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Avocado — Superfood and Environmental Killer


Avocados are one of the healthiest foods you can eat. Rich in monounsaturated fat, fiber, magnesium, potassium, B vitamins, vitamin K, vitamin E and carotenoids, they not only reduce hunger and fight obesity but also contain avocatin B, a molecule with cancer-fighting properties. Studies have found avocatin B fights acute myeloid leukemia by targeting leukemia stem cells.1

But a 2018 documentary, "Avocado — A Positive Superfood Trend?,"2 from the German public broadcast company DW, reveals a side to avocados that is underreported: environmental destruction. The super fruit that has become so popular in the last decades is a water hog.

Each avocado requires 70 liters (18.49 gallons) of water to produce compared to an average of 22 liters (5.8 gallons) to grow an orange and only 5 (1.32 gallons) to grow a tomato.3

In drought-prone areas like Chile’s Petorca province in the Valparaíso region, a three-hour drive north of the capital Santiago, such water requirements from large-scale avocado operations have caused environmental destruction and impoverished local farmers.

While many countries in the world have a love affair with the avocado, "Avocado — A Positive Superfood Trend?"4 shows an unethical and environmentally destructive side to the crop that may make you think long and hard about where your avocados come from.

Scarce Water From Chile Shipped to Europe as Avocados

Chile’s Petorca province in the Valparaíso region has always been a dry area. In fact, in the summer drought is so severe that a state of emergency is often declared.5 Still, until the mass growing of hundreds of hectares of avocados by rich exporters, poor farmers could still make a living raising their crops and keeping livestock. (One hectare is 2.47 acres.)

Only since huge avocado plantations invaded the Chilean region have the streams that poor farmers and rural people relied on for water dried up, forcing them to rely on trucked in water to survive, says the film.

How have rich avocado exporters diverted and sometimes unabashedly stolen the water from the poor people? They have done it in two ways, the film explains. First, Carlos Estevez, director of the Chilean Water Authority, admits that state-issued water licenses are essentially auctioned and "can be resold to whoever is offering the most money."

He adds that they are lifelong rights. Secondly, in addition to the state authorized auctioning of water rights, avocado tycoons divert water from illegal underground channels. At least 65 such underground channels were found by the Water Authority’s own report to siphon water from rivers to avocado plantations.6 But, when water thieves are caught, the penalties they receive are trifling, says the film.

To demonstrate the illegal practice, Rodrigo Mundaca, a water conservation activist who appears in the film, surreptitiously enters an area where one such illegal underground channel is located. A pipe can be seen directly flowing toward the avocado growers' lands. Mundaca throws a rock into the well it pulls from and it splashed as it hits the stolen water.

A Mayor and Activists Resist the Water Theft

Gustavo Valdenegro Rubillo, the mayor of Petorca, says the avocado industry settling in the area initially looked fortuitous but not for long:7

"When the big avocado firms appeared, starting around 2006, the 'green gold' they cultivated initially was seen as a potential boom for Petorca, the three-time mayor said. 'It was going to be the panacea. We were going to have a better life and better jobs,' he said ...

But residents in the region’s hard-scrabble towns said it is mainly the avocado producers who have grown richer, and that many of the jobs they have created are short-term employment, not the steady work locals had hoped for."

The mayor supports local water conservation activists but says his hands are tied when it comes to mediating with the massive avocado growers. In a meeting, he tells local Petorca citizens that he approached them and asked if they would be willing to share water in times of drought. They unequivocally said no; profits were their only interest.

Meanwhile, water conservation activists receive threats and, says Mundaca, they are called "ecoterrorists" and "revolutionaries." Veronica Vilches, president of the nonprofit San Jose Water Cooperative, which provides water to 1,000 people from a well close to the avocado growers, says her group has experienced government reprisals.

"It's because we resisted when they tried to force us to give our water to a private company," she says, adding, "Our water is for the people, the community."

Blight Exists Next to Booming Agriculture

The images of barren, drought-blighted land coexisting next to lush avocado farms in "Avocado — A Positive Superfood Trend?" is striking: An area where one stream once flowed is now desiccated land with a garbage dump.

In 2019, the agriculture ministry reported that 106,000 animals have died from lack of water and food and about 37,000 farmers are at risk from the drought.8 While the avocado farms bloom, surrounding areas are desolate, reports KCET:9

"As residents’ demands have not been met, many have been forced to rely on water brought to them in cistern trucks twice a week. Each individual has the right to 13 gallons per day, and according to Mundaca more than 60% of the population of Petorca relies on such deliveries – which are often dirty or heavily chlorinated.

Carolina Vilches, who manages the water resources division of Petorca’s municipal government, believes the answer lies in addressing the root of the issue rather than allaying it further with short-term measures: 'It is important to monitor water levels, democratize resource management and prioritize its uses.'"

Before the mega avocado farms, Zoila Quiroz, a farmer in the film, had 300 avocado trees, apple and apricot trees and enough water to raise cows and goats for milk and cheese. Now, her land is barren. With water trucked in twice a week, showering is a luxury in the summer and laundry can only be done once a month, she says.

Vilches agrees about the hardships. "People get sick because of the drought — we find ourselves having to choose between cooking and washing, going to the bathroom in holes in the ground or in plastic bags, while big agri-businesses earn more and more.”

In addition to the water abrogation, there are two other negative environmental effects of the avocado boom. Avocados are shipped in special air-conditioned containers, which take a further environmental toll. And, since consumers want ready-to-eat avocados, they are ripened in "huge temperature controlled warehouses that simulate the humidity and heat of their natural environment."

Images of row upon row of warehoused, ripening avocados show one of the pitfalls of the Chilean avocado industry — along with the fact that there’s nothing natural about growing hundreds of hectares of only one crop, a practice called monoculture.

Gourmet Heaven for the Instagram Generation

Avocados have gone from a very popular food that is also good for you to almost a cult. Sales have soared in Europe, the U.S. and China.10 Here is how Vice's Munchies describe the near obsession, especially among the young:11

"Is it possible to remember a time before full avocado saturation? From the piles of guac that crown our nachos to the toasts that crowd our Instagram feeds, the beguiling green fruit has become as ubiquitous on our grocery lists as eggs and milk.

Hell, people are even using avocados to hide engagement rings and propose to their partners — people we don’t know and wouldn’t willingly fraternize with, just to clarify."

There are now avocado-themed restaurants where all dishes include the popular fruit. One of the first, run by Dutch marketing experts, is found in Amsterdam, according to the film. "We didn't want to open another burger place or another pizza place," says Ron Simpson, owner of the new restaurant chain The Avocado Show.

"We are ready to develop the entire franchise formula" and many more restaurants are in the pipeline, he says. But one news outlet, the Independent, cautions against blaming a particular, in vogue, food or young people's eating habits for the environmental destruction seen with avocados:12

"The tone is reminiscent of a 2013 debate about quinoa, when reports surfaced that demand for quinoa was driving up prices in its native Andean region, raising concerns about whether poor Peruvians and Bolivians could afford to eat it.

‘Can vegans stomach the unpalatable truth about quinoa?' demanded one indignant op-ed ... but the criticisms don’t always stand up to scrutiny. Studies later found the suggestion that rising quinoa prices were starving poor farmers was wrong."

Clearly, most of the fault lies with unethical agricultural practices.

Avocado Growers and Marketers Defend Their Business

When asked by filmmakers if his Petorca operations are causing water shortages among the poor, Matias Schmidt, one of Chile's biggest avocado exporters, says he doesn't know "to what extent" there really exists a water shortage. He also admits he has to drill down 120 meters (393.7 feet) into the ground to get water for his avocados.

Francisco Contardo-Sfeir, an avocado marketing manager, takes the denials a step further. The producers always strive to make sure there is plenty of water "left over," he says.

"For one, they save money if they use the least possible water per plantation and per tree." The myth that ethical practices are in food producers' interests so they will self-police is used with many egregious industries including animal-abusing concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs).

The film ends at a produce trade show in Germany. Ethical avocado buyers and traders like Jan Willem Verloop of Nature's Pride tell filmmakers that they avoid the fruits when they are sourced from Petorca because of the water issues.

But Chilean exporter Diego Torres from ProChile Germany, after claiming that all exports are sustainable and ethical, fumbles when asked by filmmakers about the sustainability of exporting avocados from Petorca. "I don't know about that," he says dismissively.

Avocado Problems in Another Country

Chile is not the only country where the growing of avocados has produced social upheaval and suffering. Episode 1, "The Avocado War," in season 2 of the Netflix series Rotten,13 shows how the success of avocado plantations in Mexico — the world's top grower — led to its infiltration by organized crime. Here is some history from a Canadian journalist:14

"For a long time, high tariffs kept Mexican avocados out of the United States. But with the passage of the free trade agreement between the United States, Canada and Mexico in the early 1990s, avocados by the ton began pouring into American marketplace ...

... When a local drug cartel tried to muscle in on the trade, the Mexican government intervened, but ineffectively. Criminals forced farmers to establish protective self-defence forces, but the struggle continues and Michoacan is still considered a dangerous area. As a result, the U.S. State Department advises travelers to avoid it."

In the state of Michoacan, where 80% of Mexico’s avocados are produced, as many as four truckloads of avocados are stolen every day because cartels consider the fruit as lucrative as drugs, and invade into the trade.15 "The Avocado War" shows how avocado farmers have been forced to establish their own protective "police" forces to defend themselves against the cartels and reveals the efforts have not always been successful.

Locals often cannot tell who the "good” or “bad” guys are, as the difference between police and criminals blurs.16 It is sad to think such a healthful and delicious food can bring such suffering and environmental destruction. On a personal note, it’s important to keep your habits in line with what these informative documentaries are trying to tell you.

Further, when purchasing avocados, seek sources that are producing the fruit responsibly, and encourage your friends, family and local restaurants to do the same. You can even learn how to grow avocados in your own backyard.

What's the Best Way to Take Care of Your Teeth?


Not only do your teeth fill out your face and enable you to eat, they also help maintain the bone structure of your jaw. Your teeth are made of four types of tissue, but only the center, or pulp, is not hard. Inside the pulp are blood vessels, nerves, and connective tissue that provide nutrients to the tooth.1

The outside of the tooth is called the enamel, which has no way to reverse damage from wear and tear (decay) since it contains no living cells. Your gums are responsible for protecting your roots as well as teeth that have not yet come in. Consistent brushing helps reduce the risk of getting cavities, which permanently damage tooth enamel.

Symptoms of cavities will depend on the depth and location of the decay.2 You might experience spontaneous pain without any apparent cause or find you have sensitivity to hot and cold drinks and foods. Although the enamel is hard it may develop small, diffuse cracks that disperse the stress on the tooth and help prevent it from breaking.

Taking care of your teeth is important since periodontitis — gum disease — can lead to significant health problems and difficulty eating.

The Importance of Proper Teeth Brushing Technique

Tooth decay is almost as pervasive3 as the common cold, in terms of how many people are affected by it. As the bacteria in your mouth dissolve food, a sticky substance called plaque is formed on your teeth. This happens more often on the back molars just above the gum line.

When it's allowed to stay, plaque forms tartar that ultimately results in gingivitis and leads to periodontitis. Plaque begins forming on the teeth in as little as 20 minutes after you've taken your last bite of a meal. Using proper brushing techniques and caring for your teeth reduces your risk of painful cavities and the need for dental procedures.

Brushing removes the plaque and only takes a couple of minutes each day. The American Dental Association (ADA)4 warns against these common mistakes:

Brushing hard — Using too much pressure on your teeth doesn’t clean off more plaque, but instead may damage your enamel.

Not brushing long enough — The average person spends 45 seconds brushing their teeth, but to do a good job you should brush for two minutes. This may feel like a long time when you’re in a rush, but for healthy teeth and gums, slow down to achieve the best results.

Using a hard bristle brush — Look for a brush with soft bristles to avoid damage to your teeth and gums that may cause sensitivity to hot and cold food and drinks.

Using your toothbrush too long — If you’re keeping your toothbrush longer than three or four months, then you’re keeping it too long. Put a reminder on your calendar and watch for worn down bristles that tell you it’s time to replace it.

Brushing immediately after a meal — While you might be tempted to brush right after you eat, it’s wise to wait 30 minutes.

Storing your toothbrush improperly — Your toothbrush should be stored upright and open to air so it can dry completely. When a toothbrush is kept in a closed container it offers the opportunity for bacterial growth.

Focus on your brushing technique to get the most positive effect. The ADA recommends holding your brush at a 45-degree angle to the tooth and gum line. Move it in short strokes, using a gentle back and forth motion across one tooth at a time. To clean the backside of your upper teeth, hold the brush vertically and gently move it up and down.

Choose the Right Instruments

You have several options to help keep your teeth and gums clean. Many dentists recommend that their patients use electric toothbrushes for several reasons, including that many will brush longer with an electric toothbrush, which is small enough to get into hard-to-reach areas.

Researchers from the Cochrane Oral Health Group5 performed a review of the literature published in the years 1964 through 2011, including 56 studies with 5,068 participants. Most studies included adults who were offered the use of a power brush or manual toothbrush.

In more than half the studies, scientists found that the power brushes used a rotational action in which the brush rotated in one direction and then reversed. Their data supported the use of a power brush over a manual toothbrush as there was an 11% reduction in plaque in those using it over one to three months. After three months plaque reduced by 21%.

The participants also enjoyed a reduction in gingivitis, with a 6% reduction over one to three months and an 11% reduction at the end of three months. Any reported side effects were temporary and localized.

After a choice of brushing, you may also consider the addition of a water flosser, a device used to spray a powerful jet of water into your mouth. While many choose a water flosser over floss, your best option may be to learn how to use both.

Researchers enrolled 70 adults in a study designed to compare the effectiveness of using a water flosser to that of using floss in combination with a manual brush.6 Both groups were trained and watched while using the water flosser with a manual toothbrush, or floss and a manual brush. Those using the water flosser showed a 74.4% reduction in plaque throughout the mouth compared to 57.5% reduction in those who used floss.

They concluded that using “The Waterpik Water Flosser and manual toothbrush is significantly more effective than a manual brush and string floss in removing plaque from tooth surfaces.” However, while traveling it may not be practical to bring an electric water flosser, so being adept at using string floss is important.

Steer Clear of Fluoride Toothpaste

Fluoride has been added to water supplies in most cities and to many store-bought toothpaste brands. Your dentist may offer a fluoride treatment as an option to help stop cavities and tooth decay. However, scientific evidence demonstrates this is likely not effective and may be dangerous.

Data from 2017 indicate that unfortunately, cavity rates in children have continued to rise even though more than half are getting so much fluoride that their teeth are permanently discolored from the exposure.7

Swallowing fluoride, including that which comes from fluoridated tap water, is detrimental to health as it is a toxin that accumulates in tissue, changing your enzymes and producing serious neurological and endocrine dysfunction. Children are especially vulnerable.8

If you have young children at home, it’s recommended that you use non-fluoride toothpaste or teach children to use homemade toothpaste made with coconut oil. Since fluoride builds up over time, it’s a good idea to also use a non-fluoride toothpaste or coconut oil to clean your teeth and gums.

Research presented at the 2017 National Oral Health Conference showed that from 2011 to 2012, 57% of U.S. youth had dental fluorosis;9 this is a 37% increase over that reported from 1999 to 2004. Dental fluorosis is a condition in which the enamel becomes progressively discolored and mottled, usually caused by excessive fluoride in the water.

Analysis of the same data by the Fluoride Action Network (FAN) showed that 58.3% of adolescents had fluorosis: 21.2% were moderately affected and 2% had a severe form of the condition.10

Researchers have linked fluorosis in children with cognitive impairment; those with higher levels of fluorosis have more cavities. Results from some studies11 show that lower IQ scores may result from fluoride exposure and may co-occur with fluorosis.

Periodontal Disease May Increase Your Risk of Heart Disease

Research from the CDC shows that nearly half of all American adults ages 30 and older have periodontal disease.12 They estimate 47.2% have mild, moderate or severe forms of the disease. In those who are 65 or older, the rate increases to 70.1%.

The authors of several studies have produced data that links periodontal disease with heart disease. The studies have not demonstrated a cause-and-effect relationship but an association between gum disease and an increased risk of heart disease that may be related to an increase in inflammation.13

Those who have heart valve disease may be at higher risk when they also have periodontal disease because bacteria in the mouth can make its way through the body and infect the heart valves.14

Oil Pulling Is a Simple Strategy for a Healthy Mouth

One simple strategy for improving your oral health is incorporating oil pulling into your daily routine. The history of pulling dates back nearly 3,000 years, used in traditional Indian folk medicine to strengthen teeth and gums and prevent tooth decay, bad breath and bleeding gums.15

I have used pulling consistently since 2011 and find it is an effective method for mechanical cleaning among the small crevices where the bristles of the brush cannot reach. Cold-pressed virgin coconut oil is my choice for a couple of reasons. Researchers have demonstrated that pulling oil improves the saponification, or breakdown of bacterial membranes.16

Coconut oil is a medium chain fatty acid found to inhibit Streptococcus mutans, the primary bacteria responsible for cavities.17 It also offers a level of protection against yeast infections in the mouth, which occur more commonly if the immune system is compromised.

