Category Archives: Natural Health

Can Vitamin D Levels Predict Depression?

depression

You probably know that vitamin D plays an important role in the human body, helping to absorb calcium and promote bone growth. It’s also possible that you have heard that Vitamin D deficiency has been linked to a variety of health problems, including rickets, breast cancer, heart disease, and weight gain. But what you most likely haven’t heard is that in addition to these serious issues, certain experts believe that vitamin D deficiency may contribute to clinical depression.

Vitamin D and Depression

A recent study may confirm the link between low serum levels of vitamin D and depressive symptoms. [1] The study assessed 185 healthy young women over four weeks, measuring their vitamin D levels and symptoms of depression. Researchers found that nearly half of the participants had vitamin D deficiency, and over a third had symptoms of clinically significant depressive symptoms.

When examining data from the study, investigators took factors such as season, body mass index, diet, exercise, and race into account. They found that lower vitamin D levels across the month-long period predicted symptoms of depression, and the only other factor that could predict such symptoms was the use of antidepressants.

Vitamin D: A Potent Fighter for Depression?

Though more research is needed to establish and understand the relationship between vitamin D and depression, the recent study certainly strengthens widespread suspicions that the two are linked. But what does this really mean?

No one is saying that vitamin D should be used to replace antidepressants or other types of depression treatments, but there is certainly no harm in using it as a supplement to such treatments as it is relatively inexpensive and low-risk. Whatever role vitamin D plays in depression, it’s highly advisable to maintain a healthy level of vitamin D regardless to promote bone growth and reduce the risk of other health problems.

References:

  1. David C. R. Kerr, et al. Association between vitamin D levels and depressive symptoms in young healthy adult women. Psychiatry Research. February 25, 2015. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.psychres.2015.02.016.

Dr. Edward F. Group III, DC, NP, DACBN, DCBCN, DABFM has studied natural healing methods for over 20 years and now teaches individuals and practitioners all around the world. He no longer sees patients but solely concentrates on spreading the word of health and wellness to the global community. Under his leadership, Global Healing Center, Inc. has earned recognition as one of the largest alternative, natural and organic health resources on the Internet.

3 Natural H. Pylori ‘Cures’ That Are Clinically Proven

helicbacter_pylori_cures_natural_proven

H. pylori infection is often treated with three drugs simultaneously, but not everyone responds favorably. Thankfully there are clinically confirmed natural, food-based alternatives. 

Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) is a bacteria estimated to be found in the body of two-thirds of the world’s population naturally, and usually does not cause symptoms. But in some cases it can be found as a contributing factor in ulcers, and may even drive some forms of gastric cancer.  Modern treatment for H. pylori infection focuses on total eradication using so-called “triple therapy,” which includes two antibiotics and an acid-blocker. Treatment of this kind, however, often results in antibiotic-associated imbalances in the gut flora, as well as driving antibiotic-resistant strains of H. pylori which can cause more serious forms of recurrence. This is one reason why there is growing interest in natural alternatives to drug-based treatment, and why we are excited to highlight some of the more compelling research out there on ‘natural cures’ to this common problem.

Here are three clinically tested solutions that may work in tandem, or as a complete alternative to conventional treatment:

  1. Broccoli Sprouts: A study published in Digestive Diseases and Sciences in 2004 titled, “Oral broccoli sprouts for the treatment of Helicobacter pylori infection: a preliminary report“, found that seven of nine patients (78%) who consumed broccoli sprouts (14, 28, or 56 g) twice daily for 7 days were stool antigen negative for H. pylori infection immediately after the completion of therapy and six remained negative at day 35. Broccoli sprouts contain extremely high levels of the sulfur-containing biomolecule sulforaphane which we have identified research on mitigating over 150 different diseases.

  2. Probiotics: A 2012 study published in Inflammation and Allergy Drug Targets titled, “Probiotic multistrain treatment may eradicate Helicobacter pylori from the stomach of dyspeptics: a placebo-controlled pilot study“, found that a 10-day treatment with a multi-strain probiotic in patients with H. pylori associated dyspepsia resulted in 13 of the 40 patients experiencing complete eradication. (Note: The patients received 1.8 trillion alive of the following strains: Streptococcus thermophilus, Lactobacillus acidophilus, Bifidobacterium longum, Lactobacillus plantarum, Bifidobacteriuym brevis, Lactobacillus paracasei, Bifidobacterium infantis, Lactobaccilus delbrueckii bulgaricus subspecies). Probiotics fight infection naturally. For additional information consult our research page on probiotics which includes research on its value in over 200 conditions, many of which are infection-related.

  3. Black Seed (Nigella Sativa): A 2010 study published in the Saudi Journal of Gastroenterology titled, “Comparative study of Nigella Sativa and triple therapy in eradication of Helicobacter Pylori in patients with non-ulcer dyspepsia“, found that a dose of only 2 grams of black seed (Nigella Sativa) in combination with an acid blocker was about as effective (67%) as triple therapy (which includes an acid blocker, and two antibiotics) in treating H. pylori infection. Black seed has been studied to have value in a wide range of conditions. Consult our black seed database page for more information.

In addition to these solutions, please consult our growing Helicobacter pylori research page which includes over 50 studied natural, evidence-based interventions, including possible problem substances such as aspirin which may cause underlying damage to the mucosal lining of the digestive tract, producing conditions that lead to the opportunistic overgrowth of “bad” bacteria such as H. pylori.

Also, you can learn more by reading a really wonderful 2014 review published in the World Journal of Gastroenterology titled, “Exploring alternative treatments for Helicobacter pylori infection“, looked at over 300 studies published between 1991 and 2013 which covered plant-based anti-H. pylori activity from around the world, highlighting garlic, licorice, broccoli, green tea, probiotics and the bee products honey and propolis.

Lastly, for additional information on the increasing rise of antibiotic resistant bacteria, and alternatives to conventional treatment suggested by the growing evidence base, consult the following articles:


Article Contributed by Sayer Ji, Founder of GreenMedInfo.com.

Sayer Ji is an author, researcher, lecturer, and advisory board member of the National Health Federation. He founded Greenmedinfo.com in 2008 in order to provide the world an open access, evidence-based resource supporting natural and integrative modalities. It is internationally recognized as the largest and most widely referenced health resource of its kind.

 

4 Reasons To Be Skeptical Of Products From China

made in china

Much of China is heavily polluted and the air quality is especially terrible. Pollution levels in Beijing can sometimes get up to 20 times the limit set by the World Health Organization! [1] All this pollution could certainly be a dangerous factor when it comes to the products you buy, but it’s more than just toxic air. Many of the herbal and nutritional supplements you might get from China are produced in questionable conditions, and these products can potentially do more harm than good.

  1. Air Pollution in China is Off the Charts

Back in January of this year, Beijing’s air quality was so poor that a certain pollutant (PM2.5) measured beyond index levels. [2] As particulates, PM2.5 can be serious because they are tiny enough to enter the lungs and blood stream directly. To put that level in perspective, the current air quality system defines anything above 150 as unhealthy; Beijing’s level was well over 500, but can’t even compare to the 755 that was recorded in the city a few years ago. [3]

  1. Food Produced in China Contains Questionable Additives

If you’re buying food from China, you’re likely getting more additives than you think. The Chinese food industry currently uses about 2,000 food additives. [4] Most of those are, unfortunately, completely legal. Recently, tainted tofu was sold to local markets. [5] While the food didn’t make it to the U.S., tons of tofu sticks were bleached with the industrial toxin Rongalite to appear brighter and chewier. With a possible link to cancer, Rongalite is banned from food production for a reason!

     3. China Has Insane Levels of Mercury Pollution

But PM2.5 and other “traditional” pollutants aren’t the only things you have to watch out for; after centuries of mining, mercury levels can often be off the charts as well. [6] The toxic metal builds up in the air, in the soil, in the water, and, unfortunately, also in our bodies. In one province where a mercury mine was closed in 2001, almost 300 former miners suffered from mercury poisoning.

  1. The Water in China is Tainted with Antibiotics

Antibiotic run-off in the water supply is also becoming a concern, with one of China’s largest drug producers and poultry farmers painted as the culprits. [7] This contamination could cause antibiotic resistance in humans and damage to the ecosystem. [8] To top it off, regulations aren’t strictly monitored by local agencies, so a bad situation just becomes worse. Those farmers are also dumping bird feces! What does this mean for any herbs or produce that are given this water?

One Final Thought

The lax standards in China sometimes allow for some suspect items. Toys with higher levels of lead and chromium can make their way over to the U.S., but there’s a glimmer of hope as some legislation has sought to catch polluters. As you can read above, though, China still has a long way to go, so think about these things the next time you pick up a Chinese product. Certainly, there are a lot of Chinese products that are fine, but just as with anything you buy, you need to make sure you’re getting a safe item.

Have you eliminated China-made goods from your life? What tips can you offer?

References:

  1. World Health Organization. WHO Air quality guidelines for particulate matter, ozone, nitrogen dioxide and sulfur dioxide. World Health Organization.
  2. Embassy of the Unites States: Beijing, China. U.S. Embassy Beijing Air Quality Monitor. Embassy of the Unites States: Beijing, China.
  3. West, J. Beijing’s toxic air is literally off the charts. Grist.
  4. Jia, H. China’s war on food additives a difficult task. Royal Society of Chemistry.
  5. Hongyi, W. Tougher regulation urged on use of additives. China Daily.
  6. Zhang, L. & Wong, M.H. Environmental mercury contamination in China: sources and impacts. Environment International. 33 (1).
  7. Sha, L. High levels of antibiotics in China’s rivers. Global Times.
  8. Ouyang, W. Y. et al. Increased levels of antibiotic resistance in urban stream of Jiulongjiang River, China. Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology.

Dr. Edward F. Group III, DC, NP, DACBN, DCBCN, DABFM has studied natural healing methods for over 20 years and now teaches individuals and practitioners all around the world. He no longer sees patients but solely concentrates on spreading the word of health and wellness to the global community. Under his leadership, Global Healing Center, Inc. has earned recognition as one of the largest alternative, natural and organic health resources on the Internet.

7 Things Expecting Mothers Need To Know

Being Pregnant

Maybe you’re a new mother and are expecting a new bundle of joy. Of course, you want to make sure things are just right for your baby, and part of that starts with the choices you make right now. Making sure you are limiting (or preferably avoiding altogether) toxic exposure is a great first step. One avenue to consider is traffic pollution. Cutting that out of your life completely might not be practical, but there’s recent evidence that suggests it could be harming your unborn child. In fact, women who are exposed to high traffic pollution during the second trimester are at a greater risk of giving birth to a child with fragile lungs. [1] [2]

7 Things to Watch Out For

Unfortunately, today’s world is rife with toxic contaminants, and traffic pollution is just one thing you need to reduce when expecting. Here are 7 more things for you to think about during your pregnancy and beyond.

  1. Watch Out for Household Chemicals

Found in many common products, triclosan is a pretty nasty endocrine disruptor that could be harming your baby. [3] The germ-killer triclocarban—found in some bar soaps—is also a concern. While it’s not completely clear what these endocrine disruptors can do, studies have linked triclosan to liver cancer, and more children are being exposed to both of these toxins in the womb. [4]

     2. Beware of BPA and BPS Products

Used in lots of plastic goods, BPA is bad news for the endocrine system, and its substitute BPS really isn’t much better. You probably get more BPA exposure than you think from those thermal receipts that are so popular nowadays, and if a company uses BPS…well, they can label that item as BPA-free. Pregnant women might want to be especially wary of endocrine disruptors, since a recent study suggests both BPA and BPS could cause “real and measurable changes in the development of a brain region that plays a key role in fear, impulse-control, obesity and early puberty.” [5] It’s also a smart idea to check with your hospital about the BPA status of medical equipment. [6]

  1. Phthalates Can Harm Your Baby’s IQ

A recent report suggests children exposed to high-levels of phthalates in the womb are more likely to have lower IQs—possibly by as much as seven points. [7] One of the researchers commented a drop like that could have a significant impact on academic achievement. But, unfortunately, phthalates are all around us. One of the toxins (di-n-butyl phthalate) could even be used in pill coatings. [8] So while avoiding exposure might be impossible, reducing it definitely can’t hurt.

