California farmers begin selling water instead of crops as drought reaches critical stage
(NaturalNews) California farmers are making more money selling water than planting their fields in some cases. The rice industry in the Sacramento Valley has really been struggling with this year's drought. Some farmers are choosing not to plant this year and are cashing in on their...
Bill Nye aligns himself with greatest science fraud of the century: GMO 'safety'
(NaturalNews) Many of today's young adults grew up watching him on public access television. But Bill Nye "the Science Guy" has taken an unfortunate turn for the worse as it pertains to his position on genetically-modified organisms (GMOs), degenerating rather suddenly from an honest...
NBC News admits most doctors are spacing out vaccine schedules to reduce risk
(NaturalNews) NBC News, home of the Brian Williams forced-down helicopter war-story-turned-lie and the news outlet that often encourages vaccinations through its reporting, is dipping its toe (thankfully) in an area that most mainstream media outlets don't dare approach.What did...
(NaturalNews) Cancer can be incredibly scary, especially when you don't understand how to prevent the onset through incorporation of a healthy and holistic lifestyle that addresses all the core factors that facilitate its development. Unfortunately, avoidance of this deadly disease...
(NaturalNews) Author, speaker and natural health activist Ty Bollinger will host a new docu-series aimed at presenting natural alternatives to traditional cancer treatment.The free, 11-part series, which begins March 30, is called, "The Truth About Cancer," and it features dozens...
Roseroot herb shows promise as potential depression treatment option
Rhodiola rosea (R. rosea), or roseroot, may be a beneficial treatment option for major depressive disorder (MDD), according to results of a study. Depression is one of the most common and debilitating psychiatric conditions, afflicting more than 19 million Americans each year, 70 percent of whom do not fully respond to initial therapy. Costs of conventional antidepressants and their sometimes substantial side effects often result in a patient discontinuing use prematurely. Others opt to try natural products or supplements instead.
Discontinuing statins for patients with life limiting illness
Discontinuing statin use in patients with late-stage cancer and other terminal illnesses may help improve patients' quality of life without causing other adverse health effects, according to a new study. "For patients with shorter life expectancy, greater concern about pill burden, and more comfort-oriented goals of care," the authors conclude, "physicians may endorse discontinuing statins as a means to reduce the number of medications without apparent harmful effects on survival or quality of life."
Green tea's popularity has grown quickly in recent years. Its fans can drink it, enjoy its flavor in their ice cream and slather it on their skin with lotions infused with it. Now, the tea could have a new, unexpected role -- to improve the image quality of MRIs. Scientists report that they successfully used compounds from green tea to help image cancer tumors in mice.
The flavor "umami," which means "delicious" in Japanese, is valued for making foods taste meatier and more satisfying. Umami is the natural flavor of glutamic acid, which, in your body is often found as glutamate; eating umami-rich foods may increase post-meal satiety, helping you eat less throughout the day and ultimately lose weight.
Umami is valued for making foods taste better. When an umami-rich food like is added to soup stock, for instance, it makes the broth heartier, more "meaty", and more satisfying.
Mushrooms, and shiitake mushrooms in particular, are rich in umami flavor. This is why they're often used in place of meat in sandwiches. While I don't necessarily recommend cutting back on meat in your diet, particularly if it's organic and pastured, mushrooms do make an ideal meat "enhancer" for those trying to cut back.
By adding a "mushroom base" to burgers, meat sauce, and more, you can cut the meat in your recipes by half or more, without sacrificing flavor and heartiness. This will certainly shave some dollars off your food budget and, at the same time, will add valuable nutrition to your meals.
How to Make a Roasted Mushroom Base
"At this year's Worlds of Health Flavors conference in Napa, Calif., Pam Smith, a culinary nutritionist, presented delicious recipes by the Chef Clifford Pleau featuring a finely chopped roasted mushroom mix (chefs refer to it as simply 'The Mix'), that she combined with beef for a delicious burger with half the meat?" the New York Times reported.1
The recipe that follows, posted by the New York Times,2 is your basic mushroom base to add to virtually any meat-based recipe. Try substituting half the meat called for with mushrooms, and adjust up or down accordingly.
If you're in a hurry, pick up pre-sliced mushrooms, which will cut down on prep time. Even if you use whole mushrooms and slice them yourself, this recipe is simple and quick. Store leftovers in the fridge and you'll have a healthy meat substitute at the ready.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment.
In a large bowl, toss mushrooms with oil, salt, and pepper. Spread in an even layer on baking sheets and bake in the middle and lower racks of the oven for 20 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes, and switching pans top to bottom halfway through. The mushrooms should be tender and dry when done. Remove from heat and allow to cool.
Grind in a grinder or pulse in a food processor fitted with steel blade until broken down into small pieces resembling ground meat. Taste and adjust seasoning.
The mix will keep for about 4 days in the refrigerator.
Mushrooms Are a Superfood
There's good reason to add mushrooms to just about any recipe you can; they're excellent for your health. You really can't go wrong with any of the edible mushrooms, as they are rich in protein, fiber, vitamin C, B vitamins, calcium, and minerals, along with being excellent sources of antioxidants.
Mushrooms contain polyphenols and selenium, which are common in the plant world, as well as antioxidants that are unique to mushrooms (like ergothioneine, which scientists are now beginning to recognize as a "master antioxidant").
About 100 species of mushrooms are being studied for their health-promoting benefits, and about a half dozen really stand out for their ability to deliver a tremendous boost to your immune system. They've even been studied for their ability to prevent cancer.
The compound lentinan in shitake mushrooms has been found to increase the survival rate of cancer patients.3 And extracts from maitake mushrooms, when combined with vitamin C, were shown to reduce the growth of bladder cancer cells by 90 percent, as well as kill them.4
A previous study in the journal Nature5 discusses the importance of ergothioneine, which is fairly exclusive to mushrooms, describing it as "an unusual sulfur-containing derivative of the amino acid, histidine," which appears to have a very specific role in protecting your DNA from oxidative damage.
Which Mushrooms Are the Healthiest?
If there's a certain type of edible mushroom that you enjoy, feel free to indulge, as they all have unique benefits. According to Steve Farrar, who has studied mushrooms professionally for the last three decades, Americans consume about 900 million pounds of mushrooms a year, but 95 percent of that is just one species: the common button mushroom and its relatives, the Crimini, and the Portabello mushrooms.
Granted, the button mushroom is an excellent low-calorie food, especially for diabetics. It contains a number of valuable nutrients, including protein, enzymes, B vitamins (especially niacin), and vitamin D2.
However, there are many other types of mushrooms worthy of consideration if you want to improve your diet, including shiitake, reishi, cordyceps, turkey tail, and Himematsutake. You can learn more about these four healthy mushroom varieties in the infographic below.
Embed this infographic on your website:
Click on the code area and press CTRL + C (for Windows) / CMD + C (for Macintosh) to copy the code.
Try This Beet, Mushroom, and Beef Burger
For a unique twist on a beef-mushroom burger, try this delicious recipe from the New York Times.6 It includes the mushroom base recipe above along with a couple of other healthy surprises, like beets, shallots, and chives. Each burger contains just two ounces of beef, but tastes so good you won't even miss it.
Beet Mushroom Beef Burger
¼ pound peeled roasted beets (1 medium)
½ pound roasted mushroom mix (recipe above)
½ pound organic grass-fed ground beef
1 tablespoon minced chives
1 shallot minced
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice (more or less to taste)
freshly ground black pepper
Olive oil [or coconut oil] for cooking (no more than 1 tablespoon)
Grate beet on large holes of a grater.
In a large bowl, mix together all of the ingredients except the oil for cooking until well-combined. Shape into 4 patties. I like to pile the mixture into a 3-inch ring and pull the ring away. When I place the patties in the hot pan, I press them down with the back of my spatula so they are about 1-inch thick.
Heat a heavy skillet over medium-high heat and add a small amount of olive oil, just enough to coat pan. Cook patties for 4 minutes on each side. Remove from pan and serve. You can use a bun or not (I think they are fine without). Baby arugula, mizuna, or spicy microgreens make a very nice accompaniment.
