5 Grocery Items that Could Be Wrecking Your Kidneys.


 

Top-5-Items-to-Toss

If you’re cleaning house this March, start in the kitchen. Besides dust bunnies and canned fruits that have outlived their expiration dates, get ready to clear out some common grocery items that could be wrecking your body’s filter—the kidneys. The kidneys work 24/7 to clean out toxins in the body, so keep them healthy by cleaning out your kitchen. March is National Kidney Month, March 14 is World Kidney Day—the perfect time to trash the following, according to the National Kidney Foundation:

The salt shaker. Believe it or not, Americans today consume 50% more than the recommended daily quantity of sodium. Diets high in sodium increase blood pressure levels and high blood pressure damages the kidneys over time. It’s 2,300 mg of sodium that amounts to about one teaspoon of salt per day that should be the limit.

The red meat. High protein diets, especially those containing large quantities of animal protein, may harm the kidneys. Red meat is also high in saturated fat—another no-no.

The soda. Sugar-sweetened beverages, such as sodas are high calorie and contain no nutritious value. Consumption of these beverages has recently been linked to the presence of protein in the urine, one of the earliest signs of kidney disease. Colas also have phosphorus additives which can harm the kidneys.

The processed food. Crackers, potato chips, deli meats, cheese spreads, instant potato mix are all examples of processed foods that are high in sodium and phosphorus additives – both which can have negative effects on the kidneys.

Sugar. An overdose of sugar can lead to health problems such as diabetes and obesity. These are risk factors for kidney disease so eliminating or reducing sugar intake can reduce your risk as well.

Source: kidney.org.

 

Novartis receives EU approval for Ilaris® in patients suffering acute gouty arthritis attacks who cannot gain relief from current treatments .


 

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  • Ilaris® is the first biologic approved in the EU for symptomatic pain relief in a gouty arthritis indication, and is administered in a single, subcutaneous injection[1] 
  • The intense inflammatory response associated with gouty arthritis attacks can cause severe pain and debilitating symptoms that can last a week or more. 
  • Existing treatments are unsuitable to treat these crippling attacks for certain groups of gouty arthritis patients, particularly those with serious comorbidities[5],[6] 
  • Ilaris, the only approved fully human monoclonal antibody targeting interleukin-1 beta (IL-1 beta), is being investigated in a number of rare inflammatory conditions

Novartis announced today that the European Commission (EC) has approved llaris (canakinumab, ACZ885) in the treatment of patients with acute gouty arthritis who suffer frequent attacks, and whose symptoms cannot or should not be managed with current treatment options. Ilaris is the first biologic approved in the EU for symptomatic pain relief in a gouty arthritis indication, and is administered in a single, subcutaneous injection of 150 mg[1].

Ilaris is specifically indicated for the ‘symptomatic treatment of adult patients with frequent gouty arthritis attacks (at least 3 attacks in the previous 12 months) in whom non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) and colchicine are contraindicated, are not tolerated, or do not provide an adequate response, and in whom repeated courses of corticosteroids are not appropriate'[1].

The EC also granted an additional year of data exclusivity to Novartis based on the significant clinical benefit over existing treatments demonstrated for Ilaris.

“The approval of Ilaris for acute gouty arthritis attacks in patients without appropriate treatment options provides new hope for those debilitated by this excruciating condition,” said David Epstein, Division Head of Novartis Pharmaceuticals. “Ilaris targets interleukin-1 beta, a key player in gouty arthritis inflammation. Our vision is to realize the potential of Ilaris wherever IL-1 beta plays a key role and available treatment options don’t give patients the help they need.”

Gouty arthritis, commonly referred to as gout, is a serious, chronic and progressive inflammatory disease that generally affects 1 to 4% of adults[2],[7]-[10]. Gouty arthritis attacks occur when the body has a strong inflammatory response to uric acid crystals forming in the affected joint, typically of the toe, foot, ankle, or knee[2],[4]. The disease is associated with a high prevalence of comorbidities, such as hypertension, kidney disease, diabetes, dyslipidemia and cardiovascular disease. These conditions can lead to contraindications for existing therapies and complications for disease management[5],[6],[11],[12].

Data from two Phase III trials and their extensions, which supported the EU approval for Ilaris in acute gouty arthritis attacks, showed that patients treated with Ilaris experienced significantly greater pain relief compared to the injectable steroid triamcinolone acetonide (TA)[13]. The majority of adverse events (AEs) were mild to moderate, with infections (e.g. upper respiratory tract infections and nasopharyngitis) being the most frequent of them.

About Ilaris Phase III Studies
Ilaris has been assessed for the treatment of acute gouty arthritis attacks in two multicentre, randomized, double-blind, active-controlled studies in patients with frequent gouty arthritis attacks (>=3 in the previous year) who were unable to use NSAIDs or colchicine (due to contraindication, intolerance or lack of efficacy). The studies were 12 weeks in duration followed by 12 week double-blind initial extensions[13].

A total of 454 patients were randomized to receive a single dose of Ilaris 150 mg via subcutaneous injection or TA 40 mg via intramuscular injection[13].

Both trials used an internationally recognized pain scale (visual analogue scale, or VAS) to measure differences in pain 72 hours after treatment. Pain intensity in the overall study population was statistically significantly lower for Ilaris 150 mg compared to TA at 72 hours (-10.7 mm, p<0.0001), with an absolute mean decrease in VAS score of approximately -50 mm. Reduction in pain was observed as early as 6 hours after dosing in both groups. A statistically significant difference between treatments was observed from 24 hours to 7 days. Ilaris also reduced the risk of subsequent attacks[13].

Safety results showed an increased incidence of AEs for Ilaris compared to TA, with 66% vs. 53% of patients reporting any adverse event and 20% vs. 10% of patients reporting an infection adverse event over 24 weeks[1].

A sub-analysis of these studies included 101 patients unable to use NSAIDs and colchicine, and on stable urate lowering therapy (ULT) or unable to use ULT. Pain relief was similar to that shown in the total study population (-10.2 mm for Ilaris 150 mg compared with TA at 72 hours, p=0.0208)[14].

About Ilaris
Ilaris is a selective, fully human, monoclonal antibody that inhibits IL-1 beta, which is an important part of the body’s immune system defenses[1]. Excessive production of IL-1 beta plays a prominent role in certain inflammatory diseases. Ilaris works by neutralizing IL-1 beta for a sustained period of time, therefore inhibiting inflammation.

In addition to its approval in refractory gouty arthritis in the EU, Ilaris is approved in more than 60 countries, including in the EU, US, Switzerland and Japan for the treatment of Cryopyrin-Associated Periodic Syndromes (CAPS). CAPS is a suite of rare, life-long, genetic, autoinflammatory diseases with debilitating symptoms[1]. The approved indication may vary depending upon the individual country.

Ilaris is being investigated in a number of rare inflammatory conditions, which include, systemic juvenile idiopathic arthritis (SJIA), Tumor Necrosis Factor Receptor-Associated Periodic Syndrome (TRAPS), colchicine-resistant Familial Mediterranean Fever (FMF) and cardiovascular disease. Not all patients with these diseases would be eligible for treatment with Ilaris, if approved for the applicable disease.

In the US, Novartis continues to work with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to determine the next steps for ACZ885 in gouty arthritis, following a Complete Response letter received in August 2011 with a request by the Agency for additional clinical data to evaluate the benefit risk profile in refractory patients.

About Gouty Arthritis
Gouty arthritis is the most common form of inflammatory arthritis in adults[10],[15]. This chronic and progressive disease is characterized by recurrent attacks in select joints[2]. The intense inflammatory response associated with these attacks may cause severe pain and debilitating symptoms that can last a week or more.

Treatments currently available to manage the pain and inflammation of gouty arthritis attacks, such as NSAIDs, colchicine or corticosteroids, may be inadequate or inappropriate in patients who have certain coexisting medical problems. As a result, there is a significant unmet medical need among individuals with gouty arthritis.

Source: Novartis newsletter.

 

Benefits of Yoga—What the Research Says About its Use for Common Health Problems .


 

yoga

Your body and your health can — indeed must — change as you start implementing the correct lifestyle changes. Yoga has received some well-deserved media attention recently.