  1. That Glass of Red Wine Might Not Be as Safe as You’ve Been Told

Resveratrol is a natural antioxidant in red wine that’s said to do everything from combat obesity to help with heart disease. Just one glass of red wine can’t hurt, right? Well, recent evidence suggests this ‘health food’ in a glass could damage your unborn baby’s pancreas. Just keep in mind, however, that what might be healthy for the mother may not be that great for the developing fetus. [9]

  1. A New Nursery Can Be the Source of Harmful Toxins

When waiting for your new arrival, your instinct is to create the perfect nursery. Often, that could involve installing new flooring, but a recent study suggests that might not be the best idea. [10] Toxins like styrene and ethylbenzene can be used in carpet glue and in laminate. We know these toxins are bad news, but they can be even worse for developing lungs—both before and after birth—potentially causing wheezing and other breathing problems.

  1. Antidepressants Can Cause Autism

While you should never just stop taking your medication without a doctor’s consent, a recent study suggests a pregnant woman’s use of antidepressants could slightly increase the risk for autism in her child. [11] These findings are still new and more research is needed, but the trick for researchers will be balancing the mental health of mother and child. The good news, though, is taking prenatal vitamins could reduce the autism risk by half. [12]

     7. Don’t Let Your Kid Put Toys in Their Mouth

While 6 phthalates are banned in children’s toys in the U.S., unbanned—and sometimes even banned—ones can show up in toys. Studies reveal that early exposure to phthalates can harm male reproduction and influence early puberty. [13] One study found higher than legal limits of lead and chromium in certain toys. So, for health’s sake, make sure to keep those toys away from little mouths.

One Final Thought

Toxins can be such a danger to our children; unfortunately, many doctors don’t talk about these things with new and expecting mothers, so you need to educate yourself. Let this be one step towards learning as much as you can about what toxins can potentially harm your baby.

Do you want to know more for your baby’s sake? Please feel free to leave you thoughts or questions in the comments.

References:

  1. Morales, E. et al. Intrauterine and early postnatal exposure to outdoor air pollution and lung function at preschool age. Thorax. 70.
  2. Sly, P. D. Traffic-related air pollution: an avoidable exposure to improve respiratory health. Thorax. 70.
  3. Pycke, B. F. et al. Human fetal exposure to triclosan and triclocarban in an urban population from Brooklyn, New York. Environmental Science & Technology. 48 (15).
  4. Dinwiddie, M., Terry, P. & Chen, J. Recent Evidence Regarding Triclosan and Cancer Risk. International Journal of Environmental Responsibility and Public Health. 11 (2).
  5. Kinch, C. et al. Low-dose exposure to bisphenol A and replacement bisphenol S induces precocious hypothalamic neurogenesis in embryonic zebrafish. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. 112 (5).
  6. Mallow, E. B. & Fox, M. A. Phthalates and critically ill neonates: device-related exposures and non-endocrine toxic risks. Journal of Perinatology. 34.
  7. Factor-Litvak, P. et al. Persistent Associations between Maternal Prenatal Exposure to Phthalates on Child IQ at Age 7 Years. PLOS ONE.
  8. Kelley, K. et al. Identification of Phthalates in Medications and Dietary Supplement Formulations in the United States and Canada. Environmental Health Perspectives. 120 (3).
  9. Roberts, V. et al. Beneficial and cautionary outcomes of resveratrol supplementation in pregnant nonhuman primates. FASEB. 28 (6).
  10. Franck, U. et al. Prenatal VOC exposure and redecoration are related to wheezing in early infancy. Environment International. 73.
  11. Harrington, R. et al. Prenatal SSRI Use and Offspring With Autism Spectrum Disorder or Developmental Delay. Pediatrics.
  12. Schmidt, RJ. Prenatal vitamins, one-carbon metabolism gene variants, and risk for autism. Epidemiology. 22 (4).
  13. US Public Interest Research Group. Trouble in Toyland. US Public Interest Research Group.

Dr. Edward F. Group III, DC, NP, DACBN, DCBCN, DABFM has studied natural healing methods for over 20 years and now teaches individuals and practitioners all around the world. He no longer sees patients but solely concentrates on spreading the word of health and wellness to the global community. Under his leadership, Global Healing Center, Inc. has earned recognition as one of the largest alternative, natural and organic health resources on the Internet.

Turmeric Produces ‘Remarkable’ Recovery In Alzheimer’s Patients

turmeric

Turmeric has been used in India for over 5,000 years, which is likely why still today both rural and urban populations have some of the lowest prevalence rates of Alzheimer’s disease (AD) in the world. A recent study on patients with AD found that less than a gram of turmeric daily, taken for three months, resulted in ‘remarkable improvements.’

Alzheimer’s Disease: A Disturbingly Common Modern Rite of Passage

A diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease (AD), sadly, has become a rite of passage in so-called developed countries.  AD is considered the most common form of dementia, which is defined as a serious loss of cognitive function in previously unimpaired persons, beyond what is expected from normal aging.

A 2006 study estimated that 26 million people throughout the world suffer from this condition, and that by 2050, the prevalence will quadruple, by which time 1 in 85 persons worldwide will be afflicted with the disease.[1]

Given the global extent of the problem, interest in safe and effective preventive and therapeutic interventions within the conventional medical and alternative professions alike are growing.

Unfortunately, conventional drug-based approaches amount to declaring chemical war upon the problem, a mistake which we have documented elsewhere, and which can result in serious neurological harm, as evidenced by the fact that this drug class carries an alarmingly high risk for seizures, according to World Health Organization post-marketing surveillance statistics.[i][2]

What the general public is therefore growing most responsive to is using time-tested, safe, natural and otherwise more effective therapies that rely on foods, spices and familiar culinary ingredients.

Remarkable Recoveries Reported after Administration of Turmeric

Late last year, a remarkable study was published in the journal Ayu titiled “Effects of turmeric on Alzheimer’s disease with behavioral and psychological symptoms of dementia.” [ii]  Researchers described three patients with Alzheimer’s disease whose behavioral symptoms were “improved remarkably” as a result of consuming 764 milligram of turmeric (curcumin 100 mg/day) for 12 weeks. According to the study:

“All three patients exhibited irritability, agitation, anxiety, and apathy, two patients suffer from urinary incontinence and wonderings. They were prescribed turmeric powder capsules and started recovering from these symptoms without any adverse reaction in the clinical symptom and laboratory data.”

After only 3 months of treatment, both the patients’ symptoms and the burden on their caregivers were significantly decreased.

The report describes the improvements thusly:

“In one case, the Mini-Mental State Examination (MMSE) score was up five points, from 12/30 to 17/30. In the other two cases, no significant change was seen in the MMSE; however, they came to recognize their family within 1 year treatment. All cases have been taking turmeric for more than 1 year, re-exacerbation of BPSD was not seen.”

This study illustrates just how powerful a simple natural intervention using a time-tested culinary herb can be.  Given that turmeric has been used medicinally and as a culinary ingredient for over 5,000 years in Indian culture, even attaining the status of a ‘Golden Goddess,’ we should not be surprised at this result. Indeed, epidemiological studies of Indian populations reveal that they have a remarkably lower prevalence of Alzheimer’s disease relative to Western nations, [3] and this is true for both rural and more “Westernized” urban areas of India.[4]

Could turmeric be a major reason for this?

Turmeric’s Anti-Alzheimer’s Properties.

The GreenMedInfo.com database now contains a broad range of published studies on the value of turmeric, and its primary polyphenol curcumin (which gives it its golden hue), for Alzheimer’s disease prevention and treatment.*

While there are 114 studies on our Turmeric research page indicating turmeric has a neuroprotective set of physiological actions, [5] 30 of these studies are directly connected to turmeric’s anti-Alzheimer’s disease properties.**

Two of these studies are particularly promising, as they reveal that curcumin is capable of enhancing the clearance of the pathological amyloid–beta plaque in Alzheimer’s disease patients,[6] and that in combination with vitamin D3 the neurorestorative process is further enhanced.[7] Additional preclinical research indicates curcumin (and its analogs) has inhibitory and protective effects against Alzheimer’s disease associated β-amyloid proteins.[8] [9] [10]

Other documented Anti-Alzheimer’s mechanisms include:

  • Anti-inflammatory: Curcumin has been found to play a protective role against β-amyloid protein associated inflammation.[11]
  • Anti-oxidative: Curcumin may reduce damage via antioxidant properties.[12]
  • Anti-cytotoxic: Curcumin appears to protect against the cell-damaging effects of β-amyloid proteins.[13] [14]
  • Anti-amyloidogenic: Turmeric contains a variety of compounds (curcumin, tetrahydrocurcumin, demethoxycurcumin and bisdemethoxycurcumin) which may strike to the root pathological cause of Alzheimer’s disease by preventing β-amyloid protein formation.[15] [16] [17] [18]
  • Neurorestorative: Curcuminoids appear to rescue long-term potentiation (an indication of functional memory) impaired by amyloid peptide, and may reverse physiological damage by restoring distorted neurites and disrupting existing plaques. [19] [20]
  • Metal-chelating properties: Curcumin has a higher binding affinity for iron and copper rather than zinc, which may contribute to its protective effect in Alzheimer’s disease, as iron-mediated damage may play a pathological role.[21] [22]

Just The Tip of the Medicine Spice Cabinet

The modern kitchen pantry contains a broad range of anti-Alzheimer’s disease items, which plenty of science now confirms. Our Alzheimer’s research page contains research on 97 natural substances of interest. Top on the list, of course, is curcumin. Others include:

  • Coconut Oil: This remarkable substance contains approximately 66% medium chain triglycerides by weight, and is capable of improving symptoms of cognitive decline in those suffering from dementia by increasing brain-boosing ketone bodies, and perhaps more remarkably, within only one dose, and within only two hours.[23]
  • Cocoa: A 2009 study found that cocoa procyanidins may protect against lipid peroxidation associated with neuronal cell death in a manner relevant to Alzheimer’s disease.[24]
  • Sage: A 2003 study found that sage extract has therapeutic value in patients with mild to moderate Alzheimer’s disease.[25]
  • Folic acid: While most of the positive research on this B vitamin has been performed on the semi-synthetic version, which may have unintended, adverse health effects,  the ideal source for this B vitamin is foliage, i.e. green leafy vegetables, as only foods provide folate. Also, the entire B group of vitamins, especially including the homocysteine-modulating B6 and B12,[26] may have the most value in Alzheimer’s disease prevention and treatment.
  • Resveratrol: this compound is mainly found in the Western diet in grapes, wine, peanuts and chocolate. There are 16 articles on our website indicating it has anti-Alzheimer’s properties.[27]

Other potent natural therapies include:

  • Gingko biloba: is one of the few herbs proven to be at least as effective as the pharmaceutical drug Aricept in treating and improving symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease.[28] [29]
  • Melissa offinalis: this herb, also known as Lemon Balm, has been found to have therapeutic effect in patients with mild to moderate Alzheimer’s disease.[30]
  • Saffron: this herb compares favorably to the drug donepezil in the treatment of mild-to-moderate Alzheimer’s disease.[31]

As always, the important thing to remember is that it is our diet and environmental exposures that largely determine our risk of accelerated brain aging and associated dementia. Prevention is an infinitely better strategy, especially considering many of the therapeutic items mentioned above can be used in foods as spices.  Try incorporating small, high-quality culinary doses of spices like turmeric into your dietary pattern, remembering that ‘adding it to taste,’ in a way that is truly enjoyable, may be the ultimate standard for determining what a ‘healthy dose’ is for you.


Article Contributed by Sayer Ji, Founder of GreenMedInfo.com.

