Pregnancy Alters Resident Gut Microbes.


The microbes that reside in your gut are very much a living, and integral, part of you.

Far from being just passive bystanders, the bacteria are impacted by your health, your lifestyle and even your life stages – and they actively change in response to different periods of your life, like pregnancy.

Your Gut Microbes Change During Each Pregnancy Trimester to Support Fetal Growth

The composition of a woman’s gut microbes actually changes during each trimester of pregnancy in ways that support the growth of the fetus. This is largely influenced by the hormonal shifts that occur during pregnancy.

Interestingly, for the first time, research has shown the microbes actually become less diverse and the number of beneficial bacteria decline while disease-related bacteria increase. Under normal circumstances, such changes could lead to weight gain and inflammation, but in pregnancy, they induce metabolic changes that promote energy storage in fat tissue so the fetus can grow.1

The study’s lead author noted:2

“The findings suggest that our bodies have coevolved with the microbiota and may actually be using them as a tool — to help alter the mother’s metabolism to support the growth of the fetus.”

The importance of gut flora continues during and after birth, and may have a profound influence on the baby’s health and development. An article in Science Daily reported on the featured findings of one related study,3 stating:4

“Each individual’s community of gut microbes is unique and profoundly sensitive to environmental conditions, beginning at birth. Indeed, the mode of delivery during the birthing process has been shown to affect an infant’s microbial profile. Communities of vaginal microbes change during pregnancy in preparation for birth, delivering beneficial microbes to the newborn.

At the time of delivery, the vagina is dominated by a pair of bacterial species, Lactobacillus and Prevotella. In contrast, infants delivered by caesarean section typically show microbial communities associated with the skin, including Staphylococcus, Corynebacterium, and Propionibacterium.  While the full implications of these distinctions are still murky, evidence suggests they may affect an infant’s subsequent development and health, particularly in terms of susceptibility to pathogens.”

Interestingly, gut flora is not the only factor influenced by the method of birth. One recent study showed that vaginal birth triggers the expression of mitochondrial uncoupling protein 2 (UCP2) in mice, which is important for improving brain development and function in adulthood. The expression of this protein was impaired in mice born via caesarean section (C-section).5

Mom’s Gut Bacteria Seriously Impacts Baby’s Future Health

Microorganisms in your gastrointestinal tract form a highly intricate, living “fabric” that affects body weight, energy, and nutrition, among other factors.

Not only is each individual’s community of gut microbes unique, but the groundwork for each person’s gut flora is laid from birth. In fact, the mode of delivery during the birthing process has been shown to affect an infant’s microbial profile. This is in part why it’s so important for pregnant women to become mindful of their gut health, as it will affect not just their own health, but also that of their child.

The health implications of this variation in gut bacteria acquired from birth is exactly what Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride‘s research sheds light upon. Her research shows there’s a profound dynamic interaction between your gut, your brain, and your immune system, starting from birth. She has developed what might be one of the most profoundly important treatment strategies for a wide range of neurological, psychological, and autoimmune disorders—all of which are heavily influenced by your gut health.

I believe her Gut and Psychology Syndrome, and Gut and Physiology Syndrome (GAPS) Nutritional program is vitally important for MOST people, as the majority of people have such poor gut health due to poor diet and toxic exposures, but it’s particularly crucial for pregnant women and young children.

According to Dr. Campbell-McBride, in children with GAPS, the toxicity flowing from their gut throughout their bodies and into their brains continually challenges their nervous system, preventing it from performing its normal function and process sensory information. GAPS may manifest in a wide range of symptoms, fitting the diagnosis of either autism, or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), attention deficit disorder (ADD) without hyperactivity, dyslexia, dyspraxia, or obsessive-compulsive disorder, just to name a few possibilities… She explained:

What I see in the families of autistic children is that 100 percent of mom’s of autistic children have abnormal gut flora and health problems related to that. But then I look at grandmothers on the mother’s side, and I find that the grandmothers also have abnormal gut flora, but much milder.”

In essence, what we have is a generational build-up of abnormal gut flora, with each generation becoming ever more prone to being further harmed.

What Might be Putting Your Gut Flora at Risk?

If you’ve taken antibiotics or birth control pills, if you eat a lot of processed or sugary foods – even if you were bottle-fed as a baby, all of these can impact the makeup of bacteria and microbes in your gut.

For instance, we now know that breastfed babies develop entirely different gut flora compared to bottle-fed babies. Infant formula never was, and never will be, a healthy replacement to breast milk, for a number of reasons — altered gut flora being one of them.

Dr. Campbell-McBride discovered that a large percentage of the mothers of autistic children were bottle-fed. Then, as they received many courses of antibiotics throughout their childhood, the abnormalities in their gut flora further deepened.

“Ever since antibiotics were prescribed, particularly from the 50s and 60s, they were prescribed for every cough and sneeze. They really over-prescribed antibiotics. And with every course of antibiotics, the abnormalities in the gut flora would get deeper and deeper in these girls. And then, at the age of 15, 16, these ladies were put on a contraceptive pill… [which] have a devastating effect on the gut flora. Nowadays ladies are taking it for quite a few years before they’re ready to start their family.”

So, to recap, bottle-feeding along with over-use of antibiotics and use of the contraceptive pill set the stage for increasingly abnormal gut flora with each passing generation. Then, add to that a diet of processed junk food and excessive consumption of fructose and other sugars and you have a prescription for disaster in terms of gastrointestinal health.

Dr. Campbell-McBride continued:

“Many of these modern factors created a whole plethora of young ladies in our modern world who have quite deeply abnormal gut flora by the time they are ready to have their first child. This is the abnormal gut flora that they are passing through their children.

So these babies acquire abnormal gut flora from the start and while the baby is breastfed the baby is receiving protection because whatever is in the mother’s blood will be in her milk. Women who have abnormal gut flora would have immune factors in their blood, which they have developed against their own gut flora to protect them. These immune factors will be in their milk.

While the baby is breastfed, despite the fact that the baby has acquired abnormal gut flora from the mom, there will be some protection. But as soon as the breastfeeding stops that protection stops as well. That is the time when the abnormalities in the gut flora really flourish and the child starts sliding down into autism or ADHD or ADD or any other learning disability or physical problems such as diabetes type 1, for example, and celiac disease or other autoimmune conditions, or… asthma, eczema and other physical problems. That’s where this epidemic comes from.”