The process is easy to start. Coconut oil is solid below 76 degrees Fahrenheit (24.4 degrees Celsius) but quickly liquifies once it's in your mouth. Take between a teaspoon and tablespoon to start. Swish it around using your tongue and cheeks to pull it through your teeth. Try to relax your jaw muscles to avoid fatigue.

You do not want to gargle or swallow the oil that you've been pulling as it breaks down bacteria. Instead, if you feel the urge to swallow, spit it out in the garbage and begin again.

After about 20 minutes it begins to get thick and milky white. Spit this into the garbage can so it does not cause a blockage in the plumbing. This strategy increases the pH in your mouth, which can potentially reduce bacterial growth.

New Thought Police NewsGuard Is Owned by Big Pharma


The media is using a variety of tactics to restrict your access to the truth from websites like mine, including NewsGuard, a self-appointed internet watchdog that sells a browser plugin to rate websites on nine criteria of credibility and transparency. Before I delve further into NewsGuard and its underlying agenda, it's important to look at who funds it.

NewsGuard received much of its startup funds from Publicis Groupe, a giant global communications group with divisions that brand imaging, design of digital business platforms, media relations and health care.

Publicis Groupe's health subsidiary, Publicis Health, names Lilly, Abbot, Roche, Amgen, Genentech, Celgene, Gilead, Biogen, Astra Zeneca, Sanofi, Bayer and other Big Pharma giants as clients, which gives you an idea of where its loyalties lie.

GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) has also awarded Publicis Media a healthy piece of business, and the communications group responded by creating a custom "platformGSK" to run the drug giant's media business.

GSK Adds $400 Million to $1.5 Billion Publicis Collaboration

In October 2018, following a five-month review, GSK sent its $1.5 billion media account to Publicis, which beat out other media agencies vying for the account, including Omnicom's PHD and WPP's Group M.1

According to FiercePharma, with the creation of the "platformGSK" model, the partnership gave "Publicis Media responsibility for all offline and digital paid media strategy and planning in the Americas, Europe, Middle East, Africa and Asia-Pacific. In the U.S., that includes DTC [direct to consumer] pharma work."2 Further, the news outlet reported:

"Publicis Groupe client lead Laurent Ezekiel said the agency is 'excited to partner with them to establish a transformative client-agency relationship that will enable GSK to deliver on its ambition to become the best data-driven marketer in the industry.'"3

In January 2020, GSK awarded Publicis Media with even more business, handing over the former Pfizer Consumer Healthcare brands to Publicis. The move was decided without a review and will add Advil, Centrum, Caltrate and other Pfizer brands to platformGSK, worth an estimated $400 million. GSK holds a 68% stake in the joint venture.

"GSK has already announced its plans to spin off the joint venture within three years and list it as standalone company on the U.K. exchange as GSK Consumer Healthcare, leaving the pharma giant to focus on medicines and vaccines," FiercePharma reported.4

Meanwhile, Publicis also handles other Big Pharma media accounts, including Novartis. In August 2019, Publicis created NovartisONE2 to manage the pharma giant's global media account worth $600 million.5

Publicis Funds NewsGuard

While Publicis has been busy solidifying its strong ties with Big Pharma, it was also the lead investor among a group of 18 that helped make NewsGuard a reality.

As of March 2018, Steven Brill and Gordon Crovitz, the "media entrepreneurs" behind NewsGuard, had raised $6 million to launch the company, which was slated to "address the fake news crisis by hiring dozens of trained journalists as analysts to review the 7,500 news and information websites most accessed and shared in the United States … These sites account for 98% of the news articles read and shared in the English language online in the United States."6

Once installed on your browser, NewsGuard assigns a color coded "Nutrition Label" to sites, rating them green or red in a process they said would be "completely transparent and accountable."7 While first launching in the U.S., NewsGuard expanded internationally, launching in the U.K. in 2019 and rating more than 200 websites.

The startup created controversy in January 2019 after giving Mail Online — the most read news website in the U.K. — a failing grade, stating it failed to uphold even basic standards of accuracy or accountability.

Following backlash and apparent "discussions" with a Daily Mail executive, NewsGuard changed the rating to green, stating the site "generally maintains basic standards of accuracy and accountability" and said they were wrong.8

It was an early indication of what can go wrong when you trust a conflicted startup company to dictate what's truth and what's not. In January 2020, NewsGuard announced it would adopt a subscription service in the U.K. and will start charging for the service.9

At the same time, NewsGuard issued a notice to subscribers in the U.S. with an offer to sign up early for $1.95 a month to "help keep NewsGuard free for the hundreds of libraries and schools that use NewsGuard."10

NewsGuard Is the Latest 'Truth Arbiter' to Deceive You

In other words, NewsGuard is setting itself up as the self-appointed global arbiter of what information is "trustworthy" — based on nine, self-described "credibility and transparency" factors — not only for information viewed for pay on private electronic devices, but also for information accessible for free in public libraries and schools.

Librarians will even provide instructions to patrons on how to install the NewsGuard extension on their personal computers, tablets and cell phones. If you install the plugin on your computer or cellphone, it will display its rating next to Google, Bing and other web searches as well as on articles displayed on social media. What are the nine criteria NewsGuard is using to "protect" you from fake news?11

Does not repeatedly publish false content (22 points)

Gathers and presents information responsibly (18 points)

Regularly corrects or clarifies errors (12.5 points)

Handles the difference between news and opinion responsibly (12.5 points)

Avoids deceptive headlines (10 points)

Website discloses ownership and financing (7.5 points)

Clearly labels advertising (7.5 points)

Reveals who's in charge, including possible conflicts of interest (5 points)

The site provides the names of content creators, along with either contact or biographical information (5 points)

A score lower than 60 points gets a red rating, while higher scores get more favorable results, which is intended to provide readers with a "signal if a website is trying to get it right or instead has a hidden agenda or knowingly publishes falsehoods or propaganda."12

These icons are meant to influence readers, instructing them to disregard content with cautionary colors and cautions. While the warnings may be enough to prevent someone from clicking these links, I believe the true intent is to bury this content entirely from search results and social media feeds.

It is very likely Google, Facebook, Twitter and other platforms will use these ratings to lower the visibility of content — making nonconformist views disappear entirely.

NewsGuard Lacks Transparency

It's ironic, too, that NewsGuard is citing the importance of transparency in verifying independent online news outlets and vetting online media for conflicts of interest. But who is going to verify the credibility and transparency of the verifiers, i.e., NewsGuard?

On NewsGuard's United States Securities and Exchange Commission Form D filed March 5, 2018, there is an option for disclosing the size of its revenue, but that box was checked, "Decline to disclose."13 That's far from the 100% transparency they're expecting from others.

NewsGuard also claims a Rule 506(b) exemption, which among its benefits allows for an unlimited amount of money to be raised from an unlimited number of accredited investors.14 In doing some digging of our own, it appears NewsGuard is backed by companies that are presently involved in, or have been in the past, advertising and marketing of pharmaceutical products, cigarettes and unhealthy junk food to kids.

As noted, Publicis, NewsGuard's lead investor, made a name for itself by promoting and strengthening big industries, including tobacco. For instance, Leo Burnett, the ad company famous for creating the Marlboro man ad campaigns that made Marlboro the best-selling cigarette in the world and led to the nicotine addiction of millions, many of whom died from smoking, is also part of Publicis.15,16

Are we to believe that the profit preferences of such entities will have no influence on NewsGuard's ratings of individuals, organizations and companies that criticize the safety or effectiveness of those products? If this conflict of interest and lack of transparency concerns you I urge you to contact NewsGuard now and let your voice be heard. Click on the button below to send NewsGuard a message today.

Contact NewsGuard

>>>>> Click Here <<<<<

Overall, it appears NewsGuard is just another big business aimed at keeping the chemical, drug and food industries, as well as mainstream media, intact by discrediting and eliminating unwanted competition, which likely includes yours truly and many others who empower you with information that helps you take control of your health.

Indebted to Big Industry through its funding, it appears that NewsGuard is being positioned as a "competition eradicator" that will allow Publicis and Big Industry to maintain their undisputed reign as shapers of public opinion about health-related issues, including the safety of food, air and water, medical devices and products, prescription drugs and vaccines, as well as public health policies that endorse the use of those products. You can read more on this full-circle plan to censor media truth here.

Watching the 'Watchdogs'

Some people also use Snopes as their go-to source for online fact-checking, believing it to give the unbiased and credible final word on all those widely circulated stories.

Yet, Snopes engages in massive censorship of natural health and general promotion of industry talking points. What started as a tool to investigate urban legends, hoaxes and folklore has manifested into a self-proclaimed "definitive fact-checking resource" that's taking on topics like whether or not vaccines can cause autism.

Case in point: In their purported fact-checking of a "Full Measure" report17 by award-winning investigative reporter and former CBS correspondent Sharyl Attkisson,18 Snopes simply spewed propaganda, not real facts, in an attempt to discredit the report and the potential vaccines-autism link.

In the end, though, they actually ended up confirming the main point of Attkisson's report. For this, Attkisson wrote, "Snopes gets an 'F' for predictable propaganda in [the] vaccine-autism debate."

It's dangerous to rely on any one source or group of individuals as authorities on truth, as it sets up the path for inevitable censorship. Even under the best circumstances, everyone is subject to their own biases, but in the case of Snopes, it was founded on fabrications from the start.

Snopes was created in 1995 by Barbara and David Mikkelson, who posed as "The San Fernardo Valley Folklore Society" in the beginning in order to gain credibility. Such a society does not exist as a legal entity, according to an investigation by the Daily Mail19 — the same Daily Mail that NewsGuard originally gave a failing ranking, only to later reverse it.

Seventy-three percent believe the proliferation of "fake news" on the internet is a major problem, and only half feel confident that readers can get to the facts by sorting through bias.20 And the fact is, fake news is a real problem.

But it's important to do your own research before believing even "fact checked" sources like Snopes or "Internet Trust Tools" like NewsGuard, which are in fact backed and supported by industry giants.

Can This Berry Juice Help Blood Pressure and Inflammation?


Many people enjoy eating berries and they are certainly good for you. Berries are low in calories, high in fiber and contain vitamins C and E, folic acid, calcium, selenium, alpha and beta carotene and lutein. Better yet, their phytochemicals contain valuable polyphenols and flavonoids including anthocyanins and ellagitannins.1

Anthocyanin is a natural pigment in fruits and vegetables that has been shown in studies to lower your risk of cardiovascular disease and contain anticancer, anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial and antioxidant properties.2 It also has been found to aid in the treatment of certain types of cancer and diabetes.

Still, when it comes to eating fruit, Americans often choose apples, pears, bananas, melons, citrus fruits and grapes over anthocyanin-rich berries. When they do consume berries, they often limit themselves to blackberries, black raspberries, blueberries, cranberries, red raspberries and strawberries.3

In Scandinavia, it is a different story. There, people often enjoy lingonberries (Vaccinium vitis-idaea L.), an evergreen shrub also called cowberry, foxberry and mountain/rock cranberry.

Lingonberries offer the same health benefits as other anthocyanin-rich berries and more. For example, due to their reported antiviral and anti-inflammatory properties, lingonberries traditionally have been used in the treatment of gonorrhea, dysuria, diarrhea and periodontitis.4 Research also found lingonberries may reduce cardiovascular disease risks.5

Lingonberries Improved Blood Pressure and Vascular Function

In a doctoral dissertation study presented at the University of Helsinki,6 lingonberry juice was found to have positive effects on blood pressure, vascular function and inflammatory markers in rats with high blood pressure. Lingonberry juice significantly lowered high blood pressure and prevented the "expression of genes associated with low- grade inflammation in the aorta," Sci News reported.7

Lingonberry juice with a greater concentration of polyphenols also improved the function of blood vessels that were impaired and restored them to the level seen with healthy blood vessels. What were the actions that caused the apparent improvements? This is what study author Anne Kivimäki hypothesized:

“Underlying the effect is probably the reduction of low-grade inflammation as well as mechanisms related to the renin-angiotensin system, a central regulator of blood pressure, and the availability of nitric oxide, a local endothelial vasodilating factor.”8

Kivimäki wrote:9

"After lingonberry juice treatment, serum levels of both angiotensin II and alkaline phosphatase were lower than in the control groups. Possible anti-inflammatory and anti-thrombotic effects were present due to the reduced gene expression of cyclooxygenase 2 (COX2), monocyte chemoattractant protein 1, p-selectin and vascular cell adhesion molecule 1.

… The lingonberry treatment lowered gene expression of COX2 in the aorta, and increased COX2 protein expression in the kidney cortex macula densa, possibly indicating that inducible COX2 had been inhibited whereas the important constitutive COX2 was maintained by lingonberry treatment.

Molecular docking studies conducted with flavonoid structures indicated that kaempferol may exert inhibitory effects on COX2 … Furthermore, lingonberry possesses anti-inflammatory properties, which may well contribute to its ability to reduce blood pressure and improve vascular function."

Lingonberries May Reduce Cardiovascular Risks

Anthocyanins have been associated with a reduced risk of cardiovascular and coronary heart disease thanks to their anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and lipid-lowering effects.10

Studies with humans have shown that polyphenol-rich food like berries reduce oxidative stress, lipid peroxidation, low density lipoprotein (LDL) oxidation and high plasma glucose while helping to optimize total cholesterol.11 Still, the effects of anthocyanins on blood pressure have been less clear, and the lingonberry study, with positive results that appeared to surface quickly, is encouraging:12

"The established high blood pressure of spontaneously hypertensive rats became lowered during an eight-week treatment with lingonberry juice …

(T)he endothelium-dependent relaxation of mesenteric arteries was enhanced after eight weeks’ treatment. Positive effects of lingonberry juice on inflammatory markers were observed …

In summary, in an experimental model of hypertension, long- term treatment with lingonberry juice was able to lower blood pressure and improve vascular function."

The Lingonberry Study Could Help Millions

Many people develop high blood pressure and vasculitis as they age, and nutrition can be an important key to the management of these conditions. Millions could benefit from the improved blood pressure, vascular function and inflammatory markers seen in Kivimäki's research beyond those with high blood pressure.

Other conditions that may benefit from lingonberry consumption include diabetes mellitus, dyslipidemia, metabolic syndrome, functional disturbances in blood vessels related to low-grade inflammation13 and conditions caused by smoking.14

In addition to reducing oxidative stress and inflammation, anthocyanins such as those found in lingonberries have been reported to "reduce TNF-α induced upregulation of inflammatory mediators in human microvascular endothelial cells," according to a study in Nutrition Reviews.15

TNF, or tumor necrosis factor, is a protein in the human body that causes inflammation and is suppressed in treating some autoimmune conditions and cancers.16

As Kivimäki mentioned earlier, the reduction of nitric oxide seen in her study likely exerts some of the anti-inflammatory effects, since nitric oxide can lead to increased vascular permeability, the formation of a strong oxidizing agent called peroxynitrite and inflammatory cytokines.17

Lingonberries Can Prevent Diet-Induced Obesity

Lingonberries have other impressive properties. It has been known for a while that they can prevent diet-induced obesity, but the reason for the weight effects has been unclear. In a 2016 study published in the journal Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology, researchers sought to understand the effect of lingonberries on weight, inflammation and gut microbiota using mice fed high fat (HF) diets.18

"Our results show that supplementation with lingonberries to an HF diet prevents low-grade inflammation and is associated with significant changes of the microbiota composition. Notably, the anti-inflammatory properties of lingonberries seem to be independent of effects on body weight gain."

After supplementation with lingonberries, the mice lost weight and the size of their livers diminished.19

"After 11 weeks, the mice receiving HF diet supplemented with Lingon1 weighed 39±3.9 g, which was significantly lower (p=0.0003) compared to the control group receiving HF diet without berries (46±2.2 g) … The average mass of the livers in group Lingon1 was significantly reduced compared to the control."

Lingonberries Also Altered Gut Microbiota Positively

Gut micrbiota was altered by the lingonberries, report the researchers.20

"At genus level, 14 bacterial taxa differed significantly between the control and lingonberry groups … The increase of Bacteroidetes in the lingonberry groups was to a large extent caused by increased relative abundance of bacteria belonging to an unclassified genus in the S24-7 family.