Sayer Ji is an author, researcher, lecturer, and advisory board member of the National Health Federation. He founded Greenmedinfo.com in 2008 in order to provide the world an open access, evidence-based resource supporting natural and integrative modalities. It is internationally recognized as the largest and most widely referenced health resource of its kind.

 

Cannabis Superior To Drugs For Inflammatory Bowel Condition (Crohn’s Disease)

medical marijuana

When drugs fail, and surgery is the only remaining option on the horizon, smoking cannabis may provide an effective and safe natural alternative for the debilitating inflammatory bowel disease known as Crohn’s disease. 

Crohn’s disease is a debilitating inflammatory bowel disease that chronically affects the lining of the digestive tract and is usually resistant to conventional drug-based treatment. Even with treatment the condition generally progresses to the point where surgery is required in 70% of sufferers. Surgery, however, does not usually provide a cure, with 30% undergoing surgery seeing a recurrence of symptoms within three years, and 60% within 10 years.1

Given the poor prognosis of those diagnosed with Crohn’s disease, some with the condition have been known to experiment with natural alternatives. At GreenMedInfo.com we have gathered preliminary research on natural interventions for the condition, with probiotics, boswellia and curcumin (a turmeric polyphenol) top on the list. We have also spent a good deal of time reporting on research indicating that wheat is an inflammatory food to the digestive tract and therefore should likely be avoided by anyone with an inflammatory bowel condition.

One potential remedy for Crohn’s disease that we have not yet reported on is cannabis. Animal research already indicates that it can ameliorate colitis, an inflammatory condition of the colon. There is also an established role of cannabis within gastroenterology for the following conditions: “anorexia, emesis, abdominal pain, gastroenteritis, diarrhea, intestinal inflammation, and diabetic gastroparesis.”2 Additionally, a retrospective observational study from 2011 found that 21 of the 30 patients who imbibed inhaled cannabis saw significant improvement, with patients requiring steroid treatment reduced from 26 to 4. [view the full PDF here]

These preliminary results set the groundwork for a new study investigating cannabis in Crohn’s patients published this month in the journal Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology and titled, “Cannabis Induces a Clinical Response in Patients With Crohn’s Disease: A Prospective Placebo-Controlled Study.” [view the full PDF here]

In the new study — the first randomized, placebo-controlled, double-blinded study of its kind on the topic — researchers studied 21 patients (mean age 40) with Crohn’s disease who did not respond to drug therapy (steroids, immunomodulators, or anti–tumor necrosis factor-α agents). Patients were randomly assigned to be given cannabis, twice daily, in the form of cigarettes containing 115 mg of (THC) or placebo containing cannabis flowers from which the THC had been extracted.

The study participants were assessed during 8 weeks of treatment and 2 weeks thereafter and saw the following remarkable results:

Complete remission (CDAI score, <150) was achieved by 5 of 11 subjects in the cannabis group (45%) and 1 of 10 in the placebo group (10%; P = .43). A clinical response (decrease in CDAI score of >100) was observed in 10 of 11 subjects in the cannabis group (90%; from 330 ± 105 to 152 ± 109) and 4 of 10 in the placebo group (40%; from 373 ± 94 to 306 ± 143; P = .028). Three patients in the cannabis group were weaned from steroid dependency. Subjects receiving cannabis reported improved appetite and sleep, with no significant side effects. [emphasis added]

The authors concluded cannabis was a clinically effective intervention in 10 of 11 patients:

“Although the primary end point of the study (induction of remission) was not achieved, a short course (8 weeks) of THC-rich cannabis produced significant clinical, steroid-free benefits to 10 of 11 patients with active Crohn’s disease, compared with placebo, without side effects. Further studies, with larger patient groups and a nonsmoking mode of intake, are warranted.” [emphasis added]

How Does Cannabis Work?

The primary mechanisms through which cannabis exhibits healing properties in Crohn’s disease are its immunomodulatory and anti-inflammatory properties:

“Cannabinoids have a profound anti-inflammatory effect, mainly through the CB2 receptor 2]. Cell-mediated immunity was found to be impaired in] chronic marijuana users [6]. A potent anti-inflammatory effect of cannabis was observed in rodents [7]. Studying the functional roles of the endocannabinoid system in immune modulation reveals that it is involved in almost all major immune events. Cannabinoids shift the balance of proinflammatory cytokines and anti-inflammatory cytokines (towards the T helper cell type 2 profiles (Th2 phenotype and suppress cell-mediated immunity, whereas humoral immunity may be enhanced [8]. Therefore, cannabinoids may be used to treat various inflammatory conditions ,including rheumatoid arthritis.” [Source]

For more information on the myriad therapeutic properties of cannabis visit our cannabis research database.

References

http://www.ccfa.org/what-are-crohns-and-colitis/what-is-crohns-disease/crohns-treatment-options.html

2 Naftali, T., Bar Lev, L., Yablekovitch, D. et al. Treatment of Crohn’s disease with cannabis: an observational study. Isr Med Assoc J. 2011; 13: 455–458


Article Contributed by Sayer Ji, Founder of GreenMedInfo.com.

Sayer Ji is an author, researcher, lecturer, and advisory board member of the National Health Federation. He founded Greenmedinfo.com in 2008 in order to provide the world an open access, evidence-based resource supporting natural and integrative modalities. It is internationally recognized as the largest and most widely referenced health resource of its kind.

 

Obama Administration Plotting Adult Vaccination Mandates

mandatory vaccines

By: Alex Newman | The New American -

In collaboration with Big Business and special interests, the Obama administration’s Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is plotting a new program to track Americans’ vaccination records, wage a massive propaganda campaign to “encourage” more inoculations, and foist more controversial vaccines on adults against their will. Federal bureaucrats and crony capitalists set to profit from the proposal claim the goal is to improve “public health,” and establishment media outlets have largely parroted that line so far. However, critics of the unconstitutional scheme, formally dubbed the “National Adult Immunization Plan” (NAIP), say the ultimate goal is to forcibly vaccinate all Americans and move toward a radical new healthcare paradigm in which medical “treatment” is delivered at gunpoint.

The controversial plot was cooked up and unveiled by the Obama HHS National Vaccine Advisory Committee during its February meeting. If approved by federal bureaucrats, the executive-branch assault would, among other elements, enlist private businesses, churches, and non-profit organizations in a nationwide campaign to prod Americans into accepting the Obama administration’s perpetually expanding list of “recommended” vaccines. The scheme would also offer doctors and other vaccine providers “incentives” — read taxpayer-funded bribes — to shred patient privacy and feed private medical information into state and federal databases to track those who refuse to comply.

The summary of the “five-year national plan,” as official documents describe it, deliberately uses innocent-sounding language to promote the effort. “The NAIP is intended to facilitate coordinated action by federal and nonfederal partners to protect public health and achieve optimal prevention of infectious diseases and their consequences through vaccination of adults,” it states, adding that ObamaCare implementation offers a “unique opportunity” to be used as leverage. “As a national plan, it will require engagement from a wide range of stakeholders to achieve its full vision.” Those stakeholders include just about everybody except the target: You. As always with “national plans” dreamed up by Big Government and Big Business, though, the devil is really in the details.

Critics and medical professionals are already up in arms. After summarizing the growing torrent of recent Obama administration assaults on liberty, Dr. Lee Hieb, an orthopedic surgeon and past president of the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons, said the NAIP scheme was an especially troubling attack on the liberties of Americans. Calling it “a proposal by the orchestrators of Obamacare to forcibly vaccinate all adult Americans,” Hieb also ridiculed the Soviet-sounding “five-year plan” language. But the implications of the latest Obama administration attack on medical liberty and privacy are no joking matter.

“If you Americans do not stand against this, it’s over,” continued Dr. Hieb, author of the new book Surviving the Medical Meltdown: Your Guide to Living Through the Disaster of Obamacare. “What liberty do you have if the federal government can force you to have a medical procedure, can force you to surrender your very body to their control? Answer: none. Because there is nothing that cannot be justified on the basis of ‘the good of society.’ The Jewish Holocaust, the Great Leap Forward, the killing of the Kulaks, American Eugenics, Tuskegee experimentation, the cold water experiments of Birkenau, Dachau and Auschwitz, all were justified at the time by their respective leaders as for the good of society.”

In the WND column, Dr. Hieb also outlined some of her scientific concerns surrounding vaccination before lambasting the participation of government-selected “stakeholders” — state, local, territorial, and tribal governments; healthcare providers; advocacy groups; vaccine manufacturers; academia and research organizations; payers and health plans; employers; the military; and the general public. The “real stakeholder,” she said, “is you.” “No one cares more about the risks versus benefits of vaccination than you do personally,” Dr. Hieb concluded. “To leave it to a group, to treat you as a member of a group for medical care, is not ethical medicine. It is the stuff of jails and forced labor camps and socialist hellholes — and apparently American academia and bureaucrats. It is time to say no.”

Other experts and advocates for medical freedom were similarly outraged by the Obama administration’s adult-vaccination scheme. In a widely reprinted scathing report outlining the plan, Executive Director Theresa Wrangham with the National Vaccine Information Center (NVIC) urged citizens to fight back immediately. “There is no time to waste,” she wrote, citing a broad array of threats stemming from the HHS vaccine plot. From unconstitutionally invading Americans’ medical privacy to efforts at mandating adult vaccination and quashing informed-consent ethics in medicine, Wrangham said the plan is dangerous and must be opposed.

“The NAIP makes it clear that in the future, all American adults will be informed of the recommended adult schedule at every possible opportunity outside the healthcare provider domain,” explained Wrangham at the NVIC, a non-profit organization that supports informed consent and individual liberty. “You will be encouraged to comply with the adult schedule not only by your healthcare provider, but also via community-based partnerships to ensure that you have the opportunity to roll up your sleeve at work, school, church and other community gatherings.” The vaccine tracking databases being developed and already in existence, she added, “will be used to identify non-compliers.”

While the NVIC supports access to vaccines for anyone who wants them, there “is a difference between awareness, access, recommendations and mandates,” Wrangham continued. “In the past, these types of government vaccine use plans do not just seek to increase awareness and access but also make recommendations that foster vaccine mandates without flexible medical, religious and conscientious belief exemptions that align with the informed consent ethic.”

The scheme could eventually result in de facto mandatory vaccination, too. Vaccine mandates typically come from the state level, and the NAIP, technically at least, has no legal authority to make its “recommendations” mandatory. “However, much like the recommendations made by NVAC a few years ago for healthcare workers to receive annual flu shots, these recommendations are likely to result in future de facto vaccine mandates for adults, whether through employer requirements, or actual state laws,” Wrangham added, citing legislation introduced in states across the country this year to further chip away at existing exemptions — religious, medical, philosophical — for mandated childhood vaccines.

According to Wrangham, “there is little doubt that that the NVAC’s latest plan will result in similar actions to force adults to use all federally recommended vaccines.” In fact, as if that were not troubling enough, she also said, citing the work of Dr. Suzanne Humphries, “door-to-door efforts to make everyone comply” — as happened about a century ago — are “a real possibility again in America.” The difference is that this time, Americans could be forced to receive “a lot” of vaccines rather than just one.

“The noose being tightened around the necks of our children is being thrown over the necks of adults as well,” Wrangham said. “The tightening of that noose is growing daily in an attempt to strangle vaccine freedom of choice by eradicating the ethical principle of informed consent.” Blasting the “one-size-fits-all” vaccine schedule promoted by authorities as “very dangerous,” she noted that “the human right to protect bodily integrity and autonomy — the core value of the informed consent ethic — is at stake.” The battle is not between the pro- or anti-vaccine positions, she concluded. Instead, it is about freedom, values, beliefs, and what medical risks individuals are willing to accept. Vaccination just happens to be at the forefront of the battle.