Two recent studies show that regular yoga classes can help improve atrial fibrillation1 (irregular heartbeat) and common psychiatric disorders.2

While I believe you need to incorporate anaerobic exercise (high intensity interval training) for optimal health, there’s no doubt that yoga can be an important part of a comprehensive exercise program.

Yoga is particularly useful for promoting flexibility and core muscles, and has been proven beneficial if you suffer with back pain. As you’ll see later in this article, yoga can also help you turn your health around if you’re too overweight to engage in more strenuous types of exercise.

Ideally, you’ll want a comprehensive fitness program that includes aerobic, anaerobic, and resistance training as well, in addition to flexibility and core-building exercises like yoga, or Foundation Training (created by Dr. Eric Goodman) which incorporates many Yoga principals but has modified it to focus on muscle groups that most Americans are at risk of injuring because of the enormous amount of time they spend sitting.

Have Irregular Heart Rhythm? Yoga May Help…

The first featured study3 included 49 patients who had been diagnosed with atrial fibrillation (AF) for an average of five years. AF — a condition in which the upper chambers of your heart quiver chaotically — affects an estimated 2.7 million Americans.

They’re typically prescribed drugs like beta blockers in an effort to alleviate the symptoms, but these drugs don’t work for all patients, and come with a slew of side effects.

Beta blockers work by “blocking” the normally stimulating effects of the adrenaline hormone on your heart. They also slow your heart rate and reduce your heart’s need for oxygen when you exert yourself, which means your heart doesn’t have to work as hard.

These drugs have been used for more than 30 years to treat high blood pressure, and they are recommended as the first line of defense in both the United States and international health guidelines.

Aside from often being ineffective, they’re known to cause an array of serious side effects including heart attack and stroke, type 2 diabetes, and sexual dysfunction, just to name a few.

Considering the hazards of the drug paradigm, it certainly makes sense to look into safer alternatives or add-ons, and yoga might offer quite a bit of relief.

For the first three months of the study, the participants’ heart symptoms, blood pressure, heart rate, anxiety and depression levels, and general quality of life were assessed and tracked. During the second phase, the participants took yoga classes at least twice a week for three months, while still tracking their symptoms.

At the end of the study, the number of times participants reported heart quivering (confirmed by heart monitor), dropped by half. Their average heart rate also fell from an average of 67 beats per minute during the first three months, to 61-62 beats per minute post-yoga. The participants also reported feeling less anxiety and depression. Anxiety scores fell from an average of 34 (on a scale of 20-80) to an average of 25.

According to the authors:4

“There was significant decrease in heart rate, and systolic and diastolic blood pressure before and after yoga… In patients with paroxysmal AF, yoga improves symptoms, arrhythmia burden, heart rate, blood pressure, anxiety and depression scores, and several domains of quality of life.”

Yoga’s Impact on Your Mental Health

In related news, Duke University researchers recently published a review5 of more than 100 studies looking at the effect of yoga on mental health. Lead author Dr. P. Murali Doraiswamy, a professor of psychiatry and medicine at Duke University Medical Center told Time Magazine:6

“Most individuals already know that yoga produces some kind of a calming effect. Individually, people feel better after doing the physical exercise. Mentally, people feel calmer, sharper, maybe more content. We thought it’s time to see if we could pull all [the literature] together… to see if there’s enough evidence that the benefits individual people notice can be used to help people with mental illness.”

According to their findings, yoga appears to have a positive effect on:

  • Mild depression
  • Sleep problems
  • Schizophrenia (among patients using medication)
  • ADHD (among patients using medication)

Some of the studies suggest yoga can have a similar effect to antidepressants and psychotherapy, by influencing neurotransmitters and boosting serotonin. Yoga was also found to reduce levels of inflammation, oxidative stress, blood lipids and growth factors. As reported by Time:7

“Embracing yoga as a complementary treatment for mental disorders is not uncommon. Yoga is a feature in many veterans’ centers throughout the country, backed by research funded by the Department of Veterans Affairs. The Huffington Post reported that many troops use yoga as a form of treatment for PTSD, for example, with companies like Warriors at Ease training instructors in yoga techniques specifically catered to those in the military. A study published earlier this month of 70 active-duty troops found daily yoga eased anxiety and improved sleep.

The researchers say there’s enough evidence to warrant a larger study on the effects of yoga on mental health, and it should be considered as part of treatment for more disorders…

‘What we are saying is that we still need to do further, large-scale studies before we are ready to conclude that people with mental illnesses can turn to yoga as a first-line treatment,’ says Doraiswamy. ‘We are not saying throw away your Prozac and turn to yoga. We’re saying it has the promise and potential. If a large national study were done, it could turn out that yoga is just as good and may be a low cost alternative to people with unmet needs.’ In the meantime, he says it doesn’t hurt to add yoga to existing treatments so patients can take advantage of any potential benefits.”

Is Exercise the Best ‘Drug’ for Depression?

Some psychologists swear by exercise as a primary form of treatment for depression, anxiety and other mood disorders. Research has shown again and again that patients who follow aerobic-exercise regimens see improvement in their depression — improvements comparable to that of those treated with medication. The results really are impressive when you consider that exercise is virtually free and can provide you with numerous other health benefits too.

Exercise not only relieves depressive symptoms but also appears to prevent them from recurring. For example, one study conducted by Duke University in the late 1990’s divided depressed patients into three treatment groups:

  • Exercise only
  • Exercise plus antidepressant
  • Antidepressant drug only

After six weeks, the drug-only group was doing slightly better than the other two groups. However, after 10 months of follow-up, it was the exercise-only group that had the highest remission and stay-well rate. In another study,8 which involved 80 adults aged 20 to 45 years who were diagnosed with mild to moderate depression, researchers looked at exercise alone to treat the condition and found:

  • Those who exercised with low-intensity for three and five days a week showed a 30 percent reduction in symptoms
  • Participants who did stretching flexibility exercises 15 to 20 minutes three days a week averaged a 29 percent decline

Yoga for Weight Loss and Health Maintenance

The following video, featuring Arthur Boorman, a disabled veteran of the Gulf War, is perhaps one of the most inspiring yoga success stories I’ve ever seen. His injuries had put him on a downward spiral for 15 years, and his doctors had told him he’d never be able to walk unassisted again. Due to his injuries, he couldn’t perform high impact exercises, but one day, he came across an article about yoga, and the rest, as they say, is history…

If you’ve ever doubted the transformative power of a low impact exercise such as yoga, I urge you to take a look at this video. It’s a truly remarkable story. Not only did he rapidly start losing weight, he also gained tremendous strength, balance and flexibility — to the point he proved his doctors’ prognosis wrong by walking unaided in less than a year!

Interestingly, research9 published just last year discovered that yoga has a beneficial impact on leptin, a hormone that plays a key role in regulating energy intake and energy expenditure. According to the authors, novice yoga practitioners had 36 percent higher leptin levels compared to experts, leading them to theorize that regular yoga practice may benefit your health by altering leptin and adiponectin production:

“We compared adiponectin and leptin data from novice and expert yoga practitioners. Leptin plays a proinflammatory role, adiponectin has anti-inflammatory properties. Leptin was 36 percent higher among novices compared to experts. Experts’ average adiponectin to leptin ratio was nearly twice that of novices.”

Both insulin and leptin resistance are associated with obesity, and impairment of their ability to transfer the information to receptors is the true foundational core of most all chronic degenerative diseases. Leptin tells your brain whether you should be hungry, eat and make more fat, whether you should reproduce, or (partly by controlling insulin) whether to engage in maintenance and repair. In short, leptin is the way that your fat stores speak to your brain to let your brain know how much energy is available and, very importantly, what to do with it.

Therefore, leptin may be on top of the food chain in metabolic importance and relevance to disease. If your leptin signaling is working properly.

When your fat stores are “full,” this extra fat will cause a surge in your leptin level, which signals your brain to stop feeling hungry, to stop eating, to stop storing fat and to start burning some extra fat off. Controlling hunger is a major (though not the only) way that leptin controls energy storage. Hunger is a very powerful, ancient, and deep-seated drive that, if stimulated long enough, will make you eat and store more energy. The only way to eat less in the long-term is to not be hungry, and the only way to do this is to control the hormones that regulate hunger, the primary one being leptin.

