The Real Truth About What Can Cause Cancer and Why Doctors Constantly Ignore It


 

Each year during the anniversary week of Mercola.com, they recognize a Game Changer; someone whose work stands as a great service to humanity by making a significant contribution to improving people’s health.

This year, they present the Game Changer Award to Thomas Seyfried, Ph.D.,1 a professor of biology at Boston College and a leading expert and researcher in the field of cancer metabolism and nutritional ketosis.

His book, “Cancer as a Metabolic Disease” is an important contribution to the field of how cancer starts and can be treated. Seyfried’s work is also heavily featured in Travis Christofferson’s excellent book, “Tripping Over the Truth: The Metabolic Theory of Cancer.”

Each day, some 1,600 people die from cancer in the United States alone. Worldwide, we’re looking at a death toll of about 21,000 people daily. So many of these deaths are unnecessary — they’re preventable and treatable.

Seyfried is one of the pioneers in the application of nutritional ketosis for cancer; a therapy that stems from the work of Dr. Otto Warburg, who was undoubtedly one of the most brilliant biochemists of the 20th century. He received the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1931 for the discovery of metabolism of malignant cells.

Warburg also held a doctorate in chemistry and was personal friends with Albert Einstein and many of the most prominent scientists of his time. His life’s mission was to find a cure for cancer, and he actually did. Unfortunately, few were able to appreciate the importance of his findings.

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Seyfried has followed in Warburg’s scientific footsteps, and is conducting important research to advance this science. He has in fact exceeded Warburg’s initial supposition, shedding important light on the metabolic underpinnings of cancer.

Cancer as a Metabolic Disease

The traditionally held view or dogma is that cancer is a genetic disease, but what Warburg discovered is that cancer is really caused by a defect in the cellular energy metabolism of the cell, primarily related to the function of the mitochondria, which are the little power stations within each cell.

The mitochondria were not well understood in Warburg’s time but, today, we have a much better understanding of how they work.

In my view, this information is the game changer that not only treats cancer but virtually every single disease known to man, because at the core of most serious ailments you find mitochondrial dysfunction. As noted by Seyfried:

“A dogma is considered irrefutable truth, and that cancer is a genetic disease is, no question, a dogma. The problem with dogma is that sometimes it blinds you to alternative views and sets up ideologies that are extremely difficult to change.

All of the major college textbooks talk about cancer as a genetic disease. The National Cancer Institute (NCI) website, the first thing they say is cancer is a genetic disease caused by mutations … [and] if cancer is a genetic disease, everything flows from that concept.

It permeates the pharmaceutical industry, academic industry and textbook industry, the entire knowledge base. There’s very little discussion of alternative views to the genetic view. The argument now is that, yes, metabolic problems occur in cancer cells. No one denies that.

But these are all due to the genetic mutations. Therefore we must maintain ourselves on the established track that all of this metabolic stuff could be resolved if we just understood more about the genetic underpinning of the disease.

Now that would be well and good if it were true. But evidence is accumulating that the mutations we see that are the prime focus and the basis for the genetic theory are actually epiphenomenal.

They’re downstream effects of this disturbance in the metabolism that Warburg originally defined back in the 1920s and ’30s.”

How the Metabolic View Alters Cancer Treatment

As Seyfried notes, the problem today is not that scientists and doctors cannot understand the science; it’s that they cannot accept that this could be the truth behind the nature of the disease, because it changes how you approach treatment.

If defective mitochondria are responsible for the origin of cancer, and defective energy metabolism is responsible for the majority of the phenotypes, i.e., the observable characteristics of the disease that you see, then how do you treat the disease?

In my view, one of Seyfried’s most magnificent contributions to this science was his compilation of research from independent and well-respected scientists within various disciplines, who conducted valuable experiments but had no clue how to interpret the results.

Seyfried put all of their work together, forming a strong scientific foundation for the theory that cancer is indeed a metabolic disease, not a genetic one, and that genetic mutations are a downstream effect of defective energy metabolism in the mitochondria.

“Those nuclear transfer experiments were always present in the literature. They were considered anomalies. They were not consistent with the view that cancer is a nuclear genetic disease … but the observation was not interpreted in light of [being] the origin of cancer.

I bundled all those observations together in a new light, looking at the conclusions of those experiments in light of whether the results would support a nuclear gene-based theory versus a mitochondrial metabolic theory …

It was just interpreting a series of experiments in light of the origin of the disease, and then asking what conclusion would these experiments support. Would it support the nuclear genetic theory of cancer, or would it support the mitochondrial metabolic theory of cancer?

In each of these cases, the results more strongly supported the metabolic theory of cancer than the nuclear genetic theory,” Seyfried says.

What the Nuclear Transfer Experiments Showed

The nuclear transfer experiments in question basically involved transplanting the nuclei of a tumor cell into a healthy and normal cytoplasm (the material within a cell, excluding the cell nucleus), which include the mitochondria, the energy-generating organelle of the cell.

The hypothesis is that if cancer is nuclear-gene driven and the phenotype of cancer is dysregulated cell growth, meaning if genetic mutations are responsible for the observable characteristics of the disease, then those abnormal genes should be expressed in the new cytoplasm. But that’s not what happened.

Again and again, what was observed was that when the nuclei of a cancer cell were transferred into a healthy cytoplasm, the new cytoplasm did NOT form cancer. It remained healthy and normal.

“What was interesting is that in many of these nuclear transfer experiments, the organisms aborted at certain periods of development. That abortion seems to be related to how many mutations were in the nucleus that was transferred,” Seyfried says.

“It was true that these cancer nuclei did contain mutations, but those mutations were not causing the hallmark feature of the disease, that is proliferation. Rather, they were causing abortion at some developmental point of the organism that had those nuclei … On the other hand, when the normal nucleus was transferred back into a cancer cytoplasm [which had defective mitochondria], either the cell died or it formed tumor cells.”

Additional evidence has recently been produced by Benny Kaipparettu, Ph.D., and colleagues at Baylor University. When they transplanted normal mitochondria (with its nuclei intact) into cancer cell cytoplasm, it caused the cells to stop growing abnormally. It downregulated the oncogenes that were alleged to be driving the tumor and made the cells grow normally again.

On the other hand, when they took the mitochondria from a tumor cell and moved it into a very slow-growing type of cancer cell, the cancer cells began growing very rapidly. As noted by Seyfried, “When you bundle all these experiments together, you come to the conclusion that nuclear mutations cannot be the drivers of the disease.”

What About BRCA1 and Other Inherited Cancer Genes?

A common argument for the genetic theory is that cancer can be inherited; therefore it must have genetic underpinnings. Li-Fraumeni syndrome,2 which raises your risk of developing cancer at a very young age, and BRCA1, which raises your breast cancer risk are two examples.

“The answer is, yes, on the surface, that would appear to be true,” Seyfried says. “But as Warburg said, there are many secondary causes of cancer but there is only one primary cause, and that’s damage to the respiration. So inherited mutations through the germ lines that cause cancer to affect the mitochondria, it is [still] the mitochondria that is the origin of cancer.

It just so happens that the defect is coming from an inherited gene rather than a chemical carcinogen, radiation, viral infection or an infection of some parasite or whatever, all of which damage respiration; all of which can cause cancer.

Clearly the origin of the disease is a disturbance of the respiratory capacity of that cell which then, if the cell is to survive, must upregulate genes necessary for fermentation. Many of those genes are the so-called oncogenes. The oncogenes are simply fulfilling a rescue event of that cell to function in a fermentation metabolism rather than an oxidative metabolism. We can downregulate oncogenes simply by putting in new respiration.”

If genetic mutations are not the primary cause of cancer but rather a secondary, downstream effect of dysfunctional cell respiration, why and how do mutations occur? As explained by Seyfried, once the cells’ respiration is damaged, that damage then leads to a compensatory fermentation, which requires the upregulation of oncogenes (cancer genes).

Damaged respiration also produces large amounts of reactive oxygen species (ROS) and secondary free radicals that damage DNA proteins and lipids (fats inside your cellular membranes). The ROS also cause mutations in the nuclear genome. So the mutations are the result of defective respiration and subsequent exaggerated ROS production.

Why the War on Cancer Has Not Yet Been Won

At present, the cancer industry is focusing on the downstream effects of the problem, which is why the “war on cancer” has been such a miserable failure.

“Personalized medicines, checkpoint inhibitors, all of these kinds of therapies are basically looking at downstream effects of the disease,” Seyfried says.

“Unfortunately, most of the cells in the tumor are all different from each other genetically. You’re not going to be able to target all of the different cells using these kinds of approaches. Even though you may get success for a few months, or even a year in some people, the majority of people will not respond effectively to these kinds of therapies for the most part.”

Why Being an Efficient Fat Burner Is so Important

The ROS also target the actual mitochondria themselves, where respiration occurs, which brings us to a very important point. ROS are mostly generated through the coenzyme Q couple in the electron transport chain. Both glucose and fatty acids produce FADH2, which can generate ROS.

In contrast, fat-derived ketone bodies produce only NADH, which increases the redox span of the coenzyme Q couple and reduces production of ROS. Hence, ketone bodies are considered a more “clean” fuel than is either glucose or fatty acids. Today, most people are burning glucose as their primary fuel, thanks to an overabundance of sugar and processed grains in the diet and a deficiency in healthy fats.

If you have less ROS being generated in the mitochondria, you end up with less mitochondrial damage and less DNA damage. So not only is switching the fuel you’re feeding your body the key component of cancer treatment, but in my view it’s the primary way that you prevent cancer from occurring in the first place.

“I think that’s an important point. One of the things that trigger cancer is inflammation. We have inflammation. Chronic high levels of blood sugar create inflammation. This you see in a lot of situations. Glucose itself is not carcinogenic, but elevated dysregulated glucose metabolism can lead to inflammation, and can cause a number of other disturbances in the overall metabolism of the body,” Seyfried says.

“If you fast, if you stop eating, your blood sugar goes down. Your insulin levels go down. The body starts to metabolize fat for energy. But the fatty acids themselves are only one component. The major components of course are the ketone bodies … They are water-soluble fat products. They readily enter cells and they’re metabolized to acetyl-CoA through a series of steps.

These steps generate nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NADH), which is a reducing equivalent. But they also keep the coenzyme Q couple in an oxidized state. This is very important because it’s that coenzyme Q couple where ROS are in fact generated in the first place …

Ketones are clean fuel only in the sense that they suppress the formation of ROS, especially when blood sugar levels are low. Because if you have very high ketones AND high blood sugar, you have ketoacidosis, which is a life-threatening event.”

Do Not Confuse Nutritional Ketosis With Ketoacidosis

Nutritional ketosis should NOT be confused with diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA), which is not a concern unless you have type 1 diabetes. It’s rare for a person with normal physiology to elevate their ketones above 7 or 8 millimole (mmol). If you have DKA, your ketones will be about 20 mmol. Additionally, your blood sugars will be very high, while in nutritional ketosis blood sugars are very low. These are clearly two entirely different states.

And whereas ketoacidosis can be life threatening, nutritional ketosis is a healthy state that helps you maintain maximum energy efficiency and reduces ROS production in your body. As noted by Seyfried, “Mitochondria actually get very healthy when ketones are metabolized as opposed to some of the other fuels, especially glucose.”

For the last few decades, most natural health enthusiasts would attempt to circumvent the ROS challenge by taking antioxidants, either through foods high in polyphenols and other natural antioxidants, or supplements. I now believe this is a fatally flawed strategy that has significant drawbacks.

Rather than trying to quell the ROS after they’re produced, it’s far more effective to address the ROS generation at its source, which is the fuel your body is primarily burning for energy. Change the fuel, from sugar to fat, and you will generate fewer ROS.

Ketones Prevent Dysregulated ROS Production, Thereby Reducing Your Risk for Cancer

It’s not that ketones don’t generate any ROS, they do; just not as much. And this brings us to yet another crucial point. ROS are not merely agents of destruction; they’re also powerful signaling molecules. If you suppress them indiscriminately, you’ll create biological dysfunction.

So you do not want to eliminate them. You just want to control them to optimal levels so all the signaling can occur without damage. That’s what happens with ketones. When your body is burning ketones as its primary fuel, you more or less ensure that you’re in an ideal therapeutic window with regards to ROS generation, so you have neither too much nor too little ROS.

“There’s no question about that. It’s what we call a homeostatic state,” Seyfried notes.”Ketones prevent dysregulated ROS production … You’re allowing your body to remain healthier for a longer period of time. That’s basically what we’re doing here … Cancer is accelerated entropy. It’s a total disorganization of the homeostatic parameters within cells and outside the cells in the morphogenetic field and in the entire body itself.

Cancer patients have all kinds of disturbances in systemic homeostasis. It’s not just in the cells … When the body has cancer there are a number of ramifications that take place throughout the body. We’re producing more acidity. There are a lot of responses in the part of hormones and signaling cascades throughout the body as a result of this disease. One has to treat cancer as a systemic [disease]. The whole body has to be treated but in a non-toxic way.”

Indeed, toxicity is one of the biggest failures of current treatment protocols for cancer. The majority of treatments for cancer are extremely toxic, which further exacerbates the problem. Many cancer recurrences are likely due to the initial treatment. On the other hand, when you view cancer as a metabolic disease, you can target and manage the disease without creating systemic toxicity. As explained by Seyfried, you do this by targeting the fuels the cancer cells are using, primarily glucose and glutamine.

“What we have to recognize … is that if cancer is a mitochondrial metabolic disease and you get cancer because of mitochondrial failure in certain populations of cells and certain tissues, if you prevent your mitochondria from entering into this dysfunctional state … [then] the probability of getting cancer is going to be significantly reduced.

To what percent? I would say a minimum of 80 percent. Cancer is probably, as I said in my book, one of the most manageable diseases that we know of …

The problem is that many people don’t want [to take the preventive steps to avoid cancer]. They’re like, ‘I have to therapeutically fast for a week? Oh, I’m not going to. Give me a break’ … An effective prevention is to eat less and move more. A lot of people don’t want to do that … Once you realize what cancer is, that it’s a metabolic disease, you can take charge of those kinds of things. In other words, getting cancer is not God’s will. It’s not bad luck.”

Most Disease Is Rooted in Mitochondrial Dysfunction

Cancer is not the only outcome when mitochondrial respiration goes awry. This kind of dysfunction also plays a role in neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). It’s also at play in seizure disorders, and in diabetes, obesity, hypertension and hypercholesterolemia. Most of the major diseases we’re currently treating with harsh and toxic drugs can potentially be solved with proper nutritional intervention that addresses your choice of cellular fuels.