Supporters of the plan, meanwhile, have rallied numerous establishment media outlets to their cause. Last month, for example, the Wall Street Journal ran an article that sounded almost like a press release issued by Obama’s HHS. “It’s Time for Grown-Ups to Get Their Shots,” reads the headline. The subtitle: “Adults have their own vaccination needs, but they’ve often been neglected. Now doctors are trying to correct that.” Those doctors, of course, are working in the federal bureaucracy or in crony companies, and their NAIP plot would, among other schemes, provide federal “incentives” to doctors that push more vaccines on patients. Numerous Big Business and special-interest “stakeholders” set to reap massive, risk-free profits from the federal scheming have also been touting it.

In addition to being a brazen assault on individual liberty, privacy, medical ethics, and the U.S. Constitution, the radical plan also represents the very essence of crony capitalism. The federal government, using non-existent “executive authorities,” is essentially seizing taxpayer funds from citizens to act as a coercive marketing and propaganda agency for hugely profitable Big Pharma companies and vaccine pushers. Adding insult to injury, those same crony capitalists successfully lobbied the federal government to shield them from liability when their products kill and injure consumers — making taxpayers bear the billions of dollars in costs for damages.

Various opponents of the ObamaVaccines plot for adults were urging concerned Americans to submit “public comments” to the federal bureaucrats at HHS begging them not to impose it. The public comment period ended last month, and bureaucrats will meet again in June to “finalize” their plans. A much better solution, though, would be for Congress to defund and abolish all unconstitutional agencies, bureaucracies, departments, and programs. If members of Congress would follow their oath of office, the NAIP and countless other totalitarian-minded schemes would never have even been dreamt up. Americans must stop trying to fight each individual executive-branch assault on liberty and instead go straight to the source: anti-constitutional congressional funding for all the madness.


Alex Newman is a correspondent for The New American, covering economics, education, politics, and more. He can be reached at [email protected] . Follow him on Twitter @ALEXNEWMAN_JOU.

Does ADHD Exist?

ADHD

Did you catch my entry about 6 toxic causes of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)? In it, I mentioned that I’d look at the other side of the argument. Is this a true neurological disorder that needs life-long medical treatment, or is the ADHD diagnosis simply an overgeneralization of a underlying condition? So, let’s get down to what those folks believe: does ADHD actually exist?

The Truth about ADHD

With a 53 percent increase in ADHD cases over the last 10 years, many think that there’s an extreme overdiagnosis out there—that many primary care physicians tend to diagnose without looking at other factors. [1] The CDC notes that poverty is actually the biggest factor in an ADHD diagnosis. These children are often victim to environmental factors, but, rather than getting the help they need to cope with these, are just given a diagnosis and a pill. So now we have an explanation for at least some of the influx. What else?

Other Factors that Influence an ADHD Diagnosis

According to Angela Hanscom, a pediatric occupational therapist, some of the diagnoses could have something to do with the amount of time our children have to sit still. [2] Take the case of a 6-year-old boy who was labeled as having ADHD simply because he couldn’t sit still for the entire day. Does anyone else see the lack of logic in this situation? I’m sure a lot of children (and some adults) have trouble keeping their seat for eight hours straight.

Still, others think the over diagnosis is also caused by simple misdiagnosis; “the symptoms of ADHD are also the symptoms of some learning disabilities, of depression, of having been mistreated, or of a chaotic classroom. ADHD too often can be a convenient label to describe problems that have other origins.” [3]

Going along with this idea is the theory that pharmaceutical companies are blowing the ADHD problem way out of proportion. Why? Money, of course. The sales of stimulants were up to $9 billion in 2012; that’s up from $1.7 billion a decade ago. [4] And marketing for these drugs is usually fairly extreme, with one ad even citing a stimulant as “safer than aspirin.” The FDA even had to get in on policing this issue, citing every major drug for ADHD as misleading consumers with false advertising multiple times since 2000.

What to Consider with ADHD

Nutritional factors for ADHD are very real, and you can’t expect one to be focused during the day on a junk-food diet. Lack of exercise and sunlight are also important factors, as physical exercise–particularly outside–can support mood and release excess energy. Certainly, these are things to think about, but then again, if you or your child have ADHD, you might have a decidedly different opinion.

So what do you think? Is ADHD a real condition, or is it something entirely different? Tell us your thoughts in the comments.

References:

  1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Key Findings: Trends in the Parent-Report of Health Care Provider-Diagnosis and Medication Treatment for ADHD: United States, 2003—2011. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
  2. Strauss, V. Why so many kids can’t sit still in school today. The Washington Post.
  3. Healy, M. The ADHD explosion: A new book explores factors that have fueled it. The LA Times.
  4. Schwarz, A. The Selling of Attention Deficit Disorder. The New York Times.

Dr. Edward F. Group III, DC, NP, DACBN, DCBCN, DABFM has studied natural healing methods for over 20 years and now teaches individuals and practitioners all around the world. He no longer sees patients but solely concentrates on spreading the word of health and wellness to the global community. Under his leadership, Global Healing Center, Inc. has earned recognition as one of the largest alternative, natural and organic health resources on the Internet.

Organic Stakeholders Sue USDA

organic

(The Cornucopia Institute) Organic stakeholders have filed a lawsuit in federal court, maintaining that the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) violated the federal rulemaking process when it changed established procedures for reviewing the potential hazards and need for allowed synthetic and prohibited natural substances used in producing organic food.  A coalition of 15 organic food producers and farmer, consumer, environmental, and certification groups asked the court to require USDA to reconsider its decision on the rule change and reinstitute the agency’s customary public hearing and comment process.

When it comes to organic food production, consumers and producers expect a high level of scrutiny and are willing to pay a premium with the knowledge that a third-party certifier is evaluating compliance with organic standards. The burgeoning $35+ billion organic market relies heavily on a system of public review and input regarding decisions that affect organic production systems and the organic label.  The multi-stakeholder National Organic Standards Board (NOSB)[1], appointed to a 5-year term by the Secretary of Agriculture, holds semi-annual meetings to solicit public input and to write recommendations to the Secretary on organic policy matters, including the allowance of synthetic and non-organic agricultural materials and ingredients.

The unilateral agency action taken to adopt major policy change without a public process, the plaintiffs maintain, violates one of the foundational principles and practices of OFPA —public participation in organic policy-making.

In adopting the Organic Foods Production Act of 1990 (OFPA), Congress created standards for organic certification and established the NOSB to oversee the allowance of synthetic materials based on a determination that they do not cause harm to human health and the environment and are necessary in organic food production and processing, given a lack of alternatives.

Under the law, a review of these materials takes place on a five year cycle, with a procedure for relisting if consistent with OFPA criteria. Plaintiffs in this case maintain that the USDA organic rule establishes a public process that creates public trust in the USDA organic label, which has resulted in exponential growth in organic sales over the last two decades.

At issue in the lawsuit is a rule that implements the organic law’s “sunset provision,” which since its origins has been interpreted to require all listed materials to cycle off the National List of Allowed and Prohibited Substances every five years unless the NOSB votes by a two-thirds majority to relist them. In making its decision, the NOSB is charged with considering public input, new science, and new information on available alternatives.

In September, 2013, in a complete reversal of accepted process, USDA announced a definitive change in the rule it had been operating under since the inception of the organic program without any public input.  Now, materials can remain on the National List in perpetuity unless the NOSB takes initiative to vote it off the List.

In a joint statement, the plaintiffs, representing a broad cross-section of interests in organic, said:

We are filing this lawsuit today because we are deeply concerned that the organic decision making process is being undermined by USDA. The complaint challenges the unilateral agency action on the sunset procedure for synthetic materials review, which represents a dramatic departure from the organic community’s commitment to an open and fair decision making process, subject to public input. Legally, the agency’s decision represents a rule change and therefore must be subject to public comment. But equally important, it is a departure from the public process that we have built as a community. This process has created a unique opportunity within government for a community of stakeholders to come together, hear all points of view, and chart a course for the future of organic. It is a process that continually strengthens organic, supports its rapid growth, and builds the integrity of the USDA certified label in the marketplace.

The plaintiffs in the case, represented by counsel from Center for Food Safety, include: Beyond Pesticides, Center for Food Safety, Equal Exchange, Food and Water Watch, Frey Vineyards, La Montanita Co-op, Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association, New Natives, Northeast Organic Dairy Producers Alliance, Northeast Organic Farmers Association Massachusetts, Ohio Ecological Food and Farm Association, Organic Consumers Association, Organic Seed Growers and Trade Association, PCC Natural Markets, and The Cornucopia Institute.

[1] The NOSB is a 15 member Board comprised of farmers, consumers, environmentalists, retailers, certifiers and food producers who advise the Secretary of Agriculture and the National Organic Program on all matters related to organic food and agriculture policy.


Joint Statement of Plaintiffs on USDA Change to Organic Rule without Public Comment

[The following joint statement concerning the lawsuit challenging the changes to the USDA’s Sunset policy is provided by Beyond Pesticides, Center for Food Safety, Equal Exchange, Food and Water Watch, Frey Vineyards, La Montanita Co-op, Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association, New Natives, Northeast Organic Dairy Producers Alliance, Northeast Organic Farmers Association Massachusetts, Ohio Ecological Food and Farm Association, Organic Consumers Association, Organic Seed Growers and Trade Association, PCC Natural Markets, and The Cornucopia Institute.]

When a USDA rule implementing a section of the Organic Foods Production Act as important as the “sunset provision” is changed, why are we concerned about process? Since its origins, the sunset provision has been interpreted under the USDA organic rule to require allowed synthetic materials to cycle off the National List of Allowed and Prohibited Substances every five years unless the NOSB decisively votes by a two-thirds majority to relist them. In making its decision, the NOSB is charged with considering public input, new science, and new information on available alternatives. In September, 2013, without public comment, and in a complete reversal of the customary public process, USDA announced a change in the rule it had been operating under since the inception of the organic program, now allowing synthetic materials to remain on the National List unless the NOSB votes it off.

The organic label is built on a history and solid foundation of holding public hearings and soliciting extensive public participation. Many of us remember when the original proposed rule – which would have allowed GMOs, sewage sludge, and irradiation – resulted in a large outpouring of public input. It was important that the public had an opportunity to be heard before the rule was adopted. This opportunity created the public belief that the process behind the organic label was something that could be trusted. Ever since then, whether there was agreement on a decision or not, we could believe in a decision-making process and the high integrity of the organic label.

We are deeply concerned that the decision-making process on allowed synthetic materials in organic production and processing is being undermined by USDA. The lawsuit we are filing challenges the unilateral agency action on the sunset procedure for synthetic materials review, which represents a dramatic departure from the organic community’s commitment to an open and fair decision making process that is subject to public input. Legalistically, the agency’s decision represents a rule change and therefore must be subject to public comment. But equally important, it is a departure from the public process that we have built as a community. This process has created a unique opportunity within government for a community of stakeholders to come together, hear all points of view, and chart a course for the future of organic. It is a process that continually strengthens organic, supports its rapid growth, and builds the integrity of the USDA certified label in the marketplace.

The failure of USDA to comply with public hearing and comment procedures on the sunset rule change serve to usurp a process and label that the organic community began building long before the agency even recognized the legitimacy of organic systems as a viable and productive form of agriculture. It is our hope that the filing of our lawsuit will help set the process straight again, as the organic sector faces important questions of practices and synthetic material use in the future. We believe in the value of the public voice in that process, as we seek to grow the organic sector through public trust in the organic label.

We must take a stand together, and hold USDA accountable to the public process that helped establish and grow organic. If we do not hold the line on public process, we fear that in decision-after-decision, organic will lose its meaning.  And, USDA will cause the demise of this treasured sector built by farmers, food producers, and the public at large, with a vision that embodies the values and principles that have made the organic label trusted and strong.

Consumers and farmers working together have helped to grow organic from the beginning. We are at a critical and historic moment when the stakeholders must lead in ensuring that our government respects what we have built and remains true to the public process and the legal framework that give organic its integrity.