Aim for a Comprehensive Fitness Program

Yoga and other simple restorative exercises tone and strengthen your body, increase circulation and oxygen flow, energize you for the day and help you unwind in the evening. However, while recent studies support the use yoga to improve atrial fibrillation and common psychiatric disorders (along with many other health benefits, such as promoting flexibility and core muscles, alleviating back pain, and more), I think it’s important to incorporate a variety of exercises into your routine for optimal health results.

Ideally, you’ll want a comprehensive fitness program that includes aerobic, anaerobic, and resistance training as well, in addition to flexibility and core-building exercises like yoga, or Foundation Training.

Foundation Training, created by Dr. Eric Goodman is another simple and elegant approach that can be particularly useful for those with back pain and/or those who are too infirm for yoga.  Foundation training is all about your core.  As Dr. Goodman explains, your core is anything that connects to your pelvis, whether above or below it and this includes your hamstrings, glutes, and adductor muscles. Foundation Training teaches all those muscles to work together through integrated chains of movement, which is how you’re structurally designed to move.  It also teaches you structural breathing, which will help improve your posture, especially when seated.  For more information about Foundation Training, check out my previous article and interview with Dr. Goodman.

Source: mercola.com

10 Lies and Misconceptions Spread By Mainstream Nutrition .


There’s no shortage of health myths out there, but I believe the truth is slowly but surely starting to seep out there and get a larger audience. For example, two recent articles actually hit the nail right on the head in terms of good nutrition advice.

Shape Magazine features a slide show on “9 ingredients nutritionists won’t touch,”1 and authoritynutrition.com listed “11 of the biggest lies of mainstream nutrition.

These health topics are all essential to get “right” if you want to protect your health, and the health of your loved ones, which is why I was delighted to see both of these sources disseminating spot-on advice. I highly recommend reading through both of them.

Here, I will review my own top 10 lies and misconceptions of mainstream nutrition—some of which are included in the two featured sources, plus a few additional ones I believe are important.

Lie # 1: ‘Saturated Fat Causes Heart Disease’

As recently as 2002, the “expert” Food & Nutrition Board issued the following misguided statement, which epitomizes this myth:

“Saturated fats and dietary cholesterol have no known beneficial role in preventing chronic disease and are not required at any level in the diet.”

Similarly, the National Academies’ Institute of Medicine recommends adults to get 45–65 percent of their calories from carbohydrates, 20-35 percent from fat, and 10-35 percent from protein. This is an inverse ideal fat to carb ratio that is virtually guaranteed to lead you astray, and result in a heightened risk of chronic disease.

Most people benefit from 50-70 percent healthful fats in their diet for optimal health, whereas you need very few, if any, carbohydrates to maintain good health… Although that may seem like a lot, fat is much denser and consumes a much smaller portion of your meal plate.

This dangerous recommendation, which arose from an unproven hypothesis from the mid-1950s, has been harming your health and that of your loved ones for about 40 years now.

The truth is, saturated fats from animal and vegetable sources provide the building blocks for cell membranes and a variety of hormones and hormone-like substances, without which your body cannot function optimally. They also act as carriers for important fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E and K. Dietary fats are also needed for the conversion of carotene to vitamin A, for mineral absorption, and for a host of other biological processes.

In fact, saturated is the preferred fuel for your heart! For more information about saturated fats and the essential role they play in maintaining your health, please read my previous article The Truth About Saturated Fat.

Lie # 2: ‘Eating Fat Makes You Gain Weight’

The low-fat myth may have done more harm to the health of millions than any other dietary recommendation as the resulting low-fat craze led to increased consumption of trans-fats, which we now know increases your risk of obesity, diabetes and heart disease—the very health problems wrongfully attributed to saturated fats…

To end the confusion, it’s very important to realize that eating fat will not make you fat!

The primary cause of excess weight and all the chronic diseases associated with it, is actually the consumption of too much sugar — especially fructose, but also all sorts of grains, which rapidly convert to sugar in your body. If only the low-fat craze had been a low-sugar craze… then we wouldn’t have nearly as much chronic disease as we have today. For an explanation of why and how a low-fat diet can create the very health problems it’s claimed to prevent, please see this previous article.

Lie # 3: ‘Artificial Sweeteners are Safe Sugar-Replacements for Diabetics, and Help Promote Weight Loss’

Most people use artificial sweeteners to lose weight and/or because they’re diabetic and need to avoid sugar. The amazing irony is that nearly all the studies that have carefully analyzed their effectiveness show that those who use artificial sweeteners actually gain more weight than those who consume caloric sweeteners. Studies have also revealed that artificial sweeteners can be worse than sugar for diabetics.

In 2005, data gathered from the 25-year long San Antonio Heart Study showed that drinking dietsoft drinks increased the likelihood of serious weight gain, far more so than regular soda.3 On average, each diet soft drink the participants consumed per day increased their risk of becoming overweight by 65 percent within the next seven to eight years, and made them 41 percent more likely to become obese. There are several potential causes for this, including:

  • Sweet taste alone appears to increase hunger, regardless of caloric content.
  • Artificial sweeteners appear to simply perpetuate a craving for sweets, and overall sugar consumption is therefore not reduced—leading to further problems controlling your weight.4
  • Artificial sweeteners may disrupt your body’s natural ability to “count calories,” as evidenced in studies such as this 2004 study at Purdue University,5 which found that rats fed artificially sweetened liquids ate more high-calorie food than rats fed high-caloric sweetened liquids.

There is also a large number of health dangers associated with artificial sweeteners and aspartame in particular. I’ve compiled an ever-growing list of studies pertaining to health problems associated with aspartame, which you can find here. If you’re still on the fence, I highly recommend reviewing these studies for yourself so that you can make an educated decision. For more information on aspartame, the worst artificial sweetener, please see my aspartame video.

Lie # 4: ‘Your Body Cannot Tell the Difference Between Sugar and Fructose’

Of the many health-harming ingredients listed in the featured article by Shape Magazine—all of which you’re bound to get in excess if you consume processed foods—fructose is perhaps the greatest threat to your health. Mounting evidence testifies to the fact that excess fructose, primarily in the form of high fructose corn syrup (HFCS), is a primary factor causing not just obesity, but also chronic and lethal disease. In fact, I am convinced that fructose is one of the leading causes of a great deal of needless suffering from poor health and premature death.

Many conventional health “experts,” contend that sugar and fructose in moderation is perfectly okay and part of a normal “healthy” diet, and the corn industry vehemently denies any evidence showing that fructose is metabolically more harmful than regular sugar (sucrose). This widespread denial and sweeping the evidence under the carpet poses a massive threat to your health, unless you do your own research.

As a standard recommendation, I advise keeping your total fructose consumption below 25 grams per day. For most people it would also be wise to limit your fructose from fruit to 15 grams or less. Unfortunately, while this is theoretically possible, precious few people are actually doing that.

Cutting out a few desserts will not make a big difference if you’re still eating a “standard American diet”—in fact, I’ve previously written about how various foods and beverages contain far more sugar than a glazed doughnut. Because of the prevalence of HFCS in foods and beverages, the average person now consumes 1/3 of a pound of sugar EVERY DAY, which is five ounces or 150 grams, half of which is fructose.

That’s 300 percent more than the amount that will trigger biochemical havoc. Remember that is the AVERAGE; many actually consume more than twice that amount. For more details about the health dangers of fructose and my recommendations, please see my recent article Confirmed—Fructose Can Increase Your Hunger and Lead to Overeating.

Lie # 5: ‘Soy is a Health Food’

The meteoric rise of soy as a “health food” is a perfect example of how a brilliant marketing strategy can fool millions. But make no mistake about it, unfermented soy products are NOT healthful additions to your diet, and can be equally troublesome for men and women of all ages. If you find this recommendation startling then I would encourage you to review some of the many articles listed on my Soy Index Page.

Contrary to popular belief, thousands of studies have actually linked unfermented soy to malnutrition, digestive distress, immune-system breakdown, thyroid dysfunction, cognitive decline, reproductive disorders and infertility—even cancer and heart disease.