The burger mix will keep for a day or two in the refrigerator.
Vaccine safety is certainly a highly controversial topic this year, and in this interview, Dr. Lucija Tomljenovic helps shed light on an important aspect of this discussion, which is how vaccine adjuvants can affect your brain.
Dr. Tomljenovic is a post-doctoral fellow at the University of British Columbia (UBC), where she works in neurosciences and the Department of Medicine.
"The reason why I got interested in this area is [because] there is a lack of research demonstrating safety," she says.
"When one reviews most of the pharma-based trials on the safety of vaccines, you will see that they either use another vaccine as a placebo or the aluminum adjuvant, and neither of those constitutes a proper placebo.
It's very easy to claim that the product is safe if you're using a comparator that inherently might be toxic."
Another factor that triggered her skepticism about what was being reported in the peer-reviewed literature was her coming face to face with scientific corruption. A former boss actually asked her to falsify data on an experiment they were doing with statin drugs.
They were testing a cholesterol-lowering medication in mice, and more mice were dying from the statin treatment than from the placebo treatment, which in this case was plain water.
"When the result came, my boss told me to ignore the dead mice from the statistics, because it wouldn't look good on the drug. I thought to myself, 'I didn't get a PhD degree to lie to earn money,' so I quit my job," she says.
?I started questioning what else have we been sold in sciences that were dodgy data...My boss was receiving money from the drug companies, and obviously they would have not given more money to a lab that published unfavorable reports about their drugs.?
Aluminum Adjuvants Are Falsely Assumed Safe
When asked about why researchers (and the peer-reviewed journals who review these studies) allow the use of improper placebos?meaning placebos that may be toxic rather than inert?when testing vaccines, she suggests increasing their sales as a primary motivating factor.
It's sobering to realize that when the aluminum adjuvant was first approved for use in vaccines, some 90 years ago, it was approved because of efficacy. It was never actually tested for safety. Even the total allowable limit was based on efficacy data, not safety data. They just assumed it was safe.
"I have a document from 2002 from the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA)... discussing the assessment of vaccine ingredients... and testing specifically in animal models," she says.
Back then, the FDA stated that the routine toxicity studies in animals with vaccine ingredients have not been conducted because it was assumed that these ingredients are safe. When I read that I was kind of pulling my hairs out [thinking] ?So, this is your indisputable evidence of safety??
These documents never made it to mainstream media. It's just a lie perpetuated over and over again; that we've been using these things for over nine decades and it's been proven safe. No, it's been assumed safe."
This document is readily available. On pages 11 and 12 of this document, titled: Workshop on Non-Clinical Safety Evaluation of Preventive Vaccines: Recent Advances and Regulatory Considerations,1 it says: ?Historically, the non-clinical safety assessment for preventive vaccines has often not included toxicity studies in animal models. This is because vaccines have not been viewed as inherently toxic
In contrast to most drugs and biological products that are predominantly developed to treat ill patients, vaccines primarily are given to large numbers of healthy people, oftentimes predominantly healthy infants and children. And this places significant emphasis on their safety.?
So we see it is just empty talk. They say safety is of great importance, but then they go ahead licensing products that have not been adequately tested.
Why Are Aluminum Adjuvants Used in Vaccines?
You might wonder why aluminum is used in vaccines as an adjuvant in the first place. An adjuvant is an agent or compound designed to increase your immune response.
Now, your immune response is subdivided into two immune responses: the humoral immune response and the cellular innate immune response. The adjuvant only increases your humoral immunity. It does not affect your cellular innate immunity.
The challenge is that there's really no good testing system for the innate immune system, but they technically can measure antibody response. So that's what's being used.
Aluminum is very effectively able to increase antibodies. But that doesn't appear to actually improve long-term immune responses to infections and disease, which is what most people imagine vaccines will do.
What many fail to realize is that vaccines only work short-term for one aspect of the immune system, not the total immune system.
When you get a wild, acquired infection, it does stimulate the innate immune system, which is how you end up with permanent life-long immunity once you've recovered. This never happens with a vaccine.
"The problem is that people are being brainwashed into this idea that high antibody titers equal protection against diseases, and it's simply not true," Dr. Tomljenovic says.
"Proof of that are cases where you get outbreaks of infectious diseases in fully vaccinated populations, where over 95 percent are vaccinated, and they still get the disease.
The other side will always say, ?We need to increase the boosters.? Does it ever occur to these people that these disease outbreaks might be [happening] because [the vaccine] is not doing what they think it should be doing??
Rates of Autism Have Risen in Tandem with Vaccine Burden
Together with Christopher Shaw, a professor in the department of ophthalmology and visual sciences at UBC who also chairs the CMSRI's scientific advisory board, Dr. Tomljenovic has published a number of papers2,3,4,5,6 that suggest aluminum-containing vaccines may be unsafe.
Not surprisingly, their work has been heavily criticized. The UBC, however, has defended and stands behind Shaw's and Tomljenovic's work on aluminum toxicity.7 So what does their research show that has everyone in such a tizzy?
"In the original study we gathered data that's available from the US Department of Education about autism rates in the last couple of decades. We have done a similar analysis looking at autism rates in various other countries like UK and the Scandinavian countries.
We found that the countries that have the heaviest vaccines schedule (the children are vaccinated with a great number of vaccines) have higher autism rates compared to countries that do not vaccinate children with as many vaccines.
If you look at the temporal trend in the US, you see a significant correlation over the last three decades between the number of vaccines and autism rates. The autism numbers have been skyrocketing. They always say it's only because the diagnosis of autism is better. But that's a bogus argument because just in the last five years there's been about a 70 percent increase in autism. This is not due to better diagnostic criteria, and it sure isn't a genetic epidemic, because genes in a population do not change in a five-year span. These arguments are just silly," she says.
Correlations such as these do not prove causation, however. To prove a plausible theory, you have to actually test it, to see if the theory holds. At present, the animal model is the best way to do this, as large-scale testing of toxic substances on humans is unethical. This kind of toxicity research on animals should have been done prior to approval, but it wasn't. There's also a large-enough pool of unvaccinated children that could be used to compare health outcomes. As noted by Dr. Tomljenovic, this kind of comparative research also should have been done but hasn't:
"They should've tested vaccinated versus non-vaccinated, the population of vaccinated kids versus non-vaccinated kids, and assessed the health outcomes. But that study has never been done because it has been claimed that it's unethical not to give children vaccines. Well, again, that's an assumption. If you claim that, don't call me a quack scientist, because your science is quack also, because you're putting out assumptions. They're untested. The same goes for safety."
Animal Study Demonstrates Harm of Aluminum Adjuvant
In one of their studies,8 Shaw and Tomljenovic injected mice with aluminum at the equivalent dose given to American children through vaccines, and they spaced out the injections based on the mice's developmental stages. (On a side note, to find out how much aluminum you or your child actually receives from various vaccines, see this vaccine excipients list.9) What they found was that once the mice reached adulthood (which occurs at the age of six months), the treated mice had permanent behavioral impairments.
There was a significant increase in anxiety and a reduction in exploratory behavior. There was also a reduction in social interactions between the mice. "That was a huge confirmation that our initial assumption or correlation [between the number of vaccines and rising autism rates] might be something more than just correlation," she says.
After that, the duo went on to do some gene-based studies, specifically looking at the expression of genes in the mouse brain. They selected 17 candidate genes that are involved in neural function and immune response, and looked to see if there was any change in their expression either at the gene level or the protein level. Here, they discovered:10
A significant increase in tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF-alpha) interferon gamma (IFN-gamma), and a chemokine called macrophage chemoattractant protein-1 (MCP-1), which is a macrophage-attracting factor. These are indicative of an inflammatory response in the adult mouse brain
A significant decrease in a neurotransmitter called acetylcholinesterase (AChE), which is related to depression and anxiety
When You Alter Your Immune System, It Affects Your Brain Function
The changes seen at the genome level and the behavioral level are consistent with findings from studies done on deceased autistic patients, in which chronic brain inflammation was identified. It's important to realize that autism is not just a brain disorder; it's also an immune system disorder. Dr. Tomljenovic calls it an immune system brain disorder, as the two systems are connected.
