A Tale of Two Brains: How Your Second Brain Is Key To Understanding Many Chronic Illnesses.


Not many people realize they have two brains. Yes, you read that right. And your second brain may have more to do with your health that you ever imagined.

We tend to think of our brain as the command center from which all physiological functions stem. But there is another intelligence in your body that you may not realize… and its importance to your health may be the key you’re looking for when searching for the cause of chronic illness and even mental health issues.

If you see a thirty something man with gray hair, or a forty year old woman with balding head, or a fifty year old stroke victim in a coffin, or a sixty-five year old grandpa with shaky hands, or a seventy year old grandma with dementia — look no further than inside their compromised guts. (Gut Sense: How to Restore Intestinal Flora and What Happens If You Don’t)

The “second brain” or belly brain is much different from the brain in our heads. While our cranial brain performs complex cognitive functions, allowing us to process information, apply knowledge, and change preferences, our belly brain is intuitive and receives signals and messages regarding our bodies and the environment that it sends back to our cranial brain and vice versa.

Understanding the belly brain and its functions is often the answer to helping people who are plagued with many problems that are often dismissed by traditional medical practitioners. Your belly brain, known to scientists as the enteric nervous system, is connected to your cranial brain by the vagus nerve. The same brain-regulating chemicals found in your cranial brain have also been found in your belly brain — including hormones and neurotransmitters. It’s estimated that one hundred million neurotransmitters line the length of the gut, approximately the same number found in the cranial brain. (Dr. Gershon, Scientific American: Think Twice)

The belly brain also produces dopamine and 95% of the chemical serotonin in our bodies. Without adequate levels of these two “feel-good” chemicals, we may experience depression, insomnia and other emotional distress. Be glad for these symptoms as they are warning signals—alerts–that tell you plainly to “Listen to me! Pay attention to my gut!”

Our belly brain influences not just mood, but is key to understanding many of our disease processes as well. It’s easy to see why, when you realize that approximately 70% of our immune system is located in our digestive tract. Taking care of both your brains will serve you well in many areas of health.

As Americans, we spend more than any other nation in the world on healthcare. You would think that for this price tag we would be the healthiest people on the planet. Yet we are among the sickest population. Prescription drug use for gastrointestinal and mental conditions is at an all-time high, yet too many people are still suffering and walking around in a drug-induced haze.

Maybe it’s time to look to the cause of the problem rather than simply treating the symptoms. Popping a pill to ease your discomfort may be the easy way out, but it’s wreaking havoc with your health. If you don’t address the cause of your discomfort, the problem will only get worse until it definitely has your attention. By taking care of our two brains, we can greatly influence the quality of our health.

How do you take care of your second brain?

First, let’s look at what we eat. The gut is like any environment–it is only as healthy as what you put into it. There are ten times more microbes in your intestinal biome than you have cells in your body. In fact, these microbes are made up of more than 500 different species and weigh in at somewhere between 2 and 5 pounds! If we produce a good environment for healthy, helpful microbes, we have a healthy body. Sounds easy enough, right?

So what produces a healthy gut?

Unfortunately, we have seen an increasing number of patients in our practice with serious health problems, and many of these disorders stem from intestinal issues. While a different protocol may be prescribed for each patient, there are some basic things you can do to improve the health of your gut.

1. Stay away from chicken and meat that have antibiotics when possible. These antibiotics alter the flora in your intestines. Antibiotics are meant to kill the harmful bacteria; unfortunately, they kill the good bacteria, too, leaving you even more defenseless.
2. Stay away from high carbohydrate intake, i.e., sugar, pasta, rice and grains. They feed the bad flora. Never before in the history of mankind have humans eaten such large amounts of sugar and refined carbohydrates, and our bodies are not designed to optimize this fuel on a full-time basis.

3. Stay away from gut irritants. Avoid chemical toxins such as MSG, food preservatives and flavor enhancers. Eat organic whenever possible and avoid foods containing genetically modified organisms (GMOs). Gluten sensitivity is an increasing problem in our culture where 99% of the wheat we now consume is a hybrid developed back in 1970 by Norman Borlaug. This dwarf wheat also contained 14 new strains of gluten. It is estimated about 40% of our population could be gluten sensitive or intolerant, and many think this is one of the reasons why.

Flickr - Brain - Lnk.Si

4. Increase your intake of fermented foods such as sauerkraut, fermented relish, or Kombucha, a fermented tea. Just a tablespoon or two of one of these delicious foods at the start of your meal can populate your inner ecosystem with the good bacteria our bodies need.

5. For more information about healing diet and gut protocols go to http://www.gaps.me

Designer Sperm Passes Selected Genes to Future Generations.


  • Frustrated by slow progress in gene therapy, a team of scientists opted for an unconventional approach. Instead of relying on the oocyte as a substrate for genetic modification, they took a closer look at male germ cells, including mature sperm. Sperm, owing to their accessibility, seemed to offer a convenient route to transgenesis.

    The scientists, based at the Royal Veterinary College in North Mimms, United Kingdom, used a viral vector to insert genetic material into mouse spermatozoa. Then the spermatozoa were used in an in vitro fertilization procedure. In the resulting embryos, the genetic material was found to be present and active—and inheritable. The genetic material that had been introduced to the spermatozoa was, the scientists confirmed, still functional after passing through at least three generations of mice.