The genus Parabacteriodes was also significantly increased in the Lingon1 and Lingon2 (13%) groups compared to the control group (3%). Furthermore, the genus Akkermansia, belonging to the Verrucomicrobia phylum, was significantly increased in both lingonberry groups compared to the control … and Akkermansia was also significantly higher in the Lingon2 group (20%) compared to the Lingon1 group (16%) …

The comparison of functional pathways … revealed an enrichment of genes belonging to pathways related to metabolism in the Lingon-groups, and an enrichment of genes involved in transport and motility in the control group …

In agreement with a previous study, we show that supplementation with lingonberries prevents HF diet– induced weight gain, increased liver weight, body fat accumulation and elevated plasma levels of glucose and cholesterol …

Both batches of lingonberries altered the gut microbiota composition and were effective in preventing HF- induced low-grade inflammation and endotoxemia, demonstrating that the effects of lingonberries on these parameters are independent of effects on body weight."

More Lingonberry Benefits

Boosting Antioxidant Profile — Researchers have identified certain antioxidants in lingonberries that may benefit your health. Chief among them include proanthocyanidins (63% to 71%), as well as hydroxycinnamic acid, hydroxybenzoic acids, various flavonols and the before cited anthocyanins.21 One study reports that antioxidants in lingonberry extract may induce apoptosis of human leukemia HL-60 cells in a dose-dependent manner.22

Managing Inflammation — Studies indicate that lingonberries are rich in proanthocyanidins (PAC), compounds that may help fight inflammation. In particular, wild Alaskan lowbush cranberry (a type of lingonberry found in the U.S.) has been found to have twice the PAC content as commercial cranberry.23

Reducing Urinary Tract Infections (UTI) — Lingonberry is related to cranberry, which may give it the same UTI-fighting properties. In a study published in the British Medical Journal, researchers noted that those who drank a combination of lingonberry and cranberry juice had reduced recurrences of urinary tract infections.24

However, note that more extensive trials will be needed to help establish the ability of lingonberry to solely fight UTI without the need for cranberry.25

Managing Weight, Blood Sugar and Insulin — As noted above, lingonberries can help weight control. In a study published in the Journal of Nutrition and Metabolism, researchers surmised that lingonberry may help reduce weight gain as well as prevent adiposity, hepatic lipid accumulation, alleviated hyperglycemia and hyperinsulinemia, as evidenced by mice test subjects.26

Eliminating Bacteria — The tannins of lingonberry have antimicrobial properties. In one clinical experiment, the tannins helped fight bacterial strains related to oral health.27

Helping Reduce Risk of Cancer — Research published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry indicate that procyanidins found in lingonberry may help fight human cervical cancer and colon cancer cells.28

Lingonberries Are Remarkable, but One Warning

Once again, a compound found naturally in food is able to accomplish what harsh drugs are supposed to do — but with much less risk and expense. The many benefits of lingonberries are truly remarkable. However, as with many foods, processing can pose a risk to the natural benefits found in lingonberries. This is what researchers writing in Nutrition Reviews warn:29

"Post-harvest processing, such as pressing, pasteurization, and conventional and vacuum drying, can significantly affect the polyphenol (including anthocyanin) and vitamin content of berries, and therefore their bioactivities and effects on CVD risk factors."

Similar to cranberries, lingonberries are very sour and are often sweetened and eaten as sauce or jam. To enjoy the health benefits of lingonberries without the health risks of added sugar, look for lingonberries without added sugar, such as frozen raw berries that can be added to smoothies or fruit salad.

More Studies Show Fluoride Affects Brain and Disrupts Sleep


While water fluoridation was never adopted or has been eliminated in many areas around the world, including most of western Europe,1 many U.S. water systems2 still add fluoride chemicals such as fluorosilicic acid3 (also known as hydrofluorosilicic acid) to their municipal water supplies.

As detailed in Christopher Bryson’s book, “The Fluoride Deception,”4 water fluoridation as a public health measure (ostensibly to improve dental health) was invented by brilliant schemers who needed a way to get rid of toxic industrial waste.

They duped politicians with fraudulent science and endorsements, and sold them on a “public health” idea in which humans are essentially used to filter this poison through their bodies, while the vast majority simply goes down the drain.

Since the inception of water fluoridation in 1945, fluorosilicic acid suppliers have been making hundreds of millions of dollars each year5 selling a hazardous industrial waste for use as a water additive rather than having to pay for toxic waste disposal.

“Toxic Treatment: Fluoride’s Transformation from Industrial Waste to Public Health Miracle” in the March 2018 issue of Origins,6 a joint publication by the history departments at The Ohio State University and Miami University, notes:

“Without the phosphate industry’s effluent, water fluoridation would be prohibitively expensive. And without fluoridation, the phosphate industry would be stuck with an expensive waste disposal problem.”

Fluoride Is a Neurotoxic Endocrine Disruptor

We now know fluoride — which serves no essential biological function7 — actually acts as an endocrine disruptor.8 Exposure has been linked to thyroid disease,9 which in turn can contribute to obesity, heart disease, depression and other health problems.

More disturbingly, fluoride has been identified as a developmental neurotoxin that impacts short-term and working memory, and contributes to rising rates of attention-deficit hyperactive disorder10 and lowered IQ in children.11

In all, there are more than 400 animal and human studies showing fluoride is a neurotoxic substance.12 Many of these studies have found harm at, or precariously close to, the levels millions of American pregnant women and children receive.

Government-Funded Research Confirms Fluoride Lowers IQ

One of the most recent studies highlighting these dangers was a U.S. and Canadian government-funded observational study published in the August 19, 2019, issue of JAMA Pediatrics,13 which found that drinking fluoridated water during pregnancy lowers children’s IQ.

The research, led by a Canadian team of researchers at York University in Ontario, looked at 512 mother-child pairs living in six Canadian cities. Fluoride levels were measured through urine samples collected during pregnancy.

They also estimated the women’s fluoride consumption based on the level of fluoride in the local water supply and how much water and tea each woman drank. The children’s IQ scores were then assessed between the ages of 3 and 4. As reported by Fluoride Action Network (FAN):14

“They found that a 1 mg per liter increase in concentration of fluoride in mothers’ urine was associated with a 4.5-point decrease in IQ among boys, though not girls.

When the researchers measured fluoride exposure by examining the women’s fluid intake, they found lower IQ’s in both boys and girls: A 1 mg increase per day was associated with a 3.7 point IQ deficit in both genders.”

The findings were deemed so controversial, the study had to undergo additional peer-review and scrutiny before publication, making it one of the more important fluoride studies to date.

Its import is also demonstrated by the fact that it’s accompanied by an editor’s note15 explaining the journal’s decision to publish the study, and a podcast16 featuring the chief editors of JAMA Pediatrics and JAMA Network Open, in which they discuss the study.

An additional editorial17 by David Bellinger, Ph.D., a world-renowned neurotoxicity expert, also points out that “The hypothesis that fluoride is a neurodevelopmental toxicant must now be given serious consideration.” Few studies ever receive all of this added treatment.

Fluoride Exposure From Infant Formula Lowers IQ

In October 2019, a Canadian study18 concluded that infants fed baby formula made with fluoridated water have lower IQs than those fed formula made with unfluoridated water. As explained by the authors:

Consumption of infant formula reconstituted with fluoridated water can lead to excessive intake of fluoride in infants. We examined the association between water fluoride concentration and intellectual ability (IQ) among preschool children who lived in fluoridated or non-fluoridated cities in Canada and were either formula-fed or breastfed during the first six months after birth.”

Results revealed an increase of 0.5 milligrams of fluoride per liter (mg/L), which was the difference between the fluoridated and non-fluoridated regions, corresponded with a 4.4 point lower IQ score at age 3 to 4.

Not surprisingly, the researchers urge parents to avoid fluoridated water when reconstituting infant formula.

Fluoride Exposure Affects Sleep Patterns

Other recent fluoride research has discovered it can have an adverse impact on sleep. The study,19,20 published in the Environmental Health journal in 2019, found that chronic low-level fluoride exposure altered the sleep patterns of adolescents aged 16 to 19.

The hypothesis used to explain this effect is that fluoride is known to preferentially accumulate in the pineal gland, which might inhibit or alter the production of melatonin, the hormone that regulates sleep and wakefulness.

The study used data from the 2015-2016 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) that included plasma fluoride and water fluoride measurements. None of the included individuals were prescribed medication for sleep disorders.

Each 0.52 mg/L increase in water fluoride was associated with a 197% higher odds21 of symptoms suggestive of sleep apnea, as well as a 24-minute later bedtime and 26-minute later waking time. According to the authors:22

Fluoride exposure may contribute to changes in sleep cycle regulation and sleep behaviors among older adolescents in the U.S. …

The high accumulation of fluoride in pineal gland hydroxyapatite (among those chronically exposed) points to a plausible mechanism by which fluoride may influence sleep patterns. In adults, pineal gland fluoride concentrations have been shown to strongly correlate with degree of pineal gland calcification.

Interestingly, greater degree of pineal calcification among older adolescents and/or adults is associated with decreased melatonin production, lower REM sleep percentage, decreased total sleep time, poorer sleep efficiency, greater sleep disturbances and greater daytime tiredness.

While there are no existing human studies on fluoride exposure and melatonin production or sleep behaviors, findings from a doctoral dissertation demonstrated that gerbils fed a high fluoride diet had lower nighttime melatonin production than those fed a low fluoride diet. Moreover, their melatonin production was lower than normal for their developmental stage …

It is possible that excess fluoride exposure may contribute to increased pineal gland calcification and subsequent decreases in nighttime melatonin production that contribute to sleep disturbances. Additional animal and prospective human studies are needed to explore this hypothesis.”

Purify Your Water and Avoid Fluoride

Water is the only beverage you cannot live without. Unfortunately, pure water is hard to come by these days, as water pollution, inadequate water treatment and the addition of fluoride render most municipal water supplies untrustworthy.

To ensure purity, you really need to filter your own tap water. For guidance on selecting a suitable water filtration system for your home or apartment, see “How to Properly Filter Your Water.”

Water filtration is particularly important if your water is fluoridated and you are combating chronic disease (especially thyroid disease), have young children or are using your tap water to reconstitute infant formula.

Keep in mind that fluoride is very difficult to get out of the water once added. When shopping for a filtration system, make sure it’s specifically rated to filter out fluoride.

According to the Water Quality Association23 and others,24 filters capable of removing fluoride include reverse osmosis, deionizers and activated alumina adsorption media such as Berkey filters. Distillation, while not a form of filtration, will also remove fluoride. Carbon filters such as PUR and Brita will not filter out fluoride, and neither will water softeners.

Reversing Alzheimer's With Light Therapy


In the U.S., 5.8 million Americans aged 65 years and older have Alzheimer’s disease, and this number is expected to jump to about 14 million by 2050.1 Every 65 seconds, someone in the U.S. is diagnosed with the disease, which has no known cure and limited treatments to help manage symptoms.

While conventional medicine has focused on drugs to treat symptoms, most have only limited effectiveness. Alzheimer’s has steadily ranked as the sixth leading cause of death in the U.S., but some estimates suggest Alzheimer’s deaths may be underreported, possibly making it the third leading cause of death for older people.2

Effective treatments are urgently needed, and one such therapy known as photobiomodulation is offering hope in helping patients to regain their memory by shining light into the brain.

Light Therapy May Reverse Alzheimer’s Symptoms

A trial is underway using a headset with light-emitting diodes (LEDs) to shine light into the brain via the nose and skull in patients with Alzheimer’s disease. Early results showed patients regained memory and reading and writing skills after three months of treatment, leading to the launch of a 12-week trial.

The headset, known as Neuro RX Gamma, uses gamma waves pulsed into the brain region known as the hippocampus, which controls memory. It’s believed to work by boosting mitochondria, the powerhouse of your cells, which produce about 90% of the energy being generated in your body.

This, in turn, stimulates microglia, or immune cells, in the brain, helping to ward off the disease. Microglia sometimes become inactive in people with Alzheimer’s disease, allowing amyloid plaques to accumulate and interfering with brain function. The light treatment may help to combat this.3

The trial, which is being conducted by researchers from the University of Toronto, involves 228 people, half of whom will receive light therapy via the Neuro RX Gamma headset six days a week for 20 minutes a day over a period of 24 weeks. The headset sends light through the skull as well as through the nostril via a nasal clip.

Neuro RX Gamma “delivers low-energy near-infrared light, through five diodes, to the brain transcranially and intranasally,”4 and was invented by Lew Lim, Ph.D., whom I interviewed in the video above. He told The Telegraph:5

“Photobiomodulation introduces the therapeutic effect of light into our brain. It triggers the body to restore its natural balance or homeostasis. When we do that, we call upon the body's innate ability to heal. Based on early data, we are confident of seeing some measure of recovery in the symptoms not just a slowdown in the rate of decline, even in moderate to severe cases.”

In the early trial, which involved five people with mild to moderate dementia to test safety of the device, symptoms improved significantly.6 Along with improvements in memory, participants had improved cognitive function and sleep as well as reduced anxiety, wandering and angry outbursts, with no negative side effects. Brain scans further revealed improved blood flow and connectivity in the brain.7

How Photobiomodulation Improves Brain Activity

A photostimulation device invented by Lim, which emits near-infrared light (810 nanometers), helps to explain how photostimulation affects the brain.

The near-infrared device consists of four modules of LEDs, held together with light metal frames that are placed on top of your head, with the LEDs pointed at specific regions on your scalp. It also has an intranasal LED that targets the hippocampal area. In alpha mode, these LEDs emit pulsed light at 10 hertz or 10 pulses per second.

Ten hertz was the frequency selected based on animal studies showing it helps accelerate neuron recovery in brain injured animals. The mechanism of the effect created by this photostimulation device appears to be related to the interaction between the light and mitochondria to produce cellular energy, adenosine triphosphate (ATP) and other activating factors.

However, with Neuro RX Gamma, Lim introduced gamma frequency, which is 40 hertz (40 cycles per second) into the brain. Gamma is present while your brain is consolidating memory, helping it to minimize or prevent overactivity. Animal research has shown the gamma frequency even significantly reduces amyloid plaques (associated with Alzheimer's) in the brain.8

Benefits of Brain Photobiomodulation

The Canadian biotech firm Vielight, which developed the Neuro RX Gamma, explains that brain photobiomodulation works by delivering photons to a light-sensitive enzyme known as cytochrome c oxidase (COO) within mitochondria.9

Ultimately, Alzheimer's is a disease caused by dysfunctional mitochondria. That's the reason why near-infrared works. It recharges your mitochondria, and the COO specifically. According to Vielight, brain photobiomodulation may enhance cognition, provide neuroprotective effects and enhance self-repair mechanisms.10

Brain photobiomodulation has been found to increase cerebral blood flow11 as well as modulate brain oscillations. As noted in the journal Scientific Reports:12

“The effect of PBM [photobiomodulation] on mitochondrial function is the most well investigated mechanism of its potential therapeutic effects. PBM has been demonstrated to increase the activity of complexes in the electron transport chain of mitochondria, including complexes I, II, III, IV and succinate dehydrogenase.

In particular, increased activity of the transmembrane protein complex IV, also known as the enzyme cytochrome c oxidase, during PBM results in increased ATP production.

Furthermore, PBM results in activation of signaling pathways and transcription factors resulting in increased expression of genes related to protein synthesis, cell migration and proliferation, anti-inflammatory signaling, anti-apoptotic protein and antioxidant enzymes.”

An At-Home Alzheimer’s Treatment?

Brain photobiomodulation represents a potential at-home treatment for Alzheimer’s disease, while similar devices that may support brain health are already available over-the-counter. The early study into Lim’s device found that when the therapy was stopped, the patients began to decline, which is why, as Lim explained, the idea is to make the treatment as simple and accessible as possible.

If the device proves to work for Alzheimer’s, it represents a simple tool that can be used daily for a lifetime if necessary, with no visits to a health care clinic required. Lim said in our interview:

That's the idea behind my invention. It's to make it as simple as possible. You'll just press the button and that's it. The treatment is 20 minutes. You can do it the rest of your life because you just put it on your head and your hands are free. You can go to bed with it. That's really the principle behind it.

Until the planned clinical trials are complete, we cannot tell how well the devices work for Alzheimer's. In the meantime, they are available as low-risk, general wellness devices."

The Sunlight Connection

Sunlight is a beneficial electromagnetic frequency that is essential and vital for your health in its own right. One of the reasons why is because about 40% of the rays in sunlight is infrared, and the red and near-infrared frequencies increase CCO.13

When you eat, the nutrients nourish your cells and provide fuel for biological functions. You may know that the food you eat is converted to generate ATP. But the mechanism of ATP production can also be stimulated in response to near-infrared exposure, which triggers the mitochondria to produce additional ATP. So, it could be said that your body is fueled by both food and sunlight.