Not only that, but more than 90 percent of American soy crops are genetically modified, which carries its own set of health risks.6 I am not opposed to all soy, however. Organic and, most importantly, properly fermented soy does have great health benefits. Examples of such healthful fermented soy products include tempeh, miso and natto. Here is a small sampling of the detrimental health effects linked to unfermented soy consumption:

Breast cancer

Brain damage

Infant abnormalities

Thyroid disorders

Kidney stones

Immune system impairment

Severe, potentially fatal food allergies

Impaired fertility

Danger during pregnancy and breastfeeding

Lie # 6: ‘Eggs are a Source of Unhealthy Cholesterol’

Eggs are probably one of the most demonized foods in the United States, mainly because of the misguided idea implied by the lipid hypothesis that eating egg yolk increases the cholesterol levels in your body. You can forget about such concerns, because contrary to popular belief, eggs are one of the healthiest foods you can eat and they do not have a detrimental impact on cholesterol levels. Numerous nutritional studies have dispelled the myth that you should avoid eating eggs, so this recommendation is really hanging on by a very bare thread…

One such study7, conducted by the Yale Prevention Research Center and published in 2010, showed that egg consumption did not have a negative effect on endothelial function – a measure of cardiac risk – and did not cause a spike on cholesterol levels. The participants of the Yale study ate two eggs per day for a period of six weeks. There are many benefits associated with eggs, including:

One egg contains 6 grams of high quality protein and all 9 essential amino acids

Eggs are good for your eyes because they contain lutein and zeaxanthin, antioxidants found in your lens and retina. These two compounds help protect your eyes from damage caused by free radicals and avoid eye diseases like macular degeneration and cataracts

Eggs are a good source of choline (one egg contains about 300 micrograms), a member of the vitamin B family essential for the normal function of human cells and helps regulate the nervous and cardiovascular systems. Choline is especially beneficial for pregnant mothers as it is influences normal brain development of the unborn child

Eggs are one of the few foods that contain naturally occurring vitamin D (24.5 grams)

Eggs may help promote healthy hair and nails due to their high sulphur content

Eggs also contain biotin, calcium, copper, folate, iodine, iron, manganese, magnesium, niacin, potassium, selenium, sodium, thiamine, vitamin A, vitamin B2, vitamin B12, vitamin E and zinc

Choose free-range organic eggs, and avoid “omega-3 eggs” as this is not the proper way to optimize your omega-3 levels. To produce these omega-3 eggs, the hens are usually fed poor-quality sources of omega-3 fats that are already oxidized. Omega-3 eggs are more perishable than non-omega-3 eggs.

Lie # 7: ‘Whole Grains are Good for Everyone’

The use of whole-grains is an easy subject to get confused on especially for those who have a passion for nutrition, as for the longest time we were told the fiber in whole grains is highly beneficial. Unfortunately ALL grains, including whole-grain and organic varieties, can elevate your insulin levels, which can increase your risk of disease. They also contain gluten, which many are sensitive to, if not outright allergic. It has been my experience that more than 85 percent of Americans have trouble controlling their insulin levels — especially those who have the following conditions:

  • Overweight
  • Diabetes
  • High blood pressure
  • High cholesterol
  • Protein metabolic types

In addition, sub-clinical gluten intolerance is far more common than you might think, which can also wreak havoc with your health. As a general rule, I strongly recommend eliminating or at least restricting grains as well as sugars/fructose from your diet, especially if you have any of the above conditions that are related to insulin resistance. The higher your insulin levels and the more prominent your signs of insulin overload are, the more ambitious your grain elimination needs to be.

If you are one of the fortunate ones without insulin resistance and of normal body weight, then grains are fine, especially whole grains—as long as you don’t have any issues with gluten and select organic and unrefined forms. It is wise to continue to monitor your grain consumption and your health as life is dynamic and constantly changing. What might be fine when you are 25 or 30 could become a major problem at 40 when your growth hormone and level of exercise is different.

Lie # 8: ‘Milk Does Your Body Good’

Unfortunately, the myth that conventional pasteurized milk has health benefits is a persistent one, even though it’s far from true. Conventional health agencies also refuse to address the real dangers of the growth hormones and antibiotics found in conventional milk. I do not recommend drinking pasteurized milk of any kind, including organic, because once milk has been pasteurized its physical structure is changed in a way that can actually cause allergies and immune problems.

Important enzymes like lactase are destroyed during the pasteurization process, which causes many people to not be able to digest milk. Additionally, vitamins (such as A, C, B6 and B12) are diminished and fragile milk proteins are radically transformed from health nurturing to unnatural amino acid configurations that can actually worsen your health. The eradication of beneficial bacteria through the pasteurization process also ends up promoting pathogens rather than protecting you from them.

The healthy alternative to pasteurized milk is raw milk, which is an outstanding source of nutrients including beneficial bacteria such as lactobacillus acidophilus, vitamins and enzymes, and it is, in my estimation, one of the finest sources of calcium available. For more details please watch the interview I did with Mark McAfee, who is the owner of Organic Pastures, the largest organic dairy in the US.

However, again, if you have insulin issues and are struggling with weight issues, high blood pressure, diabetes, cancer or high cholesterol it would be best to restrict your dairy to organic butter as the carbohydrate content, lactose, could be contribute to insulin and leptin resistance. Fermented organic raw dairy would eliminate the lactose issue and would be better tolerated. But if you are sensitive to dairy it might be best to avoid these too.

Lie # 9: ‘Genetically Engineered Foods are Safe and Comparable to Conventional Foods’

Make no mistake about it; genetically engineered (GE) foods may be one of the absolute most dangerous aspects of our food supply today. I strongly recommend avoiding ALL GE foods. Since over 90 percent of all corn grown in the US is GE corn, and over 95 percent all soy is GE soy, this means that virtually every processed food you encounter at your local supermarket that does not bear the “USDA Organic” label likely contains one or more GE components. To avoid GE foods, first memorize the following list of well-known and oft-used GE crops:

Corn

Canola

Alfalfa (New GM crop as of 2011)

Soy

Cottonseed

Sugar derived from sugar beets

Fresh zucchini, crookneck squash and Hawaiian papaya are also commonly GE. It’s important to realize that unless you’re buying all organic food, or grow your own veggies and raise your own livestock, or at the very least buy all whole foods (even if conventionally grown) and cook everything from scratch, chances are you’re consuming GE foods every single day… What ultimate impact these foods will have on your health is still unknown, but increased disease, infertility and birth defects appear to be on the top of the list of most likely side effects. The first-ever lifetime feeding study also showed a dramatic increase in organ damage, cancer, and reduced lifespan.

Lie # 10: ‘Lunch Meats Make for a Healthy Nutritious Meal’

Lastly, processed meats, which includes everything from hot dogs, deli meats, bacon, and pepperoni are rarely thought of as strict no-no’s, but they really should be, if you’re concerned about your health. Virtually all processed meat products contain dangerous compounds that put them squarely on the list of foods to avoid or eliminate entirely. These compounds include:

  • Heterocyclic amines (HCAs): a potent carcinogen, which is created when meat or fish is cooked at high temperatures.
  • Sodium nitrite: a commonly used preservative and antimicrobial agent that also adds color and flavor to processed and cured meats.
  • Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons (PAHs): Many processed meats are smoked as part of the curing process, which causes PAHs to form.
  • Advanced Glycation End Products (AGEs): When food is cooked at high temperatures—including when it is pasteurized or sterilized—it increases the formation of AGEs in your food. AGEs build up in your body over time leading to oxidative stress, inflammation and an increased risk of heart disease, diabetes and kidney disease.

This recommendation is backed up by a report commissioned by The World Cancer Research Fund8 (WCRF). The review, which evaluated the findings of more than 7,000 clinical studies, was funded by money raised from the general public, so the findings were not influenced by vested interests. It’s also the biggest review of the evidence ever undertaken, and it confirms previous findings: Processed meats increase your risk of cancer, especially bowel cancer, and NO amount of processed meat is “safe.” A previous analysis by the WCRF found that eating just one sausage a day raises your risk of developing bowel cancer by 20 percent, and other studies have found that processed meats increase your risk of:

  • Colon cancer by 50 percent
  • Bladder cancer by 59 percent
  • Stomach cancer by 38 percent
  • Pancreatic cancer by 67 percent

Processed meats may also increase your risk of diabetes by 50 percent, and lower your lung function and increase your risk of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). If you absolutely want or need a hot dog or other processed meats once in awhile, you can reduce your risk by:

  • Looking for “uncured” varieties that contain NO nitrates
  • Choosing varieties that say 100% beef, 100% chicken, etc. This is the only way to know that the meat is from a single species and does not include byproducts (like chicken skin or chicken fat or other parts)
  • Avoiding any meat that contains MSG, high-fructose corn syrup, preservatives, artificial flavor or artificial color

Ideally, purchase sausages and other processed meats from a small, local farmer who can tell you exactly what’s in their products. These are just some of the health myths and misconceptions out there. There are certainly many more. The ones listed above are some of the most important ones, in my view, simply because they’re so widely misunderstood. They’re also critical to get “right” if you want to protect your health, and the health of your loved ones. For more great advise, please review the two featured sources.

