Steroids and Saline in the ICU: One Critical Care Physician’s Perspective

New studies inform ongoing controversies about steroids for patients with septic shock and about crystalloid solutions for fluid resuscitation in the intensive care unit.

On March 1, 2018, three studies that generated much discussion in the critical care community were published in the New England Journal of Medicine. Two of these studies focused on use of corticosteroids in treating patients with septic shock; in the third study, researchers examined whether crystalloid choice in intensive care unit (ICU) patients influenced outcomes. Are these trials practice-changing?

Should steroids be given to septic shock patients?

The controversy regarding corticosteroids for treating patients with septic shock has been ongoing for nearly 2 decades. These two new trials add to the debate but probably won’t end it, because they generated partially conflicting results. In one trial, APROCCHSS, 90-day mortality was significantly lower in patients who were treated with both the glucocorticoid hydrocortisone (50 mg every 6 hours for 1 week) and the mineralocorticoid fludrocortisone than in placebo recipients (43% vs. 49%; NEJM JW Gen Med Mar 1 2018 and N Engl J Med 2018; 378:797). In contrast, the other trial (ADRENAL) was a comparison of hydrocortisone alone versus placebo, and mortality was virtually the same in both groups – about 28% (NEJM JW Gen Med Apr 15 2018 and N Engl J Med 2018; 378:809). Key differences between the trials were use of a mineralocorticoid and higher overall mortality (suggesting a sicker patient population) in APROCCHSS. Notably, in both studies, the mean duration of septic shock was shorter in the steroid groups; in ADRENAL, this translated into less time in the ICU. Corticosteroid side effects were minimal in both trials.

Multiple trials now have shown that steroids shorten the duration of septic shock. If this effect shortens the length of ICU stay, as it did in ADRENAL, steroid use might result in cost savings and less arduous hospitalizations for some patients and families. In other words, even if the mortality benefit is marginal, these secondary effects might be worthwhile, given the low cost and apparent absence of harm from relatively brief courses of moderate-dose steroids.

After talking to several colleagues in Seattle and across the country, my sense is that these studies will reinforce previous practice preferences, whatever they might have been. Those who previously were steroid skeptics will not necessarily change their practice, whereas clinicians who had low thresholds for giving steroids will continue to do so and will note that APROCCHSS supports their practice. Like many of my peers, I will continue using glucocorticoids for patients with refractory septic shock who are on escalating doses of vasopressors or who require multiple vasopressors. In my discussions, reactions to adding fludrocortisone were mixed. My take is that fludrocortisone is inexpensive and low risk, so I probably will add it when I start glucocorticoids.

Is a balanced crystalloid better than normal saline for ICU patients?

The third trial (SMART) was conducted because of concern about potential adverse renal effects of the high chloride content of normal saline. Investigators compared normal saline with “balanced” crystalloid solutions (either lactated Ringer’s solution or Plasma-Lyte A) in more than 15,000 patients in ICUs at Vanderbilt University. The primary outcome was major adverse kidney events — a composite outcome that included death, renal-replacement therapy, or doubling of creatinine at discharge. Patients in the normal saline group had more primary outcome events than those in the balanced solution group (15% vs. 14%); this small difference was statistically significant for the composite outcome, but no significant difference was found for any individual component (NEJM JW Gen Med Apr 15 2018 and N Engl J Med 2018; 378:819).

In my discussions with other intensivists, most told me that their practices already were changing to preferential use of lactated Ringer’s instead of normal saline, except in unique patient populations (e.g., those with traumatic brain injury). So, although debate continues on how to interpret the results of SMART, and experts express caution about using a single-center trial to drive practice, the results reinforce the practice of reaching for lactated Ringer’s first, for most critically ill patients who require fluid resuscitation.

Making Smart Food Choices With T1D

Making healthy food choices can be very cumbersome for those with type 1 diabetes (T1D) because many different guidelines exist and parameters are constantly changing. Moreover, for children with the disease there is limited research examining their different nutritional needs compared with children without diabetes.

People with diabetes are encouraged to eat low glycemic index foods to help prevent microvascular complications. As a result, many patients limit carbohydrate intake and potentially choose food options higher in fat or protein.

As a person with type 1 diabetes, this line of thinking certainly happens when I become frightened of blood sugar surges. For example, I may eat that extra meatball in place of additional pasta. Dietary choices to specifically avoid “evil carbohydrates” and consequently consume more protein or fat from calories may help prevent acute blood sugar fluctuations, but could have unintended consequences such as increased risk of cardiovascular disease

The United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) current guidelines, MyPlate, advise the general population to make healthy dietary choices from five food groups – fruits, vegetables, grains, proteins and dairy. MyPlate states that total fat intake should be 30%-35% of calories for children 2-3 years of age, 25%-35% of calories for children 4-8 years of age, and for those > 19 years old 20%-35%. The 2013 American Diabetes Association (ADA) guidelines recommend total fat intake <30% and saturated fat intake <7% in children and <10% in adults . Additionally, much of ADA recommendations encompass guidelines for both type 1 and type 2 diabetes for which disease management varies greatly.

A review in the Diabetes Educator examined 9 studies that looked at dietary intake of children with T1D and found some results showing potential dietary inadequacies. Fruit, vegetable, and fiber intakes were low, but did not differ statistically from children without diabetes. However, in three of the studies, mean intake for total fat were 11%-15%, which exceeded ADA recommendations (>7%). Another study in Diabetes Carecompared dietary recall between 132 adolescents with T1D and 131 adolescents without T1D and found significant difference in fat intake between the groups. Specifically, those adolescents with T1D consumed more of all kinds of fat and male subjects with substantially more saturated fat compared with males without diabetes.

As I noted before, it is likely that anxiety associated with counting carbohydrates can lead inadvertently to choosing a diet higher in fat, and specifically saturated fats. Additionally, less consumption of carbohydrates can potentially lower insulin requirements. For example, when I am busy I may opt for a snack not requiring an insulin injection such as cheese. This may be okay on an occasion, but a diet high in saturated fats does have its consequences. But many children are not properly educated about which foods are even high in fat and what alternatives are available. In one quantitative study of children with T1D, foods such as cheese, bacon and steak were perceived as good choice foods because they do not contain carbohydrates.

So what can be done to help improve dietary choices amongst individuals with diabetes and specifically children and adolescents?

  • They should have access to diabetes educators allowing for formal teaching on how to make healthy choices. Advise them to choose more plant-based alternatives (beans, lentils, nuts and nut butters, seeds, peas, and soy foods) or lean meats (fish, seafood, chicken, turkey, and yogurt)
  • Along with education describing good fat such as avocado, teach that there are good carbohydrates. Complex carbohydrates include brown rice, whole wheat, quinoa, oatmeal, fruits, vegetables, beans, and lentils. This is a great resource to reference.
  • Nuts are an excellent source of vitamins and nutrients and can easily be supplemented in daily snacks such as oatmeal and yogurt. Additionally, they are low in carbohydrates, high in protein and while high in fats they keep you full longer and can prevent overeating. However, there is such a thing as too much of a good thing as nuts are very caloric. They contain about 160 to 200 calories per ounce, which is about 24 almonds, 18 cashews, 48 pistachios or 14 walnut halves. Thus, nuts should be appropriately portioned to prevent weight gain. has an excellent resource for this.