"The backbone of this research was done 30 years ago. We already knew that there is a significant connection between the immune system and the central nervous system. They communicate. You cannot influence the immune system at the periphery without changing something in the brain. Most of us know that from experience, because when you get the flu, your brain doesn?t function very well. That mental fogginess and chronic fatigue, they are clear neurobehavioral changes in response to an immune stimulus [infection].
It's a neuroendocrine axis?basically, the immune system at the periphery and the central nervous system talk to each other. Again, if you increase an immune response artificially at the periphery, you are going to mess up the brain. They?ve done that artificially using what they call viral and bacterial mimics. I thought, ?Oh, that spells like antigens in vaccines,? Because that?s exactly what?s being used. Commonly in this type of research strong adjuvants are added to exaggerate the immune response...
There is a huge body of research that shows that if you overstimulate the immune system at the periphery, especially in the critical stage of early development, you are going to influence the brain in a negative way, and by doing so, you can create irreversible damage. Again, this is research that is rarely discussed, because it really shows that there is reason to question the safety of the burden of vaccines given to infants.?
It?s frustrating to realize that the kind of research and the technology Dr. Tomljenovic incorporated to measure these neuroparameters, has been long available and could have been performed two or three decades ago?it?s that basic. And what the research reveals is that it is not just that aluminum is a neurotoxin, which it certainly is, but also, it is the exaggerated adjuvant-induced immune response that is causing trouble.
What this means is that even if they replaced aluminum with another adjuvant, you?d still get the same problem. This is undoubtedly a problem of enormous proportions for the vaccine industry, which explains why this kind of research isn?t done on a routine basis, and why Shaw?s and Tomljenovic?s work is under such heavy fire.
The pair has also investigated the cross-reactivity between the antibodies that are raised against vaccine antigens. As it turns out, some of them cross-react with our own tissues. Many viruses and bacteria share genetic similarities with human proteins.
For example, there may be a peptide sequence in the wall of the virus that mimics the structure of a human protein. So, the antibody that is raised against the virus will then also recognize these epitopes in your own tissues that mimic the virus. This has the potential to cause severe harm, and can significantly raise the risk of autoimmune disorders.
HPV Vaccine May Raise Your Risk of Autoimmune Disease
For example, Tomljenovic in collaboration with the team led by professor Yehuda Shoenfeld (world expert in autoimmune diseases who heads the Zabludowicz Autoimmunity Research Centre at the Sheba Hospital in Israel) has demonstrated how the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine can raise your risk of brain autoimmune disorders.
This was done by vaccinating young mice with the equivalent of three doses of Gardasil, which is what young girls are receiving. As a result of these vaccinations, the mice developed anti-HPV antibodies, which were found to preferentially bind to a protein in the mouse brain. Dr. Tomljenovic explains:
?[I]f you coat a plate with HPV antibodies and if you apply the serum [blood] from the mice to this plate, the serum from the mice that have been vaccinated with Gardasil and have concentrated antibodies in serum, you can detect the binding between the antibody fraction and the HPV fraction that?s on the plate. Now, if you apply a mouse brain protein extract, you get inhibition of binding of the anti-HPV antibodies to HPV. Why? Because they [the anti-HPV antibodies] are preferentially binding to the mouse brain protein extract.
The presence of cross-reactive anti-HPV antibodies in the blood of vaccinated girls will increases their risk for developing immune-mediated nervous system disorders, which incidentally appear to be the most commonly reported worldwide, following Gardasil. We have done the analysis on adverse events reported following HPV vaccination. It was published it in the Annals of Medicine. We took vaccines safety databases from various countries, and then we rated the adverse effects reported based on organ system. We found the most commonly reported adverse events following HPV vaccination are nervous system disorders of immune origin.
What was interesting is that in 2013, Japan Institute of Pharmacovigilance picked up our paper. I had an email from a doctor saying, ?Can you send us the raw data, because we would like to add our Japanese data to your set and see if they match,? and I said, ?Yes, please do.? And the match was perfect. After that, the Japanese Institute of Pharmacovigilance and the Japanese government, and health authorities, held a hearing on concerns about the safety of HPV vaccines. Because again, they were introduced in Japan and universally recommended, and there were many adverse effects reported thereafter. Following the hearing, the Japanese government and health authorities decided to stop recommending the HPV vaccine.11"
Japan No Longer Recommends Gardasil
Japan issued the first suspension of the government's recommendation to get vaccinated against HPV in June 2013. The Japanese Government and Health authorities then organized a symposium on HPV vaccines,12,13 which occurred in February 2014. Important testimony was delivered by one doctor who had treated over 20 cases of MS after Gardasil vaccination. Pharmaceutical representatives were trying to say that such side effects are psychogenic, but how can a psychogenic disorder cause MS lesions in a person?s brain?and in a girl who was perfectly healthy prior to vaccination? ?They didn?t have an answer to that,? she says.
?All these problems started in temporal association with the vaccine. Just out of precautionary principle, you would think that they would have the common sense to at least halt the use of the vaccine until more research is done. But no, they just want to force it, and they parrot that it is safe. They do not have any proof of safety other than manipulated research.?
This symposium was followed by a large press conference, attended by Dr. Tomljenovic and research colleagues from France and the US. Since then, attempts by the makers of HPV vaccines to reinstate active recommendation of HPV vaccination by the Japanese Government have all failed, and Merck?which manufactures Gardasil?warned investors that Japan's decision would have "a significant negative impact" on sales.14 GlaxoSmithKline's HPV vaccine Cervarix also saw a downturn in sales immediately following the original suspension.
French Researchers Find Link Between Aluminum Adjuvant and Alzheimer's
A team from Créteil and the INSERM Institute in France also presented data from animal experiments at the Japanese symposium, which show that if you inject the aluminum adjuvant, a portion of the aluminum is engulfed by macrophages. Some of these macrophages eventually find their way into the mouse brain.
The transport in the brain is dependent on the same chemokine, MCP-1, macrophage chemoattractant protein that Shaw and Tomljenovic found increased in their aluminum-exposed animals. Part of the problem is that the aluminum accumulates, and it stays in the brains of mice up to one year after injection because there?s no recirculation to take it out.
?This is a common problem with aluminum, because it?s got a strong positive charge, 3+,? Dr. Tomljenovic says. ?What other research has found is that in Alzheimer?s patients, the chromatin fractions in the nucleus of the cell, where your genetic material is stored, accumulate aluminum. Because the DNA has a negative charge on the outside, it binds the positive aluminum.
Thus aluminum disrupts the chromatin structure and in the brains of Alzheimer?s patients it was found that aluminum binds to selective promoter areas of genes that encode proteins that are essential for neural function. In this way aluminum inhibits the expression of these genes.
Again, the problem is that once the aluminum gets into the nucleus of the cell, there is no way of getting it out. It just stays there. The finding by the French team is that even the aluminum you inject in the periphery can get into the brain, which is a concern...
The fact is that the aluminum we get from vaccines is not rapidly excreted, and most of it does remain in your body because it bypasses the gastrointestinal system. If aluminum was rapidly excreted, as the health authorities would like us to believe, then it would be a pretty lousy adjuvant.?
ANY Adjuvant Is Likely to Carry Risk of Autoimmune Disease
I want to stress the point Dr. Tomljenovic makes about the harm produced by stimulating an exaggerated immune response, which is what vaccines are designed to do?this is the function of the adjuvant. The problem is, even if aluminum is removed from vaccines, the risk of immune system brain disorder remains even if the new adjuvant is non-toxic. As she explains, by the virtue of over-stimulating your immune system, you run the risk of breaking self-tolerance. Research supporting this was also presented in Japan during its governmental hearing on HPV vaccines.
What the team of Japanese researchers led by Dr Shunichi Shiozawa found15 is that the repeated stimulation with the same antigen overcomes the genetic resistance to autoimmunity. At present, we?re giving children booster shots at regular intervals with the same antigen. And the research shows that when you do this?when you stimulate the immune system on a regular basis?you break the tolerance to autoimmunity. This is a really crucial piece of information that people need to become aware of.
