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Mercola Natural Health Articles
More than half the U.S. population is struggling with chronic illness,1 and 1 in 5 deaths is obesity related.2 We have overwhelming rates of heart disease, cancer and Alzheimer's, and future projections only look worse. One of the saddest aspects, though, is that advice given by governmental entities and conventional medicine has utterly failed when it comes to disease prevention.
The good news is, it doesn't have to be this way. Aspects of health are multiple and varied, especially in recent years since a greater emphasis has been placed on fitness, disease prevention and optimal health.
That's where we come in. When it comes to finding accurate and up-to-the-moment information you need to improve or maintain your health — such as the importance of balancing your sodium and potassium ratios, how to manage crucial mitochondrial function or the vital differences between omega-3s and omega-6s — Mercola.com has it covered.
For example, magnesium is among the most common nutrient deficiencies, and sets the stage for deterioration of proper metabolic function that typically snowballs into more significant health problems.
But you can keep your magnesium levels in a therapeutic range by eating a varied diet and including dark leafy vegetables, seaweed and some beans, nuts and seeds, like pumpkin, sesame and sunflower seeds, which can be great sources of magnesium.
This is precisely the type of information you can find using Mercola.com to access what you need, now. If you know your body requires more of a certain vitamin or mineral, or if you're interested in consuming foods containing antioxidants, you can peruse the food options, find the ones that meet your nutritional needs and plan your meals accordingly.
Multiple branches of information at Mercola.com allow you to read more about what you're interested in; just click on the sites below each section. Whether it's information about supplementation, beneficial compounds you put in and on your body or the differences between essential oils (not to mention cooking oils), you'll find it here. The categories listed and covered below are:
Herbs & Spices
Vitamins & Supplements
Tea: What it is and what it can do for you
Tea is the most popular drink worldwide, right after good old H2O, which is no surprise since tea has been on the radar, so to speak, for millennia. Known for its ability to rejuvenate, tea comes from the Camellia sinensis plant and includes varieties that depend on the method used for drying the leaves. In a major contrast, herbal teas are infusions of other herbs and spices added for their flavors and health benefits.
More than a pick-me-up, tea can improve your immune system, reduce your blood pressure and soothe your digestive system, and studies suggest it may lower your risk for several cancers.3 Rooibos tea, for instance, is loaded with antioxidants, protecting your cells from harmful free radicals. And, studies show it improves your heart health. Moringa tea has earned superfood status due to its extensive nutrients and medicinal properties, such as anti-inflammation and blood sugar regulation.
Matcha tea is growing in popularity because a catechin in it known as epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG) is another free radical fighter, and an amino acid known as L-theanine increases serotonin and dopamine production in your brain, improving memory, boosting energy and potentially detoxifying heavy metals and chemicals from your body. Oolong tea, rich in antioxidant polyphenols, including EGCG, is one of the healthiest teas you can choose.
But not all teas are created equal. Case in point: If you're one of millions suffering from constipation, perhaps you're familiar with senna tea. Often labeled as a natural remedy for weight loss and/or constipation (as well as ridding your body of certain parasites), it may exert a more laxative effect than you expected.
It contains neither calories nor nutritional benefits to speak of, so be aware of marketing ploys, and check this site for more information on the benefits — and possible pitfalls — of what you eat and drink.
Food facts: A directory of foods that comprise a healthy diet
How amazing is it that you can plant a seed, watch it grow and harvest vegetables, herbs and fruits that are loaded with all kinds of vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients? Beets, onions, cantaloupe, peaches, lemons and fennel are all examples of nutritious foods you can potentially have at your fingertips in the most literal sense.
You can also read about more obscure or not commonly grown plant-based foods. They can help you discover their truly amazing health benefits you might be missing. Examples might be figs, cardamom, almonds and quince, the latter, as an example, noted for blood pressure maintenance, weight management and boosting your immune system.
Reading our Food Facts pages gives you detailed information on the protein, fiber, carbs and sugar foods contain according to serving sizes, which helps you determine what to eat to optimize your health. You'll also find the science behind the facts through clinical studies, which reveal what the compounds in your favorite foods can do for you, as well as growing tips for your garden, where to shop to find what you need and delicious, healthy recipes to round out your meals.
However, please note that choosing organic foods means less exposure to pesticides, more antioxidants, improved early childhood development and lower risk of disease. Researchers report that the polyphenol levels in organic fruits and vegetables are higher than those doused with chemical pesticides.4
"Eating organic" represents long-term benefits for adults and children alike, as the cadmium and other heavy metal content is lower than in conventionally grown crops, which makes it far safer for infants, children and pregnant women. Additionally, calcium, iron, protein and/or zinc deficiencies may worsen cadmium uptake and toxicity. On the upside, the flavor of organic produce is deeper and more tasty. What's not to like?
Herbs and spices: The difference between them and health advantages
"Herbs" and "spices" often seem to be thrown into the same interchangeable category, but these are two separate areas of the plant kingdom. Several have names that reflect their exotic origins, such as ashwagandha, sriracha and wasabi. The word "herb" usually refers to the green parts, such as leaves, of non-woody plants that impart a wide array of surprisingly powerful compounds relating to health improvement.
Basil is one of the most popular herbs and one of the healthiest. There are more than 60 varieties with "flavors" as varied as lemon, anise and cinnamon. Antibacterial properties and DNA-protecting flavonoids hint at the power behind these fragrant leaves, which contain volatile oils with the power to kill harmful bacteria that even sometimes antibiotic medications can't, including listeria, staphylococcus and E. coli.5
Spices, on the other hand, can come from the leaves, stems, roots, seeds, bark and/or flowers, and they're used in smaller amounts than herbs due to their higher potency and stronger flavor. Nevertheless, seasoning your food with liberal amounts of herbs and spices greatly multiplies the medicinal value. Numerous studies indicate their amazing potential for healing and combating various illnesses.
Cloves, a popular seasoning with a distinctively warm and sweetly pungent fragrance and flavor, are just one example of a spice with healing power. They come from the dried flower buds of a large evergreen tree grown in warm climates and have anti-inflammatory and antiviral properties that may help your body fight off infections and inflammation.
The herbs and spices list introduces obscure offerings such as achiote, boswellia, chasteberry, damiana and epazote. Click on them to get a fascinating picture of what they can do to improve your diet and, as a result, your health. Plus, you'll have some valuable health information to pass along when the topic turns to optimizing your DNA, increasing beneficial gut bacteria or suppressing asthma symptoms.
Vitamins and supplements: Best ways to get them and what they can do
If you're not already aware of it, the best way to get the most nutrition is through eating actual food, such as vegetables, nuts and seeds containing the vitamins, minerals and other nutrients your body needs, not just for survival, but for vibrant, vigorous health. However, as I've stressed a number of times but will again because it's so important: Organic foods should be your primary source of nutrients whenever possible.
In the packaged-food mentality of this fast-paced world, the foods you eat don't contain the nutrients they once did. Besides the depletion of the soil we used to rely on when growing food, there's the rampant use of toxic chemicals, pesticides and herbicides now lacing our foods, and faulty agricultural practices that either minimize or destroy what's left.
For that reason, people take supplements to supply their bodies with what they cannot get through the foods they eat. That also goes for other means of acquiring them. An example is vitamin D, which is obtained not through food, but via either sun exposure or supplementation. Your risk of colds, flu and a number of more serious health problems may increase due to a D3 deficiency, as may your risk of cognitive decline and mental impairment.6
Deficiencies in other nutrients are also rising to catastrophic levels in the U.S. Magnesium is one, obtained through oily fish such as sardines and wild-caught Alaskan salmon, avocados, Swiss chard and nuts, especially cashews and Brazil nuts. Other common nutrient deficiencies are animal-based omega-3s, also obtained from oily fish; vitamin K2, available from dairy products such as certain cheeses, raw butter and kefir, as well as natto and fermented vegetables like sauerkraut.
While supplements can be an ideal complement to the organic fruits, vegetables and other nutritious offerings you eat, they must be of high-quality. That said, you may be interested to know that many vitamins and herbal supplements are significantly safer than prescribed pharmaceuticals.
The side effects alone listed on drug advertisements should give you pause, but staggering statistics reveal they kill more than 100,000 people every year. In addition, in July 2017, U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions said:
" … [O]ur great country is currently in the midst of the deadliest drug crisis in our history. One American now dies of a drug overdose every 11 minutes and more than 2 million Americans are addicted to prescription painkillers. Every day, as a result of drug abuse, American families are being bankrupted, friendships broken and promising lives cut short."7
On my Vitamins and Supplements pages, you may find vital data about foods that can help alleviate symptoms or conditions you've struggled with for years. Bromelain is a good example. Found in pineapples, it improves your immunity.8 Choline, which supports nervous system function, can be acquired from grass fed beef or turkey livers, organic, pastured eggs and Brussels sprouts.
Herbal oils: Where they come from, uses and benefits
You may have heard of eucalyptus oil, palm oil and frankincense oil, but what about the rejuvenating effects of rose absolute oil, tulsi oil from the "queen of herbs" and helichrysum oil, known for its skin moisturizing and wound-healing capabilities? On the page dedicated to herbal oils, you'll find these and many more descriptions of oils to help you maintain a healthy body weight and even promote weight loss.
From A to Z, more than 100 oils are listed. You'll learn about vetiver oil, aka khus oil, known for its ability to impart a stabilizing, calming effect. With a smoky, earthy aroma, it's been used to promote sleep for centuries. Nearly all of the plant is utilized, but it's primarily the roots that contain the most potency, plus have antiseptic, antispasmodic, libido-enhancing and immune system-stimulating effects on your nervous system.
You may have been using vanilla in your baking for years, but were you aware the essence comes from the minuscule seeds of long brown pods, or that the oil is associated with wound-healing, nausea relief and inflammation suppression? Check out the uses for peppermint oil (memory enhancement and anxiety relief), burdock oil (for shiny hair and joint pain) and yarrow oil (linked to relieving digestive problems and skin conditions).
Oregano is very familiar as an ingredient in pizza or spaghetti sauce, but the fragrance and taste of oregano oil are derived from multiple compounds, including thymol, pinene and limonene, all linked to relief from urinary, respiratory and gastrointestinal tract disorders, as well as warding off insects.
Diseases: How to treat them; How to help combat them
This category covers numerous conditions, from eczema to fibromyalgia; hypoglycemia to sleep apnea; sciatica to pneumonia. While there are instances when even health conscious individuals find themselves struggling with illness, there's a lot of information out there that is incorrect and potentially harmful when people try wading through what's true and what isn't in the realm of health.
That's why I created a directory of some of the most common illnesses, so that you could explore symptoms, causes and risk factors of illnesses that might be plaguing you, and most importantly, natural treatment and pain relief options. How you can protect yourself from these diseases is also a factor, and it's fair to say that a large portion of what you read here may contradict what mainstream medical practitioners may assert.
Some diseases bear the names of the researchers who first detected them. Bell's palsy can be confused with stroke because both can cause facial paralysis, but the causes are different. Grave's disease affects your thyroid and people with autoimmune diseases are more prone to it. Crohn's disease is a chronic condition that causes unpleasant gastrointestinal symptoms.
Numerous factors can influence your health, but there are even more ways you can keep your body on the healthiest track possible. Click on any of the 80 diseases listed for more targeted information, or simply browse several through for more information in regard to symptoms and treatment.
Recipes: Combining the power of nutrition and taste
Research-based evidence demonstrates the importance nutrition plays in healing and developing optimal health. However, if you've been using processed and packaged foods to prepare your meals, you may not know how quick and easy it is to use whole nutrient-dense food in your meal preparation.
This is why Mercola Healthy Recipes was developed — to give you the tools to enjoy one of the most effective steps to achieve positive well-being. Your body runs on a powerhouse grid of mitochondria. But, a diet filled with sugar, flour and processed foods forces an excess of free radical generation and inflammation production during metabolism.
Instead, embrace the easily-prepared, tasty combinations you'll find in an extensive list of recipes. Each one is based on my Optimized Nutrition Plan and designed so you look forward to and enjoy the food your body needs to keep you energized, independent and healthy.
Bottom line: Accessing trusted information on natural health
While they may not be discussed, navigating the Mercola.com site will help you find any number of other articles that touch on physical, mental or emotional health, recipes, fitness, medical statistics, current topics in the world of health and medicine, governmental regulations and aspects of modern life that may (and probably will) impact your health in time.
The categories covered help illustrate the plethora of aspects to consider when you want to improve or maintain a body that's in good working order, free of disease and full of vital energy. To this end, arming yourself with information is one of the most proactive things you can do. As Hippocrates said, "Let food be your medicine and let medicine be your food." It really does make all the difference in your health and well-being.
Each year during the anniversary week of Mercola.com, we recognize a Game Changer, someone whose work stands as a great service to humanity by making a significant contribution to improving people's health. Previous recipients include:
- Dr. Fred A. Kummerow for his life’s work on trans fats who has since passed at the age of 102
- Thomas Seyfried, Ph.D., for his advancement of cancer as a metabolic disease
- Dr. Lee Cowden for his advancement of integrative medicine through the creation of the Academy of Comprehensive Integrative Medicine
- Carole Baggerly, director and founder of GrassrootsHealth, a nonprofit public health research organization dedicated to moving public health messages regarding vitamin D from research into practice
This year, we present the Game Changer Award to Barbara Loe Fisher, co-founder and president of the National Vaccine Information Center (NVIC),1,2 a nonprofit charity that provides information on vaccine safety and efficacy on the internet.
The National Vaccine Information Center
NVIC was founded in 1982 by parents of vaccine injured children — Fisher being one of them. Fisher’s oldest son suffered a vaccine injury in 1980 following his fourth DPT shot, leaving him with mild brain damage resulting in learning disabilities and attention deficit disorder.3
NVIC’s goal is to “[prevent] vaccine injuries and deaths through public education and safety reforms,” Fisher told The New York Times in 2001.4 Fisher’s two other children received all recommended vaccines with the exception of the whole-cell pertussis that injured her oldest son.
“The vaccine-safety and informed-consent movement has never been about telling parents not to vaccinate. We're pro-education and pro-informed consent, not antivaccine.
There is a difference. It is immoral to write off an unknown number of children as expendable in the name of the greater good to justify public health policy,” Barbara told The New York Times.5
This is a stance Fisher and NVIC have maintained ever since its inception, even though critics choose to portray the organization as a source of dangerous antivaccine propaganda.6
Vaccine safety is being heavily censored in 2019
In recent months, the push to censor negative press about vaccines has reached unimaginable levels, with “vaccine misinformation” — meaning anything critical of vaccines — being blocked, censored and deplatformed across the internet:
YouTube has demonetized “anti-vaccine” channels, barring them from advertising on the platform.7
Facebook is “hiding” vaccine critical content and barring “ads that contain misinformation about vaccines.”8
Pinterest is blocking search terms related to vaccines, as well as “memes and pins from sites promoting anti-vaccine propaganda.”9
Amazon has removed films critical of vaccine safety from its Prime Video streaming service, including the award-winning 2011 documentary, “The Greater Good,”10,11 as well as books discussing vaccine risks and failures and/or biomedical and holistic health treatments for autism.12
Google is burying and essentially censoring content and videos relating to vaccine safety issues.13
Instagram is blocking vaccine-related hashtags such as #vaccinescauseautism and any hashtag found to be “spreading misinformation” will be added to an ever-growing list of banned hashtags.14,15
Mailchimp — an email marketing service used by many organizations to deliver online newsletters — started removing “anti-vaccine activists” from its service without warning in June 2019, refusing to release email subscriber lists to boot,16 leaving organizations suddenly without a subscriber base or a way to reach them.
A Mailchimp spokesperson told NBC News,17 “Spreading misinformation about the safety and efficacy of vaccines poses a serious threat to public health and causes real-world harm. We cannot allow these individuals and groups to use our Marketing Platform to spread harmful messages and expand their audiences.”
As noted by journalist Jefferey Jaxen on his personal blog,18 Mailchimp has been partnered with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention since 2018, which may explain the company’s sudden censorship overreach. He writes:
The “justification” given for all this anti-American, anti-democratic censorship is that information detailing the potential problems with vaccines is preventing people from making sound medical decisions, thereby jeopardizing the health of the nation as a whole.
What’s really happening is that Big Pharma and government are blocking parents of vaccine-injured children from sharing their stories and letting the truth be known that there are risks involved. It’s really a showdown between a largely pharma-run government and parents of vaccine injured children — not government against creators of fake news.
There’s nothing fake about vaccine injuries. There’s also nothing fake about the data, oftentimes obtained from government documents, that are unfavorable for the vaccine manufacturers.
The current censorship is blocking out those real-world stores of injury, along with important data demonstrating that government and industry are not telling the whole truth about what is known about vaccines.
To that aim, health authorities and government officials have, and continue to, push an agenda that vilifies (if not outright criminalizes) those who express concerns about vaccine safety. We’ve also seen a rapid and disturbing increase in tyrannical measures, forcing people to get vaccinated or face loss of employment, significant fines or jail time.
Attempts to eliminate parental rights are underway
Legislation is also being introduced allowing health care workers to circumvent parents. As just one example, Washington D.C. is currently considering legislation for the city that would allow minor children of any age to get vaccinated without a parent’s knowledge or consent if the doctor believes the child is “mature” enough to make the decision.19,20
The possible result of such legislation should be obvious to anyone familiar with the fact that vaccine injuries can and do occur. If parents are not even permitted to be involved in the decision to vaccinate, how could they possibly suspect a vaccine injury, should it occur?
This epitomizes the kind of governmental overreach Fisher and NVIC oppose. As noted by Fisher during the 2008 Rally for Conscientious Exemption to Vaccination:21
"We are standing publicly for the legal right to follow our conscience when making educated vaccine decisions for our families.
Among us are parents with healthy children and those with children who have been hurt by one-size-fits-all vaccine mandates that ignore the genetic and biological differences which make some people more vulnerable than others for having severe reactions to prescription drugs and vaccines.
No American should be legally forced to play vaccine roulette with a child’s life... If we cannot be free to make informed, voluntary decisions about which pharmaceutical products we are willing to risk our lives for, then we are not free in any sense of the word.