How exactly do you do that? According to Seyfried, in order to achieve nutritional ketosis, you need to reduce net carbohydrates (total carbs minus fiber) to less than 100 grams, probably less than 50 grams. I have a slightly different view on this, which I’ll expound on in the next section.

You also need to reduce your amino acid content. Glutamine is the most common amino acid in proteins, and besides glucose, cancer cells can use glutamine for energy and growth as well. The combination of both glucose and glutamine creates a really “supercharged system,” Seyfried notes.

In order to lower glutamine, you have to eat less protein. Also, there’s a threshold for amino acids, above which you will simply stimulate the mTOR pathway, which in conjunction with insulin may wield a more powerful influence on mitochondrial dysfunction and mitochondrial biogenesis than insulin alone.

How to Assess the Health of Your Mitochondria

How can you assess the health of your mitochondria? There are a couple of ways of doing this. Seyfried has published a paper on the glucose ketone index calculator3 (GKIC) in an open access journal, which can be accessed by anyone. You can use that calculator to assess the health and vitality of your mitochondria.

The GKIC looks at your glucose to ketone ratio. Ketones must be measured by blood, not urine, and your glucose must be entered in mmol, not in milligrams per deciliter (mg/dL). “When you have a glucose ratio of 1.0 or below, you know your mitochondria are in a very healthy zone,” Seyfried says.

Now, getting down to a 1.0 is quite difficult. I’m typically between 2 and 3, and my diet is about 80 percent healthy fats with minimal net carbs. You may need to do a complete fast in order to get that low. However, you don’t need to remain in that ultra-low zone for very long. On the other hand, if you have cancer, you’ll want to hit that mark as much as possible.

“You do a water fast for about three to four days, then you can take some exogenous ketones, and you can get your blood sugars way down,” Seyfried says. “To prevent cancer, you don’t have to stay there [longer than] four or five days every six months or something like this. It’s just a guide,” Seyfried says.

“Some people can get into these zones very quickly and very easily. Other people really struggle. All of this is a biomarker gauge. We’ve done some interesting linear regression analysis on survivability of mice with cancer using the GKIs, the independent variable, the glucose-ketone index.

There definitely is statistical relationship on how long you can keep your GKI [and] how long you can survive with a very aggressive cancer. Clearly, it’s just one biomarker system that allows individuals to help battle their own cancer.”

Therapeutic Ketosis Made Simpler With a Nutrient Tracker

That strategy will likely be too extreme for most folks, unless you’re faced with death or otherwise highly motivated. Rather than doing lengthy water fasting, I believe a more user-friendly strategy would be to restrict your net carbs below 50 grams per day and your protein to below 1 gram per kilogram of lean body mass. Most people eat a lot more net carbs and protein than that.

To make sure you’re actually meeting these targets you need an analytical tool to do a detailed nutritional analysis of what you’re eating. Otherwise, you really don’t know how much fat, carbs and protein you’re getting. This was my motivation for working with the developer of http://www.Cronometer.com/mercola, an online nutrient tracker, to create a Mercola version of the software programmed specifically for nutritional ketosis.

You can sign up and use Cronometer.com/Mercola for free. This software will make all the calculations for you, based on the parameters you enter, such as your height, weight, body fat percentage and waist circumference. You can also enter and track various biomarkers, such as fasting glucose, which is an essential measurement.

You really must keep tabs on your fasting blood sugar. Ideally, you would measure it twice a day; first thing in the morning and right before you go to bed. You want to get your blood sugar below 70 mg/dL, ideally somewhere around 60.

If your fasting blood sugar is significantly higher in the morning than in the afternoon, it’s likely due to glucogenesis, which is a sign you’re not getting enough protein. You need a certain amount of amino acids or else your body will start to metabolize lean body tissue to generate them. In that process, the excess gets shuttled to your liver, which is what generates the extra glucose (hence the elevated reading in the absence of food).

More Information

If you really want to dig deep into the details of therapeutic ketosis, read Seyfried’s book, “Cancer as a Metabolic Disease.” If you want to start with a shorter treatise, you can read through his paper, “Cancer as a Metabolic Disease: Implications for Novel Therapeutics,” published in the journal Carcinogenesis in 2014, or his 2015 paper in the journal Frontiers, titled “Cancer as a Mitochondrial Metabolic Disease.”4

Hopefully, we’ve inspired you to consider the nutritional roots of cancer and other chronic diseases. I can promise you will hear a lot more about this in the months and years to come, as I am convinced addressing mitochondrial dysfunction is the real key to solving most of our current health problems. The good news is that optimizing mitochondrial function can be effectively accomplished through diet and lifestyle strategies like exercise. No costly drugs or invasive procedures required.

And, while we still have a long way to go, more doctors are starting to pay attention. “This is the tipping point,” Seyfried says. “Many physicians are coming on board. I think things are going to start changing for the best and for the success of people.”

Too many people have died and continue to die needlessly. It’s time to get back on the right track. It’s going to require a lot of education, but the effort is absolutely worth it. The information about how to prevent cancer and other chronic illness already exist. It’s just a matter of applying it.

Breathing Program to Improve Mental and Physical Health


Story at-a-glance

  • Nine out of 10 adults breathe incorrectly, thereby impairing their health and exacerbating anxiety and depression
  • Proper breathing is a cornerstone of health. Learning to breathe well can improve your sleep, cognition, eating habits and resilience to stress, and lower inflammation, reduce pain and increase longevity
  • Horizontal breathing is healthy breathing; on the inhale, your midsection relaxes and expands, and on the exhale, your breathing muscles squeeze, narrowing your middle

It may be hard to believe, but 9 out of 10 adults breathe incorrectly, thereby impairing their health and exacerbating anxiety and depression. Fortunately, learning to breathe correctly is not a complicated affair.

In this interview, Belisa Vranich, a clinical psychologist and author of “Breathe: The Simple, Revolutionary 14-Day Program to Improve Your Mental and Physical Health,” shares a breathing program she developed that can help improve your physical and mental health in a short amount of time.

Psychologists do not typically focus on breathing. As is often the case with health pioneers, it was her personal health problems that led Vranich onto this path.

“What happened is that one year in New York, I woke up and had this dull throbbing pain in my jaw. I went to the dentist and found out I was not only grinding my teeth, I was pulverizing them because of stress …  

Being someone who sort of thrived on stress, I reached a point where it wasn’t working for me anymore … [F]inding out I had to pay thousands of dollars to get teeth replaced and fixed was my [aha] moment.

Most people take a yoga class or have a stiff drink. I decided for the yoga class. I loved the breathing we did in yoga … When I left yoga, I tried to find other classes that had to do with breathing. Most of them were vague, as far as their scientific explanations of what was going on, although they were lovely …

[C]oming from a science background, I really wanted to know why things were happening … Long story short, I found all types of breathing in sports, martial arts, birthing, singing [and] free diving. I put all those practical elements together and came up with the breathing class I give now.

I went back to my own patients [who] had anxiety and depression, and it worked really well with them … They would spend chunks of the session really wanting to do breath work. That’s how the transition happened.”

Proper Breathing Is a Cornerstone of Good Health

In her book, “Breathe,” Vranich accurately points out that breathing is a cornerstone of good health, and that changing the way you breathe can have an enormous impact, improving your sleep, cognition, eating habits, resilience to stress and more.

It can even lower your inflammation level, improve gastrointestinal (GI) function, increase longevity and reduce pain. When you’re in pain, you tense up, which in turn affects your breathing, making it shallower. This actually makes the pain feel worse, and can lead to a vicious circle where the pain becomes constant.

When it comes to breathing style, there are two basic types: vertical and horizontal breathing. Most people breathe vertically. This type of breathing makes you feel a bit taller on the in-breath, as it raises your chest and shoulders.

“Unfortunately, it’s anatomically incongruous,” Vranich says. “Your neck and shoulders were never meant to be breathing muscles. You’re not using the best part of your lungs. You’re actually telling your nervous system that you are in a stressed-out state.

If you’re not already in a stressed-out state, it’s going to make you more stressed … Horizontally is the way you see all animals on the planet breathe. They breathe and widen where the biggest part of their lungs are …

If you ask a 5-year old to take a breath, they just widen like a little puffing fish … It’s their deep breath. It’s perfect. You take a 10-year-old and ask them to take a deep breath and all of a sudden, it’s completely changed.

The 10-year-old will raise their shoulders, puff up their little chests and take this vertical, apical breath. If it doesn’t happen by age 10, definitely by age 15 … What they’re doing is mimicking their parents and what they see around them …”

How to Address Dysfunctional Breathing

The origins of dysfunctional breathing can also be traced back to excessive sitting. The average American sits 13 to 16 hours a day, which puts your body into an unnatural posture. According to Vranich, your posture affects as much as 30 percent of your breathing.

You may also have learned improper breathing through sports. Constrictive clothing such as tight waist bands, compression garments and bra straps add to the problem. Sucking in your gut also worsens the situation.

“Even if you’re not pulling in your gut because you think it makes you look thinner, you’re bracing because of anxiety. Think about it. That’s actually a posture that most of us have very often,” Vranich says. “It’s this braced middle … because it makes us feel better.

We feel like we’re ready to run or to strike. The problem with all of those things is that it takes the breath and it pushes it up, [turning it into] a vertical breath …

Luckily, dismantling it is fairly easy because somewhere in your body, you remember having breathed horizontally … [and since] it does make you feel better [when breathing horizontally], you start doing it.”

The book, “Breathe,” is a useful resource that provides a variety of different exercises and strategies to address this dysfunctional breathing. One such strategy Vranich calls “rock and roll.” You can do it either standing or sitting.

Begin by relaxing and unbracing your midsection. Take a deep breath in and actually feel the middle of your body get wider. Let your belly go. On the exhale, roll backward, tipping your hips underneath you while pressing your fingers gently into your belly, giving it a little squeeze.

These movements are exaggerated because learning a new mechanical movement is easier if you start by exaggerating it. Eventually, this will teach your body to use the diaphragm to breathe. So, on the inhale, let your belly go. On the exhale, roll back and squeeze.

“This is the most important breath,” Vranich says. “If you do anything at all, this is the most wonderful one … You want to get yourself trained to breathe that way all the time.”

Remember to Engage Your Diaphragm When Breathing

One of the key things to remember is to work with and engage your diaphragm when breathing, as this will allow you to change your breathing more easily, and make the change permanent. This is what the “rock and roll” breathing exercise teaches you.

“[While] the Buteyko [Breathing technique] focuses on your carbon dioxide levels, breathing through your nose, and posits that most people over-breathe … I focus on style of breathing.

I really look to see where you’re breathing from, because in my experience that has been what really resonates with people and what creates the most change,” Vranich says. “Although I touch on Buteyko Breathing in my book, I try to bring in breathing exercises from as many different places as possible, because I want there to be information that resonates with a really diverse group of people.

I talk about breathing that happens in singing … in martial arts … In “Breathe,” I bring in everything I possibly can, as far as breathing, to really give you a choice to see which of these different exercises works for you. But my main gift, I’d like to think, is that I look at where you’re breathing from.”

You might know that muscles will atrophy from lack of use. If you’ve been breathing improperly for several decades, it may take some time to retrain your breathing muscles before you can breathe optimally. Even athletes can have weak breathing muscles, because in order to be strong, they have to be worked out separately. It doesn’t happen automatically simply because you’re breathing heavily, and it has nothing to do with lung capacity. Your breathing muscles include your:

  • Intercostals: Muscles that run between your ribs, allowing your chest wall to move
  • Diaphragm: That thin sheet of muscle that extends across your thoracic cavity below your heart and lungs, above your digestive system
  • Obliques: The largest, outermost muscles of the lateral, anterior abdomen that give you that six-pack look
  • Pelvic floor

How to Strengthen Your Breathing Muscles

Working those muscles and really engaging them when breathing will have a dramatic effect on your ability to breathe well. Your inhale is governed by your diaphragm, while the exhale is primarily governed by your intercostals and obliques. Oftentimes, feeling short of breath is due to insufficient exhalation leaving excess residual air in your lungs. With age, your intercostals and obliques can weaken, thereby weakening your ability to exhale fully.

“When I teach, I teach the extremes so that you understand the mechanics. I make that exhale a squeeze. When you think about exhaling, most people think, ‘Inhale, exhale, let go,’ and that really messes us up. That idea of ‘exhale, let go’ makes you relax and flop down when you actually want to be narrowing your body on the exhale …

If you can think about your belly button getting closer to your spine and even your ribs coming together, that’s a really good exhale, which will obviously make your next inhale much better,” Vranich explains.

While about 50 percent of people can change their breathing for the better simply by reading the book or taking a single-session breathing class, to really change your breathing for life, most people need to commit to doing the exercises several times a day for one to three weeks.

The Importance of Stretching

Stretching helps improve your range of motion and flexibility, and proper breathing is an important aspect of effective stretching as well. Conversely, stretching can also improve your breathing. Vranich explains:

“Since your intercostals are two layers of muscle on the inside of your ribs, the best way you can stretch them is by inhaling and then stretching … [This opens] up the spaces between your ribs … Add air to the ribcage, on the inside, and then stretch. Add a little bit more. It’s called air packing — air packing comes from free diving — then stretch a little bit deeper. You can actually focus on the side that’s collapsing and give that a little crunch …

Now, I love spinal twists. If you don’t have any injuries, if you’ve been OK’d for doing spinal twists, doing spinal twists on the exhale will definitely get you deeper into the twist using the breath … Whatever chair you’re on, taking the back of your seat … and pulling yourself around on the exhale will get you deeper into the twist.”

Source:mercola.com

Slow Down Diet Helps with Weight Management


Story at-a-glance

  • Most people eat too fast, which causes stress and cuts you off from your body’s innate intelligence; slowing down the pace at which you eat is an important part of reestablishing this natural connection
  • Stress and fear results in sympathetic nervous system dominance, increased insulin, increased cortisol, and increased stress hormones — all of which deregulates your appetite and makes you eat more
  • Eating a very low-fat diet may prevent weight loss. One of the signs of essential fatty acid deficiency is weight gain or inability to lose weight.

Many people have a problem with their relationship with food. Some overeat, others unde reat, and many struggle with their weight despite doing everything right “on paper.”