    The scientists presented their results December 2 in The FASEB Journal, in an article entitled “Efficient generation of transgenic mice by lentivirus-mediated modification of spermatozoa.” In this article, the authors wrote, “When pseudotyped lentiviral vectors encoding green fluorescent protein (GFP) were incubated with mouse spermatozoa, these sperm were highly successful in producing transgenics.” Then, after embryo transfer, “≥42% of founders were found to be transgenic for GFP.”

    The authors also noted that they used inverse PCR for integration site analysis, which allowed them to show that at least one or two copies of GFP had been integrated in the transgenic animals, mapping to different chromosomes. GFP expression was detected in a wide range of murine tissues, including testis.

    This transgenic technology—if successful in humans—could lead to a new frontier in genetic medicine in which diseases and disorders are effectively cured, and new human attributes, such as organ regeneration, may be possible.

    “Transgenic technology is a most important tool for researching all kinds of disease in humans and animals, and for understanding crucial problems in biology,” said Anil Chandrashekran, Ph.D., a study author and research associate at the Royal Veterinary College.

    In detailing the more immediate applications of their work, the authors wrote, “This relatively simple, yet highly efficient, technique for generating transgenic animals by transducing spermatozoa with lentiviral vectors in vitro is a powerful tool for the study of fertilization/preimplantation development, vertical viral gene transmission, gene function and regulation, and epigenetic inheritance.

    Offering a more expansive view of the authors’ work, Gerald Weissmann, M.D., editor-in-chief of The FASEB Journal, noted that using modified sperm to insert genetic material has the potential to be a major breakthrough not only in future research, but also in human medicine.

    “It facilitates the development of transgenic animal models, and may lead to therapeutic benefits for people as well,” said Dr. Weissman. “For years we have chased effective gene therapies and have hit numerous speed bumps and dead ends. If we are able to able to alter sperm to improve the health of future generations, it would completely change our notions of ‘preventative medicine.'”

 

How GMO Farming and Food Is Making Our Gut Flora UNFRIENDLY.


Two studies published in the past six months reveal a disturbing finding: glyphosate-based herbicides such as Roundup® appear to suppress the growth of beneficial gut bacteria, leading to the overgrowth of extremely pathogenic bacteria.

Late last year, in an article titled Roundup Herbicide Linked to Overgrowth of Deadly Bacteria, we reported on new research indicating that glyphosate-based herbicides such as Roundup® may be contributing to the overgrowth of harmful bacteria, both in GM-produced food and our own bodies.  By suppressing the growth of beneficial bacteria and encouraging the growth of pathogenic ones, including deadly botulism-associated Clostridum botulinum, GM agriculture may be contributing to the alarming increase, wordwide, in infectious diseases that are resistant to conventional antibiotics, such as Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) and Carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae (CRE), which the CDC’s director recently termed a ‘nightmare bacteria.’

How GMO Farming and Food Is Making Our Gut Flora UNFRIENDLY

GMO Herbicides May Lead To The Overgrowth of Harmful Bacteria, Including Deadly Clostridum Botulinum

Now a new study published in the journal Anaerobe titled, “Glyphosate suppresses the antagonistic effect of Enterococcus spp. On Clostridum botulinum,” confirms this herbicide’s ability to adversely affect gut bacteria populations (i.e. generate dysbios).[i]  In an attempt to explain why Clostridum botulinum associated diseases in cattle have increased during the last 10-15 years in German cattle, researchers theorized that since normal intestinal flora is a critical factor in preventing Clostridum botulinum colonization in conditions such as infantile botulism perhaps the ingestion of strong biocides such as glyphosate found in GM cattle feed could reduce their natural, lactic acid bacteria dependent immune defenses as pathogenic microbes.

They reported on the toxicity of glyphosate to Enteroccocus, the most prevalent lactic acid bacteria species in the gastrointestinal tract of cattle, and concluded “Ingestion of this herbicide could be a significant predisposing factor that is associated with the increase in C. botulinum mediated diseases in cattle.”

Of course, the implications of this finding extend beyond the health of cattle or poultry. The majority of American consumers who don’t even have the legal right to know through truthful labeling if they are eating GMOs, are consuming non-organic, Roundup Ready soy, canola, cottonseed or soy on a daily basis, and therefore are being exposed to glyphosate residues year round; additionally, animals fed Roundup sprayed GMO plants will bioaccumulate glyphosate and/or glyphosate metabolites, adding to the consumer’s bodily burden of these gut flora-altering, highly toxic chemicals.

GMO Herbicides Kill More Than ‘Weeds,’ Are Broad-Spectrum Biocides

Glyphosate is a broad-spectrum biocide. It does not discriminate by killing only the “weeds” that compete with the genetically modified plants resistant to it. In fact, it has been found to be toxic to human DNA at concentrations 450-fold lower than presently used in agricultural applications.[ii] When combined with adjuvants and other so-called ‘inactive’ ingredients, the glyphosate-formulations are far more toxic than their component ingredients taken in isolation.[iii] Nor are the toxic effects limited to plants. A 2012 study published in the journal Environmental Monitoring and Assessment found that Roundup herbicide has DNA-damaging effects to fish after short-term, environmentally low concentration exposures (6.67 μg/L, or, 6.67 micrograms per Liter).[iv]  For a comprehensive list of the toxic effects of Roundup and glyphosate visit our research page on the topic: Glyphosate formulations.

