Plant Blood Enables Your Cells To Capture Sunlight Energy

Chlorophyll Enables Your Cells To Capture/Use Sunlight Energy: A Copernican Revolution In Biology, Medicine & Nutrition

What if conventional wisdom regarding our most fundamental energy requirements has been wrong all along and we can directly harness the energy of the Sun when we consume ‘plant blood’? Plants are amazing, aren’t they? They have no need to roam about hunting other creatures for food, because they figured out a way to capture the energy of the Sun directly through these little light-harvesting molecules known as chlorophyll; a molecule, incidentally, which bears uncanny resemblance to human blood because it is structurally identical to hemoglobin, other than it has a magnesium atom at its core and not iron as in red blooded animals.

The energy autonomy of plants makes them, of course, relatively peaceful and low maintenance when compared to animal life, the latter of which is always busying itself with acquiring its next meal, sometimes through violent and sometimes through more passive means. In fact, so different are these two classes of creatures that the first, plants, are known as autotrophs, i.e. they produce their own food, and the animals are heterotrophs, i.e. they depend on other creatures for food.

autotroph and heterotroph

While generally these two zoological classifications are considered non-overlapping, important exceptions have been acknowledged. For instance, photoheterotrophs — a sort of hybrid between the autotroph and heterotroph — can use light for energy, but cannot use carbon dioxide like plants do as their sole carbon source, i.e. they have to ‘eat’ other things. Some classical examples of photoheterotrophs include green and purple non-sulfur bacteria, heliobacteria, and here’s where it gets interesting, a special kind of aphid that borrowed genes from fungi[1] to produce it’s own plant-like carotenoids which it uses to harness light energy to supplement its energy needs! To learn more about this amazing creature read the study published in 2012 in Scientific Reports titled, “Light- induced electron transfer and ATP synthesis in a carotene synthesizing insect.”


A green carotenoid tinted aphid that is capable of capturing sunlight to produce energy. Interesting right?  But we need not look for exotic bacteria or insects for examples of photoheterotrophy. It turns out that animals, including worms, rodents and pigs (one of the closest animals to humans physiologically), have recently been found to be capable of taking up chlorophyll metabolites into their mitochondria, enabling them to use sunlight energy to ‘super-charge’ the rate (up to 35% faster) and quantity (up to 16-fold increases) of ATP produced within their mitochondria. In other words, a good portion of the animal kingdom is capable of ‘feeding off of light,’ and should be reclassified as photoheterotrophic! The truly groundbreaking discovery referred to above was published last year in the Journal of Cell Science in a study titled, “Light-harvesting chlorophyll pigments enable mammalian mitochondria to capture photonic energy and produce ATP“, [contact me for the full version:] which I reported on recently, and which completely overturns the classical definition of animals and humans as solely heterotrophic.

Light-harvesting chlorophyll pigments enable mammalian mitochondria to capture photonic energy and produce ATP

Animals are Not Just Glucose-Burning Biomachines, But Are Light-Harvesting Hybrids

For at least half a century it has been widely believed among the scientific community that humans are simply glucose-dependent biomachines that can not utilize the virtually limitless source of energy available through sunlight to supplement our energy needs. And yet, wouldn’t it make sense that within the extremely intelligent and infinitely complex design of life, a way to utilize such an obviously abundant energy source as sunlight would have been evolved, even if only for the clear survival advantage it confers and not some ethical imperative (which is a possibility worth considering … vegans/Jainists, are you listening?). As the philosopher of science Karl Popper stated, a theory can only be called scientific if it is falsifiable. And indeed, the scientific theory that humans are solely heterotrophic has just been overturned in light of empirical evidence demonstrating that mammals can extract energy directly from sunlight.

Deeper Implications of the New Study

First, let’s start by reading the study abstract, as it succinctly summarizes what may be of the most amazing discoveries of our time:

Sunlight is the most abundant energy source on this planet. However, the ability to convert sunlight into biological energy in the form of adenosine-59-triphosphate (ATP) is thought to be limited to chlorophyll-containing chloroplasts in photosynthetic organisms. Here we show that mammalian mitochondria can also capture light and synthesize ATP when mixed with a light-capturing metabolite of chlorophyll. The same metabolite fed to the worm Caenorhabditis elegans [roundworm] leads to increase in ATP synthesis upon light exposure, along with an increase in life span. We further demonstrate the same potential to convert light into energy exists in mammals, as chlorophyll metabolites accumulate in mice, rats and swine when fed a chlorophyll-rich diet. Results suggest chlorophyll type molecules modulate mitochondrial ATP by catalyzing the reduction of coenzyme Q, a slow step in mitochondrial ATP synthesis. We propose that through consumption of plant chlorophyll pigments, animals, too, are able to derive energy directly from sunlight.”

And so, to review, the new study found that animal life (including us, mammals) are capable of borrowing the light-harvesting capabilities of ‘plant blood,’ i.e. chlorophyll and its metabolites, and utilize it to photo-energize mitochondrial ATP production. This not only helps to improve energy output, but the research found several other important things:

  • Despite the increased output, the expected increase in Reactive Oxygen Species (ROS) that normally attends increased mitochondrial function was not observed; in fact, a slight decrease was observed. This is a highly significant finding, because simply increasing mitochondrial activity and ATP output, while good from the perspective of energy, may accelerate aging and other oxidative stress (ROS) related adverse cellular and physiological effects. Chlorophyll, therefore, appeared to make animal mitochondria function in a healthier way.
  • In support of the above finding, worms administered an optimal range of chlorophyll were found to have significant extended life span. This is in accordance with well-known mechanisms linked to improved mitochondria function (in the absence of increased ROS) that increases cell longevity.

The last point in the abstract above is especially interesting to me. As a fan of coenzyme q10 supplementation for sometime, I have noticed profound differences qualitatively between ubiquinone (the oxidized form) and ubiquinol (the reduced, electron rich form), the latter of which has lead me to experience far greater states of energy and well-being than the former, even at far lower quantities (the molecular weight of a USP isolate does not reveal its bioavailability nor biological activity). The study, however, indicates that one may not need to take supplemental coenzyme Q10, even in its reduced form as ubiquinol, because chlorophyll-mediated sunlight capture and subsequent photo-energization of the electron transport chain will naturally ‘reduce’ (i.e. donate electrons) ubiquinone converting it into ubiquinol, which will result in increased ATP production and efficiency. This may also explain how they observed no increase in ROS (reactive oxygen species) while increasing ATP production: coenzyme q10 in reduced form as ubiquinol is a potent antioxidant, capable of donating an electron to quench/neutralize free radicals. This would be a biological win-win: increased oxidative phosphyloration-mediated energy output without increased oxidative damage.