Source: mercola.com

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Can ‘charter cities’ help abolish global poverty?


The new city’s densely packed streets snake through the Honduran jungle, packed together like a favela. But the small homes were built not by people forced there by poverty, but by those who chose to be there. The air is largely free of pollution because the burning of gasoline, wood and coal is illegal within city limits.

This modern concept of a city was meant to lure thriving companies to Honduras — a country wracked by violence and desperation. Once realized, it would help lift people out of poverty by attracting businesses that previously would have balked at operating there and improve the overall standard of living by boosting the regional economy.  The nameless place would not be governed by the Honduran political establishment, but would have its own rules modeled on those of a “first-world country.” Its police would be trained by a foreign force like Royal Canadian Mounted Police, and an independent watchdog would help make sure no one was being exploited.

Until October, this new place — a so-called charter or start-up city — proposed by New York University economist Paul Romer was close to breaking ground. Honduran president Porfirio Lobo Sosa had been inspired by Romer’s TED talk on the subject, and helped pass a law that paved the way for a charter city. These autonomous reform zones — like Hong Kong without the Colonialism — could help drive economic growth by creating cities with different rules governing life and business.

Towns created by companies are nothing new — China has its modern pop-up cities and the United States was dotted by company towns in the 19th and 20th centuries. But Romer and others in this movement want to take the company town concept and expand on and improve it, creating new places that free the worker-residents from outdated and ineffective rules of their nations and gives manufacturing and other industries the freedom to set up shop unencumbered by the same outmoded rules.

“The 21st century will see more urbanization than in all of human history to date,” Romer wrote recently. “Nearly all of it will occur in the developing world, where urbanization has the potential to reduce poverty and enhance development.”

Still, Romer’s first foray into building a real charter city in Honduras was quickly derailed by the politics and corruption it sought to overcome, he said. The key reason: strong independent oversight of the project was never created — a golden rule of charter cities — and the effort collapsed. Romer pulled out in September, and the investment group that tried to wrest control of the project from him bailed out in November.

That group, called MGK and led by U.S. “social entrepreneur” Michael Strong, had been working on a similar “free zone” concept with one major difference: it did not advocate the use of a third-party country’s laws. Strong’s group pulled out after the Honduran Supreme Court overturned the law that allowed for the new cities.

After Honduras, Romer’s idea seemed like another another TED-talk inspired concept that could not survive outside the think tank.

“An attempt like this needs to be protected by some kind of powerful participation by a trusted outside entity. In Honduras, we were a group of private individuals that would ensure its Congress and people that things were proceeding for the benefit of the nation and the region.

“But that mechanism was not strong enough to deter attempts at capturing (control of the project). I don’t want to participate in this again unless there is a stronger governing presence and a national government with some accountability.”

Despite feeling misled about the intentions of President Sosa and the country’s judiciary, Romer, the Colorado-born governor’s son, is using the lessons learned to strengthen the charter cities concept and move it to an area rife with potential for change: the countries changed by the Arab Spring.

Arab Spring

Tunisia — the birthplace of the Arab Spring — and Morocco are two North African nations with a history of looking outside their own borders for new ideas.

The countries affected by the startling changes that swept like a tidal wave over the Arab world have several things in common: large populations of unemployed youth as well as nascent political reforms and leaders scrambling for new economic ideas.

“In both countries, they are concerned about youth unemployment — and people in their 20s are creating all sorts of pressures and political instability,” said Dr. Michael Willis, a specialist on the politics of Northern Africa at St. Anthony’s College at Oxford.

“So ministers are willing to look at all sorts of ideas — Morocco and Tunisia are unusually open to ideas coming from other countries.”

Romer realized the opportunities and openness to ideas in parts of the region. He has met with ministers in key regional areas in Tunisia and Morocco and with low-level central government officials in both countries.

“Because of the Arab Spring, there is urgency in governments who have realized ‘We have to create opportunities for young people.’ Creating opportunities means letting cities get big. They are not going to create reform zones in a rural village that will inspire a kid who loves technology and wants to make apps. They’ve got to create more changes.”

Which approach is best?

Building a charter city takes more than land and a willing government partner: it requires buy-in from other established governments on whose rule of law the new city’s rules can be drawn from and enforced. It also needs other willing partners who may help train a police force, and invest in the community by moving business there.

This is a key difference in Romer’s approach to building new cities than Strong’s, and Strong said the third party adds too much unnecessary complication.

Romer’s problem with Strong’s approach was that a city built solely by private business will just become a modern company town — a corporate city, not a charter city.

Strong disagreed, saying companies can work out deals with the host countries for themselves.

“Multinational corporations routinely use … clauses in their international contracts, so that they are not subject to the vagaries of local courts,” he said in an e-mail.

“The entire Honduran episode has given rise to … various perceptions that a private entity is ‘running’ a city. This perception provokes sharp responses, as it did in Honduras.”

It seems Romer’s more utopian approach has its backers. Sweden’s government is talking to Romer about providing a legal framework for his next charter city, and Canada is expressing interest in helping with police training. Both countries are good at these respective jobs and would give new residents confidence in the systems being built.

“Anybody who is thinking about moving to a new city could feel confident that the policing comes from a place that’s good at that,” Romer said. “And all abuses could be appealed to judicial body outside the local government. There are lots of governments in the world that could export their services if they’re good at doing something specific. Then a young city doesn’t have to reinvent the wheel.”

Lazika — a Georgian pop-up city

Romer hasn’t cornered the market of ideas on new, 21st-century cities.

The Republic of Georgia has already broken ground on a future mini-metropolis called Lazika. The city on the Black Sea coast will be built atop a wetland area that was previously thought to be too swampy to build upon.

A government video (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lM1ltEbA9K8) calls Lazika a “special economic” region and features a swelling, inspirational soundtrack and a flyover of a model showing the golf courses and new neighborhoods, a “commodity processing zone” and a large amusement and wildlife park.

The government of President Mikheil Saakashvili wanted this new city to “transform Georgia into a nation with the most liberal economic environment” and the most “eco-environment friendly nation” by 2020.

Still, as of late last year, only one municipal building has been erected in Lazika, and Saakashvili’s party was defeated in parliamentary elections so the project has been put on hold while the transition to a new government takes place.

Lazika, created to give Georgia a new port and trading hub in the Caucuses region, does not have a charter-city like potential to change the lives of millions of people, Romer said.

“You want the new city to achieve reform in a system of government that hasn’t been able to achieve reform through some other means,” Romer said. “The new place needs to help avoid the problems of the old place.”

The future

If anything was learned from Honduras, it was that creating entirely new cities to help reduce poverty may be too ambitious. And while Romer has not completely given up on the idea, he has learned and adapted the lessons to his new projects.

He believes the concept can work in a slightly reduced form: instead of starting from scratch, what if existing cities in poor areas were expanded using similar semi-autonomous, economic zones to spur business investment and growth?

In January, Romer returned from a trip to India where he met with government officials to discuss establishing special economic reform zones in its quickly growing cities.

As for violence and poverty-wracked Honduras, the people will still have to wait. Talking to Romer about the failure of charter cities in that country, one gets the sense he feels guilty he wasn’t able to deliver the help the project had promised.

“It’s a very sad situation but I, and the people I’m working with, don’t see any way for us to be helpful in Honduras except to look for other places to create a location that, if a Honduran wanted to migrate to it, then it could help the people suffering there.”

Source: Smart planet

morocco_spbigstory_feb-26-2013

How can bookstores thrive in the future?