“Sonoma State University allowed me to do an independent study for my master’s degree in Eating Psychology. I put an ad in a newspaper that said, ‘Graduate student looking to start Eating Psychology study group.’ That was the beginnings for me of learning on the job.

I had a group of 20 plus people — a handful of anorexics; a handful of some of the most obese people I’d ever seen; a beautiful model who had an eating disorder; and a handful of women in their 50s who looked fine to me but [spent their] life chronically dieting.

That was my beginnings of starting to understand eating psychology, counseling psychology, and coaching psychology. I looked at all the different modalities, started doing clinical practice, and said, ‘OK. What works and what doesn’t?'”

Why Does Dieting Oftentimes Fail?

Gradually, over the course of about 15 years, David developed a number of strategies that effectively address weight, body image, overeating, binge eating, emotional eating, and endless dieting.

The key was to distill the science and psychology down into simple, clear, and straightforward strategies that could empower people to take action and get desired results.

For example, many people diet and exercise yet don’t lose weight. Why is that? Oftentimes there are secondary complaints that can offer clues.

“Maybe they have digestive issues. Maybe they have mood, irritability, or fatigue. Maybe they have dry skin and dry hair. Then I look at their diet and find that they’re eating extremely low-fat.

Now, why are they eating extremely low-fat? They’re [doing it] because they have what I call the ‘toxic nutritional belief’ that ‘fat in food equals fat on my body.’ That’s a piece of nutritional information that they’re practicing, using, and abiding by.”

The problem with believing and following this myth is that lack of dietary fat may actually be part of why you can’t lose weight. One of the signs of essential fatty acid deficiency is weight gain or inability to lose weight.

This seems counter intuitive to many, but the proof is in the pudding, as the saying goes, and if you’re not losing weight even though you’ve cut out nearly all fat, then perhaps it’s time to reassess your belief system.

“Then I have to do what I call an intellectual intervention,” says. “This is my opportunity to deliver information… and let them know that ‘here is where your belief is impacting the goal that you want.’

[I’ll tell them] ‘let’s do an experiment because you’ve been doing it this way for a dozen years. So now we’re going to include more healthy essential fats in your diet for the next several weeks. Then we’re going to see how you feel.'”

More often than not, adding healthy fats back into your diet will result in more regular bowel movements, an increased sense of well-being, improved appetite control, and, eventually, weight loss.

Reconnecting to Your Body’s Innate Intelligence

Part of the challenge, David notes, is that most people have lost their connection to body intelligence. “There’s a brilliant wisdom that’s activated once we start to clean up our diet and eat healthier food,” he says.

Most people also eat too fast, and this too cuts you off from your body’s innate intelligence, so slowing down the pace at which you eat is a very important part of reestablishing this natural connection.

If you’re a fast eater, you’re not paying attention to the food you’re eating, and you’re missing what scientists call the cephalic phase digestive response (CPDR).

Cephalic phase digestive response is a fancy term for taste, pleasure, aroma, and satisfaction, including the visual stimulus of your meal. Researchers estimate about 40 to 60 percent of your digestive and assimilative power at any meal comes from this “head phase” of digestion.

“In other words, you look at a food and your mouth starts to water,” David explains. “You think of a food and your stomach starts to churn. That’s digestion beginning in the mind. When we are not paying attention to the meal, our natural appetite is deregulated. On top of that, eating very fast puts your body in a stress state.”

Stress Effectively Hinders Weight Loss

When you put your body in a stress state, you have sympathetic nervous system dominance, increased insulin, increased cortisol, and increased stress hormones.

Not only will this deregulate your appetite, you’re also going to eat more, because when your brain doesn’t have enough time to sense the taste, aroma, and pleasure from the food, it keeps signaling that hunger has not been satisfied.

You’ve undoubtedly experienced this at some point: You quickly gorge on a huge meal, but when you’re finished, your belly is distended yet you still feel the urge to eat more. At the heart of this problem is eating too quickly, which causes stress. As David explains:

“I want to steer people towards more soulful eating,” David says. “Be present. Feel good about what you’re doing. Get pleasure from that meal. Taste it. Stress is arguably one of the most common causative or contributing factors to just about any disease, condition, or symptom we know of.

When I can start to help a person slow down with their meal and get in a relationship with their food, first and foremost, what’s happening is they’re stepping into parasympathetic nervous system dominance.

If you take five to 10 long, slow deep breaths before a meal, or five to 10 long, slow deep breaths before anything you do, you are training your system to drop into the physiologic relaxation response. When I can help somebody drop into that place, magic starts to happen. People start to go, ‘Oh my goodness, I paid attention to my meal. I was present and I slowed down. I’m not overeating anymore.'”

In David’s experience, a person’s problem with overeating or binge eating can disappear within days when they get into right relationship with food and life, which means being present to it. Being present and mindful can actually affect your physiology in a very direct and profound way.

So if you typically reserve five minutes for breakfast, make that 15 or 20 minutes. If you’re taking 10 minutes for lunch, take 30, 40, or better yet, as much as an hour or an hour and a half, which is common practice in many European countries.

Approaching Food from a Place of Inspiration Rather than Fear

Many people also suffer from what David calls a “high fact diet,” meaning they have amassed a great deal of nutritional information, but they don’t have the expertise to determine fact from fiction, and thus they get inundated with minutia and overwhelmed by contradictions. “From that place, they can easily go into breakdown. They can easily go into ‘Oh, screw it. I don’t know what to do,'” he says.

Others eat very healthy foods, but are motivated to do so not because of the health benefits they get, but because they fear they’ll end up diseased or dead if they don’t. You might think that the end result would be the same, regardless of the motivation driving their food choices, but doing anything from a place of fear can set you up for failure.

“Start to notice… ‘What are the thoughts that are serving you and what are the thoughts that aren’t serving you?’ Living in a constant state of ‘I’m no good, I’m not eating the right diet, I know I’m supposed to eat paleo but I didn’t do it perfectly so now I have to punish myself,’ [will cause] people to quit a great nutritional program because they made one little mix up!

I’ve helped so many people who were following a healthy diet out of fear. Follow a healthy diet out of inspiration. What do you want to do when you’re healthy? Who do you want to be when you’re really healthy, when you have all this energy, and when you have the perfect weight?”

The strategy David recommends here is to turn eating into a meditative act; to slow down, and become aware — of your food, and of how your body responds to the food.

“It becomes a meditation of ‘What am I thinking about when I eat? Am I present? Am I tasting the food? What does this food taste like? Am I full? Do I need to eat more?’ Then it becomes a meditation after the meal. I ask people to check in 20 or 30 minutes later. ‘How’s your body feeling now? Are you noticing anything? Are your sinuses clogged?’ They might say, ‘Yeah, I’m noticing I have a little head congestion.’ Does that connect to what I ate then in terms of how I’m feeling right now?’ It’s all about awareness. It’s all about questioning.”

Why Intermittent Fasting Might Not Work for Some People

Most people who seek to lose weight are insulin resistant, and in over 35 years of experience in clinical medicine, I’ve not discovered a more effective intervention than intermittent fasting, where you skip either breakfast or dinner, thereby restricting your eating to a narrower window of time each day. Restricting your calories to a six to eight hour window is a powerful intervention that will jumpstart your metabolic systems to start burning fat for fuel.

David agrees, but notes that many people who skip meals from a fear-based place with the intention to cut calories often still fail to lose weight.

“I’ve seen hundreds of these clients,” he says, adding that, “there is a huge subset of people who have been taught that weight loss is calories in and calories out, period. From that understanding, they are trying to limit their number of calories. Oftentimes that is done from a place of fear and anxiety, i.e. ‘stress.’

And one of the factors that creates weight loss resistance is the constant state of stress that we live under. Because if you’re not losing weight on a weight loss strategy where you’re undereating for years, that creates stress and upset. To me, that low-level and that chronically elevated insulin and cortisol impacts the body and the sympathetic nervous system.”

In essence, what’s happening in such a situation is that even though skipping meals should improve your ability to lose weight, the fear and stress overrides the process by upregulating your sympathetic nervous system. Also, from a stand point of bio-circadian nutrition, some people find it easier to lose weight when they’re eating the bulk of their calories in the first half of the day as opposed to the latter part, so maybe you’d do better eating breakfast and skipping dinner (or vice versa).

Are You on a Sumo Diet?

Dr. Lee Know’s book “Life – The Epic Story of Our Mitochondria,” really brought home the importance of meal timing for me. Most people eat their biggest meal at night, which could be a massive mistake because your mitochondria — the powerhouses inside your cells — are responsible for “burning” the fuel your body consumes and converting into usable energy.

When you add fuel close before bedtime — a time when you actually need the least amount of energy — you end up generating metabolic complications, caused by free radicals and an excess of electrons produced in the process.

In a nutshell, late-night eating tends to generate excess free radicals, which promotes DNA damage that contributes to chronic degenerative diseases and promotes accelerated aging. To avoid this, stop eating at least three hours before bedtime. David also notes that, according to the concept of bio-circadian nutrition, your ability to metabolize food is related to your body temperature.

Your body temperature is highest right around solar noon, and that’s when your body is metabolically operating at peak efficiency, burning the most calories. Moreover, he says that:

“Historically, the one place I could find that this was being put to use was in the traditional sumo wrestler community. You ask yourself, ‘How did all those Japanese guys get so big?’ As it turns out, back in the 1400s and 1500s when they didn’t have cookies and ice cream, they were eating more food than their average countrymen, and they would wake themselves up in the middle of the night and eat the bulk of their food when everybody else was sleeping.

The sumo community, the sumo wrestlers, discovered that if we want to gain massive amounts of weight, just eat it all in the middle of the night! So if you’re eating the bulk of your calories late at night, you’re on the sumo diet. This is a very simple piece of nutrition information, which is so crucial and so key.”

Exercise, but Choose Something You Love

David often recommends yoga, especially to people who have been eating right and exercising yet still fail to lose weight. Part of the problem here, he says, again goes back to stress — in this case, engaging in exercise you hate, or feeling that exercise is a form of punishment for eating or punishment for being overweight. By doing something you can’t stand, you enter into sympathetic nervous system dominance, which cancels out many of the benefits of exercise.

He noticed that simply by switching to a form of exercise they found enjoyable was enough to provoke a shift, allowing them to start losing weight.

“When you put people on exercise that they love, or movement that they love, something happens. They get happy. They get more in love with their body. They get more present. People who are weight loss-resistant will start to lose weight finally. So that’s an observation. I believe that it has to do with, once again, the person’s kind of metabolic posture, the state that their nervous system is in. If you’re doing exercise you can’t stand, you’re probably going to be locked in sympathetic nervous system dominance,” he says.

Minding Your Posture While Eating

David has also found that when it comes to addressing overeating, binge eating, emotional eating, and endless dieting, your posture can play a role. Are you sitting up straight when eating, or are you slouched over your plate? People who slouch while eating tend to eat more quickly, but it also affects how you relate to your food. David xplains:

“We have a different relationship with food when we’re upright. First of all, there’s more of a sense of dignity. There’s a sense of authority. When I’m slouched, I’m more energetically collapsed. This posture has an emotional kind of texture to it and the texture tends to be one more of subservience, defeat, or I’m making myself small. [Sitting upright makes] people feel more empowered and more dignified about their own self, their own body, and their relationship with food.

Also, when sitting upright, it will make breathing easier. It will make the breath more full. The breathing pattern of relaxation is regular, rhythmic, and deeper. The breathing pattern of distress response is arrhythmic, shallow, and infrequent. If you’re hunched over, you will breathe more as if you’re in sympathetic nervous system dominance. You’re going to be breathing shallower. When you’re upright, when your chest is expanded, you can breathe more regular, rhythmic, and deep.

Just adopting the breathing pattern of parasympathetic nervous system dominance will put you in that place in less than two minutes easily, which will then put you in the optimum state of digestion and assimilation. It will put you in the optimum state of being aware of your own appetite. So, one simple shift in the body can be very profound.

Also, when we start to become more erect, what we’re doing is we are changing our personality. We are really stepping into our own personal growth program where we’re claiming a sense of empowerment. Yes, it is good, structurally. But it’s good for who we are as human beings inside as well.”

If You’re Stuck, Go Back to the Basics

The more I study and the more I learn, the more I realize how simple it is. Health and weight loss are not nearly as complicated as we’ve been led to believe. It comes down to understanding and applying some very basic principles, because your body was actually designed to stay healthy. It wants to be healthy. It does not want to be diseased or to rely on medications. Once you give your body what it needs, it will go into self-repair mode and heal quite efficiently.

Besides a healthy diet and physical activity that you enjoy, the ability to self-reflect and grow may also play a more important role than most people suspect.

“There’s a subset of people who, until they do work on their self, they don’t get the body to shift where it naturally needs to go. What I’m saying is, in my observation, there’s a connection, oftentimes, between personal growth and metabolic potential. I like to use the formula: personal power equals metabolic power. Meaning, as I become the person that I’m meant to be; as I do work on self; as I become better in my character, and as I look at what life is trying to teach me, how do I learn my lessons? How do I become a better person?

How do I fulfill my mission in the world? How do I deliver my gifts? As I do that, I’ve noticed that my body has the best chance to step into its metabolic potential. Do I need to eat all the right foods? Of course I do. But as I’m stepping into my personal potential, I naturally gravitate towards the information, the kinds of foods, or the kinds of practices that serve me. That, I think, is a missing piece in the conversation around weight, or even the conversation around health in general.”

By Dr. Mercola

Many people have a problem with their relationship with food. Some overeat, others unde reat, and many struggle with their weight despite doing everything right “on paper.”

“Sonoma State University allowed me to do an independent study for my master’s degree in Eating Psychology. I put an ad in a newspaper that said, ‘Graduate student looking to start Eating Psychology study group.’ That was the beginnings for me of learning on the job.

I had a group of 20 plus people — a handful of anorexics; a handful of some of the most obese people I’d ever seen; a beautiful model who had an eating disorder; and a handful of women in their 50s who looked fine to me but [spent their] life chronically dieting.

That was my beginnings of starting to understand eating psychology, counseling psychology, and coaching psychology. I looked at all the different modalities, started doing clinical practice, and said, ‘OK. What works and what doesn’t?'”

Why Does Dieting Oftentimes Fail?

Gradually, over the course of about 15 years, David developed a number of strategies that effectively address weight, body image, overeating, binge eating, emotional eating, and endless dieting.