Basically, from my experience and research, dietary recommendations are not one-size-fits-all for anyone, and this is particularly true and critical for everyone with diabetes, no matter their age.

This is the real reason cannabis is illegal.

Pot is NOT harmful to the human body or mind. Marijuana does NOT pose a threat to the general public. However, marijuana is very much a danger to the oil companies, alcohol, tobacco industries, and a large number of chemical corporations. Various big businesses, with plenty of dollars and influence, have suppressed the truth from the people.
The truth is if marijuana was utilized for its vast array of commercial products, it would create an industrial atomic bomb! Entrepreneurs have not been educated on the product potential of pot. The super rich have conspired to spread misinformation about an extremely versatile plant that, if used properly, would ruin their companies.Where did the word ‘marijuana’ come from? In the mid 1930s, the M-word was created to tarnish the good image and phenomenal history of the hemp plant…as you will read. The facts cited here, with references, are generally verifiable in the Encyclopedia Britannica which was printed on hemp paper for 150 years:

* All schoolbooks were made from hemp or flax paper until the 1880s; Hemp Paper Reconsidered, Jack Frazier, 1974.

* It was LEGAL TO PAY TAXES WITH HEMP in America from 1631 until the early 1800s; LA Times, Aug. 12, 1981.

* REFUSING TO GROW HEMP in America during the 17th and 18th Centuries WAS AGAINST THE LAW! You could be jailed in Virginia for refusing to grow hemp from 1763 to 1769; Hemp in Colonial Virginia, G. M. Herdon.

“I grew Hemp”, George Washington
* George Washington, Thomas Jefferson and other founding fathers GREW HEMP; Washington and Jefferson Diaries. Jefferson smuggled hemp seeds from China to France then to America.

* Benjamin Franklin owned one of the first paper mills in America and it processed hemp. Also, the War of 1812 was fought over hemp. Napoleon wanted to cut off Moscow’s export to England; Emperor Wears No Clothes, Jack Herer.

* For thousands of years, 90% of all ships’ sails and rope were made from hemp. The word ‘canvas’ is Dutch for cannabis; Webster’s New World Dictionary.

* 80% of all textiles, fabrics, clothes, linen, drapes, bed sheets, etc. were made from hemp until the 1820s with the introduction of the cotton gin.

* The first Bibles, maps, charts, Betsy Ross’s flag, the first drafts of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution were made from hemp; U.S. Government Archives.

* The first crop grown in many states was hemp. 1850 was a peak year for Kentucky producing 40,000 tons. Hemp was the largest cash crop until the 20th Century; State Archives.

* Oldest known records of hemp farming go back 5000 years in China, although hemp industrialization probably goes back to ancient Egypt.

* Rembrants, Gainsboroughs, Van Goghs as well as most early canvas paintings were principally painted on hemp linen.

* In 1916, the U.S. Government predicted that by the 1940s all paper would come from hemp and that no more trees need to be cut down. Government studies report that 1 acre of hemp equals 4.1 acres of trees. Plans were in the works to implement such programs; Department of Agriculture

* Quality paints and varnishes were made from hemp seed oil until 1937. 58,000 tons of hemp seeds were used in America for paint products in 1935; Sherman Williams Paint Co. testimony before Congress against the 1937 Marijuana Tax Act.

* Henry Ford’s first Model-T was built to run on hemp gasoline and the CAR ITSELF WAS CONSTRUCTED FROM HEMP! On his large estate, Ford was photographed among his hemp fields. The car, ‘grown from the soil,’ had hemp plastic panels whose impact strength was 10 times stronger than steel; Popular Mechanics, 1941.

* Hemp called ‘Billion Dollar Crop.’ It was the first time a cash crop had a business potential to exceed a billion dollars; Popular Mechanics, Feb., 1938.

* Mechanical Engineering Magazine (Feb. 1938) published an article entitled ‘The Most Profitable and Desirable Crop that Can be Grown.’ It stated that if hemp was cultivated using 20th Century technology, it would be the single largest agricultural crop in the U.S. and the rest of the world.

The following information comes directly from the United States Department of Agriculture’s 1942 14-minute film encouraging and instructing ‘patriotic American farmers’ to grow 350,000 acres of hemp each year for the war effort:

‘…(When) Grecian temples were new, hemp was already old in the service of mankind. For thousands of years, even then, this plant had been grown for cordage and cloth in China and elsewhere in the East. For centuries prior to about 1850, all the ships that sailed the western seas were rigged with hempen rope and sails. For the sailor, no less than the hangman, hemp was indispensable…

…Now with Philippine and East Indian sources of hemp in the hands of the Japanese…American hemp must meet the needs of our Army and Navy as well as of our industries…

…the Navy’s rapidly dwindling reserves. When that is gone, American hemp will go on duty again; hemp for mooring ships; hemp for tow lines; hemp for tackle and gear; hemp for countless naval uses both on ship and shore. Just as in the days when Old Ironsides sailed the seas victorious with her hempen shrouds and hempen sails. Hemp for victory!’

Certified proof from the Library of Congress; found by the research of Jack Herer, refuting claims of other government agencies that the 1942 USDA film ‘Hemp for Victory’ did not exist.

Hemp cultivation and production do not harm the environment. The USDA Bulletin #404 concluded that Hemphemp produces 4 times as much pulp with at least 4 to 7 times less pollution. From Popular Mechanics, Feb. 1938:

‘It has a short growing season…It can be grown in any state…The long roots penetrate and break the soil to leave it in perfect condition for the next year’s crop. The dense shock of leaves, 8 to 12 feet above the ground, chokes out weeds.…hemp, this new crop can add immeasurably to American agriculture and industry.’

In the 1930s, innovations in farm machinery would have caused an industrial revolution when applied to hemp. This single resource could have created millions of new jobs generating thousands of quality products. Hemp, if not made illegal, would have brought America out of the Great Depression.

William Randolph Hearst (Citizen Kane) and the Hearst Paper Manufacturing Division of Kimberly Clark owned vast acreage of timberlands. The Hearst Company supplied most paper products. Patty Hearst’s grandfather, a destroyer of nature for his own personal profit, stood to lose billions because of hemp.

In 1937, Dupont patented the processes to make plastics from oil and coal. Dupont’s Annual Report urged stockholders to invest in its new petrochemical division. Synthetics such as plastics, cellophane, celluloid, methanol, nylon, rayon, Dacron, etc., could now be made from oil. Natural hemp industrialization would have ruined over 80% of Dupont’s business.