Because if the State can tag, track down and force individuals against their will to be injected with biological products of unknown toxicity today, then there will be no limit on which individual freedoms the State can take away in the name of the greater good tomorrow."
The National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act of 1986
Among her many noteworthy accomplishments, Fisher worked with Congress for four years to develop the National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act of 1986. With this historical Act, the U.S. government acknowledged that:22
1. Federally licensed and recommended vaccines mandated by states for children to attend school can and do cause injury and death
2. Vaccine safety should be a priority for health agencies, vaccine manufacturers, doctors and other vaccine administrators
3. Individuals injured by government recommended and mandated childhood vaccines should have access to a federal vaccine injury compensation program administrative alternative to filing a vaccine injury lawsuit in civil court. Furthermore, they should have access to the civil court system in cases where:
- Federal compensation is denied or is inadequate
- There is evidence a pediatrician or other vaccine administrator negligently administered a vaccine
- A vaccine manufacturer engaged in criminal fraud or negligence
- A vaccine manufacturer could have made a vaccine less harmful (design defect)
The 1986 National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act is broken
The original intention was to offer those injured by vaccines a choice — either suing the vaccine manufacturer in civil court, or applying for compensation through the vaccine injury compensation program, which was meant to serve as an easier and faster route.
As such, the 1986 Act did not immunize vaccine makers and doctors from legal action, although there were some restrictions (see Point 3 above). All of that changed in 2011, when the U.S. Supreme Court decided drug companies could not be sued for design defects or failure to make the vaccine as harmless as possible.
As it stands, the 1986 Act is no longer serving vaccine injured Americans as it was intended. As noted in the NVIC’s position statement on the National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act of 1986:23
“… [B]etween 1987 and 2016, Congress allowed amendments and broad rule making authority granted to the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) to alter and weaken the original Act.
The Act’s safety and research provisions, which parents fought hard to secure in the original Act to help prevent vaccine injuries and deaths, have been seriously compromised.
Neglect and lack of congressional oversight on the Act for more than 30 years has enabled DHHS and the Department of Justice to turn what was supposed to be a non-adversarial, expedited, less expensive, fairer and more predictable federal vaccine injury compensation program, which Congress promised parents in 1986, into a highly adversarial, lengthy, traumatic and unpredictable imitation of a lawsuit in front of a one-person jury …
During three decades of congressional amendments to the Act and abuse of authority by federal agencies, the government has broken the social contract with Americans being required to purchase and use FDA licensed and CDC recommended vaccines.
The U.S. government has assumed liability for harm caused by government licensed and mandated vaccines, but government officials cannot be sued in a civil court in front of a jury for failing to warn and protect the people from unsafe vaccines.
The reality today is that nobody developing, manufacturing, selling, licensing, recommending, mandating or giving vaccines in the U.S. has real incentive to prevent vaccine injuries and deaths.”
It is for these reasons that vaccine exemptions for medical and philosophical reasons need to remain sacrosanct. Alas, in recent years, many states have rammed through legislation that disallows exemptions if you want your children to be able to attend day care and school. As noted by NVIC:24
“The federal government is encouraging adoption and enforcement of “no exceptions” vaccination laws, which require use of federally recommended vaccines and severely restrict or eliminate flexible medical, religious and conscientious belief vaccine exemptions.
Forcing people to use products that can cause injury and death without voluntary informed consent is a violation of basic human rights, including autonomy and freedom of thought, conscience and religious belief.”
Fisher has dedicated her life to your children’s safety
This year, we recognize Fisher with our annual Game Changer award for her decades of public education and tireless advocacy for safer vaccines and informed consent protections.
The right to informed consent to medical risk taking is a human right, and her work is, at the heart of it, a human rights issue. Once our right to refuse vaccines for ourselves or our children is eliminated, there’s no telling where it will end.
To learn more, consider picking up one or more of her books: “DTP: A Shot in the Dark,” “Vaccines, Autism & Chronic Inflammation: The New Epidemic,” and/or “The Consumer’s Guide to Childhood Vaccines.” You can also sign up to receive her biweekly online journal, “The Vaccine Reaction.”
This week, Mercola.com celebrates its 22nd anniversary. I launched the first, much smaller version of this website in 1997 to share the latest developments in natural health with the world. Thanks to health-conscious readers like you, it's grown to become a leading source of health news and information.
When I had an active medical practice, I was able to help tens of thousands of patients address their health problems using strategies such as diet, exercise and other safe and effective means, but I was convinced I could help magnitudes more people on how to get healthy through this newsletter.
Based on the feedback I've been getting through the years, this strategy has proved itself a resounding success, as many readers report having regained their health by following the advice given here.
Many have asked me to share the details of my own lifestyle and the above "A Day in the Life" video was created to satisfy that request. The first one I did was done three years ago, and I've altered my routine fairly significantly since then. I'll provide a summary of my daily routine below, but I would really encourage you to watch the video.
Keep in mind that these are not universal lifestyle recommendations that will apply to everyone. They're what works for me at this stage in my life and I am quite certain that by next year, it will have significantly changed again. It is an individual journey we all need to discover. That said, hopefully, seeing what I do, you may get some ideas for things you can do to help you feel better and stay healthier.
My morning routine — getting the day started right
My morning typically starts before sunrise. First thing, before I leave my bedroom, I perform a few simple exercises — which I repeat again at night — using a cervical traction device attached to my doorframe, and a weighted head cap.
While I'm asymptomatic, an X-ray revealed some degeneration in my lower cervical spine that could develop into a problem later on, which is why I'm doing these corrective exercises. Next, I take care of my sprouts. I have several batches at different stages of growth, so I go through each one, planting, watering and/or rinsing each as needed.
As a general health recommendation, I encourage you to use incandescent light bulbs in areas you use all the time, such as your kitchen and bathroom, as the light they emit more closely resembles natural light. LEDs emit mostly blue light with virtually no near-infrared light and don't provide a full spectrum, are digital and frequently emit dirty electricity.
I no longer eat breakfast. Instead, I start my day with a glass of molecular hydrogen. Next, I go outside for my sunrise exercise — a slow-moving, meditative Tai Chi-type exercise while gazing at the rising sun on the eastern horizon. (Done early enough, it's safe to look directly at the sun.) After that, my workday begins. My office is equipped with a standing desk, where I process my emails.
Around 9 a.m., I do a morning workout in my upstairs gym. As noted in the video, the workout I demonstrate is the strength training routine I do twice a week. On other days, I don't work out as hard. Normally, I will listen to a video or podcast during my exercise, through a hardwired laptop (to avoid electromagnetic field radiation from Wi-Fi). Here's a summary of my exercise routine:
1. Warmup — To warm up, I perform a series of stretches and movements to maintain flexibility, range of motion and coordination:
1) Windmills (using a hand weight)
2) Indian clubs
3) Egoscue stretches
4) Quad stretches
5) Cat-cow yoga pose
6) Up-dog/down-dog yoga pose
7) The plow
8) Arm and leg stretches
12) Ankle grab situps
2. Strength training with blood flow restriction (BFR) therapy — BFR is a novel type of biohack that allows you to do strength exercises using just 20% of the max weight you'd normally be able to lift, while still reaping maximum benefits.
It involves performing strength training exercises while restricting venous blood flow return to the heart (but not arterial flow) to the extremity being worked. This is done by wrapping the extremity being worked with a cuff that mildly restricts blood flow.
By forcing blood to remain inside your muscle while it is exercising with low weights, you stimulate magnificent metabolic changes in your muscle that results in great improvements in strength and size with virtually no risk of injury.
For this reason, it's particularly well-suited for the elderly. For more in-depth details about how to do BFR, you can review my recently added instructions in our Exercise Guide.
You can also review an interview with Jim Stray-Gundersen, a leading proponent and teacher of BFR training in the U.S. I will be focusing on this topic with many more interviews and articles this year.
3. Hot/cold therapy — After my workout, I spend 20 minutes in my near-infrared sauna, which is directly followed by a swim in my unheated pool. In the winter the water temp drops to the low 60s or 50s (Fahrenheit) and is an effective form of cold therapy. An alternative would be to simply take a cold shower afterward.
Once I'm done with my morning workout routine I use my hyperbaric oxygen chamber for 90 minutes and then I take my morning supplements, which include:
Lumbrokinase, alternated with serrapeptidase and nattokinase (proteolytic enzymes)
B vitamins, including a sublingual vitamin B12
Full spectrum enzyme
Next, I prepare a morning smoothie with boron, raw cacao butter, astralagus, flaxseeds, calcium citrate powder, potassium citrate, L-carnitine, acetyl L-carnitine, beta alanine, glutamine, L-citrulline, Miracle Whey, Lakanto vanilla monk fruit extract (for a bit of sweetness), coconut oil, three raw organic pastured eggs, half an avocado, frozen blueberries from my orchard and water.
I typically only eat between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m., so this is the first meal of the day. I almost always work out in a fasted state. The two raw eggs in my smoothie provide me with the needed protein after a strenuous resistance workout. At bare minimum, I recommend compressing your eating window to eight hours, and fasting for the remaining 16 hours each day.
Compressing it to six or even four hours is even more beneficial. By fasting for a period of time each day, you activate powerful regenerative processes in your body, which will go a long way toward keeping you healthy.
I'm now 65 years old, and I have no pain anywhere in my body, and have no disease, and my mobility is good — all of which is what allows for high quality of life.
After this, I batch process emails again before taking a walk on the beach. In preparation for my daily walk, I take another glass of molecular hydrogen, along with a small handful of fermented chlorella, which are exceptionally rich in chlorophyll. The molecular hydrogen helps my body recover from the oxidative stress of the exercise I just did in the morning.
I moved from Chicago to Florida to take advantage of year-round sunshine, and live within a short bike ride of the beach. I walk barefoot in the surf to avail myself of the negative ions from the ground, which act as potent antioxidants, and wear only shorts and a hat, to get sun exposure on as much of my skin as possible.
I've not needed to take an oral vitamin D3 supplement since I moved to Florida, and the reason for that is because I make sure I get daily sun exposure. As you probably know, when sunlight strikes your bare skin, it activates your body's natural vitamin D production.
The near-infrared spectrum in sunlight also has other healing influences. For example, it recharges your mitochondria and helps structure the water in your cells, and this may be just as important as vitamin D production. Normally, I will read a book or scientific literature on my Kindle as I walk. My goal used to be to read 150 books a year but now it is closer to 50 and I am reading about 2000 studies a year.
Needless to say, taking daily beach walks is not something that is available to everyone. However, wherever you live, make a point to spend time in nature — walk in the woods, hike the mountains, stroll through a park.
Most of us will have access to some form of natural surroundings nearby, and spending time in nature is a really basic strategy for good psychological and physical health. Before I leave the beach, I hop in and play in the waves for 10 to 15 minutes or merely float. This is really the best type of grounding of all.
Lunch typically consists of grass fed ground beef and a salad. Fresh sprouts form the base of the salad, to which I add some organic peppers and cabbage, biodynamic olives, nori (a type of seaweed) and Himalayan or Celtic sea salt.
Many of the foods I eat every day are grown right on my property, using regenerative agriculture methods. I grow blueberries, persimmon, bananas, avocado, Japanese plum, mango, regular plums, acerola Barbados cherry, turmeric, peaches, kratom and aloe vera.
In my pond, I also raise bass, red tilapia, crawfish, freshwater shrimp and turtles. I also have a composting pile and a chicken coop. Growing your own food is a foundational way to improve your health. Growing sprouts is a simple way to get started, as they're easy to grow and deliver the most beneficial nutrients pound for pound, compared to other vegetables.
Once a week, after lunch, I perform a few more exercises using a device called Osteostrong,1 developed by John Jaquish, Ph.D., author of "Osteogenic Loading." As the name implies, it's designed to improve your bone density, which becomes a concern with advancing age. Each of the four exercises takes just 15 seconds, so in terms of time investment, we're talking mere minutes a week.
As the sun begins to set, I do an evening meditation and the same Tai Chi exercise as at sunrise, this time looking into the setting sun. Next I perform the same cervical exercises I did first thing in the morning, followed by photobiomodulation therapy. I place the machine (which is entirely shielded and EMF free) about 2 feet away and treat the top of my head for about 10 minutes.
Last but not least, I make sure I go to bed early enough to get a full eight hours of sleep each night. To ensure correct posture while sleeping, I place the pillow sideways under my neck, so that it cradles my neck and head, and to prevent mouth breathing and snoring, I will place a piece of paper tape across my lips. It might look silly, but it does the job. You simply cannot breathe thorough your mouth with it on.
Have you taken control of your health?
I hope you enjoyed this "Day in the Life" video, and that it has given you some new ideas of what you can incorporate into your own day. Again, you probably will not want or need to pattern your day precisely after mine, as the strategies I employ are tailored to my own current needs. But hopefully you'll be inspired to make whatever changes — be they big or small — to improve your own health and quality of life.
Nowadays, when you make a determination to eat healthier to maintain or regain your health, or to lose weight and prevent obesity, there are more options at your local supermarket than there were not too many years ago — food that offers essential nutrients rather than adding a toxic burden to your system.
Rather than the plethora of margarine brands that once overloaded every dairy case, it’s easier to find pastured, organic raw butter and even ghee, a clarified butter with fewer dairy proteins than commercial butter. And, eggs from organic, pasture-raised hens are more available and a far healthier alternative compared to the tasteless, anemic-looking eggs sold commercially.
Instead of the pasteurized, homogenized, skim, no-fat or low-fat milk and yogurt that once comprised the average consumer’s shopping options, you’re now much more likely to find organic milk from pastured cows, containing significantly more omega-3 fatty acids and other health benefits. You’ll even find commercially sold kefir, a fermented milk beverage, which up to a few years ago was practically an unknown commodity.
As for meat, you don’t have to settle for chicken or beef fed a processed diet containing grains and growth-promoting drugs, or raised in a concentrated animal feeding operation (CAFO). In many areas and with little difficulty, you can find fresh, organic, grass fed chicken and beef, often produced locally, to ensure what you’re buying is of the highest quality to feed your family.
Nutritious foods and healthy dietary approaches
One of the most rewarding aspects of providing the resources you find at Mercola.com is that you have at your fingertips the most up-to-date natural health information to help you live your healthiest life possible. We’re also working toward protecting your health rights and exposing the onslaught of hype from profit-driven government and corporate entities, as well as the media.
For people who want to steer away from the “standard American diet” — foods loaded with sugar, processed grains and too many carbs and protein — you’ll find the information you need to help bring your body into a state of nutritional ketosis so that your body uses fat instead of sugar as its primary fuel.
To do that, it’s necessary to implement a ketogenic diet, an approach to food geared toward eating more healthy fats, moderate amounts of protein and a minimum of carbs.
Recipes to help you on your journey are another resource you’ll find here. Far from the ho-hum basics, you’ll find keto-friendly recipe options as varied as Appealing Almond Butter Balls, Coconut-Infused Chicken Lettuce Wraps and Crunchy Zucchini Fritters With Avocado Dill Dip.
The times you eat (and don’t eat) are important, too, especially if you want to lose weight. For that, there’s intermittent fasting, which, rather than being painful or complicated, is fairly simple and very effective: You can start by skipping breakfast, then eating lunch and dinner within an eight-hour timeframe, then stop eating three hours before you go to sleep.
The advantages of adopting intermittent fasting as a tool to shed pounds can’t be overstated, because the benefits are far reaching, including helping to reduce your risk of chronic diseases like type 2 diabetes, cancer and heart disease. The clinically proven premise is that your body can’t run optimally when there's a continuous supply of calories coming in — which unfortunately is the essence of the typical American diet.
The availability of fresh, healthy, organic produce certainly makes preparing meals at home easier. It’s also good to know the source when you purchase lettuce, sweet potatoes, cantaloupe or peaches at the grocery store or farmers market, as they’re far less likely to have been sprayed with toxic chemicals.
As an option, when you grow your own organic strawberries and spinach, you’re better able to safeguard against eating foods that are devoid of optimal nutrients due to questionable cultivation methods.
They’re also less likely to be genetically engineered, contaminated by products like glyphosate or atrazine, or otherwise harmful substances. Plus, you can now check the Environmental Working Group’s Dirty Dozen list1 which, along with the Clean Fifteen, informs you of the most and least pesticide-laden produce.
Food Facts and Healthy Recipes
That said, Mercola.com is a place where you not only can find answers for questions about natural health, but a broad list of common (and uncommon) foods, including fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, herbs and spices and more via our Food Facts library.
This is where you’ll learn what types of vitamins, minerals and immune-boosting antioxidants are in the fresh foods you eat, from avocados to zucchini. Additionally, you’ll find the healthiest alternatives to sugar, such as honey and stevia, as well as the best cooking oils, which types of seafood are healthy to eat and which to avoid, and how to grow — as well as how to prepare — your favorite foods.
We go several steps further by providing an extensive selection of recipes, chock-full of guidelines based on my optimized Nutrition Plan for preparing dishes that deliciously prove you don’t have to give up flavor to eat healthy, nutritious meals.
Below are a few selections of my favorite Healthy Recipes from among the most-viewed recipes of 2019. No matter what you’re in the mood for when you’re thinking about your next meal, you’ll find something that tastes yummy and will be good for you, too. The following assortment gives you just a “taste” of what’s in store.
Basic recipes, satisfying cravings and doing it in style
If you want to start with a basic food that can be incorporated with an array of different meals, you can access the instructions for how to cook rice, one of the most common — and fragrant if you choose the right one — dishes in the world. A staple in India, South America, Africa and all over Asia, the preparation is the same or similar, whether you use long-, medium- or short-grain rice. The potential benefits vary somewhat if you choose white, red or black rice.
Bone broth is the quintessential meal for cheering someone up, or offering your family the heavenly scent — and taste, if you can wait the hours it takes to make it properly — of a soul-satisfying dish that will become fundamental in your cooking arsenal.
A few of the healing characteristics of this nutrition-packed recipe include reduced pain and inflammation from amino acids and glucosamine, and such minerals as calcium to help protect your bones and magnesium for healthy muscle and nerve function.