The key was to distill the science and psychology down into simple, clear, and straightforward strategies that could empower people to take action and get desired results.

For example, many people diet and exercise yet don’t lose weight. Why is that? Oftentimes there are secondary complaints that can offer clues.

“Maybe they have digestive issues. Maybe they have mood, irritability, or fatigue. Maybe they have dry skin and dry hair. Then I look at their diet and find that they’re eating extremely low-fat.

Now, why are they eating extremely low-fat? They’re [doing it] because they have what I call the ‘toxic nutritional belief’ that ‘fat in food equals fat on my body.’ That’s a piece of nutritional information that they’re practicing, using, and abiding by.”

The problem with believing and following this myth is that lack of dietary fat may actually be part of why you can’t lose weight. One of the signs of essential fatty acid deficiency is weight gain or inability to lose weight.

This seems counter intuitive to many, but the proof is in the pudding, as the saying goes, and if you’re not losing weight even though you’ve cut out nearly all fat, then perhaps it’s time to reassess your belief system.

“Then I have to do what I call an intellectual intervention,” says. “This is my opportunity to deliver information… and let them know that ‘here is where your belief is impacting the goal that you want.’

[I’ll tell them] ‘let’s do an experiment because you’ve been doing it this way for a dozen years. So now we’re going to include more healthy essential fats in your diet for the next several weeks. Then we’re going to see how you feel.'”

More often than not, adding healthy fats back into your diet will result in more regular bowel movements, an increased sense of well-being, improved appetite control, and, eventually, weight loss.

Reconnecting to Your Body’s Innate Intelligence

Part of the challenge, David notes, is that most people have lost their connection to body intelligence. “There’s a brilliant wisdom that’s activated once we start to clean up our diet and eat healthier food,” he says.

Most people also eat too fast, and this too cuts you off from your body’s innate intelligence, so slowing down the pace at which you eat is a very important part of reestablishing this natural connection.

If you’re a fast eater, you’re not paying attention to the food you’re eating, and you’re missing what scientists call the cephalic phase digestive response (CPDR).

Cephalic phase digestive response is a fancy term for taste, pleasure, aroma, and satisfaction, including the visual stimulus of your meal. Researchers estimate about 40 to 60 percent of your digestive and assimilative power at any meal comes from this “head phase” of digestion.

“In other words, you look at a food and your mouth starts to water,” David explains. “You think of a food and your stomach starts to churn. That’s digestion beginning in the mind. When we are not paying attention to the meal, our natural appetite is deregulated. On top of that, eating very fast puts your body in a stress state.”

Stress Effectively Hinders Weight Loss

When you put your body in a stress state, you have sympathetic nervous system dominance, increased insulin, increased cortisol, and increased stress hormones.

Not only will this deregulate your appetite, you’re also going to eat more, because when your brain doesn’t have enough time to sense the taste, aroma, and pleasure from the food, it keeps signaling that hunger has not been satisfied.

You’ve undoubtedly experienced this at some point: You quickly gorge on a huge meal, but when you’re finished, your belly is distended yet you still feel the urge to eat more. At the heart of this problem is eating too quickly, which causes stress. As David explains:

“I want to steer people towards more soulful eating,” David says. “Be present. Feel good about what you’re doing. Get pleasure from that meal. Taste it. Stress is arguably one of the most common causative or contributing factors to just about any disease, condition, or symptom we know of.

When I can start to help a person slow down with their meal and get in a relationship with their food, first and foremost, what’s happening is they’re stepping into parasympathetic nervous system dominance.

If you take five to 10 long, slow deep breaths before a meal, or five to 10 long, slow deep breaths before anything you do, you are training your system to drop into the physiologic relaxation response. When I can help somebody drop into that place, magic starts to happen. People start to go, ‘Oh my goodness, I paid attention to my meal. I was present and I slowed down. I’m not overeating anymore.'”

In David’s experience, a person’s problem with overeating or binge eating can disappear within days when they get into right relationship with food and life, which means being present to it. Being present and mindful can actually affect your physiology in a very direct and profound way.

So if you typically reserve five minutes for breakfast, make that 15 or 20 minutes. If you’re taking 10 minutes for lunch, take 30, 40, or better yet, as much as an hour or an hour and a half, which is common practice in many European countries.

Approaching Food from a Place of Inspiration Rather than Fear

Many people also suffer from what David calls a “high fact diet,” meaning they have amassed a great deal of nutritional information, but they don’t have the expertise to determine fact from fiction, and thus they get inundated with minutia and overwhelmed by contradictions. “From that place, they can easily go into breakdown. They can easily go into ‘Oh, screw it. I don’t know what to do,'” he says.

Others eat very healthy foods, but are motivated to do so not because of the health benefits they get, but because they fear they’ll end up diseased or dead if they don’t. You might think that the end result would be the same, regardless of the motivation driving their food choices, but doing anything from a place of fear can set you up for failure.

“Start to notice… ‘What are the thoughts that are serving you and what are the thoughts that aren’t serving you?’ Living in a constant state of ‘I’m no good, I’m not eating the right diet, I know I’m supposed to eat paleo but I didn’t do it perfectly so now I have to punish myself,’ [will cause] people to quit a great nutritional program because they made one little mix up!

I’ve helped so many people who were following a healthy diet out of fear. Follow a healthy diet out of inspiration. What do you want to do when you’re healthy? Who do you want to be when you’re really healthy, when you have all this energy, and when you have the perfect weight?”

The strategy David recommends here is to turn eating into a meditative act; to slow down, and become aware — of your food, and of how your body responds to the food.

“It becomes a meditation of ‘What am I thinking about when I eat? Am I present? Am I tasting the food? What does this food taste like? Am I full? Do I need to eat more?’ Then it becomes a meditation after the meal. I ask people to check in 20 or 30 minutes later. ‘How’s your body feeling now? Are you noticing anything? Are your sinuses clogged?’ They might say, ‘Yeah, I’m noticing I have a little head congestion.’ Does that connect to what I ate then in terms of how I’m feeling right now?’ It’s all about awareness. It’s all about questioning.”

Why Intermittent Fasting Might Not Work for Some People

Most people who seek to lose weight are insulin resistant, and in over 35 years of experience in clinical medicine, I’ve not discovered a more effective intervention than intermittent fasting, where you skip either breakfast or dinner, thereby restricting your eating to a narrower window of time each day. Restricting your calories to a six to eight hour window is a powerful intervention that will jumpstart your metabolic systems to start burning fat for fuel.

David agrees, but notes that many people who skip meals from a fear-based place with the intention to cut calories often still fail to lose weight.

“I’ve seen hundreds of these clients,” he says, adding that, “there is a huge subset of people who have been taught that weight loss is calories in and calories out, period. From that understanding, they are trying to limit their number of calories. Oftentimes that is done from a place of fear and anxiety, i.e. ‘stress.’

And one of the factors that creates weight loss resistance is the constant state of stress that we live under. Because if you’re not losing weight on a weight loss strategy where you’re undereating for years, that creates stress and upset. To me, that low-level and that chronically elevated insulin and cortisol impacts the body and the sympathetic nervous system.”

In essence, what’s happening in such a situation is that even though skipping meals should improve your ability to lose weight, the fear and stress overrides the process by upregulating your sympathetic nervous system. Also, from a stand point of bio-circadian nutrition, some people find it easier to lose weight when they’re eating the bulk of their calories in the first half of the day as opposed to the latter part, so maybe you’d do better eating breakfast and skipping dinner (or vice versa).

Are You on a Sumo Diet?

Dr. Lee Know’s book “Life – The Epic Story of Our Mitochondria,” really brought home the importance of meal timing for me. Most people eat their biggest meal at night, which could be a massive mistake because your mitochondria — the powerhouses inside your cells — are responsible for “burning” the fuel your body consumes and converting into usable energy.

When you add fuel close before bedtime — a time when you actually need the least amount of energy — you end up generating metabolic complications, caused by free radicals and an excess of electrons produced in the process.

In a nutshell, late-night eating tends to generate excess free radicals, which promotes DNA damage that contributes to chronic degenerative diseases and promotes accelerated aging. To avoid this, stop eating at least three hours before bedtime. David also notes that, according to the concept of bio-circadian nutrition, your ability to metabolize food is related to your body temperature.

Your body temperature is highest right around solar noon, and that’s when your body is metabolically operating at peak efficiency, burning the most calories. Moreover, he says that:

“Historically, the one place I could find that this was being put to use was in the traditional sumo wrestler community. You ask yourself, ‘How did all those Japanese guys get so big?’ As it turns out, back in the 1400s and 1500s when they didn’t have cookies and ice cream, they were eating more food than their average countrymen, and they would wake themselves up in the middle of the night and eat the bulk of their food when everybody else was sleeping.

The sumo community, the sumo wrestlers, discovered that if we want to gain massive amounts of weight, just eat it all in the middle of the night! So if you’re eating the bulk of your calories late at night, you’re on the sumo diet. This is a very simple piece of nutrition information, which is so crucial and so key.”

Exercise, but Choose Something You Love

David often recommends yoga, especially to people who have been eating right and exercising yet still fail to lose weight. Part of the problem here, he says, again goes back to stress — in this case, engaging in exercise you hate, or feeling that exercise is a form of punishment for eating or punishment for being overweight. By doing something you can’t stand, you enter into sympathetic nervous system dominance, which cancels out many of the benefits of exercise.

He noticed that simply by switching to a form of exercise they found enjoyable was enough to provoke a shift, allowing them to start losing weight.

“When you put people on exercise that they love, or movement that they love, something happens. They get happy. They get more in love with their body. They get more present. People who are weight loss-resistant will start to lose weight finally. So that’s an observation. I believe that it has to do with, once again, the person’s kind of metabolic posture, the state that their nervous system is in. If you’re doing exercise you can’t stand, you’re probably going to be locked in sympathetic nervous system dominance,” he says.

Minding Your Posture While Eating

David has also found that when it comes to addressing overeating, binge eating, emotional eating, and endless dieting, your posture can play a role. Are you sitting up straight when eating, or are you slouched over your plate? People who slouch while eating tend to eat more quickly, but it also affects how you relate to your food. David xplains:

“We have a different relationship with food when we’re upright. First of all, there’s more of a sense of dignity. There’s a sense of authority. When I’m slouched, I’m more energetically collapsed. This posture has an emotional kind of texture to it and the texture tends to be one more of subservience, defeat, or I’m making myself small. [Sitting upright makes] people feel more empowered and more dignified about their own self, their own body, and their relationship with food.

Also, when sitting upright, it will make breathing easier. It will make the breath more full. The breathing pattern of relaxation is regular, rhythmic, and deeper. The breathing pattern of distress response is arrhythmic, shallow, and infrequent. If you’re hunched over, you will breathe more as if you’re in sympathetic nervous system dominance. You’re going to be breathing shallower. When you’re upright, when your chest is expanded, you can breathe more regular, rhythmic, and deep.

Just adopting the breathing pattern of parasympathetic nervous system dominance will put you in that place in less than two minutes easily, which will then put you in the optimum state of digestion and assimilation. It will put you in the optimum state of being aware of your own appetite. So, one simple shift in the body can be very profound.

Also, when we start to become more erect, what we’re doing is we are changing our personality. We are really stepping into our own personal growth program where we’re claiming a sense of empowerment. Yes, it is good, structurally. But it’s good for who we are as human beings inside as well.”

If You’re Stuck, Go Back to the Basics

The more I study and the more I learn, the more I realize how simple it is. Health and weight loss are not nearly as complicated as we’ve been led to believe. It comes down to understanding and applying some very basic principles, because your body was actually designed to stay healthy. It wants to be healthy. It does not want to be diseased or to rely on medications. Once you give your body what it needs, it will go into self-repair mode and heal quite efficiently.

Besides a healthy diet and physical activity that you enjoy, the ability to self-reflect and grow may also play a more important role than most people suspect.

“There’s a subset of people who, until they do work on their self, they don’t get the body to shift where it naturally needs to go. What I’m saying is, in my observation, there’s a connection, oftentimes, between personal growth and metabolic potential. I like to use the formula: personal power equals metabolic power. Meaning, as I become the person that I’m meant to be; as I do work on self; as I become better in my character, and as I look at what life is trying to teach me, how do I learn my lessons? How do I become a better person?

How do I fulfill my mission in the world? How do I deliver my gifts? As I do that, I’ve noticed that my body has the best chance to step into its metabolic potential. Do I need to eat all the right foods? Of course I do. But as I’m stepping into my personal potential, I naturally gravitate towards the information, the kinds of foods, or the kinds of practices that serve me. That, I think, is a missing piece in the conversation around weight, or even the conversation around health in general.”

Source:mercola.com

Italian Court Rules Mobile Phone Use Caused Brain Tumor


A man in Italy who claimed that having to use cell phones for work gave him a brain tumor has been awarded €500 ($535) a month in compensation. Luckily, the tumor was benign, The Guardian reported, although he did lose hearing in his right ear.

In 2011, the WHO’s International Agency for Research on Cancer declared the radiation emitted by cell phones and wireless devices a Group 2B “Possible Carcinogen,” and most recently, the National Toxicology Program, an interagency research program, based at the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, concluded that whole body exposure to cell phone radiation likely caused heart and brain tumors in male rats.

Despite such findings, cell phones have become increasingly pervasive and such a common part of our daily lives that most people never think twice about using them — which makes it even more important to start thinking about ways to be safe with your phone and other wearable, wireless devices.

One factor that should no longer be debated is the risk of cell phones to children. Children simply shouldn’t be using them. Keep your own cell phone use to a minimum. Limit wearable device usage to areas with excellent reception, as the weaker the reception, the more power your phone must use to transmit, and the more power it uses, the more radiation it emits.

Never carry your cellphone on your body or sleep with it under your pillow or near your head. And, use a well-shielded wired headset. One of the best kinds of headsets use a combination of shielded wire and air-tube. These operate like a stethoscope, transmitting the sound to your head as an actual sound wave.

Source:.mercola.com

Sugar Addiction: 76 Ways Sugar Can Ruin Your Health


Sugar, in moderate amounts, is essential to our body. As a carbohydrate, it helps supply you with the energy you need for your daily activities. All of your cells use it. But at the same time, sugar is also a calorie, and once it is in consumed in excess, negative effects to your health will follow. Massive sugar addiction can result in obesity, diabetesheart damage or failure, cancer cell production, depletion of brain power, and shorter lifespans.1

Moderation is important in this case. Yet avoiding food with high sugar content is definitely easier said than done these days, given the variety of options in stores. Some of the usual suspects include energy drinks, sodas, candy bars, artificial sweeteners, and so much more. Everyone has access to them.