 

barnes-and-noble-bookstore-man-reading-flickr

Can the e-reader save Barnes & Noble? It helped keep the largest bookstore chain in the United States around while its competitor Borders shut down in 2011. But the e-reader might not continue to be the Barnes & Noble’s savior.

The company reported that revenue from the e-book sector of its business fell 25.9 percent to $316 million last quarter. Meanwhile, sales at the company’s retail stores, excluding the Nook, were down only 2.2 percent. Despite the interest in digital it might be the physical bookstores that keeps the company from experiencing the same fate as Borders, as Quartz points out. But what can Barnes & Noble and other bookstores do differently to maximize the impact of their brick and mortar bookstores?

The Economist suggests that bookstores — from the independent variety to major chains — will need to become cultural destinations.

There are plenty of ways to delight the bookstore customer, but few are easily monetised. The consensus is that bookstores need to become cultural destinations where people are prepared to pay good money to hear a concert, see a film or attend a talk. The programming will have to be intelligent and the space comfortable. Given how common it is for shoppers to browse in shops only to buy online later, some wonder whether it makes sense to charge people for the privilege. Victoria Barnsley, head of HarperCollins, thinks it might be a good idea. She cited similar experiments among clothing retailers to charge customers for trying on merchandise. (Only 35% of fiction in Britain is bought in a physical store, says Ms Barnsley.)

I don’t think that last idea — pay to browse — would work, but instead drive customers away. But The Economist does offer up other ideas like offering memberships that you might get for a museum, zoo, or other cultural venue. That way members could get access to various events and the store becomes a place that’s about more than just books. Another idea is putting self-printing book machines in-store to attract wannabe authors.

That’s not to say that retailers should give up on digital content. Barnes & Noble’s $316 million revenue from the e-reader business isn’t insignificant. But e-readers are struggling to compete with multi-purpose tablets. So instead of competing with tech companies on e-readers, it might be best to reimagine its most abundant asset–its physical stores.

Source: Smart planet

Can You Cut Your Breast Cancer Risk by Skipping Mammograms?


 

Radiographer Susan Ho with cancer survivor Beverley Hunt.

In the US, women are still urged to get an annual mammogram starting at the age of 40, despite the fact that updated guidelines set forth by the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force in 2009 urge women to wait until the age of 50, and to only get bi-annual screening thereafter.

Unfortunately, many women are completely unaware that the science simply does not back up the use of routine mammograms as a means to prevent breast cancer death.

What’s worse, the “new and improved” tomosynthesis mammogram, which provides a three-dimensional (3D) image of the breast,1 is now being hoisted on women across the US as “the answer” to mammography’s failing efficacy rates and pattern of harmful misdiagnosis…

Please, don’t get suckered into further doubling your risk for radiation-induced breast cancer by signing up for annual 3D tomosynthesis.

New 3D Mammography is NOT the Solution Women have Been Waiting for…

The primary hazard of conventional 2D imaging is ionizing radiation. According to a 2010 study,2 annual screening using digital or screen-film mammography on women aged 40–80 years is associated with an induced cancer incidence and fatal breast cancer rate of 20-25 cases per 100, 000.

This means annual mammograms CAUSE 20-25 cases of fatal cancer for every 100,000 women getting the test. Now, 3D tomosynthesis also exposes you to ionizing radiation—and much more of it!

First, in order to achieve the three-dimensional image, the machine moves in an arc around your breast, taking multiple x-rays along the way, which are then computed together into a 3D image. Second, women are still advised to get a conventional 2D mammogram.

How is this addressing the hazards of breast cancer screening using ionizing radiation?

Well, it’s not. After all, that’s what the cancer screen is supposed to do, yet studies have repeatedly shown that mammography causes more widespread harm than good, and has not resulted in reduced breast cancer mortality rates. The hope is that these 3D images will boost the accuracy of diagnosing cancer; alas… this is probably not going to happen.

Why?

Because there’s no way to tell if a little spot on an x-ray (3D or not) is actually cancerous or benign. As image technologies have improved, false positives have increased along with it. Furthermore, what good will it do to identify more and more tiny tumors if the incidence of cancer starts to skyrocket as a result of ever increasing amounts of radiation exposure?

Want to Decrease Your Risk of Breast Cancer? Forgo Screening, Expert Says

In my view, 3D tomosynthesis is a false solution. It’s a sad, flailing attempt to avoid having to admit mammograms are useless, if not dangerous. This truth is absolutely devastating to the cancer industry, which is why they’re fighting tooth and nail to deny it.

The most effective way to decrease women’s risk of becoming a breast cancer patient is to avoid attending screening,” writes Peter C. Gotzche, MD of The Nordic Cochrane Centre and author of Mammography Screening: Truth, Lies and Controversy. “Mammography screening is one of the greatest controversies in healthcare, and the extent to which some scientists have sacrificed sound scientific principles in order to arrive at politically acceptable results in their research is extraordinary. In contrast, neutral observers increasingly find that the benefit has been much oversold and that the harms are much greater than previously believed.”

This fact was revealed in a 2011 meta-analysis by the Cochrane Database of Systemic Reviews, which found that mammography breast cancer screening led to 30 percent overdiagnosis and overtreatment, which equates to an absolute risk increase of 0.5 percent.

As recently reported by The Los Angeles Times,3 yet another study is now putting the thumb-screws on the industry, concluding that women who follow the American Cancer Society’s guidelines to get annual mammograms starting at age 40 not only receive NO additional protection against aggressive breast cancer, but actually experience greater harm through increased false positives and unnecessary treatments, when compared to women who get bi-annual mammograms between the ages of 50 and 74 only (which is what the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force now recommends).

The article goes on to estimate that if all American women between 66-89 received annual mammograms instead of biannual testing, this results in a staggering 3.86 million more false-positives and 1.15 million more biopsies. This is great for profits. Not so great for you though, who has to pay financially, physically, and emotionally…

“Even after researchers adjusted for confounding factors such as age, place of residence and race, they found no benefit to more frequent screenings,” the LA Times reported.

Analysis of 30 Years of Breast Screening Shows Mammograms Do More Harm than Good

Last November, the New England Journal of Medicine4 also published a shocking analysis of the effects of breast cancer screening in the US over the past three decades, which found that 1.3 million women were misdiagnosed and mistreated as a result. The number of early-stage breast cancers detected have doubled over the past 30 years since the advent of mammography, from 112 to 234 cases per 100,000. Late-stage cancer incidence has decreased by eight percent in the same time frame, from 102 to 94 cases per 100,000.

According to the authors:

“Despite substantial increases in the number of cases of early-stage breast cancer detected, screening mammography has only marginally reduced the rate at which women present with advanced cancer. Although it is not certain which women have been affected, the imbalance suggests that there is substantial overdiagnosis, accounting for nearly a third of all newly diagnosed breast cancers, and that screening is having, at best, only a small effect on the rate of death from breast cancer.”

The lead author, Dr. Archie Bleyer, recently defended his team’s findings against industry nay-sayers who criticized the analysis, stating:5

“We are disappointed by the comments from the leadership of the mammography community. They reiterate three ‘talking points’ that were voiced after our report was published. First, we undercorrected for an underlying incidence trend of invasive cancer. Since 1986, there has not been an obvious increase in the incidence of invasive cancer. Even if we had used their number — based on data from Connecticut in the years 1940 through 1980 — we would still estimate that from 1979 through 2008 and in 2008 alone, there was an overdiagnosis of breast cancer in 878,000 and 34,000 women, respectively.

Second, it was stated that our data do not reflect the real world. We would argue that it is hard to get more ‘real’ than three decades of data from the world’s preeminent cancer surveillance program.

Third, they say that DCIS should have been excluded. How could we estimate overdiagnosis without including an abnormality that is essentially detected only with mammography and is treated as cancer? And yet the authors of this letter characterize our research as ‘dangerous.’ We are disappointed because to mitigate the problem of overdiagnosis, primary care practitioners, surgeons, oncologists, and the public health community will all need the help of our colleagues in mammography. And the first step in addressing any problem is to acknowledge it.”

Only ONE in 2,000 Women Undergoing Regular Mammogram Screening Will Benefit from it

So what are your chances of being that lucky person who actually benefits from regular mammograms? According to recent findings by the Nordic Cochrane Center, only ONE out of 2,000 women screened regularly for 10 years will actually benefit from screening due to early detection of breast cancer.

