No. 1 contributors to water pollution ? You're part of a long chain of animal cruelty, exploitation of workers, destruction of the environment ?
This paradigm is going to end. But we need more awareness [among] consumers, and we need more ranchers to be able to directly come into contact with consumers who want to buy their products so they can cut out the cartel middlemen ?"
Via Organica Paves Way for Organic Chicken and Egg Production
Mercola.com and OCA are both founding members of an international network called Regeneration International, which is seeking to replace, among other things, the outdated factory farm system with a natural humane system, whereby herbivores are raised on perennial grasses under a system of holistic management.
The same problems exist in poultry and pig farming, yet innovative farmers like Cummins and many others have proven there are far better ways of raising chickens and pigs on a larger scale as well.
Cummins' farm, Via Organica, located in the high desert of Central Mexico, uses a system based on the traditional raising of poultry. In the first phase of the project, they installed a couple of thousand laying hens, which live outside all day in a 2.5-acre paddock filled with 400 olive trees and other crops. While the trees offer protection against predators from above, chicken poop acts as a natural fertilizer for the trees, making additional fertilizer use unnecessary.
By eating the insects, they also eliminate pests that might otherwise pose a threat to the trees and other crops. "If you're a small farmer, it's very difficult to make a living off just your eggs. But if you've got another cash crop in the paddock where the chickens roam, you're going to be bringing in twice as much money over time," Cummins says.
The chickens roam free all day, pecking in the dirt for worms, insects and other foraged foods. At sunset, they come into the chicken house, which is where they roost and lay their eggs. The feed provided in the chicken coop, given as a supplement to their foraged diet, is grown by local farmers using traditional, non-GMO seeds and regenerative methods.
"We have a special plow developed in Australia that's now spreading all across the world," Cummins explains. "It's called a Keyline plow. It doesn't disturb the earth the way that traditional plows do. It creates an environment in your field to where when it rains, there's a built-in filtration of the rain into the soil. It turns the soil into a sponge ?
There are no chemical fertilizers. We work with the farmers to be able to have natural compost ? [I]f you look at our eggs, one thing you notice is the yolk is bright orange. They taste really good. If you do a nutritional analysis of these eggs and compare them to the factory farmed eggs in the grocery store, there's a world of difference. If animals can live outside or live in a natural environment and exercise their natural behaviors, it ends up being a superior product."
Why Vegetarianism May Not Be the Most Environmentally Conscious Choice
Quite a few people have embraced veganism or vegetarianism as a way of bowing out of the factory farm system that abuses animals for per-pound profit. Cummins was a vegetarian for 40 years for this reason.
"I was a vegetarian between 1970 and 2010 ? until I had some ranchers in New Mexico explain to me this whole system of holistic management and rotational grazing, 100 percent grass fed ? [T]hey said, 'Hey, you're an environmentalist, right? You're an animal welfare proponent, right? ? You're not any of those things. You're a hypocrite, Ronnie.'
Because conscious consuming of a moderate level of meat and animal products ? where the animals have been raised humanely, where they've been raised naturally, where the end product, the food, is good for your health ? is [also] good for the environment. Yes, that last instant of their life, when they're sacrificed for our food, that's not a good moment [for these animals]. But we're all going to have a bad moment at the end of our lives. We're going to physically die.
When we're in the ground, guess what's going to happen? The little animals eventually are going to eat us. It's all part of this great chain of being. It's natural. There are vegans starting to understand, like David Bronner [CEO of Dr. Bronner's] ? David's been a vegan for many years, but he's coined this term ? instead of vegetarian ? "regenetarian."
Why Become a Regenetarian?
A regenetarian is a person who never, ever eats factory farmed meat or dairy products, just like a vegan. A regenetarian will however consume grass fed beef, grass fed dairy and other grass fed animal products.
"We're talking about fish here, too. Most of the fish in the world are now coming from these factory farm fish operations ? horrible industrial trawlers in the oceans that are ripping up everything and killing everything in sight ? A conscious consumer who wants to preserve their health, but also knows that we want to preserve the health of the planet ? we want regular rainfall. We want climate to be normal again ? we have to become regenetarians," Cummins says.
"I never eat meat or animal products in a restaurant unless that restaurant has on the menu, and has a convincing story, that this is grass fed or genuinely pastured. As soon as enough people start doing that, this system is going to change."