One of the most concerning adverse effects of glyphosate most relevant to the topic of this article is its destructive effects on the fertility of soil itself. In an earlier expose titled, Un-Earthed: Is Monsanto’s Glyphosate Destroying the Soil?, concerning findings published in the journal Current Microbiology were discussed showing that Roundup® herbicide is having a negative impact on the microbiodiversity of the soil, including microorganisms of food interest, and specifically those found in raw and fermented foods.[v]

One of the key implications of this finding is that since many of the beneficial bacteria that make up the 100 trillion bacteria in our gut necessary for health come from our food, and these bacteria-rich foods nourish and help maintain the flora in our gut, the removal of key beneficial microorganisms from the  soil will likely result in profoundly disrupting the bacteria-mediated infrastructure of our health.

We Must Reject GMO Farming Practices Or Face Dire Consequences

We must, of course, consider carefully the origin of our food. Conventionally produced produce and animal products are often grown or fed from farming practices that involve the use of factory-farmed manure and raw human sewage. Animal and human excreta today is exceedingly toxic, and contains a wide range of chemicals, pharmaceuticals, hormones and antibiotic resistant bacteria and related pathogens that.  contaminate our food and our bodies if we choose to eat it. It also causes us to employ ‘food security’ technologies like nuclear waste-based food irradiation and bacteriophage sprays try to disinfect inherently toxic food, only generating different and sometimes far more dangerous compounds as a result.

Instead of succumbing to the intellectually unsophisticated concept that disease is primarily caused by germs ‘out there,’ rather than viewing our risk of infection as primarily determined by immune susceptibility ‘in here,’ we must shift our understanding radically if we are to survive the wholesale destruction of our biosphere, also entirely refraining from supporting, buying, consuming food produced through GM-based farming practices.  Our body is literally woven from the  molecular fabric of the body of the Earth. And so, when we poison or genetically modify our environment, and we poison and genetically modify ourselves.


Resources

Monsanto Pesticides To Blame For Birth Defects In Argentina.


Argentina has become one of the worlds largest soybean producers, with the majority of its crops being majorly composed of genetically modified organisms (GMOs). Agrochemical spraying in the country has mushroomed over the last several years, in 1990 roughly 9 million gallons of argochemical spraying was needed, compared to today’s requirement of roughly 84 million gallons. Included in that was the use of over 200 million liters of herbicides containing poisons such as glyphosate, the main ingredient in Roundup. The country’s entire soybean crop, along with nearly all of its cotton and corn crops, have become genetically modified over the last decade. Along with the increase in GMO crops and pesticide use, the country has seen a disturbing and alarming growth in the prevalence of birth defects, cancer rates, and other negative health ailments. This has lead many of its citizens, including medical professionals, to assert the notion that pesticides, GMOs, and biotech giants are the ones to blame.

argentina

Two year old Camila Veron [pictured above], was born with multiple organ problems and severely disabled, the doctors had told her family that the agrochemicals might have been to blame. And dozens of other similar cases have been witnessed in the area. It is firmly believed that the herbicide used on the genetically modified crops, may over an extended period of time after consumption, cause brain, intestinal, and heart defects in fetuses. In Ituzaingo, a district comprised of roughly 5,000 people [and surrounded by many soy fields] has seen over the past eight years, more than 300 documented cases of cancer associated with fumigations and pesticides have been experienced, they have reported cancer rates that are 41 times the national average.

Sergio H. Lence, "The Agricultural Sector in Argentina: Major Trends and Recent Developmebts," 2010Monsanto has [unsurprisingly] denied the claims that their GMOs have contributed in any way to the increased occurrence of experienced birth defects in the nation. Even though dozens of cases have been exposed which illustrate the misuse and illegality of pesticide application, pesticides are showing up in alarming rates in the soil and drinking water. Disturbingly, 80% of children surveyed in one area were found to have pesticides in their blood. Studies have demonstrated that low concentrations of pesticides [such as glyphosate] is understood to harm human cells and cause cancer.

Unfortunately for the Monsanto public relations department, the Associated Press has documented numerous cases within the country where poisons are being, and have been, applied in ways which are prohibited by existing law, or unanticipated by regulatory science. Medical professionals in the area have also been advising their clients that pesticide application within the country may be to blame. Not only is the rise of Roundup-saturated crops a potential health risk to residents of the area, but it’s a danger to the environment, and other animals that will eat these crops. In the ongoing battle against genetically modified foods and biotech [government-protected] corporate giants like Monsanto, it is crucial to remember that genetically engineered foods have never been proven safe for consumption over an extended period of time. One only hopes that corporations such as Monsanto, who destroy lives and communities, be held responsible for their carelessly negligible actions.