Chronic suppurative otitis media is often associated with MRSA, Pseudomonas and Staphyloccoi infection.


CONCLUSION: Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) was the most prevalent species (28.1%) in the bacteriological study of 577 patients with chronic suppurative otitis media (CSOM). Frequent and appropriate aural cleansing and irrigation using diluted acetic acid or other solutions such as Burow’s solution can be an effective method for the medical treatment of MRSA in CSOM.

OBJECTIVES: To investigate the bacteriological results of 577 patients with CSOM and the medical treatment results of 91 non-cholesteatomatous MRSA patients and to consider the most appropriate medical treatment modality for MRSA in patients with CSOM.

PATIENTS AND METHODS: This study was conducted retrospectively from January 2005 through July 2008 using the medical records of 577 patients with otorrhoea caused by CSOM. We analyzed the bacteriological results by dividing all patients into cholesteatomatous CSOM and non-cholesteatomatous CSOM and investigated the medical treatment results of 91 non-cholesteatomatous MRSA patients. We used three treatment modalities: aural cleansing and irrigation (50 cases), intravenous injection of teicoplanin (22 cases) and intravenous injection of vancomycin (15 cases).

RESULTS: Overall, MRSA (28.1%) was the most prevalent species, followed by methicillin-susceptible Staphylococcus aureus (MSSA) (20.4%), Pseudomonas (18.6%) and coagulase-negative staphylococci (CNS) (15.0%). In non-cholesteatomatous MRSA treatment for dry ear, there were no significant differences between the three groups. The results showed that 79.5% of the group treated with aural cleansing and irrigation succeeded in achieving dry ears in 19.0 days. Similarly, 78.9% of another group with intravenous injection of teicoplanin eventually had dry ears, taking 16.0 days. Finally, the number of patients with dry ear in the group treated with intravenous injection of vancomycin was up to 80% of the total in 15.2 days.

Fluoroquinolone prescriptions for pneumonia are associated with longer delays in diagnosis and treatment of pulmonary TB and a higher risk of developing fluoroquinolone-resistant M. tuberculosis.


BACKGROUND: Current guidelines for treating community-acquired pneumonia recommend the use of fluoroquinolones for high-risk patients. Previous studies have reported controversial results as to whether fluoroquinolones are associated with delayed diagnosis and treatment of pulmonary tuberculosis (TB) and the development of fluoroquinolone-resistant Mycobacterium tuberculosis. We performed a systematic review and meta-analysis to clarify these issues.

METHODS: The following databases were searched through September 30, 2010: PubMed, EMBASE, CINAHL, Cochrane Library, Web of Science, BIOSIS Previews, and the ACP Journal Club. We considered studies that addressed the issues of delay in diagnosis and treatment of TB and the development of resistance.

RESULTS: Nine eligible studies (four for delays and five for resistance issues) were included in the meta-analysis from the 770 articles originally identified in the database search. The mean duration of delayed diagnosis and treatment of pulmonary TB in the fluoroquinolone prescription group was 19.03 days, significantly longer than that in the non-fluoroquinolone group (95% confidence interval (CI) 10.87 to 27.18, p<0.001). The pooled odds ratio of developing a fluoroquinolone-resistant M. tuberculosis strain was 2.70 (95% CI 1.30 to 5.60, p=0.008). No significant heterogeneity was found among studies in the meta-analysis.

CONCLUSIONS: Empirical fluoroquinolone prescriptions for pneumonia are associated with longer delays in diagnosis and treatment of pulmonary TB and a higher risk of developing fluoroquinolone-resistant M. tuberculosis.

The Amazing Science Behind Earthing

The Amazing Science Behind Earthing

“Earth’s crammed with heaven… But only he who sees, takes off his shoes.” ~ Elizabeth Barrett Browning

We are no strangers to the health benefits of connecting with nature. After a long day at work, running away to the woods is always at the top of my mind. The mixture of fresh air, sunshine, and the sounds of nature are practically nirvana when I am stressed.

Recently I came across an additional excuse to run away to the woods: Earthing. This is a fairly old trend that has recently gained scientific backing. It is the process of walking barefoot or sleeping directly on the earth. Your body must stay in contact with either dirt or plants, and it doesn’t work on concrete or asphalt. Sounds hippy-ish and maybe a bit too New-Age, huh? Well, let me explain the science behind earthing.

How Does it Work?

The science behind earthing all boils down to electron transference, or in simpler terms, electricity. Our bodies are natural electric conductors, meaning we have the ability to create a conductive loop through us. The earth is a huge source of electrons and electrical pulses.

 By connecting our bodies directly with the earth we are able to cycle electricity/electrons at a slow and healthy pace. It’s like giving ourselves a little natural ‘buzz’ of energy. Luckily, there’s even stronger benefits to the practice of earthing, including stress relief, reduction of chronic illnesses, and more.

The Science Behind Earthing In Stress Relief

When it comes to stress relief, common suggestions are exercise and getting outdoors. With earthing you get the best of both worlds!

When we walk, our breathing forms a rhythm with our pace. With the added bonus of the ‘buzz’ from walking barefoot we can increase our heart rate and endorphins release. Plus, we get to enjoy breathing in fresh air rich with oxygen.

The Science Behind Earthing In Chronic Illness

Studies on earthing have shown that everything from inflammatory pain to our body’s physiological processes are improved.

A study done on patients that practiced sleeping on the earth showed that earthing versus sleeping on a traditional mattress “increased free thyroxine and thyroid-stimulating hormones.” Thyroxine is considered by doctors to be the most influential thyroid hormone on our bodies. It travels through the bloodstream into our vital organs and affects most of our body’s systems. By increasing its production we can increase our chances of living longer and healthier lives.