Sugar Addiction

Story at-a-glance

  • Sugar addiction happens due to intense cravings for sweet food. It is triggered by the brain by sending signals to the receptors in our tongue that were not able to develop from the low-sugar diets of our ancestors
  • Here are 76 ways in which sugar could pose a significant threat to your health, divided into four categories: Increased Risk of Diseases and Sicknesses, Nutrient Imbalance or Deficiency, Bodily Impairments, and Behavioral Changes
  • Your emotions might be more important than you think, as newer and more recent studies show that conditioning yourself and analyzing the impacts of your eating habits can help you curb bad practices – sugar addiction included

What Lies Behind Sugar Addiction

Sugar addiction obviously begins when you crave anything that contains this sweet ingredient. Eating sugar triggers production of natural opioids in your brain. These hormones aid in relieving the pain and are triggered in the same way one would consume illegal drugs.2

According to researchers, your tongue has two sweet receptors in it, which evolved during the early times, when our ancestors ate a typically low-sugar diet. As the years went by, people’s tongues were still not able to adapt to sweet treats. This is why when the receptors in your tongue are highly stimulated, it results in your brain sending out excessive reward signals whenever you eat something with sugar in it, which end up overriding your self-control mechanisms. This leads to addiction.

Dr. Robert Lustig, a professor of pediatrics at the University of California, San Francisco, wrote in The Atlantic that:

“The brain’s pleasure center, called the nucleus accumbens, is essential for our survival as a species… When you consume any substance of abuse, including sugar, the nucleus accumbens receives a dopamine signal, from which you experience pleasure. And so you consume more. The problem is that with prolonged exposure, the signal attenuates, gets weaker. So you have to consume more to get the same effect — tolerance. And if you pull back on the substance, you go into withdrawal. Tolerance and withdrawal constitute addiction.”3

Another major player in possible sugar addiction is the hormone leptin. It is responsible for telling the brain how energy that is stored from fat is to be used. Moreover, it targets taste receptors in your tongue, which could increase or decrease your food cravings. When you lack leptin or if there is a problem with your body’s leptin receptors, then your chances of craving food will be bigger, and more often than not, sugar is always the first pick when it comes to combatting cravings.

76 Ways Sugar Can Ruin Your Health

Too much sugar can lead to detrimental effects to your health. I counted at least 76 ways (yes, you read that right!) in which sugar can cause serious health risks for you. These hazards are divided into four categories: Increased Risk of Diseases and Sicknesses, Nutrient Imbalance or Deficiency, Bodily Impairments, andBehavioral Changes.

Nutrient Imbalance or Deficiency

  1. Upsets the mineral relationships in your body
  2. Chromium deficiency
  3. Interferes with the absorption of calcium, magnesium, and protein
  4. Increases total cholesterol, triglycerides, and bad cholesterol levels
  5. Decreases good cholesterol levels
  6. Lowers vitamin E levels
  7. Body changes sugar into two to five times more fat in the bloodstream compared to starch

Behavioral Changes

  1. Addictive and intoxicating, similar to alcohol
  2. Rapid rise of adrenaline, hyperactivity, and anxiety
  3. Leads to difficulty in concentration, drowsiness, and crankiness in children
  4. Results in decreased activity in children
  5. Reduces learning capacity and can cause learning disorders that could affect schoolchildren’s grades
  6. Increases risk of antisocial behavior
  7. Decrease in emotional stability
  8. Depression
  9. Alcoholism

Increased Risk of Diseases and Sicknesses

  1. Feeds cancer cells
  2. Can induce cell death
  3. Increases fasting levels of glucose
  4. Increases systolic blood pressure
  5. Significant increase in platelet adhesion
  6. Leads to formation of kidney stones and gallstones
  7. Rapid sugar absorption promotes excessive food intake
  8. Obesity
  9. Decreases insulin sensitivity, leading to high insulin levels and eventually diabetes
  10. Reactive hypoglycemia
  11. Headaches, including migraines
  12. Dizziness
  13. Gastrointestinal tract problems
  14. Food allergies
  15. Promotes chronic degenerative diseases
  16. Causes atherosclerosis and cardiovascular diseases
  17. Causes cataracts and nearsightedness
  18. May lead to autoimmune diseases like arthritis, asthma, and multiple sclerosis
  19. Causes emphysema
  20. Contributes to osteoporosis
  21. Contraction of appendicitis, hemorrhoids, and varicose veins
  22. Parkinson’s disease (people with said disease have high sugar intake)
  23. Increases risk of gout and Alzheimer’s disease
  24. Acidity in saliva, tooth decay, and periodontal diseases
  25. Gum disease
  26. Greatly promotes uncontrolled growth of Candida Albicans (yeast infections)
  27. Toxemia in pregnancy
  28. Contributes to eczema in children
  29. Worsens symptoms of children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)
  30. Increases risk of polio
  31. May lead to epileptic seizures
  32. Could lead to high blood pressure in obese people
  33. Increased consumption in intensive care units can induce death

Bodily Impairments

  1. Has potential to induce abnormal metabolic processes in a normal healthy individual
  2. Suppression of immune system, increasing risk of contracting infectious diseases
  3. Loss of tissue elasticity and function
  4. Weaker eyesight
  5. Premature aging
  6. Increases advanced glycation end products wherein sugar molecules attach to proteins and end up damaging them
  7. DNA structure impairment
  8. Can cut off oxygen to brain via intravenous feedings
  9. Change in protein structure and causes a permanent alteration of protein acts in your body
  10. Changing of collagen structure
  11. Skin aging
  12. Impairs physiological homeostasis of bodily systems
  13. Lowers ability of enzymes to function
  14. Increases liver size by making liver cells divide, increasing the amount of liver fat
  15. Increase kidney size and producing pathological changes
  16. Pancreatic damage
  17. Increase in body’s fluid retention
  18. Affects urinary electrolyte composition
  19. Slows down ability of adrenal glands to function
  20. Compromises lining of capillaries
  21. Brittle tendons
  22. Can cause an increase in delta, alpha, and theta brain waves, which can alter the mind’s ability to think clearly
  23. Causes hormonal imbalances
  24. Increases free radicals and oxidative stress
  25. Leads to substantial decrease in gestation, with a twofold increased risk for delivering a small-for-gestational-age infant
  26. Dehydration among newborns
  27. Affects carbon dioxide production when given to premature babies.

How to Break Sugar Addiction

Don’t fret – it’s not too late to kick those bad habits to the curb. I have a couple of recommendations on how to safely consume sugar without sacrificing your health.

The first would be to appeal to your emotions. Sometimes, when you crave food, it is triggered by an emotional need such as wanting to relieve stress or feel a little bit happier after a tiring day. More often than not, people tend to ignore their emotions when considering whether to eat healthy or otherwise.

I highly recommend the Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT), a simple and effective psychological acupressure technique that could help you manage the emotional components of your cravings. It has been proven to relieve a lot of emotional traumas, abolish phobias and post-traumatic stresses, break down food cravings, and lessen physical pain and discomfort.

What EFT entails in its practitioners is to have the right mindset when going on a diet or just taking steps to improve on their health. If you’re already curious, you can browse through the basics of EFT here.

Another way to reduce sugar consumption would be to lessen the amount of sugar that you consume on a daily basis – below 25 grams to be exact – including that from whole fruits.

I also advise you to avoid high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) at all costs. This is a sweetener that is made from corn and found in many of the food items that we eat and drink today. Now, this is considered to be deadly not only because of the amount of sugar that goes in it, but also because of the health risks that can it can cause, most of which were already mentioned above.

Choosing a well-balanced diet tailored to your specific body type helps, with extra emphasis on food rich in fiber, which helps slow down the absorption of sugar, and food rich in high quality omega-3 fats, which are also crucial to lessening the impact of eating excessive sugar. Avoiding food with high sugar content and constantly rehydrating with fresh and pure water are also recommended.

Lastly, exercising every day, along with optimizing your vitamin D levelsgetting enough sleep, and managing your stress levels can also help minimize the effects of excessive sugar intake. Exercise in particular is known to improve insulin sensitivity, reduce stress levels, suppress ghrelin (the appetite hormone), speed up metabolism, strengthen bones, and boost your mood.

It can be quite difficult to say no to sweets, especially if you have been  consuming them on a daily basis, but trust me, once you feel the effects that lowering your sugar intake has on your body,  it will all be worth it.

Source:mercola.com

Drug Overdoses Are the 9th Leading Cause of Death in the US



Story at-a-glance

  • Prescriptions for opioid painkillers rose by 300 percent between 2000 and 2009, and Americans now use 80 percent of all the opioids sold worldwide
  • Drug overdoses (63 percent of which are opioids) replaced kidney disease as the 9th leading cause of death in the U.S. as of 2015
  • Addiction affects about 26 percent of those using opioids for chronic non-cancer pain; 1 in 550 patients on opioid therapy dies from opioid-related causes within 2.5 years of their first prescription

According to the U.S. surgeon general, more Americans now use prescription opioidsthan smoke cigarettes.1 This makes sense when you consider prescriptions for opioid painkillers rose by 300 percent between 2000 and 2009,2,3 and Americans now use 80 percent of all the opioids sold worldwide.4

In Alabama, which has the highest opioid prescription rate in the U.S., 143 prescriptions are written for every 100 people.5 A result of this over-prescription trend is skyrocketing deaths from overdoses.6,7

The most common drugs involved in prescription opioid overdose deaths, specifically, include8 methadone, oxycodone (such as OxyContin®) and hydrocodone (such as Vicodin®).

As noted by Dr. Tom Frieden, director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC): “We know of no other medication routinely used for a nonfatal condition that kills patients so frequently.”9

There are safe options to treat pain, but education — both among doctors and patients — is sorely lacking. This is why I frequently write about this issue, and hope you’ll do your part in spreading the word.

Far too many people in the prime of their life are losing it to painkiller addiction, and often they simply had no idea a prescription painkiller for a temporary injury or pain would send them into the throes of drug addiction.

Drug Overdoses Now 9th Leading Cause of Death in the US

In 2014, prescription drug overdoses, a majority of which involved some type of opioid, killed more Americans than car crashes (49,714 compared to 32,675).10 This held true for 2015 as well, despite 2015 being hailed as the deadliest driving year since 2008.

In all, 38,300 Americans died in car crashes in 201511 — a sharp rise thought to be related to a combination of cheaper gas prices and hence increased travel, and using smartphones while driving.12 A rise in overdoses also suddenly placed drug overdoses in the top 10 leading causes of death in the U.S.

In 2015, 52,404 Americans died from drug overdoses; 33,091 of them involved an opioid and nearly one-third of them, 15,281, were by prescription.13,14,15 Meanwhile, kidney disease, listed as the 9th leading cause of death on the CDC’s top 10 list, killed 48,146.16

The CDC does not include drug overdoses on this list, but if you did, drug overdoses (63 percent of which are opioids), would replace kidney disease as the 9th leading cause of death as of 2015, inching its way toward the 8th slot, currently occupied by respiratory complications such as pneumonia, which took 55,227 lives in 2015.

Why Are Pregnant Women Prescribed Narcotics?

A statistic that shows just how overprescribed and misused opioid drugs are is the prescription rate for pregnant women and women of childbearing age.

Despite carrying risks of pregnancy-related problems and birth defects, shockingly, nearly one-third of American women of childbearing age are prescribed opioid painkillers17 and more than 14 percent of pregnant women were prescribed opioids during their pregnancy.18

Reasons for prescribing these extremely dangerous drugs include back and/or abdominal pain, migraine, joint pains and fibromyalgia. Clearly, if you are planning a pregnancy or are pregnant, you should go to great lengths to avoid narcotic drugs. If you wouldn’t consider taking heroin, you shouldn’t take a narcotic pain reliever.

Yet, in 2015, 27 million Americans either used illegal drugs and/or misused prescription drugs, and addiction to opioids and heroin now costs the U.S. more than $193 billion each year.

Please, take care to avoid becoming part of this devastating trend. Studies show addiction affects about 26 percent of those using opioids for chronic non-cancer pain. Worse, 1 in 550 patients on opioid therapy dies from opioid-related causes within 2.5 years of their first prescription.19

According to the latest data from the National Center for Health Statistics, life expectancy for both men and women dropped between 2014 and 2015, for the first time in two decades, and overdose deaths appear to be a significant contributor.20,21,22

Drug Industry Is Responsible for Mass Addiction

Many believe the drug companies that create and sell these drugs need to be held accountable for America’s rapidly escalating drug problem, especially since several have been caught lying about the benefits and risks of their drugs.

As noted by the Organic Consumers Association,23 the drug industry has “fostered the opioid addiction epidemic” by:

Introducing long-acting opioid painkillers like OxyContin, which prior to reformulation in 2010 could be snorted or shot. Many addicts claimed the high from OxyContin was better than heroin.

From a chemical standpoint, OxyContin is nearly identical to heroin, and has been identified as a major gateway drug to heroin.

Changing pain prescription guidelines to make opioids the first choice for lower back pain and other pain conditions that previously did not qualify for these types of drugs.

Promoting long-term use of opioids, even though there’s no evidence that using these drugs long-term is safe and effective.

Downplaying and misinforming doctors and patients about the addictive nature of opioid drugs. OxyContin, for example, became a blockbuster drug mainly through misleading claims that Purdue Pharma knew were false from the start.

The basic promise was that it provided pain relief for a full 12 hours, twice as long as generic drugs, giving patients “smooth and sustained pain control all day and all night.”

However, for many the effects don’t last anywhere near 12 hours, and once the drug wears off, painful withdrawal symptoms set in, including body aches, nausea and anxiety. These symptoms, in addition to the return of the original pain, quickly begin to feed the cycle of addiction.24

Drug Enforcement Administration Struggles to Hold Drug Makers Accountable for Black Market Sales

Evidence has repeatedly shown opioid makers have acted with callous disregard for human life, yet they keep getting off the hook with little more than a slap on the wrist. The Washington Post recently published an article detailing the Drug Enforcement Administration’s (DEA’s) failure to bring an opioid maker to justice.25

In 2011, the DEA began investigating Mallinckrodt Pharmaceuticals, one of the largest manufacturers of oxycodone in the U.S. This was the first time the DEA targeted a drug manufacturer for violating laws designed to prevent black market sales of legal narcotics.