If You’re Pregnant, This is One of the Healthiest Types of Food to Eat

Maintaining optimal gut flora by eating raw food grown in healthy, organic soil and ‘reseeding’ your gut with fermented foods and probiotics (this is essential when you’re taking an antibiotic), may be one of the most important steps you can take to improve your health and your baby’s during pregnancy. If you aren’t eating fermented foods, you most likely need to supplement with a probiotic on a regular basis, especially if you’re eating a lot of processed foods.

If you’re pregnant, however, I strongly recommend adding fermented foods to your diet. You can ferment virtually any food, and nearly every culture has traditionally fermented their foods to prevent spoilage. There are also many fermented beverages and yoghurts.

Fermenting your own foods is a fairly straightforward process. To learn more, please listen to my interview with Caroline Barringer, a Nutritional Therapy Practitioner (NTP) who has been involved with nutrition for about 20 years and is an expert in the preparation of the foods prescribed in Dr. Campbell-McBride’s GAPS Nutritional Program.

What Can You do to Encourage Healthy Gut Flora Once Your Baby is Born?

Breastfeeding was designed by nature to ensure that your child’s gut flora develops properly right from the start, as it is loaded both with beneficial bacteria and nutrient growth factors that will support their continued growth. It also has powerful components that will inhibit the growth of pathogenic bacteria and yeast. So one of the most important foundational elements of building a healthy GI system for your child is to first eat a healthy diet with fermented foods while you’re pregnant, and then breastfeed (whenever possible) for at least one year after your child is born.

Providing abundant beneficial bacteria in the form of breast milk and, later, fermented foods is one of the most powerful ways to restore your baby’s gut flora.

Once your baby is ready to start solid foods, the first fermented food Dr. Campbell-McBride recommends for your infant is raw organic grass-fed yogurt (not commercial yogurt from the grocery store), because it’s well tolerated by most infants and children. It’s best to make your own yogurt at home from raw organic milk, and start with a very tiny amount. Once yogurt is well tolerated by your baby, then start introducing kefir. If you have any problems with cow’s milk, you can always try goat’s milk or substitute vegetables fermented with yogurt culture or kefir culture.

  • ·         Source: Dr. Mercola

 

 

 

 

If You Drink Artificial Sweeteners You Must See this Movie”


“Sweet Misery: A Poisoned World”: A Compelling Documentary that Exposes the Real Dangers of Aspartame and How it Became FDA Approved

Most anyone interested in natural health will understand that artificial sweeteners are not healthy for you. But nearly everyone of us leads busy lives that limits us from reading all we would like to, especially about things that may not be that much of a problem anyway.

After all, millions of people drink diet sodas every day and they aren’t dropping dead like flies, and the government did approve this sweetener as safe so it can’t be too bad.

Wrong, Wrong, Wrong

If you believe the above you are in for a sorry surprise. The beautiful aspect of this movie is that in a short ninety minutes you will easily in the relaxed comfort of your own home finally understand why aspartame is a toxic poison and needs to be avoided at all costs.

Personally I own Dr. Robert’s $100 phone book size reference on Aspartame and a number of other books on the topic. However, I have never had the time to read them and understand at a foundational level why aspartame was so toxic. I just knew it was not natural and should be avoided and there were many that had problems with it. This movie allowed me to easily and passively learn the specific reasons and details on why aspartame is best avoided by all humans who are interested in staying healthy.

I had this movie for six months before I had a chance to finally have some free time and pop it in the DVD player to view it. Once I did I had to do some EFT and tapping to forgive myself for not watching this video sooner. It was one of the best DVDs I have seen on health and I highly recommend and endorse this movie.

If you, or someone you know and love, drinks diet soda or consumes aspartame in any form, then this video is an absolute must see for you.

Riveting Industry Case Study of a Food Supply in Crisis

“Sweet Misery: A Poisoned World” reveals one of the most pervasive, insidious forms of corporate negligence since tobacco.

The toxic long-term effects of aspartame are often dismissed as a “hoax” by the sweetener industry; however this new documentary thoroughly unravels something infinitely more alarming than merely a “hoax.”

About 200 times sweeter than the refined sugar it is meant to replace, Aspartame is the artificial sweetener used in such brands as Equal and Nutrasweet. Not long ago, aspartame was on a Pentagon list of biowarfare chemicals submitted to Congress — yet this lethal product remains on grocery shelves and continues to be highly touted in the media.

FDA Approved Biomedical Genocide is Revealed

Aspartame complaints represent 80-85% of food complaints registered with the FDA. So-called “diet” products containing the chemical sweetener aspartame can have multiple neurotoxic, metabolic, allergenic, fetal and carcinogenic effects.

Despite mounting evidence to the contrary, many people still see aspartame as a safe diet aid — even though it has been demonstrated that the use of this product actually causes people to consume more food.

Aspartame is not your friend. In 1991, the National Institutes of Health listed 167 symptoms and reasons to avoid the use of aspartame, but today it remains a multi-million dollar business. Known to erode intelligence and affect short-term memory, the components of this toxic sweetener may lead to a wide variety of ailments including:

  • Brain tumors
  • Birth defects
  • Diseases like lymphoma, diabetes, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, fibromyalgia, and chronic fatigue
  • Emotional disorders like depression and anxiety attacks
  • Epilepsy/seizures
  • Migraines
  • Numbness
  • Hearing Loss and ringing in the ears
  • Blindness, blurred vision and other eye problems
  • Stomach disorders

Your body does not do well with regular sugar, let alone poisonous synthetic sugars like aspartame. With some resources indicating that aspartame may be found in over 9000 consumable products, this man-made sweetener is becoming increasingly more difficult to avoid.

The American diet may well be one of the reasons 18 million of us suffer from migraines, with aspartame at the top of the list of possible culprits.

Eliminating aspartame from your diet would go a long way toward improving your health. If you aren’t familiar with all the ailments associated with this artificial sweetener, “Sweet Misery” will indeed open your eyes to a biomedical genocide that has been covered up for far too long.