The Amazing Science Behind Earthing


Further studies have delved into the potential for earthing to reduce our risks of cancer and other chronic illnesses. Chronic illnesses – cancer, diabetes, and cardiovascular conditions – are the leading cause of deaths affecting Americans in the 21st century. Scientific research has begun to tie together inflammation caused by increased cortisol levels and the increase in chronic illness. This ‘inflammation hypothesis’ “is establishing chronic inflammation as the culprit behind almost every modern chronic illness.”

Cortisol levels and inflammation are both decreased by earthing. Researchers found thatcortisol levels were normalized when “earthing,” and inflammation was reduced. According to the studies: “It is also suggested that free electrons from the earth neutralize the positively charged free radicals that are the hallmark of chronic inflammation.” In simpler terms: laying on the ground is good for your health and can reduce your chances of chronic illnesses in the future.

Connect with the Earth

If you find yourself a little restless, needing some fresh air and green space; take yourself out to the woods and go earthing. Make it a regular part of your weekly routine, and it might even extend your years. Nature is good for our bodies and souls, so connect with it to improve your mood and your life!

The Art of Dream Meditation

I use Meditation like an exercise routine where the muscle I am trying to develop is my focus. I sit down cross legged and hold my focus onto one thing, repeatedly lifting it back to my goal every time I slip into distraction. I am like a bodybuilder doing biceps curls.

Carl Jung and the Art of Dream Meditation

I practice this way because it’s said that a powerful focus is the only thing you need to evolve the mind. I am fascinated by this idea, and I am not the first. Many people throughout history have searched for ways to evolve the mind. The practitioners of activities like education, drug taking, yoga, puzzles, and philosophy all hope on some level that these activities will work.

In this article we are going to look at a meditation technique called Active Imagination that uses dreams and focused meditation to evolve the mind, and we are going to look at the psychologist who pioneered it — Carl Jung.

Who Was Carl Jung?

Carl Jung was a psychologist who worked in ‘mad houses’ at the turn of the 20th century, studying the minds of men and women who suffered from mental disorders. He spent his early career trying to figure out if it was possible to cure these people.

Around the start of WWI Jung himself began to have repeated visions of Europe being destroyed by a sea of blood. As visions like these became more and more frequent, he soon realized he was descending into the same type of madness which was plaguing the people that he was trying to heal.

After he overcame the initial shock Jung began to understand that he had been gifted an opportunity: If he could figure out a way to heal himself of madness, then he could figure out a way to heal others.

This gave him the great courage and hope he would need for the battle against his mind, for the right to his own soul, and it was during this inner war that he developed Active Imagination.

How Does Active Imagination Work?

Psychologists believe that the mind is divided into two parts: the conscious and the unconscious. The conscious part of our minds is that small bubble of attention that feels awake and aware of what we are doing right this moment, which in your case is reading these words. This “focus point” of awareness is called the ego.

The unconscious part of our minds is a much larger field of awareness that deals with all the other background processes and sensations, like keeping our hearts beating and storing our memories. These things are unconscious because they would be a distraction to our egos from concentrating on the present moment.

Active Imagination works by encouraging the conscious and unconscious mind to communicate through making our conscious attention explore down into the unconscious mind.

No tree, it is said, can grow to heaven unless its roots reach down to hell.” — Carl Jung

It does this by focusing our conscious minds on the expressions of our unconscious minds — our dreams.

How To Use Active Imagination

The method Jung taught is simple, all we do is choose one of our most recent dreams to analyse, grab a pen and paper, find a nice place to sit down and meditate, then follow these steps:

Step One – Find Focus: 

When we start meditating our minds are usually very active and jumpy, so our first port of call is to calm the mind and get a hold of our stream of attention. This is where all those hours of mind training come into use as you can deploy that big strong focus muscle.

As the mind relaxes we become aware of our little pocket of attention that is there “witnessing” all our rushing thoughts. This is our conscious mind, and it is the tool which we will use for our next step.

Step Two – Focus On The Dream:

When the mind has calmed and we feel we are present, we move our attention onto an image from the recent dream we have chosen.

The trick here is to keep our attention held to the dream for a long time. We may slip into thinking about grocery shopping or that conversation with Mike from work, but when that happens we calmly just bring our attention back to the dream image.

Step Three – Allow The Unconscious To Speak:

When we focus on the dream image we are peering into the unconscious mind. To “get the message” that the unconscious is trying to communicate to us through our dream we need to start allowing the unconscious to speak through the image.


To do this we need to loosen our focus just enough so that the unconscious can start to animate the dream image, but we need to be careful not to loosen our focus too much or we may get absorbed and find ourselves thinking about Mike again.

This is the crucial step, as we allow our unconscious mind to speak we may enter back into the narrative of the dream, or we may end up speaking to one of the dream characters. Sometimes it may even be dark or weird, especially if we’re using this to understand nightmares, but this is alright, it’s just something we might have avoided facing in the past. This is a good place to face our fears and accept our aspirations.

“There is no coming to consciousness without pain. People will do anything, no matter how absurd, in order to avoid facing their own Soul. One does not become enlightened by imagining figures of light, but by making the darkness conscious.” — Carl Jung

Whatever the form this “manifestion” takes, engage with it and try to remember it as vividly as possible, because in our next step we are going to bring it to life.

Step Four – Create An Artifact:

Now we must channel your inner Picasso or James Joyce by taking that piece of paper in front of us and writing, drawing, or painting whatever we just experienced in the silence of our mind.

The goal here is not to get caught up on trying to make a masterpiece, but merely to make that unconscious image into an artifact which we can try to decipher in our next step. If it comes out like a shit in a mug, then so be it!

This step shows the hidden bonus Active Imagination has in store for anyone suffering from writer’s block, as it is a way to tap into an insane amount of creative potential. It also teaches the crucial lesson of creating first – then criticizing.

Step Five – Become An Analyst:

Here we take a break. We may go make a tea. We may call Mike to see what he’s up to. We take our minds out of the imagination and back into normal consciousness.

When we’re ready and grounded, we turn to our inner art critic, aka our intellects, and we see if we can find the message contained within the piece of artwork we just made.

If you would like an example of this technique, click here to see the result of one of my Active Imagination sessions!