9 Facts Everyone Should Know About Vitamin D

vitamin d

Vitamin D is essential for maintaining your health, but many people don’t know just how important it is. Almost all of us at one point or another have experienced low vitamin D levels, whether we have realized it or not. Symptoms often manifest as poor energy, insomnia, compromised immune system, and mood imbalance. That’s why I want you to know these 9 facts about D. Everyone needs to know these, so let’s dive right in!

Vitamin D: What You Need to Know

You probably already know that the best source of vitamin D is the sun, something all of us rarely get access to on a daily basis. Without appropriate sunlight exposure, our vitamin D status decreases and our health follows. Here are a few things you should know about vitamin D:

  1. Most of Us Don’t Get Enough Vitamin D

In the U.K., not only is the recommended daily allowance (RDA) much lower than in the U.S., but also many people don’t realize how important this vitamin is for bone health. [1] Because of this, many kids and adults there don’t get enough. [2] But while U.S. RDA can sometimes be as high as 4000 IU, a higher guideline doesn’t mean all Americans will get enough either. Since you get Vitamin D from both diet and sunlight, make sure you’re getting enough.

  1. Vitamin D is Insanely Good for Your Health

Some experts say Vitamin D not only helps in bone health but can also aid in heart, brain, and immune system function, even noting that lower levels can be associated with asthma. [3] Some suggest it could even protect against certain forms of cancer. [4] It’s fairly well established, though, that maintaining proper levels can stave off infections and prevent bone brittleness. [5] [6]

     3. Vitamin D Can Cut the Risk of Breast Cancer

I’m not saying a vitamin D supplement will cure or prevent breast cancer but a recent study suggests spending some time in the sun each day can reduce your risk for breast cancer. This exposure stimulates Vitamin D production in your skin, and that alone could cut your risk for breast cancer in half. [7] Opt for around 20 to 30 minutes of sun exposure per day without sunscreen.

  1. Vitamin D May Reduce Risk of MS

In Scotland, where sun exposure is typically low, there’s a push to supplement the nation’s food with Vitamin D. One source of Vitamin D is from the sun. Because of this, much of the population is deficient, and some experts blame that deficiency for a high rate of multiple sclerosis—one of the highest in the world. Studies suggest there could be a link between the two, and that Vitamin D could offer some neuroprotective effects. [8]

  1. Vitamin D Supports Verbal Communication

I wouldn’t have thought about this unless I’d read the study but a recent report suggests pregnant women with low Vitamin D levels are two times as likely to have children with language difficulties. [9] It’s important to remember that a developing baby relies entirely on the mother for vitamin D. This makes it doubly important for expectant mothers to get enough of the vitamin!

  1. Vitamin D Deficiency is Linked to Autism

With sunlight as a main source for Vitamin D production, increased sunscreen use, declining vitamin levels, and rising autism rates have had many wondering if there could be a connection. [10] While one study noted that autistic children do, in fact, have lower vitamin D levels than non-autistic children, more studies must be done before drawing a conclusion of any kind. [11] Regardless, it certainly seems to show how important Vitamin D can be to brain health.

  1. Low Vitamin D is Linked to Premature Death

In a worrisome discovery, low vitamin D levels have been linked to premature death. [12] Research has found that individuals with low blood levels of vitamin D had a doubled risk of premature death compared to those with a higher level. If you’re curious, your doctor can do a simple blood test so you can know your current levels of Vitamin D.

  1. Low Vitamin D Boosts Risk of Dementia

I’ve already mentioned vitamin D’s suspected role in brain health. A recent study even suggests low levels can boost a person’s risk for dementia and Alzheimer’s. [13] As we age, our skin becomes less able to convert vitamin D from sunlight, so while it’s too early to draw conclusions, these findings could lead to updated guidelines for vitamin D levels in those over age 65.

     9. Fears of Skin Cancer May Lead to Vitamin D Deficiency

More evidence is stacking up for Vitamin D’s influence on health: one study even suggests it could protect us from high blood pressure, heart disease, and even stroke. [14] But fear of skin cancer is keeping people out of the sun, and that is leading to low levels of D. Consider getting your sun exposure in the morning or evening when the sun’s rays aren’t as strong.

One Final Thought

Vitamin D is crucial for the healthy body, but getting enough can be tricky as there aren’t too many foods that naturally contain the nutrient. With all we’ve heard about milk and healthy bones, you’d think dairy products would be a great source. While milk does contain Vitamin D, it might be time to rethink all you know about milk and bone health. One study suggests it’s not as helpful as originally thought when it comes to preventing bone fractures. [15] Since finding the right amount in foods can be tough, a vegan-friendly supplement is an easy way to always make sure you’re getting the nutrition you need to support your health.

References:

  1. Multiple Sclerosis Trust. Factsheet: Vitamin D. Multiple Sclerosis Trust.
  2. Department of Health and Food Standards Agency. National Diet and Nutrition Survey. Department of Health and Food Standards Agency.
  3. Sutherland, E.R. et al. Vitamin D Levels, Lung Function, and Steroid Response in Adult Asthma. American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine.
  4. Garland, C. F. et al. The Role of Vitamin D in Cancer Prevention. American Journal of Public Health. 96 (2).
  5. Aranow, C. Vitamin D and the Immune System. Journal of Investigative Medicine.
  6. Cranney, A. et al. Effectiveness and safety of vitamin D in relation to bone health. Evidence Report/Technology Assessment. 158.
  7. John, E. et al. Sun Exposure, Vitamin D Receptor Gene Polymorphisms, and Breast Cancer Risk in a Multiethnic Population. American Journal of Epidemiology. 166 (12).
  8. M. Cadden, N. Koven & M. Ross. Neuroprotective Effects of Vitamin D in Multiple Sclerosis. Neuroscience & Medicine. 2(3).
  9. Whitehouse, A. et al. Maternal Serum Vitamin D Levels During Pregnancy and Offspring Neurocognitive Development. Pediatrics.
  10. Grant, W.B. & Soles, C. M. Epidemiologic evidence supporting the role of maternal vitamin D deficiency as a risk factor for the development of infantile autism. Dermato-endocrinology. 1 (6).
  11. Mostafa, G. & AL-Ayadhi , L. Y. Reduced serum concentrations of 25-hydroxy vitamin D in children with autism: Relation to autoimmunity. Journal of Neuroinflammation. 9.
  12. Garland, C. et al. Meta-analysis of All-Cause Mortality According to Serum 25-Hydroxyvitamin D. American Journal of Public Health. 104 (8).
  13. Littlejohns, T. J. et al. Vitamin D and the risk of dementia and Alzheimer disease. Neurology.
  14. Liu, D. et al. UVA Irradiation of Human Skin Vasodilates Arterial Vasculature and Lowers Blood Pressure Independently of Nitric Oxide Synthase. Journal of Investigative Dermatology. 134.
  15. Michaëlsson, K. et al. Milk intake and risk of mortality and fractures in women and men: cohort studies. BMJ. 349.

Dr. Edward F. Group III, DC, NP, DACBN, DCBCN, DABFM has studied natural healing methods for over 20 years and now teaches individuals and practitioners all around the world. He no longer sees patients but solely concentrates on spreading the word of health and wellness to the global community. Under his leadership, Global Healing Center, Inc. has earned recognition as one of the largest alternative, natural and organic health resources on the Internet.

Do You Know These 6 Causes Of ADHD?

adhd

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is on the rise, and the ‘disorder’ is now affecting many adults. [1] With such an influx of new diagnoses each day, many people might be wondering what is causing it. As with any disorder there is a likely contributor, or a multitude of contributors. While it could be any number of things, chemicals could be a very likely factor in ADHD diagnosis. Let me share these 6 toxic causes of ADHD with you, and you can decide for yourself.

6 Contributors to ADHD

Children and adults are being diagnosed with ADHD at a quickening rate. Know these 6 contributors and see if any of them ring true in your own diagnosis.

  1. Acetaminophen Use During Pregnancy

A recent study suggests pregnant women might want to avoid acetaminophen. Children born to mothers who take the over-the-counter medication could have an increased risk of ADHD. [2] While the increase in risk is small—less than ten percent—is taking acetaminophen really worth it? [3]

     2. BPA Exposure

Found in some plastic, BPA is a fairly well-known endocrine disruptor that so many manufacturers have turned to making BPA-free products. Studies suggest its substitute bisphenol-S, or BPS, could be just as bad for your health. One study looked at brain development after BPA/BPS exposure in zebrafish embryos and found a link to hyperactivity. [4] [5] While still very new, the findings suggest these chemicals could cause similar symptoms in humans.

  1. Lead Poisoning

Exposure to lead is bad news, as this toxic compound can cause poisoning. The highly toxic metal can affect anyone at any age, but young children are especially vulnerable: Lead has a devastating effect on the developing brain, sometimes causing long-term damage. [6] The developmental effects can be devastating, with low-level exposure linked to low IQs and ADHD in children. [7]

  1. Mercury Exposure

Many pregnant women tend to cut fish out of their diet completely in order to avoid mercury exposure. Like lead, mercury is a neurotoxin that should be avoided, but don’t give fish the boot just yet. While mercury could be linked to a higher risk of ADHD symptoms in children, eating more fish could possibly lower that same risk. [8] It’s all about balance and finding fish that carry a low mercury burden.

  1. Smog and Air Pollution

One study suggests prenatal exposure to air pollution can increase the risk for ADHD in kids. [9] Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) are emitted by burning fossil fuels, so completely avoiding them can be quite difficult. But limiting your exposure could be the answer since “children born to mothers with higher levels of PAH during pregnancy had five-fold increased odds of showing symptoms of ADHD than those who were born to mothers with lower levels.”

  1. Consuming Food Dyes

For some children with ADHD, switching to foods without artificial coloring has helped manage symptoms, leading some researchers to believe there could be a link. [10] Unfortunately, products in the U.S. are not required to have a disclaimer connecting attention problems in children and dye consumption; however, some companies are shaping up when it comes to dyes. Kraft has already moved forward to get rid of yellow dyes from some of its character-shaped macaroni-and-cheese products in Europe and the U.S. [11]

 What Other Factors Contribute to ADHD?

There are some that just think our kids are too restrained, that ADHD is just a by-product of our generation. That’s something I’ll address in another entry, so be on the lookout! Toxic foods and ingredients like fluoride have definitely been implicated in ADHD symptoms, so it is best to go all natural or organic when trying to manage hyperactivity and poor focus. Doing something active that is also enjoyable could also be a great way to manage overactive energy levels and support concentration.

As for toxic exposure and ADHD, what do you think? Do you think there’s a connection? Tell us about it in the comments.

References:

  1. Getahun, D. et al. Recent Trends in Childhood Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder. JAMA Pediatrics. 167 (3).
  2. Cooper, M. et al. Antenatal Acetaminophen Use and Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder. JAMA Pediatrics. 168 (4).
  3. Liew, Z. et al. Acetaminophen Use During Pregnancy, Behavioral Problems, and Hyperkinetic Disorders. JAMA Pediatrics. 168 (4).
  4. Bilbrey, J. BPA-Free Plastic Containers May Be Just as Hazardous. Bilbrey, J.
  5. Kinch, C. D. et al. Low-dose exposure to bisphenol A and replacement bisphenol S induces precocious hypothalamic neurogenesis in embryonic zebrafish. PNAS.
  6. Liu J. et al. Blood lead levels and children’s behavioral and emotional problems: a cohort study. JAMA Pediatrics. 168 (8).
  7. Schwartz, J. Low-level lead exposure and children’s IQ: a meta-analysis and search for a threshold. Environmental Research. 65 (1).
  8. Sagiv, S. et al. Prenatal Exposure to Mercury and Fish Consumption During Pregnancy and Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder–Related Behavior in Children. JAMA Pediatrics. 168 (12).
  9. Perera, F. et al. Early-Life Exposure to Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons and ADHD Behavior Problems. PLOS ONE.
  10. Arnold, L. E. et al. Artificial Food Colors and Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Symptoms: Conclusions to Dye for. Neurotherapeutics. 9 (3).
  11. Center for Science in the Public Interest. Kraft Takes Food Dyes out of Some, But Not Most, Macaroni and Cheese. Center for Science in the Public Interest.