The average American spends a mere 10 percent of their income on food, which is ridiculously low when you consider what the highest quality, most nutritious food would cost. You cannot expect to get the highest quality at this rock-bottom price. At that level, all you're getting is cheap corn-based meals. As Cummins says, it would be reasonable to spend twice as much on food.
To pay for it, you may have to consider cutting down on other wasteful spending, such as the trend of treating clothing as single-use, disposable items. Organic foods cost more, and must cost more, because doing it right and not cutting corners costs money. It's the cost-saving measures that have resulted in hormone-laced milk and pesticide-ridden produce. It's cost-saving measures that have turned beef into a metabolic wrecker. Cheap food is cheap for a reason.
Current State of GMO Movement in the US
Last August, the so-called "DARK Act" was passed. And while many have placed their hopes on President Trump making sweeping changes, we're not likely to see any difference under Trump when it comes to GMO labeling. As before, the U.S. Congress doesn't seem to care that 90 percent of Americans want to know whether their food has been genetically engineered or not, or contains GMO ingredients.
To summarize last year's events, on July 1, 2016, Vermont's state law for mandatory GMO labeling took effect, forcing major food companies to start labeling their wares. Alas, the food industry basically bought Congress, sweeping a 100-year tradition of states' rights to implement food safety rules at the state level under the carpet. That's what the DARK Act did. It revoked states' right to impose mandatory labeling of GMOs, and with that, the Vermont law was made null and void.
In its place, the federal law replaced clear GMO labeling with quick response (QR) codes which, when scanned with your smartphone will bring you to the company's website, where you may or may not find information about the presence of GE ingredients.
"The only difference under Trump, looks like that we're not even going to have these QR codes, which were ridiculous anyway," Cummins says. Where does this leave us as consumers? I think there's a growing recognition among conscious consumers in this country that right now, we can't count on Congress.
We can't count on regulatory agencies like the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) or the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, or the United States Environmental Protection Agency, or the Federal Trade Commission.
These people are in the pockets of the 1 percent. They do what their financial backers tell them to do. We're left with our power in the marketplace. That is, they can't pass a law that tells you what to do when you pull out your wallet. We still have free choice to choose organic or grass fed foods or non-GMO foods in the marketplace ?
At the rate we're going now, most food in the United States will be organic within three decades. It's taken us three decades to get to the 5 to 10 percent range. Most of the food will be organic and grass fed within 30 years. However, when you look at our public health crisis and our climate crisis and all these other things that the economic crisis in rural areas, we can't wait 30 years."
New Goal: Double Organic Sales in Four Years
The consumer revolution platform now is an ambitious one ? double organic sales in the next four years. At current rates of growth, we could expect it to increase by about 50 percent. Instead, we need to quadruple sales of organic and grass fed. As noted by Cummins, by speeding up the rate at which we reach the tipping point where 15 percent of our food supply is organic or grass fed, the acceleration will multiply exponentially thereafter.
"That's our answer to the gridlock in Washington, to the failure of federal government," he says. "Let's get active in the local and state level where we have more power, [and] intensify our impact in the marketplace where no one can tell us what to do. We're going to bring about our revolution in health and nutrition in the marketplace if they won't let us do it with public policy."
It's time to launch a #ConsumerRevolution boycott that is larger and more powerful than ever. And at the same time, we apparently have no choice but to launch a #PoliticalRevolution, especially at the local and state level, that will "throw the bums out" from Main Street to Washington D.C. ? those politicians and the army of lobbyists and PR gunslingers who continue to represent the corporate and financial elite, the "1 percent," instead of the rest of us.
In order to carry out this "Resist and Regenerate" strategy, the OCA and its closest allies have come up with an Action platform called Consumer Revolution/Political Revolution 2017-2020, which includes the following.
#Consumer Revolution 2017-2020
Overarching goal: Force corporations that sell consumer products, including food, clothing, drugs and personal care products, to respond to consumer demand for truthfully labeled products that have a positive impact on human health and are produced using regenerative processes and practices that not only prevent harm to human health and the environment, but also measurably improve soils and combat global warming.
1. Move toward making organic, 100 percent grass fed and regenerative food and farming the norm, not just the 5 percent alternative in the marketplace, by doubling sales of organic to $80 billion by 2020, and by increasing sales of U.S. grass fed meat and dairy, and organic and pastured poultry and pork by at least 400 percent by 2020.