Scientists Discover Bt Toxins Found In Monsanto Crops Damage Red Blood Cells


Studies are showing that Bt toxins found in Monsanto crops are harmful to mammalian blood by damaging red blood cells and more. RBC’s are responsible for delivering oxygen to the body tissues through blood flow.Bacillus thuringensis (Bt) is a bacterium commonly used as a biological pesticide. It is a microorganism that produces toxic chemicals. It occurs naturally in the environment, and is usually isolated from soil, insects and plant surfaces. Prior to this study, Bt was thought to be toxic only to insects, but recent studies are proving otherwise.

Dr. Mezzomo and his team of Scientists from the Department of Genetics and Morphology and the Institute of Biological Sciences, at University of Brasilia recently published a study that involved Bacillus thuringensis (Bt toxin) and its effects on mammalian blood. According to the study, the “Cry” toxins that are found in Monsanto’s GMO crops like corn and soy, are much more toxic to mammals than previously thought. The study was published in the Journal of Hematology and Thromboembolic Diseases(1).

We do not support animal testing, and think it is unnecessary. It should really be a no brainer that GMO crops cause significant damage to human health. Studies that don’t require animal testing have already proven the dangers of GMO consumption. This study unfortunately required the use of Swiss Albino Mice if Bt was to be properly examined. At the same time, most of us know that the existence of GMOs is completely unnecessary.

Advances in genetic engineering promise the expression of multiple Cry toxins in Bt-plants, known as gene pyramiding. Therefore, studies on non-target species are requirements of international protocols to verify the adverse effects of these toxins, ensuring human and environmental bio safety.

Due to its growing use in agricultural activities, Bt presence has already been detected in different environmental compartments such as soil and water. Consequently, the bio availability of Cry proteins has increased, and for bio safety reasons their adverse effects might be studied, mainly for non-target organisms. Studies are therefore needed to evaluate Bt toxicity to non-target organisms; the persistence of Bt toxin and its stability in aquatic environments; and the risks to humans and animals exposed to potentially toxic levels of Bt through their diet.(1)

Thus, we aimed to evaluate, in Swiss albino mice, the hematotoxicity and genotoxicity of four Bt spore-crystals…

Scientists tested levels ranging from 27 mg to 270 mg over a seven day period, it was remarkably evident that the Cry toxins were hemotoxic, even at the lowest doses administered. Hemotoxins destroy red blood cells, disrupt blood clotting and cause organ degeneration and tissue damage.

The number of RBC’s, (red blood cells) as well as their size, were significantly reduced, and so were the levels of hemoglobin for oxygen to attach to. Every factor regarding RBC’s indicated some level of damage for all levels of toxin administered and across all cry proteins. The tests clearly demonstrated that Cry proteins resulting from the Bt toxin were cytotoxic (quality of being toxic to cells) to bone marrow cells. Studies contiually show that these proteins kill blood cells by targeting the cell membranes of RBC’s.

Cry1Ab (the protein produced in common Bt corn and soy) induced microcytic hypochromic anemia in mice, even at the lowest tested dose of 27 mg/Kg, and this toxin has been detected in blood of non-pregnant women, pregnant women and their fetuses in Canada, supposedly exposed through diet [34]. These data, as well as increased bio availability of these MCA in the environment, reinforce the need for more research, especially given that little is known about spore crystals’ adverse effects on non-target species (1)

Dr. Mezzomo and his team are not the only group of scientists to discover the harmful effects of Bt toxins. Professor Joe Cummins, Professor Emeritus of Genetics at the University of Western Ontario has also studied it (2)(3)(4). He concluded that that there is sufficient evidence that the Bt toxin will impact directly on human health through damaging the ileum, which is the final section of the small intestine that is responsible for the absorption of vitamin B12. He also points out that the Bt cry toxin gene has not been proven to be the same as the natural bacterial gene. As mentioned in the first paragraph, it occurs naturally in the environment, usually isolated from soil, insects and plant surfaces.

It seems that everyday brings forth new information regarding GMO’s. We have so much evidence that points to just how harmful these foods are, yet they continue to be mass produced and the corporations that develop them are constantly protected. The truth still remains, you still have a choice as to what you put into your body. I encourage everybody reading this to further their research, most ‘industries’ we have on the planet today really aren’t necessary, we are just made to believe that they are.

Why Is The Food Industry Poisoning Us With Trillions of Nanoparticles?


The U.S. food industry is notorious for poisoning the very consumers who drive their multi-billion dollar enterprise, even spending millions against their right to informed consent (truthful GMO labeling). So, is it any wonder that this deregulated and increasingly deranged juggernaut is experimenting on its own customer base by exposing them to trillions of toxic nanoparticles?

A new study published in Biomedicine and Pharmacotherapy titled, “Effects of titanium dioxide nanoparticles in human gastric epithelial cells in vitro,” reveals for the first time that the nanoparticle form of the common “whitening” agent known as titanium dioxide is capable of inducing “tumor-like” changes in exposed human cells.[1]
Whereas previous cell research has established that titanium dioxide (TiO2) is cytotoxic (cell damaging),[2] this is the first study of its kind to find exposed cells undergo a ‘phenotypal’ transition from normal to cancerous cell traits, including an increased rate of cell proliferation and a decrease in programmed cell death – hallmark features of precancerous and/or cancerous cells associated with ‘immortalization.’