How Can Safety Be Proven When Proper Safety Studies Are Lacking and Health Statistics Indicate Otherwise?
In light of these findings, it is not surprising that Shaw and Tomljenovic are under fire. However, the critics really do not have much to counter with, besides ad hominem attacks. One recent critic blasted the study saying it was irresponsible to publish this type of research because it might erode the confidence in vaccines. ?I think the opposite is true because if you?re trying to enforce military measures, I think that erodes the confidence. Because a truly good product does not need military-type of enforcement,? Dr. Tomljenovic retorts.
The primary and central issue here is that no properly performed safety studies have been done, and by that I'm referring to safety studies that are not corrupted by using toxic placebos, such as another vaccine, rather than a truly inert placebo. "We're not saying stop vaccinating, but stop selling lies, [stop saying] that these things are absolutely safe and that serious adverse risks are so rare that you don't have to worry about them. It's a lie because the proper type of research to answer that question has never been done," Dr.Tomljenovic says.
I couldn't agree more, especially when you add the historical record, which Dr. Suzanne Humphries dissects in her excellent book, Dissolving Illusions. In it, she shows that most infectious diseases were nearly eradicated before the introduction of vaccines. In the end, basic nutritional and hygiene principles such as optimizing vitamin D and avoiding sugar has a far more dramatic preventative effect against illness, and with robust immune function, you can safely recover from virtually any infectious disease and come out the other side with lifelong immunity.
?There is also a research showing how exposure to certain childhood diseases like chicken pox actually has prevented certain types of gliomas [a type of brain tumor],? Dr. Tomljenovic notes. ?There are some others that decreased the risk of Parkinson?s. Cancer is also in part a disease of the immune system because a healthy immune system will detect abnormal cell growth. If you compromise your immune system early in childhood, there goes your anti-cancer defense...
People need to do their own research on these things, because we have to make choices every day, and they should be informed choices. If I was to buy a new kitchen appliance I would spend some time researching, comparing prices, and looking at the quality. But when it comes to putting things into our children, we just blindly trust the medical authorities...
You cannot go back on some of these things. I get a lot of emails from parents with vaccine injured children. It must be the most horrible thing for a parent to live with that because they truly believe they did the best for their child. I know many mothers whose girls have died following HPV, and they said, ?If I only haven?t listened to that campaign, my daughter would still be alive.?
Monsanto, leading the pack of chemical technology companies that have infiltrated the seed business with their patented genetically engineered (GE) seeds, has spent many years trying to rehabilitate its reputation as a producer of toxic chemicals responsible for death and suffering.
It's not working very well however, and the reason for that is because despite the user-friendly rhetoric, they still haven't found a moral compass that points due North. They're still producing toxic goods, and they're still going to extreme means to hide it.
Monsanto now refers to itself as a "sustainable agriculture" company,1 delivering agricultural products that "support farmers" around the world. But it seems Monsanto has no concept of what "sustainable" really means, as its solutions are anything but.
Glyphosate Labeled 'Probable Carcinogen' by WHO Research Group
Further tarnishing Monsanto?s ?sustainable ag? claims is the labeling of glyphosate as a ?probable carcinogen? (Class 2A) by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), which is the research arm of the World Health Organization (WHO).
?A report3 published by the WHO in the journal Lancet Oncology said Friday there is ?limited evidence? that the weedkiller can cause non-Hodgkin?s lymphoma and lung cancer and ?convincing evidence? it can cause cancer in lab animals.?
IARC?s report also notes that glyphosate and glyphosate formulations have been shown to induce DNA and chromosomal damage in mammals, as well as human and animal cells in vitro.
IARC is considered the global gold standard for carcinogenicity studies, so this determination is of considerable importance. The determination was published on March 20, 2015.4,5
The IARC working group consists of 17 experts from 11 countries, and most noteworthy is the fact that these members were selected not only for their expertise, but also for the absence of real or apparent conflicts of interest.6
Along with glyphosate, the commonly used insecticides malathion and diazinon were also classified as ?probably carcinogenic to humans? (Group 2A), and the insecticides tetrachlorvinphos and parathion were classified as ?possibly carcinogenic to humans? (Group 2B).
Monsanto has Consistently Lied and Covered Up Toxicity Issues
In response, a Monsanto spokesman said: ?All labeled uses of glyphosate are safe for human health,? and the company has gone so far as to request a retraction of the IARC?s report.7
However, Monsanto feigned ignorance on the dangers of PCB?s for several decades, which turned out to be a bold-faced lie. Its assurances that Roundup is biodegrade and ?leave the soil clean? also turned out to be a lie, so why should anyone believe Monsanto?s assurances that Roundup is safe?
Especially when you take into account the mounting research demonstrating that (as usual) Monsanto?s assessment of its product is severely flawed. For example, research by Samsel and Seneff reveals that glyphosate wrecks human health by way of your gut bacteria. Cancer is but one of the potential health outcomes.
In Sri Lanka, drinking water contaminated with glyphosate and spraying glyphosate on rice fields without protective gear has also been linked to chronic kidney disease.8
Roundup also Tied to Antibiotic Resistance, New Research Shows
Right on the heels of the IARC?s reclassification of glyphosate as a Class 2 carcinogen, another breakthrough study9 published in the peer-reviewed journal mBio on March 24 ties Monsanto?s weedkiller to antibiotic resistance.
According to this study, sublethal doses of Roundup (the actual formulation of Roundup, not just glyphosate in isolation) alter disease-causing bacteria's response to commonly used antibiotics, including tetracycline and ciprofloxacin, thereby raising resistance to drugs used in medicine. As reported by Rodale News:10
?The way Roundup causes this effect is likely by causing the bacteria to turn on a set of genes that are normally off, [study author] Heinemann says. "These genes are for 'pumps' or 'porins,' proteins that pump out toxic compounds or reduce the rate at which they get inside of the bacteria...
Once these genes are turned on by the herbicide, then the bacteria can also resist antibiotics. If bacteria were to encounter only the antibiotic, they would instead have been killed.
In a sense, the herbicide is 'immunizing' the bacteria to the antibiotic:...This change occurs at levels commonly used on farm field crops, lawns, gardens, and parks.? [Emphasis mine]
Study author Jack Heinemann, PhD, professor and lecturer of genetics at the University of Canterbury in New Zealand said:
?Antibiotic resistance is a big and growing problem. I think that a key lesson of this work is that we have to think more broadly, holistically, about medicine and the environment and not think that because herbicides are used on plants and antibiotics are used on people that they don't have any relevance when they mix together somewhere.?
I would not be at all surprised if in the end glyphosate?s toxicity becomes well-recognized and Monsanto ends up spending decades fighting lawsuits over it, just as it?s still being sued over its PCB?s pollution, decades after the fact. Glyphosate is now massively polluting both land and waterways. So much so it?s even detected in air and rain samples. Disturbingly, the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) appears to have suppressed or minimized evidence in order to raise the allowable limits for glyphosate in food, which was done in 2013.
As noted by the Institute for Science in Society:11?The amount of allowable glyphosate in oilseed crops (except for canola and soy) went up from 20 ppm to 40 ppm, 100,000 times the amount needed to induce breast cancer cells.? [Emphasis mine]
GE Foods Sold in California Will Likely have to Carry Cancer Warning
The IARC?s determination may end up having a significant impact on the sale of genetically engineered (GE) foods. As reported by PoliticoPro March 24:12
?The World Health Organization cancer research body?s determination that exposure to a key pesticide used on genetically modified crops is linked to cancer is another reason why lawmakers should move ahead with a national GMO labeling mandate, Rep. Jim McGovern said this morning.
?They are saying that glyphosate is a likely cause of cancer, that may be something people want to know,? McGovern said this morning during a House Agriculture Committee hearing on the costs of GMO labeling. ?Don?t you think people should have a right to know how their food is grown??