Hoping for something with a little more panache? Look no further than the tender, mouth-watering Boyfriend Brisket, the perfect main dish for impressing your friends, family and even the boss. As with any dish that’s slightly more complicated, following the recipe will turn out a dish that may become a holiday essential.
Of course, you’ll need a side dish, so why not learn the best way to cook Brussels sprouts, which may surprise those who say they’re not a fan? Besides a pinch of salt and a savory flavor, the trick is the tender-crisp texture, achieved by being vigilant to ensure they don’t become mushy.
Pan-Fried Fish With Fiery Pico de Gallo Salsa is a great option for vegetarians in particular, featuring a delightful blend of Caribbean appeal with spicy overtones, especially if you’re short on time. The fish is cooked hot and fast, and the salsa can be made ahead of time.
Maybe you’re craving something sweet. In warmer weather, there’s a No-Bake, Keto, Nut-Free Strawberry Cream Pie recipe. Make sure you use organic strawberries and enjoy a treat that’s both sugar free (without using harmful synthetic sweeteners) and guilt free. When autumn approaches, your tastes might turn toward Pumpkin Cider Cake, which highlights fall’s most popular garden veggie in a delicious dessert.
A hearty, grain-free bread that’s wonderful as a snack or the outside layer for sandwiches, you can make a tasty, easy to assemble recipe, Nutty Almond Butter Bread. It has the added benefits of healthy protein, as it calls for almonds instead of the usual carbs from conventional wheat flour, and bakes for just 30 minutes.
While herbs and spices may serve to add zing to your table, sauces can do it, too, and it’s always helpful to have a basic recipe that you can tweak to take it in different directions. Remoulade fits that bill beautifully. You can make a basic, homemade mayonnaise, then fancy it up using finely chopped capers, a sprig of fresh tarragon, which is widely available in stores, and a tiny sour French pickle known as a cornichon.
So there you have it — if it’s a recipe you’re looking for, you can access a truly stellar array of choices that will fulfill every request, whether it’s for tried-and-true basics or something completely different. And when you want to look for the latest information regarding natural health, research Mercola.org first.
While a healthy lifestyle can include many different things, perhaps one of the most overlooked is purposely adopting an attitude of gratitude. There’s an awful lot of stress and unhappiness in the world, and gratitude is an effective remedy that costs nothing.
The World Happiness Report,1 issued annually since 2012, looks at gross domestic product per capita, healthy life expectancy, freedom of choice, social support, generosity and perception of corruption occurring in 156 countries. For 2019, the United States’ ranking dropped for the third year in a row, placing it 19th.
As reported by Vox,2 the authors of the report suggest drug addiction may play a significant role in Americans’ declining happiness. Loneliness is also becoming an increasingly common problem, with 46% of American adults reporting they sometimes or always feel lonely and 47% saying they do not have meaningful in-person social interactions on daily basis.3,4,5
Ditto for depression. According to the latest statistics,6 17.3 million American adults (7.1 percent of the adult U.S. population) and 3.2 million adolescents (13.3 percent of U.S. population aged 12 to 17) suffered at least one major depressive episode in 2017, and 16.7% of U.S. adults use psychiatric drugs.7,8 While it may be tempting to medicate away persistent feelings of unhappiness and anxiety, it’s not a long-term solution.
If your joy quotient could use a boost, commit to cultivating gratitude on a daily basis. As with other lifestyle strategies, consistency — really making it a regular part of your everyday life — is what allows true and lasting change to take place. In this case, allowing for a greater sense of happiness and contentment to arise.
What is gratitude?
As noted by Robert Emmons, one of the leading scientific experts on this topic, “Gratitude is an emotional state and an attitude toward life that is a source of human strength in enhancing one’s personal and relational well-being.”9 In his paper, he points out that gratitude has a long tradition within world religions, where it is viewed as a virtue that leads to a good life.
According to Emmons, gratitude has two key components.10 First of all, it’s an “affirmation of goodness.” In short, when you feel or express gratitude, you affirm that you live in a benevolent world.
Second, it’s a recognition that the source of benevolence comes from outside of yourself; that other people (or higher powers, if you so like) have provided you with “gifts.” In Emmons’ view, gratitude is “a relationship-strengthening emotion, because it requires us to see how we’ve been supported and affirmed by other people.”
One simple and proven11 way of cultivating gratitude is to keep a gratitude journal, in which you document the things you’re thankful for each day. As you journal, keep the following guidelines in mind:
- Focus on the benevolence of other people — Doing so will increase your sense of being supported by life and decrease unnecessary anxiety
- Focus on what you have received rather than what’s been withheld
- Avoid comparing yourself to people you perceive to have more advantages, more things or “better luck,” as doing so will erode your sense of security. If you’re going to slip into comparisons, contemplate what your life would be like if you didn’t have something you currently enjoy
How gratitude benefits your psychological health
From a psychological perspective, the practice of gratitude has been shown to:
• Increase happiness and life satisfaction12
• Lower stress13
• Increase your perceived level of social support14
• Improve emotional resiliency15 — As noted in one study,16 “positive emotions contribute to psychological and physical well-being via more effective coping,” and that “positive emotions play a crucial role in enhancing coping resources in the face of negative events.” By improving resiliency, gratitude helps you “bounce back” faster when something negative happens
• Reduce symptoms of depression17,18 — According to one study,19 “Correlation analysis showed that gratitude, depression, peace of mind and rumination were interrelated … Results … suggested that gratitude may … counteract the symptoms of depression by enhancing a state of peace of mind and reducing ruminative thinking.”
This benefit also has biological underpinnings, as researchers have confirmed that gratitude triggers the release of mood-regulating neurotransmitters such as dopamine and serotonin.20
It also stimulates your hypothalamus (a brain area involved in the regulation of stress) and your ventral tegmental area (part of your brain’s reward circuitry that produces pleasurable feelings).21 In short, it actually helps alter your brain in beneficial ways
Gratitude benefits physical health and work too
The beneficial effects of gratitude as a state of mind are not limited to your psychology, however. According to Dr. P. Murali Doraiswamy,22 an expert in brain and mind health, gratitude has “a health maintenance indication for every major organ system" in your body.23 Indeed, research has found gratitude:
- Reduces pain24 and lowers inflammation25,26
- Improves your heart rate variability, which can help lower blood pressure and reduce the likelihood of sudden death in patients with congestive heart failure and coronary artery disease27
- Lowers risk for heart disease — According to one study, “Efforts to increase gratitude may be a treatment for improving well-being in heart failure patients’ lives and may be of potential clinical value”28,29
- Improves general health by encouraging self-care30,31
- Improves sleep32,33,34 (which in and of itself can have wide ranging health benefits, lowering your risk of obesity, diabetes, cancer and much more)
Studies have also shown gratitude can have a beneficial impact on other areas of your life as well — boosting productivity,35 reducing materialism and increasing generosity,36 for example. All of which can improve your general “happiness score.”
Excessive materialism blocks gratitude
Gratitude is actually a form of generosity, because it involves offering or extending “something” to another person, even if it’s only a verbal affirmation of thanks. It’s not so surprising then that materialism has been identified as one of the most significant blocks to gratitude. As noted in a newsletter by the Greater Good Science Center (GGSC), which maintains a project called Expanding the Science and Practice of Gratitude:37
“Seen through the lens of buying and selling, relationships as well as things are viewed as disposable, and gratitude cannot survive this materialistic onslaught … Research has proven that gratitude is essential for happiness, but modern times have regressed gratitude into a mere feeling instead of retaining its historic value, a virtue that leads to action …
[G]ratitude is an action of returning a favor and is not just a sentiment. By the same token, ingratitude is the failure to both acknowledge receiving a favor and refusing to return or repay the favor. Just as gratitude is the queen of the virtues, ingratitude is the king of the vices …
If we fail to choose [gratitude], by default we choose ingratitude. Millions make this choice every day. Why? Provision, whether supernatural or natural, becomes so commonplace that it is easily accepted for granted.”
So, gratitude isn’t a response to receiving “your due,” but rather the recognition that life owes you nothing, yet provided you with everything you have anyway — a place to live, family, friends, work, your eyesight, your breath, indeed your very life.
When you start seeing everything as a gift, opposed to things you’ve deserved (for better or worse), your sense of gratitude will begin to swell. It can also be helpful to remember that materialism, ungratefulness and entitlement are surefire prescriptions for unhappiness, as generosity and happiness are neurally linked.38,39 Put in another way, when you act generously — even if no money is involved — you automatically increase happiness. Act stingy, and happiness declines.
Practical strategies to build and strengthen gratitude
GGSC has a number of resources you can peruse at your leisure, including The Greater Good Magazine40 and Thnx4, a digital gratitude journal41 where you can record and share the things you’re grateful for year-round. There are also many other gratitude journal apps you can download. Positive Routines has rated 11 of the best apps to track your happiness.42
Aside from keeping a daily gratitude journal, there are many other ways to practice gratitude. I’ve compiled suggestions from various experts below. The key is to stay consistent. Find a way to incorporate your chosen method into each week, ideally each day, and stick with it.
Acknowledge “useless” goodness — A way to flex your gratitude muscle when life events leave you uninspired is to identify and express gratitude for seemingly “useless” or insignificant things.
It could be a delightful scent in the air, the color of a flower, your child’s freckles or the curvature of a stone. Over time, you’ll find that doing this will really home your ability to identify good things in your life.
Write thank-you notes43 — Make it a point to write thank-you notes or letters in response to each gift or kind act — or simply as a show of gratitude for someone being in your life.
Say grace at each meal — Adopting the ritual of saying grace at each meal is a great way to flex your gratitude muscle on a daily basis,44 and will also foster a deeper connection to your food.
While this can be a perfect opportunity to honor a spiritual connection with the divine, you don’t have to turn it into a religious speech if you don’t want to. You could simply say, “I am grateful for this food, and appreciate all the time and hard work that went into its production, transportation and preparation.”
Let go of negativity by changing your perception — Disappointment can be a major source of stress, which is known to have far-reaching effects on your health and longevity. In fact, centenarians overwhelmingly cite stress as the most important thing to avoid if you want to live a long and healthy life.
Since stress is virtually unavoidable, the key is to develop and strengthen your ability to manage your stress so that it doesn’t wear you down over time. Rather than dwelling on negative events, most centenarians figured out how to let things go, and you can do that too. It takes practice, though. It’s a skill that must be honed daily, or however often you’re triggered.
A foundational principle to let go of negativity is the realization that the way you feel has little to do with the event itself, and everything to do with your perception of it. Wisdom of the ancients dictates that events are neither good nor bad in and of themselves. It is your belief about the event that upsets you, not the fact that it happened.
As noted by Ryan Holiday, author of “The Daily Stoic: 366 Meditations on Wisdom, Perseverance, and the Art of Living,”45 “The Stoics are saying, ‘This happened to me,’ is not the same as, ‘This happened to me and that’s bad.’ They’re saying if you stop at the first part, you will be much more resilient and much more able to make some good out of anything that happens.” And, once you can see the good, you’re more apt to feel gratitude.
Be mindful of your nonverbal actions — Smiling and hugging are ways of expressing gratitude, encouragement, excitement, empathy and support. These physical actions also help strengthen your inner experience of positive emotions of all kinds.
Give praise — Research46 shows using “other-praising” phrases are far more effective than “self-beneficial” phrases. For example, praising a partner saying, “thank you for going out of your way to do this,” is more powerful than a compliment framed in terms of how you benefited, such as “it makes me happy when you do that.”
Prayer and/or mindfulness meditation — Expressing thanks during prayer or meditation is another way to cultivate gratitude. Practicing "mindfulness" means that you're actively paying attention to the moment you're in right now. A mantra is sometimes used to help maintain focus, but you can also focus on something that you're grateful for, such as a pleasant smell, a cool breeze or a lovely memory.
Create a nightly gratitude ritual — One suggestion is to create a gratitude jar,47 into which the entire family can add notes of gratitude on a daily basis. Any jar or container will do. Simply write a quick note on a small slip of paper and put it into the jar.
Some make an annual (or biannual or even monthly) event out of going through the whole jar, reading each slip out loud. If you have young children, a lovely ritual suggested by Dr. Alison Chen in a HuffPost article48 is to create a bedtime routine that involves stating what you’re grateful for out loud.
Spend money on activities instead of things — According to research,49 spending money on experiences not only generates more gratitude than material consumption, it also motivates greater generosity. As noted by co-author Amit Kumar, postdoctoral research fellow at the University of Chicago, “People feel fortunate, and because it’s a diffuse, untargeted type of gratitude, they’re motivated to give back to people in general.”50
Embrace the idea of having “enough” — According to many who have embraced a more minimalist lifestyle, the key to happiness is learning to appreciate and be grateful for having “enough.”
Financial hardship and work stress are two significant contributors to depression and anxiety. The answer is to buy less and appreciate more. Instead of trying to keep up with the Joneses, practice being grateful for the things you already have, and release yourself from the iron grip of advertising, which tells you there’s lack in your life.
Many who have adopted the minimalist lifestyle claim they’ve been able to reduce the amount of time they have to work to pay their bills, freeing up time for volunteer work, creative pursuits and taking care of their personal health, thereby dramatically raising their happiness and life satisfaction. The key here is deciding what “enough” is. Consumption itself is not the problem; unchecked and unnecessary shopping is.
Many times, accumulation of material goods is a symptom that you may be trying to fill a void in your life, yet that void can never be filled by material things. More often than not, the void is silently asking for more love, personal connection, or experiences that bring purpose and passionate engagement. So, make an effort to identify your real, authentic emotional and spiritual needs, and then focus on fulfilling them in ways that does not involve shopping.
Try tapping — The Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT) is a helpful tool for a number of emotional challenges, including lack of gratitude. EFT is a form of psychological acupressure based on the energy meridians used in acupuncture that can quickly restore inner balance and healing, and helps rid your mind of negative thoughts and emotions. In the video below, EFT practitioner Julie Schiffman demonstrates how to tap for gratitude.
Thank you for all your support through the past 22 years!
Gratitude is one of the core aspects for personal success outlined by Arianna Huffington in her book, “Thrive: The Third Metric to Redefining Success and Creating a Life of Well-Being, Wisdom, and Wonder.”51 Indeed, what worth does success (of any kind) have if it’s not accompanied by a sense of gratitude?
As Mercola.com celebrates its 22nd year online, I have much to be grateful for — my staff, of course, and you, my readers, without whom none of what I do would matter. If you were not passionate about improving your health and well-being, there would be no point in any of this work.
Sharing simple, inexpensive strategies that have a powerful effect on health is my passion. The fact that so many of you are taking these recommendations to heart and are implementing them and benefiting from them fills me with gratitude. It’s what makes this journey worthwhile.
Nurturing an attitude of gratitude is a simple way to bring more joy, well-being and even physical health to your life. From being thankful to appreciating kindnesses and recognizing all the good in your life, gratitude is the act of recognizing all that has value in your life (and this has nothing to do with monetary worth).
Feelings of gratitude are linked to brain activity in the anterior cingulate cortex and medial prefrontal cortex, brain regions associated with moral cognition, value judgment and theory of mind, according to a study in Frontiers in Psychology, which helps explain why gratitude leads to benefits in mental health and interpersonal relationships.1
Showing gratitude is a healthy habit you can learn, just like eating right and exercising, and there are plenty of ways to cultivate gratitude in your life. Among them is the Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT), a psychological acupressure technique demonstrated by Julie Schiffman, EFT tapping therapy practitioner, in the video above.
What is gratitude?
Gratitude can be difficult to define, as it has elements of an emotion, a virtue and a behavior, all rolled into one. Robert Emmons, a professor of psychology at the University of California, Davis, and an expert on gratitude, defines it as a two-step process.
As explained in “The Science of Gratitude,” a white paper by the Greater Good Science Center at UC Berkeley, the two steps include “1) ‘recognizing that one has obtained a positive outcome’ and 2) ‘recognizing that there is an external source for this positive outcome.’”2
In this regard, the benefits of gratitude may be gleaned from the actions of other people or experienced in an internalized manner, such as when feeling gratitude about good fate or nature. Gratitude can also be a function of your mood, which fluctuates and may be temporary, or can be more of an affective trait, i.e., a tendency to have an overall gracious disposition.
Gratitude may also be affected by social and cultural influences, including religion, although it’s been found that even young children have some understanding of gratitude, which suggests it may be part of the human experience and that, “The Science of Gratitude” added, “the roots of gratitude run deep.”3
Why practicing gratitude is important
At the most basic level, gratitude is associated with life satisfaction4 and multiple health benefits, in part because gratitude may lead to better psychological health and an increase in healthy activities and a willingness to seek help for health problems.5 Gratitude is known to facilitate improvements in healthy eating6 and benefits depression by enhancing self-esteem and well-being.7 Further, people who are more grateful tend to be:8
- Less materialistic
- Less likely to suffer from burnout
There are benefits for people with chronic illness as well, as among patients with heart failure, gratitude is linked to better mood and sleep and less fatigue, while those who expressed more gratitude had lower levels of inflammatory biomarkers.9 Even if you’re healthy, feeling gracious can help you sleep better and longer, perhaps by improving your thoughts prior to sleep.
“The relationship between gratitude and each of the sleep variables was mediated by more positive pre-sleep cognitions and less negative pre-sleep cognitions,” according to a study in the Journal of Psychosomatic Research.10
Gratitude can also boost your relationship. In a study of romantic partners, gratitude from interactions was linked to increased connection and satisfaction with the relationship, with researchers suggesting, “gratitude had uniquely predictive power in relationship promotion, perhaps acting as a booster shot for the relationship.”11
In the bigger picture, gratitude may act as a gateway to the development of other virtues, including increased patience,12 humility and wisdom. “[G]ratitude is intertwined with several other important virtues, and perhaps … by boosting gratitude in individuals, we can foster these other virtues as well,” “The Science of Gratitude” noted.13
What is EFT?
EFT is a psychological acupressure technique that’s based on the same energy meridians used in acupuncture. However, instead of stimulating the pathways with needles, EFT uses tapping with your fingertips along with voicing positive affirmations. EFT can help you rid your mind of negative thoughts and emotions, facilitating gratitude.