To date, it’s also the largest prescription drug case the DEA has ever pursued. Federal prosecutors accused Mallinckrodt Pharmaceuticals of ignoring “its responsibility to report suspicious orders as 500 million of its pills ended up in Florida between 2008 and 2012.”

In all, 66 percent of all oxycodone sold in Florida between those years was shipped to suspected “pill mills” selling prescription drugs to addicts.

In 2010 alone, one distributor, Cincinnati-based KeySource Medical, shipped 41 million oxycodone tablets made by Mallinckrodt to Florida. That’s enough pills to give every man, woman and child in the state 2.5 pills each. Cardinal Health, one of the largest drug distributors in the U.S., was also sending extremely large amounts of Mallinckrodt-made oxycodone pills to Florida.

One Delray Beach doctor named Barry Schultz received 92,400 oxycodone pills from Sunrise Wholesale in just 11 months. He once prescribed 1,000 pills to a single patient, all in one day — a clearly suspect prescription by any reasonable standard.

At the time these enormous shipments were made, the street value of one “oxy” pill was $30. Schultz was sentenced to 25 years in prison in 2016 after being charged with drug trafficking and one case of manslaughter, following the overdose death of one of his patients. As noted in the featured article:26

“‘Mallinckrodt knew through law enforcement reports that Barry Schultz was diverting controlled substances, and that the diverted oxycodone was supplied by Mallinckrodt through Sunrise,’ prosecutors later wrote in an internal document sent to the company. ‘When Mallinckrodt continued to distribute oxycodone to Sunrise for such purposes, and continued to pay incentives in the form of chargebacks for the product sales to Barry Schultz, Mallinckrodt was diverting oxycodone.'”

A pharmacy in Sanford, Florida, also stood in receipt of suspicious amounts of pills. Over the course of four years, it received 5.8 million oxycodone pills — nearly 20 times more than the state average for pharmacies.

By law, drug manufacturers must notify the DEA when suspicious orders such as these occur. Mallinckrodt stood accused of 44,000 federal violations, totaling $2.3 billion in fines. In all, federal prosecutors claimed 222,107 Florida orders were “excessive” and should have been reported to the DEA as suspicious.

Oxycodone Maker Gets Off Scot-Free — Again

Yet, despite a massive five-state investigation spanning several years, the U.S. government has taken no legal action against Mallinckrodt, and likely never will. “Instead, the company has reached a tentative settlement with federal prosecutors,” The Washington Post writes, adding:

“Under the proposal, which remains confidential, Mallinckrodt would agree to pay a $35 million fine and admit no wrongdoing … The case shows how difficult it is for the government to hold a drug manufacturer responsible for the damage done by its product. DEA investigators appalled by rising overdose deaths said they worked for years to build the biggest case of their careers only to watch it falter on uncertain legal territory and in the face of stiff resistance from the company.

‘They just weren’t taking this seriously, and people were dying,’ said a former law enforcement official who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the case is pending … ‘It wasn’t their kids, their wives, their husbands, their brothers. It was some hillbilly in Central Florida, so who cares?'”

A $35 million fine is a drop in the bucket for a company that boasts $3.4 billion in annual revenue, with a net profit of $489 million,27,28 and will do absolutely nothing to deter it or other drug companies from continuing business as usual. As noted by The Washington Post:

“Drug manufacturers have paid much larger fines for other misdeeds. Glaxo­SmithKline was fined $3 billion, and Pfizer was fined $2.3 billion for illegally promoting off-label drug use and paying kickbacks to doctors. Purdue Pharma paid a $600 million fine, and three of its executives pleaded guilty to charges that they misled regulators, doctors and patients about the risks of the painkiller that is widely blamed for setting off the nation’s opioid crisis: OxyContin.

All of those cases were initiated by the Food and Drug Administration [FDA]. The largest fine the DEA has levied against a drug distributor was the $150 million that McKesson, the nation’s largest drug wholesaler, recently agreed to pay following allegations that it failed to report suspicious orders of painkillers. For a company the size of Mallinckrodt, a $35 million fine is ‘chump change,’ one government official said.”

Drug Industry Ensures Leniency by Hiring DEA and DOJ Agents

Last year, seven U.S. senators demanded to find out why there has been such a sharp decline in enforcement actions by the DEA against wholesalers suspected of distributing prescription narcotics to the black market.29

According to The Washington Post, DEA lawyers began delaying and blocking enforcement efforts by DEA agents against opioid distributors in 2013, suddenly insisting on increasingly higher standards of proof before moving cases forward. This included proof of intent — a factor that is very difficult to prove and typically only required in criminal cases.

In 2011, the DEA took 131 actions against distributors. By 2014, that number had dropped to 40. In that same time frame, the number of “immediate suspension orders” dropped from 65 to nine. (The suspension order allows the agency to freeze shipments of narcotics, effective immediately.) The question is why. I’ve written about the dangers of the revolving door policy that allows regulators to be hired by industry and vice versa on numerous occasions.

In this case, former DEA and Department of Justice (DOJ) officials hired by the drug industry fought for lenience and a “soft approach” to the burgeoning drug addiction problem.30 They succeeded, thereby allowing the problem to grow more or less unrestrained, despite official promises to the contrary. Many DEA officials did in fact suspect Clifford Lee Reeves II, the lawyer in charge of approving their cases, of secretly working for the drug industry.

New FDA Chief Unlikely to Take Hard Line Against Opioids

Unfortunately, President Trump’s nominee for head of the FDA, Dr. Scott Gottlieb, is also in the opioid industry’s pocket, having received nearly $45,000 in speaker’s fees from opioid manufacturers and distributors.31 During his confirmation hearing, Gottlieb stated he believes the U.S. opioid crisis is a “public health emergency on the order of Ebola and Zika” that requires dramatic action, and promised that developing a strategy to curb the opioid epidemic would be his “highest and most immediate priority.”32

The question is whether or not he’ll actually follow through. Gottlieb’s drug industry ties are so significant, he’s agreed to recuse himself for one year from decisions involving more than 20 different drug companies with whom he has decades’ long financial connections.

As noted by Dr. Andrew Kolodny, co-director of Opioid Policy Research at Brandeis University:33 “Our country is in desperate need of an FDA commissioner who will take on the opioid lobby, not one who has a track record of working for it.” Senator Edward Markey (D-Mass) also criticized Trump’s choice for the FDA saying,34 “Gottlieb’s record indicates that he would not take the epidemic and the FDA’s authority to rein in prescription painkillers and other drugs seriously.”

Prescription Painkillers Are Gateway Drugs to Heroin and Other Deadly Highs

Oxycontin and other opioid pain killers have been identified as the primary gateway drugs to heroin.35 Chemically, these drugs are very similar and provide a similar kind of high. According to a 2013 U.S. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration report, nearly 80 percent of people who use heroin have previously used prescription painkillers.36 Opioids work by attaching to opioid receptors in your brain, thereby blocking pain signals.

This also has the effect of creating a sensation of pleasure or euphoria — and addiction. Over time they can also result in increased pain perception, setting into motion a cycle where you need increasingly larger doses, making a lethal overdose more likely.

Oxycontin’s high rate of addiction is the result of a short half-life (the amount of time the drug stays in your system before you are left wanting more). Opioids are also very potent immune suppressors. As such they can wreck your health in serious ways, leaving you far worse off than where you started.

Many users are also turning to much stronger types of opioids, such as fentanyl, which is seeing the fastest rate of growth in use. Deadly overdoses involving fentanyl rose by 50 percent between 2013 and 2014, and another 72 percent between 2014 and 2015. Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid that can be anywhere from 500 to 1,000 percent more potent than morphine.

Besides a more potent high, price is another factor driving its popularity. Since it can be created in a lab, it’s far cheaper than heroin, which in turn is cheaper than prescription opioids.

A recent NPR story37 reveals the tremendous impact fentanyl is having on many people’s lives. Allyson, a 37-year old client at the AAC Needle Exchange and Overdose Prevention Program in Cambridge, Massachusetts, says she’s lost 30 friends to these deadly painkillers. “Basically, my entire generation is gone in one year,” she said.

Are You or Someone You Love Addicted to Painkillers?

Some of the marketing material for opioids claims the drug will not cause addiction “except in very rare cases,” describing the adverse effects patients experience when quitting the drug as a “benign state” and not a sign of addiction. This simply isn’t true. Panic is one psychological side effect commonly experienced when quitting these drugs, and this can easily fuel a psychological as well as physical dependence on the drug.

It’s important to recognize the signs of addiction, and to seek help. If you’ve been on an opioid for more than two months, or if you find yourself taking higher dosages, or taking the drug more often, you’re likely already addicted and are advised to seek help from someone other than your prescribing doctor. Resources where you can find help include:

With all the health risks associated with opioid painkillers, I strongly urge you to exhaust other options before resorting to these drugs. For a long list of alternative pain treatments, please see my previous articles, “Treating Pain Without Drugs,” and “New Treatment Guidelines for Back Pain Stress Non-Drug Interventions.”

Source:.mercola.com

Light at Night Damages Health and Potentially Future Generations


There is a significant cost to your health from light pollution resulting from living in a 24/7 society. A growing number of street lights and lit signs obscure the night sky, and your bedroom is likely dimly lit from street lamps, digital equipment or alarm clocks.

light exposure at night

Story at-a-glance

  • Light pollution triggers significant health changes in humans, animals and plants and may be a hidden cost of a 24/7 lifestyle
  • Recent research identified health problems in the offspring of laboratory animals exposed to even dim light at night, showing it affects the animals’ immune and endocrine systems
  • Both dim light at night and electromagnetic fields from electronic devices trigger mitochondrial damage, potentially affecting epigenetic expression in future generations

It’s not possible to “feel” the changes in your brain and body from outdoor street light that seeps in around your bedroom curtains or the dim glow from your alarm clock.

Yet, even a dim light at night affects your natural sleep cycle and produces biological changes which, in turn, may affect your risk for health conditions such as obesitydiabetescancer and depression.

I have been a long-time advocate of sleeping in complete darkness. Even a small amount of light is enough to make a difference in your health. And now, recent research demonstrates your exposure to light pollution may affect the health of your children.

Light Exposure at Night May Alter Immunity of Future Generations

In a study at Ohio State University, researchers concluded exposure to light at night may produce immune and endocrine disruptions.1 To isolate the effect light has on sleep quality and not on interruption of sleep, they used naturally nocturnal hamsters that normally sleep during daylight hours.

The hamsters were separated into two groups; for nine weeks one group was exposed to dim light all night while the other was exposed to standard light days and dark nights. Following this the hamsters were allowed to mate and then all were returned to standard lighting conditions.

Initially, the researchers noted an increase in body mass of both male and female hamsters exposed to dim light at night.2 The next generation was also raised under standard lighting conditions. The researchers ran a series of tests on the hamster pups once they achieved adulthood.3

They found parental history of light exposure prior to conception left the following generation of hamsters with an impaired immune response and decreased endocrine activity.

These health conditions were passed down through either parent’s genetic material, meaning it didn’t matter whether it was the mother or father that was exposed to dim light at night; the effect could be traced to either parent.

The impaired adaptive immune function noted in the hamster offspring illustrates a transgenerational effect of light at night.

While the exposure did not change the DNA sequence of the hamsters, it did affect the epigenetic expression of that DNA. Epigenetics describes changes to genetic expression not occurring from an actual sequence change in DNA, but rather how the genes are expressed.

For instance, exposure to environmental factors such as nicotine or alcohol may trigger sections of DNA to be switched on or off.

These changes in genetic expression can be passed to offspring while still maintaining the exact genetic sequencing. In this study, light exposure at night changed the epigenetics of the hamster offspring, negatively affecting their immune system.

Light Pollution Also Affects Your General Health

Senior author Randy Nelson, Ph.D., professor and chair of neuroscience at Ohio State’s Wexner Medical Center commented on the significance of the results:4

“Now, we’re seeing for the first time in these hamsters that it’s possible this damage isn’t just being done to the affected individuals, but to their offspring as well. These weren’t problems that developed in utero. They came from the sperm and the egg.

It’s much more common to see epigenetic effects from the mothers, but we saw changes passed on from the fathers as well.

I think people are beginning to accept that light pollution is serious pollution and it has health consequences that are pretty pronounced — an increase in cancers, depression, cardiovascular disease, diabetes and anxiety disorders.

We should be concerned about the increasing exposures to light at night from our tablets and phones and TVs.”

Exposure to light at night, even when awake doing shift work or dim light exposurewhen sleeping, may be associated with an increased risk of certain cancers, cardiovascular disease, gastrointestinal ailments and mood disorders, regardless of the type of illumination.5

In both the recent study and others,6 animals exposed to light during night hours had greater weight gain. In some mice, up to 50 percent more weight was gained over eight weeks, despite identical activity levels and available food.

Other studies show that rates of cancers dependent on hormones, such as breast cancer or prostate cancer, increase with exposure to light at night.7

The suppression of melatonin, a sleep regulating hormone, by blue light emitted from electronic media and other lighting, is linked with reduced sleep quality and interrupted sleep.8 Poor sleep quality increases your risk of depression and may impact your reproductive health as well.9

Mitochondrial Damage Is at the Center of Poor Health

Mitochondrial function plays an important role in many of the diseases and changes associated with aging, and melatonin plays a unique part in stabilizing the function of molecular mechanisms and biogenesis of your mitochondria.10 Melatonin acts as an antioxidant and regulator of mitochondrial functions.11

It is selectively used by mitochondrial membranes, a function not exhibited by other antioxidants. The hormone effectively prevents oxidative stress-induced mitochondrial dysfunction.

As exposure to light, and specifically blue light, severely impacts your melatonin production, it also has a substantial effect on your overall health.

Your mitochondria are tiny powerhouses inside the cells of your body. They are the primary source of energy for your cells, and thus your body. Since mitochondrial function is at the heart of everything that happens in your body, optimizing it is extremely important for good health and disease prevention.

For example, one of the universal characteristics of cancer is serious mitochondrial dysfunction with radically decreased numbers of functional mitochondria.