Owing to the fact that the researchers tested human gastric epithelial cells, a type of stomach cell in direct contact with material we eat, and considering the broad range of drug, personal care and food products nanoparticle TiO2 is commonly used within, the toxicological implications of these findings are deeply concerning.

We Are Already Eating Titanium Dioxide
TiO2 is a naturally occurring oxide of titanium, and has a wide range of industrial applications as a “whitening” pigment in plastics, ceramic glazes and paints. It is used in sunscreens as a UV absorbing “sun protection factor,” due to its high refractive index.  Most of our risk of exposure comes from its use in toothpaste, drugs and excipient-heavy supplements as a pill coating, and food products, including even milk (to ‘improve’ appearance and texture).

Indeed, given that TiO2 is found in thousands of consumer products, the odds are that you are already being exposed to a significant quantity of them on a daily basis.  As reported by Everydayhealth.com, “You ingest around 100 trillion nanoparticles every day, researchers at Binghamton University and Cornell University say.”

So, what are some common brands who use it? Nanotitanium is found in products produced by Jello, Nestlé, M&M’s, Mother’s, Mentos, Albertson’s, Hostess and Kool Aid.

Below is a table from the 2012 E Magazine article “Eating Nano” revealing its presence in common U.S. packaged goods.

Is Titanium Dioxide Regulated?
Much like present day radiobiological risk assessments for technologies like mammography were developed long before the discovery of DNA, making it impossible to comprehend their DNA-damaging properties at that time, present day biosafety regulations of TiO2 were determined long before the advent of nanotechnology.  In both cases, the true harms of these technologies were — and still are — greatly underestimated.Nanoparticles and Common Food Brands As a result of this information gap, TiO2 is currently classified as ‘generally recognized as safe’ (GRAS) by the FDA, regardless of format. Remarkably, the FDA still allows titanium dioxide in sunscreens “at concentrations of up to 25 percent alone and 2 to 25 percent in combination with any proposed Category I sunscreen active ingredient” without considering the toxicity differential of particle size.[3]Considering that concentrations as low as 0.001% by weight have been found to exhibit clear cytotoxicity within exposed cells,[4] the biosafety regulations governing TiO2  are as great as 5 orders of magnitude or higher less stringent than they should be to protect the consumer.

Nanoparticles are so small they are below the threshold of visibility. This is one reason why they are used for sun protection factor, as 100 nanometers or smaller particles will not leave the white pasty appearance on the skin associated with larger particles.  What you can’t see, however, is still there – and in the case of nanotitanium, may slip through the surface layers of our skin into more sensitive tissues, as well as our blood stream. This is also why, if you use sunscreen, you should make sure the ingredients say “non-nanoparticle” when describing titanium dioxide or zinc oxide. And this rule applies to purportedly ‘natural’ brands as well.

Read more at http://www.naturalcuresnotmedicine.com/2013/10/why-is-food-industry-poisoning-us-with.html#SsaAbdZRIBZ6wqVW.99

Over 75 Million Americans are now eating organic. Here are 10 reasons why.


Organic foods and products are the fastest growing items in America’s grocery carts. Thirty million households, comprising 75 million people, are now buying organic foods, clothing, body care, supplements, pet food, and other products on a regular basis. Fifty-six percent of U.S. consumers say they prefer organic foods.

Here are 10 reasons why you should buy organic foods and products:

1. Organic foods are produced without the use of Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs). Consumers worry about untested and unlabeled genetically modified food ingredients in common supermarket items. Genetically engineered ingredients are now found in 75% of all non-organic U.S. processed foods, even in many products labeled or advertised as “natural.” In addition, the overwhelming majority of non-organic meat, dairy, and eggs are derived from animals reared on a steady diet of GM animal feed. Although polls indicate that 90% of Americans want labels on gene-altered foods, government and industry adamantly refuse to respect consumers’ right to know, understanding quite well that health and environmental-minded shoppers will avoid foods with a GMO label.

2. Organic foods are safe and pure. Organic farming prohibits the use of toxic pesticides, antibiotics, growth hormones, nano-particles, and climate-destabilizing chemical fertilizers. Consumers worry about pesticide and drug residues routinely found in non-organic produce, processed foods, and animal products. Consumer Reports has found that 77% of non-organic produce items in the average supermarket contain pesticide residues. The beef industry has acknowledged that 94% of all U.S. beef cattle have hormone implants, which are banned in Europe as a cancer hazard. Approximately 10% of all U.S. dairy cows are injected with Monsanto and Elanco’s controversial genetically engineered Bovine Growth Hormone, banned in most industrialized nations. Recent studies indicate that an alarming percentage of non-organic U.S. meat contains dangerous antibiotic-resistant bacteria.

3. Organic foods and farming are climate-friendly. Citizens are increasingly concerned about climate-destabilizing greenhouse gas pollution (CO2, methane, and nitrous oxide), 35-50% of which in North America comes from our energy-intensive, chemical-intensive food and farming system. Organic farms and ranches, on the other hand, use far less fossil fuel and can safely sequester large amounts of CO2 in the soil (up to 7,000 pounds of CO2 per acre per year, every year.) Twenty-four billion pounds of chemical fertilizers applied on non-organic farms in the U.S. every year not only pollute our drinking water and create enormous dead zones in the oceans; but also release enormous amounts of nitrous oxide, a super potent, climate-destabilizing greenhouse gas.