Andrew Mellon became Hoover’s Secretary of the Treasury and Dupont’s primary investor. He appointed his future nephew-in-law, Harry J. Anslinger, to head the Federal Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs.

Secret meetings were held by these financial tycoons. Hemp was declared dangerous and a threat to their billion dollar enterprises. For their dynasties to remain intact, hemp had to go. These men took an obscure Mexican slang word: ‘marihuana’ and pushed it into the consciousness of America.


A media blitz of ‘yellow journalism’ raged in the late 1920s and 1930s. Hearst’s newspapers ran stories emphasizing the horrors of marihuana. The menace of marihuana made headlines. Readers learned that it was responsible for everything from car accidents to loose morality.

Films like ‘Reefer Madness’ (1936), ‘Marihuana: Assassin of Youth’ (1935) and ‘Marihuana: The Devil’s Weed’ (1936) were propaganda designed by these industrialists to create an enemy. Their purpose was to gain public support so that anti-marihuana laws could be passed.

Examine the following quotes from ‘The Burning Question’ aka REEFER MADNESS:

a violent narcotic.

acts of shocking violence.

incurable insanity.

soul-destroying effects.

under the influence of the drug he killed his entire family with an ax.

more vicious, more deadly even than these soul-destroying drugs (heroin, cocaine) is the menace of marihuana!

Reefer Madness did not end with the usual ‘the end.’ The film concluded with these words plastered on the screen: TELL YOUR CHILDREN.

In the 1930s, people were very naive; even to the point of ignorance. The masses were like sheep waiting to be led by the few in power. They did not challenge authority. If the news was in print or on the radio, they believed it had to be true. They told their children and their children grew up to be the parents of the baby-boomers.

On April 14, 1937, the Prohibitive Marihuana Tax Law or the bill that outlawed hemp was directly brought to the House Ways and Means Committee. This committee is the only one that can introduce a bill to the House floor without it being debated by other committees. The Chairman of the Ways and Means, Robert Doughton, was a Dupont supporter. He insured that the bill would pass Congress.

Dr. James Woodward, a physician and attorney, testified too late on behalf of the American Medical Association. He told the committee that the reason the AMA had not denounced the Marihuana Tax Law sooner was that the Association had just discovered that marihuana was hemp.

Few people, at the time, realized that the deadly menace they had been reading about on Hearst’s front pages was in fact passive hemp. The AMA understood cannabis to be a MEDICINE found in numerous healing products sold over the last hundred years.

In September of 1937, hemp became illegal. The most useful crop known became a drug and our planet has been suffering ever since.

Congress banned hemp because it was said to be the most violence-causing drug known. Anslinger, head of the Drug Commission for 31 years, promoted the idea that marihuana made users act extremely violent. In the 1950s, under the Communist threat of McCarthyism, Anslinger now said the exact opposite. Marijuana will pacify you so much that soldiers would not want to fight.

Today, our planet is in desperate trouble. Earth is suffocating as large tracts of rain forests disappear. Pollution, poisons and chemicals are killing people. These great problems could be reversed if we industrialized hemp. Natural biomass could provide all of the planet’s energy needs that are currently supplied by fossil fuels. We have consumed 80% of our oil and gas reserves. We need a renewable resource. Hemp could be the solution to soaring gas prices


Hemp has a higher quality fiber than wood fiber. Far fewer caustic chemicals are required to make paper from hemp than from trees. Hemp paper does not turn yellow and is very durable. The plant grows quickly to maturity in a season where trees take a lifetime.

ALL PLASTIC PRODUCTS SHOULD BE MADE FROM HEMP SEED OIL. Hempen plastics are biodegradable! Over time, they would break down and not harm the environment. Oil-based plastics, the ones we are very familiar with, help ruin nature; they do not break down and will do great harm in the future. The process to produce the vast array of natural (hempen) plastics will not ruin the rivers as Dupont and other petrochemical companies have done. Ecology does not fit in with the plans of the Oil Industry and the political machine. Hemp products are safe and natural.

MEDICINES SHOULD BE MADE FROM HEMP. We should go back to the days when the AMA supported cannabis cures. ‘Medical Marijuana’ is given out legally to only a handful of people while the rest of us are forced into a system that relies on chemicals. Pot is only healthy for the human body.

WORLD HUNGER COULD END. A large variety of food products can be generated from hemp. The seeds contain one of the highest sources of protein in nature. ALSO: They have two essential fatty acids that clean your body of cholesterol. These essential fatty acids are not found anywhere else in nature! Consuming pot seeds is the best thing you could do for your body. Eat uncooked hemp seeds.

CLOTHES SHOULD BE MADE FROM HEMP. Hemp clothing is extremely strong and durable over time. You could hand clothing, made from pot, down to your grandchildren. Today, there are American companies that make hemp clothing; usually 50% hemp. Hemp fabrics should be everywhere. Instead, they are almost underground. Superior hemp products are not allowed to advertise on fascist television. Kentucky, once the top hemp producing state, made it ILLEGAL TO WEAR hemp clothing! Can you imagine being thrown into jail for wearing quality jeans?

The world is crazy…but that does not mean you have to join the insanity. Get together. Spread the news. Tell people, and that includes your children, the truth. Use hemp products. Eliminate the word ‘marijuana.’ Realize the history that created it. Make it politically incorrect to say or print the M-word. Fight against the propaganda (designed to favor the agenda of the super rich) and the bullshit. Hemp must be utilized in the future. We need a clean energy source to save our planet. INDUSTRIALIZE HEMP!

The liquor, tobacco and oil companies fund more than a million dollars a day to Partnership for a Drug-Free America and other similar agencies. We have all seen their commercials. Now, their motto is: ‘It’s more dangerous than we thought.’ Lies from the powerful corporations, that began with Hearst, are still alive and well today.

The brainwashing continues. Now, the commercials say: If you buy a joint, you contribute to murders and gang wars. The latest anti-pot commercials say: If you buy a joint…you are promoting TERRORISM! The new enemy (terrorism) has paved the road to brainwash you any way THEY see fit.

There is only one enemy; the friendly people you pay your taxes to; the war-makers and nature destroyers. With your funding, they are killing the world right in front of your eyes. HALF A MILLION DEATHS EACH YEAR ARE CAUSED BY TOBACCO. HALF A MILLION DEATHS EACH YEAR ARE CAUSED BY ALCOHOL. NO ONE HAS EVER, EVER DIED FROM SMOKING POT!! In the entire history of the human race, not one death can be attributed to cannabis. Our society has outlawed grass but condones the use of the KILLERS: TOBACCO and ALCOHOL. Hemp should be declassified and placed in DRUG stores to relieve stress. Hardening and constriction of the arteries are bad; but hemp usage actually enlarges the arteries…which is a healthy condition. We have been so conditioned to think that: Smoking is harmful. That is NOT the case for passive pot.