Indeed, the IARC?s classification of glyphosate as a probable carcinogen is more significant than you may realize. IARC is one of the five research agencies from which the OEHHA?which is the California agency of environmental hazards?gets its reports to declare carcinogens under Prop 65. What this means is that in a few years? time, foods containing glyphosate will have to have a Prop 65 Warning label to be sold in California. While it will take time, that process is now in motion with the IARC classifying glyphosate as a Class 2 carcinogen.
Why Monsanto Will Never Be a Sustainable Ag Company
Part of being sustainable includes minimizing or eliminating agricultural chemicals, as synthetic fertilizers and pesticides decimate soil microbes, and Monsanto is not doing anything to limit the use of chemicals on our crop fields.
Why would it, considering the fact that its patented seeds are designed to promote and secure the expanded use of pesticides, not lessen it. As noted in a Food & Water Watch report13 on Monsanto:
"Sales from Roundup and other glyphosate-based herbicides accounted for 27 percent of Monsanto's total 2011 net sales. Monsanto engineers its GE seeds to resist Roundup and Roundup alone, so that the sale of the herbicide is absolutely necessary for those who buy Roundup Ready seeds."
In his paper "Pesticide Use on Genetically Engineered Crops,"14 Dr. Ramon J. Seidler, Ph.D., a former senior scientist with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), presents USDA data showing that glyphosate use has increased 12-fold since 1996, when the first GE crops were introduced.
Glyphosate is the active ingredient in Monsanto's broad spectrum herbicide Roundup, and its Roundup Ready seed varieties are designed to tolerate otherwise lethal doses of this chemical.
The problem is, while the crop may survive, it's saturated with glyphosate?you cannot wash the chemical off as it is integrated systemically into all the plant's cells. Recent research has also revealed how glyphosate promotes chronic disease, in part by inhibiting enzymes that catalyze the oxidation of organic substances.
Overall, annual herbicide use has risen by more than 500 million pounds?an increase that in part is driven by expanded use of GE crops, and in part by escalating weed resistance. This includes pesticide use on Bt plants, which are genetically engineered to produce their own internal pesticide, ostensibly to reduce the need for topical pesticide applications.
According to the latest data,15 insecticide use on Bt crops has dramatically increased since 2010. So to suggest that Bt crops has led, or will lead, to a decrease in pesticide use is patently false.
The United States now uses about 1.1 billion pounds of pesticides each year,16,17 and mounting research has linked pesticides to an array of serious health problems. Land, waterways, and food itself is also becoming increasingly toxic, thanks to companies like Monsanto. What's sustainable about that?
Monsanto's Best-Selling Herbicide Has Cut Monarch Population by 90 Percent
In 1996, when GE crops made their entrance, there were close to 1 billion monarch butterflies across the US. Today, their numbers have dwindled by 90 percent. Their rapid demise is tied to escalating glyphosate use, which kills the monarchs' sole food source, the milkweed.
In the past, even as prairies and forests in the Midwest were converted to cropland, the deep, extensive root system of the common milkweed allowed it to survive tillage, mowing, harsh winters, and even the application of most herbicides, which typically didn't affect their roots.
This changed when farmland was converted to GE crops and heavy Roundup application became the norm. Between 1995, the year before the first Roundup Ready crops were introduced, and 2013, total use of glyphosate on corn and soybeans increased 20-fold, according to a report18 by the Center for Food Safety (CFS).
A 2013 paper19 published in Insect Conservation and Diversity also links the monarchs' decline to increased use of glyphosate, in conjunction with increased planting of genetically modified (GM) glyphosate-tolerant corn and soybeans.
Monsanto?A Champion for Monarchs?
Monsanto now claims to be committed to "doing their part" to protect monarch butterflies?but don't think for a second that this commitment extends to curtailing the use of Roundup. It does not. Instead, Monsanto states:20
"Effective control of weeds in their fields, however, doesn't prevent farmers from contributing to a conservation effort aimed at finding places outside farm fields for monarchs to thrive...
That's why we are collaborating with experts from universities, nonprofits, and government agencies to help the monarch by restoring their habitat in Crop Reserve Program land, on-farm buffer strips, roadsides, utility rights-of-way, and government-owned land."
The article also includes the following curious statement:
"Saying a species is closing in on extinction when most disagree... makes for a great news headline. It doesn't do anything to help solve the problem."
What's confusing about that is that I'm really not aware of any experts on monarch butterflies disagreeing with the statement that these butterflies are on the verge of extinction, let alone "most" disagreeing...
As for solving the problem, Monsanto has not only failed to accept responsibility for causing the problem in the first place, it's also unwilling to support strategies that involve cutting the use of Roundup, which is part and parcel of the solution.
Instead, it wants you to believe that because it supports the planting of milkweed in private gardens and on public lands and along roadways, Monsanto is somehow "doing its part" in solving the problem. What a joke.
Meanwhile, the answer, not only to dwindling monarch populations, but also to soil destruction, top soil erosion, water shortages, loss of biodiversity, and the threat of increased famine, is being aggressively opposed by Monsanto and other industry leaders.
I'm referring of course to regenerative land management practices and organic farming, which has been shown to outperform both GE and conventional chemical agriculture.
Part and parcel of such sustainable agriculture practices is cutting the use of chemicals, and that's undoubtedly why Monsanto won't have anything to do with it. It's truly an irony of gargantuan proportions for one of the most unsustainable companies in the world to proclaim itself a leader in sustainability.
Veterans for Peace Want Monsanto to Offer Restitution for Agent Orange Before Discussing Food Security
Voice of America recently reported21 that Monsanto co-sponsored a workshop in Ho Chi Minh City, trying to sell people on their brand of sustainable farming. The feedback was mixed however, with many Vietnamese being less than enthusiastic. Monsanto was one of nine manufacturers of Agent Orange, which killed and maimed an estimated 400,000 people during the Vietnam War,22 and has continued to affect the health of millions. And, as noted in the article, some are not fooled by Monsanto's efforts to create a new image:
"Chuck Palazzo, a founding member of the Vietnam chapter of Veterans for Peace, accused Monsanto of trying to 'brainwash' locals, especially young people. The company is on a public relations push to align itself with the positives of food security, he said, instead of its controversial products, Agent Orange and genetically modified seeds.
'Even if Monsanto has pure intentions, it should wait to get involved in sustainable agriculture and first compensate Vietnamese who suffer birth defects like missing limbs and distended bodies,' Palazzo said. 'The first thing they need to do is benefit, somehow, the victims of Agent Orange, they need to show some good faith,' he said. 'Doing the right thing, in my mind, is giving financial benefits, medical benefits, and social benefits...'
[H]e can't divorce these different sides of the company -- its role in food security today, versus its role as purveyor of a wartime herbicide. Palazzo also opposes genetically modified seeds, which some fear could render long-term health problems. 'In my mind it's just about impossible to compartmentalize each of those and say, this is the good Monsanto and this is the bad Monsanto,' he said."
Monsanto cannot rid itself of its toxic past for the simple reason that it hasn't changed the way it does business. It's still a major purveyor of toxic chemicals, and acts with reckless disregard for who gets hurt in the process of making a buck. In 2002, Monsanto was found guilty of decades of "outrageous acts of pollution" in the town of Anniston, Alabama. Residents accused the company of dumping PCBs into the local river?a chemical that the US government ended up banning in 197623 due to its carcinogenic potential. Monsanto also buried PCBs in a landfill, and PCBs can linger in the environment for centuries. In the end, they won. According to an article24 discussing the case:
"Lawyers claimed Monsanto had deliberately covered up evidence that the PCBs were harmful, including evidence of fish dying in nearby creeks. Internal memos were produced that insisted they should protect the image of the corporation. One said: 'We can't afford to lose one dollar of business.' Although a clear link between the chemicals and cancer has not been proven, the people of Anniston have argued for years that their cancer rate is abnormally high. Some of the plaintiffs were found to have PCBs in their blood 27 times higher than the national average.
Monsanto's defense was that it closed the plant in 1971, eight years before the government ban. The company said it was not aware the chemicals were being released or that they could be dangerous. It has spent $40m (£27m) on a clean-up operation...The company has paid $80m in out of court settlements...