Dr. Edward F. Group III, DC, NP, DACBN, DCBCN, DABFM has studied natural healing methods for over 20 years and now teaches individuals and practitioners all around the world. He no longer sees patients but solely concentrates on spreading the word of health and wellness to the global community. Under his leadership, Global Healing Center, Inc. has earned recognition as one of the largest alternative, natural and organic health resources on the Internet.

Robert F. Kennedy Jr.’s “No On SB277″ Speech (VIDEO)

Robert F. Kennedy Jr.’s “No On SB277″ Speech

In this address given on the California Capitol steps in Sacramento Robert Kennedy Jr. provides an inspired and detailed analysis of the extent to which the powerful pharmaceutical cartel has effectively captured the nation’s scientific, regulatory, and law-making processes. Combined with the corporate news media’s dependence on drug advertising, this has put big pharma in a position where it is running roughshod over informed choice and dictating vaccine policies that have little-if-any basis in scientific research yet will greatly contribute to that industry’s already gargantuan profits.

Kennedy offers an example of scientist and pediatrician Paul Offit, the developer of the rotavirus vaccine, whose personal stake in that vaccine’s development and adoption is emblematic of the monied practices tending to corrupt vaccine science in America today. “In 1999 he sat on the [CDC] committee that added the rotavirus vaccine to the schedule.” Kennedy notes,

At the time he was working on his own rotavirus vaccine. Opening that gateway, by adding that vaccine to the schedule, made his patent extremely valuable. Six years later he sold that patent for $182 million and pocketed about $40 million for himself. So, that kind of financial entanglement by the people to who are deciding what vaccines to add to the schedule makes it difficult, I think, for all of us to think that the only thing they’re thinking of is our children’s health. The Inspector General’s report said that 97% of the people who sit on those panels have the same kinds of financial entanglements and conflicts of interest as Paul Offit.

He concluded his remarks by emphasizing that legislation such as California’s SB277 takes away the last barrier between the pharmaceutical companies’ bottom line mentality and children’s health–parental discretion itself.

All of the barriers that are meant to protect our children–the government, the lawyers, the regulatory agencies, and the press, the checks and balances in our democratic system that are supposed to stand between corporate power and our little children–have been removed, and there’s only one barrier left, and that’s the parents, and we need to keep that in the equation.


Professor James F. Tracy is an Associate Professor of Media Studies at Florida Atlantic University. James Tracy’s work on media history, politics and culture has appeared in a wide variety of academic journals, edited volumes, and alternative news and opinion outlets. James is editor of Union for Democratic Communication’s Journal Democratic Communiqué and a contributor to Project Censored’s forthcoming publication Censored 2013: The Top Censored Stories and Media Analysis of 2011-2012. Additional writings and information are accessible at memoryholeblog.com.

Coconut Oil Pulling Superior To Chemicals For Oral Health (VIDEO)

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Swishing your mouth out with coconut oil may be a more effective and safer alternative to chemical mouthwashes, according to new research. 

A new study has proven for the first time that the oral use of coconut oil is effective in reducing plaque related to gingivitis, a common form of inflammation in the gum tissue of the mouth that occurs in response to bacterial biofilms (known as plaque) adhering to the surfaces of the teeth and which can lead to more serious oral condition known as periodontal disease.

Titled, “Effect of coconut oil in plaque related gingivitis – a preliminary report“, and published in the Nigerian Medical Journal, researchers decided to test the hypothesis that the increasingly common practice of “oil pulling or oil swishing therapy” today, is as effective for maintaining oral health as has been believed for centuries. Oil pulling, in fact, is a traditional therapy that stretches at least as far back as 1500 years ago, where it was mentioned in the early Ayurvedic text, the Charaka Samhita, and which we covered in our article “Oil Pulling: Ancient Secret for Optimal Health.” Yet, traditional oil pulling was believed performed mainly with sesame oil, with available published studies also using sesame seed oil and not coconut.

The new study aimed to fill the data gap on coconut oil:

“No studies have been done on the benefits of oil pulling using coconut oil to date. So a pilot study was planned to assess the effect of coconut oil pulling on plaque induced gingivitis.”

The study enrolled 60 subjects between 16-18 years of age with plaque induced gingivitis. No control was used, rather, “the study was designed to compare the baseline values and the post intervention values in a single group performing coconut oil pulling in addition to their oral hygiene routine.” The subjects were measured for plaque and gingival indices at baseline (day 0), and then on days 1, 7, 15, 30 after the oil pulling was started.

The results were reported as follows:

“The mean gingival index was 0.91 and the plaque index was 1.19 at baseline. In comparison to the baseline values both the gingival and the plaque indices substantially reduced during the period of assessment. There was a steady decline in both the plaque index and the gingival index values from day 7. The average gingival index score on day 30 was down to 0.401 (from .91) and the plaque index score was 0.385 (from 1.19)

The results were found to be statistically significant, indicating that coconut oil is an effective treatment for reducing gingivitis symptoms and plaque build-up on the teeth.

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The reduction of gingivitis and plaque scores within 30 days.

How does it work?

First, coconut oil is a well-known anti-microbial agent, and may have direct anti-bacterial properties due, in part, to its lauric acid content. Second, oil pulling results in the emulsification of coconut oil which greatly increases its surface area and once formed on the surface of the teeth reduces plaque adhesion and bacterial aggregation, according to the study. Third, coconut oil produces a soap like substance when the saliva mixes with the oil (a process known as saponification). This is also why coconut is used in soap-making. According to the study, “The soaps produced with coconut oil can lather well and have an increased cleansing action. The lauric acid in the coconut oil can easily react with sodium hydroxide in saliva during oil pulling to form sodium laureate, the main constituent of soap which might be responsible for the cleansing action and decreased plaque accumulation.”

A video showing you how to oil pull.

Why coconut is better than chemical mouthwashes

The most commonly used active ingredient in mouthwashes are chlorhexidine, phenol (Listerine) and amine/stannous fluoride (Meridol), with chlorhexidine being the most effective at controlling plaque induced gingivitis and inhibiting bacteria. The problem, however, with chemical mouthwashes is that they have significant, even irreversible adverse side effects:

“Chlorhexidine on long term use alters taste sensation and produces brown staining on the teeth which is very difficult to remove. The mucous membranes and the tongue can also be affected and may be related to the precipitation of chromogenic dietary factors on to the teeth and mucous membranes. Staining is also associated with the of long term use of Phenol compound and stannous fluoride containing mouth washes.”

In contradistinction, the researchers noted coconut oil does not appear to carry these side effects:

“In the present study there were no reported alterations in the taste or noticeable staining from coconut oil at the end of 4 weeks.”

The study concluded that “Oil pulling has been proven to be an effective method in reducing plaque formation and plaque induced gingivitis. This preliminary study shows that coconut oil is an easily usable, safe and cost effective agent with minimal side effects which can be used as an adjuvant in oral hygiene maintenance.”

For further research on alternative mouthwashes consult the following research:


Article Contributed by Sayer Ji, Founder of GreenMedInfo.com.

Sayer Ji is an author, researcher, lecturer, and advisory board member of the National Health Federation. He founded Greenmedinfo.com in 2008 in order to provide the world an open access, evidence-based resource supporting natural and integrative modalities. It is internationally recognized as the largest and most widely referenced health resource of its kind.

20 Ways To Use Honey For Wellness And Survival

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Rich, golden honey. What is not to like? Just the thought of sweet, fragrant honey and honey bees makes me think of happy times.  That, coupled with it’s long storage life makes honey a perfect food for the survival pantry.  But did you know that honey has a myriad of other uses, including as a therapeutic ointment that promotes healing?

In this article you will learn all about honey, the various types, its use to promote health and wellness, and other ways to use honey that you may not have thought of.  But first, a little background about honey and its various forms and types.

Honey is made by bees from their own internal digestion (and regurgitation) of flower nectar.  This is stored as a food source in wax honeycombs that are formed within the beehive.  With about the same relative sweetness of granulated sugar, honey has a long history of human consumption, going back as far as ancient Egypt.  Even back then it was used to sweeten cakes and biscuits.

There is also a long history of honey being used for religious and symbolic purposes.  It is reported that jars of honey were found in Pharaoh’s tombs (now that is long term storage for you!) and Alexander the Great was supposedly embalmed in honey. In Jewish tradition, honey is a symbol for the new year, Rosh Hashanah and, at the traditional meal for that holiday, apple slices are dipped in honey and eaten to bring a sweet new year.

Types of Honey

The most recognized form of honey is the sweet, golden liquid that is found on the grocery shelf –often in cute little honey bear shaped squeeze bottles.  Honey, however, can be found in various forms:

Liquid Honey – Free of visible crystals, liquid honey is extracted from the honey comb by centrifugal force, gravity or straining. Because liquid honey mixes easily into a variety of foods, it’s especially convenient for cooking and baking. Most of the honey produced in the United States is sold in the liquid form.

Comb Honey – Comb honey is honey in its original form; that is, honey inside of the honeycomb.  Did you know that the beeswax comb is edible?

Cut Comb – Cut comb honey is liquid honey that has added chunks of the honey comb in the jar. This is also known as a liquid-cut comb combination.

Raw Honey – Raw honey is pure, unheated, unpasteurized and unprocessed.  While there is no official U.S. federal definition of raw honey, the National Honey Board defines raw honey as “ honey as it exists in the beehive or as obtained by extraction, settling or straining without adding heat.

Naturally Crystallized Honey – Naturally crystallized honey is honey in which part of the glucose content has spontaneously crystallized.  It is safe to eat.

Whipped (or Creamed) Honey – While all honey will crystallize in time, whipped honey (also known as creamed honey) is brought to market in a crystallized state. The crystallization is controlled so that, at room temperature, the honey can be spread like butter or jelly. In many countries around the world, whipped honey is preferred to the liquid form especially at breakfast time.

Honey Mead – Honey mead is actually a wine.  It is an alcoholic drink  made from honey and water via fermentation with yeast. It may be still, carbonated, or sparkling and  it may be dry, semi-sweet, or sweet.

In addition to various forms of honey, there are various types of honey. There is organic honey, local, geographically specific honey, and floral honeys.  Furthermore, the various flavors of honey vary based on the nectar source, such as Alfalfa, Clover, Fireweed,  Orange Blossom and more.

One very special type of honey is Manuka Honey which is s a product of the bees feeding off the Melaleuca blooms.  Melaleuca probably sounds familiar because in its essential oil form, it is also known as tea tree oil!  Manuka honey leads the pack when it comes to therapeutic use and is known as the Queen of medicinal honeys”.

The Use of Honey in Medicine

When it comes to therapeutic use, honey has been used for centuries to promote healing. Ancient Egyptians, Assyrians, Chinese, Greeks and Romans employed honey for wounds and diseases of the intestine.  On the other hand, up until very recently, modern medicine has shunned honey for lack of so-called documentary evidence.  That is now changing as more and more members of the medical community embrace the antibacterial, anti-microbial, and wound healing properties.

By far, the most common main stream medical use of honey is to treat sore throats.  Honey has been used in this manner for centuries and to this day it is used as a treatment for sore throats and coughs.  Another use that is becoming more common is the treatment of wounds.

According to Amy Alton, co-author of The Survival Medicine Handbook and an authority on survival medicine at www.doomandbloom.net has this to say:

“Within wounds, honey not only destroys bacterial infections, it creates a moist healing environment that allows skin cells to regrow naturally. This helps prevent raised scarring. Honey both prevents and kills bacterial infections. It has an acidic pH that is inhospitable for bacteria. It also has an osmotic effect which kills by drawing out fluid from the bacteria. Several studies have shown honey heals wounds better and faster, with a dramatic decrease in infection rates, especially in burn injuries.

Apply to cuts, scrapes, burns of any depth if medical help is not available, rashes, or any open skin injury, after good wound cleaning.