Ingesting THC, hemp’s active agent, has a positive effect; relieving asthma and glaucoma. A joint tends to alleviate the nausea caused by chemotherapy. You are able to eat on hemp. This is a healthy state of being.

The stereotype for a pothead is similar to a drunk, bubble-brain. Yet, the truth is one’s creative abilities can be enhanced under its influence. The perception of time slightly slows and one can become more sensitive. You can more appreciate all arts; be closer to nature and generally FEEL more under the influence of cannabis. It is, in fact, the exact opposite state of mind and body as the drunken state. You can be more aware with pot.

The pot plant is an ALIEN plant. There is physical evidence that cannabis is not like any other plant on this planet. One could conclude that it was brought here for the benefit of humanity. Hemp is the ONLY plant where the males appear one way and the females appear very different, physically! No one ever speaks of males and females in regard to the plant kingdom because plants do not show their sexes; except for cannabis. To determine what sex a certain, normal, Earthly plant is: You have to look internally, at its DNA. A male blade of grass (physically) looks exactly like a female blade of grass. The hemp plant has an intense sexuallity. Growers know to kill the males before they fertilize the females. Yes, folks…the most potent pot comes from ‘horny females.’

The reason this amazing, very sophisticated, ET plant from the future is illegal has nothing to do with how it physically affects us…..


ps: I think the word ‘DRUGS’ should not be used as an umbrella-word that covers all chemical agents. Drugs have come to be known as something BAD. Are you aware there are LEGAL drugstores?! Yep, in every city. Unbelievable. Each so-called drug should be considered individually.

Cannabis is a medicine and not a drug.

We should DARE to speak the TRUTH no matter what the law is.

Source: Illuminati News via Higher Perspective

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Source: Organic Consumers Association &

New mosquito repellent is ultra-effective – Australian Geographic

A new vapour developed in the USA renders humans virtually undetectable to mozzies.

SCIENTISTS HAVE CREATED WHAT might be the most effective insect repellent ever.

While the majority of existing repellents create an odour that is unpleasant for mosquitos, using a yellow oil known as DEET, this new blend of chemicals renders the insect senseless.

“These chemicals make you invisible,” says Dr Ulrich Bernier, a research chemist at the United States Department of Agriculture research service, and creator of the new formula.

Most effective mosquito repellent?

With over 5000 reported cases of mosquito-borne Ross River and Barmah Forest viruses in Australia every year, this new formula could prove to be invaluable for Australians in rural and urban areas.

Mosquitoes find humans by honing in on various chemicals and bacteria on the skin. In 2000, while studying this process, Ulrich created a repellent consisting of several chemicals, all of which are found in low doses in the human body. The resulting repellent was somewhat effective.

Years later, Ulrich added additional chemicals to the formula, including homopiperazine and 1-methylhomopiperazine, similar to those found in the human body, which acted to mask the scent of humans. He was amazed by the results.

“We took a cage of mosquitoes and gave them two ports to fly into: one with human hands inserted into them, and the other one with nothing.” At first, Ulrich explains, the mosquitoes were attracted to the container with the human hands. After the repellent was sprayed, however, they approached the containers with equal interest.

Researchers are keeping close guard over the ingredients of the formula, which was patented last year.

Repellent in vapour form

Significantly, this new repellent will be sprayed into the air, as opposed to directly on the skin.

Dr Cameron Webb, a medical entomologist at Sydney University, says that while DEET-based sprays have proven to be adequate in preventing mosquito bites, this new development represents an important next-step in insect-borne disease control.

“When applying lotions or sprays onto the skin, one can easily miss a spot,” says Cameron. “Air-based repellents solve that issue.”

The new repellent will take the form of a vapour which will work to create a protective bubble. While DEET has been accepted as a safe means of repellent, Ulrich says it’s always safer to have chemicals further away from humans.

Commercial availability is still a ways off, however: Ulrich says more field tests and toxicology tests are necessary to ensure the product is completely safe before it can hit the market.

Can ‘powdered rain’ make drought a thing of the past?

The lack of water is a growing, global problem that seems intractable.

While the UN estimates that a large majority of the water we use goes on irrigation, researchers have been working on a range of ideas that make the water we use in agriculture last longer.


There has been a great deal of excitement and some dramatic headlines in recent weeks about a product that is said to have the potential to overcome the global challenge of growing crops in arid conditions.

“Solid Rain” is a powder that’s capable of absorbing enormous amounts of water and releasing it slowly over a year so that plants can survive and thrive in the middle of a drought.

A litre of water can be absorbed in as little as 10 grams of the material, which is a type of absorbent polymer originally pioneered by the US Department of Agriculture (USDA).

Back in the 1970s, USDA developed a super-absorbent product made from a type of starch nicknamed the “super slurper“.

The most widely used, commercial application of this technology has been in disposable nappies, or diapers as they are quaintly termed in the US.

But a Mexican chemical engineer called Sergio Jesus Rico Velasco saw more in the product than dry bottoms.

He developed and patented a different version of the formula that could be mixed in with soil to hold water that could then slowly feed plants.


Ground water

He formed a company to sell Solid Rain and it has quietly been selling the product in Mexico for around 10 years. The company says that the government there tested Solid Rain and found that crop yields could increase by 300% when it was added to the soil.

According to Edwin Gonzalez, a vice president with the Solid Rain company, the product is now attracting wider interest because of growing concerns about the scarcity of water.

“It works by encapsulating the water, and our product lasts 8 to 10 years in the ground, depending on the water quality – if you use pure water, it lasts longer,” he told BBC News.

The company recommends using about 50kgs per hectare – though it’s not cheap, at $1,500 (£960) for that amount.

Mr Gonzalez was at pains to point out that Solid Rain was all natural and would not damage the land even if it was used for several years.

“Our product is not toxic; it’s made from a bio-acrylamide. After it disintegrates, the powder-like substance becomes part of the plant – it is not toxic,” he said.

Science uncertain

But not everyone is convinced that Solid Rain is a significant solution to the problem of drought.

Dr Linda Chalker-Scott from Washington State University says that these types of products have been known to gardeners for several years now.

“They’re hardly new, and there’s no scientific evidence to suggest that they hold water for a year, or last for 10 years in the soil,” she told BBC News.

“An additional practical problem is that gels can do as much harm as good. As the gels begin to dry out, they soak up surrounding water more vigorously. That means they will start taking water directly from plant roots,” she added.

Dr Chalker-Scott says that research she carried out in Seattle with newly transplanted trees showed that wood chip mulching was just as effective as adding powdered materials and gels to the soil. And it was significantly cheaper.

However, Edwin Gonzalez says Solid Rain is different.