A Personal Journey Uncovers the Medical Horrors of Aspartame

Part documentary, part detective story, Sweet Misery starts with filmmaker and narrator Cori Brackett’s poignant story about how she discovered aspartame’s ill effect on her health. Brackett had a strange cause-and effect experience with the diet cokes she was drinking and quickly found herself disabled and diagnosed with MS.

Her condition quickly progressed to the point that she had double vision, slurred speech, and weak limbs forcing her to use a wheelchair. When she read an article about aspartame being connected to many health problems, Cori immediately quit using products that contain aspartame — like diet soda.

As if by magic, many of her symptoms disappeared. Through dietary changes and a host of therapies, Cori’s condition improved and continues to do so to this day. After spending a decade in a mental fog, unable to do anything — today she is medication and symptom free.

Cori Brackett’s journey takes us across the United States to learn more about the devastating effects of aspartame from an impressive list of medical experts — including renowned neurosurgeon Dr. Russell Blaylock. Dr. Blaylock explains how aspartame is a slow neurotoxin that’s particularly harmful for diabetics.

Brackett also consults two respected MDs and a psychologist to describe what aspartame does to the body and the brain. All agreed — aspartame is poison.

Another source of Brackett’s inspiration came from Dr. Betty Martini, the director of the nonprofit group Mission Possible. Martini has been searching the globe for over 12 years for every shred of evidence that exists about the dangers of aspartame — attracting the expertise of principled professionals who have furthered our understanding of aspartame biochemistry to the point where no valid arguments counter claim the absolute conclusion that aspartame is a toxic poison unfit for human consumption.

Credible Evidence Validates Corporate Fraud and Manipulation

In “Sweet Misery” aspartame victims throughout the country are finally given a voice. A close examination of the process for approving aspartame by the FDA leads to examples of how powerful corporations are influencing once trusted institutions. Loaded with compelling interviews, this powerful examination includes:

  • Archival footage from G.D. Searle, the producer of aspartame, and federal officials to describe the amount of propaganda and “dirty tricks” big business used to push aspartame on the market.
  • Many heartfelt conversations with some of the aspartame victims. One victim, a middle-aged mother, suffers in a different and more agonizing way than most. This woman is serving a 50-year sentence for allegedly poisoning her late spouse, despite that many of the health signs point to her late husband’s bad reaction to aspartame.
  • Key dialogue with Arthur Evangelista, a former Food and Drug Administration investigator, who exposes how far major conglomerates went to legalize the use of aspartame in the United States, and the resulting domino effect on its use in other countries
  • Consumer Attorney Jim Turner’s candid report of his exchange with Donald Rumsfeld. Rumsfeld was the CEO of Searle, and, at the same time, part of Reagan’s transition team when the FDA’s board of inquiry was overruled to allow the marketing of Aspartame as a food additive. Until this time aspartame was unanimously rejected by the FDA.

A Must See Movie that Can Literally Save Your Life

For those who have seen Sweet Misery — adjectives like “incredible” are often used to encourage others to see the world’s main experts on aspartame expose and invalidate the propaganda put out by the pharmaceutical industry. And those in the field of medicine who were directly involved with the making of this film maintain, “Anybody who sees this movie will now know the whole story.”

The fact that tons of aspartame is pumped into the world population each year, knowingly and deliberately — especially with the historical and documented record of fraud and misrepresentation expertly defined by this movie — constitutes a conspiracy of the highest order, as well as criminal negligence.

The only rewards of continued use of aspartame are increased profits for the medical and pharmaceutical industries and chemical companies that produce aspartame and treat people suffering from its toxic deadly effects. I could not encourage you more strongly to watch this documentary — your life may well depend on it.

  • ·         Source: Dr. Mercola

 

The Hidden “Cancer-Trigger” You Probably Swallow Every Day.


It’s estimated that half of all hospital beds in the world are occupied by people who have become sick from drinking contaminated water. In fact, over 1 billion people (or about one-sixth of the world’s population) do not have access to safe drinking water, and millions in developing countries die each year from water-related diseases.1

In third-world countries, sunlight exposure is often used to help make water safer, but this natural disinfection process can take anywhere from six to 48 hours (depending on cloud cover and so on).

Now researchers from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine have found a simple twist to make this disinfection method even more powerful, not to mention much faster …

Lime Juice and Sunlight Can Help Make Water Safer

When researchers added lime juice or lime slurry to water that had been contaminated with various types of bacteria and viruses, then exposed it to sunlight, levels of both E. coli and MS2 bacteriophage virus were significantly lower than when compared to solar disinfection alone.2 Kellogg Schwab, PhD, MS, senior author of the study, said:3

“The preliminary results of this study show solar disinfection of water combined with citrus could be effective at greatly reducing E. coli levels in just 30 minutes, a treatment time on par with boiling and other household water treatment methods. In addition, the 30 milliliters of juice per 2 liters of water amounts to about one-half Persian lime per bottle, a quantity that will likely not be prohibitively expensive or create an unpleasant flavor.”

Noroviruses in the drinking water were not significantly reduced using the lime juice/sunlight technique, so unfortunately it is not a perfect solution. However, limes are readily available in most tropical countries, as is steady sunlight, so this finding could still have an extremely beneficial impact in countries that don’t have ready access to clean drinking water.

You may be surprised to learn, however, that your drinking water may still be contaminated even if you live in the developed world. Further, many of the “modern” disinfection processes used in the United States and other developed countries create their own set of issues …

Have You Heard of Disinfection Byproducts?

Part of the allure of natural disinfection processes like exposure to sunlight and lime juice is that they have no harmful side effects – unlike the chlorination process used by most U.S. municipalities.

If you receive municipal water, the main chemical used to disinfect the tap water in your house is chlorine. While your local government is quick to assure you that there is relatively no danger from drinking chlorinated water, that simply is not the case, because the levels of chlorine disinfection byproducts (DBPs) that are produced by this process are both dangerous and alarming.

There is actually no safe level for many contaminants found in drinking water, including heavy metals, pesticides, herbicides, hormones and DBPs, but they persist nonetheless, in varying quantities.

The government is much more concerned with providing water that doesn’t kill you by causing diarrhea (the way it does in many third-world countries) and it does a good job at that, although some microorganisms (cysts and parasites) do survive the chlorination process (cryptosporidium, Giardia, for instance) and can lead to isolated outbreaks of disease and even death to those with compromised immune systems.