Unfortunately, few clinicians have any idea that light is a powerful fuel for your body. In my view, this ignorance is one of the reasons why Alzheimer's disease is skyrocketing in prevalence, as so many are routinely avoiding sensible sun exposure.

In fact, people living in northern latitudes have higher rates of death from dementia and Alzheimer's than those living in sunnier areas suggest that vitamin D and/or sun exposure are important factors.14

When asked for feedback on using sunlight or a near-infrared lamp as a preventive strategy for Alzheimer’s, Lim says:

"I think the sun is great. Probably the best … as long as you don't get overexposed to ultraviolet (UV) … I think that's really the most natural … The lamp, I tend to put safety first so I try to keep it as low power as possible, as long as it activates what it does.

When you have near-infrared (as it penetrates quite deeply), you don't need a lot of power … [E]xperiments have found that 810 nanometers go the deepest in the live tissues. Why is that? It's because as you go beyond 810 nm, it gets absorbed by water more and more."

Eye Test May Detect Alzheimer’s Disease

Another study is in the works that’s looking at using an inexpensive eye test called a retinal screening test to detect Alzheimer’s years before symptoms develop. The $5-million study will help reveal whether a simple eye exam that could be administered by optometrists and ophthalmologists could screen for retinal biomarkers of Alzheimer’s disease.

Currently, Alzheimer’s may be detected via expensive PET scans to reveal buildup of amyloid plaque in the brain, but this test is often not covered by insurance. Researchers have found that beta-amyloid plaques also accumulate in the retina, and this buildup closely matches the buildup found in the brain. As noted in Frontiers in Aging Neuroscience:15

“As a projection of the central nervous system (CNS), the retina has been described as a ‘window to the brain’ and a novel marker for AD [Alzheimer’s disease]. Low cost, easy accessibility and non-invasive features make retina tests suitable for large-scale population screening and investigations of preclinical AD.”

A retinal screening test for Alzheimer’s could help identify people at the earliest stages of the disease to help slow disease progression and improve treatment.16

Alzheimer’s Risk Factors You Can Control

Brain photobiomodulation is an exciting field that may soon prove to be a useful tool for Alzheimer’s prevention and treatment. A novel treatment developed at MIT using flickering lights and low frequency sound to stimulate gamma frequencies in the brain also appears to reduce plaque formation.17

In the meantime, there are many other strategies that get to the root of the disease as well, like exercise to increase brain-derived neurotropic factor (BDNF), stress reduction, optimizing your sleep, which is critical for cognitive function, and nutritional support.

Getting your body to burn fat as its primary fuel will very effectively fuel and nourish your mitochondria in addition to radically improving insulin resistance. I recommend a cyclical or targeted ketogenic diet for this purpose, and the details are spelled out in my book, "Fat for Fuel."

There is hope that one day there will be a cure for Alzheimer’s, but until that day comes there’s a lot you can do to minimize your risk using diet and other lifestyle factors. In addition to light therapy, cleaning up your diet is among the best strategies to preserve your brain function as you age.

Addressing EMF Pollution — A 21st Century Health Imperative


Over the past decade, I've written many articles discussing the evidence of biological harm from nonionizing electromagnetic field (EMF) radiation.

While the wireless industry is built on the premise that the only type of radiation capable of causing harm is ionizing — X-rays being one example — researchers have for a long time warned that even nonionizing and non-heating radiation can jeopardize your health. This includes not only human health, but also that of plants and animals.

Over time, I became so convinced of the deleterious effects of EMF, I took three years to write "EMF*D," which is slated to be released in February 2020. In it, I review the now overwhelming evidence showing EMFs are a hidden health hazard that simply cannot be ignored any longer, especially seeing how the rollout of 5G will exponentially increase exposures.

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Scientists Now Understand How EMFs Impact Your Health

Over the years, I've interviewed several experts who have shared their in-depth knowledge about the poorly understood mechanisms behind EMF harm. Among them:

Martin Pall, Ph.D., Professor Emeritus of biochemistry and basic medical sciences at Washington State University, has published research1,2,3,4 showing that the primary danger of EMFs — and what drives the processes of chronic disease — is the mitochondrial damage triggered by peroxynitrites, one of the most damaging types of reactive nitrogen species.

Low-frequency microwave radiation activates the voltage-gated calcium channels (VGCCs) in the outer membrane of your cells, causing them to open, thus allowing an abnormal influx of calcium ions. This activates nitric oxide, which is a precursor for peroxynitrite.5

These potent reactive nitrogen species are associated with an increased level of systemic inflammation and mitochondrial dysfunction, and are thought to be a root cause for many of today's chronic diseases.

For an in-depth understanding of peroxynitrites and the harm they inflict, see "Nitric Oxide and Peroxynitrite in Health and Disease"6 by Dr. Pal Pacher, Joseph Beckman and Dr. Lucas Liaudet. It's one of the best reviews I've ever read and free to download.

One of its most significant downsides of peroxynitrite is that it damages DNA. While your body has the capacity to repair that damage through a family of enzymes collectively known as poly ADP ribose polymerases (PARP), PARP require NAD+ for fuel, and when they run out of NAD+ they stop repairing your DNA, which can lead to premature cell death.

Dr. Sam Milham, a physician and epidemiologist, wrote the book, "Dirty Electricity: Electrification and the Diseases of Civilization." In his interview, he explains the biological mechanisms of high-frequency electric transients (electromagnetic interference patterns), and details some of the lesser-known household sources of this "dirty electricity."

Magda Havas, Ph.D., associate professor at Trent University in Canada, has written research including the effects dirty electricity can have on children's behavior, and helpful remediation techniques.

EMF Pollution Is Likely Taking a Hidden Toll on Your Health

The problem with EMF radiation is that you cannot see it, hear it or smell it, and most do not feel it. Still, researchers assure us that biological effects are taking place whether you're able to sense it or not. For most, it's simply a matter of time and overall exposure load.

Here, it's important to realize that we're not just talking about radiation from your cellphone. The electromagnetic frequencies emitted from your Wi-Fi router, computer, home appliances, all manner of wireless "smart" technology, and even the wiring inside your walls are all capable of inflicting serious biological harm to your body and mind. And with 5G, it's bound to get far worse.

Electromagnetic Hypersensitivity Syndrome Is on the Rise

For some, the effects of EMFs are unmistakable and undeniable, and the number of people reporting pathological hypersensitivity to EMFs is rising. In 2008, an Austrian study7 noted that actual prevalence of electromagnetic hypersensitivity syndrome in Austria had risen by 1.5% since 1994, from 2% to 3.5%.

In 2006, Germany had an electrosensitivity incidence rate of 9%, and Taiwan reported an incidence rate of 13.3% in 2011.8 The RT documentary "Wi-Fi Refugees," featured in "Documentary Explore Electromagnetic Hypersensitivity Syndrome," investigates the struggles reported by these "canaries in the coal mine."

While symptoms may vary from one individual to another, commonly reported symptoms of electromagnetic hypersensitivity syndrome include:

  1. Skin itch/rash/flushing/burning and/or tingling — Many describe a "burning pins and needles" kind of pain, especially in the head and chest area
  2. Confusion/poor concentration and/or memory loss
  3. Fatigue and muscle weakness
  4. Headache
  5. Chest pain and heart problems

Other reported symptoms include:

Ear pain

Panic attacks



Tinnitus (ringing in the ears)

Feeling a vibration in the body


Unrelenting dizziness

One 2015 study9 pointed out that electromagnetic hypersensitivity is becoming an increasing challenge to the medical profession, which has yet to fully understand its implications, let alone its remedies.

Still, the complaints of modern-day hypersensitivities match those reported in the 1970s and '80s by those working with radio and radar equipment and cathode ray tube monitors, which tells us that this is not a brand-new phenomenon. According to the authors:10

"In population-based surveys, the prevalence of EHS has ranged from 1.5% in Sweden to 13.3% in Taiwan. Provocation studies on EMF have yielded different results, ranging from where people with EHS cannot discriminate between an active RF signal and placebo, to objectively observed changes following exposure in reactions of the pupil, changes in heart rhythm, damage to erythrocytes, and disturbed glucose metabolism in the brain."

As early as 2005, the World Health Organization warned that people have "for some time" reported health problems attributed to EMF exposure, and that some are "so severely affected that they cease work and change their entire lifestyle."11

The possibility of large portions of the population being unable to work or live as free individuals due to incessant, elevated exposure to EMF is a very real threat to society as we know it. The reality is that there are very few EMF-free zones left on the planet, and such zones will further shrink with the global implementation of 5G.


I believe EMF exposure is one of the greatest challenges to public health facing us today. If we go back in time to the end of World War I, around 1918 or so, and use that timeframe as a baseline of EMF exposure among the general public, you come to the astonishing conclusion that EMF exposure has increased about 1 quintillion times over the past 100 years.

Knowing the impact EMFs can have, it's completely irrational to assume that this radical increase won't have adverse effects. My new book, "EMF*D," is an attempt to inform you about the hidden harms of EMF and what you need to do to protect yourself and those you love. In it, you'll learn:

  • How EMFs are impacting your body and mind
  • Where you can find them in your daily life
  • How they can cause disease and speed up aging
  • How to repair the damage done by EMFs at the cellular level
  • Practical strategies to protect yourself and your loved ones from EMFs

In my book, I also reveal the reasons why you've been left in the dark about this serious health threat. "EMF*D" comes out February 18, 2020, but you don't need to wait. Preorder your copy today and receive these five bonus gifts immediately:

  • Early access to a chapter from the book
  • $10 discount on a Mercola order
  • 30-page Sneak Peak PDF Book
  • 7 strategies to help reduce EMF exposure
  • 5 tips to minimize your cellphone risk (SMS exclusive bonus)
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Brain Cancer Is Not the Only, Nor the Major, Concern

While a number of studies have shown that cellphone radiation can trigger brain cancer this is not the greatest cause for concern. Your brain does have a far greater density of VGCCs than other organs, but so does your nervous system and heart, as well as male testes.

As a result of the elevated density of VGCCs in these areas, EMFs are likely to contribute to neurological and neuropsychiatric problems,12 as well as heart and reproductive problems, including but not limited to cardiac arrhythmias, anxiety, depression, autism, Alzheimer's and infertility13,14 and miscarriage15,16,17,18 — and these conditions are far more prevalent than brain cancer.

That said, studies have also linked radiofrequency radiation equivalent to that emitted by 2G and 3G cellphones to other forms of cancer, including heart tumors. This includes U.S. government-funded animal studies19 published in 2018 that were further corroborated by the Ramazzini Institute that same year.20

As early as 2011, the evidence was strong enough for the International Agency for Research on Cancer, the cancer research arm of the WHO, to declare cellphones a Group 2B "possible carcinogen."21

I've already mentioned one of the primary mechanisms by which EMFs harm your biology — i.e., the creation of peroxynitrites, which are potent oxidant stressors — but EMFs also damage your health in other ways.

For example, the enzyme ATP synthase — which passes currents of protons into the mitochondrial intermembrane space, similar to current passing through a wire — powers the generation energy of the creation of ATP from ADP, using this flow of protons.

Magnetic fields can change the transparency of the flow of protons to the mitochondrial intermembrane space, thereby reducing the current. As a result, you get less ATP, which can have system wide consequences, from promoting chronic disease and infertility to lowering intelligence.

EMFs may also alter your microbiome, turning what might otherwise be beneficial microbes pathogenic or toxic. This too can have far-ranging health effects, since we now know your microbiome plays an important role in health.

5G Rollout Will Significantly Magnify Health Risks

Any and all health ramifications attributed to previous generations of wireless technologies will be exponentially magnified with the rollout of 5G, which is simply being added on top of the already existing wireless infrastructure. This 5th generation technology may also present additional health risks.

A main concern with 5G is that it relies primarily on the bandwidth of the millimeter wave (MMW), which is known to penetrate 1 to 2 millimeters of human skin tissue.22 There's also evidence suggesting sweat ducts in human skin act as antennae when they come in contact with MMWs.23

Many can feel the impact of MMWs as a burning sensation and/or pain, which is precisely why it's used in nonlethal crowd control weapons.24 MMW has also been linked to eye problems, suppressed immune function and altered heart rate variability (an indicator of stress) and arrhythmias.25

In 2015, more than 230 scientists engaged in the study of biological and health effects of nonionizing EMFs in 41 nations signed an international appeal to the United Nations, calling for protection from nonionizing EMF exposure due to evidence of health effects even at low levels.26

Two years later, more than 180 doctors and scientists from 35 countries signed a petition27 to enact a moratorium on the rollout of 5G due to the potential risks to wildlife and human health.

Dr. Mercola Answers Your EMF Questions

Dr. Mercola Answers Your EMF Questions

I believe that the risk of EMFs is so important that I’ve decided to answer your questions on this topic in an upcoming video. Please submit any EMF questions you may have by clicking on the button below.

preorder emfd

>>>>> Click Here <<<<<

The earlier I get the questions, the greater the likelihood I will have a chance to include them in my response. Looking forward to answering your questions!

Protect Yourself From Excessive EMF

There's no doubt in my mind that EMF exposure is an important lifestyle component that needs to be addressed if you're concerned about your health, which is why I spent three years writing "EMF*D."

My aim was to create a comprehensive and informative guide, detailing not only the risks, but also what you can do to mitigate unavoidable exposures. To get you started, see the tips listed in my previous article, "Top 19 Tips to Reduce Your EMF Exposure."

If you know or suspect you might already be developing a sensitivity to EMFs (full-blown hypersensitivity can often strike seemingly overnight), mitigating your exposures will be particularly paramount. Many sufferers become obsessed with finding solutions, as the effects can be severely crippling. My book can be a valuable resource in your quest for relief.

The EMF Experts website28 also lists EMF groups worldwide, to which you can turn with questions, concerns and support, and EMFsafehome.com29 lists a number of publications where you can learn more about the dangers of EMFs.

Should you need help remediating your home, consider hiring a trained building biologist to get it done right. A listing can be found on the International Institute for Building-Biology & Ecology's website.30

BPA in Your Body May Be 44 Times Higher Than Reported


BPA was created in 1891; by the 1930s scientists had discovered that the chemical mimics the hormone estrogen in the body. In the 1950s BPA was being used by industry as a chemical to produce strong and often transparent plastic; it’s now known as an endocrine disruptor.1

It took until 2011, however, for the European Union to ban BPA in baby bottles and 2012 before the FDA followed suit.2 According to the Environmental Protection Agency, the chemical is widely used in polycarbonate plastics that are integrated into nearly every industry, including the food industry.

Citizen watchdog groups have petitioned the FDA to remove BPA from packaging that comes in contact with food, but their efforts have been thwarted.3 On its website the FDA states that it believes4 “the available information continues to support the safety of BPA for the currently approved uses in food containers and packaging.”

Contrary to the FDA’s approach, the EPA5 believes BPA is a “reproductive, developmental and systemic toxicant in animal studies and is weakly estrogenic, there are questions about its potential impact particularly on children's health and the environment.”

Researchers noted in a study published in Environmental Health Sciences that, previously, it was believed that exposure to BPA not only occurs mostly through food, but is quickly cleared from the body. But, when they studied BPA in urine from fasting subjects, they discovered the half-life of BPA, or the time it takes for half the amount ingested to be metabolized, is much longer than they’ve thought.6

Since the levels of BPA did not drop as quickly as expected, they theorized that either BPA builds up in body tissue or there is significant nonfood exposure — or both.

Independent Tests Show Higher BPA Levels Than Published

New information also shows that traditional testing used by governmental agencies may have underestimated your exposure to BPA. One group of researchers7 developed a new test to measure BPA metabolites present after the body begins breaking down the chemical.

Following analysis of the data, the authors argued traditional tests used to measure BPA in the body are inaccurate.8 The tests in current use by the FDA indirectly measure the presence of BPA by converting metabolites back to BPA through an enzyme pathway. In their background research, the scientists found:

“Experimental and epidemiological studies provide compelling evidence of a causal link between increasing exposure to endocrine-disrupting chemicals (environmental contaminants with the potential to perturb the development and function of the endocrine system) and increases in non-communicable diseases, including most aspects of metabolic syndrome.”

An expert at Washington State University told Gizmodo the assumption had always been that the original method would be accurate. However, the research team consistently found higher levels of BPA using their testing method. Some levels were measured 44 times higher than estimated by government tests of the same samples.

One of the researchers spoke with Gizmodo and said the implications are especially troubling in those with potentially high exposure, as it’s possible current screening programs are completely missing those at high risk.