In the event of a severe second degree burn or any third degree burn, immediate medical help should be sought. In the event this help is not available, using RAW honey would be the best choice for healing and prevention of infection. Do not rinse off the honey, just add more at least once daily and cover with plastic wrap or a clean linen or cotton wrap to hold the honey in place. Severe burn patients are at a serious risk for many problems and need to be monitored by the best medical personnel possible.”

Recently the antiseptic and antibacterial properties of honey been studied and chemically explained and even the prestigious Mayo Clinic has recognized various medical uses of honey.

There is just one caution: Honey sometimes contains dormant spores of a type of botulism, which can be dangerous to an infants intestinal tract.  For that reason, children under one year of age should not be given honey in any form.

20 Uses of Honey for Wellness and Survival

If the only time you pull out the honey jar is to sweeten your food, you are in for a surprise.  There are literally dozens of uses for honey that you are missing. Here is a short list of alternative uses for honey.

Treat sore, scratchy throat:  Mix honey with lemon juice to create a throat-relieving serum.  Repeat as often as needed until symptoms are reduced, if not gone.

Cough Syrup:  Use as a cough suppressant instead of using a commercial cough syrup which is full of sugar and unwanted chemicals.  Note:  Do not, under any circumstances, use on children under the age of  one.

Heal Wounds: Honey, and Manuka Honey especially, is known to heal wounds by killing bacterial and fighting infections.  Apply liberally then cover with a dressing.  For an interesting scientific article on using honey to treat wounds, read Patients Should Ask Surgeons About Using Honey To Heal Wounds.

Reduce/Relieve Acid Reflux:  Consume 1 tablespoon a day to relieve to acid reflux.

Topical Antiseptic: The hydrogen peroxide released by honey makes it the perfect topical antiseptic for cuts and scrapes.  In addition, due to its viscous consistency, it also prevents wounds and scabs from sticking to the dressing or bandage.

Remove Parasites – Combine equal parts honey, vinegar and water. Then drink. The combination of these three ingredients is supposedly the perfect parasite killer.

Boost Immunity:  The phytonutrients in raw honey have antibacterial and antiviral properties that may help boost the immune system and fight sickness. If you’re feeling a little under the weather, try combining 1 tablespoon of honey and 2 teaspoons of lemon juice in a 1/2 cup of hot, but not boiling, water.

Sleep Aid:  Honey is known to facilitate the action of tryptophan, which helps make people sleepy.

Allergy Relief: The daily consumption of locally harvested honey is said to to reduce any allergies you have to localized plant pollens.

Energy Booster: Mix honey with some water then drink the solution. Honey’s glucose content will be absorbed by the brain and in the bloodstream, reducing fatigue in the process.

Improve Blood Flow:  Honey, being rich in glucose, is known to improve the blood flow through the fortification of blood’s formation. Glucose provides energy in the bloodstream, which is distributed throughout the body. As a result, the blood produced has the proper consistency, flowing smoothly through the blood vessels. Glucose is believed to prevent capillary damage due to its ability to improve your blood flow.

Burn Treatment:  Apply honey as a dressing to burns. The hydrogen peroxide released by the honey cleans the wound and soothes the inflammation. Burn marks will heal quickly and with less pain.

Antibacterial Solution: Given its acidic pH balance and viscous base, bacteria and germs won’t survive when covered in honey.  The microorganisms will be trapped in the sticky acidic base, which is too abrasive for their exteriors, killing them off eventually.

Calms Anxiety and Promotes Relaxation: Anytime, but especially while in survival mode, you need to be clear headed and calm. Honey’s nutrients produce a calming effect, especially when taken in significant amounts.

Aids Digestion:  Mix honey and apple cider vinegar in equal proportion then dilute with water. This natural drink aids digestion.

Substitute Honey for Sugar in Baking:  For every cup of sugar a recipe calls for, replace it with 3/4 cup of honey. For best results, add 1/4 teaspoon of baking soda and reduce another liquid in your recipe by 1/4 cup. Also, reduce the oven temperature by 25 degrees.

Hair Conditioner:  Add a teaspoon of honey to your regular shampoo or conditioner.  You can also combine it with olive oil for a deeper conditioning. Let it soak for 20 minutes with your hair wrapped in a towel before shampooing as usual.

Skin Moisturizer:  Put honey on your skin and leave it there 15 minutes then rinse off.  Your skin will be soft and nicely moisturized.

Zap Acne:  Apply a a small amount of honey directly on acne with a cotton swab or finger. Wait five minutes and then rinse with warm water.

Food Preservative:  Honey is known food preservative, replacing chemical additives and refined sugars in many commercial products.  When used to replace sugar in homemade bread and baked goods, the result will be a moist product that stays fresh longer and will be less likely to mold.

Storing Honey

Storing honey is a easy in that there are just a few simple guidelines that will insure it’s long term viability and pleasing color.  The main thing you want to do is store honey at room temperature.  Extreme high or low temperatures should be avoided although neither will affect it’s quality.

About the worst thing than can happen to honey is that it will crystallize.  This is a normal part of the honey aging process whereby the liquid in honey becomes solid.  Storing honey is the refrigerator hastens this process so don’t do it.  Easy as that.

Regardless of how careful you are, in a long term storage situation, honey will crystallize.  When that happens, simply place the honey jar in warm water and stir until the crystals dissolve. Just be careful not to overdo it since too much heat will darken the honey even more and may possible scorch and burn the honey.

Cooking With Honey

Although it is optimal to use recipes developed for honey, it can easily be substituted for sugar by following just a few simple guidelines.  Begin by substituting honey for up to half of the sugar called for in the recipe.  If that works out well, you can add more next time, gradually increasing the substitution as long as you are satisfied with the results.

Here are some specific tips for using honey in baked goods:

  • Use 75% liquid honey for each cup of sugar called for in the recipe
  • As a rule of thumb, reduce the liquid in the recipe by 1/4 cup for each cup of honey used
  • Add about 1/2 teaspoon baking soda for each cup of honey used
  • To prevent over-browning, reduce oven temperature by 25 degrees to prevent over-browning

Worried about a sticky mess when cooking with honey?  For easy measuring and clean-up, coat your  measuring cup or spoon with cooking spray before adding honey.

Here is one of my favorite uses of honey – homemade honey butter!

Honey Butter

1/2 cup butter (fresh, canned or made from butter powder)
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract or 1/16 vanilla powder
1/2 cup honey

Mix all ingredients together until creamy.  Use to serve on any hot bread, biscuits or cornbread.  Yummy.

Nutritional Profile of Honey

Honey is composed primarily of carbohydrates (natural sugars) and water, as well as trace enzymes, minerals, vitamins, and amino acids. Providing 17 grams of carbohydrates and 64 calories per tablespoon, honey is an all-natural sweetener without any added ingredients.

Honey also contains a variety of flavonoids and phenolic acids, which act as antioxidants, scavenging and eliminating free radicals. Generally, darker honeys have higher antioxidant content than lighter honeys.

The Final Word

It would be impossible to describe all of the benefits of honey in a single article.  Manuka honey, in of itself, warrants a discussion of the progress the medical community has made in documenting its therapeutic and healing properties.  The more I learn, the more I am convinced that Manuka honey has a place in the emergency survival kit.

Honey blends well with many foods, is delicious to eat, and has an shelf life that does not expire.  Along those lines, for definitive information on the shelf-life of honey, read The Science Behind Honey’s Eternal Shelf Life.

In closing, I want to let you know that I a personally enjoy a bit of organic,100% raw honey when ever I indulge in a bowl of Greek yogurt and bananas.  Simply delicious!  And yes, as I think of honey bees, I do indeed put a big smile in my face!

Enjoy your next adventure through common sense and thoughtful preparation!


Gaye Levy, also known as the Survival Woman, grew up and attended school in the Greater Seattle area. After spending many years as an executive in the software industry, she started a specialized accounting practice offering contract CFO work to emerging high tech and service industries. She has now abandoned city life and has moved to a serenely beautiful rural area on an island in NW Washington State. She lives and teaches the principles of a sustainable and self-reliant lifestyle through her website at BackdoorSurvival.com. At Backdoor Survival, Gaye speaks her mind and delivers her message of prepping with optimism and grace, regardless of the uncertain times and mayhem swirling around us.

Taking Calcium Supplements Causes Brain Lesions

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Taking calcium supplements — even at low doses — linked to brain lesions in the first study of its kind. 

Most calcium supplements are just plain bad news. The idea of taking calcium in pill or tablet form to “keep the bones strong” just doesn’t make that much sense given, first, that we are designed to get our calcium from food. Second, our bone is a living tissue, which requires vitamin C, amino acids, magnesium, silica, vitamins D and K, etc., not to mention regular physical activity, just as much as it does calcium. Taking calcium to the exclusion of these other critical factors doesn’t make sense; nor does it make sense to look at osteoporosis as a deficiency of calcium supplements!

As we have reported on extensively in the past, not only is consuming limestone, bone, and the shells of oysters and eggs not a good idea because the calcium can deposit in our soft tissues leading to heart attacks and strokes, but even the goal of maintaining bones as dense as a 25-year old late into life (known as the T-score) is fraught with danger, including a far higher breast cancer risk for those with the highest bone density. Instead of pathologizing aging, and focusing on making the bone denser by any means necessary, the focus should be on bone quality and agility and bodily self-awareness late into life, which helps the elderly prevent the falls that lead to fracture in the first place. In other words, simply having a gait or vision disorder can be at least as an important factor in fracture risk as bone mineral density.

The problem with poor quality, inorganic, calcium supplements, however, does not stop with their contribution to cardiovascular disease risk. A combination of factors including low magnesium, vitamin K2 and the presence of fluoride in the water and diet can lead to pineal gland calcification, as well as the calcification of other brain structures, which recently has been hypothesized to be a contributing factor in the pathogenesis of Alzheimer’s disease.

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A truly provocative study on this topic published last year in the British Journal of Nutrition somehow slipped through the cracks, because not only did we miss it but we do not recall it being reported elsewhere. Titled, “Elevated brain lesion volumes in older adults who use calcium supplements: a cross-sectional clinical observational study,” the study looked at the possibility that since calcium supplements have now been linked in multiple studies with vascular pathologies associated with cardiovascular diseas they may also be associated with the occurrence of brain lesions (known on MRI scans as hyperintensities) in older adults. These brain lesions, visible as brighter spots in MRI scans, are known to be caused by lack of blood flow (ischemia) and subsequent neurological damage.

brain lesions

According to the study,

“Brain lesions,also known as hyperintensities, are areas of damage observed on brain MRI (See Above). These lesions are common in older adults and increase the risk of devastating health outcomes, including depression, cognitive decline, dementia, stroke, physical disability, hip fracture and death. Postmortem studies have determined that these lesions form primarily due to ischemia, especially larger lesions (.3mm) and lesions found in depressed individuals.”

The observational study enrolled 227 older adults (60 years above) and assessed food and supplemental calcium intakes. Participants with supplemental calcium use above zero were categorized as supplement users. Lesion volumes were assessed with MRI scans.

Key findings were:

  • Greater lesion volumes were found among calcium supplement users than non-users

  • The influence of calcium supplements was of a magnitude similar to that of the influence of high blood pressure (hypertension), “a well-established risk factor for lesions.”

  • The study found that the amount of calcium used was not associated with lesion volume and that “even low-dose supplements, by older adults may be associated with greater lesion volumes.”

  • Even after controlling for food calcium intake, age, sex, race, years of education, energy intake, depression and hypertension, the association between calcium supplement and lesion volumes held strong.