4. Organic food certification prohibits nuclear irradiation. Consumers are justifiably alarmed about irradiating food with nuclear waste or electron beams, which destroy vitamins and nutrients and produce cancer-causing chemicals such as benzene and formaldehyde. The nuclear industry, large food processors, and slaughterhouses continue to lobby Congress to remove required labels from irradiated foods and replace these with misleading labels that use the term “cold pasteurization.” The USDA and large meat companies have promoted the use of irradiated meat in school lunches and senior citizen facilities. Many non-organic spices contain irradiated ingredients.

5. Consumers worry about rampant e-coli, salmonella, campylobacter, Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), and fecal contamination in animal products coming out of the nation’s inhumane and filthy slaughterhouses. The Centers for Disease Control have admitted that up to 76 million Americans suffer from food poisoning every year. Very few cases of food poisoning have ever been linked to organic farms or food processors.

6. Consumers are concerned about billions of pounds of toxic municipal sewage sludge dumped as “fertilizer” on 140,000 of America’s chemical farms. Scientific evidence has confirmed that municipal sewage sludge contains hundreds of dangerous pathogens, toxic heavy metals, flame-retardants, endocrine disruptors, carcinogens, pharmaceutical drugs and other hazardous chemicals coming from residential drains, storm water runoff, hospitals, and industrial plants. Organic farming categorically prohibits the use of sewage sludge.

7. Consumers worry about the routine practice of grinding up slaughterhouse waste and feeding this offal and blood back to other animals, a practice that has given rise to a form of human mad-cow disease called CJD, often misdiagnosed as Alzheimer’s disease. Animals on organic farms cannot be fed slaughterhouse waste, manure, or blood – daily rations on America’s factory farms.

8. Consumers care about the humane treatment of animals. Organic farming prohibits intensive confinement and mutilation (debeaking, cutting off tails, etc.) of farm animals. In addition to the cruel and unhealthy confinement of animals on factory farms, scientists warn that these CAFOs (Confined Animal Feeding Operations) produce enormous volumes of manure and urine, which not only pollute surface and ground water, but also emit large quantities of methane, a powerful climate-destabilizing greenhouse gas.

9. Consumers are concerned about purchasing foods with high nutritional value. Organic foods are nutritionally dense compared to foods produced with toxic chemicals, chemical fertilizers, and GMO seeds. Studies show that organic foods contain more vitamins, cancer-fighting anti-oxidants, and important trace minerals.

10. Consumers care about preserving America’s family farms, world hunger, and the plight of the world’s two billion small farmers. Just about the only small farmers who stand a chance of making decent living these days are organic farmers, who get a better price for their products. In addition study after study has shown that small organic farms in the developing world produce twice as much food per acre as chemical and GMO farms, while using far less fossil fuel and sequestering large amounts of excess CO2 in the soil. Yields on organic farms in the industrialized world are comparable to the yields on chemical and GMO farms, with the important qualification that organic farms far out-produce chemical farms under extreme weather conditions of drought or torrential rains. Of course, given accelerated climate change, extreme weather is fast becoming the norm.

For all these reasons, millions of American consumers are turning to organic foods and other organic items, including clothing and body care products – part of an overall movement toward healthy living, preserving the environment, and reversing global warming.

Source: Organic Consumers Association & RealFarmacy.com

Los Angeles may become largest GMO-free area in the US.


 Los Angeles City Councilmen Paul Koretz and Mitch O’Farrell introduced Friday a motion to curb growth proliferation of GMO seeds and plants within the city. The councilmen said the proposal aims to protect local gardens and city-grown food from future contamination from GMO seeds. The motion would not impact the sale of food containing GMO ingredients, however.

GMO seeds are mostly used only by large-scale farming operations, of which none exists in Los Angeles city.


“The pending ordinance would be symbolic more than anything else, but we do feel it’s an important step to have the second-largest city in the nation declare itself as against genetically modified seeds,” said head of Learning Garden and Seed Library of LA David King, who assisted in creating the motion.

King told The Huffington Post that if GMO seeds begin to be marketed to smaller farmers, the ban would be in place to protect home-grown food.

O’Farrell said suspicions that powerful new pesticides – incorporated into plant DNA via genetic engineering – have devastated worldwide honeybee populations by 40 to 50 percent in 2012 is the“canary in the coal mine” for GMOs. California’s almond crop, which supplies 80 percent of US almonds, has fallen on tough times given almonds rely so much on bees.


“A growing number of problems are being traced to GMOs,” Koretz said in a statement. He cited examples like “the evolution of ‘superbug’ insects which are growing immune to the pesticides engineered within GMO crops” and “‘seed drift’ (for example the recent finding of GMO-pollinated wheat growing in an Oregon farmer’s field).”

Some smaller US localities have banned the cultivation of GMOs, but LA would be by far the biggest US city to do so.

Genetic engineering on plants, for example, occurs when a gene from another plant species, bacterium or virus is inserted into the organism’s DNA.

An international group of over 90 scientists, academics and physicians released a statement early this week saying there is no scientific consensus on the safety of GMOs for humans, as proponents likeMonsanto attest, and that any GMO cultivation should take internationally-approved precautions.