If you have not heard of DBPs before, you need to pay close attention as it turns out that DBPs, not chlorine, are responsible for nearly all the toxic effects of chlorinated water. Chlorine by itself is relatively harmless, but its side effects, by producing DBPs, are what cause nearly all of the problems.

As it turns out, DBPs are over 10,000 times more toxic than chlorine, and out of all the other toxins and contaminants present in your water, such as fluoride and miscellaneous pharmaceutical drugs, DBPs may be the absolute worst of the bunch.

The most common disinfectant byproducts formed when chlorine is used are:

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) takes the dangers of THMs — which are measured in parts per billion (ppb) — very seriously and regulates these compounds. The maximum annual average of THMs in your local water supply cannot exceed 80 ppb, and the maximum annual average of HAAs permitted by EPA regulations is 60 ppb.

However even though these are allowed, ideally it would be best to have zero. These levels have been regularly adjusted downwards over the years as science progresses and gains a deeper appreciation of their true toxicity. What makes DBPs so toxic?

Disinfection Byproducts May Cause Cancer, Reproductive Problems and More

THMs are Cancer Group B carcinogens, meaning they’ve been shown to cause cancer in laboratory animals. DBPs have also been linked to reproductive problems in both animals and humans, and human studies suggest that lifetime consumption of chlorine-treated water can more than double the risk of bladder and rectal cancers in certain individuals.

One such study found that men who smoked and drank chlorinated tap water for more than 40 years faced double the risk of bladder cancer compared with smoking men who drank non-chlorinated water.4 A second study found that rates for rectal cancers for both sexes escalated with duration of consumption of chlorinated water.5 Individuals on low-fiber diets who also drank chlorinated water for over 40 years more than doubled their risk for rectal cancer, compared with lifetime drinkers of non-chlorinated water.

As the vast majority of the U.S. population continues to receive and consume disinfected or chlorinated drinking water, we can assume that Americans are consuming disinfection byproducts every single day, and the number of related cancer cases could be substantial. And, you’re exposed not only when you drink chlorinated water but also, and even more significantly, when you shower or bathe, as well as when you breathe in the chemicals from the air.

The chlorine that enters your lungs is in the form of chloroform, a carcinogen, and chlorite, a byproduct of chlorine dioxide. These forms of chlorine hit your bloodstream instantly before they have a chance to be removed by your organs of detoxification. The DBPs that enter your body through your skin during showering or bathing also go directly into your bloodstream. And the warm or hot water maximizes absorption by your skin. So unless you are regularly taking one-minute long cold showers, your body is like a sponge for these airborne toxins every second you spend in a shower.

If you are like me and obtain your water from a private well, then DBPs are a non-issue as they are only produced when chlorine is added, and it’s highly unusual to add chlorine to most private well water systems. However, well water has its own set of potential hazards as well.

Is Well Water Safe?

Unless you are getting your water from a well that is located 800 feet or more below the ground surface, chances are your well water has been contaminated by some if not many toxic substances that have been dumped into the ground soil over past decades. Some common toxins that are dumped by the millions of pounds into soil every year are:

  • Herbicides
  • Pesticides
  • Estrogen-mimicking hormones
  • Drug residues
  • Heavy metals

Many private wells in the United States have been affected by these types of chemical or heavy metal runoff from the surrounding ground soil, and this is to say nothing of the microorganisms living in well water as well. No matter how clean or pure your natural ground water looks, this has nothing to do with potential bacterial contamination or toxic pollution in the water. Many of the offenders in well water are just much too small to be seen with the naked eye.

So if your home uses well water, you really need to test to see what unwanted contaminants you’re piping into your house, and then filter it accordingly. And if you get municipal water, you should have that tested too, as Sen. Frank Lautenberg, D-N.J. told ABC News that there are more than 140 chemicals in U.S. drinking water supplies that are not regulated by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).6 This includes gasoline, pesticides, rocket fuel, prescription drugs and more. Furthermore, more than 20 percent of U.S. water treatment systems have violated key provisions of the Safe Drinking Water Act over the last six years!

You Can Get Chlorine (and Other Toxins) Out of Your Drinking Water

Most people in the United States are not going to take the time to expose their drinking water and bathwater to sunlight, then add lime juice, to help make it more pure – and this wouldn’t do anything to eliminate the chlorine or fluoride it contains anyway.

Fortunately, there are other options at your disposal.

If you can only afford one filter there is no question in most experts’ minds that the shower filter is the most important product to buy for water filtration, even more important than filtering your tap water. This is because the damage you incur through your skin and lungs far surpasses the damage done by drinking water (which at least gives your body a fighting chance to eliminate the toxins through your organs of elimination).

An even better solution to the problem of harsh chemicals and toxins in your home’s water supply is to install a whole house water filtration system. This not only protects your body, but also your appliances as well. There’s just one water line coming into your house. Putting a filter on this is the easiest and simplest strategy you can implement to take control of your health by ensuring the water and, subsequently, the air in your house is as clean as possible.

Remember, if you are getting your water from a municipal source your indoor air quality, especially in the winter when your windows are closed, is likely atrocious. This is related to the chlorine and other toxins evaporating from all your toilet bowls, showers, baths, dishwashers and washing machines.

My advice for whole house filtration systems is as follows: Find a system that uses at least 60 pounds of filter media and can produce eight or more gallons a minute. When you are running two different showers, the dishwasher and the kitchen sink at the same time, you’ll find out why these minimum levels are so important. This recommendation covers a home or apartment up to 3200 sq./ft, or in other words, a residence with about three and a half bathrooms. For more than that you will probably require two whole house water filtration systems.

You also need to look for a whole house water filter that has three separate stages of contamination removal:

  • Stage one removes sediment
  • Stage two removes chlorine and heavy metals
  • Stage three should be a heavy-duty carbon filter for removing hormones, drug residues, chemicals, pesticides, and herbicides

You want to look for granular carbon in the carbon filter, not a solid block of carbon. The granular carbon allows for better water flow, which translates to more water pressure and better filtering properties as well.