This technique is especially helpful on those days when you feel like nothing is going right or you’ve received bad news. As Schiffman says, everyone deserves to process negative emotions and feel upset for a short time, but if you let these feelings fester for too long, it can start to be damaging.
This is where EFT can be invaluable in helping to free you from the negativity and find things to be grateful for — even in the midst of an otherwise hard time.
EFT can help to decrease the intensity of traumatic memories after just one session,14 which may be a necessary step to facilitate gratitude in some people. Once you’re able to recognize and tap into feelings of gratefulness during hard times, it will be even easier to feel grateful on ordinary or good days.
What’s more, EFT is associated with benefits as well, including reductions in anxiety and depression,15 increases in happiness and improvements in pain and cravings.16 When combined with tapping for gratitude, it’s likely that using EFT can contribute to enhanced health on both physical and emotional levels.
How to perform EFT
While you can recruit the help of a professional EFT practitioner, I invite you to use the following resource to learn the mechanics of EFT, as well to help you gain an appreciation for its wide-ranging application, including to boost gratitude.
There are two basic areas to learn in order to use EFT: the tapping locations and technique, and the positive affirmations.
Tapping is done with your fingertips, solidly but not so hard that it hurts. Ideally, remove any glasses or watch (which could interfere electromagnetically with the process) prior to tapping, and tap each point five to seven times. The tapping points are below; it’s easiest to start at the top and work your way down.
1. Top of the Head (TH) — With fingers back-to-back down the center of the skull.
2. Eyebrow (EB) — Just above and to one side of the nose, at the beginning of the eyebrow.
3. Side of the Eye (SE) — On the bone bordering the outside corner of the eye.
4. Under the Eye (UE) — On the bone under an eye about 1 inch below your pupil.
5. Under the Nose (UN) — On the small area between the bottom of your nose and the top of your upper lip.
6. Chin (Ch) — Midway between the point of your chin and the bottom of your lower lip. Even though it is not directly on the point of the chin, we call it the chin point because it is descriptive enough for people to understand easily.
7. Collar Bone (CB) — The junction where the sternum (breastbone), collarbone and the first rib meet. This is a very important point and in acupuncture is referred to as K (kidney) 27. To locate it, first place your forefinger on the U-shaped notch at the top of the breastbone (about where a man would knot his tie).
From the bottom of the U, move your forefinger down toward the navel 1 inch and then go to the left (or right) 1 inch. This point is referred to as Collar Bone even though it is not on the collarbone (or clavicle) per se.
8. Under the Arm (UA) — On the side of the body, at a point even with the nipple (for men) or in the middle of the bra strap (for women). It is about 4 inches below the armpit.
9. Wrists (WR) — The last point is the inside of both wrists.
While tapping, you’ll want to hold the problem or negative emotions in your mind while saying (ideally out loud) your positive affirmations, which can take on any number of forms.
A basic phrase to use would be, "Even though I have this [you fill in the blank], I deeply and completely love and accept myself." If you are in public and don’t want to say your affirmations out loud, it’s acceptable to say them very quietly or in your head, but for best results speak them with feeling and emphasis (even if you don’t believe them yet).
Sometimes one round of tapping is enough to clear up an issue while with others repeated rounds are necessary. The great thing about EFT is that it costs nothing and you can use it as often as necessary to support your emotional health. You can also perform EFT on children (or teach them how to do it themselves) during stressful situations or to help resolve emotional traumas or gain positive attributes like gratefulness.
What else works to become more grateful?
EFT is a simple, fast and no-cost way to facilitate more gratitude in your life, but it’s not the only method out there. In fact, for best results use EFT in conjunction with other gratitude facilitators, such as these tips from Emmons for living a more grateful life:17
- Keep a gratitude journal, and set aside time daily to fill it with moments of gratitude from your day.
- Remember hard times in your life, which remind you how much you have to be grateful for now. “[T]his contrast is fertile ground for gratefulness,” Emmons says.18
- Appreciate what it means to be human by tuning into and appreciating your sense of touch, sight, smell, taste and hearing.
- Use visual reminders, including people, to trigger gratitude. This helps to combat “the two primary obstacles to gratefulness,” which Emmons cites as “forgetfulness and a lack of mindful awareness.”19
- Make an oath of gratitude. Simply vowing to be grateful can increase the likelihood that you’ll stick to the behavior, so write a note “vowing to count your blessings” and post it somewhere where you’ll see it often.
In the business world, partnerships may well be the cornerstone or foundation of success. The old saying, "two heads are better than one," means two people may creatively solve a problem more quickly than just one. However, in business, bringing together two organizations in a unique partnership also enables both businesses to benefit from the strengths they each possess.
Strategic partnerships give businesses access to greater resources and a larger audience. They also help strengthen some of the weaker aspects of each business. It may be challenging to find ideal strategic partners with whom you can collaborate, but not be competitive, as they support and motivate each other to grow.
Being in partnership also offers an opportunity for businesses to identify gaps that may speed the delivery of information to their customers. Ultimately, partnerships work best when they're working toward a common shared goal, and that's exactly how we feel at Mercola.com about the organization's we've partnered with.
My goal has always been to help you take control of your health. One way I've worked to accomplish this is to partner with organizations that have the same ideals in different areas of health. As you discover the great work these organizations are doing, consider partnering with them to help expand their reach and their ability to create a healthier world.
National Vaccine Information Center
The National Vaccine Information Center (NVIC) is a nonprofit organization intent on evaluating information relating to vaccines and the science, policies and laws behind their use. They don't make recommendations for vaccines but instead pursue the mission of1 "preventing vaccine injuries and deaths through public education and advocating for informed consent protections in medical policies and public health laws."
Although the CDC2 calls vaccines "one of the greatest success stories in public health," the use of vaccines required legislation to help compensate families who had been affected by vaccine injury and deaths. This is called the National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act of 1986.3
While the Act was a step forward, it enabled compensation on a "no fault" basis, so responsibility for injury or death was never placed on manufacturers, pharmaceutical companies or physicians.4 In the 1950s public health officials recommended five vaccines for children; currently that number has jumped to multiple doses of 14 different vaccines — and the number is rising.5
Not every medical professional6 believes that the data gathered and published by the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System7 contains accurate information. NVIC reports that by 2018 nearly $4 billion had been awarded after individuals died or had been injured from vaccines that were mandated by state governments in order to attend school.8
NVIC serves as a clearinghouse of information with connections to resources that enable you to make an informed decision about the complications of a vaccine and the infectious disease for which it's being given.9 For more than 30 years the organization has had representatives on a number of boards evaluating the use of vaccines for consumers.10
These boards include the Institute of Medicine, the FDA and the National Vaccine Advisory Committee. They have sent representatives to testify in Congress and in state legislatures and they have continued to monitor research and respond to federal rulings affecting vaccine safety and your legal right to informed consent.11
Their goal is to protect your rights and offer information you can use. Currently, 45% of adults in the U.S. doubt the safety of vaccines,12 as governments end exemptions13 and propose mandatory vaccinations.14 Your tax-deductible donations help this valuable organization continue their goal of protecting your rights and providing life-saving information.
Fluoride Action Network
More than 70% of U.S. water supplies have industrial-grade fluoride chemicals added under the guise of preventing tooth decay.15 The problem is that fluoride is a toxin linked to an increasing list of health problems, while the usefulness of ingesting it to prevent cavities is highly questionable.16
I've written extensively on the hazards of fluoride in our water supply as it has been linked to neurotoxicity17 with an average loss of seven IQ points,18 hypothyroidism19 and skeletal fluorosis.20 The Fluoride Action Network was developed to broaden your awareness of the toxicity of products containing fluoride.
The organization works to stay up to date on research and remains vigilant in monitoring the actions of agencies impacting your exposure. The group is supported by a network of volunteers committed to drawing attention to populations disproportionately endangered by the addition of fluoride to water and dental products, including those living in low-income communities.21
Unfortunately, the devastating effects of fluoride have been overlooked for many years, prompting the formation of the Fluoride Action Network in 2000. Despite going up against chemical companies with deep pockets, the group has successfully lobbied for legislation, exposed scientific misconduct and translated previously inaccessible studies that discovered the negative impact fluoride has on IQ.22
They work with local groups to say "no" to water fluoridation in their communities, helping reduce the effects on infants and children.23 You can help with your tax deductible donation to support the organization as they work to fight governmental actions that increase your exposure to this toxic chemical.
Consumers for Dental Choice
The key campaign supported by Consumers for Dental Choice24 is the Campaign for Mercury-Free Dentistry, the mission of which is to phase out the use of amalgam worldwide, also called "silver fillings."
These dental fillings are made with mercury, known to have toxic effects on the nervous system, lungs, kidneys and eyes and considered to be one of the top 10 chemicals of public health concern by the World Health Organization.25 Consumers for Dental Choice was founded in 1996 and works to educate consumers. One of their initiatives is to increase access to mercury-free alternatives for filling cavities.26
As a founding member of the World Alliance for Mercury-Free Dentistry27 they assembled a team of advocates who participated in the Minamata Convention on mercury. One of the requirements from the Convention was that participating nations would create initiatives to reduce the use of mercury in dental amalgam.
By May 2017, the convention was ratified by 50 countries and by their first anniversary, that number had grown to 95. Many other countries have also come forth with their support.28
It's not only patients who are exposed when amalgam is implanted,29 but also those working in the dental offices. Funeral directors are also at risk, as they are responsible for pollution control during cremation. Property owners have to step up when mercury gets into their pipes and taxpayers are the ones who front the costs of environmental cleanup.
Consumers for Dental Choice has successfully protected against the American Dental Association's gag rule preventing practitioners from telling patients about the risks of mercury in amalgam fillings.30 They've made mercury free alternatives more accessible and advocated for resolution in several cities that have called to end dental amalgam.
The number of dentists turning to mercury-free dentistry to protect their patients is rising, in no small part due to the education and information made available by Consumers for Dental Choice. Consider using the link below to donate to help give consumers and parents a strong voice against the use of amalgam in dental fillings. The organization also suggests:31
- Choose mercury-free fillings.
- Take action to protect our children by writing to the FDA. Even though the FDA's advisory panel found mercury in amalgam is neurotoxic to developing neurological systems, they have not yet taken action. Write to the FDA on the Consumers for Dental Choice website to express your concern that jeopardizing children's health is not acceptable.32
- Sign up on the home page of the Consumers for Dental Choice website for Action Alerts.33
- Like their page on Facebook to help spread the word about mercury fillings, in addition to sharing their website with your friends and family.
Organic Consumers Association
In 1998, the U.S. Department of Agriculture proposed allowing irradiated and toxic sewage sludge in the production of organic products. In the aftermath of this astonishing proposal, Ronnie Cummins and Rose Welch founded the Organic Consumers Association.34
Their mission has been to protect your right to purchase safe and healthy food and encourage a system that allows an environment free of pollution and rich in biodiversity.35 The Organic Consumers Association addresses your knowledge of safe food production through education and consumer campaigns against unsafe practices.
They also address farming practices through legislative efforts to address food safety and children's health and at the same time encourage corporate accountability and environmental sustainability.36 Their support of policy reform to transition farmers to an organic regenerative program is one I believe will help improve the biodiversity of farm soil. I think it will also improve public health and reduce pollution.
The organization would additionally like to see the widespread use of pesticides reduced or eliminated,37 limiting the toxic exposure to those who have apply it, and those who live near the farms or eat the food.
The fight to keep genetically modified produce out of the National Organic Program is an ongoing challenge as advancements in gene-editing technology lead some to believe it is safe.38
In their effort to protect public health, the Organic Consumers Association organization recently sued Twining's Tea for misleading advertising.39 Boxes of Twining's tea read "pure" and "100% natural ingredients," which belies the residues of glyphosate found in testing by an independent laboratory, which was classified in 2015 as a "probable human carcinogen."40
Through your support of the Organic Consumers Association you enable the organization to defend your right for safe, healthy food produced in a clean environment.41 Through education and the addressing of infringements on your rights in the courts and the legislature, they help protect your access to clean food. Please consider donating today.
August 9, 2019, I was contacted by Washington Post reporter Lena H. Sun. She requested an interview, which I had to decline due to travel and speaking engagements. Instead, I asked her to send me the questions, so I could respond in writing.
Considering the biased and clearly industry-favorable reporting done by Sun and The Washington Post on previous occasions, I would not be surprised if my answers are twisted or misinterpreted to support an industry narrative, so I’ve decided to publish all of The Washington Post’s questions to me, along with my complete answers. I expect The Washington Post article to be published later this week.
The Washington Post reporters are really concerned with how much money I make selling vitamins, which is pretty funny considering their owner has admitted to selling and profiting off of FAKE supplements! What are the chances we will see those revealing details in their sleuthing?
In my response, I also confronted Sun about The Washington Post’s concerted efforts to “dig up dirt” on me and my company, as well as her failure to publish a correction to a vaccine story in which she made a provably false claim. Below, you will find correspondence to Sun in its entirety.
As noted in an August 6, 2019, HuffPost article1 by Paul Thacker, media reporters and columnists are routinely enlisted, groomed and secretly used to disseminate industry propaganda, and Sun’s reporting bears many of the hallmarks and talking points of the vaccine industry. Her questions to me have them as well.
In his article,2 Thacker highlights another Washington Post columnist, Tamar Haspel, whose blogs and articles consistently favor the GMO industry and chemical agriculture. Haspel has also become a voice for GMO Answers (an industry front group created by Monsanto’s PR firm, Ketchum). Not surprisingly, there’s now evidence suggesting Haspel works rather closely with Monsanto and Ketchum. According to Thacker:
“For many who have been suspicious of Haspel’s relationship with agrichemical giants, the documents are further evidence that she’s too close to the industry she writes about and that her prominent column at The Washington Post provides a perch to spread misleading information about agriculture and the food we eat.”
The war on health freedom is heating up
I’ve been publishing articles about the dangers of social engineering and data collection by the largest monopolies for several years. Facebook, Google and Amazon are engaged in a dangerous attempt to control the masses through massive data collection, surveillance and censorship.
These technology tyrants are working overtime to prevent access to information that contradicts their world view and ultimate goal, driven by greed, conquest and insatiable lust for control.
While the justifications given for the current censorship on holistic health in general and vaccine safety in particular is that of “public safety,” one must question the rationale behind blocking first-hand testimony of vaccine damage, and bullying and maligning of victims of medical harm rather than supporting them and investigating the causes that allow for harms to occur on such vast scales.
Between the current online censorship and the exponential advancement of artificial intelligence, our ability to think independently is under immediate threat. Social engineering tactics are employed from every angle — the manipulation and control of a significant portion of the global population is occurring right before our very eyes.
There is a reason that data has become the world’s most valuable resource, exceeding the value of oil.3 As reported by The Economist in 2017,4 Amazon captures 50 cents of every dollar Americans spend online, while Google and Facebook between them “accounted for almost all the revenue growth in digital advertising in America” in 2016.
Facebook alone makes billions by tracking every click, image, word and GPS location of its users and then selling that information to anyone willing to pay. Google, meanwhile, has infiltrated virtually every nook and cranny of our lives.
By taking over schools, it now has the means to start its extensive data harvesting right from childhood, building the most extensive personality profiles of a generation ever conceived.
And, while current censorship and social engineering efforts are focused primarily on eliminating voices that are critical of vaccines, it would be foolish and naïve in the extreme to believe it will end there.
Ultimately, the end goal is total control — they will tell you what you need, be it a vaccine, a medication, a toxic food or any other goods or services, and you are to comply, handing over your mind, body and cash, no questions asked.
Surveillance and social manipulation through censorship and “curated content” are all required for such a nonviolent yet hostile takeover to work, and all of them are currently in play, right before our eyes, behind our backs.
Big Brother joins big tech in ‘Surveillance Valley’
As reported by NBC News5 August 8, 2019, Amazon is now “developing high-tech surveillance tools” for the U.S. police force, saying it “has a duty to help police, defense and intelligence agencies.”
While there are benefits, there are also hidden drawbacks and side effects of such partnerships, the most obvious one being the expansion of government’s ability to surveil Americans without just cause.
Amazon founder and CEO Jeffrey Bezos also bought The Washington Post in 2013.6 Now, what could the owner of a massive monopoly, who has no newspaper experience, want with a newspaper?
Considering the power of collecting data and controlling information at the scale that this surveillance allows, logic will tell you that when you combine mass data collection capabilities with a massive media empire, you develop the synergistic ability to protect and further your goal — whatever it might be, from moment to moment.
Google and Facebook follow the same model — they collect data, control information and use artificial intelligence for social engineering purposes. I’ve been the target of hit pieces pushing industry propaganda for a long time, and I’ve been talking about the dangers of these technology tyrants for years.
We are now looking at the “endgame” for the continued existence of freedom of speech, freedom of thought, and not only your ability but also your very right to take control of your health. All of these basic human rights of autonomy and self-determination are under attack, and unless we defend them with everything we’ve got, we may well lose them all.
What follows are my responses exactly as I wrote them to Sun’s questions exactly as she wrote them for her Washington Post article, starting with my commentary on her attempts to extract information from former Mercola.com employees.
Confronting Sun about dirt digging and false statements
Before I answer your questions, I have a comment to make: We’ve received disturbing communications from former employees informing us of your attempts to solicit negative opinions and confidential business data from them. If you are interested in seeing the true culture at Mercola.com, the following video was recently produced by some of my employees to celebrate our 22nd anniversary.
Furthermore, in an October 25, 2017, story you published false information about vaccines and whooping cough, which you stated does not occur in communities with high rates of immunization. We duly sent you a correction. Your response, oddly, was to delete the false information but, to our knowledge, you did not issue a correction.
If you did publish a correction and we missed it, please advise.
This type of journalistic error being covered up and your repeated questions containing false claims and attacks on others supporting informed consent principles demonstrates a reckless disregard of the truth and adherence to fair journalism standards which include presenting opposing views and different perspectives.
Some of the claims you make about me and my company are not remotely true.