“The claim that it does exist is misleading and misrepresents the currently available scientific evidence and the broad diversity of opinion among scientists on this issue,” the statement said.
“Moreover, the claim encourages a climate of complacency that could lead to a lack of regulatory and scientific rigour and appropriate caution, potentially endangering the health of humans, animals, and the environment.”

A public effort to require all GMO foods and seeds to be labeled as such throughout the entire state of California failed a year ago. Opponents of Proposition 37 – like Monsanto and Kraft – helped donate around $46 million to the cause against labeling. Supporters of labeling raised just over $9 million in that defeat.
Voters in Washington State will consider a labeling requirement next month. Opponents of Initiative 522 – led by questionable fundraising tactics by industry trade group Grocery Manufacturers Association – have pumped $17 million into the effort to defeat labeling. Supporters have raised over $5 million.

A lawsuit filed by the state against the GMA claimed that the group violated campaign disclosure laws, and forced it to reveal donors to its “Defense of Brands Strategic Account.”

Out of the 34 companies who doled out over $7.2 million into the initiative the top three were PepsiCo, which contributed $1.6 million, and Nestle USA, Inc. and The Coca-Cola Co., which spent over $1 million each.

Source: RT.com

Russia is Considering a Total Ban on GMOs.


As one of the few nations in the world with a GMO-free platform, Russia does not allow any cultivation of GMOs for commercial purposes. Their regulatory agencies recently suspended the import and use of an American GM corn following a study suggesting a link to breast cancer and organ damage. The Russian Prime Minister has now ordered the same agencies to consider a possible ban on all GMO imports into Russia.

The Russian Federal Environmental Assessment Commission has not adopted any commercialized GM varieties for agricultural use.

The recent decision by the Russians to suspend authorisation for American GM corn threatens to trigger a transatlantic commercial and diplomatic row.

growing body of scientific research – done mostly in Europe, Russia, and other countries – showing that diets containing engineered corn or soya cause serious health problems in laboratory mice and rats.

Experts at the University of Caen , conducted an experiment running for the full lives of rats – two years.

(RELATED: Join the March Against Monsanto happening10/12/13http://www.march-against-monsanto.com/p/blog-page.html)

The findings, which were peer reviewed by independent experts before being published in a respected scientific journal, found raised levels of breast cancer, liver and kidney damage.

Russian Prime Minister Announces Possible Ban On All Imports

Russia’s consumer rights watchdog and Health Ministry, Rospotrebnadzor, announced one year ago that it had suspended the import and use of the Monsanto GM corn.

Now, the Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev has ordered the relevant agencies to consider a possible ban of all imports into Russia of products containing genetically modified organisms (GMOs) by October 15.

The order is addressed to Rospotrebnadzor, the Agriculture Ministry, and the Trade and Economic Development Ministry. They have been ordered to “submit proposals on amendments to the Russian legislation aimed at tightening control over the turnover of products containing components obtained from GMOs together with the relevant federal executive bodies.”

The aforementioned agencies are also ordered to submit proposals “on the possibility of banning the import of such products into the Russian Federation.”

A list of the prime minister’s orders was drawn up to fulfill the presidential orders issued after the meeting on the socio-economic development of the Rostov region held on September 18. Medvedev’s orders have been posted on the government website, Interfax news agency reported last September 25.

Russia is currently taking a hard line on GMOs — in August the first independent project for identifying whether Russian farmers are growing illegal GM crops started in the Belgorod region.

NAGS (The National Association for Genetic Safety) conducted the first checks of agricultural crops for the presence of GMOs. No GMO plants were found in any Belgorod fields.

According to the current law, 19 GM lines are allowed in foodstuffs, but the cultivation of GMOs is not allowed.

After joining the World Trade Organisation (WTO), Russia is being pressured simplify the procedure for registration of genetically modified products, seed and feed, to stop their safety checks, and to stop controls over their distribution.

Nations Banning Monsanto’s Glyphosate Herbicide 

Glyphosate is the world’s top selling herbicide, and Monsanto’s formulations Roundup is used with more than 80 percent of all genetically modified (GM) crops grown globally. But evidence of its extreme toxicity has been emerging within the past decade. Glyphosate was found to kill human placental cells at concentrations below that recommended for agricultural use and approved by our regulators, while Roundup was lethal at even lower concentrations.

The toxic effects of Roundup (R400) begin at 5 ppm, and the first endocrine disrupting action is already evident at 0.5 ppm, 800 times lower than the level of 400 ppm authorized by the US Environment Protection Agency in food or feed.

According to one analysis, GMO corn tested by Profit Pro contains a number of elements absent from traditional cord, including chlorides, formaldehyde and glyphosate. While those elements don’t appear naturally in corn, they were present in GMO samples to the tune of 60 ppm, 200pm and 13 ppm, respectively.

“Glyphosate is a strong organic phosphate chelator that immobilizes positively charged minerals such as manganese, cobalt, iron, zinc [and] copper,” Dr. Don Huber attested during a separate GMO study recently released, adding that those elements “are essential for normal physiological functions in soils, plants and animals.”