Take Action: Try It Out For Yourself

Try the technique out a few times, and when you get comfortable experiment with various alterations such as:

  • Focusing on a dream feeling instead of a dream image
  • Create using pottery, clay or a random medium instead of paper
  • Interact verbally with the characters and give them accents

That being said, always keep the principal the same: allow the unconscious to manifest into consciousness and then try integrate its lessons.

As Jung himself said: “Until you make the unconscious conscious, it will direct your life and you will call it fate.”


4 years ago a declaration was signed by a prominent group of scientists known as The Cambridge Declaration on Consciousness following their conclusion that animals have conscious understanding, just as we do and to the same degree. This list includes all mammals and birds, along with many other creatures.


I know that some of you may be thinking this is self-evident — I mean, haven’t we known this all along? — but the vast majority of people clearly haven’t reached this understanding. The way we are currently treating animals on a mass scale on this planet speaks to this ignorance. Even though it seems like an obvious acknowledgment for scientists to make, the implications of this statement could truly change the world. The fact that animals are sentient beings can no longer be ignored.

The Declaration Stated The Following:

The field of Consciousness research is rapidly evolving. Abundant new techniques and strategies for human and non-human animal research have been developed. Consequently, more data is becoming readily available, and this calls for a periodic reevaluation of previously held preconceptions in this field.

Studies of non-human animals have shown that homologous brain circuits correlated with conscious experience and perception can be selectively facilitated and disrupted to assess whether they are in fact necessary for those experiences. Moreover, in humans, new non-invasive techniques are readily available to survey the correlates of consciousness.

The neural substrates of emotions do not appear to be confined to cortical structures. In fact, subcortical neural networks aroused during affective states in humans are also critically important for generating emotional behaviors in animals. Artificial arousal of the same brain regions generates corresponding behavior and feeling states in both humans and non-human animals.

Wherever in the brain one evokes instinctual emotional behaviors in non-human animals, many of the ensuing behaviors are consistent with experienced feeling states, including those internal states that are rewarding and punishing. Deep brain stimulation of these systems in humans can also generate similar affective states. Systems associated with affect are concentrated in subcortical regions where neural homologies abound. Young human and nonhuman animals without neocortices retain these brain-mind functions. Furthermore, neural circuits supporting behavioral/electrophysiological states of attentiveness, sleep and decision making appear to have arisen in evolution as early as the invertebrate radiation, being evident in insects and cephalopod mollusks (e.g., octopus).

Birds appear to offer, in their behavior, neurophysiology, and neuroanatomy a striking case of parallel evolution of consciousness. Evidence of near human-like levels of consciousness has been most dramatically observed in African grey parrots. Mammalian and avian emotional networks and cognitive microcircuitries appear to be far more homologous than previously thought.

In humans, the effect of certain hallucinogens appears to be associated with a disruption in cortical feedforward and feedback processing. Pharmacological interventions in non-human animals with compounds known to affect conscious behavior in humans can lead to similar perturbations in behavior in non-human animals. In humans, there is evidence to suggest that awareness is correlated with cortical activity, which does not exclude possible contributions by subcortical or early cortical processing, as in visual awareness.

Evidence that human and nonhuman animal emotional feelings arise from homologous subcortical brain networks provide compelling evidence for evolutionarily shared primal affective qualia.

Other Evidence To Support This Reevaluation

There is a lot of information readily available to us that can fully support this declaration. Take the hugely popular documentary Blackfish, which told the story of the psychological damage suffered by a whale who was kept in captivity for too long and the way he defied and rebelled his captors.

There’s also the story of the pregnant pig that jumped off of a moving truck on her way to the slaughterhouse. And then of course there are the countless animals that are held in captivity to be performers in the circus – their very intelligence makes them ideal for learning so many tricks — even though we all know that elephants and chimpanzees are some of the most sentient animals of all. The infamous KoKo the gorilla, for example, has a vast vocabulary and communicates with us directly.

Other evidence has surfaced that shows how intelligent even ocean dwelling octopi are. In fact they were the only species of their type that were mentioned in this study.

If this declaration were to be taken seriously by government officials and the citizens of the world, we could have a world where no being had to suffer, be forced to do tricks, or held in captivity, all for the sake of human pleasure — the only reason we treat animals in this fashion in the first place.

What Can You Do?

If you agree with the scientists who signed this declaration then you do not need to wait until new laws are passed to help protect animals. You have the power to help change these things right away, and it couldn’t be simpler. Stop supporting these industries that are exploiting animals.

  • Don’t buy factory farmed meat and other animal products
  • Reduce your overall consumption of animals products
  • Don’t go to the circus
  • Don’t go to the zoo
  • Don’t buy products that have been tested on animals
  • Spread the word and help raise awareness about these important issues

It is important for us to recognize that we do have a say in what is going on in the world around us, and only until we believe it will we be able to effectively initiate positive change.

Computerized IV insulin administration improves blood glucose control

Inpatient blood glucose was controlled and hypoglycemia was minimized with the use of a computerized IV insulin administration, according to a presenter here.

“Insulin is one of the most effective but also most dangerous drugs used in the hospital,” Robert J. Tanenberg, MD, FACP, professor of medicine, division of endocrinology at East Carolina University and medical director of Vidant Medical Center Inpatient Diabetes Program in Greenville, North Carolina, toldEndocrine Today. “Inpatient hypoglycemia must be avoided or minimized for optimum care of patients with diabetes and stress hyperglycemia. In critically ill medical and surgical patients, IV insulin therapy is mandatory. Paper protocols have performed relatively well, but linear dose adjustments often lead to hyper/hypoglycemic states. In contradistinction, the EndoTool [electronic glycemic management system] uses mathematical modeling and feedback controls and analyzes blood glucose reading trends to develop patient-specific physiologic nonlinear insulin dosing curves based on patient weight, age, diabetes type and glomerular filtration rate.”

Robert Tanenberg

Robert J. Tanenberg

Tanenberg and colleagues evaluated the impact of EndoTool (Monarch Medical Technologies), a computer-guided blood glucose management system, in intensive care units at a 900-bed tertiary care teaching hospital. Participants who went on EndoTool had an indication for IV insulin infusion and operative blood glucose levels greater than 140 mg/dL. Time to achieve blood glucose control was evaluated.