The jury in Gadsden, Ala., a town 20 miles from Anniston... held Monsanto and its corporate successors liable on all six counts it considered: negligence, wantonness, suppression of the truth, nuisance, trespass, and outrage. Under Alabama law, the rare claim of outrage typically requires conduct so outrageous in character and extreme in degree as to go beyond all possible bounds of decency so as to be regarded as atrocious and utterly intolerable in civilized society."
Documents revealed that Monsanto had known about the severity of the pollution problem it caused for at least three decades. Anniston residents didn't learn the horrid truth until 1996; 30 years prior, in 1966, Monsanto managers found that fish placed in the river floated to the surface within 10 seconds, "spurting blood and shedding skin." In 1969, the company found a fish in another creek that had a PCB level 7,500 times the legal limit. Yet Monsanto never told anyone, and decided it wasn't worth going through "expensive extremes" to limit its toxic discharges.
San Diego Sues Monsanto for Polluting Bay with PCBs
Now San Diego is suing Monsanto for polluting the Coronado Bay with PCBs.25 According to the complaint, "PCBs manufactured by Monsanto have been found in bay sediments and water and have been identified in tissues of fish, lobsters, and other marine life in the Bay." In its complaint, the city also claims that "the risks did not deter Monsanto from trying to protect profits and prolong the use of PCB compounds such as Aroclor, as shown in a report from an ad hoc committee that Monsanto formed in 1969."
According to a Food & Water Watch report26 on Monsanto, the company produced 99 percent of all the PCBs in the US prior to it being banned, and the documentation revealed in the Anniston case over a dozen years ago shows that Monsanto was far from unaware of its extreme toxicity. Yet it put profits before all else?including the health of women, children, wildlife, and waterways?and hid what it knew while doing nothing to curtail its pollution. This company now proclaims to be a leader in "sustainable agriculture," and Robert T. Fraley, Monsanto's Vice President and Chief Technology Officer sends out tweets wondering why so many people "doubt science"...
"[T]he answer to the question "Why do people doubt science" is not because... a bunch of 'irrational' activists have scared them witless about GM crops or some other issue. It is because they can see how science is used, corrupted, and manipulated by powerful corporations to serve their own ends. It is because they regard these large corporations as largely unaccountable and their activities and products not properly regulated by governments. That's why so many doubt science ? or more precisely the science corporations fund and promote to support their interests."
That's precisely right, I think, yet Monsanto along with all the other chemical technology companies are trying their best to make you think that if you don't believe their corrupted science, you're somehow intellectually deficient. The problem is, Monsanto is like the boy who cried wolf too many times. Too many times it has assured us that its products are safe, if not harmless, only to later be proven wrong. Remember France found Monsanto guilty of lying when it said Roundup was biodegradable? A few years later France again found Monsanto guilty in a pesticide poisoning case.
Tens of thousands of residents in Nitro, West Virginia also sued Monsanto in a class-action lawsuit over carcinogenic dioxins, which they claim the company spewed all over the city over the course of 20 years. The plant in Nitro produced the herbicide 2,4,5-T, which is a component of Agent Orange. As noted by Reuters28 in July last year:
"In lieu of going to trial over the contamination, the biotech company agreed in 2012 to spend millions of dollars on a program that for the next three decades will assist residents of Nitro impacted by the plant."
And these are just a handful of examples of Monsanto's brand of "sustainability." For a rundown on Monsanto's checkered history, check out this Waking Times' article29 from last year.
PR Firm Boasts Doubling Positive Media Coverage on GMOs by Supervising Social Media
In February, US Right to Know posted a series of press releases30,31,32,33 "outing" the Grocery Manufacturers Association's new lobbying firm, hired to combat GMO labeling, and how the GMO industry's PR firm made the mistake of bragging about using well-known propaganda tactics to double positive GMO messages.
"Food company CEOs worried about losing the trust of the American public... might want to take note: their trade association has taken another tone-deaf step into the abyss by hiring the law firm of a famous felon to do their dirty work... [T]he Grocery Manufacturers Association has retained the law firm K&L Gates to lobby against GMO labeling. K&L Gates was formed in a 2007 merger between Kirkpatrick & Lockhart and Preston Gates ? which was Jack Abramoff's law firm from 1994 to 2000. Jack Abramoff, as we know, was sentenced to four years in prison for political corruption, and ended up as the poster child for corruption in Washington."
Monsanto, as most of you may already know, has long been referred to by those in the know as "the most evil company on the planet." But it has stiff competition. Before there was Monsanto, junk food companies were already hard at work influencing American politics to further their own agenda.
In 2014 I named the GMA "the most evil corporation on the planet," considering the fact that it consists primarily of pesticide producers and junk food manufacturers who are going to great lengths to violate some of your most basic rights?just to ensure that subsidized, genetically engineered and chemical-dependent, highly processed junk food remains the status quo.
Indeed, Jack Abramoff went on 60 Minutes (below) revealing in shocking detail how he spent years illegally influencing Congress as a lobbyist. Considering the fact that the GMA was caught red-handed in an illegal money laundering scheme during the Washington State GMO labeling campaign, their choice of lobbying firm is certainly an ironic but fitting one.
According to the PR firm, Ketchum, it was hired by the Council for Biotechnology Information to improve GMO's public image and "balance" the online conversation. US Right to Know calls attention to a video ad in which the firm talks about how it doubled positive GMO coverage using online social media monitoring?a tactic that smacks of Internet "sockpuppets"?fake Internet personas who interject themselves into social media conversations to steer the debate.
(In 2008, Mother Jones34 implicated Ketchum in an espionage effort against nonprofit organizations, including the Center for Food Safety and Friends of the Earth.) Ketchum also created the GMO Answers website, in which professors at public universities answer GMO questions from the public?supposedly without remuneration from the industry.
In late January, US Right to Know filed state public records requests35 to obtain "correspondence and emails to and from professors at public universities who wrote for the agrichemical industry's PR website, GMO Answers... and agrichemical companies such as Monsanto, as well as to and from PR firms such as Ketchum or Fleishman Hillard, and to and from trade associations such as the Grocery Manufacturers Association and the Council for Biotechnology Information." It remains to be seen just how independent all these GMO experts answering questions on GMO Answers really are.
The Way Out of This Nightmare Starts at Home
The way off this out-of-control chemical treadmill will decimate profits for the chemical technology industry, and THAT is why they do not want you to know which foods contain genetically modified organisms (GMOs). If Americans started making dramatically different food choices, it could quickly revolutionize the US agricultural system because farmers will grow that which sells. If people want uncontaminated organic foods, that's what farmers will grow?and there's already evidence that biodynamic farming can be done even on the large scale. In fact, using regenerative agriculture principles, you can grow a lot more food on fewer acres.
Real solutions are available. What's lacking is the political will to stand up to the chemical technology industry and break its iron grip on our food supply. But we can still get it done, by making conscious choices each and every time we shop for food. Remember, your money either goes to support the chemical-based system that threatens the survival of the Earth and your descendants, or it supports a system that can regenerate and revitalize the soil and the environment so that healthy food and healthy people can thrive. To make conscious choices, we need information, and that is why GMO labeling is so crucial.
Eyelashes Grow to Just The Right Length to Shield Your Eyes
By Dr. Mercola
Eyelashes are one of the most subtle yet powerful facial features. They draw attention to your eyes, helping you to communicate without saying a word. And long, thick lashes have long been associated with beauty and youth.
In 2010, women spent $537 million on mascara, and this figure doesn?t include mascara sales from Wal-Mart or club stores.1 False eyelash sales bring in another $44 million annually,2 while lash extensions cost even more (about $200 and up per application).
But the pursuit of flirt-worthy lashes ignores one important point ? your eyelashes have a very important purpose, and tweaking them artificially might actually interfere with it?