“There are other competitors that last three or four years. The ones that don’t last as long are the ones that have sodium – they don’t absorb as much. The potassium ones, like ours, are seen as the better products,” he said

Despite the fact that the science may not be entirely certain about the benefits of products like this, Edwin Gonzalez says his company has been inundated with enquiries from dry spots including India and Australia.

And he’s also had several orders from the UK, where the lack of water is usually not a problem.


Glowing plants: a cool idea, or terrible one?.

“What if we used trees to light our streets instead of electric street lamps?” starts the Glowing Plant Kickstarter campaign video.

The pitch, launched April 23, continues, “Our way of life is unsustainable. Lighting creates as much CO2 as cars,” and then describes how its “Stanford-trained PhDs” used synthetic biology to create a weed, Arabidopsis thaliana, that faintly glows in the dark. Along with images from the film “Avatar,” the video finishes with Glowing Plant project manager Antony Evans asking potential backers to “demonstrate their commitment to a more sustainable future.” For $40 or more, 8,000 backers of the project will each receive 50 to 100 seeds next year.

Unless, that is, some environmental groups — claiming that the project will set a precedent that could have far-reaching environmental ramifications — manage to stop it.

Before going any further, let’s define genetic engineering and synthetic biology. With the former, you take genes from one organism and insert them into another organism. With the latter, which is newer technology, you design genes on a computer and put them into an organism, thereby creating DNA that has never before existed in nature.

Evans says Glowing Plant has two goals: “The first is to educate and inspire people about the capabilities of the technology and to start a discussion around it and to get people working on it. The second is a long-term vision to create glowing trees that could replace street lamps.”

But protest groups such as ETC Group and Friends of the Earth say the project sets a dangerous precedent. While no one knows exactly what kind of danger a glowing Arabidopsis poses to the environment or human health, if any, they say that is precisely their point.

Jim Thomas, research director for ETC Group, an international technology watchdog, says Glowing Plant will be the first environmental release of a synthetic biological organism — and that it will be conducted without any oversight. “What’s kind of crazy about this project is that not only are they going to release an organism produced by synthetic biology, but they’re going to release it randomly, hundreds of thousands of seeds — unmonitored, uncontrolled, unregulated. It’s absolutely the worst way to begin an environmental release of a synthetic biological organism,” he says.

Dr. Allison Snow, an ecologist at Ohio State University, says, “Anytime you have an engineered plant and you put it out in nature, there’s a regulatory process that nearly every country goes though to say, ‘This is the novel gene, this is what it does, this is why we think it’s safe,’ and we don’t have that information yet for this project.”

So, how is Glowing Plant getting around this process? Actually, there aren’t regulations that cover it. The United States Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) has mostly regulated genetically modified crops under plant pest laws; many genetically modified organisms are created with agrobacteria that inserts the genes into the plant, and agrobacteria is a type of plant pest.

Glowing Plant, however, isn’t using agrobacteria. On its Kickstarter page, the group explains, “Once we have proven the designs work [using agrobacteria], we will then insert the same gene sequence into the plant using a gene gun. This is more complicated, as there’s a risk the gene sequence gets scrambled, but the result will be unregulated by the USDA and thus suitable for release.”

Protest groups have contacted Kickstarter, which declined to comment for this story, and APHIS, which told SmartPlanet, “Regarding synthetic biologics, if they do not pose a plant risk, APHIS does not regulate it and as such cannot comment further.”

Evans emphasizes that what makes Glowing Plant special is not the science, but the crowdfunding aspect. “[Glowing Plants is] the first project to be done with Kickstarter funding in a do-it-yourself biology lab. It’s not some radical new approach to science.”

Todd Kuiken, a senior science and technology innovation associate at the nonpartisan Woodrow Wilson International Centre for Scholars, called Glowing Plant “an ideal stress test” of current regulations for biotechnology, which, since the 1980s, have been grafted onto existing laws, instead of being drawn up anew.

Noting that Scotts Miracle-Gro’s genetically engineered Kentucky Bluegrass also fell out of the USDA’s regulatory purview, he says: “[Glowing Plant] does set a precedent, where you can do this and release it and no one is evaluating it. And that is a concern that needs to be examined. What are the questions we need to be concerned about when we release products or plants using synthetic biology or traditional gene transfer techniques into the environment?”

Source: Smart Planet

Beepocalypse Redux: Honeybees Are Still Dying — and We Still Don’t Know Why.

The honeybees are dying — and we don’t really know why. That’s the conclusion of a massive Department of Agriculture (USDAreport that came out late last week on colony-collapse disorder (CCD), the catchall term for the large-scale deaths of honeybee groups throughout the U.S. And given how important honeybees are to the food that we eat — bees help pollinate crops that are worth more than $200 billion a year — the fact that they are dying in large numbers, and we can’t say why, is very, very worrying.

CCD was first reported in 2006, when commercial beekeepers began noticing that their adult worker honeybees would suddenly flee the hive, ending up dead somewhere else and leading to the rapid loss of the colony. On normal years, commercial beekeepers might expect to lose 10% to 15% of their colony, but over the past five years, mortality rates for commercial operations in the U.S. have ranged from 28% to 33%. Since 2006 an estimated 10 million beehives worth about $200 each have been lost, costing beekeepers some $2 billion. There are now 2.5 million honeybee colonies in the U.S., down from 6 million 60 years ago. And if CCD continues, the consequences for the agricultural economy — and even for our ability to feed ourselves — could be dire. “Currently, the survivorship of honeybee colonies is too low for us to be confident in our ability to meet the pollination demands of U.S. agricultural crops,” the USDA report said.

So what’s causing CCD — and how can we stop it?

The problem is that there doesn’t seem to be a single smoking gun behind CCD. The USDA report points at a range of possible causes, including:

  • A parasitic mite called Varroa destructor that has often been found in decimated colonies
  • Several viruses
  • A bacterial disease called European foulbrood that is increasingly being detected in U.S. bee colonies
  • The use of pesticides, including neonicotinoids, a neuroactive chemical

Since CCD isn’t so much a single disease as it is a collection of symptoms, chances are that some or all of these factors, working in concert, might be behind the disappearance of the honeybees. The presence of the Varroa mite, for instance, can worsen the impact of existing viruses, while the stress of shipping bees back and forth across the country — increasingly common in commercial beekeeping — may be amplifying the stress on the insects and leaving them more vulnerable to CCD. (If you think a cross-country flight is rough on you, just imagine what it’s like for a honeybee hive.) The fact that CCD is increasingly seen in other countries as well gives more weight to the notion that there may be multiple factors at work.

Still, environmentalists have focused most on the potential role of pesticides — especially the powerful neonicotinoids — and some lab studies have found that the chemicals can adversely affect bee health. It’s not that the pesticides — which are aimed at other insects — are killing the bees outright, but rather that sublethal exposure in nectar and pollen may be interfering with the honeybees’ internal radar, preventing them from gathering pollen and returning safely to the hive.