Over 7 years, more than 400,000 readings were collected from 16,850 patients. Blood glucose was brought down to 180 mg/dL or lower within 1.5 to 2.3 hours with EndoTool in patients with hyperglycemia. There was minimal hypoglycemia: 0.93% of values were less than 70 mg/dL and 0.03% less than 40 mg/dL. There were year-on-year decreases in hypoglycemia with a significant reduction in frequency, from 1.04% in 2009 to 0.05% in 2015 (P < .0001).

“Until recently, hospitals have been limited to paper-based IV insulin infusion protocol management,” Tanenberg toldEndocrine Today. “In the last decade, however, computerized approaches, or Electronic Glycemic Management systems, have become available. Over a 7-year study period, the appropriate use of the EndoTool [electronic glycemic management system] at our 900 bed tertiary care academic medical center led to only 157 glucose values less than 40 mg/dL out of 492,078 readings (0.03%). Notable results included low, cumulative hypoglycemia rates (0.93%) and a significant reduction in year-upon-year hypoglycemia incidence (1.04% in 2009 vs. 0.46% in 2015) even as patient volume more than doubled (from 1,280 patients treated with EndoTool in 2009 to 2,890 in 2015). The use of an [electronic glycemic management system] in a tertiary care hospital resulted in the rapid, effective control of [blood glucose] levels, including significantly reduced hypoglycemia rates.” – by Amber Cox

Bees Are Full of Pesticides and so Are We

For bees living in the 21st century, the world is a dangerous place. With grasslands being increasingly converted into corn and soybean fields, finding wild flowering trees, weeds and other plants can be a challenge.

Flying Honey Bee

Story at-a-glance

  • Pollen collected by bees next to corn fields is contaminated with up to 32 different pesticides
  • The highest levels of contamination in pollen came from pyrethroid insecticides, which are often used as repellents for mosquitoes and other household pests
  • The common mosquito repellent DEET (N,N-diethyl-meta-toluamide) was found in every pollen sample tested

In Oslo, Norway, residents, government and business owners have added flowering plants to terraces and city squares, creating, in essence, a “bee highway” that bees can use to make their way through the otherwise heavily urbanized city.1

Oslo’s bee highway is the first of its kind, and bees in other areas of the world may not be so lucky. In the U.S., for instance, bees often live near genetically engineered (GE) corn and soybean fields.

These seeds are often coated in neonicotinoid pesticides, and the chemicals are found in corn and soybean pollen.

Neonicotinoids have been blamed as one culprit in declining bee populations in the U.S. and elsewhere. However, perhaps the bees have a sixth sense, because they don’t feed much on the GE corn and soy. Instead, they look for flowering plants nearby.

Unfortunately, this raises its own set of risks. Research published in the journal Nature Communications revealed that pollen collected next to corn fields is contaminated with up to 32 different pesticides.2

Bees May Be Exposed to 32 Pesticides When Collecting Pollen

When the researchers started their study, they expected to find neonicotinoid pesticides in pollen collected by foraging honey bees. They explained:

Recent efforts to evaluate the contribution of neonicotinoid insecticides to worldwide pollinator declines have focused on honey bees and the chronic levels of exposure experienced when foraging on crops grown from neonicotinoid-treated seeds.

However, few studies address non-crop plants as a potential route of pollinator exposure to neonicotinoid and other insecticides.

Here we show that pollen collected by honey bee foragers in maize- and soybean-dominated landscapes is contaminated throughout the growing season with multiple agricultural pesticides, including the neonicotinoids used as seed treatments.”

There were two surprises, however. First, pollen from crop plants made up only “a tiny fraction” of the total pollen collected by the local bees. Second, the highest levels of contamination in pollen came from pyrethroid insecticides, which are often used as repellents for mosquitoes and other household pests.

Both phenothrin, used to repel ticks and fleas, and prallethrin, used primarily for targeting wasps and hornets, were detected in the pollen, as were up to 32 different pesticides in all (most of which are not used for agricultural applications).

The research highlights the fact that even household and commercial use of insecticides may be contributing to bee die-offs. For instance, the common mosquito repellent DEET (N,N-diethyl-meta-toluamide) was found in every pollen sample.

Bees Exposed to Chemical Cocktails

Many pesticides are water-soluble, which means they probably end up in pollen after mixing with water and being absorbed via the plants’ roots. Some are also likely sprayed directly onto plants.

DEET, however, is fat-soluble. Since it doesn’t mix with water, researchers don’t know how the chemical is ending up in pollen, especially with such regularity. Unfortunately, the study revealed significant pesticide contamination in the pollen tested.

Researcher Christian Krupke, Ph.D., an entomology professor at Purdue University, told Newsweek, “At no time did we find only one or two or three pesticides — we found multiple pesticides co-occurring in every single sample.”3

Yet, researchers typically study the effects of only one chemical at a time. What happens with exposure to chemical cocktails, which is a more realistic snapshot of what bees are actually facing, is a mystery. Krupke continued, “You can imagine that if you have many at a time, you could have enhanced toxicity.”4

The study is in line with a 2013 study, in which researchers analyzed pollen from bee hives in seven major crops and found 35 different pesticides along with high fungicide loads.5 Each sample contained, on average, nine different pesticides and fungicides.

When the pollen was fed to healthy bees, they had a significant decline in the ability to resist infection with the Nosema ceranae parasite, which has been implicated in bee deaths. In all likelihood, it’s not one or two chemicals that are the problem butmany.

New Neonicotinoid Research Shows How the Chemicals Harm Bees

Neonicotinoids have been increasingly blamed for bee deaths (and were implicated in the 2013 mass bee die-off of 25,000 bumblebees along with millions of bee deaths in Canada).

The majority of soybean, corn, canola, and sunflower seeds planted in the U.S. are coated with neonicotinoid pesticides (neonics). The chemicals, which are produced by Bayer and Syngenta, travel systemically through the plants and kill insects that munch on their roots and leaves.

Neonicotinoids are powerful neurotoxins and are quite effective at killing the pests, but they’re also harmful to non-target pests, namely pollinators such as bees and butterflies.

This occurs because the pesticides are taken up through the plant’s vascular system as it grows, and as a result, the chemical is expressed in the pollen and nectar of the plant.