You also want to look for NSF certification, which ensures your water filter is meeting national standards. NSF certification is only granted when a product is proven to remove everything it claims to. It’s also good to makes sure all particles under .8 microns are being filtered out of the water. A lower number is actually better, but .8 microns is the standard I recommend because that covers most bacteria, viruses and VOCs.

Your body requires a constant daily supply of water to fuel all the various waste filtration systems nature has designed to keep you healthy and free of toxins. Your blood, your kidneys, and your liver all require a source of good clean water to detoxify your body from the toxic exposures you come into contact with every day.

When you give your body water that is filled with by-products from chlorination, or with volatile organic compounds, or water that is contaminated by pesticides or hormones, you are asking your body to work twice as hard at detoxification, because it must first detoxify the water you are drinking, before that water can be used to fuel your organs of detoxification! Clearly, one of the most efficient ways to help your body both avoid and eliminate toxins, and reach optimal health, is to provide it with the cleanest, purest water you can find.

  • ·         Source: Dr. Mercola

 

 

Surprise! Vitamin D Can Help or Hinder Your Weight Management.


Vitamin D, once thought to influence little more than bone diseases such as rickets and osteoporosis, is now recognized as a major player in overall human health. Most recently, new studies suggest that your vitamin D status can even help or hinder your weight management, which I’ll review below.

It’s a tragedy that dermatologists and sunscreen manufacturers have done such a thorough job of scaring people out of the sun. Their widely dispersed message to avoid the sun as much as possible, combined with an overall cultural trend of spending more time indoors during work and leisure time has greatly contributed to the widespread vitamin D deficiency seen today.

Vitamin D is actually not a vitamin at all but a potent neuroregulatory steroidal hormone, shown to influence about 10 percent of all the genes in your body. We now know this is one of the primary reasons it can impact such a wide variety of diseases, including:

Cancer Hypertension Heart disease
Autism Obesity Rheumatoid arthritis
Diabetes 1 and 2 Multiple Sclerosis Crohn’s disease
Flu Colds Tuberculosis
Septicemia Aging Psoriasis
Eczema Insomnia Hearing lossex
Muscle pain Cavities Periodontal disease
Athletic performance Macular degeneration Myopia
Pre eclampsia Seizures Fertility
Asthma Cystic fibrosis Migraines
Depression Alzheimer’s disease Schizophrenia

Vitamin D Deficiency Contributes to Weight Gain in Older Women

A new study of more than 4,600 women age 65 and older shows that having low vitamin D levels can contribute to mild weight gain1. Previous research has already showed that obese individuals tend to have low vitamin D levels. Women who had insufficient levels of vitamin D gained about two pounds more compared to those with adequate blood levels of vitamin D during the 4.5-year long study. Those with insufficient levels also weighed more at the outset of the study.

According to Medicine.net2:

“The study can’t say whether low vitamin D is causing the weight gain or just reflecting it.”The study is the first step that we need to evaluate whether vitamin D might be contributing to weight gain,” [lead researcher Erin] LeBlanc says. But there are some theoretical ways that low vitamin D could contribute to weight gain, she says. Fat cells do have vitamin D receptors. “Vitamin D could affect where fat cells shrink or get bigger.”

Here, vitamin D levels above 30 nanograms per milliliter (ng/ml) were considered “sufficient.” As I’ve previously reported, based on the latest vitamin D research this is still far below optimal, so it’s difficult to say what the outcome might be if you were to actually optimize your levels by getting your blood level above 50 ng/ml. Still, despite this low “sufficient” level, 80 percent of the women in the study were found to have insufficient levels, meaning below 30 ng/ml. This gives you an idea of just how widespread this problem really is.

Vitamin D Deficiency Common among Adolescents Evaluated for Weight Loss Surgery

A second study found that more than half of obese adolescents seeking weight loss surgery are deficient in vitamin D. Eight percent were found to have severe deficiencies, and teens with the highest BMIs were the most likely to be vitamin D deficient. Less than 20 percent had adequate vitamin D levels. The research correlates with previous studies showing vitamin D deficiency in adults seeking bariatric surgery. (The results were presented at The Endocrine Society‘s 94th Annual Meeting in Houston on June 26.)

According to Science Daily3:

“This is particularly important prior to bariatric surgery where weight loss and decreased calcium and vitamin D absorption in some procedures may place these patients at further risk,” said study lead author Marisa Censani, M.D., pediatric-endocrinology fellow at Columbia University Medical Center, in New York City.

… “These results support screening all morbidly obese adolescents for vitamin D deficiency, and treating those who are deficient, particularly prior to bariatric procedures that could place these patients at further risk,” Censani said.”

In the US, bariatric weight-loss surgery, such as gastric bypass surgery, is becoming increasingly common among all age groups, including children. Gastric-bypass surgery involves surgically removing a section of your stomach, which limits the amount of food it can hold. However, this procedure is fraught with risks, and maintaining proper nutrition post-surgery is a common challenge that can result in malabsorption syndromes. It’s important to remember that vitamin D, as well as vitamin A, E, and K are fat-soluble, and need a certain amount of healthy fat to be absorbed properly.

What is the OPTIMAL Level of Vitamin D?

The ideal way to optimize your vitamin D levels is through adequate, safe sun exposure or using a safe tanning bed. However, whether you’re tanning or using a vitamin D supplement, it’s important to get your vitamin D levels tested to ensure you’re within the optimal range of 50-70 ng/ml. For more information about proper sun exposure and how to determine whether you can actually get enough vitamin D from the sun at your location during different times of year, please see this previous article.As mentioned earlier, the “normal” 25-hydroxyvitamin D lab values are typically between 20-56 ng/ml. “Sufficient” levels are often considered to be around 30 ng/ml, as in the studies above.

However, this range is too broad to be ideal, and too low to support optimal health.

Beware that any level below 20 ng/ml is considered a serious deficiency state, increasing your risk of as many as 16 different cancers and autoimmune diseases like multiple sclerosis and rheumatoid arthritis. The OPTIMAL value that you’re looking for is 50-70 ng/ml. Keeping your level in this range, and even erring toward the higher numbers in this range, is going to give you the most protective benefit.

But how do you get within that range?