A disruption of your circadian rhythm, and therefore your secretion of melatonin and subsequent effect on mitochondria, has been associated with aberrant cell proliferation and cancer.12

Mitochondrial dysfunction also plays a central role in insulin resistance, the hallmark symptom of diabetes.13,14 Glucose and lipid metabolism are principally dependent on mitochondria to generate energy. Insulin resistance from mitochondrial dysfunction may contribute to subsequent increases in heart disease.

Cell death and survival are critical to neurodegeneration, and mitochondrial function is an important determinant of both.15

The relationship between melatonin and mitochondrial function has led to the emergence of melatonin as a potential therapeutic tool for treatment of neurodegenerative disorders, such as Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s disease.16

How Much Light Is Too Much?

Your body requires exposure to bright daylight, especially in the early morning, to produce healthy amounts of melatonin each night. While melatonin helps regulate sleep and protects your mitochondria, that isn’t all it does.

It is also a free radical scavenger that helps support your immune system and thymus gland, and helps you feel good in the morning. It also may protect your brain against aging. Your body secretes all the melatonin it needs based on natural circadian rhythms that are largely reliant on light.

Getting sunlight in the morning is one way to help reset your circadian clock daily. Ten to 15 minutes of morning sunlight sends a strong message that it’s time to rise and shine. In this way, your body is less likely to be confused by weaker light signals later in the day.

My rule of thumb is, if there is enough light in your bedroom at night to see your hand in front of your face, then there is too much light. Your body requires light during the day to produce healthy amounts of melatonin, but at night light inhibits production. So, it’s difficult to get too much light during the day and easy to get too much at night.

The problem of light pollution has become so pervasive that the American Medical Association (AMA) has issued statements warning against light at night. In 2012, during their annual meeting, the AMA voted on a policy recognizing that exposure to light at night can disrupt sleep and LED street lamps could create dangerous driving conditions.17

In 2016, the AMA again voted on guiding principles for the selection of public lighting options.18 The policy statement specifically addressed the new “white light” LED street lamps being erected around the U.S. to save energy, and the vote was unanimous.19

The concern is prompted by the color spectrum used in the LED street lights. The AMA recommends a color temperature no greater than 3000 Kelvin (k). The color temperature of the LED lighting currently being installed ranges between 4000 k and 5000 k, containing high levels of short-wavelength blue light in the spectrum.

Color of Your Light Matters

As detailed in my interview with Dr. Alexander Wunsch, a world class expert on photobiology, lighting is an important health consideration. Natural sunlight simply cannot be beat, but unless you spend a majority of your time outside, you’ll need to give some serious consideration to the kind of artificial lighting you use at home and at work.

Not all artificial light is created equally. The LED lights installed in major cities are harsh, triggering complaints from local residents. Blue lighting from LED lights reduces contrast at night and therefore reduces visibility. While this limits everyone’s ability to see potential danger, it is especially difficult for people over 50 to see well in this lighting.20 According to the AMA statement:21

“Unshielded LED lighting causes significant discomfort from glare. Discomfort and disability glare can decrease visual acuity, decreasing safety and creating a road hazard. Various testing measures have been devised to determine and quantify the level of glare and vision impairment by poorly designed LED lighting.”

Electric lighting is not inherently dangerous to humans or animals. However, it is important to balance safety at night against long term health. Light pollution has an effect on plants and animals, including preventing some trees from recognizing seasonal variations, and affecting the breeding cycles and foraging of wildlife.22 According to the AMA statement in 2016:23

“Despite the energy efficiency benefits, some LED lights are harmful when used as street lighting. The new AMA guidance encourages proper attention to optimal design and engineering features when converting to LED lighting that minimize detrimental health and environmental effects.”

Additionally, the AMA estimates that LED street lights have a five times greater impact on natural sleep rhythms than conventional street lamps they are replacing.24 Recent surveys have found these brighter residential blue wavelength street lights are associated with excessive sleepiness during the day, impaired daytime functioning, obesity and dissatisfaction with sleep quality.

These effects may be improved when cities begin using LED lighting options operating at 3000 k or less, often called warm white lights. These lights help balance the need for safety, reduced financial cost and smaller carbon footprint against your long-term health and the health of plants and animals exposed to external lighting.

Use REVERSE Sunglasses After the Sun Sets

In addition to eliminating all light exposure when you go to bed, it is also really important to filter light after sunset. The only light source our ancient ancestors had at night was from fire, which has virtually no blue or green light. Exposure to these light frequencies after the sun sets virtually assures that you will lower your melatonin and melanopsin levels. It also increases your risk of blindness from macular degeneration.

So, head on over to Amazon25 and pick up a pair of reverse sunglasses to protect your vision after dark. The glasses are only $9 and they are far superior to traditional blue-blockers as they also filter out the yellow and green that can impair retinal health. They are my absolute new favorite now, and I only use the amber blue-blockers during the day when I need to lecture in a dark hall illuminated by artificial light.

Also Beware of Electromagnetic Frequency Emitted From Electronic Light Sources

While wearing a sleep mask may help reduce the amount of light seeping through your eyelids, it is also important to address the electromagnetic field (EMF) emitted from electronic devices that is at least as dangerous as the light. Although blue light at night reduces your melatonin secretion, and therefore antioxidant protection for your mitochondrial function, EMF from electronic devices also damages mitochondria by producing oxidative damage.

Thus, your computer, cell phone and other electronic devices may be doing double duty health damage. One major concern of exposure to EMF has been the development of cancer.26 Scientists have long believed that cancer is initiated by damage to a cell’s genetic structure, but the initial damage can actually be traced to mitochondrial damage.

DNA damage triggered by EMF also leads to changes in cell function and cell death. EMF sources in your home, such as WiFi routers, cell phones and microwave ovens, may increase your risk of cancer.27,28,29 In 2011 the World Health Organization (WHO) classified cell phone radiation as a 2B carcinogen, or possibly carcinogenic to humans.30

It is REALLY important that you turn off your Wi-Fi every night before you go to bed to minimize your exposure. In future articles I will discuss how you can use a Faraday cage to really improve protection from these sources.

EMF also has a detrimental effect on the health of your brain, altering function and potentially fueling dementia. Even though measured EMF from cell phones is considered low, studies have demonstrated it can alter your brain function and activity.31 EMF from cell phones and Wi-Fi is also linked to changes in brain neurons that affect memory and the ability to learn.32

Interestingly, EMF from cell phones may also reduce the number of antioxidants available in your saliva, one of the first lines of defense your body has against microbial infections.33 Talking on a cell phone for up to one hour may reduce your salivary antioxidant levels by 25 percent. The proximity of your parotid salivary glands to where your cell phone is held during a conversation increases exposure to EMF.

EMF Found Where You May Not Expect It and How to Guard Your Health

Protecting yourself from EMF radiation begins by knowing what devices are emitting EMF and then developing alternatives to reduce exposure. This is not an exclusive list, but while you may have expected to see some of the devices on the list, others may come as a surprise.

Cellphones Cordless phones Bluetooth headsets
Refrigerators Radios Televisions
Wi-Fi modems and routers TV remote controls Microwave ovens
Alarm clocks Lamps Outlets
Powerlines and cell phone towers Smart meters (transmitting your utility usage wirelessly to your utility company) Computers including laptops, e-readers and tablets

The importance of the health of your mitochondria cannot be overstressed.

One of the strategies I’ve recently started having great success with is a modified Faraday cage over my bed. You may easily incorporate shielding material at home using different types of EMF conductive fabric for different applications, such as bedding, curtains or canopies.

Remember, as you spend at least seven or eight hours each day in your bedroom, it is an important place to start reducing EMF exposure. If building your own bed canopy with proper conductive material is not something you want to attempt, you can purchase a bed canopy kit fitting twin to king size beds.

Source:mercola.com

Diabetes Taking a Higher Toll on Life Than Suspected


In a time when information travels at the speed of the internet, there continues to be a staggering amount of misinformation shared about type 2 diabetes. The distortion of the truth contributes to the growing epidemic across the world, with estimates that 422 million have been diagnosed with diabetes.1

diabetes deaths

Story at-a-glance

  • There continues to be a staggering amount of misinformation about diabetes that may contribute to the growing epidemic across the world; estimates are 422 million currently have diabetes
  • It is the No. 1 cause of death in Mexico, causes more deaths in the U.S. than originally believed and is the most expensive disease in terms of total cost in the U.S.
  • Children exposed to high blood sugar while in the womb have a high risk of developing diabetes as adults and are at greater risk for medical complications immediately after birth

Just as overwhelming are the numbers of people who suffer from prediabetes, a condition where your blood sugar is higher than normal, but not high enough to be diagnosed with diabetes.

An estimated 38 percent of Americans have prediabetes2 and according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 90 percent of them don’t know they have it.

Unfortunately, even your own physician may share outdated information with you that won’t help to stabilize or reverse the condition. Despite the growing prevalence of high blood sugar (hyperglycemia), the fact is that type 2 diabetes is completely preventable with a few simple, inexpensive lifestyle adjustments.

Impaired insulin and leptin sensitivity are two of the underlying triggers for hyperglycemia and the diagnosis of diabetes.

The rapidly rising number of people affected demonstrates the cause is not due to genetics, but is rather prompted by changes to national nutrition guidelines initiated by the now-refuted Seven Countries Study.

Published in the 1950s by economist Ancel Keys, Ph.D., the study sparked a rather large increase in the quantity of carbohydrates recommended and a severe reduction in healthy fats.3 This triggers cellular resistance to the hormones insulin, ghrelin and leptin, and is the real foundation of high blood sugar.

Diabetes Now the No. 1 Cause of Death in Mexico

Today, diabetes is the leading cause of death in Mexico, followed closely by ischemic heart disease, a common consequence triggered by hyperglycemia.4 Diabetes accounted for 14.7 percent of all deaths in the country.

According to early 2000 estimates, the total number of diabetics in Latin American countries will exceed the combined number in the U.S., Canada and Europe by 2025.5 The financial cost from disability and treatment in Latin America reached over $65 million in the early 2000s.6

Rising rates of obesity in the last 40 years in Mexico has fueled the growing diabetes epidemic.7 The percentage of Mexico’s population that is overweight and obese has grown from less than 40 percent in 1975 to over 64 percent in 2014, just under the U.S. rate of 67 percent, but far past the global rate of 38 percent.

Increasing weight gain is also related to soda consumption. In 2012, Mexico was the world’s leading per capita consumer, drinking approximately 176 liters (46.5 gallons) per person, per year.8 By 2016, after a 2014 sugar tax was imposed, per capita consumption fell slightly to 163 liters (36 gallons) per person, per year.9

Drinking Coke has become such a cultural decision that, according to Dr. Salvador Villalpando, childhood obesity specialist at the Federico Gomez Children’s Hospital in Mexico City:

“About 10 percent of kids are being fed soda from zero to [6] months of age. By the time they reach [2] it’s about 80 percent. It’s cultural.

Mexican mums like having chubby kids in their homes as it shows they’re feeding them properly. And they are so used to feeding them sodas, they don’t stop even when there is clean water.”

Costly Supplies Limit Care

People with diabetes in Mexico struggle not just with the disease and dietary choices, but also accessing medical care and supplies. Medication and supplies may cost as much as monthly housing in Mexico.10

Dr. Carlos Aguilar Salinas, vice head of the endocrine department at Mexico’s National Institute of Medical Sciences and Nutrition, said:11

“In the middle of the 1970s and especially after the ’80s, the prevalence of diabetes exploded. Diabetes is now one of the biggest problems in the health system in Mexico. It’s the first cause of death. It’s the first cause of disability. It’s the first cause of early retirement. It’s the main cost for the health system.”

In 2015 there were over 11 million people diagnosed with diabetes,12 in a country with a total population of 127 million. The sheer number of people requiring care and follow up is straining the public health care system and reducing access to medical care.

The system pays for severe complications of the disease, but the daily management of the condition is left largely to the patients. Unfortunately, this has left people open to influence by swindlers promising a cure in a bottle or shot, costing thousands of pesos on products that are useless and may be toxic.13

Diabetes Kills More Americans Than Previously Believed

The number of people with diabetes in the U.S. is also growing, and recent research demonstrates more people may be dying from the condition than was originally believed.

According to The Obesity Society, type 2 diabetes accounts for nearly 90 percent of all diagnosis of diabetes,14 and obesity is a major risk factor for type 2 diabetes. The CDC ranks diabetes as the seventh leading cause of death in the U.S.15

However, analysis of death certificate information and follow up indicates a greater number of deaths should be attributed to diabetes. For the study, researchers analyzed data for participants who had previously participated in the National Health and Nutrition Survey and the National Health Interview Survey.

Participants who subsequently died during the study were evaluated based on self-reporting for diabetes. The researchers then searched the death certificates for cause of death.

Based on the survey data, over 11 percent had died from complications of diabetes, but less than 4 percent had diabetes complications mentioned on their death certificates.16 The researchers found:17

“The proportion of deaths in which diabetes was assigned as the underlying cause of death (3.3 to 3.7 percent) severely understated the contribution of diabetes to mortality in the United States.

Diabetes may represent a more prominent factor in American mortality than is commonly appreciated, reinforcing the need for robust population-level interventions aimed at diabetes prevention and care.”

Cost of Treating Diabetes Is Higher Than Other Diseases

The financial cost of treating diabetes extends to traditional medical care, indirect costs, disability and cost of treating complications. According to the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, in 2013 diabetes health care costs were over $101 billion and topped the list of the costliest health care expenses.18

Researchers traced costs related to 155 disease for 18 years.19 They found only 20 of those diseases were responsible for over half of all medical costs in the U.S. In terms of total dollars spent, diabetes was the most expensive.

However, in their list of top 10 costly health care diagnoses, four others were health conditions commonly associated with a diagnosis of diabetes.

Ischemic heart disease ranked second on the list, costing over $88 billion. Other health problems associated with diabetes include vision and hearing problems, hypertension and depression.20 Indirect disability costs may also be related to nerve dysfunction, kidney disease, vision loss and Alzheimer’s disease.21

Until now, the link between hyperglycemia and the increased incidence of Alzheimer’s disease, a progressive form of dementia, has not been clear. In a recent study, researchers discovered hyperglycemia damages immune function, impairing response in early Alzheimer’s disease.22

The study, published in Scientific Reports, found hyperglycemia modified macrophage migration inhibitory factor (MIF or MMIF) in the brain of individuals with Alzheimer’s disease.

This may suggest sugar damage to MIF reduces some of the enzyme’s functions and blocks others completely. This may be related to the process that allows Alzheimer’s to develop.