How Your Eyelashes Keep Your Eyes Safe
Your eyes are vulnerable to viral, bacterial, fungal and even parasitic infections. Your tear duct system offers some protection against invaders by coating your eye in a thin layer of mucus, oil, and water. This keeps your eyelid and cornea lubricated and helps remove foreign particles.3
Your eyelashes are the next line of defense. They help to keep dust and other debris from falling in your eyes, and they also act as sensors, causing your eyes to blink if an object gets too close. According to a study published in the Journal of the Royal Society Interface:4
?A number of intriguing medical studies suggest that eyelashes can prevent the transfer of infection and allergens to the eye, although a clear mechanism does not exist. According to the American Optometric Association, the medical ailments alopecia and madarosis, or the lack of eyelashes, have been correlated with higher rates of infection of the eye.
One study found that growth of eyelashes occurs in response to exposure to allergens. Children with allergies have 10% longer and denser lashes than those without allergies.
This response arises from allergens triggering mast cells within the inside of the eyelid to release prostaglandins that promote hair growth, which presumably protects the eye.?
Your Lashes Are the Perfect Length to Protect Your Eyes
Eyelashes are not unique to humans, of course. All mammals have wet eyes and need eyelashes to not only protect from debris but also control airflow and rate of evaporation on the surface of the cornea.
In a study of 22 mammals, including humans, researchers found that most eyelashes are one-third the length of the eye, which turns out to be just the right length to minimize airflow over the eyeball. According one study author, Dr. David Hu from the Georgia Institute of Technology:5
?As short lashes grew longer, they reduced air flow, creating a layer of slow-moving air above the cornea. This kept the eye moist for a longer time and kept particles away. The majority of air essentially hit the eyelashes and rolled away from the eye.?
However, the benefit only remained to a point. As lashes grew too long, they helped to channel airflow toward the eye, which lead to faster evaporation. Researcher Guillermo Amador, a doctoral student in fluid mechanics at Georgia Tech, said:
?This is why long, elegant, fake eyelashes aren?t ideal. They may look good, but they?re not the best thing for the health of your eyes6 ?If women use false eyelashes they could actually dry out their eyes a little faster and have to blink more frequently.?7
In the case of people who have lost their eyelashes due to health problems, false eyelashes of the appropriate length could benefit eye health. The findings may even be useful in the development of eyelash-like filaments to protect robots, sensors, and solar panels from dust.8
Risks of Eyelash Extensions and False Eyelashes
Aside from extending your lashes too much, such that they may dry out your eyes and attract debris, there are other risks of false eyelashes. The glue used to adhere the lashes to your eyes, and the solvents used to remove them, may contain toxic chemicals, like formaldehyde, which may cause irritation and allergic reactions.
Further, the irritation and infection caused by the artificial lashes may cause your real lashes to thin out or become damaged? creating a vicious cycle of ongoing use. In England, the College of Optometrists even warned:9
??repeated use of eyelash extensions can cause traction alopecia, a condition where the hair falls out due to excessive tension placed on the hair shaft. As a result, this can damage the hair follicle, which can slow down and even cease production of hair.?
In 2013, the American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO) also warned consumers about the dangers of eyelash extensions, including:10
Infection of the cornea
Infection of the eyelid
Swelling of the eyelid
Permanent or temporary loss of eyelashes
AAO cited a 2013 report from Consumer Reports, which noted:11
?Eyelash extensions?single synthetic fibers glued one by one to natural eyelashes?are usually fixed in place by formaldehyde-based adhesives or other biologic glues. The adhesives can cause allergic reactions, as can the solvents used to remove them. In addition, cosmetic eyelash enhancers carry a risk of bacterial and fungal infection.
Eyelash extensions have also been reported to cause irritation to the conjunctiva (conjunctivitis) or cornea (keratitis). The irritation can be caused by direct contact from the lashes themselves or hypersensitivity to the substances used to attach them.
Among beauty treatments, eyelash extensions account for the greatest number of eye-clinic consultations in Japan, where they have been very widely used.?
Is Your Mascara Toxic?
Both Consumer Reports and the American Academy of Ophthalmology recommend mascara as a safe alternative to false eyelashes or extensions, but mascara isn?t without risk either. For starters, in a study of 49 different face makeup items, including seven mascaras, their testing revealed serious heavy metal contamination in virtually all of the products:12
96 percent contained lead
90 percent contained beryllium
61 percent contained thallium
51 percent contained cadmium
20 percent contained arsenic
Further, each product contained an average of two of the four metals of highest concern (arsenic, cadmium, lead, and mercury), which are designated as toxic in Canada because of proven health concerns. Most of the products also contained an average of four of the eight metals tested (arsenic, cadmium, lead, mercury, nickel, beryllium, thallium, and selenium). Other common chemicals in mascara include:13
Parabens: Synthetic preservatives known to interfere with hormone production and release. Studies have shown that parabens can affect your body much like the estrogens, which can lead to diminished muscle mass, extra fat storage, and male gynecomastia (breast growth). Other studies have also linked parabens to breast cancer. The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has linked methyl parabens in particular to metabolic, developmental, hormonal, and neurological disorders, as well as various cancers.
Phthalates: Another synthetic preservative that?s carcinogenic and linked to reproductive effects (decreased sperm counts, early breast development, birth defects) and liver and kidney damage.
Petroleum products: Petroleum products coat your skin like plastic ? clogging pores and creating a build-up of toxins. They can also disrupt hormonal activity.
Dioxane: This toxic byproduct is "probably carcinogenic to humans," and is toxic to your brain, central nervous system, kidneys, and liver.
Another consideration is bacterial contamination. A study in the International Journal of Cosmetic Science revealed the presence of Staphylococcus aureus in 79 percent of mascara samples tested.14 Dr. Jody Krukowski of the University of Kansas Medical Center?s Department of Integrative Medicine told Bustle:15
?The moist, dark environment inside of the mascara tube combined with normal daily eye secretions that get transferred from the mascara wand to the tube creates the perfect place for bacteria to grow? [And because there are] many pores where eyelashes come out of the eyelids as well as glands and tear ducts, our eyes become very vulnerable to infection.?
Beware of Prescription Lash Thickeners
The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved Latisse, an eyelash-thickening drug, in 2008 as a treatment for hypotrichosis, a condition in which no hair grows on your eyelid. The drug, which contains the same active ingredient as the glaucoma drug Lumigan, was also touted as a solution for those who have lost their eyelashes due to chemotherapy and other medical treatments. However, it?s also used by women who feel their eyelashes have thinned due to age -- but not without a very steep price.
For starters, the results are not permanent. So if you stop using Latisse, your eyelashes will return to their previous appearance over several weeks or months. You?d have to continue using this drug virtually forever if you wanted to maintain the effects. In addition, the side effects are worrisome, especially if you?re using it for strictly cosmetic purposes:
Increased brown pigmentation of the colored part of your eye, which is likely to be permanent
Darkening of your eyelid skin
Hair growth in other areas of your skin that Latisse frequently touches
Itching sensation in your eyes and eye redness
Difference in eyelash length, thickness, fullness, pigmentation, number of eyelash hairs, and/or direction of eyelash growth
Dryness of your eyes
Bacterial eye infections
How to Get Naturally Longer, Thicker Lashes
If you want your lashes to be thick and long, a healthy diet is essential. Browse through my nutrition plan to get an idea of what types of healthy foods to eat for optimal health and hair growth, including full lashes. Homemade bone broth is one food to eat regularly, as it promotes healthy hair growth, thanks to the gelatin in the broth. Biotin, a B vitamin essential for hair growth, is plentiful in egg yolks (choose organic and pastured eggs), while vegetables are rich in vitamin C, which is involved in collagen formation (crucial for healthy hair follicles).
Another tip you can try is to apply a few drops of olive oil or coconut oil to your eyelashes before bed, which may help to give them added strength and thickness. Also be careful when applying mascara and using eye makeup removers, as vigorous rubbing may cause your lashes to fall out. Synthetic chemicals in your eye products can also lead to dry and brittle lashes, so look for natural alternatives. In the case of mascara, you can search the Environmental Working Group?s (EWG) Skin Deep Cosmetics Database to find non-toxic mascara.16 And be sure to replace it every three months to avoid bacterial overgrowth.