While vitamin D experts typically recommend 35 IU’s of vitamin D per pound of body weight, it’s important to understand that there’s no one dosage recommendation that will be applicable for everyone. The only way to determine how much vitamin D you really need is to get your levels tested at regular intervals to make sure you’re staying within the optimal range of 50-70 ng/ml, and adjust your dosage accordingly. If you’re supplementing, you may find that you don’t need to supplement during the summer, if you’re getting sufficient amounts of sun exposure, for example. But you won’t know if you don’t get your levels tested.

What is the OPTIMAL Way to Obtain Vitamin D?

There is simply no question in my mind that you were designed to receive your vitamin D from ultraviolet B exposure on your exposed skin and ideally this should come from the sun. For virtually the entire history of the human race this is how vitamin D was obtained.  Although vitamin D is in some animal foods it is in relatively low quantities and to my knowledge there are no known ancestral populations that thrived on oral vitamin D sources. Although we can absorb vitamin D orally because it is a fat soluble vitamin, there is strong emerging research that suggests this lacks many of the benefits of vitamin D.

The majority of the research documenting the benefits of optimized vitamin D levels was done with those that had not taken oral vitamin D but had increased their levels naturally through exposure to the sun. I personally have not taken any oral vitamin D for over two years and have been able to consistently keep my levels over 60 ng/ml.   This is partly related to the fact that I work in a sub-tropical environment in the winter.

If I could not do that there is no question that I would still not use oral vitamin D but would use a high quality safe tanning bed that used electronic ballasts that did not emit any dangerous EMF.

How to Know if You’re Getting Vitamin D from Your Sun Exposure

The caveat here is that not all sun exposure will allow for vitamin D production. The key point to understand is that sunlight is composed of about 1500 wavelengths, but the only wavelength that makes your body produce vitamin D are UVB-rays, when they hit exposed skin. The UVB-rays from the sun must pass through the atmosphere and reach where you are on the earth in order for this to take place. This obviously does not occur in the winter for most of us, but the sun’s rays are also impeded during a fair amount of the year for people living in temperate climates.

So how do you know if you have entered into the summer season and into the time of year, for your location, where enough UVB is actually able to penetrate the atmosphere to allow for vitamin D production in your skin?

Due to the physics and wavelength of UVB rays, they will only penetrate the atmosphere when the sun is above an angle of about 50° from the horizon. When the sun is lower than 50°, the ozone layer reflects the UVB-rays but let through the longer UVA-rays.

So the first step is to determine the latitude and longitude of your location. You can easily do this on Google Earth, or if you are in the U.S. you can use the TravelMath Latitude Longitude Calculator to find your latitude and longitude. Once you have obtained that you can go to the U.S. Navy site to calculate a table to determine the times and days of the year that the sun is above 50 degrees from the horizon.

Translated to the date and time of some places on the globe, it means for example: In my hometown of Chicago, the UVB rays are not potentially present until March 25, and by September 16th it is not possible to produce any vitamin D from the sun in Chicago. Please understand it is only theoretically possible to get UVB rays during those times. If it happens to be cloudy or raining, the clouds will also block the UVB rays.

Even Easier if You Have Apple System

Alternatively, if you have an iPhone or iPad you can download a free app called D Minder, which will make all the calculations for you. It was made by an Apple developer who was motivated to simplify the process after he watched the video above.

From a health perspective it doesn’t make much sense to expose your skin to the sun when it is lower than 50 degrees above the horizon because you will not receive any valuable UVB rays, but you will expose yourself to the more dangerous and potentially deadly UVA rays. UVA’s have a longer wavelength than UVB and can more easily penetrate the ozone layer and other obstacles (like clouds and pollution) on their way from the sun to the earth. UVA is what radically increases your risk of skin cancer and photoaging of your skin. So while it will give you a tan, unless the companion UVB rays are available you’re likely doing more harm than good and should probably stay out of the sun to protect your skin.

During the times of the year when UVB rays are not present where you live you essentially have two options: You can use a safe tanning bed or you can swallow oral vitamin D3.

During the summer months, you can generally get enough vitamin D from just spending some time outside every day. Under optimal environmental exposures your body can produce about 20,000 IU of vitamin D per day with full body exposure, about 5,000 IU with 50 percent of your body exposed, and as much as 1,000 IU with just 10 percent of your body exposed.

In the winter months however, and/or times of the year when insufficient amounts of UVB rays reach your location, you will most likely not get enough vitamin D. In that case, I recommend using a safe tanning bed, which is still better than oral vitamin D.

One of the caveats here is to make sure you’re not being exposed to harmful EMF exposure. Most tanning equipment, and nearly all of the early beds from which these studies were conducted, use magnetic ballasts to generate light. These magnetic ballasts are well known sources of EMF fields that can contribute to cancer. If you hear a loud buzzing noise while in a tanning bed, it has a magnetic ballast system. I strongly recommend you avoid these types of beds and restrict your use of tanning beds to those that use electronic ballasts.

Warning: Newer Vitamin D Tests Often Inaccurate, Study Finds

Doctors are becoming increasingly aware of the importance of vitamin D,According to Medscape, vitamin D testing has increased six- to 10-fold over the last decade, and has become one of the most frequently ordered lab tests. However, it’s important to know that there can be significant differences between available vitamin D tests, and according to a recent study, two newer tests appear to be inaccurate more than 40 percent of the time.

The findings are still preliminary and have not yet been peer-reviewed. The study was presented at the annual meeting of The Endocrine Society in Houston on June 23-264. According to Medscape.com5:

“Researchers say newer tests tend to overestimate the number of people who are deficient in vitamin D… The new tests, made by Abbott and Siemens, were approved by the FDA last fall. They’re part of a wave of faster, less expensive tests designed to help laboratories keep up with a boom in demand for vitamin D testing… Holmes and his team wanted to see how well the new tests performed compared to an older, more expensive, and more time-consuming reference method… They ran blood samples from 163 patients on all three tests.

The Abbott Architect test was outside an acceptable margin of error — meaning that the results were either 25% too high or too low, about 40% of the time.

The Siemens Centaur2 test was either too high or too low in 48% of samples.