• You claim that I state “my products are better than vaccines.” If such a statement is indeed found on my website, why don’t you provide the link? To allege that I claim “my products are better than vaccines,” is false, and demonstrates a reckless disregard of the truth.
• You claim I “tell[s] people not to get vaccinated and to take Vitamin D instead.” That statement is twice false: I do not tell people not to get vaccinated, and I do not say to take vitamin D instead of getting vaccinated. Making either claim in any article you publish would demonstrate a reckless disregard for the truth.
• You infer that I make big profits by taking on unpopular positions and getting attacked by critics. I donate a significant amount of sales to nonprofit groups — none of it earmarked — to advance individual and public health by encouraging people to take control of their health and defend their freedom to do that.
Consumers have enormous power if they have the knowledge and freedom to wield it, and I urge everyone to make informed choices that improve their health and decrease their need to rely on pharmaceutical products or medical interventions that have real risks and cause tens of thousands of deaths each year, not just in this country but in countries around the world.
The Washington Post Q&A
Question: Tell us your story, how you got into medicine and natural health.
Answer: As a child I dreamed of becoming an astronaut and began my academic studies in an engineering program before changing my major to pre-med. I graduated from Chicago College of Osteopathic Medicine in 1982 and became board certified in family medicine in 1985 before starting my own practice. I answer most of these questions in more detail in this short video.
Question: How many products do you sell and how would you categorize them? What are your most popular products? Why are your products better than vaccines, as you say on your web site?
Answer: There are more than 100 different products at shop.mercola.com that include vitamins and supplements, organic fruit and vegetable powders, biodynamic foods, Alaskan seafood, grass fed beef, organic cotton clothing and pet products.
Please provide the reference regarding the claim that "my products are better than vaccines". That is a blatantly false and defamatory statement.
If you are referring to this video recorded by Dr. Joe Prendergast, he explains why he believes Vitamin D is more powerful than any vaccine. I can't find anything that resembles your false accusation.
Question: How has your business evolved? What were you selling in the 90s, mid 2000s, and later? How much do your businesses make? In the natural health space, how big of a player are you?
Answer: I started my website in the late 1990's to share information with my patients and their families. For the first three years of running the site, I supported the cost entirely from my medical practice alone and sold no products.
I eventually realized that did not scale well as the site grew in popularity. The only realistic options were to either charge for a subscription for the information, accept advertising, or sell my own products.
Subscribers wanted free information, and I didn't want to advertise products and businesses that I didn't trust or believe in – so I formulated, tested, and sold my own brand of products to support the website.
I have around 175 employees. It is a fairly small business in comparison to the companies that make up a majority of the nutraceutical space. My business makes less than Jeff Bezos makes while shaving.
Question: Do you still practice medicine/see patients and if not, when did you stop practicing medicine?
Answer: I stopped seeing patients in 2009 so I could concentrate my time on publishing my research. Instead of helping tens of thousands of people in my office, I could help hundreds of millions of people nationally and internationally. My website is now published in 11 languages.
Question: How would you characterize your position on vaccines and how has it evolved, if at all?
Answer: I believe very strongly in the principle of informed consent and am deeply concerned about the enormous amounts of money spent by pharmaceutical companies to lobby federal and state legislatures. The deep conflicts of interest that exist because of public-private business partnerships between drug company giants and federal health agencies has created a revolving door that is progressively eroding consumer safety.
I do not believe in a one-size-fits-all-cradle-to-grave mandated use of liability-free vaccines because it violates individual freedoms and eliminates health care choices. I think medical policies that rely almost exclusively on indiscriminate use of prescription drugs and vaccines by children and adults does not protect individual or public health.
The CDC itself deceives the public by presenting disclaimers that erroneously claim no financial conflicts of interest while receiving millions of dollars from pharmaceutical companies.
The pharmaceutical choices we make must remain free from any legally mandated social penalties. The pharmaceutical and pesticide industries operate essentially in the same way as criminal organizations exploiting people for financial gain. The mass media is quite friendly to industry talking points and very protective of its advertisers and advertising money.
The pharmaceutical companies spend billions of dollars every year advertising through media.
Question: We understand that you reached out to Barbara Loe Fisher around 2007/2008 to work with her. What prompted you to do so? Tax records show you've given around $400,000 a year to the National Vaccine Information Center -- why did you decide to do this and what do you see as the benefit for Mercola.com?
Answer: I personally reached out to NVIC over a decade ago because they produce accurate, referenced information and are completely aligned with my philosophical beliefs.
I can strongly assure you that being an adversary to powerful industries is not a positive for a business like mine being targeted with major discrediting campaigns and the leveraging of regulatory agencies, which is just a small part of the cost required to engage in these battles.
Question: Tax records also show you fund the Organic Consumer Association and others. Can you tell us why you decided to fund these groups. Can you also tell us more about what the Health Liberty Coalition does and why you founded it?
Answer: I support the Organic Consumers Association because of their dedication to improving food & agriculture. Good health requires good food, but we've polluted most of the earth's water and depleted much of the soils. Agriculture consolidation and control is threatening the very existence of farmers, and the fertilizer / pesticide treadmill the current processed food business depends on is toxic and unsustainable.
The pesticide industry is increasingly damaging our health and deceiving people, extending their tentacles into scientific journals and media.
A Washington Post columnist's relationship has recently been uncovered as part of a strategic relationship for the agrichemical business.
Regeneration International is an initiative I support through the OCA.
All of the organizations I support can be found in the footer of my website. They are all dedicated to protecting individual rights, the environment, and improving health by helping eliminate barriers that industry and government have created to achieve optimal health. All contributions are in the form of unrestricted grants. I believe in the mission of these organizations and ask for nothing in return.
Health Liberty was started as a way for non-profits working to empower people with information to network and share knowledge. There is massive social engineering occurring, especially by the technofascists of Silicon Valley – and I believe that everything that can be done should be done to empower individuals to take control of their health.
Question: Has NVIC helped your business? If so, what are the examples?
Answer: As stated previously, for more than a decade I have financially supported the work of the National Vaccine Information Center, a charitable organization founded by parents of vaccine injured children in 1982 to prevent vaccine injuries and deaths through public education. I believe in their mission and their strong defense of civil liberties and human rights, including the human right to exercise informed consent to medical procedures or use of pharmaceutical products like vaccines that have risks. The information they publish is well researched and helps people make educated vaccine decisions, which is what everyone should be doing.
Publicly supporting non-profits like NVIC that are being attacked by the media for criticizing drug companies, government health agencies and medical trade associations for not doing their jobs when it comes to protecting children's health does not help my business, but it is the right thing to do.
Question: You tell people not to get vaccinated and to take Vitamin D instead. But you also sell Vitamin D. How can people trust your motives and your credibility?
Answer: I tell people to become informed and make their own decisions. I personally would never take the influenza vaccine. Getting a flu shot every year can make some people more susceptible to influenza-like illness caused by other respiratory viral infections, as well as increase risks for influenza. In addition, the effectiveness of influenza vaccine has been less than 50% during the past decade.
I get my vitamin D from controlled exposure to the sun, as I tell everyone to do, because a vitamin D supplement is inferior to natural sunshine. However, especially for people who live in northern latitudes, vitamin D supplements can help maintain appropriate vitamin D levels.
Optimizing your vitamin D levels to between 40-60 ng/ml is one of the best ways to improve immune system function. Nearly every year the flu vaccine is promoted for the elderly as a life-saving drug and yet every year it is a failure for those most vulnerable to influenza:
Flu vaccine injury is one of the most widely reported vaccine injuries, including in the federal vaccine injury compensation program that has awarded more than $4 billion to vaccine injured children and adults since 1988. It should be noted that the manufacturers of flu vaccine, like the manufacturers of all vaccines licensed, recommended and mandated in the U.S., do not have any liability in civil court when a child or adult suffers a vaccine reaction that can permanently damage health or even cause death.
You can read more about my position on influenza vaccines here. Who can people trust? It's up to each one of us to decide who to trust and what to do about how we want to stay well. That is the point – people should have the freedom to choose.
Question: How do you respond to critics saying that you're profiting off of bad medical advice?
Answer: It takes decades before what is criticized today becomes standard treatment of care in the future. I've been criticized for my positions on artificial sweeteners, appropriate sunshine exposure, excessive mammograms, glyphosate, ketogenic diets, EMF's, cholesterol, eggs, statins, Vioxx – the list goes on and on. Over time, my positions have been proven correct more often than not.
The practice of medicine must change. Many current medical policies and practices are undergoing scrutiny by both the public and critics inside the medical profession and will eventually be discarded, but the pharmaceutical industry will continue to work to silence the critics through smear campaigns and financial lobbying to convince legislators that nothing should change so they can protect market share.
My intent is to empower individuals to take back their health. I defend freedom and autonomy. I believe that people should be allowed to identify and access simple, inexpensive and safe alternatives to the conventional medical system, which is contributing to the premature death of millions and is causing needless pain and suffering in great part because multinational corporations want to increase their revenues.
It has been my experience and observation that these multinational corporations and oligarchs will do everything in their power to control the people, control the food, the medicine and government programs so they can also control the money.
Question: State and federal regulators have warned you about false and misleading claims on your web site about your products. How do you respond to those charges?
Answer: The warning related to thermography was based on political pressure from the vastly oversold, multibillion dollar mammography industry. I've been talking about this for nearly two decades. This fact has become more widely recognized.
The FTC settlement regarding my views on UVB health benefits was based on criticisms and political pressure from the American Academy of Dermatology and a position taken by a dermatologist Surgeon General, who had developed an action plan targeting UVB advocates. The AAD & Surgeon General are wrong and providing dangerous advice by saying there is no safe level of sun exposure for any skin type.
I believe it is a grave error for the American Academy of Dermatology to recommend that people completely avoid sunshine because UVB is instrumental to producing Vitamin D. There is a large industry that directs everyone of all skin tones to avoid the sun – yet indoor workers end up with the most skin cancers because of this complete misunderstanding of the importance of responsible UVB exposure. Others are beginning to recognize this mistaken advice as well.
Question: We noticed you have moved your foundation and your businesses to Florida. What's the reason for that? We also noticed you've created a new foundation called the Mangrove Pines Farm Foundation -- can you tell us about that and your plans for it?
Answer: I moved the business to Florida because it offered the opportunity for a better lifestyle fit for the company. Avoiding Chicago 's harsh winters has significant advantages for health, and the state of Illinois has serious financial problems that make it a very challenging environment for small and medium-sized businesses.
The Mangrove Pines Farm Foundation is in development and it will become an educational non-profit to teach people how to grow their own food regeneratively, without synthetic fertilizers or pesticides.
As you probably know, Facebook has promised to combat "fake news" on its platform, but its censorship doesn't end at blatantly fake news articles — far from it. Information that is unfavorable to Facebook (or its advertisers) keeps getting censored out as well.
One example was the censoring of U.S. presidential candidate Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass. Warren is an outspoken proponent of breaking up monopolies such as Amazon, Facebook and Google, and has vowed to introduce "sweeping new regulation of Silicon Valley," should she be elected president.1,2
Three of Warren's ads were reportedly removed by Facebook in March 2019, with a message saying the ads were deleted because they went "against Facebook's advertising policies." Warren took to Twitter to comment on the removal, saying this is an example of why her proposal is so sorely needed.
Facebook is also "hiding" content that is critical of vaccines, and has barred "ads that contain "misinformation" about vaccines."3 It's likely only a matter of time before the platform starts censoring other health-related content as well — anything that doesn't parrot the drug industry's propaganda — as is already being done by Google.
In May 2019, Google updated its quality rater guidelines4,5 in such a way that even expert views are now buried if deemed "harmful to the public." Google used to rank pages based on whether an author could prove their expertise based on how many people visited a page or the number of other reputable sites that linked to that page. It no longer works that way. Now, if a page is deemed harmful to the public, it gets the lowest possible rating regardless of expertise.
Mercola.com will no longer maintain a Facebook presence
Earlier this year I issued a poll to see how you would feel about my leaving Facebook. The results arrived in late March 2019, with just over 65% agreeing with my decision to withdraw from the platform.
So, as of today, Mercola.com will no longer maintain an active Facebook page. The page will remain, but no further posts will be made. Anyone who has been following me on Facebook is urged to sign up as a subscriber to my newsletter instead.
If you have any friends or relatives who are seriously interested in their health, please share important articles with them and encourage them to subscribe to our newsletter as well. Here's how to make sure you continue receiving your Mercola Newsletter subscription.
Why I'm leaving Facebook
As described in previous articles, Facebook has repeatedly been caught subverting users' privacy. Your hobbies, habits and preferences are meticulously tracked by the site,6 and your personal data is then sold to whomever wants access to it.
This is ostensibly done for the sole purpose of creating targeted marketing, but there have been no real safeguards in place to prevent scammers and even political agents from using the data, as detailed in Frontline's "The Facebook Dilemma," featured above.
In it, Frontline PBS correspondent James Jacoby investigates Facebook's influence over the democracy of nations, and the lax privacy parameters that allowed for tens of millions of users' data to be siphoned off and used in an effort to influence the U.S. elections.
The entire profit model of Facebook is based on the selling of your personal information. For individuals who start using Facebook at a young age, the lifetime data harvest is likely to be inconceivably large, giving those who buy or otherwise access that information an extraordinarily comprehensive picture of the individual in question.
Facebook even has the ability to access your computer or smartphone's microphone without your knowledge.7 If you suddenly find yourself on the receiving end of ads for products or services you just spoke about out loud, chances are one or more apps are linked into your microphone and are eavesdropping.
The idea that I'm contributing to the invasive data mining of my 1.8 million Facebook followers has never sat well with me, and I feel leaving the platform and going back to depending on email is the most responsible way to move forward.
Facebook fact-checkers protect advertisers
Like Google, Facebook employs fact-checkers such as Snopes in an effort to prevent the proliferation of fake news. Their fact-checking is far from unbiased, however, and the bias appears to be directed by Facebook leadership.
According to a December 2018 report by The Guardian,8 Brooke Binkowski, former managing editor for Snopes, stated that "it appeared that Facebook was pushing reporters to prioritize debunking misinformation that affected Facebook advertisers."
At that point, "You're not doing journalism any more. You're doing propaganda," Binkowski told The Guardian. I couldn't agree more, and my site has been on the receiving end of that agenda.
Below is a screen shot of a Facebook post for one of my Splenda articles, which based on "fact-checking" by Snopes was classified as "False,"9 thereby reducing its potential views by an average of 80%.10 This despite the fact that I'm reporting published, peer-reviewed science.
Snopes also bungled its fact-checking of a vaccine injury report by former CBS correspondent Sharyl Attkisson. Snopes clearly had an agenda, which was to discredit Attkisson's report, as they simply didn't look at the facts presented. According to Attkisson:11
"[T]he Snopes article debunks claims that were never made and uses one-sided references as its sources — other propagandists — without disclosing their vaccine industry ties."
The fact of the matter is, Snopes engages in massive censorship of natural health, and promotes industry talking points regardless of what the scientific reality is.
Indeed, I would argue there's simply no way one can trust any given organization or company to dictate credibility and preside over what's true and what's not. There are typically two or more sides to any story, and money can easily tip the scales on which side gets to be "true" and which is deemed "false."
Facebook's $5 billion fine should have been $2 trillion
Facebook is currently facing a number of legal probes and lawsuits regarding its controversial data-sharing practices and poor security measures. July 24, 2019, the U.S. Federal Trade Commission announced12 Facebook will pay a $5 billion fine to settle some of the known privacy breaches, including that of Cambridge Analytica.
While $5 billion may seem like a lot of money, their stock actually rose after the announcement. Facebook should have paid $2 trillion in fines for their serious privacy violations.
The federal government gave Facebook a sweetheart deal despite what they reported:13
"If you've ever wondered what a paradigm shift looks like, you're witnessing one today. The FTC's $5 billion civil penalty against Facebook for violations of an earlier FTC order is record-breaking and history-making.
In addition, the settlement requires Facebook to implement changes to its privacy practices, its corporate structure, and the role of CEO Mark Zuckerberg that are seismic in scope. Simply put, when it comes to the business of consumer privacy, it's no longer business as usual at Facebook."
Facebook faces corporate restructuring
The new corporate structure of Facebook "will hold the company accountable for the decisions it makes about its users' privacy," the FTC notes.14 However, while this is the largest-ever penalty imposed on a company found to be in violation for consumer privacy violations,15 it still only amounts to one month's worth of revenue.16
In fact it was so small that Facebook's stock went up MORE than $5 billion the day the fine was announced.17 The fine should have been at least $50 billion but more likely $500 billion. So, while the FTC tries to trump the fine as a considerable win, skepticism may still be warranted.
The agency had originally considered holding Facebook founder, Mark Zuckerberg, personally accountable,18 but that didn't happen. And, considering how little $5 billion actually means to Facebook, without personal accountability, the likelihood of marked change could be minimal. As reported by ARS Technica:19
"Democratic members of Congress blasted the settlement. 'This reported $5 billion penalty is barely a tap on the wrist, not even a slap,' Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) said in a statement.
'Such a financial punishment for purposeful, blatant illegality is chump change for a company that makes tens of billions of dollars every year. Will Facebook be compelled to alter its present, systematic abuse of privacy? Based on the reported settlement, the answer is sadly, no.'
Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) agreed. 'Despite Republicans' promises to hold big tech accountable, the FTC appears to have failed miserably at its best opportunity to do so,' Wyden said.
'No level of corporate fine can replace the necessity to hold Mark Zuckerberg personally responsible for the flagrant, repeated violations of Americans' privacy. That said, this reported fine is a mosquito bite to a corporation the size of Facebook.'"
Will Facebook change?
Zuckerberg has repeatedly demonstrated a complete lack of integrity when it comes to fulfilling his promises of privacy.
In fact, in a 2010 talk given at the Crunchie awards, he stated that "privacy is no longer a social norm,"20 implying that using social media automatically strips you of the right to privacy, and that is why they do not respect it. Will any of this change? According to the FTC, the new order21 requires Facebook to:22
"… implement a stringent program to monitor third-party developers and terminate access to any developer that doesn't follow the rules. In addition, Facebook can't use for advertising purposes the phone numbers it obtained specifically for security.