The USDA report mostly withholds judgment on neonicotinoids, citing the need for more research, and the Environmental Protection Agency is conducting a very slow review of the evidence. Last week, though, the E.U., which is also grappling with CCD, decided it was done waiting, and announced a two-year ban on neonicotinoids. The European Commission enacted the ban on the recommendation of the European Food Safety Authority, which said in January that the pesticides should be restricted until scientists had cleared the chemicals of a role in CCD.

The chemical industry, unsurprisingly, disputes the finding. Bayer CropScience, a major pesticide manufactuer, said in a statement after the ban was announced:

As a science-based company, Bayer CropScience is disappointed that clear scientific evidence has taken a backseat in the decisionmaking process. This disproportionate decision is a missed opportunity to reach a solution that takes into consideration all of the existing product-stewardship measures and broad stakeholder concerns. The further reduction of effective crop-protection products will put at risk farmers’ ability to tackle important pests that can severely restrict their ability to grow high-quality food.

As Brad Plumer pointed out over at the Washington Post, it’s not that the E.U. necessarily has more evidence about the role that the chemicals might be playing in CCD. This is a classic case of policymaking by the precautionary principle. The pesticides are considered guilty until proven innocent, and so they’re preventively banned, even before the scientific case is rock solid. That’s not unusual for European environmental regulation, especially in regard to chemicals. In the U.S. it’s the reverse — before the federal government is likely to take the step of banning a class of pesticides, and pissing off the multibillion-dollar chemical industry, you’re likely to see a lot more science done.

So what we may get in Europe and the U.S. is a de facto field test of the real impact of neonicotinoids on CCD. In two years, if American bees are still dying and their European cousins are thriving, we might just have our answers. And if not, well, I hope you don’t like cashews, beets, broccoli, cabbage, brussels sprouts, chestnuts, watermelons, cucumber, fennel, strawberries, macadamia, mangoes, apricots, almonds or any of the other dozens of food crops pollinated by our hardworking, six-legged, unpaid farmworkers.




Nutritional Adjuncts to the Fat-Soluble Vitamins A, D, and K .


The “K” in “vitamin K” stands for “koagulation,” the German word for blood clotting. From its discovery in the 1930s through the late 1970s, we knew of no other roles for the vitamin.

The 1990s had come and nearly gone by the time awareness of its role in bone metabolism broke out of the confines of the vitamin K research community, and only in the twenty-first century has its role in preventing calcification of the blood vessels and other soft tissues become clear.

Vitamin K2, found in animal fats and fermented foods, is present in much smaller quantities in most diets when compared to vitamin K1, found in leafy greens.

Since researchers throughout the twentieth century saw the two forms of the vitamin as interchangeable, they ignored vitamin K2 as though its scarcity made it irrelevant.

The realization that vitamin K is not just for “koagulation,” however, led us to discover that vitamins K1 and K2 are not interchangeable after all: vitamin K1 more effectively supports blood clotting, while vitamin K2 more effectively ensures that calcium winds up in the bones and teeth where it supports health rather than in the soft tissues where it contributes to disease.

It was thus only in 2006 that the United States Department of Agriculture determined the vitamin K2 contents of common foods for the first time.1

Vitamins A, D, and K

While vitamin K2 languished in obscurity, vitamins A and D continually traded places with one another as the favored vitamin du jour. The pendulum initially swung in favor of vitamin D because rickets was common in the early twentieth century while eye diseases resulting from vitamin A deficiency were rare. It then swung in favor of vitamin A when that vitamin became known as the “anti-infective” vitamin.2

After World War II, the medical establishment had easy access to antibiotics and thus lost interest in battling infections with vitamin A.3 Vitamin D fared far worse, taking the blame for a British epidemic of infant hypercalcemia and eventually earning a reputation as “the most toxic of all the vitamins.”4 These days, the pendulum has swung full force in the opposite direction: we blame an epidemic of osteoporosis on vitamin A, and see vitamin D as the new panacea.5

Though a paradigm of synergy never took hold, it was not for want of opportunity. When Mellanby and Green first demonstrated in the 1920s that vitamin A prevented infections, they concluded that vitamin D could not be “safely substituted for cod-liver oil in medical treatment,” and that “if a substitute for cod-liver oil is given it ought to be at least as powerful as this oil in its content of both vitamins A and D.”

Consistent with this point of view, clinical trials in the 1930s showed that cod liver oil could reduce the incidence of colds by a third and cut hours missed from work in half.6 Cod liver oil also caused dramatic reductions in mortality from less common but more severe infections. The medical establishment, for example, had been successfully using it to treat tuberculosis since the mid-nineteenth century.7

Studies in the 1930s expanded this to the treatment of measles.8 These findings made the popularity of cod liver oil soar .

The idea that vitamin A alone was “antiinfective,” however, led to similar trials with halibut liver oil, which is rich in vitamin A but poor in vitamin D. These trials often failed to show any benefit. I.G. Spiesman of the University of Illinois College of Medicine proposed a simple solution to this paradox: vitamins A and D worked together to prevent infection, he suggested, and both vitamins are needed to prevent the common cold.

He published his own clinical trial in 1941, showing that massive doses of each vitamin alone provided no benefit and often proved toxic. Massive doses of both vitamins together, however, caused no toxicity and offered powerful protection against the common cold.10 Nevertheless, as antibiotics grew in popularity after World War II, interest in the fat-soluble vitamins waned and cod liver oil use began its steady decline .

The emergence of molecular biology in the late twentieth century provided new evidence for synergy. Vitamins A and D both make independent contributions to immune function by binding to their respective receptors and thereby directing cellular processes in favor of healthful immune responses, but studies in isolated cells suggest that vitamin D may only be able to activate its receptor with the direct cooperation of vitamin A.11, 12

We now know that vitamins A and D also cooperate together to regulate the production of certain vitamin K-dependent proteins. Once vitamin K activates these proteins, they help mineralize bones and teeth, support adequate growth, and protect arteries and other soft tissues from abnormal calcification, and protect against cell death.

As described below, the synergistic action of the fat-soluble trio depends on support from other nutrients like magnesium, zinc, fat and carbohydrate, as well as important metabolic factors such as carbon dioxide and thyroid hormone

Magnesium and the Fat-Soluble Vitamins

Magnesium contributes to more than three hundred specific chemical reactions that occur within our bodies, including every reaction that depends on ATP, the universal energy currency of our cells.13 Magnesium also activates the enzyme that makes copies of DNA, as well as the enzyme that makes RNA, which is responsible for translating the codes contained within our genes into the production of every protein within our body. This process of translating the DNA code in order to produce proteins is called “gene expression.”

Vitamins A and D carry out most of their functions by regulating gene expression, which means they rely directly on magnesium to carry out these functions. They also rely indirectly on magnesium because our cells can only produce their receptors and all the proteins with which they interact with the assistance of this critical mineral.