The study details were summarized as follows:

“In the present cross-sectional clinical observational study, the association between Ca-containing dietary supplement use and lesion volumes was investigated in a sample of 227 older adults (60 years and above). Food and supplemental Ca intakes were assessed with the Block 1998 FFQ; participants with supplemental Ca intake above zero were categorised as supplement users. Lesion volumes were determined from cranial MRI (1.5 tesla) scans using a semi-automated technique; volumes were log-transformed because they were non-normal. ANCOVA models revealed that supplement users had greater lesion volumes than non-users, even after controlling for food Ca intake, age, sex, race, years of education, energy intake, depression and hypertension (Ca supplement use: β = 0.34, SE 0.10, F(1,217)= 10.98, P= 0.0011). The influence of supplemental Ca use on lesion volume was of a magnitude similar to that of the influence of hypertension, a well-established risk factor for lesions. Among the supplement users, the amount of supplemental Ca was not associated with lesion volume (β = – 0.000035, SE 0.00 015, F(1,139)= 0.06, P= 0.81). The present study demonstrates that the use of Ca-containing dietary supplements, even low-dose supplements, by older adults may be associated with greater lesion volumes. Evaluation of randomised controlled trials is warranted to determine whether this relationship is a causal one.”

What is the mechanism beneath this association?

The researchers discussed the already established link between calcium supplementation and increased ischemic stroke risk, indicating that calcium supplementation may contribute to calcium deposits in the vasculature (i.e. arterial calcification), mainly in the fatty deposits (atheromas) that contribute to blocking the opening (lumen) of the blood vessels. They state that this process can lead to lack of blood flow and subsequent oxygen deprivation (ischemia), ultimately leading to the development of brain lesions. Another mechanism by which excess calcium may have a direct neurotoxic effect on the brain is the influx of excess calcium into brain cells, which lead to cell death. This possibility is greatly increased if the blood-brain barrier is compromised.

The researchers also highlighted the importance of the finding that calcium supplementation may have as significant a deleterious effect on brain lesions as high blood pressure (hypertension):

“If this finding is confirmed in longitudinal studies, it could have important health implications – because it is obviously much easier to cease Ca supplement use than to medically manage hypertension.”

In other words, hypertension is often caused by toxic antihypertensive drugs that may actually increase the risk of cardiac mortality. Why not remove one of the modifiable causes: calcium supplementation, which would strike to one of the root causes of the problem and resolve it.

The researchers concluded their study as follows:

“The use of Ca [calcium] -containing dietary supplements by older adults was found to be associated with greater brain lesion volumes, even after controlling for the usual amount of dietary Ca intake. Interestingly, neither the amount of supplemental Ca nor the duration of supplemental Ca use was associated with lesion volume. These findings indicate that adverse biochemical effects of supplemental Ca use may exist in older adults, regardless of the dose.”

So, what do we do instead of taking calcium supplements?

First, consider why you think you need calcium supplements. Is it because of the dairy industry promoting for decades the concept that we need calcium (from milk)? Or, is it because your doctor is throwing around terms like osteopenia and osteoporosis carelessly, without explaining to you that the present day bone mineral density (BMD) reference ranges assume that aging is a disease and even if you are 60 or 100 for that matter you are still supposed to have the BMD of a 25-year old young woman; an absurd and dangerous idea. Please read the expose, “Osteoporosis Myth: The Dangers of High Bone Mineral Density,” in order to understand how millions of healthy women were made to believe that aging is a disease, with worse health outcomes as a result of overdiagnosis and overtreatment.

Now, when it comes to calcium, focus on food sources. The site NutritionData.com lists about 1,000 of the highest calcium-containing foods, categorized by food group: ​Foods highest in Calcium. Also, remember that the accelerated bone loss that occurs later in life in women, is triggered by hormonal changes associated with the exhaustion of the ovarian reserve. Nature, however, provides ‘back up’ support for the ovaries in the form of pomegranate. Other hormone-modulating foods include the fermented soy food miso, prunes, and even vitamin C, which has recently been found to regenerate steroid hormones.

For a far more extensive research resource on bone health, you can view our page dedicated to the topic here: Bone Health.


Article Contributed by Sayer Ji, Founder of GreenMedInfo.com.

Sayer Ji is an author, researcher, lecturer, and advisory board member of the National Health Federation. He founded Greenmedinfo.com in 2008 in order to provide the world an open access, evidence-based resource supporting natural and integrative modalities. It is internationally recognized as the largest and most widely referenced health resource of its kind.

6 Benefits Of Shilajit For Men

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Men who live and work in the mountains are known for their strength and endurance, and it appears there’s more to it than simply the mountain air. Shilajit, pronounced shil-ah-jeet, is an organic tar-like substance that naturally occurs in mountains around the globe, from the Himalayas to the Andes. It may not sound tasty, but as you’ll see in a moment, it works. Ayurvedic doctors began using it hundreds of years ago for its potent health-supportive properties.

6 Benefits of Shilajit for Men’s Health

Shilajit contains several potent substances including antioxidants and humic and fulvic acid. The plant contains over 80 minerals that support the body, and many have an incredible effect on a man’s health. If you’re a man, no matter where you live, you’ll want to look into shilajit. Here are 6 health benefits of Shilajit for men that will hopefully convince you:

1. Supports Fertility

A study gave 60 men suffering from infertility shilajit twice daily for 90 days. At the end of the trial period, sperm counts in the men increased by more than 60%, and sperm activity improved by 12% or more. [1] This supports what Ayurvedic doctors have known for centuries. Any man dealing with infertility should consider this safe, natural alternative to address his condition.

2. Promotes Testosterone Levels Naturally

It does more than increase the number and health of a man’s ‘swimmers.’ Men who take shilajit enjoy a boost to their testosterone levels, and a man needs higher testosterone levels to protect muscle tissue, keep fat off, and maintain a better overall mood and thinking.

3. Enhances Performance

Tradition holds men who take shilajit have more energy and feel generally better. It could be the mountain air, or it could be the nutrient density of shilajit. Researchers have determined shilajit acts at the cellular level to improve energy production at its source, the mitochondria. [2] When your cells are nourished like this, you feel like more awake, your recover faster, and you have what it takes to go that extra mile.

4. Protects the Heart

A recent study using animal models tested how well shilajit protects the heart. The animals who received the hebr showed less cardiovascular damage, with researchers concluding the effect must come from more than simply its antioxidant activity. [3]

5. Supports Memory

Increased testosterone levels play an important role in how well you think. But researchers have identified a special effect created by small molecules called dibezno-alpha-pyrones. These molecules prevent the breakdown of the brain chemicals needed for memory. [4] Other studies report the fulvic acid in shilajit appears to help against some causes of Alzheimer’s disease. [5]

6. Encourages Healthy Aging

Studies report shilajit’s antioxidant activity protects against cellular damage, and it’s this cellular damage that speeds the aging process in your heart, lungs, liver, and skin. The fulvic acid in shilajit delivers antioxidants and minerals directly to cells where they’re needed. This keeps them safe against free radical damage and accelerated aging.

A Final Thought

When it comes to taking shilajit, make sure you get the real stuff. If it’s solid at room temperature, you’ve got a hold of something that is of questionable quality. Shilajit should taste bitter, have a brownish-blackish color and melt in your hand.

Have you tried Shilajit? What did you notice? Leave a comment and let us know!

References:

  1. Biswas TK1, Pandit S, Mondal S, Biswas SK, Jana U, Ghosh T, Tripathi PC, Debnath PK, Auddy RG, Auddy B. Clinical evaluation of spermatogenic activity of processed Shilajit in oligospermia. Andrologia. 2010 Feb;42(1):48-56. doi: 10.1111/j.1439-0272.2009.00956.x.
  2. Surapaneni DK1, Adapa SR, Preeti K, Teja GR, Veeraragavan M, Krishnamurthy S. Shilajit attenuates behavioral symptoms of chronic fatigue syndrome by modulating the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis and mitochondrial bioenergetics in rats. J Ethnopharmacol. 2012 Aug 30;143(1):91-9. doi: 10.1016/j.jep.2012.06.002.
  3. Joukar S1, Najafipour H, Dabiri S, Sheibani M, Sharokhi N. Cardioprotective effect of mumie (shilajit) on experimentally induced myocardial injury. Cardiovasc Toxicol. 2014 Sep;14(3):214-21. doi: 10.1007/s12012-014-9245-3.
  4. Mao Z1, Sun W1, Fu L1, Luo H1, Lai D1, Zhou L2. Natural dibenzo-?-pyrones and their bioactivities. Molecules. 2014 Apr 22;19(4):5088-108. doi: 10.3390/molecules19045088.
  5. Carrasco-Gallardo C1, Guzmán L, Maccioni RB. Shilajit: a natural phytocomplex with potential procognitive activity. Int J Alzheimers Dis. 2012;2012:674142. doi: 10.1155/2012/674142.

Dr. Edward F. Group III, DC, NP, DACBN, DCBCN, DABFM has studied natural healing methods for over 20 years and now teaches individuals and practitioners all around the world. He no longer sees patients but solely concentrates on spreading the word of health and wellness to the global community. Under his leadership, Global Healing Center, Inc. has earned recognition as one of the largest alternative, natural and organic health resources on the Internet.

Why You Should Grow Heirloom Seeds

Healthy Seeds
By: Sam Cho | Organic Lesson -

When I bought seeds for the first time, I did not know what the difference was between heirloom, hybrid, and GMO. If you are in the same boat as I used to be then check out the infographic below to learn what the main differences are. Feel free to use the embed code below if you want to share it on your website or blog.

heirloom-seeds-why-grow-infographic
Source: Organic Lesson

What is Heirloom?

Heirloom seeds come from open-pollinated plants that pass on similar characteristics and traits from the parent plant to the child plant. There is no concrete definition that every gardener uses to define heirloom plants. Some people state that heirloom plants are those that were introduced before 1951, while others state that heirloom varieties are those introduced before the 1920s. In general, you should consider heirlooms to be seeds that are possible to regrow and pass on from one generation to the next.

One important thing to note for heirloom plants is whether they are organic or non-organic. In most cases, heirloom plants are organic because they are generally only used by small-scale gardeners who do not use pesticide or other harmful chemicals. However, there may be minor cases when chemicals do get involved since heirloom plants do not always have a similar level of innate protection that hybrid and GMO plants provide against diseases and pests. Remember, heirloom refers to the heritage of a plant, while organic refers to a growing practice. They are two different things.

Heirloom vs. Hybrid vs. GMO

There are some distinct differences that one should be aware of when it comes to heirloom, hybrid, and GMO plants. First, heirloom plants are the only ones that breed true. As mentioned earlier, this means the same characteristics are passed on from generation to generation. The same cannot be said for hybrid and GMO. Hybrid plants are produced when different varieties of plants are cross-pollinated, which can happen with or without human intervention. Because there are different varieties of plants involved, it can’t be guaranteed that the offspring of hybrid plants produces identical traits as the parent plant.

Both heirloom and hybrid plants can be viewed as natural occurrences. GMO plants, on the other hand, can only be produced using unnatural methods such as gene splicing. Scientists essentially modify a seed’s DNA to ensure the resulting plant produces the desired traits and characteristics. A common example of a GMO plant is Bt-Corn.

Why Grow Heirloom Seeds

If hybrid and GMO seeds grow plants with useful traits, why should you grow heirloom plants instead? First, heirlooms are generally known to produce better taste and flavor. Heirloom fruits and vegetables are also known to be more nutritious. Last but not least, they are less expensive over the long haul. Heirloom plants may require a bit more care than their counterparts but the effort you put in will be worth it! Don’t forget that you would also be playing an important part in preserving the genetic diversity of plants by growing heirloom seeds. After all, how can hybrid seeds be produced without the existence of the original seeds?

Where to Find Heirloom Seeds

With the demand for heirloom seeds increasing, you will find that it isn’t as difficult as before to obtain them. There are certain places you might want to check out to get seeds locally. These places include: local farms, seed exchanges, and botanical gardens. How can you be sure that the seeds you are getting definitely came from heirloom plants? One thing you might want to look out for is the Safe Seed Pledge. Although it isn’t regulated, the Safe Seed Pledge is still a good sign that the company is only providing non-GMO products. Most of the well-known seed companies have already signed up for this pledge so look out for it on the seed company websites.