When it comes to facial recognition technology, the order requires Facebook to give clear notice of how it uses that information and it must get consumers' express consent before putting that data to a materially different use.
Facebook also will have to encrypt passwords and can't ask people for their passwords to other services, and must report any privacy incident to the FTC within 30 days. On top of everything Facebook will have to do to protect consumers' privacy, it also has to implement a comprehensive data security program.
Another important consideration: These new accountability provisions don't just apply to Facebook. They also apply to companies Facebook controls, like Instagram, WhatsApp, and other Facebook-owned affiliates that it shares consumers' information with between now and 2039."
Facebook faces privacy oversight
While Zuckerberg escaped personal accountability for his decisions up to this point, his job description is being overhauled by the FTC's new order. FTC writes:23
"The order explains in detail a new system of independent control, multi-layer accountability, and personal responsibility over Facebook's practices, and substantially limits Mr. Zuckerberg's unfettered say in privacy decisions.
In fact, for the next 20 years, anytime Facebook makes a privacy decision, multiple independent watchdogs will be looking over its shoulder … Facebook's Board of Directors will name a new subgroup that will serve as an Independent Privacy Committee.
Facebook officers and employees — including Mr. Zuckerberg — are disqualified from membership. The Committee will be briefed about all material privacy risks and issues at the company, and has approval-and-removal authority over a new cadre of designated compliance officers and a third-party assessor that will not answer to Facebook."
Designated compliance officers approved by the Independent Privacy Committee with oversee Facebook's day-to-day privacy program, and "a third-party assessor with broad monitoring powers" will be appointed (and approved by the FTC) to evaluate Facebook's privacy practices on a biannual basis.24
Zuckerberg himself will have no control over any of these parties (the Independent Privacy Committee, the compliance officers or the third-party assessor), and he will henceforth also have some of his own skin in the game.
As CEO, Zuckerberg will be required to provide the FTC with a quarterly statement guaranteeing Facebook's privacy program complies with the order, and "a false certification could trigger civil or even criminal penalties," the FTC states.25
The FTC will also have "unparalleled access to Facebook's decision-making" and can at any time request documentation pertaining to any decision made without running into red tape that might limit its right to discovery.
Facebook still has unprecedented data mining capabilities
According to the FTC, its goal with this settlement "is the creation of a new culture at Facebook where the company finally lives up to the privacy promises it has made to the millions of American consumers who use its platform."
Whether this intention turns into reality remains to be seen. The fact of the matter is, Facebook is still a global monopoly, and its plan to integrate Instagram, Messenger and WhatsApp will turn it into a global super-monopoly.26
This merger has been criticized by tech experts, as it robs users of their ability to choose between messaging services, leaving them virtually no choice but to submit to Facebook's invasive privacy settings. Even if privacy is improved through the FTC's new order, it still gives Facebook unprecedented data mining capabilities.
February 7, 2019, Forbes27 reported the German antitrust regulator, Bundeskartellamt, has become the first to prohibit "the cross-application data sharing that underpins Facebooks's advertising business model."
Facebook's services will be banned in Germany if it integrates the three messaging platforms, Bundeskartellamt warns. If other countries follow suit, the merger would fall through, as it probably should. Facebook's data mining already poses a large enough threat.
Whether you worry about data mining or not, if you're a chronic user of Facebook, you may still want to consider unplugging from time to time for your psychological health. According to a study28 by researchers at New York University and Stanford, Facebook users report feeling happier and more satisfied with life after leaving the platform for a month.
Many services are banning sending emails from natural health websites. Here's how to make sure you continue receiving your Mercola subscription.
I’ve announced that I’m leaving Facebook, even though I have 1.8 million people who have been depending on this avenue to learn about the latest health news and information straight from me. The threats to security and privacy have simply become too great, and there are other, better ways to continue receiving the health information you crave, including my free email newsletter.
Paying customers sending health information to people who voluntarily opted in to receive said information were suddenly cut off, with no warning. In a statement to NBC News, a spokesperson for the company said:1
“Spreading misinformation about the safety and efficacy of vaccines poses a serious threat to public health and causes real-world harm. We cannot allow these individuals and groups to use our Marketing Platform to spread harmful messages and expand their audiences.”
This assault on your access to health information, and blatant censorship overreach, is a growing trend, one that’s been similarly echoed by Amazon, Facebook, YouTube and Pinterest, which have also blocked, pulled or disabled content deemed to be “anti-vaccination.”2
Fortunately, we own and operate our own servers to ensure no third parties can get in the way of our communications, but you need to take action to ensure receipt of our newsletters.
Beware of Google and its primary email service, Gmail
Google's primary business is the harvesting of user data, and it catches everything you do online when you’re using a Google-based feature, such as Gmail or a Chrome browser. This data gathering goes far beyond what most people realize was even possible and contributes to what is one of the largest monopolies in the world.
This is why I removed Google Search from this website and replaced it with a search engine without the privacy concerns, but with similar capabilities. I also recommend you avoid any and all Google products, including:
- Stop using Google search engines. So far, one of the best alternatives I've found is Startpage
- Uninstall Google Chrome and use the Opera browser instead, available for all computers and mobile devices.4 From a security perspective, Opera is far superior to Chrome and offers a free VPN (virtual private network) service to further preserve your privacy
- If you have a Gmail account, close it and open an account with a non-Google affiliated email service such as ProtonMail, an encrypted email service based in Switzerland5
- Stop using Google docs. Digital Trends has published an article suggesting a number of alternatives6
- If you're a high school student, do not convert the Google accounts you created as a student into personal accounts
How to make sure you see Mercola emails
If you use Gmail, you might not be aware that it uses algorithms to “sort” your incoming messages according to different categories, including primary, social and promotions tabs. It’s another way to suppress information, and most emails go to the promotions tab — unless you change that.
To ensure you continue to receive your Mercola.com email subscription in your primary inbox, add Mercola.com to your Google contacts. (If you’re using another email service, also add Mercola.com to your contacts to be sure our newsletters go to your inbox instead of the “junk” folder.)
In Gmail, you can also move one of our email newsletters from the promotions tab to the primary tab. Gmail will then ask if you always want this newsletter delivered to your primary tab, to which you can reply yes. You can also choose to remove the additional category tabs altogether, so you have only a primary inbox. To do so:7
- Open Gmail
- Click on the gear icon at the top right
- Open Settings
- Click the Inbox tab
- Choose “Default” for Inbox Type
- Check only the categories you want; if you only want a primary inbox, be sure all other categories are unchecked
- Scroll to the bottom and click Save Changes
Where to get Mercola information
In 2019, you can continue to get the information you need to take control of your health directly from my website, Mercola.com. There you’ll find top news stories, data about our most searched-for terms (CBD oil, the 5G apocalypse and Forget Facebook have been especially hot lately) and interviews with health experts on everything from the weed killer glyphosate to treating Lyme disease.
If you’re looking for something specific, you can use my search feature to access more than 100,000 pages of health information. Whether you’re starting a ketogenic diet, learning more about magnesium, searching for a healthy recipe or tracking down a new fitness plan, you’ll find it here. If you aren’t already getting the latest headlines sent directly to your email inbox, I urge you to sign up for my free newsletter as well.
Sign up for SMS — Text messaging
SMS (short message service) is another place you can find information unique to Mercola.com. When you join Mercola SMS, you’ll receive recurring text messages from Mercola.com via automated technology to the mobile number provided, offering health news and exclusive access to bonus content.
Mercola health news podcast
Have you signed up for my weekly podcast yet? This is where I share safe and practical solutions to address common health problems via interviews with leading health experts.
In recent weeks, I’ve spoken with Stephanie Seneff, a senior research scientist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) on the dangers of glyphosate, interviewed Dr. Dale Bredesen, director of neurodegenerative disease research at the UCLA School of Medicine, about Alzheimer’s disease, and discussed the dangers of electromagnetic fields (EMFs) with Peter Sullivan, the founder of Clear Light Ventures, an organization dedicated to raising awareness about EMF health effects.
Other past topics include the benefits of a carnivorous diet, natural cancer therapies and new ways to treat macular degeneration. For those of you who love to digest new information while on the go — in your car, during a workout or while you’re cleaning the house, for starters — podcasts are ideal.
Mercola health blog
For bite-sized bits of health information you need to know, tune in to my health blog. It’s refreshed daily with new highlights covering top news stories, nutrition information and health warnings. Did you know, for instance, that another person fell victim to flesh-eating bacteria in Florida in July 2019, or that antacid medications may be linked to allergies?
If you follow my health blog, you’ll know this and much more on topics ranging from fitness and healthy foods to medical device recalls and tips for preventing chronic illness.
Food facts and recipes
When you’re after hard facts about which foods are most wholesome to add to your diet, look no further than Mecola.com’s Food Facts. Broken down into food categories, including fruits, vegetables, herbs and spices, nuts and seeds, grains and legumes, condiments, meats and seafood and others, you can find nutrition facts, health benefits and cooking tips for your favorite foods.
At Mercola Healthy Recipes, you can also find delicious ways to prepare the healthy foods you’ve read about. Based on foods found in my optimized Nutrition Plan, there are recipes for soups, salads, entrees, side dishes and more.
Why I’m leaving Facebook
Facebook’s “free” service has revolutionized the way many people keep in touch with their friends, family and acquaintances, as well as news and information that interests them. But this free convenience comes at a price of your personal privacy, as YOU are the product — one that’s being intensively mined for data.
Every time you “like” a page or click on an advertisement, you’re contributing more data about your interests and preferences. Even data like your private messages, login locations and personal information may be tracked and sold.
As it stands, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) fined Facebook $5 billion for its privacy breaches,8 but even that amounts to only a slap on the wrist for a company like Facebook, which posted revenue of $15.08 billion in the first quarter of 2019.9 What’s more, Facebook’s stock rose in value by about $10 billion after news of the FTC fine broke.10
This is only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to Facebook’s privacy breaches. It’s estimated that Facebook may have 52,000 data points on individuals11 — including children. What they do with that data now is pass it on to advertisers, but what they might do with it in the future remains to be seen.
By being a part of Facebook, I could be contributing to the invasive data mining, which is why I decided that leaving the platform and going back to depending on email and other free forms of communication is the responsible way forward. When I surveyed my audience they, too, agreed, with 65.49% stating I should stop posting on Facebook entirely.
In the future, the only posts you may see from me on Facebook will be warnings about Google or Facebook, to encourage people to leave and protect their privacy.
You can still access the Mercola health information you trust
While I’m grateful for the large number of people who have followed my page on Facebook, if you’re one of my current or past Facebook followers, be sure to subscribe to my email newsletter, which will give you access to three health news articles every day, continuing to bring you the information you need to take control of your health and enhance your well-being.
If you’re already a newsletter subscriber, be sure to take the steps mentioned to ensure your subscription goes right to your primary inbox so you can stay abreast of any important news.
So, while I’m leaving Facebook, I’m not leaving my followers — just bringing you news in formats that better protect your right to privacy. In addition to my email newsletter, be sure to look at the other sources of Mercola health information, including:
- SMS text messaging
- Health blogs
During the past 22 years of providing the latest research and information to help you make informed decisions regarding your health, it’s been interesting to see the trends and developments in medicine, science and technology.
It’s always a positive step to equip yourself with the most up-to-date information rather than relying on conventional medicine for your health decisions, and it’s our aim to provide it. In 2019, we offered articles and research on the following topics that were searched for the most often:
One of my missions is to expose the entities in government, the media, corporate medicine (pharmaceutical companies) and academia bent on diverting you away from natural health — which is often far less expensive or even free. When you examine the motivations of those who do so, it may be less of a surprise to find that censorship is alive and well across every media platform.
You may be aware that it’s becoming more of a challenge as the war for information escalates. We’ve encountered serious roadblocks in the way we function as a website. Sharing our information relies heavily on the internet, but in recent weeks, the only way to locate Mercola articles is by adding “Mercola.com” to the search word(s) in question.
This puts us at a significant disadvantage in carrying out our objective of helping people gain or regain optimal health. Mercola’s content has been at the top of health search results for more than 15 years. Google’s June 2019 broad core algorithm update, as well as its restructured quality rater guidelines have effectively removed Mercola.com from Google search results, outlined in my two-part series: Google Buries Mercola in Their Latest Search Engine Update Part 1 of 2, and Part 2.
One of the most encouraging aspects of sharing my knowledge, passion and experience is the number of you who’ve taken advantage of the chance to learn more ways to be proactive with your health.
As in the past, Mercola.com continues to be a reliable source of health articles and nutritional advice, and my free natural health newsletter is packed with tips to help you live your healthiest life. We also carry top-quality wellness products. We’re also grateful for the many organizations that partner with us.
Below, you’ll find highlights of the top five articles of 2019, those which generated the “most shares.” For more in-depth information and the research associated with each of the five articles, make sure to click on the titles of each of them, listed below:
5. Low Cholesterol May Raise Your Alzheimer’s Risk — The topic of cholesterol has been somewhat controversial in recent years due to a misunderstanding of what it is, what causes unfavorable numbers and, more importantly, what doctors often tell their patients about the implications if someone’s numbers are high — if you have high cholesterol, you probably have heard it from your doctor already: that the risk of stroke and heart disease is higher, as well.
What many people don’t realize, though, is that cholesterol is not only necessary but existent in everyone’s bloodstream and cell membranes. Without it, you couldn’t survive. It’s significant that in one review, elderly people with no history of Alzheimer’s had high levels of both LDL — also known as low-density lipoprotein or “bad” cholesterol — and HDL, often referred to as the “good” kind.
While your liver produces about 80% of what your body requires, the other 20% comes from the foods you eat. Between 20% to 60% of the cholesterol you consume is absorbed, but it varies from person to person; if you eat less, your body will make more.
In fact, LDL and HDL aren’t technically cholesterol at all. You could call LDL the “carriers” of cholesterol, as well as triglycerides (fat), proteins and phospholipids, while it’s more accurate to say HDL is the carrier of recycled cholesterol.
The fact that one-quarter of all your cholesterol resides in your brain is an indication that it’s an important aspect of neurological health, including your memories. Interestingly, studies indicate that low cholesterol levels increase your risk for depression and suicide, while higher levels are linked to better brain health.
You may find it helpful to know that ingesting healthy fats helps stave off neurological diseases like Alzheimer’s by 44%, while high carb diets increase your dementia risk by 89%. This is supported by experts who report that not having enough fat and cholesterol in your brain is a factor in dementia cases, and that one of the causes is attributed to a low-fat diet. In fact, a keto (high fat, low carb) diet is now an Alzheimer’s treatment.
4. Top 3 Dangers of LED Lights — Controversy seems to be everywhere nowadays, and light bulbs again have become important to health discussions. In 2007, the rules for the types of light bulbs people could buy became a big issue due to a drive toward saving energy; phasing out incandescent bulbs in favor of light-emitting diode (LED) bulbs could save as much as 85%, according to The New York Times.1
Praised for fulfilling that goal, LEDs were singled out as the most energy efficient light bulb, lasting longer, radiating less heat than incandescents, and offering more durability. But in the push to save energy, factors like physical harm connected with LED usage have emerged.
The fact is, incandescent light bulbs are the closest to full spectrum analog natural sunlight. What apparently wasn’t known about LED lights when the government switchover was announced in 20072 is that they inflict damaging biological effects to people exposed to them. The top three dangers of LED lighting are:
Danger No. 1 — They deteriorate your vision as they emit excessive amounts of blue wavelengths and fail to counterbalance with regenerative frequencies. They have very little red in them and no infrared. When you’re exposed to higher blue light frequencies, they catalyze excess reactive oxygen species (ROS) formation, which damages your eyes in several ways. It also affects your sleep.
Danger No. 2 — They increase oxidative stress and potentially introduce cellular damage while causing mitochondrial dysfunction, metabolic disorder and cancer via suppressed energy production.
A molecule called cytochrome c oxidase, involved in mitochondrial energy production, creates adenosine triphosphate (ATP) or cellular energy, and ATP is needed to fuel all your cells. In fact, it’s crucial for survival — you can’t live without it. But LED light exacerbates chronic disease by suppressing ATP production.
Danger No. 3 — They inhibit your sleep. Electronic screens are a major culprit, but research shows that LEDs of all kinds suppress production of melatonin, and therefore sleep, which can damage your body in ways you may not be aware of. In fact, looking at an electronic device within an hour of going to bed can delay sleep for an hour or more, and TVs can’t filter out blue light. Installing a blue light filter on your TV screen can help.
3. Cell Tower Removed From Schoolyard Due to Cluster of Cancer Cases and Have You Seen the Safety Warning Hidden Inside Your Cellphone? — School children in Ripon, California, being diagnosed with cancer sparked a new dialogue about whether electromagnetic field (EMF) radiation from Sprint cell towers was the culprit. Naysayers said the towers emitted less radiation than government standards prescribed, but the evidence remained.
If you’re familiar with EMFs, you know the U.S. Federal Communications Commission's (FCC) guidelines are outdated, and worse, much of the research was bankrolled by the industries standing to make a profit from them. While denying any harm being done, Sprint agreed to move the towers, but that doesn’t negate the fact that wireless 5G towers are the next phase coming out, touted to make data speeds 100 times faster.
However, there are downsides, according to CBS News, which noted that “5G requires the installation of new equipment across the U.S. All of the companies that provide wireless service are building their own 5G networks.”3 In addition, the first 5G towers were slated for installation in several U.S. cities as of late 2018.
The industry plans to erect about 300,000 new antennas — about the number of cell towers put in place over three decades. Then they have to be not only closer to users, but while relatively smaller, much closer together, experts explain.
It gets worse: The FCC also announced that cities wouldn’t necessarily be able to choose the placement of the antennas. Lawsuits have ensued, including one involving the city of Los Angeles, and scientists worldwide are demanding a halt to the 5G rollout.
Proponents of ever-increasing wireless technology are thrilled with the prospect of the newest innovation, but health advocates are concerned about radiation. People whose lives are already disrupted by electromagnetic hypersensitivity and radiofrequency (RF) will suffer even more, and scores more will join them.