This could make it even more difficult to uncover the extensive health impacts of BPA. While the impact of higher levels is still under investigation, the FDA’s assurances that there is little to worry about is questionable since the scale of exposure may be drastically underestimated.

Implications of New Test Method Go Far Beyond BPA

BPA may be the poster child for toxic chemicals in mainstream media, but the new testing method reveals there could be further implications for other chemicals. After a one-year investigation, Environmental Health News (EHN) found a “willful blindness”9 on the part of the FDA in handling the science behind BPA.

They concluded10 regulators could be “operating at the fringes of scientific integrity, possibly with the intent to keep the current testing and regulatory regime intact and to avoid scrutiny.” EHN read hundreds of emails under the Freedom of Information Act. After analyzing the data, they wrote:

  • “FDA and industry scientists continue to use decades-old study methods that fail to detect effects known to be associated with BPA exposure;
  • Emails between federal employees suggest an effort to ignore evidence of harm;
  • Biased data interpretation methods by the FDA;
  • Sharp disagreement between the FDA regulators and health officials at the National Institutes of Health on the safety of BPA and what messages are relayed to the public.”

The investigative journalists at EHN believe the analysis in the feature study uphold their arguments the FDA testing is woefully inadequate. Laura Vandenberg is a health researcher at the School of Public Health at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst. She was not involved in the study, but discussed the results with EHN.

As she describes, chemical evaluation may include an assessment of how much of the chemical could be found in consumer products or food that drives exposure. A laboratory assessment is then done based on measurements of human exposure.

Vandenberg points out that when exposure assessments are not accurate, it can throw off the entire result. This study highlights the need to standardize the direct measurement of metabolites and may have a significant impact on measurement of other toxic chemicals in the environment.

BPA Once Considered for Pharmaceutical Hormone

In the 1930s after it was discovered that BPA mimics the activity of estrogen, it was in the running to be developed into a pharmacological hormone by Big Pharma.11 Instead they chose another synthetic estrogen, diethylstilbestrol (DES), that was prescribed to millions of pregnant women over the next 30 years before its health risks were discovered.

BPA was then used in the chemical industry. In 1963 it was approved for food and beverage containers and classified is “generally regarded as safe” (GRAS). The argument was the chemical had been used in consumer products for years without obviously causing damage.

Thirty years later in 1993 — the length of time it took the damaging effects of DES to be documented — scientists at Stanford discovered BPA was seeping from lab flasks. It took until 1997, though, for the first studies documenting health damage to be published, after scientists conducted an animal study that demonstrated exposure to tiny amounts of BPA changed the reproductive system and prostate in mice.

By 2008 Canada decided enough evidence had been presented to demonstrate that BPA is toxic; it wasn’t long before manufacturers removed it from baby bottles and sippy cups. However, many of the BPA substitutes currently used in products have a similar chemistry to BPA and present similar risks.12

In one comprehensive review of the literature,13 a Colorado researcher found that 75 of 91 studies pointed to a link between BPA and human health. These had to do with negative effects on perinatal and childhood health as well as that of adults.

CLARITY May Be Clouding the Issue

The FDA co-led a multimillion-dollar project called Consortium Linking Academic and Regulatory Insights on BPA Toxicity, or CLARITY. Launched in 2012, the project ostensibly was to link data from independent researchers with toxicological information held by the government.

It took aim at settling the dispute between independent scientists and the government over how BPA affects human health. EHN describes the argument between the two camps as:14

“Academics with modern methods and a sophisticated understanding of human physiology versus government and industry scientists who lean on decades-old established science in their evaluation of industrial chemicals.”

Despite all the evidence and a long list of manufacturing chemicals that are known endocrine disruptors, the FDA still appears reluctant to change its testing methodology, clinging to the idea that BPA poses no health risk, and ignoring the mounting peer-reviewed studies showing the opposite.

The truth is FDA’s stance on BPA ignores the results of their own scientific committee established in 1982, which warned of the potential that low concentrations of endocrine-disrupting chemicals were binding to hormone receptors, and that future technology could reveal interference in the endocrine system would have a significant effect on human health.

The CLARITY project was a collaborative effort among the FDA and 14 participating academic scientists. It’s a document that was to be used to decide on any changes that might occur to U.S. regulations on BPA.

But when a draft report from the results was issued in February 2018, the FDA jumped the gun with a public statement saying BPA is still safe to use — a claim that didn’t go down well with the other collaborators, who were busy putting together an independent review of the data.

Cheryl Rosenfeld, University of Missouri biologist and a CLARITY investigator told EHN, “Many of us are not happy with the FDA.”

Reduce Your Exposure to Endocrine-Disrupting Chemicals

BPA is just one toxic endocrine-disrupting chemical found in food packaging and leaching from plastics into your food. As I’ve mentioned in earlier articles, you may reduce your BPA exposure and potentially the health risks by considering these suggestions:

Eat mostly fresh whole foods. Processed and packaged foods are a common source of BPA and phthalates — particularly cans, but also foods packaged in plastic wrap. Store your food and beverages in glass rather than plastic and avoid using plastic wrap.

Never use plastic in a microwave as it increases the release of chemicals in the plastic.

Be aware that even "BPA-free" plastics typically leach other endocrine-disrupting chemicals that are just as bad as BPA.

Look for products made by companies that are Earth-friendly, animal-friendly, sustainable, certified organic and GMO-free.

Buy products in glass bottles rather than plastic or cans.

Check your home's tap water for contaminants and filter the water if necessary.

Teach your children not to drink water from the garden hose to avoid plastic chemicals.

Be careful with cash register receipts. In stores you visit regularly, encourage the management to switch to BPA-free receipts.

Breastfeed your baby exclusively if possible, for at least the first year (to avoid endocrine-disrupting chemical exposure from infant formula packaging and plastic bottles/nipples). If bottle-feeding, use glass baby bottles rather than plastic ones.

Choose toys made from natural materials to avoid plastic chemicals, particularly items your child may be prone to suck or chew on.

Futuristic Airline Uniforms Making People Sick


When you think about environmental pollution, your clothing is likely not the first thing to come to mind. However, the clothing industry nears the top of the list of toxic industries that pollute water and expose you to dangerous chemicals used to dye and treat the textiles.

According to Rita Kant of the University Institute of Fashion Technology, color is one of the main reasons people choose specific pieces of clothing.1 While there are safe ways to dye clothing, the toxic nature of what is currently used has caused concern.

Other chemicals used for a variety of reasons pollute the environment, too, with heavy metals like arsenic, lead and mercury as well as sulfur, nitrates and naphthol. In 2018, Delta Airlines released new uniforms to their employees. Not long afterward the company began receiving reports of allergic and toxic reactions that the employees believed were due to chemicals in the uniforms.

The uniforms are “ultra-stretchy, brightly colored, designed for flying, and dizzyingly high-tech,” according to Quartz, which reported on the attendants’ complaints.2 In addition, the material used for the uniforms was designed to resist water stains, wrinkles and static. In what sounds like a science fiction movie, it is also self-deodorizing. But these features apparently come at a high cost, if it turns out that the attendants’ illnesses can be definitively linked to them.

Lawsuits Allege Toxic Uniforms Making Attendants Sick

The uniforms were first unveiled in May 2018, having been designed by Zac Posen and manufactured by Lands’ End. They were issued to 64,000 Delta Airline employees3 who began reporting a number of health concerns, including skin rashes, headaches and fatigue soon after they started using them.

The problems were first made public in a report by The Guardian4 in which several flight attendants spoke with the promise of anonymity, as they feared retaliation by the company. The Guardian published some pictures of the complainants’ skin conditions. One attendant reported:

“I noticed right away after I put the uniforms on that I had shortness of breath and I have been a runner my whole life. I don’t smoke or anything like that, so when I couldn’t get up the stairs without being extremely winded, I know there was some sort of problem.”

Another found it impossible to sleep, commenting:

“I don’t even want to call them rashes because it’s worse than that. Some of them look like chemical burns, some of them look like chemical bites, but they don’t go away for weeks at an end. I had a huge patch that got infected and I had to take an antibiotic, even, to get rid of it.”

One of the first class-action lawsuits was filed in May 2019 against Lands’ End by two Delta flight attendants seeking $5 million in damages. As 2019 progressed, the number of employees filing complaints rose to 943.5 Delta Airlines engaged an independent laboratory to test the garments, which found they are not linked “to any attributable health risk.”

Company Response Has Been Inconsistent; Union Steps In

The newest suit was filed in the Western District of Wisconsin court against Lands’ End, whose operations are based in Dodgeville, Wisconsin. Of the 525 Delta employees listed in the current lawsuit, 90% are flight attendants.6

The lawsuit alleges employees working in a variety of positions within the company suffered symptoms including severe respiratory illnesses, hair loss, nosebleeds, hives and anxiety.

The lead attorney for the suit was allowed access to a closed Facebook page devoted to discussions of the uniform issue at Delta Airlines. He remarked there were 6,000 registered users. Sara Nelson, president of the Association of Flight Attendants-CWA (AFA), commented on the clothing concerns:

“This issue is real. It affects different people in different ways, and the reactions can vary in severity with symptoms such as rashes, headaches, hair loss and breathing problems when wearing the uniform to becoming so sensitized to the chemicals that it's impossible to even be in the same space without getting extremely sick.”

It wasn’t until November 2019 that the airlines began allowing some employees to wear non-uniform clothing they purchased independently.7 Many of the complaints have centered on inconsistent and unfair treatment. After 18 months of mystery illnesses and symptoms, Delta employees are no closer to an answer or resolution.

Many have fears for their health and job security, resulting in a heavy financial burden. One attendant was seen by a dermatologist in Atlanta, who told her she had been exposed to a toxin causing her reactions. Most of the employees agree the company’s response has been disjointed.

Several spoke anonymously to Business Insider, who reported attendants were not logically granted permission to wear an alternative uniform. Some were threatened with job loss if they refused and others were given permission only after telling the company they wouldn't return to work unless they were allowed to wear a different uniform.

Judith Anderson, a 20-year industrial hygienist for AFA, explained that the dye is a suspicious target as it has rubbed off on airplane seats and flight attendants' skin. Anderson believes a lack of oversight in the supply chain, combined with poor testing before distribution, resulted in inconsistent chemical application.

She believes this may partially explain why a higher percentage of employees have not had health complaints since the uniforms may not have had equal chemical treatments applied.

Flight Attendants May Be Unwitting Test Subjects

Delta Airlines is not the first airline that flight attendants have had trouble with, due to health issues resulting from their uniforms. Historically, only legal actions have triggered policy changes by affected airlines.8 In 2010 new uniforms were issued to Alaska Airlines attendants. Not long afterward the company received reports of rashes and eye irritation, as well as scaly skin patches, hives and blisters.

The uniforms were manufactured by Twin Hill, which subsequently won a lawsuit filed by the attendants, with the court ruling “there was no reliable evidence that the injuries were caused by the uniforms.” Shortly afterward, the airline received more new uniforms manufactured by Twin Hill and flight attendants again began to report symptoms.

In 2018, a National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health report noted that there were no complaints in 2015 before the new uniforms were issued. However, by 2016, the airline’s OSHA logs showed 87 skin disorders, 83 of which employees claimed were related to the new uniforms.

Skin symptoms were most common, but employees also reported migraines, shortness of breath, vomiting and hair loss. Employees filed a lawsuit against Twin Hill in 2017 following more than 3,500 complaints.

The case against Alaska Airlines interested researchers from Harvard University9 who were studying the health effects of working in an airplane cabin environment.

Using survey data from 684 flight attendants working for Alaska Airlines before and after the uniforms were issued, they found that respiratory, allergic and dermatological symptoms began to rise after flight attendants started wearing the new uniforms.

Eileen McNeely is a lead researcher in the study from Harvard University, and she believes flight attendants may be inadvertently testing the toxic chemicals that are in their clothing. She describes an ideal laboratory environment for researchers in which the attendants are wearing the same articles of clothing in the same environmental conditions on a consistent basis.

Fast Fashion Major Source of Pollution

The textile industry is also a major source of environmental pollution. During the dying process, 80% of the dye remains on the fabric while the rest is flushed down the drain. In the case of the uniforms from Delta Airlines, flight attendants said the dye was rubbing off on their skin and airline jump seats.

The dyes cause problems, but so do the chemicals used to fix the color into the fabric. According to Kant,10 the industry uses more than 1,000 chemicals that are directly or indirectly poisonous and damaging to human health.

In addition to using a massive amount of water, producing clothing also pollutes it. A textile mill that produces 8,000 kg (17,637 pounds) of fabric each day can use 1.6 million liters (422,675 gallons) of water to do so. The problem is exacerbated by the fact that the fast fashion industry encourages consumers to continually buy the latest fashions, which are sold cheaply.11

Americans buy more and more clothing every year, with the average consumer purchasing more than 65 articles in 2016. At the same time, 70 pounds of clothing and other textiles are thrown out each year.

As Green America wrote in their 2019 Toxic Textiles report, even when recycled, “less than 1% of the resources required to make clothing is recaptured and reused to create new clothing.”

Much of donated clothing ends up being sold to textile recyclers and exported to other countries, all contributing to a growing global waste problem. While speaking to The Guardian, one flight attendant voiced a concern regarding the airline industry, which may potentially identify a challenge in the general population:12

“Image is one of the five metrics that we are rated on by customers that contribute towards our overall profile as employees. As a largely female workforce, it feels as though our general appearance takes priority over our health.”

Change May Happen Only When Consumers Speak

Irina Mordukhovich, an epidemiologist from Harvard University, said Delta Airlines did not allow the research team access to study the concern. In discussing the issue with The Guardian, she said she saw parallels in how other airline companies historically responded to uniform health concerns:

“The airlines always deny there is a problem. The airlines are very risk averse when it comes to any health research studies. They don’t tend to cooperate.”

On attendant wrote in an email:

“I flew a two-day trip and have been coughing and clearing fluid from my throat all day today. And my voice went last night. But the only way this will change is when the traveling public demands it.”

Realistically, the only way most industries change is when you vote with your pocketbook. Moving forward, consider giving serious thought to cleaning up and “greening” your wardrobe.

Remember, being a conscious consumer does not stop at food and household products. Your clothing can be a source of hazardous chemicals, and cheaply made fast fashion items take a tremendous toll on the environment and the people working in the industry.

Mandatory Flu Vaccine Coming Your Way?


As discussed in my November 5, 2019, article, “Trojan Horse of Measles — More Vaccines With the Mandate,” while most state legislation targeting vaccination mandates have focused on measles, what tends to get lost in the debate is that these mandatory vaccination laws are likely to be extended to all vaccines, including the influenza vaccine, the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine and any number of vaccines licensed and recommended by the federal government in the future.

In other words, measles outbreaks and the fear-mongering by exaggerating disease risks and minimizing vaccine risks are being cleverly used to create propaganda to eliminate the legal right to make vaccine choices across the board. As just one example, in “Trojan Horse of Measles,” I discuss how a bill has been introduced in New York that requires children to be vaccinated against HPV in order to attend day care and public school.

This, despite the incredible health risks associated with the HPV vaccine and its low benefit-to-risk ratio,1 not to mention the fact that it has never been proven to lower cancer rates. On the contrary, emerging data suggest the incidence of cervical cancer increased in Sweden after HPV vaccine was recommended for all girls and women aged 9 to 26 years.

Scientific evidence of an increase in the incidence of HPV-related cervical cancer in Sweden between 2006 and 20152 was published in the Indian Journal of Medical Ethics in 2018. The study raised questions about whether women are at increased risk for cervical cancer if they are vaccinated after they have been infected with HPV, which is an asymptomatic viral infection that is cleared from the body within two years by more than 90 percent of women and men.3

The study was retracted a few weeks after it was published. The retraction was not due to falsification of data, but because the scientist who wrote the study used a pseudonym and false affiliation due to fear he would be harmed for publishing his findings. As explained in the retraction statement by the publisher:4

“On inquiry, the author informed us that he had used a pseudonym besides a false affiliation. He later made his identity known to IJME’s editor on the promise of strict confidentiality.

On verification of his identity, the editor confirmed that (a) the author had the necessary qualifications, expertise and research experience on the subject of the article; and (b) the author did face a credible threat of harm, making it necessary not to be named publicly.

Further we reconfirmed the reviewers’ conclusions: that the article used publicly available data with a simple statistical method; made a fair attempt to report a possible association of the increased incidence of carcinoma cervix with HPV vaccination …

We felt that the data and analysis could be scientifically appreciated and critiqued without reference to the author … Following our decision, we received valuable advice from our editorial board and other well-wishers, emphasizing that there should be zero tolerance to the author’s deception, irrespective of the content of the paper.