Until now, the effects of different neonicotinoids have been regarded as interchangeable, but a new study showed each may affect bees differently. Bayer’s imidacloprid was found to cut the number of egg-containing brood cells by 46 percent.

Syngenta’s thiamethoxam, on the other hand, decreased the number of live bees by 38 percent.

Clothianidin, another neonicotinoid made by Bayer, had the curious effect of increasing the number of queens produced, which the researchers noted could potentially backfire if, “say, all those queens turned out to be infertile.”6, 7

Lead researcher Christopher Connolly, Ph.D. of the University of Dundee told the Guardian, “I think there is sufficient evidence for a ban on imidacloprid and thiamethoxam … “8

9 in 10 Americans Are Contaminated With Pesticides Too

As you might imagine, if bees are exposed to nearly three dozen pesticides in pollen, humans are likely exposed to multiple pesticides from the environment as well, including in food.

One of the most ubiquitous is glyphosate, the active ingredient in Monsanto’s Roundup herbicide and the most-used agricultural chemical in history.

In 2014, farmers sprayed enough glyphosate to apply 0.8 pounds of the chemical toevery acre of cultivated cropland in the U.S., and nearly 0.5 a pound of glyphosate to all cropland worldwide.9

Testing organized by the Detox Project and commissioned by the Organic Consumers Association (OCA) found 93 percent of Americans tested positive for glyphosate, and children had the highest levels.

As more health risks emerge — in March 2015 the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) determined glyphosate is a “probable carcinogen” — more people are starting to wonder just how much glyphosate is in our food.

The signs so far are not reassuring. Glyphosate has been detected in blood, breastmilk and urine samples. Common breakfast foods, including oatmeal, bagels, coffee creamer, organic bread and even organic, cage-free, and antibiotic-free eggs, have also tested positive for glyphosate residues, as have organic wine and beer.10,11

Even Low-Level Exposures and ‘Inert’ Pesticide Ingredients May Be Harmful

Worse yet, most studies looking into glyphosate toxicity have only studied glyphosate and its toxic breakdown product, aminomethylphosphonic acid (AMPA), even though the presence of “inactive” compounds are likely amplifying glyphosate’s toxic effects.

No one knows what health effects such exposures are causing, but there’s reason to believe that even low-level exposures commonly found in food may be harmful. As the OCA reported:12

“Glyphosate has never been studied by regulators or the chemical industry at levels that the human population in the U.S. is being exposed to (under 3 mg/kg body weight/day).

This is a huge hole in the risk assessment process for glyphosate, as evidence suggests that low levels of the chemical may hack hormones even more than high levels — a higher dose does not necessarily mean a more toxic, hormone disruptive effect.”

Is Glyphosate Harming Bees?

Glyphosate, by the way, may also play a role in bee deaths. As stated by GMO expert Don Huber, Ph.D., professor emeritus of plant pathology at Purdue University, there are three established characteristics of colony collapse disorder, the term often used to describe bee die-offs, that suggest glyphosate may be at least partly responsible:

  1. The bees are mineral-deficient, especially in micronutrients
  2. There’s plenty of food present but they’re not able to utilize it or to digest it
  3. Dead bees are devoid of the Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium, which are components of their digestive system

In many cases of bee die-offs, the bees become disoriented, suggesting endocrine hormone disruption. Glyphosate is a very strong endocrine hormone disruptor. Huber also cited a study on glyphosate in drinking water at levels that are commonly found in U.S. water systems, showing 30 percent mortality in bees exposed to it.

While the majority of glyphosate is sprayed onto agricultural crops, it’s even used in city parks, which means bees (and humans) may get little reprieve. In 2014, for instance, New York City agencies applied glyphosate to parks and other areas 2,748 times, and that is likely an underestimate.13

You Can Make a Difference for Bees

To avoid harming bees and other helpful pollinators that visit your garden, swap out toxic pesticide and lawn chemicals for organic non-chemical methods of weed and pest control.

Better yet, get rid of your lawn altogether and plant an edible organic garden. Both flower and vegetable gardens provide good honeybee habitats. It’s also recommended to keep a small basin of fresh water in your garden or backyard, as bees actually do get thirsty. Be very mindful of pesticide use, and think twice whether such chemicals are really necessary before you spray them (this goes for flea and tick repellents, mosquito sprays and more).

In addition, you’ll want to grow your own pollinator-friendly plants from organic, untreated seeds. If you opt to purchase starter plants, make sure to ask whether or not they’ve been pre-treated with pesticides.

Keep in mind that you also help protect the welfare of all pollinators every time you shop organic and grass-fed, as you are “voting” for less pesticides and herbicides with every organic and pastured food and consumer product you buy. You can take bee preservation a step further by trying your hand at amateur beekeeping.

Maintaining a hive in your garden requires only about an hour of your time each week, benefits your local ecosystem, and you get to enjoy your own homegrown honey.

As for pesticides in your body, your best bet for minimizing health risks from herbicide and pesticide exposure — including both the active and “inactive” ingredients — is to avoid them in the first place by eating organic as much as possible and investing in a good water filtration system for your home or apartment.

If you know you have been exposed to herbicides and pesticides, the lactic acid bacteria formed during the fermentation of kimchimay help your body break them down.

One of the benefits of eating organic is that the foods will be free of GE ingredients, and this is key to avoiding exposure to toxic Roundup ingredients. Eating locally produced organic food will not only support your family’s health, it will also protect the environment from harmful chemical pollutants. Some organic farmers even maintain their own honeybee hives and may grow pollinator-friendly plants on their farm. These are the types of farms well worth supporting.

Can scientists really have work/life balance?

Scientists spend a lot of time trouble-shooting. Every day we work on our protocols, and if something doesn’t work, we try again and again, until we fix it. We keep track of all the factors and accurately measure all variables, to find the perfect combination of parameters that work. If there is one thing we can claim after getting a PhD, we’re definitely great at problem-solving. Can we also trouble-shoot our way out of the everlasting dilemma on how to find work/life balance?

Elisa Lazzari

Elisa Lazzari

Start asking yourself what would make your life better. What are the deal-breakers and what can you compromise on? Do you need to pick up your children from school every day? Or do you need lab-free weekends to play with your cover band? Would it be OK to have a full-time nanny? Do you need your dinner to be home-made pasta, or would a warmed-up burrito be just fine?