… The new tests use blood proteins called antibodies that bind to vitamin D. They’re faster because they look for vitamin D in samples of whole blood. In the older, reference method, vitamin D is separated from the blood and measured. The older test can also measure two different forms of vitamin D: Vitamin D2… found in fortified foods and… high-potency supplements that doctors prescribe… and Vitamin D3, the form of the vitamin that the body makes naturally after skin is exposed to sunlight.

The newer test can’t distinguish between the two different types of D.

Holmes says vitamin D2 seems to confuse the tests. He says the tests’ inability to accurately measure that form of the vitamin means that doctors can’t tell if their patients are getting any benefit from it or if they’re taking their supplements as directed.

… In absolute numbers, the reference test showed 33 patients out of 163 were deficient in vitamin D, while the Abbott test showed 45 people were vitamin D deficient, and the Siemens test pointed to deficiency in 71 patients.” [Emphasis mine]

Your Best Bet for Regular Testing: Sign Up with the D*Action Project

To avoid such testing problems and help you get on an inexpensive, regular testing schedule, I highly recommend joining the GrassrootsHealth D*Action Project6; a worldwide public health campaign aiming to solve the vitamin D deficiency epidemic through focus on testing, education, and grassroots word of mouth. When you join D*action, you agree to test your vitamin D levels twice a year during a 5 year program, and to share your health status to demonstrate the public health impact of this nutrient.

There is a $60 fee each 6 months for your sponsorship of the project, which includes a complete new test kit to be used at home (except in the state of New York), and electronic reports on your ongoing progress. When you finish the questionnaire, you can choose your subscription option. You will get a follow up email every 6 months reminding you “it’s time for your next test and health survey.”

This is probably one of the least expensive and most convenient ways to take control of your health.

To join now, please follow this link to the D*Action sign-up.

Source: Dr. Mercola

 

“Ignore THIS… and Risk Exposing You and Your Family to Unnecessary Health Hazards in Your Bathroom”


 

Lurking in Your Steamy Bathroom is a Hidden Danger Potentially 20 Times More Dangerous Than Drinking Unfiltered Tap Water… You Can Easily Put a Stop to It

 

We all know the importance of drinking clean pure water but how many of you know that bathing in chlorine water can actually be WORSE than drinking it?

If you plan to, or have already taken action to effectively filter your drinking water from chlorine and other hazardous chemicals, I commend you for a very smart, healthy decision. It’s an excellent start to protect yourself and your family by providing clean drinking water… as well as safe water for cooking and washing produce.

However, there’s a much greater source of water toxin exposure that you face every day… which could be as much as 10-20 times greater than the water you drink.

The issue with chlorine is not just way it smells or dries out your hair or skin,, but what it produces in your water supply when it combines with organic matter.  When chlorine interacts with this organic matter, disinfection byproducts (DBPs) form.

And these DBPs are far more toxic than the chlorine itself. In fact, DBPs are responsible for the vast majority of the toxic effects of chlorinated water.

As it turns out, estimates range as high as 10,000 times… the toxicity of DBPs compared to the actual chlorine. So, that’s why I feel closer attention needs to be paid to the DBPs found in your water.

Why are DBPs so dangerous? Some of the most common disinfection byproducts that form from the reaction of chlorine and organic matter are trihalomethanes (THMs). THMs are classified as Cancer Group B carcinogens… meaning they’ve been shown to cause cancer in laboratory animals.

I’ll have more details on THMs coming up and how to avoid them, but first you should understand…

Why Filtering Your Drinking Water is NOT Enough

For many years, researchers believed ‘exposure’ to disinfection byproducts came only when chlorine was swallowed. But studies now show how drinking the water is not the only risk. And is likely not even the most severe.

Here’s some startling information about the dangers of chlorine exposure beyond your drinking water…

  • On average, you drink about 1-2 gallons of water per day… but you expose yourself to 25 gallons of water when you shower.
  • As concluded by the American Journal of Public Health… up to two-thirds of harmful chlorine exposure can be due to skin absorption and inhalation while showering.
  • The steam inhaled during a shower can contain up to 20 times the concentration of chlorine (and other synthetic chemicals) as tap water.
  • You can easily absorb as many toxins in 1 shower as you would drinking tap water for an entire week.
  • Studies show that after a 10-minute shower in chlorinated water, your blood levels of THMs (common disinfection byproduct – DBP) can potentially increase by as much as a staggering 700%.

The bottom line… chlorine and its byproducts are the unseen danger lurking in almost every shower. And your health risks can far exceed those of simply drinking tap water.

Now you know why I’m making it clear that filtering only your drinking water is not enough. That hot steamy shower you love so much and find soothing and relaxing, well, it’s potentially filled with vaporized gasses that could harm you and your family.

So, what can you do to avoid all this? I’ll get to that coming up, but first let me get into a few more details on why chlorine, DBPs, and other chemicals found in your shower can get into your system so easily.

How Contaminants Invade Your Body When You Shower

You’ve just learned, and maybe for the first time, how your exposure to chlorine and its associated DBPs can be very high when you shower.

But why doesn’t the chlorinated water just bounce off your body and go down the drain?

The problem is… a hot steamy shower…

  • Triggers your skin pores to open, which in turn…
  • Spikes a high absorption rate of chlorine and other chemicals directly into your system and…
  • Helps create a ‘free pass’ of foreign chemicals into your body fluids and bloodstream – unlike drinking tap water where your digestive processes at least get a chance to filter out some of the harmful contaminants.

The other issue most people don’t think about in that hot, steamy shower they enjoy so much… is inhalation.

Your shower is a hotbed for dangerous chemical vapors as they…

  • Quickly form in the hot, steamy environment – 70% to 90% of the chemicals in your shower water vaporize before the water ever hits the shower floor
  • Get inhaled in high concentrations into your lungs and absorbed through your skin, and can go directly into your bloodstream
  • Have a magnified effect compared to chemicals you might swallow from tap water because there’s nothing to filter them out

So, this is the unfortunate reality on how chlorine and other potentially harmful chemicals in your shower water can easily end up in your body

But what are the possible consequences of absorbing and inhaling chlorine and other chemicals into your body?

Potential Health Risks from Unprotected Showers

Simply put… absorbing and inhaling too much chlorine and associated DBPs are not healthy for you or your family. Long-term health risks certainly can spike due to chlorine effects on your bodily functions.