While our assessment of the science of the article may be correct, we have concluded that tolerating the author’s deception and retaining the article was an error of judgment. … We hope that the hypothesis of possible harm of vaccinating women previously exposed to HPV is carefully explored in future studies.”

Chairman and chief legal counsel for Children's Health Defense Robert F. Kennedy Jr. stated in “The Plaintiff’s Science Day Presentation on Gardasil,” that Merck’s HPV vaccine Gardasil “has distinguished itself as the most dangerous vaccine ever invented."

In his presentation, Kennedy reveals Merck data showing Gardasil increases the overall risk of death by 370%, risk of autoimmune disease by 2.3% and risk of a serious medical condition by 50%.

A 2018 study published in the Journal of Toxicology and Environmental Health5 found that women who received HPV vaccinations suffered higher rates of infertility. According to this study, “if 100% of females in this study had received the HPV vaccine, data suggest the number of women having ever conceived would have fallen by 2 million."

After “skeptic” critics of scientific evidence that vaccines have significant health risks publicly attacked the study, the paper was withdrawn by the publisher.6

A 2014 case report paper7 described cases of three adolescent girls who suffered premature ovarian insufficiency after their HPV vaccinations — a condition that can render them incapable of bearing children in the future. Conveniently, Merck, maker of Gardasil, is also “the world market leader in fertility treatments,” according to the European Pharmaceutical Review.8

Media and Public Health Agencies Are Letting Us Down

Unfortunately, our media no longer fulfill their public duty. Rather than presenting both sides of an argument, most mainstream media now act as mouthpieces for pharmaceutical industry propaganda, and this is particularly true where vaccines are concerned.

Public health agencies are also falling short of their duty, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention included, which for years has lied about accepting funds from corporations making and selling drugs and vaccines.

Several watchdog groups are now petitioning the CDC to cease making false disclaimers about not accepting commercial support, and to retroactively acknowledge conflicts of interest.

Another lawsuit, filed by the Informed Consent Action Network (ICAN) in 2018 against the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, revealed the HHS — in violation of federal law — has not provided a single required biannual vaccine safety report to Congress since 1988.9 As noted by ICAN founder Del Bigtree:10

"It is apparent that HHS doesn't have a clue as to the actual safety profile of the now 39 doses, and growing, of vaccines given by one year of age, including in utero. In 1986, a one-year old child received 11 doses.

HHS spends billions annually promoting vaccines and generates a steady stream of reports promoting vaccines. Yet, when, despite federal law, HHS cannot bother to complete the simple task of preparing a biennial report on vaccine safety, there is little hope HHS is tackling the much harder job of improving vaccine safety."

Vaccine Science Is Not Being Reported Honestly

A 2018 article11 in The BMJ highlights the media’s influence over vaccine policy and how journalists are misleading the public about vaccine safety and effectiveness. The article, “Reporting Flu Vaccine Science,” written by freelance journalist Rob Wipond, notes:

When reporting on medical studies, the popular press has a habit of sensationalizing. So the muted response to a recent research paper12 reporting increased risk of miscarriage with influenza vaccines was at first sight surprising.

The study, funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, found that women who had received an influenza vaccine containing the 2009 pandemic strain pH1N1 and who were also vaccinated in the next flu season had a statistically significant, 7.7-fold higher odds of spontaneous abortion within 28 days of the second vaccination …

The concerning odds ratio fostered extensive discussion in the paper. But the news media projected an air of calm, highlighting the observational study’s many limitations.”

Among the “muted” press coverage cited by Wipond is The Washington Post’s report13 on the study, written by Lena Sun, which significantly downplayed the findings and urged pregnant women to continue getting their annual flu shot.

This isn’t surprising considering Sun was one of three journalists hand-selected by the CDC to get exclusive early access to the findings, knowing she could be trusted to report on the study in a way that would minimize influenza vaccine risks so pregnant women would be persuaded to get a flu shot during every pregnancy.14,15

Hypocrisy and Double Standards

In a reply to Wipond’s article, retired pediatrician Allan S. Cunningham seconds many of Wipond’s concerns, stating:16

“After weeks of brooding about the Donahue article linking flu shots to miscarriages … it was with a sense of relief that I read Rob Wipond’s narrative of media attempts to sweep a serious vaccine safety issue under the rug.

He points out the hypocrisy (his words were ‘double standard’) of authorities who dismissed the Donahue paper because it was an ‘observational study.’ Year after year they have quoted observational studies to announce, ‘ … 80% vaccine effectiveness … 60% effectiveness … 40% effectiveness …’

They do not mention that these studies make no effort to look for adverse vaccine effects (e.g. narcolepsy, seizures, high fever, oculorespiratory syndrome). They do not mention ‘negative vaccine effectiveness,’ the increase in risk of illness from influenza and non-influenza viruses associated with (or caused by) the vaccines …

They do not mention that a vaccine ‘effective’ in one season may increase influenza risk in a subsequent season … They do not mention that the observational studies they refer to are likely to exaggerate vaccine effectiveness in the first place because of the ‘healthy user effect’ well known to epidemiologists …

Wipond does not mention another technique used to dismiss legitimate vaccine safety concerns, having to do with ‘statistical significance.’ Recently, a large cohort study17 found that flu shots given during the first trimester of pregnancy were associated with a 20% increase in autism spectrum disorder in the offspring.

P for the association was 0.01, and the authors acknowledged that, if it was causal, would mean four (4) additional autism cases for every 1,000 mothers vaccinated.

However, they incorrectly used a statistical manipulation to adjust the finding into ‘non-significance’ … One typical media headline about the study was, ‘Flu vaccine during pregnancy not linked to autism’ … This kind of thing goes on all the time with news releases for vaccine research.”

Why You Cannot Trust The Washington Post

Washington Post reporter Lena Sun has published a number of patently false claims about vaccines,18 and has attacked me personally for making fully referenced and scientifically provable statements about vaccine risks and the fact that maintaining adequate vitamin D levels has been shown to be effective in preventing respiratory infections, even more effective than the flu vaccine.

In a November 21, 2019, article,19 journalist Jeremy Hammond details four instances that exemplify how Sun has lied about vaccine safety. To repeat but one, Sun has stated that:20

“The effectiveness of the vaccine schedule is tested extensively to ensure that the vaccines in the combination don’t interfere with one another and can be easily handled by the infant and the child’s immune system. No new immunization is added to the schedule until it has been evaluated both alone and when given with the other current immunizations.”

As noted by Hammond, this is “a brazen lie,” as published papers21 and even committees at the Institute of Medicine22 (which the CDC considers an authoritative source) have warned about the complete lack of such testing, and the fact that there not only is inadequate scientific evidence to prove safety of the CDC’s birth to age 6 childhood vaccination schedule, but that the synergistic effects of giving multiple vaccines to infants and children has not been adequately studied.

Flu Vaccination Increases Risk of Pandemic Flu

New York, New Jersey and other states have introduced bills to mandate Influenza vaccines for children and adults,23 while the mainstream media continues to ignore evidence that routine flu vaccination increases risks for influenza infections during pandemic outbreaks. A study24 published in the Journal of Virology in 2011 pointed out that:

“Infection with seasonal influenza A viruses induces immunity to potentially pandemic influenza A viruses of other subtypes (heterosubtypic immunity).”

And that “long-term annual vaccination using inactivated vaccines may hamper the induction of cross-reactive CD8+ T cell responses by natural infections and thus may affect the induction of heterosubtypic immunity.”

The study’s authors note that long-term annual vaccination, in turn, “may render young children who have not previously been infected with an influenza virus more susceptible to infection with a pandemic influenza virus of a novel subtype.”

In simpler terms, while naturally experiencing and recovering from type A influenza can provide immunity against other subtypes of the influenza virus, it appears that vaccination does not do that, making previously vaccinated children more susceptible to pandemic flu strains. (Pandemic influenza is when a new influenza A virus appears that spreads easily among individuals and spreads globally.25)

Other studies linking annual flu vaccination with increased risk of illness are listed in my March 2019 article “Is the Flu Vaccine Really ‘Working Well’ This Year?

Influenza Vaccine Is Vastly Oversold

Mainstream media outlets also will not admit that Pharma bias compromises the results of most vaccine studies. Yet the presence of such bias was clearly highlighted in a 2010 study26 by the Cochrane Database of Systemic Reviews, in which they assessed the effectiveness of flu vaccines in preventing influenza and complications in healthy adults and included a clear warning:

“Influenza vaccines have a modest effect in reducing influenza symptoms and working days lost. There is no evidence that they affect complications, such as pneumonia, or transmission.

WARNING: This review includes 15 out of 36 trials funded by industry (four had no funding declaration). An earlier systematic review of 274 influenza vaccine studies published up to 2007 found industry funded studies were published in more prestigious journals and cited more than other studies independently from methodological quality and size.

Studies funded from public sources were significantly less likely to report conclusions favorable to the vaccines. The review showed that reliable evidence on influenza vaccines is thin but there is evidence of widespread manipulation of conclusions and spurious notoriety of the studies. The content and conclusions of this review should be interpreted in light of this finding.”

Does Vitamin D Outperform Flu Vaccine?

According to reporter Sun of The Washington Post, I lie when I say that maintaining adequate vitamin D levels outperforms the flu vaccine, yet published studies have come to this exact conclusion and the results have been published by other mainstream reporters.

For example, in 2017, BBC News reported27 the findings of a systematic review28 published in The BMJ, which concluded that vitamin D supplementation protected against acute respiratory tract infection.

The number needed to treat (NNT) was 33, meaning 33 people had to take the supplement in order to prevent a single case of infection. Among those with severe vitamin D deficiency at baseline, the NNT was 4.

As reported by BBC News,29 “That is more effective than flu vaccination, which needs to treat 40 to prevent one case,30 although flu is far more serious than the common cold.”

The BBC actually downplays the findings when it says “flu is far more serious than the common cold,” because the NNT of 40 that BBC News cites refers to the overall effectiveness of inactivated vaccine against influenza-like illness (ILI), which the World Health Organization defines31 as “an acute respiratory infection.” (About 80 percent of all lab tested ILI cases do not test positive for A or B influenza but are caused by other types of viral and bacterial infections.)32

In other words, comparing the NNT of 33 for vitamin D with 40 for the flu vaccine is entirely accurate and appropriate as far as ILI or acute respiratory infection is concerned.

According to the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews cited by the BBC, to prevent one case of confirmed influenza, the NNT for inactivated vaccines was 71.33 The Harvard Gazette also published the findings of that BMJ study under the headline, “Study Confirms Vitamin D Protects Against Colds and Flu.”34

The Link Between Influenza and Vitamin D

The association between low vitamin D levels and influenza has been recognized for some time (although low vitamin D levels may not be the sole factor responsible for the seasonality increases of influenza and ILI35). As noted in “Epidemic Influenza and Vitamin D,” published in the journal Epidemiology and Infection in 2006:36

“An interventional study showed that vitamin D reduces the incidence of respiratory infections in children. We conclude that vitamin D, or lack of it, may be Hope-Simpson's ‘seasonal stimulus.’”

Similarly, a 2010 study37 in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition concluded that “vitamin D3 supplementation during the winter may reduce the incidence of influenza A” in schoolchildren, especially those “who had not been taking other vitamin D supplements and who started nursery school after age 3.”

A 2009 systematic review38 of randomized controlled trials in which supplemental vitamin D was assessed for its ability to prevent or treat various infectious diseases found that the strongest evidence supporting the use of vitamin D existed for tuberculosis, influenza and viral upper respiratory tract illnesses.

In 2018, a randomized, controlled clinical trial39 published in The Pediatric Infectious Disease Journal found that infants receiving high doses of vitamin D who went on to develop influenza had significantly shorter duration of illness compared to those who received a lower dosage.

According to the authors, “High-dose vitamin D (1200 IU) is suitable for the prevention of seasonal influenza as evidenced by rapid relief from symptoms, rapid decrease in viral loads and disease recovery.”

A shortcoming of many (if not most) studies looking at vitamin D’s effects on preventing ILI and/or influenza is that they focus on dosage rather than blood levels, and we now know that it’s achieving a certain blood level that matters, not how much vitamin D it takes to get there. Most studies also use dosages around 1,000 or 2,000 IU’s a day, which are unlikely to raise blood levels of vitamin D to any significant degree.

Is Your Food Grown on Sewage?


If you've never heard of sewage sludge — a term often used interchangeably with biosolids — you're in for a surprise, as this waste product, which is every bit as unappealing as it sounds, is applied to farmland, gardens, schoolyards, lawns and more across the U.S. The food you eat may very well have come from land treated with sewage sludge, which could have implications for human health and the environment.

What exactly is sewage sludge? When wastewater and stormwater enter wastewater treatment facilities, the solid and liquid waste are separated. The solids are "digested" using bacteria, treated, dried and then sent to landfills or used for agricultural purposes as "fertilizer."

It may sound shocking, but this practice is allowed and endorsed by the U.S. EPA. It's not only legal but routine to grow food on sewage sludge-treated land, even though the sludge, by definition, can contain any number of toxic chemicals that may not be removed via treatment. The Center for Food Safety explained:1

"These separated processed solids — sewage sludge — contain numerous known and unknown hazardous materials.

This includes everything that is flushed into the sewer system, including: household, medical, chemical, and industrial waste; chemicals and metals that leach from the sewer pipes themselves; and novel materials that are created in the wastewater treatment plant as a result of the combination of chemicals and organic compounds present."

Applying Sewage Waste to Soil 'Defies Common Sense'

In the U.S., 54% of sewage sludge biosolids are used for so-called "beneficial" purposes. Most often this means they're applied to agricultural sites, although small amounts are also applied to forestry sites and reclamation sites, including Superfund and Brownfield lands and urban areas, including park land.

Broken down, it's estimated that 36% of biosolids are used for agricultural purposes while 28% end up in landfills and 15% are incinerated.2

The fact is, humans produce a healthy amount of waste — an estimated 300 million pounds of feces are produced daily by Americans alone, for instance. How to dispose of this biosolid sludge is a vexing problem worldwide, so theoretically, turning the waste product into a beneficial product like fertilizer makes sense, assuming it could be thoroughly purified.

Therein lies the problem, however. The Guardian quoted former EPA scientist David Lewis, who opposed the use of sewage sludge on cropland. Lewis noted, "Spending billions of dollars to remove hazardous chemicals and biological wastes from water, only to spread them on soil everywhere we live, work and play defies common sense."3

While it's true that sewage sludge contains similar ingredients to synthetic fertilizer, such as nitrogen and phosphorus, it also contains countless other pollutants that are byproducts of modern-day life. As noted by The Guardian:4

" … [T]he excrement from which sludge derives has mixed with any number of 80,000 manmade chemicals that are discharged from industry's pipes or otherwise pumped into the sewer system.

By the time the mix lands in treatment plants, it can teem with pharmaceuticals, hormones, pathogens, bacteria, viruses, protozoa and parasitic worms, as well as heavy metals like lead, cadmium, arsenic or mercury. It often includes PCBs, PFAS, dioxins, BPAs and dozens of other harmful substances ranging from flame retardants to hospital waste."

It's worth noting that while sewage sludge used to be disposed of primarily by burning it or releasing it into the ocean, this practice was banned over concerns that it would pollute the air and water. But spreading it onto soil has somehow received a safety approval from regulatory agencies,5 including the EPA, which describes them as purely beneficial:6

"They [biosolids] are nutrient-rich organic materials resulting from the treatment of domestic sewage in a treatment facility. When treated and processed, these residuals can be recycled and applied as fertilizer to improve and maintain productive soils and stimulate plant growth."

EPA Identified 352 Pollutants in Sewage Sludge

As part of the Clean Water Act, the EPA must review biosolids standards every two years. Technically speaking, the EPA refers to sewage sludge that has gone through treatment and meets EPA standards for land application as "biosolids."

Part of the review includes identifying pollutants that are present. Based on these biennial reviews and three national sewage sludge surveys, the EPA identified 352 pollutants in biosolids,7 including the following:8


Dioxins and dioxin-like compounds

Inorganic ions

Certain organics (i.e., polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, semivolatiles)

Polybrominated diphenyl ethers (flame retardants)


Steroids and hormones

Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances

In a report from the U.S. Office of Inspector General (OIG) released November 2018, it's concluded that the EPA is unable to assess the impact of the hundreds of unregulated pollutants applied to land via biosolids on human health and the environment.9

The report was the result of an audit conducted by OIG to determine whether the EPA has controls over the application of biosolids to land in order to protect human and environmental health.