Tied to this is the problem that many people are unaware of the dangers cellphones pose: They should be kept at least 5 to 15 millimeters away from your head and body to avoid exceeding the safety limit for RF exposure, and the specific absorption rate (SAR) measurement of how much RF energy your body will absorb.
Numerous studies warn of potentially debilitating health problems, including heart arrhythmias, increased antibiotic resistance, suppressed immune function and pain.
2. Top Tips to Optimize Your Mitochondrial Health and Why Glucose and Glutamine Restrictions Are Essential in the Treatment of Cancer — Most believe cancer is genetic, but it’s actually a metabolic disease. Genetic mutations in some cancers are due to defective energy metabolism in the mitochondria, known as the energy stations inside your cells. Keeping your mitochondria healthy significantly lowers your risk of developing cancer.
But many scientists and doctors don’t understand the science, or rather, they can’t accept this as the truth because it would change how they approach treatment. Further, neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s, as well as seizure disorders, diabetes, obesity and high blood pressure are offshoots of mitochondrial dysfunction. Most major diseases treated by drugs can potentially be solved by a healthy diet, one that fights fat with the proper fuel.
All cancer cells use fermentation energy for growth. They ferment lactic acid from glucose in the cytoplasm. Fermentation involves not only lactic acid fermentation, but also succinic acid fermentation using glutamine as a fermentable fuel. Glutamine is a main fuel for many different kinds of cancers. Without glucose and glutamine, the cancer cells will starve, as they cannot use ketones. The simplest approach to cancer is to bring patients into therapeutic ketosis.
To do that, it’s necessary to restrict net carbs (total carbs minus fiber) and limit your protein. A ketogenic diet calls for 50 grams of carbs per day and limited amounts of protein (I recommend 1 gram per kilogram of lean body mass), as well as keeping your fasting blood sugar below 70 milligrams per day (mg/dL).
1. Fatty Liver Disease Is Triggered by Choline Deficiency — Choline is an essential nutrient required for numerous physiological processes, from those in your brain and nervous system to those involving your cardiovascular system. Found principally in egg yolks, it’s also essential for liver function, including the prevention of fatty liver disease, and more specifically nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), the most common form of liver disease in the U.S.
This is significant because around 90 percent of the U.S. population is choline deficient, and it’s needed to move fat out of your liver. Without it, even healthy saturated fats can contribute to fatty liver. Choline minimizes liver fat regardless of the source. That said, for your liver to rid itself of excess fat, it has to have choline, and the more dietary fat you consume, the higher your requirement for choline.
The most significant culprit in NAFLD is too much fructose. Experts said 70 years ago that sucrose and ethanol could cause fatty liver and the inflammatory damage associated with it, and that increasing dietary protein, plus extra methionine and choline could mitigate and even prevent its effects.
The caveat is that carbs, unhealthy polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) and even healthy saturated fats can build up fat in your liver. And as popular as it is, corn oil is arguably the worst because it contributes to inflammation. It also contributes to issues with the important balance between omega-6 fatty acids and omega-3s. Despite warnings about egg yolks, eating them is an easy way to ensure sufficient choline in your body.
To help commemorate 22 years of offering the most up-to-date health information available, I’ll review 22 currently top trending health topics based on our internal search results.
For each topic, you’ll find a short summary or overview. For more in-depth information, follow the hyperlinks provided in each section. You can also find a wealth of popular health guidance on “My All-Time Top 30 Health Tips” page.
No. 1 — Intermittent fasting
Timing your meals correctly can go a long way toward improving your health. A number of different intermittent fasting regimes have sprung up — some of which are more extreme than others — but all are based on the premise that you need periods of fasting, for 16 to 22 hours a day.
Among the latest is the one-meal-a-day or OMAD diet, which as the name implies involves eating just once a day.1 As noted in the paper “A Time to Fast,” published in the November 2018 issue of Science:2
“Adjustment of meal size and frequency have emerged as powerful tools to ameliorate and postpone the onset of disease and delay aging, whereas periods of fasting, with or without energy intake, can have profound health benefits.
The underlying physiological processes involve periodic shifts of metabolic fuel sources, promotion of repair mechanisms, and the optimization of energy utilization for cellular and organismal health …
In general, both prolonged reduction in daily caloric intake and periodic fasting cycles have the power to delay the onset of disease and increase longevity.”
For a long list of benefits linked to intermittent fasting, see “The Science Behind Time-Restricted Feeding.” My KetoFast protocol takes intermittent fasting a step further, providing a plan for how to safely perform a 42-hour fast once or twice a week, without triggering excessive detoxification symptoms.
No. 2 — Blood flow restriction (BFR) training
Without a doubt, exercise is an indispensable health and longevity strategy, as it will allow you to leverage and optimize everything else that you’re doing. Contrary to popular belief, though, resistance training may actually be more important than aerobic exercise, especially for the elderly, as maintaining strong muscles plays an important role in quality of life and neurological health.3,4
Globally, sarcopenia or loss of muscle mass affects 10% of men and women over the age of 605 and up to 50% of those over 80.6 Building and maintaining muscle will also go a long way toward optimizing your metabolism and warding off insulin resistance,7 a primary driver of virtually all chronic and degenerative disease, including Type 2 diabetes and heart disease.
I’ve previously discussed how superslow resistance training can boost results by turning your workout into a high-intensity exercise. Another profoundly effective technique is known as Kaatsu training, or blood flow restriction (BFR) training. It’s probably the most effective type of resistance training out there, and it’s particularly beneficial for the elderly and athletes recovering from an injury.
For more in-depth details about how to do BFR, you can review my recently added instructions in our Exercise Guide.
You can also review an interview with Jim Stray-Gundersen, a leading proponent and teacher of BFR training in the U.S. In brief, it involves performing strength training exercises while restricting venous blood flow return to the heart (but not arterial flow) to the extremity being worked. I will be focusing on this topic with many more interviews and articles this year.
In a nutshell, by forcing blood to remain inside your muscle while it is exercising with low weights, you stimulate magnificent metabolic changes in your muscle that results in great improvements in strength and size with virtually no risk of injury.
A significant benefit of BFR training is that you can do strength exercises using just 20% of the weight you could maximally lift, while still reaping maximum benefits.
As a result, you circumvent the dangers associated with heavy weights. Blood flow restriction training can stimulate muscle growth and strength in about half the time, using about one-fifth of the weight, compared to standard weight training which makes it widely available to seniors.
No. 3 — CBD oil and/or full spectrum whole seed hemp oil
The medical benefits of cannabidiol (CBD) are now increasingly recognized, and we now know the human body produces endogenous cannabinoids and that this endocannabinoid system (ECS) plays an important role in human health by regulating homeostasis between your bodily systems, such as your respiratory, digestive, immune and cardiovascular systems.
CBD is nonpsychoactive, nonaddictive, does not produce a "high" and has few to no dangerous side effects. According to Project CBD, at least 50 conditions8 are believed to be improved by CBD, including pain, seizures, muscle spasms, nausea associated with chemotherapy, digestive disorders, degenerative neurological disorders such as multiple sclerosis and Parkinson's disease, mood disorders, anxiety, PTSD and high blood pressure.
One of your healthiest options may be to use whole hemp oil rather than isolated CBD (from either hemp or cannabis), as CBD is just one of more than 100 different phytocannabinoids found in whole hemp, and the synergistic action between them is likely to produce better results.
According to phytocannabinoid expert Carl Germano, CBD alone cannot fully support your ECS. You need the other phytocannabinoids and terpenes, which are very complementary to the phytocannabinoids, as well. To learn more, see my interview with him, featured in “The endocannabinoid system and the important role it plays in human health.”
While the raw unprocessed plant could be juiced, processing will convert the cannabinoids into more usable forms. Germano suggests blending leaves, flowers and buds in a blender and storing the mix in the refrigerator for a day or two. “Probably, an ounce or two of raw plant would do the trick as a healthy plant beverage,” he says.
No. 4 — High blood pressure
In 2017, the American Heart Association (AHA) and the American College of Cardiology, along with nine other health organizations, changed the cutoff used to diagnose high blood pressure from 140/90 mm Hg to 130/80 mm Hg.9 Normal blood pressure is now below 120/80 mm Hg.
This slight shift increased the number of people diagnosed to include many who had previously been considered healthy. Usually, there are no warning signs or symptoms of high blood pressure. The only way to know for certain is to have your pressure measured.
Uncontrolled high blood pressure is the leading cause of heart disease and stroke and raises your risk of heart of kidney and heart failure.10 High blood pressure increases the workload on your heart muscle, which may result in heart failure and damage the arteries supplying the muscle with oxygen, leading to a potential heart attack.
High blood pressure may also damage small arteries, reducing the amount of oxygen delivered to your organs such as your kidneys and eyes. Over time, this may result in kidney failure11 and vision loss.12 Strategies to normalize your blood pressure include:
Avoiding processed foods (due to them being high in sugar, fructose, grains, partially hydrogenated oils and processed omega-6 oils)
Getting regular exercise, especially ones that increase nitric oxide. My new favorite exercise to lower blood pressure is blood flow restricted training, which you will hear loads more about this year
Eating foods known to reduce high blood pressure, such as arugula, flaxseeds, beets, celery, olive oil and cooked tomatoes
No. 5 — How Google and Facebook are hurting you
In recent years, the privacy hazards and dangers to democracy and freedom of thought and speech posed by Google and Facebook have become increasingly apparent and well-recognized. In the summer of 2019, Google showed its true colors by implementing a highly-biased search engine update13 that buried Mercola search results, evaporating 99% of our Google traffic virtually overnight.
Google also has significant influence over urban development,14 health care15,16 and childhood education. In fact, Google’s influence over young children has been a concern for years.17
When you consider Google’s primary business is tracking, compiling, storing and selling personal data, by capturing children at an early age, it will be able to build the most comprehensive personality profiles of the population ever conceived — and there’s no opt-out feature for this data gathering.18
Personal data mining is also Facebook’s primary business. And while the U.S. Federal Trade Commission slapped Facebook with a $5 billion fine on July 24, 2019, to settle privacy breaches,19 this fine amounts to just one month’s worth of revenue,20 and Facebook’s stock actually rose immediately following the FTC’s announcement.21
What’s more, Facebook’s plan to integrate Instagram, Messenger and WhatsApp will make the company’s monopoly even more massive,22 giving Facebook truly unprecedented data mining capabilities. If you’re still in the dark about how much of yourself you’re giving away to these companies, and what the ramifications might be, see “What Kind of Information Does Google and Facebook Have on You?”
No. 6 — Vitamin C protocol for sepsis
One of the most important medical discoveries in recent years is Dr. Paul Marik’s vitamin C protocol for sepsis — a progressive disease process initiated by an aggressive, dysfunctional immune response to an infection in the bloodstream, which is why it’s sometimes referred to as blood poisoning.
Each year, an estimated 1 million Americans get sepsis23,24 and up to half of them die as a result.25,26,27 Marik, chief of pulmonary and critical care medicine at Sentara Norfolk General Hospital in East Virginia, discovered a simple and inexpensive way to treat sepsis using intravenous (IV) vitamin C and thiamine (vitamin B-1) in combination with the steroid hydrocortisone28,29 — a discovery that may save tens of thousands of lives and billions of dollars each year.
His initial study30 showed giving septic patients this simple IV cocktail for two days reduced mortality nearly fivefold, from 40% to 8.5%. Sentara Norfolk General Hospital, where Marik works, has already made the protocol its standard of care for sepsis, and other hospitals are considering implementing it as well. Should you or someone you love get sepsis, knowing about this inexpensive treatment — and asking for it to be used — could be a lifesaver.
No. 7 — The cholesterol myth
After decades of research failed to demonstrate a correlation between dietary cholesterol and heart disease, the 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans31,32 finally admitted that “cholesterol is not considered a nutrient of concern for overconsumption.”
A scientific review33 published in the Expert Review of Clinical Pharmacology in 2018 dismissed many long-held myths about cholesterol and the benefit of lowering it.
The paper presents substantial evidence that total cholesterol and low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol levels are not an indication of heart disease risk, and that statin treatment is of “doubtful benefit” as a form of primary prevention for this reason.
As a general rule, cholesterol-lowering drugs are not required or prudent for the majority of people — especially if both high cholesterol and longevity run in your family.
For more information about cholesterol and what the different levels mean, take a look at the infographic below. You can also learn more about the benefits of cholesterol, why you don’t want your level to be too low and ways to optimize your cholesterol level in “Cholesterol Plays Key Role in Cell Signaling.”
No. 8 — Molecular hydrogen
Molecular hydrogen (H2) is a gas with very unique and selective antioxidant effects that specifically target the most harmful free radicals. It works primarily by improving and optimizing the redox status of the cell when needed.
As a result, you see improvements in superoxide dismutase, catalase and glutathione levels, for example. Not only does hydrogen selectively reduce the most toxic radicals, but it can help prevent an excess (which becomes toxic) of the free radicals from being produced in the first place. This is a very powerful prevention mechanism.
H2 also activates the Nrf2 pathway when needed. Nrf2 is a transcription factor that, when activated, goes into the cell’s nucleus and binds to the antioxidant response element in the DNA. It then induces the transcription of further cytoprotective enzymes such as glutathione and several others.
A landmark paper34 on molecular hydrogen came out in Nature Medicine in 2007, showing 2% hydrogen gas was effective at preventing brain damage from ischemia reperfusion and, as an antioxidant, has powerful therapeutic applications.
Hydrogen is the smallest molecule in the universe, and is neutral and nonpolar, which is why its bioavailability is so great. It does not dissociate into its electrons and protons when dissolved in water, so it will not alter the pH of water or your body and has nothing to do with the alkaline water concept.
To learn more about the details of how molecular hydrogen works, see “The Remarkable Benefits of Molecular Hydrogen,” in which I interview a world-class expert and researcher in this field, Tyler W. LeBaron.
According to LeBaron, more than 1,000 peer-reviewed scientific publications have collectively demonstrated that H2 has therapeutic potential in over 170 different human and animal disease models.
In fact, hydrogen is shown to benefit virtually every organ of the human body, and the reason for this is because hydrogen actually targets and mitigates the root causes of inflammation and oxidation.
No. 9 — Collagen considerations
Collagen is the most common and abundant of your body’s proteins, one of its primary purposes being to provide structural scaffolding for your various tissues to allow them to stretch while still maintaining tissue integrity.35
Collagen supplements allow for certain peptides to enter your bloodstream intact, before they’re broken down into their component parts in your digestive system, thereby benefiting connective tissues throughout your body.
Not all supplements are made alike, however. Laboratory testing36 has revealed many popular nonorganic poultry-based collagen and bone broth products contain contaminants, from antibiotics and prescription drug metabolites to parabens and insecticides — contaminants typically associated with concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs).
The results suggest CAFO animal byproducts are routinely used to make nonorganic poultry-based collagen products so, to avoid contaminants, it would likely have to be 100% organic.
What’s more, when you see a product is made from cow hides, it is best to ask questions about how that collagen is removed from the hides. Many tanneries use sulfuric acid and chromium salts during processing, which would negate any organic claims. To learn more about the benefits and potential drawbacks of collagen supplements, see “Collagen Benefits Skin and Joints, Study Confirms.”
My personal preference is to use a less denatured (unhydrolyzed) organic collagen supplement, as it has a more balanced amino acid profile. An even better choice would be to make homemade bone broth using bones and connective tissue from grass fed, organically raised animals. It’s the most natural approach of all and is, in my view, the best way to get the full range of benefits without the potential drawbacks.
No. 10 — Enzymes for optimal health
Your body secretes enzymes to catalyze biological reactions, making them vital to good health and longevity. Each organ has its own set of enzymes, and each enzyme has a different function. Enzymes can be broadly divided into digestive enzymes, metabolic enzymes and food-based enzymes, and there are two primary ways of using an enzyme supplement: digestively or systemically.
Taken with food, it will help digest the food. Taken on an empty stomach, the enzymes will pass through your digestive system and enter your blood circulation, providing systemic benefits.
While your body continually produces enzymes, certain factors can limit this capacity, such as aging (which lowers production), genetics (which may inhibit your ability to produce certain enzymes) and lifestyle choices such as diet, the amount of food you eat and whether or not you fast or smoke.
The healthier your lifestyle, the better your enzymatic activity will be, even without assistance from a supplement. For example, eating plenty of fresh, raw and/or fermented foods will supply your body with healthy enzymes. Sprouts are a particularly excellent source of live enzymes.
Fasting has also been shown to conserve enzymes. If you do not eat, you will not produce digestive enzymes, allowing metabolic enzyme production and activity to proliferate instead. A supplement can still be valuable, however, to counteract genetics, aging and a less than ideal lifestyle. To learn more, see “Enzyme Fundamentals.”
No. 11 — Moringa
Moringa is a plant with many similar benefits as broccoli. It’s part of the brassica family and is considered a vegetable,37 despite growing like a tree. Virtually every part of the plant is edible and has medicinal qualities, and most parts can be consumed either raw or cooked.
Globally, the leaves, roots, pods and flowers are most typically consumed.38 You can also harvest the plant as a microgreen. As noted in the mini-review “Health Benefits of Moringa Oleifera,” published in the Asian Pacific Journal of Cancer Prevention in 2014:39
“Moringa oleifera contains essential amino acids, carotenoids in leaves, and components with nutraceutical properties … An important factor that accounts for the medicinal uses of Moringa oleifera is its very wide range of vital antioxidants, antibiotics and nutrients including vitamins and minerals.”
Moringa is an excellent source of protein,40 fatty acids,41 beta-carotene, quercetin,42 flavonoids43 and an isothiocyanate called moringin,44 which like sulforaphane in broccoli has potent anti-inflammatory and cytoprotective effects.45
Like broccoli, Moringa has also been shown to have potent antibiotic activity against a wide variety of pathogens, including Escherichia coli, Salmonella typhimurium, Candida and Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori).46
Moringa, however, comes out on top (compared to broccoli) in terms of economics. It’s far easier to grow, even under challenging conditions, making it an excellent option in areas plagued by drought and other environmental challenges. The fact that you can eat more or less the whole tree in a variety of different ways also makes it an attractive option.