The well-studied interaction of magnesium with vitamin D and calcium provides an illustrative example. Magnesium is required for both steps in the activation of vitamin D to calcitriol, the form of vitamin D that regulates gene expression and stimulates calcium absorption. Even fully activated vitamin D (calcitriol), however, is useless in the absence of magnesium. Humans who are deficient in magnesium have low blood levels of both calcitriol and calcium, but treating them with calcitriol does nothing to restore calcium levels to normal. The only way to normalize calcium levels in these subjects is to provide them with sufficient magnesium. Magnesium also supports the cellular pumps that keep most calcium out of our soft tissue cells and make it available for the extracellular matrix of bones and teeth.

Zinc and the Fat-Soluble Vitamins

As with magnesium, the fat-soluble trio can only support health if our diets contain adequate zinc. The interaction between vitamin A and zinc is particularly well studied.15 Vitamin A supports the intestinal absorption of zinc, possibly by increasing the production of a binding protein in the intestines. Zinc, in turn, supports the formation of vesicles involved in transporting vitamin A and the other the fat-soluble vitamins across the intestinal wall.

Zinc is an essential structural component of many vitamin A-related proteins, including the primary protein that transports vitamin A through the blood, the enzyme that carries out the first step in the activation of vitamin A to retinoic acid, and the nuclear receptor that binds to retinoic acid and allows it to regulate gene expression.

Numerous studies have demonstrated the interaction between zinc and vitamin A in humans. For example, in humans with marginal zinc status, zinc supplementation supports vitamin A’s role in visual function16 and eye development (Figure 2).17

Although less well studied, zinc also interacts with vitamin D. Vitamin D and zinc most likely promote each other’s intestinal absorption.18 In rats, dietary zinc supports the production of the vitamin D receptor.19 Once the receptor is formed, zinc provides it with essential structural support. Although in the absence of this structural support the receptor still binds to vitamin D, the structural support is needed to allow this vitamin-receptor complex to bind to DNA.20 Studies with isolated cells illustrate the importance of this interaction: adding zinc to these cells increases the rate at which vitamin D activates the expression of genes.21

Fat, Carbs, Thyroid and Carbon Dioxide

In order to absorb fat-soluble vitamins from our food, we need to eat fat. Human studies show that both the amount and type of fat are important. For example, one study showed that absorption of beta-carotene from a salad with no added fat was close to zero. The addition of a lowfat dressing made from canola oil increased absorption, but a high-fat dressing was much more effective.23 Canola oil, however, is far from ideal. Studies in rats show that absorption of carotenoids is much higher with olive oil than with corn oil.24

Similarly, studies in humans show that consuming beta-carotene with beef tallow rather than sunflower oil increases the amount we absorb from 11 to 17 percent. The reason for this is unknown, but it may be that oils rich in polyunsaturated fatty acids promote the oxidative destruction of fat-soluble vitamins in the intestines before we are able to absorb them. Thus, the more fat we eat, and the lower those fats are in polyunsaturated fatty acids, the more fat-soluble vitamins we absorb.

While dietary fat is clearly important, there may be a role for dietary carbohydrate as well. Once vitamins A and D stimulate the production of vitamin K-dependent proteins, vitamin K activates those proteins by adding carbon dioxide to them. Once added to a protein, carbon dioxide carries a negative charge and allows the protein to interact with calcium, which carries a positive charge. The greater the supply of carbon dioxide, the better vitamin K can do its job.25 Carbohydrates are rich in carbon and oxygen, and when we break them down for energy we release these elements in our breath as carbon dioxide. Because carbohydrates are richer in oxygen, burning them generates about 30 percent more carbon dioxide per calorie than burning fat, and low-carbohydrate diets have been shown to lower blood levels of carbon dioxide .

Ideally, we should study this further by determining whether dietary carbohydrate affects the amount of activated vitamin K-dependent proteins in humans.

We also produce more carbon dioxide when we burn more calories, regardless of whether we are burning carbohydrate or fat. Intense exercise more than doubles the amount of carbon dioxide we produce compared to what we produce when at rest.27 Even working at a standing desk rather than a sitting desk increases both calories burned and carbon dioxide generated by about a third .

Future studies should directly investigate whether exercise increases the activation of vitamin K-dependent proteins, but it seems reasonable to suggest that part of the reason exercise promotes cardiovascular health may be because it ensures a more abundant supply of carbon dioxide, which vitamin K uses to activate proteins that protect our heart valves and blood vessels from calcification. Thyroid hormone is a key regulator of the metabolic rate and may thus be a major determinant of the carbon dioxide available for activating vitamin K-dependent proteins. Theoretically, thyroid hormone should increase the rate of metabolism and a greater rate of metabolism should produce a proportionally greater supply of carbon dioxide.

Thyroid hormone directly increases the production of vitamin K-dependent proteins and protects blood vessels from calcification in rats.29 The reason for this relationship is unclear. We could speculate, however, that our bodies in their infinite wisdom use thyroid hormone to tie the production of vitamin K-dependent proteins to the production the carbon dioxide needed to activate them.

The Big Picture

It is clearly time to move beyond viewing each vitamin in isolation. The fat-soluble vitamins not only synergize with each other, but cooperate with many other nutrients and metabolic factors such as magnesium, zinc, fat, carbohydrate, carbon dioxide and thyroid hormone.

This paradigm has two important implications. At the level of scientific research, a study about one vitamin can easily come to false conclusions unless it takes into account its interactions with all the others. We should reverently and humbly bow before the complexity of these interactions, realizing how little we know and recognizing that we are always learning. At the level of personal health, these interactions emphasize the need to consume a well-rounded, nutrient-dense diet. Supplementation with an individual vitamin runs the risk of throwing it out of balance with its synergistic partners. The fat-soluble vitamins work most safely and effectively when we obtain them from natural foods within the context of a diet rich in all their synergistic partners.

Zinc and the Dark Adaptation Test for Vitamin A Deficiency

The role of vitamin A in vision is unusual. This vitamin carries out most of its known actions by regulating the expression of specific sets of genes. Vitamin A regulates gene expression only after being activated in a two-step process from retinol to retinal, and finally to retinoic acid. Vitamin A supports vision, however, in its semi-activated form as retinal. Retinal binds to a protein known as opsin, forming a vitamin-protein complex known as rhodopsin. Each photon of light that enters our eye and collides with rhodopsin causes the retinal to change shape and release itself from the complex. This event then translates into an electrical impulse that our optic nerve transmits to our brain. The brain synthesizes myriad such electrical impulses at every moment and interprets them as vision.30

While the function of opsin is to help generate visual images by binding and releasing vitamin A, opsin can only maintain its proper shape and function when it is bound to zinc. In addition, zinc supports the conversion of retinol to retinal, the form of vitamin A that binds to opsin. We could predict, then, that vitamin A would only be able to support vision in the presence of adequate zinc. This can be studied by determining dark adaptation thresholds, which determine the dimmest spots of light we are able to see after having spent a period of time in the dark to maximize our visual sensitivity. When vitamin A is insufficient, we lose the ability to see the dimmer spots of light.