OIG concluded that the EPA "lacked the data or risk assessment tools needed to make a determination on the safety of 352 pollutants found in biosolids" and noted that 61 of the identified pollutants are "acutely hazardous, hazardous or priority pollutants in other programs."10

EPA Biosolids Program Not Protecting Public Health

Further, while the EPA could conduct full risk assessments to gauge biosolids risks, it is not required to do so. Overall, OIG found that the EPA biosolids program was likely not protecting public health and the environment:11

"The EPA has reduced staff and resources in the biosolids program over time, creating barriers to addressing control weaknesses identified in the program.

Past reviews showed that the EPA needed more information to fully examine the health effects and ecological impacts of land-applied biosolids. Although the EPA could obtain additional data to complete biosolids risk assessments, it is not required to do so.

Without such data, the agency cannot determine whether biosolids pollutants with incomplete risk assessments are safe. The EPA's website, public documents and biosolids labels do not explain the full spectrum of pollutants in biosolids and the uncertainty regarding their safety.

Consequently, the biosolids program is at risk of not achieving its goal to protect public health and the environment."

Research from the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) has also shown household chemicals and drugs are found in biosolids originating from wastewater treatment plants.12 The researchers purchased or obtained nine different biosolids and analyzed them for 87 organic chemicals, finding 55 were detected in measurable amounts and as many as 45 were found in a single sample.

Plastics in Sewage Sludge

Researchers have also looked into how polyester microfibers may be affecting microorganisms in the soil, especially since sewage sludge is loaded with microfibers.13 They found that the microplastics did, indeed, lead to changes in the soil, including altering the bulk density, water-holding capacity and microbial activity.

Writing in the journal Environmental Science & Technology, researchers noted that wastewater treatment plants act as receptors for the "cumulative loading of microplastics." The solids and liquids are separated using a settlement process, which results in the majority of microplastics (MP ending up in sewage sludge.

Different methods of treatment affected the end number of particles found in the sludge, but the study found microplastic amounts ranging from 4,196 to 15,385 particles kg–1 (dry weight) in sludge samples.14

The researchers noted, "This study highlights the potential for sewage sludge treatment processes to affect the risk of MP pollution prior to land spreading and may have implications for legislation governing the application of biosolids to agricultural land."

Microplastics may act like sponges for contaminants including heavy metals, persistent organic pollutants, polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) or pathogens, for instance, and may cause harm on a cellular or subcellular level,15 raising serious questions about the risks of exposing soil to them.

Indeed, wastewater treatment plants are efficient at removing microplastics from sewage, but they become trapped in the sludge. This helps keep them out of waterways, unless they're applied to agricultural soils (which may run off into waterways).

When researchers evaluated 31 fields that had applications of sewage sludge, microplastics were found in the samples at levels ranging from 18 to 41 particles g−1, with a median of 34 particles g−1.16 What's more, the microplastic levels increased on fields with higher rates of sludge applications.

"Our results indicate that microplastic counts increase over time where successive sludge applications are performed," the researchers noted, adding, "Sludge is proposed as a primal driver of soil microplastic pollution."17

Sewage Sludge Contaminating Farms

Sewage sludge is passed off as a cost-effective fertilizer for farmers, but some have lost their livelihoods after the toxic waste contaminated their farms. One such farmer is Fred Stone in Maine, who applied biosolids to his hayfields intended to feed his dairy cattle for decades, not knowing it could be contaminated with PFAS, chemicals associated with cancer, liver damage, low birth weight and hypothyroidism.

Milk from Stone's cows later tested positive for PFAS, forcing him to dump hundreds of gallons of milk a day.18 In March 2019, the Maine Department of Environmental Protection added a requirement to test sewage sludge for PFAS before it's applied to land.19

This is just the tip of the iceberg, as long-term application of sewage sludge also increases the abundance and diversity of antibiotic resistance genes in soil.20 In a study from the University of York in the United Kingdom, data even revealed plants suffer when biosolids are applied to the soil.21

Even with low-level exposure, the drugs studied interfered with plant hormones that support defense against predators and diseases. The drugs also damaged the plants' ability to make energy from sunlight, and at higher concentrations the research team saw a drop in the leaves' levels of chlorophyll. At high concentrations, the plants experienced stunted roots and burnt edges on the leaves.

How to Avoid Biosolids

Foods grown on biosolid-treated soil are not labeled as such, so your best bet for avoiding them is to support sustainable agriculture movements in your area. Make it a point to only buy food from a source you know and trust — one using safe, nontoxic organic or biodynamic farming methods.

If you grow your own food, also be aware that companies do not have to disclose when biosolids are used, so there's really no way of knowing what's in your bag of potting soil or compost. Composted products can have the USDA organic label on them and still be loaded with toxic biosolids.

If you see "milogranite" on the label, it contains biosolids from the City of Milwaukee — a national distributor. Your best bet is to buy organic potting soil and/or compost from a local nursery you know and trust, that can guarantee no biosolids have been added.

Tea Drinkers Shown To Be More Healthy


Just as important for your health as what you eat is what you drink. Hopefully, everyone who reads my newsletters is drinking plenty of pure water a day and completely abstaining from soda.

Around the world, coffee and tea are, after water, the most common beverages people consume and that is a good thing. Unlike soda, which has many negative health effects, both organic coffee and tea are leading sources of antioxidant polyphenols, which are beneficial substances.

Scientific research has linked coffee to a lower risk of heart failure and stroke,1 as well as nonalcoholic fatty liver disease, cirrhosis, diabetes and some types of cancer.2 Another study showed that it may be associated with a lower risk of cognitive disorders.3 Tea is also a healthy beverage linked to impressive benefits.

Writing in the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology,4 researchers found that drinking tea at least three times a week is linked with lower risks of cardiovascular disease and all-cause death.

"The favorable health effects are the most robust for green tea and for long-term habitual tea drinkers," added Xinyan Wang of the Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences, Beijing, China, the study's first author, about the research.5

More Reasons to Drink a Much-Loved Beverage

Cardiovascular disease is the world's leading cause of premature death, write the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology researchers, and tea is one of the world's most widely consumed beverages, especially in Asia. The aim of the study was to examine the association between atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease (ASCVD) and all-cause mortality and tea drinking.6

Results from observing 100,902 participants in the study over a period of years found that habitual tea drinkers lived 1.26 years longer than their counterparts. They were also free from ASCVD for 1.41 years longer than their non-tea drinking counterparts.7

To ensure scientific validity, 1,896 study participants were excluded because they had a history of ASCVD or cancer and 2,465 were excluded because information about their tea drinking habits was lacking. While there have been medical studies about tea drinking and cardiovascular disease (CVD) and coronary heart disease (CHD), this study added new information to what is known, say the scientists:8

"Several previous studies assessed the association between tea consumption and CVD and all-cause mortality, but the results remained inconsistent. Studies among Welsh men and US adults did not observe significant inverse associations of tea consumption (mainly as black tea) with CHD or CVD risks.

In the Japanese population, green tea consumption could reduce the risk of CVD while there was no unanimous conclusion on all-cause mortality. Previous Chinese studies found inverse association between tea consumption and CHD incidence but the reports for stroke and cause-specific mortality were only based on men.

According to our study, habitual tea consumption is associated with a lower risk of ASCVD incidence (including CHD and stroke), ASCVD mortality (especially for stroke), and all-cause mortality and these inverse associations were persistent across subgroups.

… The observed inverse associations were strengthened among participants who stuck to their habit all along. Similarly, previous studies in the USA and in China also reported more evident health effects with longer years of tea consumption."

Green Tea Led Benefits in the Study

In the study, not all participants drank the same kind of tea. Forty-nine percent of habitual tea drinkers who participated consumed green tea, while only 8% drank black tea and the remainder, 43%, drank scented or other types of tea.9 Green tea, it turns out, was the most healthful of the tested teas.

"Habitual green tea consumption was inversely associated with the risks of all study outcomes except CHD mortality, as compared with those never or non-habitual tea drinkers. No significant association was observed for black tea …

Tea, especially green tea, is a rich source of flavonoids including mainly epicatechin, catechin, and epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG), etc. Mechanism studies have revealed that these bioactive compounds could attenuate oxidative stress, relieve inflammation, enhance endothelial and cardiomyocyte function …

Tea polyphenols might be oxidized into pigments and inactivated during fermentation, which might be partly the reason why black tea was prone to be less associated with health benefits in many studies."10

There are other reasons black tea may not be as beneficial, speculates SciTech Today:11

"Black tea is fully fermented and during this process polyphenols are oxidized into pigments and may lose their antioxidant effects. Second, black tea is often served with milk, which previous research has shown may counteract the favorable health effects of tea on vascular function."

Black tea also has almost five times the caffeine content of green tea, which is important for those seeking to reduce their caffeine consumption to realize (although in some cases, caffeine may be beneficial). It is also known to stain the teeth.12

Previous Tea Studies Have Shown Other Benefits

Tea, particularly green tea, has been linked with other health benefits. In one study of prostate cancer (PCa), the second most frequently diagnosed cancer, the journal Medicine, Baltimore, wrote that "there was a trend of reduced incidence of PCa with each 1 cup/day increase of green tea."13

"Our dose-response meta-analysis further demonstrated that higher green tea consumption was linearly associated with a reduced risk of PCa with more than 7 cups/day. In addition, green tea catechins were effective for preventing PCa.

In conclusion, our dose-response meta-analysis evaluated the association of green tea intake with PCa risk systematically and quantitatively. And this is the first meta-analysis of green tea catechins consumption and PCa incidence.

Our novel data demonstrated that higher green tea consumption was linearly reduced PCa risk with more than 7cups/day and green tea catechins were effective for preventing PCa."

A 2017 study in the journal Nutrition and Cancer14 found a significant inverse dose-response association between green tea drinking and liver cancer risk. That inverse association increased with years of green tea drinking and when four cups a day of green tea were consumed.

Studies have also associated green tea with reduced risk of depression,15 obesity,16 stroke17 and bone thinning,18 and improvements to vision.19 A central reason for green tea's benefits is its catechin epigallocatechin-3-gallate, which helps your arteries relax and improves blood fIow.20

To receive more benefits from the catechins found in teas, which are natural phenol and antioxidant compounds, you can add a squeeze of fresh lemon juice, which will help absorption.21 However, beware of nonorganic teas that are grown in polluted environments — they can contain heavy metals or fluoride, which could lead to skeletal fluorosis. Instant tea may also contain excessive fluoride.22

Teas May Also Increase Longevity

An epidemiological project called Blue Zones seeks to document and analyze the lifestyle particulars found in communities that have the highest number of people who live past 100. Here is what National Public Radio reported:23

"The people in these five regions in Europe, Latin America, Asia and the U.S. that live to be 100 have a lot going for them. Genes probably play a small role, but these folks also have strong social ties, tightly-knit families and lots of opportunity to exercise.

As we were parsing through the dietary secrets of the Blue Zones, as described in author Dan Buettner's latest book, The Blues Zones Solution, we were struck by how essential tea drinking is in these regions.

In fact, Buettner's Blue Zones Beverage Rule — a kind of guideline distilled from his 15 or so years of studying these places — is: 'Drink coffee for breakfast, tea in the afternoon, wine at 5 p.m.'

In Okinawa, Japan, for example, Buettner watched one 104-year-old 'make jasmine tea, squatting in the corner and pouring hot water over tea leaves as the room filled with a delicate, floral aroma.' Indeed, Okinawans call their tea shan-pien, or 'tea with a bit of scent,' which combines green tea leaves, jasmine flowers and a bit of turmeric."

More Teas With Health Benefits

Black and green tea are probably the teas that are studied the most frequently, but oolong, dark and white teas also have benefits. Like black and green tea, they come from the plant known as Camellia sinensis, although hibiscus tea, described below, does not.

Oolong tea — This tea is great for weight management and heart health: The polyphenols in oolong tea help control fat metabolism in your body by activating certain enzymes. A 2001 study published in the Journal of Nutrition found that participants who ingested either full-strength or diluted oolong tea burned 2.9% to 3.4% more total calories daily.24

Hibiscus tea — High in vitamin C, minerals and antioxidants, tea made from hibiscus sabdariffa (also called Sudan tea, sour tea and roselle) has benefits for overall health. Studies suggest it may improve blood pressure, help prevent metabolic syndrome, protect your liver and even provide anticancer effects.25

In a study in the journal ARYA Atherosclerosis, consumption of tea made from hibiscus sabdariffa led to a decrease in systolic blood pressure in healthy men compared with the placebo.26

Matcha — Matcha is a type of green tea, but unlike regular green tea, in which you steep and discard the leaves, when you drink matcha you consume the entire leaves, which are ground micron fine. Studies indicate that 1 cup of matcha may provide the antioxidant equivalent of 3 cups of regular green tea and as much as 137 times more antioxidants than low-grade green tea.27

Darjeeling — Made from the Chinese variety of Camellia sinensis, darjeeling tea contains two complex antioxidants called theaflavins and thearubigins that help neutralize harmful free radicals, and potentially reduce free radical damage that can target cell membranes and DNA, and raise your risk for chronic illness.

There are more coffee drinkers than tea drinkers in the U.S., yet the varieties and benefits of tea are worth exploring and making part of your diet. People who drink tea are enjoying many health benefits as they also partake of an enjoyable and comforting beverage.

Weekly Health Quiz: Spices, Saunas and More


1 Which of the following spices is a gum resin with an offensive rotten smell that gives a lovely umami taste to many Indian and other savory dishes?

  • Asafoetida

    The Indian cooking spice asafoetida is a gum obtained from a type of giant fennel. It has an offensive smell akin to that of rotting garlic and sweaty feet, but an appetizing savory, umami taste. Learn more.

  • Turmeric
  • Mastic
  • Curry

2 Which of the following U.S. agencies is responsible for regulating cannabidiol (CBD) and dictates its legal status on the federal level?

  • Department of Agriculture (USDA)
  • Food and Drug Administration (FDA)

    While hemp has been legalized, CBD is under the regulatory authority of the FDA, which views CBD as a drug. As such, all CBD supplements are considered "unapproved drugs." Learn more.

  • Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC)
  • Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA)

3 Just as nutritional deficiencies can cause severe problems, so can certain excesses. Which of the following has been shown to encourage cancer, heart disease, diabetes, neurodegeneration and more, when your levels are too high?

  • Magnesium
  • Calcium
  • Iron

    Excess iron can cause severe problems by encouraging oxidation and tissue damage. Common health problems associated with elevated iron levels include cirrhosis, cancer, hepatitis C, gouty arthritis, arrhythmia, cardiovascular disease, Type 2 diabetes, Alzheimer's and more. Learn more.

  • Glutathione

4 Which of the following has been identified as contributing to the opioid crisis in the U.S.?

  • Aggressive marketing by opioid makers
  • Unemployment and poverty
  • Widespread prevalence of physical pain, especially back pain
  • All of the above

    Evidence suggests the opioid addiction crisis is the result of a perfect storm of poverty, trauma, availability and pain. Aggressive marketing has also made an unmistakable contribution to the problem. Learn more.

5 Which of the following exercise strategies has been shown to effectively lower stress and anxiety, improve cognition and reduce body image dissatisfaction?

  • Yoga

    Regular yoga practice has been shown to lower stress, reduce body image dissatisfaction and anxiety, improve cognition and protect against age-related brain changes and much more. Learn more.

  • Jogging
  • Strength training
  • Walking

6 Which of the following health benefits have been linked to regular sauna use?

  • Reduced risk of stroke
  • Reduced risk of death from heart problems
  • Increased longevity
  • All of the above

    Sauna bathing can be used as an exercise mimetic to increase your longevity and health span. Men using Finnish-style sauna seven times per week cut their risk of death from fatal heart problems in half, compared to those who used it only once a week. This frequency of use can also lower your stroke risk by 61%. Learn more.

7 Lactic acid tolerance refers to your body's ability to:

  • Digest milk protein
  • Buffer lactic acid in your muscle, which affects your muscle endurance

    Lactic acid tolerance refers to your ability to buffer lactic acid, which affects your muscle endurance. Learn more.

  • Buffer lactic acid in your joints, which affects your gout risk
  • Make new mitochondria

Unbalanced Omega-6 Raises Inflammation and Rate of Disease


Dietary fats are essential to good health. Although it’s harmful to eat too many of some or not enough of others, without healthy fats your body won’t work properly.1 Fat is used to keep your skin and hair healthy, absorb certain vitamins and insulate your body to keep you warm. Certain types of fats are called “essential” since your body can’t make them.