Achieve a 50 percent reduction in sales of GMO food and animal feed by 2020, with the aim of driving GMO animal feed off the market.
2. Force major food brands and companies that fraudulently label their products as "natural," "organic" or "GMO-free" to remove misleading labels and/or transition their products and production methods to organic and/or regenerative practices.
3. Increase market share for clothing made from organic cotton, wool and other natural fibers through a high-profile "Care What You Wear" campaign that encourages consumers to boycott GMO cotton and synthetic fibers.
Overarching goal: Reform the current political process to create a democracy that works for all people, not just wealthy corporations and the 1 percent, by uniting the food, climate, economic and social justice, natural health and peace movements in a coordinated effort to support candidates, elected public officials and policies at the local, state and federal levels, that support our common goals.
1. Lobby candidates and elected public officials to support OCA's #ConsumerRevolution platform
3. Organize local grassroots meet-ups and coalitions to run candidates, for local and state offices, who support our issues
4. Oppose any candidates or policies that promote racism, sexism, homophobia, militarism and all forms of discrimination, whenever and wherever they arise
5. Oppose any laws or illegal attempts to disenfranchise voters
6. Support the decriminalization of drug use, including the legalization of marijuana, and oppose the war on drugs
7. Promote candidates and policies that advance regenerative food, farming and land use, in addition to fossil fuel emissions reduction and renewable energy
Biodynamics ? The Highest Organic Standard
Biodynamic farming, which originated with Rudolf Steiner in the early 1920s, is also starting to gain recognition, and might even change or modify the organic standard. There are actually two different types of organic certification in the U.S.
There's the USDA Organic label standards, which are decent but still allow producers to meet only minimum requirements, and then there are the biodynamic standards, which have always been the highest in terms of organic certification. The biodynamic organic certification is indicated with a Demeter sign.2 "What you need to realize is this is absolutely grade A+ organic," Cummins says.
Many didn't understand the implications of 100 percent grass fed until very recently. Fortunately, we're now starting to see a merger of the Biodynamic Demeter certification and the AGA's grass fed certification. Many farmers, even those certified organic by the USDA, are now stepping it up to the next level by implementing biodynamic or regenerative methods, which in terms of cattle and other herbivores is the 100 percent grass fed way of doing things.
"I think biodynamic and regenerative are the wave of the future. We need to still seek out organic products, but more and more conscious consumers are realizing that if you're buying a bottle of wine, look for the organic label on it, because that means it doesn't have any added sulfides.
It means that the farmer was really conscientious in the way they raised those grapes. But look for the biodynamic label as well. In OCA ? we're really happy to be working with the next stage of organics, which is biodynamic and grass fed."
Routing Out GMOs by Expanding the Net
Over the past two decades, the majority of the anti-GMO movement was focused on GMOs found in processed foods and a small number of whole GE foods.
Yet that's only 20 percent of the GMOs in the human food chain. Twice as much (40 percent) goes into the making of animal feed for factory farms. The only way to change that trend is by not buying factory farmed animal products, be it poultry (including eggs), pork or beef.
Another 40 percent of GMOs grown are used to make ethanol, "which is this crazed idea that it's environmentally sound ? to produce an additive for gasoline from GMO corn," Cummins says. In essence, Monsanto makes money every time you drive your car, unless you're buying premium gas, which doesn't have ethanol in it. So, the less gas you use, the less money Monsanto makes. Cutting off your contributions to Monsanto is yet another reason for buying an electric vehicle.
Most also forget (or failed to understand in the first place) that 95 percent of non-organic cotton clothing is made from Monsanto's GE cotton. You may be boycotting Monsanto's food, but if you buy clothes without thinking about what it's made from, you're still feeding the beast. In short, we have to significantly widen the net and consider all the different ways GE crops sneak their way into our lives.
"My T-shirt's organic. My jeans are organic. My underwear is organic. My socks are organic. I'm trying to consciously fight against Monsanto with everything I do, not just what I eat," Cummins says. "We've got to expand into the full realm of GMOs. Even more importantly, we need to stop talking about GMOs as if it's some abstract technology that poses this kind of really-hard-to-understand danger, gene splicing, disruption of the genome and all that ?