Make a list of what things are the most important and honestly work out what you can go without. Chances are that to have an academic position you’ll have to compromise on your personal time, just like other high-profile professionals. As scientists, we’re high-achievers by training, a double-edged sword that can put us at risk of feeling that we should be always completing more experiments, grants, and papers.

Something that isn’t talked about enough is how much brilliant scientists have to give up. In retrospect, some sacrifices seem a small price for a scientific breakthrough, but would you be willing to take that risk?

If your answer is ‘no,’ then the balance needs to be reached by modifying the other variable of the equation: your job. Eventually, it comes down to your happiness and well-being, so put aside any lurking feeling of failure or guilt and explore all of the possible options. You can have a successful out-of-academia job and a fulfilling life without ditching science. Ask around.

In any case, whether you leave academia or not, long hours are sometimes unavoidable. It can help to make sure you’re working smarter, not just harder. Keep track of how you manage your time. Define the tasks you should complete every day and double check what you achieved and how long it took you. There may be an activity that absorbs a lot of your time or distracts you, such as checking emails as they come in.

Another trick is to break down your project goals into discrete steps, like a to-do list. This will help you to plan reasonable deadlines and to assess the actual progress you’re making, and it’s always satisfying to scratch something off of your list. Lastly, make time to analyze your data, keep up with the literature, and think about your research. These are legitimate working activities, and must be treated as such, instead of squeezing them between your other work.

It is time to turn the computer off and give your cover band a call.

Junk Food and Junk Science

The junk food industry has a number of tricks up its sleeve to paint their disease-causing products in a better light. When your profits depend on people buying soda, candy, potato chips and other unhealthy snacks, good taste only goes so far.

Junk Food Industry

Story at-a-glance

  • An industry-funded study found children who ate candy were 22 percent less likely to be overweight or obese than children who did not
  • The findings were heavily publicized even though one of the paper’s authors called it “thin and clearly padded”
  • Funding scientific research gives the junk food industry a certain level of control over the results
  • It’s well-known that industry-funded research almost always favors industry

Eventually, people begin to wonder just how bad these foods are for their bodies, especially in light of general trends toward healthier eating.

Such foods are carefully laboratory created to get you hooked, and once your cravings kick in for these extraordinarily addictive foods, the industry gives you reason to justify the indulgence via scientific research — research that the industry itself, of course, funded.

Funding scientific research gives the industry a certain level of control over the results. Although most researchers and sponsoring companies will insist the research is sound and unbiased, it’s well-known that industry-funded research almost always favors industry.

So when a study came out touting the surprising claim that children who eat candy tend to weigh less than those who don’t, it was not a surprise that the study was funded by a candy trade association representing some of the top U.S. candy makers.

Candy Industry Manipulates Science to Sell More Junk Food

“The only thing that moves sales,” Marion Nestle, Ph.D., a professor of nutrition at New York University (NYU), told the Associated Press, “is health claims.”1 And if you can’t make health claims based on a product’s own merits, why not fund a study to drum some up?

The study in question was published in 2011 in Food & Nutrition Research. It followed 11,000 children and found those who ate candy were 22 percent less likely to be overweight or obese than children who did not.2

Further, the candy eaters even had lower levels of C-reactive protein, a marker of inflammation and a risk factor for heart disease. The findings were heavily publicized even though the paper’s authors even questioned its validity.

As reported by the Associated Press, which conducted an investigation into how food companies influence people’s thoughts about healthy eating, Carol O’Neil, Ph.D., a professor of nutrition at Louisiana State University (LSU), wrote to her co-author about the study, “We’re hoping they can do something with it — it’s thin and clearly padded.”3 The Associated Press continued:4

Since 2009, the authors of the candy paper have written more than two dozen papers funded by parties including Kellogg and industry groups for beef, milk and fruit juice.

Two are professors: O’Neil of LSU and Theresa Nicklas, Ph.D., at the Baylor College of Medicine. The third is Victor Fulgoni III, Ph.D., a former Kellogg executive and consultant whose website says he helps companies develop ‘aggressive, science-based claims about their products.’

Their studies regularly delivered favorable conclusions for funders — or as they call them, ‘clients.’”

Industry Uses Science to Publicize the Results They Want

Sound scientific research should publish all the results from any given study, not only those that paint industry in a favorable light. But it’s common practice for negative or neutral study results to be left unpublished while favorable results get published.

The Associated Press used the example of a study funded by PepsiCo, which owns Quaker oatmeal. The study looked into whether consuming Quaker oatmeal or a Quaker Oats cereal (Quaker Oatmeal Squares) would be more filling than rival General Mills Honey Nut Cheerios.

While the oatmeal proved to be more filling, the oats cereal did not, so PepsiCo only published the favorable oatmeal results.5 Publication bias — the practice of selectively publishing trial results that serve an agenda — is common practice not only in the food industry but also in pharmaceutical research.

Meanwhile, it’s common practice for researchers to run their manuscripts by their industry funders prior to publication, and even carefully time the release of results to their advantage. In regard to the study that found candy-eating kids weigh less, the Associated Press noted:6

The trumpeting of their research was also carefully timed. In June 2011, a candy association representative emailed O’Neil a critical article about a professor with industry ties.

‘I’d like to monitor the fallout from this story, and give a little bit of distance to our research piece. I do not want to put you in the crossfire of a media on a rampage,’ wrote Laura Muma of FoodMinds, an agency that represented the candy association.”

Even Seemingly Reputable Nutrition Journals May Have Cozy Ties With Junk Food Makers

In 2013, I interviewed Michele Simon, who has practiced public health law for nearly 20 years, fighting corporate tactics that deceive and manipulate you about health.

Last year, she released a report that revealed the disturbing ties between the American Society for Nutrition (ASN) — considered a premier source of nutritional science — and the primary purveyors of obesity and chronic ill health.

ASN is sponsored by 30 different companies, including Coca-Cola, Kellogg’s, Monsanto, and the Sugar Association, just to mention a few, each of which pays $10,000 a year in return for “print and online exposure, annual meeting benefits, and first choice to sponsor educational sessions, grants, awards, and other opportunities as they arise.” As noted by Simon:

“In other words, food, beverage, supplement, biotech, and pharmaceutical industry leaders are able to purchase cozy relationships with the nation’s top nutrition researchers.”