Studies are gradually unearthing the complex changes in the brain that occur with the development of Alzheimer’s that may start as much as 10 years prior to clinical symptoms. During this pre-symptomatic period, toxic changes are setting the stage for development of disease.

Hyperglycemia in Pregnancy Increases Risk of Diabetes in Children

Doctors have long known that high blood sugar during pregnancy has a harmful effect on the growing baby. A recent small Danish study now suggests that when an infant is exposed to high blood sugar levels in utero it may trigger the production of altered fat cells, making the children more likely to develop metabolic disease in adulthood.23

Researchers tested the adult children of 206 women who had diabetes during their pregnancy. The children had larger fat cells and secreted more leptin, a hormone made by fat cells that influences your feelings of hunger. Some of the women had diabetes prior to the pregnancy, while others developed gestational diabetes during pregnancy. They compared the results against a control group of children whose mothers didn’t have diabetes.24

The results from this study offer some clues about how hyperglycemia during pregnancy may increase the risk of diabetes later in life. Lead author Ninna Hansen of the University of Copenhagen talked about the results, saying:25

“Fetal hyperglycemia affects fat stem cells and these defects can be detected several years later. If (high blood sugar) or diabetes is present during pregnancy, our study supports the importance of aiming at normal blood glucose levels to reduce the negative impact on the cells of the unborn baby. Women who are lean and fit before pregnancy have a reduced risk of developing gestational diabetes during pregnancy.”

Hyperglycemia during pregnancy also increases the risk to children for other disabilities, including cognitive disability,26 birth defects27 and autism.28 Infants born to mothers who experienced hyperglycemia during pregnancy may also have an increased risk of experiencing health difficulties immediately following birth including respiratory distress, hypoglycemia, polycythemia and iron abnormalities.29

Daily Screen Time May Predict Risk of Diabetes

Past research has demonstrated an associated risk between spending more than three hours in front of a screen each day with type 2 diabetes in adults. However, a link between screen time and the risk of type 2 diabetes in children has been unclear.30 To probe this link, researchers surveyed nearly 4,500 children between ages 9 and 10 years.

Several factors associated with the development of diabetes in children were measured, including total body fat, insulin resistance, blood pressure and physical activity.31

Of those surveyed, 41 percent spent one hour or less in front of a screen daily, while 28 percent spent between one and two hours, and 18 percent spent three or more hours each day.32 The researchers found a strong correlation between three or more hours of screen time and high levels of leptin, fasting glucose and insulin resistance. They commented on the results, saying:33

“Our findings suggest that reducing screen time may be beneficial in reducing type 2 diabetes risk factors, in both boys and girls and in different ethnic groups from an early age. This is particularly relevant, given rising levels of type 2 diabetes, the early emergence of type 2 diabetes risk, and recent trends suggesting that screen time related activities are increasing in childhood and may pattern screen-related behaviors in later life.”

Mitochondrial Dysfunction Is at the Heart of Diabetes and Most Other Disease

Watch the video discussion:

In this short TED talk, Dr. Sarah Hallberg discusses the success she has treating people with diabetes, reducing their blood sugar using dietary choices. At the core of the pathology behind diabetes is mitochondrial dysfunction and eating a high-carbohydrate diet that bathes your mitochondria in glucose, which in turn suppresses mitochondrial metabolism.34

Your mitochondria are tiny energy producers inside most of your cells. They are the primary source of energy required to keep your body functioning optimally.

As mitochondrial function is at the heart of your health, optimizing it is extremely important to health and disease prevention. Mitochondrial dysfunction may lead to cardiovascular disease, depression, type 2 diabetes, stroke and neurological dysfunction. In essence, at the core of many diseases are dysfunctional mitochondria, and the diseases are simply different labels for a foundational pathology at the cellular level.

Source:mercola.com

Beauty Parlor Stroke Syndrome


beauty parlor stroke syndrome

Story at-a-glance

  • Vertebral artery dissection from hyperextension of the neck, otherwise known as beauty parlor stroke syndrome, can occur after having your hair washed in a salon
  • When your neck is hyperextended over the edge of a shampoo bowl, the pressure and/or whiplash-like motions on your neck can lead to a tear in the vertebral artery, which supplies blood to your brain
  • Many other common activities, including sneezing, coughing, vomiting, painting a ceiling and practicing yoga, can also cause this condition

In 2013, Elizabeth Williams, a California mother of two, did something you’ve probably done many times yourself: visited a hair salon for a cut and routine wash. Several days later, she began experiencing strange symptoms indicative of stroke, including weakness on her left side.

Doctors ultimately diagnosed her with a relatively rare condition called vertebral artery dissection from hyperextension of the neck,1 otherwise known as beauty parlor stroke syndrome.

The act of extending her neck over the shampoo bowl was deemed to be the culprit, although it’s unclear if the condition resulted solely from a kink in the neck or in combination with a certain head movement caused by the stylist.2

Smith, who subsequently filed a lawsuit against the salon, conducted an informal poll of her friends’ stylists and found 80 percent were familiar with the possibility that you could have a stroke while getting your hair washed.3

What Causes Beauty Parlor Stroke Syndrome?

When your neck is hyperextended over the edge of a shampoo bowl, the pressure and/or whiplash-like motions on your neck can lead to a tear in the vertebral artery, which supplies blood to your brain. Dr. Steven R. Zeiler, head of stroke research at Johns Hopkins, told BuzzFeed:4

“When one of those cervical arteries is damaged in some sort of way, you can get what’s called a dissection, which is damage of the inside of the blood vessel, leading to abnormal flow and clotting, and then those clots can shoot north into the brain and cause a stroke.”

Having your hair washed is not the only act that can cause this — far from it — although it’s very rare, even when all potential causes are considered.

In a conversation with The Atlantic, Dr. Richard Bernstein, medical director of the Comprehensive Stroke Center at Northwestern Memorial Hospital in Chicago, explained that the phenomenon can occur due to innocent stretching, sneezing or even getting out of bed wrong in the morning, noting, “It is so rare that it’s a waste of time to worry about it. It’s so unlikely, and there’s really nothing you can do to prevent it.”5

Other Confirmed Cases of Beauty Parlor Stroke Syndrome

Beauty parlor stroke syndrome is not unheard of in the medical literature, and some studies even dispute the phenomenon’s supposed rarity.

In the International Journal of Stroke, for instance, a 2016 study found that hairdresser-related ischemic cerebrovascular events (HICE) “occur frequently in females without a predilection for the posterior circulation.”6

The researchers noted that while some cases may occur by chance, in other cases hairdresser visits may have a causal role.

A 2006 case study also relates the case of a 63-year-old woman who developed sudden dizziness, nausea and vomiting while having her hair shampooed at a beauty parlor. She was diagnosed with beauty parlor stroke syndrome with the researchers noting:

“Taken together, hyperextension combined with hanging the head backwards in a hair washbasin can be seen as a risk factor for posterior circulation ischemia. It probably occurs more often than assumed …”7

Case in point: In December 2016 a U.K. man was awarded a more than $100,000 settlement from a hair salon after suffering a stroke two days after having his hair washed. The Daily Mail also reported another British woman who suffered a stroke in 2000 after having her hair washed at a salon.8

Cervical Support Reduced Dizziness and Other Symptoms During Hair Washing

Another study, this one published in 2002, examined symptoms of beauty parlor stroke syndrome among 25 volunteers who had previously reported dizziness during salon shampoos.

Among this population, significant dizziness, neck pain and carotid blood flow were reported while extending their necks over a salon sink, but the symptoms were significantly reduced when additional cervical support was used.

“Individuals with a history of such symptoms should probably exercise caution when deciding whether to receive a salon sink shampoo,” the researchers concluded.9

Yet another study in 2000 linked the hyperextended neck position during salon shampoos to cerebellum vascular insufficiency and recommended that “public education should lead to avoidance of this position during hair shampoo treatment at hair dressing salons.”10

While the risk of being injured during a salon shampoo is generally minimal, if you have experienced dizziness or other symptoms while having your hair washed previously, you may want to forgo the risk and wash your hair at home instead.

At the very least, some have suggested that adding a thick layer of towels to support your neck and reduce hyperextension may help.

Are There Risks to Getting Your Nails Done?

Hair washing is not the only potential risk at the beauty salon, particularly if you plan on getting your nails done. Nail salon services are big business in the U.S., amounting to $8.54 billion in spending in 2014.11

The fumes released by nail care products (and other beauty care products) is one concern, particularly for salon workers; however, the nail treatments themselves can also cause damage or infection to your nails.

Writing in The Journal of Clinical and Aesthetic Dermatology, researchers identified nail disorders that are induced by nail cosmetics via procedures meant to beautify the nail.12 On the contrary, many may lead to poor nail appearance and other risks.

“Known risks of traditional manicures include procedure-related infections (bacterial, fungal, mycobacterial and viral, including human papilloma virus and herpes simplex virus).

Inadequately sterilized instruments, such as clippers, blades, abrasive files, electric drills and footbaths, may harbor and abet the growth of micro-organisms.

Micro and macro-traumas may be induced through the cleaning, filing and trimming of cuticles, thus allowing the infiltration of micro-organisms.

Materials, such as nail polish and nail enhancers, contain certain chemicals that can serve as contact sensitizers when accidentally applied to periungual skin [skin around the nail].

Chemicals, including acrylates, formaldehyde and toluene sulphonamide-formaldehyde resin, may lead to contact dermatitis and chronic paronychia [an inflammatory disorder of the nail folds]. Primers and polish removers, which are largely solvents, can dry nails and contribute to brittleness.”13

Less common disorders that can be caused by a trip to the nail salon include:14

Mycobacterial infection, which can particularly occur from pedicure footbaths using equipment that is not properly sterilized or maintained with regular filter changes.

Peripheral neuropathy, a type of nerve damage that is a rare complication of acrylic nails, possibly due to methacrylates that are sometimes used in artificial nail products.

Nail thinning, weakness, brittleness, pseudo leukonychia (white spots), and onychoschizia lamellina (nail splitting), which may occur due to the removal of gel polish.

Worn down or overfilled nails, which is due to the mechanical trauma that occurs when acrylic nails are removed.

Traumatic onycholysis, the separation of the nail plate from the bed, is very common in people with acrylic nails.

It’s caused by inserting thin sharp objects in order to clean under the nails. According to the study, “These patients usually wear very long nails, and adhesion of the acrylic nail to the nail plate is stronger than adhesion of the nail plate to the nail bed.”

What Else Can Cause Vertebral Artery Dissection From Hyperextension of the Neck?

As mentioned, having your hair washed is only one precipitating factor. Dr. Wouter I. Schievink of the Cedars-Sinai Neurological Institute in Los Angeles suggested that every year 1 to 1.5 per 100,000 people may suffer from spontaneous vertebral artery dissection from hyperextension of the neck and may account for up to one-quarter of nonhemorrhagic strokes in young and middle-aged adults.15

Aside from having your hair washed in a beauty salon, other possible causes include chiropractic spinal manipulation, lifting heavy objects or even drinking a shot of alcohol (which is known as “bottoms-up dissection,” according to The New York Times).16

In the case of chiropractic manipulation, it’s thought that up to one-fourth of people who suffer an arterial dissection may have an underlying disorder or defect that predisposes them to the dissection, and related pain may be what prompts them to seek chiropractic care in the first place. The Times continued:17

“A champion swimmer developed a dissected carotid from doing too much backstroke. Dr. Schievink also lists precipitating events associated with hyperextension of the neck, including ‘’practicing yoga, painting a ceiling, coughing, vomiting and sneezing,’ as well as medical procedures like receiving anesthesia or being resuscitated and traumatic causes like motor vehicle accidents or sports injuries.

… There may also be an infectious factor in some cases, since the occurrence of carotid and vertebral artery dissections with no apparent cause peaks in the fall, when respiratory infections are most common.”

Writing in the Journal of Korean Neurosurgical Society, it’s suggested that many events associated with hyperextension or rotation of the neck may result in artery dissection. “Such neck movements, particularly when they are sudden, may injure the artery as a result of mechanical stretching,” the researchers noted.18 The symptoms of arterial dissection depend on which artery is affected and may include the following:19

Pain on one side of your head, face or neck Paralysis of one eye
Constant headache on one side of your head Pain behind an eye
Impaired ability to taste Tinnitus
Visual loss Temporary loss of awareness

Should You Avoid Having Your Hair Washed at the Salon?

There are many potential causes of arterial dissections, so you shouldn’t single out having your hair washed at a salon as a particularly serious risk. That being said, if you experience any discomfort or dizziness when in a position that requires over-extending your neck or looking upward for an extended period of time, you should take it seriously, change the position and seek medical attention if symptoms persist.

If you are concerned, talk to your hair dresser and ask for extra neck support during washing. Ideally, the chair and neck support should be adjustable so you can avoid hyperextending your neck. You can also forgo the process entirely and wash your hair at home. Ultimately, the risk of suffering from beauty parlor stroke syndrome is rare, but it does happen.

Source:mercola.com

With Personality Traits You Are Who You Like


In an age-old affirmation of “like attracts like,” a new study by personality psychologists has found that people with dysfunctional traits such as narcissism and antagonism are more tolerant when they run into others who share those troublesome traits, LiveScience reports. However, this doesn’t mean that narcissist or antagonistic people actually like these behaviors; they’re simply more tolerant of them, the researchers added, noting that this is one reason some personality disorders are so hard to treat.

The science of mental health is an ongoing field of study that too often ends up with a prescription for a drug to treat whatever mental health problem you have, as opposed to addressing the root causes of mental health issues. For example, it’s a known fact that depression rates rise during fall and winter — a root cause that can be directly addressed with more sunlight, as opposed to a bottle of pills.

The impact that the sun has on your overall health cannot be overstated. Sunlight has a profound impact on your mental health. Out of 19 environmental factors, the only one correlating to higher levels of distress was the amount of time between sunrise and sunset.

But unless you live in a warm climate that allows you to get out in the sun every day, it simply isn’t possible to get the full benefits of sunlight. This why I recommend photobiology as a therapeutic use of light to improve health.

Other tips for beating the winter blues include exercising, getting enough good-quality sleep, avoiding processed foods, optimizing your gut health and immune system (which can help you socially as well), and increasing the amount of high quality, animal-based omega-3 fats into your diet. Foods especially have an immense impact on your mood and ability to cope, and eating a diet of fresh, whole foods will best support your mental health.

Source:mercola.com