There is no GMO crop that isn't sprayed with large amounts of poisonous chemicals ? Or else it's impregnated with a poison, like the Bacillus thuringiensis (BT) toxin in the plant that expresses itself in every cell of the plant. When we're talking about pesticides, herbicides, fungicides, we're talking about GMO plants. There's no way to fight against GMOs unless we fight at the same time against chemical-intensive, energy-intensive agriculture and factory farms."
Many Legislative Changes Are Needed
We also need to continue fighting for legislative changes that help and support organic farmers. The reason France was able to grow the organic sector by 20 percent last year, compared to 11.5 percent in the U.S. was because the French government started paying farmers who quit using pesticides and use compost instead of chemical fertilizers.
In a nutshell, France decided to pay farmers to do the right thing, whereas the U.S. rewards farmers who agree to do the wrong thing. France also passed a law that at least 40 percent of food for schools must be organic and purchased from local farmers.
"I mean what kind of rules do we have regarding [this]? We have the worst school lunch programs in the entire industrialized world. Our food stamp program for poor people is basically junk food that the companies would have disposed of, but they get a tax break for giving us their factory-farmed cheese and milk, and so on.
We do need to change policies as well as the marketplace. But looking at the federal government, our best way to influence public policy is to get involved at the local level ? city council, county board, state legislature, our school boards. We have some power there."
Become Active in Local Government and Expand Alliances
OCA is also calling for people of different stripes to start working together more ? people in the local food movement, the slow food movement, the natural health movement, the environmental movement, the animal welfare movement, even church and spiritual movements. If you're involved in any of these, consider setting up joint meetings with other groups to discuss what you're doing, how and where your concerns intersect and how you may help each other.
To volunteer to set up or attend a Regenerative House Party or Community Meet-up in your local area this spring with other organic consumers or natural health activists, contact OCA at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Big corporations are trying to stamp out organic, grass fed, natural health, alternative therapies, environmental protections ? you name it. As long as we remain divided, they can conquer. By banding together, by connecting the dots between all of our crucial issues, we will prevail.
"If the food movement united with these other movements, they couldn't have passed the DARK Act even at the federal level. But because it was just the 30, 40 million people who were most conscientious about what they buy, that wasn't enough to scare the hell out of the politicians to do the right thing," Cummins says.
"If we're going to get involved politically, and I do think we have to, let's get involved where it makes a difference right now, which is the local level. Let's understand that what we do in the marketplace, whether it's the Bush administration, the Obama administration, the Trump administration, these people are not determining your food choices. These people are not forcing you to consume dangerous Big Pharma drugs.
Get educated. Take control of your health. Take control of your diet. Meet up with the people in your local community who feel the same way. We can have, down the road, the kind of democracy that people have dreamed about for hundreds of years. We've never had it but it doesn't mean that we can't get it down the road."
Take Control of Your Health by Making Wiser Choices
For the first time in two decades, the average lifespan in the U.S. has decreased, and the U.S. is the only country in the developed world where this is happening. I for one am convinced our emphasis on factory farmed foods play a major role in this decline. Moreover, if we persist with this industrial farming model, we will eventually run out of topsoil and potable water, and that day is approaching at a rapid clip. Some estimates suggest we have less than 60 years of topsoil left if we keep going as we have been.3
We're causing potentially irreparable environmental damage. If we destroy this infrastructure for future generations, how can they possibly grow food? This is a serious issue and I'm glad so many of you are beginning to appreciate the enormity of the problem ? and are embracing the solutions. As Cummins says, your greatest power lies in your choice of spending.
By avoiding food not grown in accordance with regenerative measures, non-organic cotton clothing, and ethanol-infused fuel, you help cut off the lifeblood of corporations that are destroying your children and grandchildren's chance of a healthy future. When it comes to food, choose organic produce, ideally biodynamic certified organics, and look for the AGA's grass fed certification for animal products.
The goal of the AGA is to promote the grass fed industry through government relations, research, concept marketing and public education. Their website also allows you to search for AGA approved producers certified according to strict standards that include being raised on a diet of 100 percent forage; raised on pasture and never confined to a feedlot; never treated with antibiotics or hormones; born and raised on American family farms.
Also, seriously consider making a generous donation to the OCA. Your previous support has been instrumental in catalyzing major changes in the organic and health world. And, please remember that I will match your contributions dollar for dollar.
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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.
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...