Meanwhile, 10 healthy women (out of those 2,000 screened for a decade) will be misdiagnosed, turned into cancer patients, and will be treated unnecessarily.These women will have either a part of their breast or the whole breast removed, and will typically receive radiotherapy and/or chemotherapy. This treatment (for a cancer that was non-existent) subsequently increases their risk of dying from complications from the therapy and/or from other diseases associated with radiation and chemo, such as heart disease and cancer. So, to recap, in order for mammographic breast screening to save ONE woman’s life:

  • 2,000 women must be screened for 10 years
  • 200 women will get false positives, and
  • 10 will receive surgery and/or chemotherapy even though they do not actually have cancer

Just because you were treated for cancer does not mean you’re a cancer survivor. If you really didn’t have cancer to begin with, then you’re really just a “cancer treatment survivor.” Yet all women treated for cancer who survive become part of the “cancer survivor” statistic…

Breast Cancer Prevention Strategies

Cancer screening does NOT equate to cancer prevention, and although early detection is important, using a screening method that in and of itself increases your risk of developing cancer is simply not good medicine… Preventing breast cancer is far more important and powerful than simply trying to detect it after it has already formed, which is why I want to share my top tips on how to help prevent this disease in the first place.

In the largest review of research into lifestyle and breast cancer, the American Institute of Cancer Research estimated that about 40 percent of US breast cancer cases could be prevented if people made wiser lifestyle choices.6, 7 I believe these estimates are far too low, and it is more likely that 75 percent to 90 percent of breast cancers could be avoided by strictly applying the recommendations below.

  • Avoid sugar, especially fructose. All forms of sugar are detrimental to health in general and promote cancer. Fructose, however, is clearly one of the most harmful and should be avoided as much as possible.
  • Optimize your vitamin D. Vitamin D influences virtually every cell in your body and is one of nature’s most potent cancer fighters. Vitamin D is actually able to enter cancer cells and trigger apoptosis (cell death). If you have cancer, your vitamin D level should be between 70 and 100 ng/ml. Vitamin D works synergistically with every cancer treatment I’m aware of, with no adverse effects. I suggest you try watching my one-hour free lecture on vitamin D to learn more.

Remember that if you take oral vitamin D3 supplements, you also need to increase your vitamin K2 intake, as vitamin D increases the need for K2 to function properly. Please consider joining one of GrassrootsHealth’s D*Action’s vitamin D studies to stay on top of your vitamin D performance.

Get plenty of natural vitamin A. There is evidence that vitamin A also plays a role in helping prevent breast cancer.8 It’s best to obtain it from vitamin A-rich foods, rather than a supplement. Your best sources are organic egg yolks,9 raw butter, raw whole milk, and beef or chicken liver.

  • Lymphatic breast massage can help enhance your body’s natural ability to eliminate cancerous toxins. This can be applied by a licensed therapists, or you can implement self-lymphatic massage. It is also promotes self-nurturance.
  • Avoid charring your meats. Charcoal or flame broiled meat is linked with increased breast cancer risk. Acrylamide—a carcinogen created when starchy foods are baked, roasted or fried—has been found to increase breast cancer risk as well.
  • Avoid unfermented soy products. Unfermented soy is high in plant estrogens, or phytoestrogens, also known as isoflavones. In some studies, soy appears to work in concert with human estrogen to increase breast cell proliferation, which increases the chances for mutations and cancerous cells.
  • Improve your insulin receptor sensitivity. The best way to do this is by avoiding sugar and grains and making sure you are exercising, especially with Peak Fitness.
  • Maintain a healthy body weight. This will come naturally when you begin eating right for your nutritional type and exercising. It’s important to lose excess body fat because fat produces estrogen.
  • Drink a half to whole quart of organic green vegetable juice daily. Please review my juicing instructions for more detailed information.
  • Get plenty of high quality animal-based omega-3 fats, such as krill oil. Omega-3 deficiency is a common underlying factor for cancer.
  • Curcumin. This is the active ingredient in turmeric and in high concentrations can be very useful adjunct in the treatment of breast cancer. It shows immense therapeutic potential in preventing breast cancer metastasis.10 It’s important to know that curcumin is generally not absorbed that well, so I’ve provided several absorption tips here.
  • Avoid drinking alcohol, or at least limit your alcoholic drinks to one per day.
  • Breastfeed exclusively for up to six months. Research shows breastfeeding can reduce your breast cancer risk.
  • Avoid wearing underwire bras. There is a good deal of data that metal underwire bras can heighten your breast cancer risk.
  • Avoid electromagnetic fields as much as possible. Even electric blankets can increase your cancer risk.
  • Avoid synthetic hormone replacement therapy. Breast cancer is an estrogen-related cancer, and according to a study published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute, breast cancer rates for women dropped in tandem with decreased use of hormone replacement therapy. (There are similar risks for younger women who use oral contraceptives. Birth control pills, which are also comprised of synthetic hormones, have been linked to cervical and breast cancers.)

If you are experiencing excessive menopausal symptoms, you may want to consider bioidentical hormone replacement therapy instead, which uses hormones that are molecularly identical to the ones your body produces and do not wreak havoc on your system. This is a much safer alternative.

  • Avoid BPA, phthalates and other xenoestrogens. These are estrogen-like compounds that have been linked to increased breast cancer risk
  • Make sure you’re not iodine deficient, as there’s compelling evidence linking iodine deficiency with breast cancer. Dr. David Brownstein,11 author of the book Iodine: Why You Need It, Why You Can’t Live Without It, is a proponent of iodine for breast cancer. It actually has potent anticancer properties and has been shown to cause cell death in breast and thyroid cancer cells.

For more information, I recommend reading Dr. Brownstein’s book. I have been researching iodine for some time ever since I interviewed Dr. Brownstein as I do believe that the bulk of what he states is spot on. However, I am not at all convinced that his dosage recommendations are correct. I believe they are too high.

Take Control of Your Health to Avoid Becoming a Statistic

Many women are completely unaware that the science backing the use of mammograms is sorely lacking, and that more women are being harmed by regular mammograms than are saved by them.

Peter C. Gotzche, MD of the Nordic Cochrane Centre’ recently published a groundbreaking book Mammography Screening: Truth, Lies and Controversy. It offers a comprehensive take on the evidence, and a critical look at the scientific disputes and the information provided to women by governments and cancer charities. It also explains why mammography screening is unlikely to be effective today.

Many also do not realize that the “new and improved” 3D tomosynthesis mammogram actually ends up exposing you to MORE cancer-causing ionizing radiation than the older version. Please understand that there are other screening options, each with their own strengths and weaknesses, and you have a right to utilize those options. Also remember that in order to truly avoid breast cancer, you need to focus your attention on prevention.

Source: Dr. Mercola

Poor Sleep Increases Risk of Hard-to-Treat Hypertension.


 

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When you mess with your body’s intrinsic need for regular, high-quality sleep, it sets off a cascade of biological changes that can seriously impact your health.

The trouble is, of course, that many people don’t intentionally neglect proper sleep; instead, they simply can’t fall asleep or stay asleep once they do … and this, unfortunately, increases your risk of developing serious chronic diseases.

Hard-to-Treat Hypertension Linked to Poor Sleep Quality

In a study presented at the American Heart Association High Blood Pressure Research 2012 Scientific Sessions, researchers found a strong link between sleep quality and a type of high blood pressure known as resistant hypertension, which does not respond to typical drug-based treatments.

In fact, women who had resistant hypertension were five times as likely to also have poor sleep quality. While the average length of sleep in this study was only 6.4 hours a night (and nearly half slept fewer than six hours each night), it was sleep quality, not quantity, that appeared to influence hypertension risk.

While this study only found an association with women, other studies have also linked hypertension in men to a lack of deep sleep,1 and sleeping fewer than seven hours a night has been linked to hypertension in both men and women.2

Even Partial Sleep Deprivation Impacts Your Health … And Your Weight

If you sleep less than six hours a night, defined as “partial sleep deprivation,” you may not only be increasing your risk of high blood pressure but also obesity (a known high blood pressure risk factor).