When buying products, look for the USDA Organic seal, and if those aren't available, select products whose ingredients you recognize and can pronounce. What you?ll notice if you browse through the ingredients in any of my personal line of natural skin care products is just that ? ingredients you?ll know and recognize, like organic coconut oil, orange oil, or rosemary extract.
A good rule of thumb is to ask yourself? "Would I eat this?" (I don't recommend you actually eat it, of course.) There?s no reason to be exposing yourself to questionable chemicals every day in the name of beauty. And remember, your eyelashes are perfectly suited to best protect your eyes at their current length, so avoid extending them for cosmetic reasons as it will likely compromise your health.
The American Psychological Association (APA) has released its latest ?Stress in America? report, with some good news to report. Overall, average stress levels in the US are trending downward.
On a 10-point scale, with 1 being ?little or no stress? and 10 being ?a great deal of stress,? the average stress level was 4.9 in 2014, compared to over 6 in 2007.1 That being said, many are still reporting high levels of stress, especially when it comes to one major factor: money.
Money and Financial Pressures Are Stressing Americans Out
Money topped the list of stressors to Americans, beating out work, family responsibilities, and health concerns. Close to three-quarters of Americans (72 percent) said they feel stressed about money at least some of the time, and close to one-quarter (22 percent) said they experience extreme stress about money.
In the last year, most Americans have taken steps to cut back on their expenses, including using coupons, cooking more at home, and cutting back on non-essentials. Despite these steps, 54 percent of Americans say they have ?just enough? or ?not enough? money to make ends meet at the end of the month.
What?s more, 32 percent of Americans said their lack of money prevents them from living a healthy lifestyle, while one in five have skipped (or considered skipping) needed doctor?s visits due to financial concerns.
It?s a vicious cycle, because both stress and financial pressure can take a toll on your health, which in turn may create more stress and money trouble. According to the APA report:2
?These findings stand against a backdrop of research that shows the profound effects of stress on health status and longevity. Research also shows that financial struggles strain individuals? cognitive abilities, which could lead to poor decision-making and may perpetuate their unfavorable financial and health situations.?
Health Care Costs Are a Leading Source of Financial Stress
?Even though aspects of the U.S. economy continue to improve, some Americans are squeezed by sharp increases in health care costs and the cost of living,? the report noted. Overall, 38 percent of Americans said paying for out-of-pocket health care costs is a somewhat or very significant source of stress.
Parents and younger people (Generation Xers) report even higher levels of stress due to health care costs, as do those who make $50,000 a year or less (the study?s definition of lower income).
America spends 2.5 times more on health care per capita than any other developed nation, quickly approaching $3 trillion every year. With this kind of expenditure, you would expect our citizens to be the healthiest in the world, but this is not the case. In fact, the US ranks dead last in quality of care?Americans are sicker and live shorter lives than people in most other industrialized nations.
Meanwhile, those living in lower-income households report higher stress levels than those living in higher-income households, and they?re nearly twice as likely to say a lack of money prevents them from living a healthy lifestyle.
Case in point, low-income families often rely on coupons to stretch tight food budgets. But the vast majority of coupons are for processed food?not fresh produce, organic foods or local foods.
One study found that most grocery store coupons slice the cost of junk food and sugary drinks, but relatively few discount high-quality meats, dairy, or fresh fruits and vegetables.3
The majority of the coupons are for processed foods because those are the stores' most profitable products, so they make deals with manufacturers to promote them.
If the poorest families are the most frequent coupon users, then it makes sense they would also have the worst diets and most health problems?and indeed, that is what the research shows. The healthiest states in the union are also the wealthiest, and nearly all of the nation's least healthy states have the lowest per capita income.4
Likely not coincidentally, this population, along with being more stressed, is also more likely to engage in sedentary or unhealthy behaviors to manage their stress (such as watching TV for more than two hours a day, surfing the internet, eating, drinking alcohol or smoking).
Also at particular risk are women of all income levels who, according to the APA report, ?consistently report high levels of overall stress and unhealthy behaviors to manage stress, also report high levels of stress about money.?
Is Too Much Stress Taking a Toll on Your Health?
The documentary ?Stress: Portrait of a Killer,? above, illustrates how prolonged exposure to stress can ruin your health in a multitude of ways. Science has established that stress can lead to cardiovascular disease, and it can also lead to weight gain?of the worst kind.
Stress-induced weight gain typically involves an increase in belly fat, which is the most dangerous fat for your body to accumulate and increase your cardiovascular risk. Stress alters the way fat is deposited because of the specific hormones and other chemicals your body produces when you're stressed.
Prolonged stress can also damage your brain cells and make you lose the capacity to remember things. The brain cells of stressed rats are dramatically smaller, especially in the area of their hippocampus, which is the seat of learning and memory.
Stress disrupts your neuroendocrine and immune systems and appears to trigger a degenerative process in your brain that can result in Alzheimer's disease. In addition, when you're stressed, your body releases stress hormones like cortisol, which prepare your body to fight or flee the stressful event.
When stress becomes chronic, however, your immune system becomes less sensitive to cortisol, and since inflammation is partly regulated by this hormone, this decreased sensitivity heightens the inflammatory response and allows inflammation to get out of control.
According to award-winning neurobiologist Dr. Robert Sapolsky, the following are the most common health conditions that are caused by or worsened by stress:
Infertility and irregular cycles
Insomnia and fatigue
Digestive problems and dysbiosis
Emotional Support May Help You Manage Your Stress
You are more vulnerable to the adverse effects of stress if you feel like you have no control, no way out, feel like things are getting worse, and have little social support. Indeed, the APA report found that ?those feeling the weight of money-related stress are able to cope and manage their stress in healthier ways when they say they have emotional support.?
The disparities were quite large. For instance, 43 percent of those without emotional support said their stress had increased in the past year compared to just 26 percent of those with emotional support. The problem is that not everyone has emotional support at the ready. APA noted:
?Survey findings show that Americans who say they have emotional support ? specifically, that they have someone they can ask for emotional support if they need it, such as family and friends ? report lower stress levels and better related outcomes than those without emotional support.
But finding that support when you need it can be difficult: One in five Americans (21 percent) say they have no one to rely on for emotional support. A similar percentage of Americans (18 percent) say money is a taboo subject in their family and more than one-third (36 percent) say that talking about money makes them uncomfortable.?
If you don?t have a friend or family member to confide in, consider joining a local support group or even an online forum. You can also seek professional support as well as use the Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT) to address existing emotional scars -- traumas that can adversely affect your health. Chronic stress is akin to emotional scarring in that it may also cause ongoing damage to your cells.
How to Use the Emotional Freedom Technique for Stress Relief and Goal Setting
Energy psychology techniques such as EFT can be very effective for reducing anxiety by correcting the bioelectrical short-circuiting that causes your body?s reactions?without adverse effects. You can think of EFT as a tool for ?reprogramming? your circuitry, and it works on both real and imagined stressors. EFT is a form of psychological acupressure, based on the same energy meridians used in traditional acupuncture for more than 5,000 years to treat physical and emotional ailments, but without the invasiveness of needles.
Following a 2012 review in the American Psychological Association?s journal Review of General Psychology, EFT has actually met the criteria for evidence-based treatments set by the APA for a number of conditions.5 Recent research has shown that EFT significantly increases positive emotions, such as hope and enjoyment, and decreases negative emotional states, including anxiety.6
EFT is particularly effective for treating stress and anxiety because it specifically targets your amygdala and hippocampus, which are the parts of your brain that help you decide whether or not something is a threat. In addition to stress relief, you can use EFT for setting goals and sticking to them, which is what the video above is focused on. If you are seriously stressed about money, setting goals related to your financial future might be especially pertinent ? and easier to achieve when combined with EFT.
Take Control of Your Stress
There are many different stress-reduction techniques. Regardless of the source of your stress, whether it be money, family troubles, or something different entirely, the key is to find out what works best for you, and stick to a daily stress-reduction program. One key strategy is to make sure you get adequate sleep, as sleep deprivation dramatically impairs your body?s ability to handle stress. Besides that, other stress-management approaches include:
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