There are two major categories of polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs). These are omega-3 (n-3) and omega-6 (n-6), which are essential fatty acids your body needs for a wide variety of cellular functions, including cell division, cognition, heart health and normal growth and development. Much of your dietary N-6 comes from vegetable oils like linoleic acid (LA), which converts to gamma linoleic acid during metabolism.2

Most related research has been focused on three important types of n-3: alpha-linolenic acid (ALA); docosahexaenoic acid (DHA); and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA).3 ALA is commonly found in plants and plant-based oils, while EPA and DHA are produced by microalgae, which are then eaten by fish.

Thus, fatty fish, such as mackerel, wild-caught Alaskan salmon, herring and krill oils are rich sources. N-6 is associated with higher rates of inflammation in the body, while n-3 has an anti-inflammatory effect. However, neither n-6 nor LA is the underlying issue in the proliferation of disease but, rather, the oxidized form of the fatty acid found in processed vegetable oils.

Consequences of the Dramatic Shift From Omega-3 to Omega-6

The ratio of n-6 to n-3 in the diet began changing in the U.S. during the industrial revolution nearly 150 years ago.4 The onset of vegetable oil production and an increase in feeding cereal grains to livestock increased the ratio from what had been close to 1-to-1 to 10.3-to-1 and higher. Some estimate the current average ratio in the U.S. is 25-to-1.5

Where sources of n-6 used to come from whole foods, such as nuts and seeds, the modern intake of processed foods and oxidized vegetable oils has unbalanced the ratio for those eating a Western diet. This fatty acid imbalance is one root of inflammatory diseases including heart disease, diabetes and cancer.

A primary source of n-6 in the American diet is soybean oil, which accounts for 60% of all vegetable oils found in processed foods, salad dressings, snacks and margarine.6 Researchers link diets high in soybean oil with obesity and Type 2 diabetes; both of those are associated with heart disease, neuropathy, impaired cognition7 and early death.

One of the challenges in finding the balance is that n-3 and n-6 compete for the same enzymes. With so much n-6 in the body, the conversion of n-3 ALA (found in plants) to EPA and DHA is significantly impacted. This is something we have to be mindful of because EPA and DHA are both responsible for protecting the body against disease.8 The good news is that with a greater intake of n-3 there is a reduction in the buildup of n-6, effectively reducing inflammation.

Favoring Vegetable Oil Over Saturated Fat Harms Heart Health

Balancing your n-3 to n-6 ratio helps protect your body against chronic degenerative diseases such as metabolic syndrome, arthritis, irritable bowel syndrome and autoimmunity. This is a point I have stressed for many years, as it also reduces your risk for heart disease.

As I’ve written in past articles, consuming oxidized LA in vegetable oils leads to a cascade of events promoting inflammation and creating atherosclerotic plaques; all of this leads to a higher risk of heart attack and stroke.

Unfortunately, health authorities have insisted that vegetable oils are healthier than saturated animal fats such as those found in butter and lard, despite research evidence to the contrary.

A study published in the BMJ in 20139 demonstrated that men with a history of coronary events, such as heart attack or angina, had a higher risk of dying from heart disease when advised to reduce saturated fats and increase their intake of LA from safflower oil and safflower oil polyunsaturated margarine.

It is important to remember that LA is also found in nuts, seeds and eggs. But the sheer volume of intake from processed foods creates a severe imbalance in the ratio. The combination of increased intake with the oxidized fats in vegetable oils is a significant factor in the rising number of those who develop heart disease.

Balancing Ratio May Help Protect Against Air Pollution

Exposure to air pollution also increases the risk of inflammation. In one study,10 researchers found that children who had a higher intake of n-3 had a lower response to particulate matter and appeared to be more resilient.

This study has added to the growing body of evidence that suggests dietary intake has an influence on the body's response to air pollution, a known cause of inflammation. The authors of another study11 conducted in Mexico City found that for children with asthma, supplementation with antioxidants helps with the impact of air pollution on their small airways.

Problems Converting Omega-3 from Plants Increases Risk

N-3 fats are present in plant and marine animals like fish and krill. However, the types of n-3 are different and they are not interchangeable. Plant-based n-3 contains alpha linoleic acid (ALA), which is a short chain and must be converted to long chain EPA and DHA for use in the body.

Since the enzyme needed for conversion is not highly active in most people, the conversion rate is low. This information is particularly relevant for strict vegans and vegetarians who may believe their body converts plant-based ALA to EPA and DHA in sufficient amounts. It is nearly impossible to get enough this way, and the minor amount theoretically taking place is hindered when the diet contains excessive amounts of n-6 from vegetable oils and processed foods.

Importance of Getting Tested

As I’ve written before, omega-3 fatty acid testing is needed to determine if you're deficient. The n-3 index test provides the most accurate measurement in the body and should ideally be above 8%. The index measures the amount of n-3 in the red blood cells as a reflection of how much is found in the rest of the body.

Since the test measures the average of your intake based on the lifespan of a red blood cell over 120 days, it is not influenced by recent meals and is expressed as a percent of all fatty acids found in the red blood cell membrane. Researchers find the index to be accurate and they use it analyze data, including that of the Framingham Study and the Women's Health Initiative.

Maintaining the level in a range associated with low risk reduces your chance of heart disease. Those with an index below 4% have a high risk; those with an index from 4% to 8% have an intermediate risk and those with an index greater than 8% have a lower risk for coronary heart disease.12

In a follow-up study13 using a randomized control trial to assess the effects of supplementation on telomere length and oxidative stress, researchers found telomere length increased with a decreasing ratio of n-6 to n-3. They suggest that even over a short time, the ratio has an impact on cell aging and may influence asthma symptoms, the risk of Parkinson's disease, multiple sclerosis symptoms and depression.

Safely Raise Your Omega-3 Intake

After being tested, if it turns out you need more n-3, consider ways to raise it without adding toxins to the mix. These are great sources of omega-3:

Fish — Small, cold-water fatty fish such as anchovies and sardines are excellent sources of n-3 that have a low risk of hazardous contamination. Wild Alaskan salmon is also low in mercury and other environmental toxins.

Since much of the fish supply is heavily polluted with industrial waste, including heavy metals such as arsenic, cadmium, lead, mercury and radioactive poisons, it is extremely important to be selective, choosing fish high in healthy fats and low in contaminants, such as wild-caught Alaskan salmon, mackerel, herring and anchovies.

Krill oil — Krill oil is my preferred choice as an n-3 supplement because it has the indispensable animal-based DHA and EPA n-3s your body needs, and in a form that’s less prone to oxidation.

With the help of phospholipids, the nutrients in krill oil are carried directly to your cell membranes where they are more readily absorbed. Additionally, they may cross your blood-brain barrier to reach important brain structures.

While the following sources may be tempting because they are readily available and less costly than the ones mentioned above, I strongly advise avoiding:

Farmed salmon — It contains about half the n-3 levels of wild salmon, is often fed a genetically engineered diet of corn and soy products and may contain antibiotics, pesticides and other chemical toxins.

Large carnivorous fish — Marlin, swordfish and tuna (including canned tuna), for example, tend to contain some of the highest concentrations of mercury, a known neurotoxin.

Fish oil — While fish oil may appear to be a convenient and relatively inexpensive way to increase your intake of n-3 fats, it typically delivers insufficient antioxidant support. It is also highly prone to oxidation, leading to the formation of harmful free radicals.

Why Hard Water Decreases Heart Attacks


When it comes to heart health, one of the most influential nutrients is magnesium. While required for the healthy function of most cells in your body, magnesium is particularly important for your heart, kidneys and muscles.

As far back as 1937, researchers warned that low magnesium levels pose serious risks to the heart, and that it may actually be the most significant predictor of heart disease.1 More recent research suggests even subclinical magnesium deficiency can compromise your cardiovascular health.2

Importantly, your mitochondria require magnesium to produce ATP. It's also required for the metabolic function of your cells and the activation of vitamin D.3,4 All of these are important for healthy heart function.

It also supports heart health by relaxing your blood vessels, normalizing blood pressure, lowering inflammation and supporting endothelial function (the cells' lining the interior of your blood vessels).5

Hard Water Linked to Better Heart Health

To celebrate its 175th anniversary, Scientific American recently took a look back into its archives, publishing a short summary of research presented in its June 1969 issue:6

"Several studies in the past decade have suggested that the death rate from coronary disease is inversely correlated with the hardness of the local water supply: the harder the water, the lower the coronary rate.

A study7 recently published in the New England Journal of Medicine reports evidence that the excess coronary deaths in soft-water areas are almost entirely sudden deaths …"

By reviewing the death certificates of 55,000 individuals who died from heart-related issues in Ontario during 1967, and then correlating the deaths according to the hardness of the local water supply, the Canadian researchers were able to conclude that people drinking soft water on a regular basis were more susceptible to lethal arrhythmias (irregular heartbeat). What might explain this curious correlation?

One theory has focused on the magnesium level found in the water.8 Soft water is lower in magnesium than hard water, thus making you more prone to magnesium deficiency. (The very definition of hard water is that it contains a high concentration of dissolved metals — calcium and magnesium in particular.9,10)

According to a 2002 study,11 magnesium-rich mineral water can contribute between 6% and 17% of your total daily magnesium intake. That said, a 2013 paper12 in the International Journal of Preventive Medicine points out that the exact mechanisms responsible for the relationship often found between harder water and lower cardiovascular risk has yet to be ascertained.

The higher magnesium level in hard water appears to be a promising hypothesis, though, and several studies point to magnesium-rich water being an important factor. As noted in the International Journal of Preventive Medicine, which cites a number of such studies (as well as some in which this relationship was not found):13

"In a Swedish study, the skeletal muscle magnesium levels were a significantly higher in persons living in an area with a higher water magnesium."

Even Subclinical Magnesium Deficiency Can Be Problematic

As mentioned, magnesium supports heart health through a number of different mechanisms.14 For starters, it combats inflammation, which helps prevent high blood pressure and hardening of your arteries. It also improves blood flow by relaxing your arteries and preventing your blood from thickening.

Magnesium also plays a role in the creation of adenosine triphosphate (ATP), the energy currency of your body.15,16 Needless to say, without sufficient energy, cellular functions throughout your body will suffer, creating a cascade of dysfunction. Your heart in particular, being a very heavy energy user, needs sufficient amounts of ATP to function properly.

Magnesium also affects your mitochondrial function and health, as it's required both for increasing the number of mitochondria in your cells and for increasing mitochondrial efficiency.

Basic effects such as these can account for why magnesium insufficiency has been linked to a higher risk for high blood pressure,17 cardiovascular disease, arrhythmias, stroke18 and sudden cardiac death.19

A 2018 paper20 in the Open Heart journal also warns that even subclinical deficiency can result in heart problems, and that most people need at least 300 milligrams more magnesium per day than the current recommended dietary allowance prescribes. According to the authors:

"… While the recommended … dietary allowance for magnesium (between 300 and 420 mg /day for most people) may prevent frank magnesium deficiency, it is unlikely to provide optimal health and longevity, which should be the ultimate goal."

The theory that we may need more magnesium than is currently recognized is also supported by a 2016 meta-analysis,21 in which all-cause mortality was lowered by 10% simply by increasing magnesium intake by 100 mg per day.

Magnesium Is Important for Brain Health Too

Magnesium is also important for brain health and the prevention of dementia. Memory impairment occurs when the connections (synapses) between brain cells diminish. While many factors can come into play, magnesium is an important one. As noted by Dr. David Perlmutter, a neurologist and fellow of the American College of Nutrition:22

"It has now been discovered that magnesium is a critical player in the activation of nerve channels that are involved in synaptic plasticity. That means that magnesium is critical for the physiological events that are fundamental to the processes of learning and memory.

As it turns out, one form of magnesium, magnesium threonate, has the unique ability to permeate the brain and enhance the receptors that are involved in this process."

The specific brain benefits of magnesium threonate were demonstrated in a 2010 study23 published in the journal Neuron, which found this form of magnesium enhanced "learning abilities, working memory, and short- and long-term memory in rats." According to the authors:24

"Our findings suggest that an increase in brain magnesium enhances both short-term synaptic facilitation and long-term potentiation and improves learning and memory functions."

Magnesium is also a well-recognized stress reliever,25 and by catalyzing mood-regulating neurotransmitters like serotonin, it helps prevent anxiety and depression.26

Research27 published in 2015 found a significant association between very low magnesium intake and depression, especially in younger adults. A study28 published in PLOS ONE demonstrated magnesium supplementation improved mild-to-moderate depression in adults, with beneficial effects occurring within two weeks of treatment.

How to Assess Your Magnesium Status

When it comes to measuring your magnesium level, your best bet is an RBC magnesium test, which measures the amount of magnesium in your red blood cells. Tracking any symptoms of magnesium deficiency is also recommended, as your need may be higher or lower depending on your lifestyle and health status.

Common signs and symptoms of magnesium insufficiency include but are not limited to the following.29,30 A more exhaustive symptom's list can be found in Dr. Carolyn Dean's blog post, "Gauging Magnesium Deficiency Symptoms."31

  • Seizures, muscle spasms (especially "charley horses" or spasms in your calf muscle that happen when you stretch your leg), eye twitches and or numbness or tingling in your extremities
  • Insulin resistance
  • High blood pressure, heart arrhythmias and/or coronary spasms
  • Increased number of headaches and/or migraines
  • Low energy, fatigue and/or loss of appetite

The "Trousseau sign"32 can also be used to assess your magnesium status. To check for this sign, a blood pressure cuff is inflated around your arm. The pressure should be greater than your systolic blood pressure and maintained for three minutes.

By occluding the brachial artery in your arm, spasms in your hand and forearm muscles are induced. If you are magnesium deficient, the lack of blood flow will cause your wrist and metacarpophalangeal joint to flex and your fingers to adduct. For a picture of this hand/wrist position, see Figure 1 in the paper "Trousseau Sign in Hypocalcemia."33

Would You Benefit From Magnesium Supplementation?

A number of studies suggest magnesium insufficiency or deficiency are extremely common, both among adults34 and teens,35 in part due to the fact that most people eat a plant-deficient diet. Magnesium is actually part of the chlorophyll molecule responsible for the plant's green color.

However, even if you eat plenty of greens, you may still not get enough, thanks to most soils being so depleted of minerals. Your body's ability to absorb magnesium is also dependent on having sufficient amounts of selenium, parathyroid hormone and vitamins B6 and D.

Absorption is further hindered by excess ethanol, salt, coffee and phosphoric acid in soda, and things like sweating, stress, lack of sleep, excessive menstruation, certain drugs (especially diuretics and proton-pump inhibitors), insulin resistance and intense exercise can deplete your body of magnesium.36,37

Research shows just six to 12 weeks of strenuous physical activity can result in magnesium deficiency,38 likely due to increased magnesium demand in your skeletal muscle.

For all of these reasons, most people probably need to take supplemental magnesium. The RDA for magnesium is around 310 to 420 mg per day depending on your age and sex,39 but many experts believe you may need a minimum of 600 mg per day.40

I suspect many may benefit from amounts as high as 1 to 2 grams (1,000 to 2,000 mg) of elemental magnesium per day, as the extra magnesium may also help mitigate unavoidable exposures to electromagnetic fields (thanks to its calcium channel blocking effect). To learn more about this, see my previous article on how to reduce EMF exposure.

You can easily improve your magnesium status with an oral magnesium supplement. My personal preference is magnesium threonate, as it appears to be the most efficient at penetrating cell membranes, including your mitochondria and blood-brain barrier. You can learn more about this in "Cognitive Benefits of Magnesium L-Threonate."

Magnesium Testing Is a Valuable Health Screen

Considering the importance of magnesium for good health — including cognition and heart health — it's a good idea to measure your level. GrassrootsHealth Nutrient Research Institute, which has spearheaded research into vitamin D and omega-3, now also offers low-cost testing for magnesium.

Join Magnesium* Plus Focus Project today!

>>>>> Click Here <<<<<

Like its vitamin D and omega-3 projects, the Magnesium*PLUS Focus Project41 aims to identify the ideal dosage and level, the specific health outcomes associated with magnesium deficiency and sufficiency, the dose-response relationships and much more. As noted by GrassrootsHealth:42

"Measuring your nutrient status, adjusting intake as needed, and re-testing is the only way to tell if your nutrient intake is helping you achieve sufficient or desired nutrient status which is tied to particular health outcomes.

We will analyze the collected data and give participants feedback on how the magnesium could be working for them; we will publish scientific papers on key results, the first after meeting an enrollment target of 1,000 participants. There will be preliminary analyses and interim newsletters available for all during the enrollment phase."

Adding the "Plus Elements" test to this magnesium test will also measure your selenium, zinc and copper levels, important trace elements that interact with magnesium, as well as three toxic heavy metals (lead, cadmium and mercury) that can interfere with and block availability of these essential elements.

Magnesium* Plus Elements Project

>>>>> Click Here <<<<<


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