Cases in point…

  • American Journal of Public Health – Linked chlorine absorption and inhalation exposure to increased cancer, asthma, and skin irritation risks.
  • U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) – When chlorine vaporizes in steam in your shower, it converts to chloroform gas. Chloroform can be a strong respiratory irritant and cause fatigue.
  • The bottom line – When absorbed or inhaled into your body, chlorine DBPs can potentially cause… weakening of your immune system… disruptions to your central nervous system… damaging effects to your cardio system… unhealthy functioning of your renal system… and harmful impacts to your respiratory system.

These are just a few of the potential risks you face when showering in chlorine water. Many studies have also been done that point to the dangerous chlorine vapors found in indoor swimming pools.

A European study conducted by the Department of Public Health in Brussels, Belgium, found that even outdoor swimming pool exposure to chlorinated water could be detrimental to your health.

Any doubt as to the risks of absorbing and inhaling chlorine and its associated DBPs? But what can you do to avoid all this in your shower? I’ll get to that shortly, but first there’s another downside to showering in hot, steamy chlorinated water…

How Chlorine Can Wreak Havoc with Your Hair

Hair color and dye are often among the few cosmetics even ‘natural-minded’ people justify using. Many people, and not just women, want to cover up what they consider unsightly gray hair.

Well, showering in water with chlorine concentrations can potentially impact the longevity of your hair dye.

How? Chlorine strips the natural protective oils from your skin and hair… causing excess drying. This in turn breaks down the dye.

If you’ve been a visitor to my site over the years, you might already know how I feel about the risks of hair dye. Your scalp has a very rich blood supply capable of transporting dye toxins throughout your body. So, if you must use it, coloring your hair less often is better than doing it more on a regular basis.

But by showering in steamy chlorinated water, the chances of having to dye your hair more often increases due to the effects of the chlorine.

So, enough already… Let’s start to look at what steps you can take to make your shower a safer place for both you and your family. After all, everyone has to shower or bathe to stay clean and refreshed.

How to Minimize Your Exposure to Steamy Shower Contaminants

First of all, your local municipal water supply company is obligated by law to provide you a breakdown of what’s in your water. It’s extremely likely it contains chlorine and DBPs. I strongly recommend you request a quality report from your local water purveyor at least once a year (if you’re not already receiving one).

Many companies make the information available online. If not, contact them directly to find out how you can get a report and what’s in the water you use. I strongly recommend you do this just to see what you’re up against and to become more informed on water safety.

Here are some simple steps I recommend you take to minimize your exposure to chlorine and DBPs in your shower.

  • Limit the amount of time you spend in your shower – The longer you shower the more your exposure to toxins increases. It’s estimated that doubling your shower time quadruples the amount of vaporized chemical gases you’re exposed to.
  • Bath in well water if possible. Unfortunately this is not possible for most but if you are fortunate enough to have a well with clean water most of your toxic bathing contaminant concerns are eliminated.
  • Lower the temperature of your shower water – Hot water opens up the pores of your skin allowing a higher absorption rate of chlorine, DBPs, and other chemicals. Plus, the steam produced can contain high concentrations of vaporized gasses you can inhale.
  • Use lower water pressure. This will decrease the amount of water coming in and contaminants coming out of the fixture. Additionally if you have a shower filter it will also increase the contact time with the media and allow more contaminants to be removed.
  • Get serious about shower water safety by acknowledging the risks associated with showering in chlorinated water – Consider obtaining a high-quality filtration system for your shower.

 

  • ·         Source: Dr. Mercola

 

 

Reducing the Rate of Active TB by Targeted Testing and Treatment.


Such a program, initiated by the Tennessee Department of Health, prevented an estimated 184 cases of active tuberculosis during its first 5 years.

Although the overall number of new tuberculosis (TB) cases has declined in the U.S., the proportion of cases among foreign-born individuals has increased. Most such cases are due to reactivation of latent TB infection (LTBI).

To address this problem, the Tennessee Department of Health initiated a targeted tuberculin testing program in which individuals determined to have any risk factor for TB exposure (or for progression to active TB, once infected) are screened using the tuberculin skin test (TST), and those with positive test results receive treatment for LTBI. Now, researchers have evaluated the results of this program from its initiation, in March 2002, through December 2006.

After initial risk screening of 168,517 people, 125,200 individuals had a TST placed. Of these, 91,332 (73%) were considered to be high risk, including 21,680 (17%) who were foreign born. Among 102,709 recorded TST results, 9090 (9%) were positive. The positive TST rate was 33% for foreign-born persons, compared with 5% for high-risk, U.S.-born individuals and 1% for low-risk individuals. The number needed to test to identify one case of LTBI was 4 for foreign-born individuals, 24 for high-risk, U.S.-born persons, and 85 for low-risk persons. A total of 4780 individuals with positive TST results initiated LTBI therapy, and 1953 (54%) completed it. An estimated 184 cases of active TB were prevented.

Comment: These findings suggest that targeted testing and treatment of persons at high risk for TB, particularly those who are foreign born, can result in marked reductions in TB rates over time.

Source: Journal Watch Infectious Diseases

HAS-BLED for Assessing Bleeding Risk with Anticoagulation: Best of the Mediocre.


Notwithstanding a lackluster performance, HAS-BLED beat two other scoring systems in a comparative analysis of trial data.

Bleeding continues to be the Achilles heel of systemic anticoagulation, whether the agent used is warfarin or any of the new anticoagulants entering the market. Predictive models for bleeding include the following:

ATRIA (anticoagulation and risk factors in atrial fibrillation)

Investigators for the AMADEUS trial comparing warfarin with idraparinux (JW Gen Med Feb 26 2008) retrospectively applied all three scoring systems to the 2293 patients randomized to the warfarin arm. Although none of the three demonstrated more than modest efficacy in predicting any clinically relevant bleeding (c-index range, 0.50–0.60), HAS-BLED — the simplest to use — outperformed the others, especially with regard to intracranial hemorrhage (c-index, 0.75).

Comment: Although their predictive value is limited, these scoring systems quantify bleeding risk and thus are better than qualitative clinical judgment alone. The simple HAS-BLED model performed better than the others and is a reasonable tool to assess bleeding risk in clinical practice, at least for now.

Source: Journal Watch Cardiology