Junk food purveyors gain even more influence by sponsoring educational sessions at various conferences and annual meetings, and featuring speakers that represent the industry.

ASN’s ties are particularly problematic since they also publish three academic journals, including the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition (AJCN).

These ties can “taint scientific objectivity, negatively impact the organization’s policy recommendations, and result in industry-friendly research and messaging that is shared with nutrition professionals and the general public alike,” according to Simon. She added:

“Obesity researcher David Allison, Ph.D. wins the prize for the most conflicts: PepsiCo, the Sugar Association, World Sugar Research Organization (WSRO), Red Bull, Kellogg, Mars, Campbell Soup, and Dr. Pepper Snapple Group (DPS).

Perhaps most troubling, Allison serves on the editorial board of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, ASN’s flagship publication. While his conflicts are disclosed, having Allison in such a critical gatekeeper role demonstrates how industry can potentially influence even the science that gets published.”

Even Nutrition Professionals Are ‘Counseled’ by Industry

In the realm of commercial profits, nothing is sacred, not even the reputation of the U.S. trade organization for food and nutrition professionals, the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (formerly known as the American Dietetic Association).

Food companies like Coca-Cola, General Mills, Nestlé, Kraft, and all of the major junk food purveyors buy sponsorships to be at the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics’ annual trade organization meetings. They typically end up having the largest booths on the expo floor.

Besides showcasing their food products, they’re also allowed to sponsor or hold educational sessions at the meeting, including sessions for registered dietitians (RDs) to receive continuing education credits. Even fast food companies like McDonald’s are represented at the annual meetings. According to Simon:

“They want to make sure that they’re being viewed as a good-for-you fast food company. So, at their booth, they would be sampling salads, smoothies, and oatmeal … [Food companies] are basically trying to use these [nutrition] professionals to carry their message to their clients.

That’s the name of the game here: to make sure the next time an RD talks to a client, they’ll say, ‘Gee, you should really try this better-for-you, Baked Lays potato chips, because it has a few less grams of salt or fat.’ It’s to make sure that RDs are recommending these still highly processed, nutrient-deficient junk foods to their clients … There are many RDs, in fact, that have rejected membership in the academy, mostly because of these relationships …

The problem really lies with the leadership of this organization and the fact that they’re putting their stamp of approval on these types of webinars and companies that obviously are contributing to the very problem that the profession is trying to address.”

Coca-Cola Front Group Shut Down After Bad Press

Coca-Cola Company funded the Global Energy Balance Network (GEBN), a front group aimed at confusing you about soda science and diverting attention away from evidence showing soda is a major contributor to obesity and diabetes. One of the group’s primary messages was to tout exercise as the science-backed solution to obesity — while downplaying the importance of dietary issues, like soda consumption.

Coca-Cola did not come right out and disclose that they were behind the supposedly scientific front group — they were outed by The New York Times, which reported in August 2015:7

The beverage giant has teamed up with influential scientists who are advancing this message in medical journals, at conferences and through social media …

‘Most of the focus in the popular media and in the scientific press is, ‘Oh they’re eating too much, eating too much, eating too much’ — blaming fast food, blaming sugary drinks, and so on,’ the group’s vice president, Steven N. Blair, an exercise scientist, says in a recent video announcing the new organization.’ And there’s really virtually no compelling evidence that that, in fact, is the cause.'”

After The New York Times report, the front group received so much bad press and criticism that the University of Colorado School of Medicine said it would return the $1 million grant Coca-Cola had given them to help start the group. Public health authorities accused the group of using tobacco industry tactics to raise doubts about the health hazards of soda, and a letter signed by more than three dozen scientists said the group was spreading “scientific nonsense.”8

By December 2015, the GEBN announced it would be shutting down, with Coca-Cola claiming it was working on increased transparency.9

No Matter What the Spin, Junk Food Is Bad for Your Health

The food industry can use all the manipulative tactics in the world to create misleading data and other propaganda, but none of it will change the fact that junk food is bad for you. People who ate a diet focused on macaroni and cheese, processed lunchmeat, sausage biscuits, mayonnaise and microwavable meals with unhealthy fats, for example, showed serious negative changes to their metabolism after just five days.

After eating the junk food diet, the study participants’ (12 healthy college-aged men) muscles lost the ability to oxidize glucose after a meal, which could lead to insulin resistance, which is the primary underlying factor of nearly every chronic disease and condition known to man, including weight gain.10 Stunted academic performance and depression have also been linked to junk food diets. Further, it only takes one junk food binge to influence your health for worse.11

When you eat junk food high in unhealthy fats and sugar, the sugar causes a large spike in your blood-sugar levels called “postprandial hyperglycemia.” In the long term, this can lead to an increased risk of heart attack, but there are short-term effects as well, such as:

  • Your tissue becomes inflamed (as occurs when it is infected)
  • Your blood vessels constrict
  • Damaging free radicals are generated
  • Your blood pressure may rise higher than normal
  • A surge and drop in insulin may leave you feeling hungry

Show the Junk Food Makers Who’s Boss: You!

It’s easy to fall victim to the junk food industry’s marketing webs and even easier to become biologically hooked on their high-sugar foods. However, breaking free from the trap and focusing your diet on real food instead is one of the best health moves you can make. How can you do it?

Ditching processed foods requires that you plan your meals in advance, and if you take it step-by-step as described in my nutrition plan, it’s quite possible, and manageable, to painlessly remove processed foods from your diet. You can try scouting out your local farmer’s markets for in-season produce that is priced to sell, and planning your meals accordingly, but you can also use this same premise with supermarket sales.

You can generally plan a week of meals at a time, making sure you have all ingredients necessary on hand, and then do any prep work you can ahead of time so that dinner is easy to prepare if you’re short on time (and you can use leftovers for lunches the next day). Simply don’t bring junk foods into your home. That way there’s no temptation to eat them. And the more you nourish your body with real food, the less you’ll feel tempted by these fake foods anyway.

Finally, if food cravings sideline you, I highly recommend using the Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT). EFT is simple and effective, and can rapidly help you eliminate your food cravings naturally. Ultimately, your taste buds will come to realize that many “health” foods taste better than their science-lab counterparts any day.

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