New research found that partial sleep deprivation is associated with obesity and alters your food intake by disrupting key hormones involved with regulating metabolism and appetite.3

“Reduced sleep may disrupt appetitive hormone regulation, specifically increasing ghrelin [a hormone that triggers hunger] and decreasing leptin [the hormone that tells your brain you’re full] and, thereby, influence energy intake. Increased wakefulness also may promote food intake episodes and energy imbalance,” the researchers said.

Reduced insulin sensitivity was also noted among the sleep-deprived subjects, and this not only increases your risk of diabetes but also high blood pressure!

The Same Factors That Cause Diabetes Also Cause High Blood Pressure

Lack of sleep interferes with metabolism and hormone production in a way that is similar to the effects of aging and the early stages of diabetes. It’s long been known, in fact, that sleep deprivation increases your diabetes risk … so it’s not at all surprising that it also increases your risk for high blood pressure, because the two are caused by essentially the same factors.

High blood pressure, like diabetes, is typically related to your body developing resistance to insulin. As your insulin level rises, your blood pressure rises. Most physicians – even cardiologists – do not understand the crucial connection between blood pressure, blood sugar levels, and insulin.

Dr. Richard Johnson, author of the book The Fat Switch, masterfully ties together the connection between hypertension, obesity and diabetes in his previous book, The Sugar Fix, which is one of the best books written on this issue. Dr. Johnson is the Chief of the Kidney Disease and Hypertension Division at the University of Colorado, and I would encourage you to listen to his interview below for more information.

Tips for Reducing Your High Blood Pressure (and Diabetes) Risks …

More than 85 percent of those who have hypertension can normalize their blood pressure with some basic lifestyle modifications – and these tips work for lowering your diabetes risk too:

  • Normalize your insulin levels by avoiding sugar, fructose and grains: If your blood pressure is elevated and you consume a lot of sugar – especially in the form of fructose (such as high fructose corn syrup) – lowering your blood pressure might be as simple as cutting all forms of sugar and grains out of your diet. Normalizing your blood glucose levels will normalize your insulin and bring blood pressure down into a healthy range. I strongly advise keeping your TOTAL fructose consumption below 25 grams per day, or as low as 15 grams if you have high blood pressure, are overweight, or diabetic.

Unlike glucose, which is burned by fuel in every cell in your body, fructose, if not immediately consumed as fuel, is metabolized into fat by your liver, which can set the ball rolling toward insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes. I highly recommend getting a fasting insulin level test, which must be ordered by your doctor. The level you want to strive for is about 2 to 3. If it’s above 5, then you have a problem and you definitely need to get your insulin level down as you are at risk for cardiovascular problems.

  • Use exercise as a drug. Physical activity is by far one of the most potent “drugs” there is, especially for increasing insulin sensitivity and normalizing blood glucose and blood pressure levels. We have developed a comprehensive fitness program that includes high-intensity interval burst-type activity called Peak Fitness, stretching, and resistance training, which are all important components of a complete fitness program.
  • Follow a good nutrition plan that’s right for your body. It should be rich in fresh, organic vegetables, raw nuts and seeds, raw organic dairy, eggs from pastured hens, grass-fed meats, healthy fats such as coconut oil and animal-based omega-3, and plenty of fresh pure water.
  • Optimize your vitamin D levels. Sunlight, and the vitamin D it causes your body to produce, has a normalizing effect on your blood pressure. Vitamin D deficiency has been linked to insulin resistance and metabolic syndrome.

The best source for vitamin D is direct sun exposure. But for many of us, this just isn’t practical during the winter and fall months. The next best option to sunlight is the use of a safe indoor tanning device. If neither natural nor artificial sunlight is an option, then using oral vitamin D3 supplements is your best bet. If you wish to take an oral vitamin D3 supplement, follow my dose recommendations, which are based on the latest scientific research. The only way to know your optimal dose is to get your blood tested. Ideally, you’ll want to maintain a vitamin D level of 50-70 ng/ml year-round.

For an in-depth explanation of everything you need to know about vitamin D, please listen to my FREE one-hour vitamin D lecture.

  • Manage your stress. Stress puts the “tension” into hypertension! The long-term activation of your stress-response system can disrupt nearly all of your body’s processes, and elevated blood pressure is one of many negative effects. Finding a way to deal with life’s everyday stressors is a necessity for good health. My preferred tool is the Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT).
  • Get plenty of deep, restorative sleep each night.

Lack of Sleep Increases Teen Sports Injuries

If you’re a teenager who plays sports (or the parent of one), here’s one more reason to make sure you get a restful night’s sleep. Teen athletes who slept for eight or more hours each night were 68 percent less likely to get injured than those who slept less, according to a study presented at the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) National Conference and Exhibition.

Perhaps these teens are simply more alert on the field than their less rested teammates, or maybe there is another role sleep plays in helping protect your body from harm. Either way, teenagers are notorious for staying up too late or falling asleep while watching TV or using a computer, which may interfere with their sleep quality. Yet, on average, children and teens need more sleep than adults. Making sure your teen learns healthy sleep habits early on is important not only for injury prevention, but also for preventing chronic diseases like high blood pressure and diabetes down the line.

Top Tips for Healthy Sleep

Making some adjustments to your sleeping area can also go a long way to ensure uninterrupted, restful sleep. I suggest you read through my full set of 33 healthy sleep guidelines for all of the details, but to start:

  1. Cover your windows with blackout shades or drapes to ensure complete darkness. Even the tiniest bit of light in the room can disrupt your pineal gland’s production of melatonin and the melatonin precursor serotonin, thereby disrupting your sleep cycle.

So close your bedroom door, get rid of night-lights, and refrain from turning on any light during the night, even when getting up to go to the bathroom. If you have to use a light, install so-called “low blue” light bulbs in your bedroom and bathroom. These emit an amber light that will not suppress melatonin production.

  1. Keep the temperature in your bedroom at or below 70 degrees F (21 degrees Celsius). Many people keep their homes and particularly their upstairs bedrooms too warm. Studies show that the optimal room temperature for sleep is quite cool, between 60 to 68 degrees F (15.5 to 20 C). Keeping your room cooler or hotter can lead to restless sleep.
  2. Check your bedroom for electro-magnetic fields (EMFs). These can also disrupt your pineal gland’s production of melatonin and serotonin, and may have other negative effects as well. To do this, you need a gauss meter. You can find various models online, starting around $50 to $200. Some experts even recommend pulling your circuit breaker before bed to kill all power in your house.
  3. Move alarm clocks and other electrical devices away from your head. If these devices must be used, keep them as far away from your bed as possible, preferably at least three feet.
  4. Reduce use of light-emitting technology, such as your TV, iPad, and computer, before going to bed. These emit the type of light that will suppress melatonin production, which in turn will hamper your ability to fall asleep, as well as impact your cancer risk (melatonin helps to suppress harmful free radicals in your body and slows the production of estrogen, which can activate cancer). Ideally, you’ll want to turn all such light-emitting gadgets off at least one hour prior to bedtime.

Source: Dr. Mercola

Safety of Mild Therapeutic Hypothermia after Cardiac Arrest.


 

This meta-analysis shows that cooling is associated with few serious adverse effects.

To study possible adverse effects associated with mild therapeutic hypothermia in resuscitated cardiac arrest patients, researchers conducted a systematic review of randomized controlled trials, prospective and retrospective comparative studies, and case reports that provided original data on adverse effects and mortality.

Pooled data from 63 studies showed that arrhythmias (relative risk, 1.25) and hypokalemia (RR, 2.35) were more common in patients treated with hypothermia than in those treated without. However, the studies showed a high degree of heterogeneity, and one study accounted for the difference in each of these adverse effects. No differences in risk for adverse effects were noted based on the type of cooling (surface or invasive). Mild therapeutic hypothermia was associated with reduced mortality in the hospital (RR, 0.86), and at 1 month (RR, 0.61) and at 6 months (RR, 0.73). Data on children were limited (only 3 studies) and suggest that hypothermia is not associated with adverse effects and that it is not as effective as in adults.

Comment: For patients with return of spontaneous circulation and minimal neurologic recovery after cardiac arrest due to ventricular fibrillation, the 2010 Advanced Cardiac Life Support guidelines recommend cooling to 32° to 34°C for 12 to 24 hours. This practice has been shown to improve mortality and neurologic recovery (number needed to treat, 5 to 7), and this study supports its safety.

Source: Journal Watch Emergency Medicine