El Salvador has recently voted to ban glyphosate, the pesticide that most GM crops are designed to be grown with, along with 52 other chemicals.

Predictably, protests have been raised by the GM lobby group CropLife, which is scaremongering about losses of up to 60% in crop production if the chemicals are banned.

 

The news of the historic El Salvadorean vote comes on the anniversary of the publication of the groundbreaking study led by Prof GE Seralini, which found that the glyphosate-based pesticide Roundup – and a GM maize engineered to tolerate it – caused severe organ damage and increased rates of tumours and premature death in rats. Roundup was found to be toxic at half the level permitted in EU drinking water.
Denmark has also imposed widespread bans on the spraying of glyphosate in response to research showing that the sprays have been contaminating the countrys groundwater.

The chemical has, against all expectations sieving down through the soil and polluting the ground water at a rate of five times more than the allowed level for drinking water, according to tests done by the Denmark and Greenland Geological Research Institution (DGGRI).

A decade ago, the Danish environment minister Hans Christian Schmidt announced unprecedented restrictions on glyphosate, the country’s and Europe’s most widely used herbicide.

Source: 
gmwatch.org

Ten years in: taking stock of the biosafety protocol.


Speed read

·         The Cartagena protocol covers the safe transfer and use of GM organisms

·         But most of its 164 signatories have still not fully implemented it

·         Industry has been making efforts to work with governments within the protocol

Many challenges lie ahead for the Cartagena protocol to be effective, Maria Elena Hurtado reports.


  Ten years after the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety entered into force to detail the safe handling, transfer and use of living 
genetically modified organisms, vast majority of its 164 signatories have not fully implemented it.  

Yet in recent years, researchers have started producing 
genetically modified fish in Panama for human consumption, and releasing genetically modified mosquitoes into the wild in Brazil and elsewhere to try and prevent dengue fever, sometimes with unclear safety and regulatory oversight.

The protocol commits signatory countries to appoint a national authority to administer the protocol, to create national biosafety frameworks and regulations, and to build capacity for risk assessment and the safe handling and transport of living modified organisms (LMOs).

HNE00022PHI

Fifty-two countries have domestic regulations fully in place, 75 have one or more biosafety laws and almost all of them have national authorities for administrating it, reports an article published in the anniversary edition of the protocol’s newsletter.

“But still there is a long way to go to make sure the national biosafety rules and regulations in place are workable and countries have the necessary capacity to enforce them,” Braulio Ferreira de Souza Dias, executive secretary to the Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity, tellsSciDev.Net.

“For example, the effectiveness of biosafety regulations will be minimal unless countries have the necessary tools to detect and identify LMOs.”


Challenges ahead


And for the protocol to be fully effective, “we need to work towards achieving its universal membership”, said de Souza Dias, in a press release published earlier this month (10 September). “I call upon all countries that have not yet done so to fast track their national processes to ratify or accede to the Cartagena protocol … as soon as possible.”

“The absence of legal certainty in many countries has been commonly regarded as one of the most serious stumbling blocks in the path of biodiscovery.”

Braulio Ferreira de Souza Dia, Convention on Biological Diversity

Also, the speed of implementation has decreased over the last three years, Stefan Jungcurt of the Canada-based International Institute on Sustainable Development, tells SciDev.Net.

“As more and more countries approve LMOs for cultivation and import, the political priority given to biosafety is diminishing, which translates into a lack of financial and other support to implement the protocol on a national level,” he says.

In his view, a key pending issue is approving UN guidelines for risk assessment and risk management. Claudio Chiarolla, director of biodiversity governance at the Institute for Sustainable Development and International Relations, a non-profit policy research institute based in France, agrees 

Both Jungcurt and Chiarolla tell SciDev.Net that one of the most important issues will be to determine  the protocol’s scope regarding the 
potential socioeconomic impact that LMOs pose for the sustainable use and conservation of biodiversity, and what appropriate action can be taken.

“The protocol will also have to deal with other types of LMOs such as genetically modified mosquitoes, aquatic species, microorganisms or
products of synthetic biology, which are different to LMO crops,” Jungcurt adds.

A new international treaty was adopted at a 2010 meeting in Japan, called the Nagoya – Kuala Lumpur Supplementary Protocol on Liability and Redress to the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety.
This treaty deals with potential damages resulting from the export and import of LMOs.

Jungcurt says: “The most immediate challenge here is achieving its coming into force and its national implementation, as well as establishing rules and procedures on who is liable if damage occurs during transboundary movements”.


A fair share


De Souza Dias told a meeting in Denmark this month (4 September) that the Nagoya protocol “put an end to the mistrust among industry, indigenous and local communities over the equitable sharing of benefits”.

“The absence of legal certainty in many countries has been commonly regarded as one of the most serious stumbling blocks in the path of biodiscovery,” he adds. “The Nagoya protocol seeks to address this concern.”

He recognises the high stakes involved for different groups. “Over the last two decades, the issue of free trade in LMOs on the one hand, and biosafety on the other, have led to heated debates and, at times, to tense legal disputes.”

But he believes industry has been making efforts to work with governments within the process of the biosafety protocol.

“The participation of representatives of industry and civil society in the Cartagena protocol process has been helpful to maintain transparency and balance in taking decisions,” he says.