Robert Russell of Tufts University studied ten patients with deficient blood levels of vitamin A who also failed the dark-adaptation test. Eight of them achieved normal dark-adaptation thresholds after supplementing with 10,000 international units of vitamin A for two to four weeks. Two of them, however, had deficient blood levels of zinc. Vitamin A supplementation alone failed to normalize their visual function, but adding 220 milligrams per day of zinc to the regimen for two weeks brought it back to normal.16 These results show that vitamin A can only support healthy vision with the direct assistance of zinc.


“Free-Range Certified 100% Organic Chicken: An Exceptionally Clean, Healthy and Delicious Source of Essential Protein!”

Free-Range Certified 100% Organic Chicken: An Exceptionally Clean, Healthy and Delicious Source of Essential Protein!”

Eating clean and healthy protein is absolutely crucial if you want to prevent disease and premature aging, increase your daily energy and live longer. But unlike the unhealthy chicken you’ll find in grocery stores and restaurants, which you should restrict in your diet (as you will read below), this free-range certified organic chicken is one of the cleanest and healthiest sources of protein that you will find anywhere.

As many of you know, I only recommend foods that meet the highest of requirements in terms of their health value to you. Well, it has taken my team many months of research and evaluation to find and finally offer you an organic chicken product that comes with my absolute highest recommendation because it meets all of these qualifications for a perfect meat:

  • USDA Certified organic, meaning 100% organically raised from “egg to plate”.
  • No antibiotics ever used.
  • No hormones ever used.
  • No pesticides or herbicides ever used in the soil or the feed.
  • No artificial ingredients whatsoever.
  • Entirely free-ranged so these chickens are not “stressed;” meanwhile, mass-produced chickens are raised in severely cramped quarters which translate to not only reduced health value, but less taste.
  • The juiciest, most delicious tasting chicken you’ve ever tried.
  • An exceptional source of protein, as you can see in the chart below.
  • Come from farms that promote sustainable farming and sound environmental practices.

Why Does “Free-Range” and “Antibiotic-Free” Matter So Much with Chicken?

The mass-produced chicken you find in grocery stores, are typically inhumanely raised in extremely cramped quarters where they can barely move. This creates stress in the chickens that can lead to disease and the need for antibiotics. Stressed growing conditions can also cause “stunted” meat devoid of taste and total health value, hence creating the need for chemicals to artificially moisten the meat.

Organic, free-range chickens, on the other hand, have plenty of room to roam and eat their entirely natural diets. Thriving in a stress-free environment, this makes all the difference in the world in terms of their health and taste value to you.

Another crucial reason this free-range organic chicken is an exceptional source of protein in your diet is because it is free of antibiotics. Over half of the antibiotics fed to mass-produced farm animals including chickens, are identical to the ones administered to humans. As has been well publicized in the media, overuse of such antibiotics can lead to strains of bacteria resistance to the antibiotic, opening doors wider to the potential for human disease.

(*See The World Health Organization report, “WHO Global Strategy for Containment of Antimicrobial Resistance,” for more information on this. This report states that farmers’ use of antibiotics in livestock enables microbes to build up defenses against the drugs, leap up in the food chain and attack human immune systems, and they’re one of many major health organizations that call for an end to such antibiotics in poultry and livestock.)



     From Fat: 10

Total Fat


Saturated Fat






Total Carbs




Organic Chicken Thighs
Nutrition Information


     From Fat: 110

Total Fat


Saturated Fat






Total Carbs




Organic Whole Chicken
Nutrition Information
(Serving Size 4OZ. (112G))


     From Fat: 130

Total Fat


Saturated Fat






Total Carbs





Introducing…Unsurpassed Certified Organic Free-Range Chicken

We work with a select network of organic farmers who strongly believe in raising chickens as nature intended. Freely roaming with access to fresh air and sunshine, along with vegetarian organic feed are the basic essentials.

Beyond that, we support self-sufficient and sustainable agriculture, family farms, and organic practices that produce healthy, environmentally friendly food.

We have searched the country to locate poultry and meats that are not only organic, but also tender, juicy, and delicious.

Our organic chicken is raised by farmers who do things the old fashioned way – meaning they take care of the land and humanely raise animals without antibiotics, synthetic hormones, or synthetic pesticides.

The chicken’s feed is grown on the farm without synthetic fertilizers and pesticides as well, contributing even further to sustainable farming practices.

Farms that practice sustainable agriculture are good for the environment. By reducing their use of chemical pesticides and fertilizers and using less fuel to truck in pesticides, fertilizers and feed, they decrease chemical run-off and the dependence on foreign oil.

Overall, these farms create a smaller carbon footprint and help replenish and preserve the land for future generations.

When you eat free-range chicken from us, you know we’re providing the healthiest, safest, and tastiest chicken available anywhere.

A Healthful Source of Protein… And a Great Value Too

“Take Your Food to the Salt” and Transform Any Dish From Ho-Hum to Spectacular

Don’t just salt your food with Himalayan Crystal Salt, take it to the slab!

Featured on several top cooking shows, using a Himalayan Salt Kitchen Slab has become the newest sensation for extraordinary food preparation and presentation.

Simply preheat your crystal salt slab over a grill or stove and toss on your favorite sliced meats, seafood, vegetables or eggs. The Himalayan Salt sears your food to perfection, with a just a light touch of heavenly salty mineral sweetness.

The Himalayan Salt Kitchen Slab is perfect for cold foods, too. Just chill your slab in the refrigerator and then load with sushi, hors d’oeuvres, cheeses and slices of fruit. You’ll love the delicate saltiness imparted to your food and the beautiful translucent pink salt serving platter will become an instant conversation starter.

For a special treat, arrange thin strips of raw grass-fed beef on your chilled slab and watch as the salt cures the edges.

Chill slab in the freezer overnight and serve ice cream on top for a beautiful presentation and delicate salty-sweet goodness.

Find out more about the Himalayan Salt Kitchen Slab here.

Besides being a truly ideal source of clean and healthy protein with all the essential amino acids your body needs to prevent disease, avoid premature aging, increase energy and strength and live longer, this free-ranged certified organic chicken is:

  • Totally delicious … in fact, you’ve probably never tasted a better chicken because it is raised entirely on its natural diet, in its natural environment.
  • Just as versatile and easy to prepare as any other chicken, but naturally more moist and juicy.
  • A great value. Yes, it costs more than store-bought chickens that are mass produced and of negligible health value, but it costs less than many so-called “healthy” chickens and significantly less than many other forms of healthy meats.
  • ·         Source: Dr. Mercola