No. 12 — How to recover from arthritis
Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is an autoimmune disease in which your body destroys your joints, and can be terminal. The remission rate is exceptionally low, and RA patients are typically treated with toxic drugs that in some cases can do more harm than good. Remission is possible, however, as demonstrated by Sarah Allen, a former patient of mine whom I interviewed about the details of her recovery.
It’s a popular article, and for good reason. RA is a complex and crippling disease for which conventional medicine has few answers. Food, it turns out, is a primary treatment. In Allen’s case, her genetic background suggested she may have an intolerance to wheat and gluten, which she eliminated. She also eliminated processed foods and sugars, focusing on whole foods and high amounts of fresh vegetable juice.
Other strategies included eating raw organic pastured eggs and organic meats, raising her vitamin D level, lowering stress and incorporating the Emotional Freedom Techniques, or EFT, to address the emotional component of the disease. Astaxanthin is recommended for pain relief related to inflammation, as is animal-based omega-3 fats.
Fermented vegetables provide valuable fiber and beneficial bacteria that help heal and seal your gut, which is an important part of the treatment of autoimmune problems. Low-dose Naltrexone can also be very helpful. It’s inexpensive and nontoxic, and while it is a drug and not a natural therapy, it is far safer than the other drugs typically used.
Lectins can also be problematic,47,48 and those with autoimmune disorders will often improve on a lectin-free diet. Lectins bind to carbohydrates and attach to cells that allow them to do harm as part of the plant’s self-defense mechanism against pests. Unfortunately, some may also cause trouble in humans.
Many lectins are proinflammatory, immunotoxic, neurotoxic and cytotoxic. Certain lectins may also increase blood viscosity, interfere with gene expression and disrupt endocrine function. You can see a list of the foods that are high in lectins that need to be avoided at Dr. Steven Gundry’s site.49
No. 13 — Why 5G is a huge threat to your health
Electromagnetic field (EMF) exposures, which include AC electric fields from house wiring and corded appliances, AC magnetic fields from power lines and wiring errors, radio frequencies from smart meters, cellphones and Wi-Fi, and dirty electricity (transient voltage spikes as a result of switching mode power supplies) all have an effect on your biology.
EMFs have been linked to a wide array of health effects,50 including the creation of excess oxidative stress, opening your blood-brain barrier, allowing toxins to enter your brain, and damaging DNA in your nucleus and mitochondria.
It also impairs proton flow and ATP production, altering cellular function due to excessive charge, altering your microbiome and raising your risk for cancer. Importantly, EMFs also have neurological effects,51 and contribute to anxiety, depression, autism and Alzheimer’s.
All of these hazards are likely to exponentially increase with the implementation of 5G. One of the main problems with 5G — setting it apart from previous generations, i.e., 2G, 3G and 4G — is that it relies primarily on the bandwidth of the millimeter wave (MMW),52 known to penetrate 1 to 2 millimeters of human skin tissue.53,54
Research indicates that sweat ducts in human skin act as antennae when they come in contact with MMWs,55 causing pain.56 MMW has also been linked to eye problems,57,58 impacted heart rate variability (an indicator of stress),59,60,61 heart rate changes (arrhythmias),62,63 suppressed immune function64 and increased antibiotic resistance.65 To learn more, see “The 5G War — Technology Versus Humanity.”
Even without 5G, EMF exposure is a significant health hazard that needs to be addressed — especially if you’re already struggling with chronic health issues, as your recovery will be severely hampered if your body is constantly assaulted by these unnatural fields.
For a list of remedial strategies, see my interview with electromagnetic radiation specialist Oram Miller. My next book, “EmF’d,” which is scheduled to come out in early 2020, will be loaded with many more practical strategies.
No. 14 — Nose-to-tail carnivore diet
In a recent interview, Dr. Paul Saladino66 offered up a surprising twist on what constitutes a healing diet. A carnivore diet, virtually devoid of plant foods, he claims, may be helpful for those struggling with autoimmune disease.
As mentioned above, plant lectins can be problematic for some people, and that’s part of it. In order to be truly beneficial, however, it’s important to eat “nose-to-tail,” meaning you need to eat all parts of the animal, including organ meats and connective tissue. As noted by Saladino:
“It’s not just about eating steak. You’re really getting this incredibly diverse array of nutrients in the whole animal … You can get every single thing that we need.
It’s really interesting to kind of break it down and say, ‘You’re getting calcium in the bones. You’re getting copper to balance the zinc in the liver. You’re getting this B vitamin in the liver. You’re getting this B vitamin in the muscle meat.’
But what we find is that we have to eat the whole animal. If we just eat the muscle meat, we’re really going to be missing out on nutrients … I would argue further that animal-based nutrients are much more bioavailable than plant-based nutrients. They’re in the right ratio, which are incredible if you look at zinc, copper, calcium and magnesium.”
If you missed it and want to learn more about this novel theory, see “Health Effects of the Carnivore Diet.”
No. 15 — Glycine
Glycine is an inexpensive and readily available supplement with significant health benefits. Collagen can also be used, as it too contains high amounts of glycine. By inhibiting the consumption of nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide phosphate hydrogen (NADPH), glycine helps lower inflammation and oxidative damage.
Glycine will also help detoxify the herbicide glyphosate, which is now found in most conventionally grown and processed foods. Glyphosate is an analog of the amino acid glycine and attaches in places where you need glycine.
Importantly, glycine is used up in the detoxification process, hence many of us do not have enough glycine for efficient detoxification. To eliminate glyphosate, you need to saturate your body with glycine.
Dr. Dietrich Klinghardt recommends taking 1 teaspoon (4 grams) of glycine powder twice a day for a few weeks and then lower the dose to one-fourth teaspoon (1 gram) twice a day. This forces the glyphosate out of your system, allowing it to be eliminated through your urine.
No. 16 — B vitamins
B vitamins have gotten quite a bit of attention lately, with studies highlighting their importance for brain health and prevention of neurodegenerative diseases, migraines and psychiatric conditions.67
For example, vitamin B2 (riboflavin) has been shown to have potent neuroprotective potential, offering protection against both migraine and Parkinson’s disease by ameliorating oxidative stress, mitochondrial dysfunction, neuroinflammation, homocysteine neurotoxicity and glutamate excitotoxicity.68
Vitamins B6, B12 and B9 (folate, or folic acid in its synthetic form) have also been shown to reduce migraine disability.69 This same trio may also help prevent cognitive decline and protect against more serious dementia such as Alzheimer's disease.70 As with migraines, a primary mechanism of action here is the suppression of homocysteine,71 which tends to be elevated when you have brain degeneration.
Deficiencies in B1, B2, B6, B8 and/or B1272,73 have been linked to neuropsychiatric symptoms, and symptoms of schizophrenia have been shown to significantly improve on high doses of vitamins B6, B8 (inositol) and B12.74
Aside from regulating homocysteine (which takes a toll on your brain structure and function), another reason why B vitamins have such a powerful effect on a wide range of brain disorders and psychiatric conditions has to do with the fact that they:
- Have a direct impact on the methylation cycle
- Are required for the production and function of neurotransmitters
- Are required for the maintenance of myelin, the fatty sheath surrounding your nerve cells. Without this protective coating, nerve signals become slow and sporadic, which can lead to motor function problems, cognitive losses and changes in mood
B8 (inositol), specifically, aids cell communication, allowing your cells to properly interpret chemical messages and respond accordingly,75 while B6, folate and B12 (in combination with SAMe) regulate the synthesis and breakdown of brain chemicals involved in mood control, including serotonin, melatonin and dopamine.
This is why a deficiency in one or more of these B vitamins can trigger symptoms of depression. High doses of B6, B9 and B12 in combination may also offset damage caused by air pollution.
No. 17 — Choline
Choline deficiency has been identified as a major contributor to liver disease, including nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), as it’s required to move fat out of your liver.76 Chris Masterjohn, who has a Ph.D. in nutritional science, has suggested the rise in NAFLD is largely the result of shunning liver and egg yolks77 — two foods exceptionally high in choline.
According to a study78 published in the journal Nutrients, only 8% of U.S. adults are getting enough choline — including only 8.5% of pregnant women. Among egg consumers, however, more than 57% meet the adequate intake levels for choline.
Based on the outcomes, the study authors concluded that “it is extremely difficult to achieve the adequate intake for choline without consuming eggs or taking a dietary supplement.”79
Choline also helps keep your cell membranes functioning properly, plays a role in nerve communications and prevents the buildup of homocysteine in your blood, which is good because elevated levels are linked to heart disease.
It also helps reduce chronic inflammation and enables your body to make the brain chemical acetylcholine, which is involved in storing memories. In pregnant women, choline helps prevent birth defects such as spina bifida, while also playing a role in your baby’s brain development.
No. 18 — Beta-glucans
Beta-glucan is a polysaccharide — a type of fiber — found in yeast, algae, bacteria and fungi, known for its immune-boosting and cancer-fighting activities. One of the most common food sources is mushrooms. Shiitake, maitake and oyster mushrooms are all good sources.80
Importantly, beta-glucans enhance natural killer (NK) cell activity and function,81 and research82,83 shows that if you have enough NK cells in your system, you will not contract influenza.
According to the authors, the results clearly showed those having 10% or more NK cells remained well, with no flu symptoms, while those whose NK cells were below 10% became ill. Several other studies have also shown beta-glucans offer powerful protection against cold and flu. To learn more, see “Best Nutrients for Cold and Flu Season.”
No. 19 — Quercetin
Another potent antiviral is quercetin. Influenza strains are not the only viruses that succumb to quercetin, though. Studies have confirmed its effectiveness against a wide variety of viruses, including:
- Herpes simplex virus type 1, polio-virus type 1, parainfluenza virus type 3 and respiratory syncytial virus84
- Dengue virus85
- Hepatitis B86 and C87
Its antiviral effects are attributed to three main mechanisms of action: Inhibiting the virus’ ability to infect cells, inhibiting replication of already infected cells and reducing infected cells’ resistance to treatment with antiviral medication.
Found naturally in apples, plums, red grapes, green tea, elder flower and onions,88 the quercetin in these foods may also ameliorate obesity, Type 2 diabetes,89 circulatory dysfunction, chronic inflammation, hay fever and mood disorders.90
No. 20 — Ashwagandha
Ashwagandha is a powerful adaptogenic herb that helps your body manage and adapt to stress by balancing your immune system, metabolism and hormonal systems.
Its anti-inflammatory, antitumor, antistress, antioxidant, immunomodulatory, hemopoietic and rejuvenating properties makes it one of the most important herbs in Ayurvedic medicine. Importantly, a number of studies have shown it can treat several diseases and disorders better than medications, without all the side effects.
For example, research suggests taking 300 milligrams (mg) of a highly concentrated full-spectrum ashwagandha extract twice a day for 60 days may result in significant reductions in stress.
Other studies have shown ashwagandha has antitumor and blood production (hemopoietic) capabilities, and benefits the cardiopulmonary, endocrine and central nervous systems, all "with little or no associated toxicity." For a long list of demonstrated health benefits, see this review on Ashwagandha.
No. 21 — Treating autoimmunity
By definition, autoimmunity refers to conditions in which your immune system malfunctions and starts attacking otherwise healthy or normal cells or nutrients. The presence of autoantibodies in blood tests is one diagnostic indication that you have an autoimmune disease.91
Autoimmune diseases can be difficult to treat through conventional means. However, many will find improvement through lifestyle changes, starting with diet. With some disorders, such as Hashimoto’s — a thyroid autoimmune disease — you will need to be on a gluten-free diet,92,93 as the gluten molecule looks like thyroid hormone, triggering an immune attack, thereby worsening the condition.
Optimizing your vitamin D is crucial for all autoimmune disorders, as vitamin D influences genes related to autoimmune diseases, including MS and Crohn’s diseases.94 Vitamin D also helps optimize your immune function in general.
Another dietary factor that can wreak havoc on those with autoimmune diseases is plant lectins, discussed above. To learn more about how lectins impact autoimmune diseases, see my interview with Dr. Steve Gundry in “Limit the Lectins.”
No. 22 — Indole 3 Carbinol (I3C)
Cruciferous veggies contain several plant compounds that are important for optimal health, including powerful chemoprotective compounds. In addition to sulforaphane, another important chemoprotective phytochemical is indole-3 carbinol (I3C),95 which in your gut is converted into diindolylmethane (DIM).
DIM in turn boosts immune function and, like sulforaphane, plays a role in the prevention and treatment of cancer.96,97 I3C also works by activating a protein called aryl hydrocarbon receptor (AhR), which communicates with immune and epithelial cells in your gut lining, thereby helping to reduce inflammation caused by pathogenic bacteria.
AhR also helps stem cells convert into mucus-producing cells in your gut lining. These cells also help extract nutrients from the foods you eat, all of which translate into improved gut function and health.
1 The following component of apples contain the highest amounts of beneficial bacteria (probiotics):
2 Which of the following web browsers offers the worst privacy protections?
3 Which of the following options could safely be selected as the healthiest?
4 Coriander seed refers to the seed portion of Coriandum sativum. The leafy portion of this plant genus is known as:
5 Which of the following statements is accurate?
6 Who was the first man to step on the moon's surface?
7 Which of the following helps activate and augment autophagy, an important process that breaks down and repairs damaged subcellular parts?
Vitiligo is a skin condition that has been around for centuries and has been documented in various historical accounts. The clear cause for vitiligo has not yet been pinpointed because of varying external factors connected to its development. However, it is now being listed as an autoimmune disease where the immune system attacks and kills off the cells that are responsible for the production of melanin.1
Some of the earliest documents describing this condition go as far back as 3,000 years ago, some of which are found in Egyptian and Vedic texts. The only problem is that there is no clear contrast between vitiligo and leprosy during those ages, which led to the shunning of people with vitiligo from society because of the collective fear.2
These two conditions are different even though both cause depigmentation. Nowadays, a wider array of diagnostic devices and clearer distinctions between the two have lessened the societal stigma of vitiligo.3
The psychological impact of vitiligo
The loss of the melanin in select areas of the body can lead to a heightened sensitivity and risk of sunburn.4 But aside from this intolerance to sunlight, the physical changes to a person’s appearance can also cause severe psychological impacts on vitiligo patients.
This is because even though vitiligo has been proven to be noninfectious, some people still tend to be frightened of it, and to even shame or ridicule those who have it. The stigma of this can cause those with vitiligo to suffer numerous psychosocial issues and psychological repercussions.
Emotional effects caused by vitiligo can vary from mild embarrassment to complete loss of self-esteem because of the gradual change in the appearance of those who have it. A 2019 study found that while vitiligo does not typically cause physical impairment, the condition may cause a prevalence of depression and stigma among patients. Almost 97% of patients were found to have an impaired quality of life.5 To help prevent these emotional effects, family support and counseling are crucial.6
Vitiligo can increase your risk for other autoimmune diseases
People with vitiligo have also been observed to have a higher chance of developing various autoimmune diseases, including:7
• Alopecia areata — This refers to hair loss, which is caused by the immune system’s attack on hair follicles. It can be seen in various areas of the body, mostly on the scalp or the face.8 The risk for alopecia areata does not depend on race, age or sex, with everyone having the same risk as anyone else in the population.9
• Autoimmune thyroid diseases — The thyroid is responsible for the production of some of the hormones that regulate important body processes.10 Having an autoimmune thyroid disease means that the immune system is unknowingly attacking the thyroid glands, which then causes them to either produce too much or too little of these hormones.
The body processes that depend on these hormones then go haywire, affecting the whole body system. Examples of autoimmune thyroid diseases include Graves’ disease and Hashimoto’s disease.11
• Addison’s disease — This is an autoimmune disease in which the body is not able to produce enough hormones because of the destruction of the adrenal glands. Two of the important hormones these glands produce are cortisol and aldosterone.12
Cortisol is responsible for the regulation of blood sugar and inflammation, while aldosterone functions by regulating both blood pressure and blood volume by controlling salt and water levels.13,14
• Diabetes mellitus — This disease occurs when your pancreas is unable to produce enough insulin or when body cells have become insulin resistant. There are two types of diabetes mellitus: Type 1 and Type 2, with Type 1 being an autoimmune disease. Type 1 occurs when the body is unable to produce insulin because the immune system destroys the insulin-producing beta cells.15
Read these articles to know more about the symptoms, causes, treatment and prevention of vitiligo. You will also learn various holistic treatments and how you can deal with this autoimmune disease naturally.
Gathering around the big screen with your friends and family to watch the Super Bowl (or any other big game) is something to look forward to every year. This annual tradition isn’t complete without a tasty snack. This year, make your big game menu a healthy one with this Cilantro and Garlic Infused Shrimp Tacos recipe from Naturally Savvy. No matter the team rivalries, your friends and family will surely unite over this winning dish.
Servings: 6 to 8
Prep time: 5 minutes
Cook time: 15 to 20 minutes
Total time: 20 to 25 minutes
1 small bunch cilantro
5 cloves garlic
1 bunch green onions, chopped
1 bag of large shrimps (30 to 40 pieces)
2 cups sliced mushrooms
Organic coconut oil
Organic corn or gluten-free tortilla wraps or taco shells
Salsa or guacamole of choice
1. Grind the garlic and cilantro in a food processor, then heat coconut oil in a pan on medium high heat.
2. Sauté the garlic-cilantro mix, green onions and mushrooms, mixing periodically for about 10 minutes. Place the mixture in a bowl and cover.
3. Reduce the heat to medium low, and then cook the shrimp on the pan until its sides become pink. Put the veggie and cilantro mix back in the pan and mix well. Cover with lid and cook four to five minutes, mixing periodically.
4. Warm up the tortillas and serve with the fixings and shrimp.
Make This Recipe Healthier With This Tortilla Alternative
According to the USDA Economic Research Service, 91 percent of the corn grown in the U.S. today is genetically engineered. As a result, finding truly high-quality organic varieties of corn products can be challenging. If you cannot find organic corn tortilla in your local stores, don’t worry — you can enjoy this recipe using a healthy alternative: organic romaine lettuce.
Instead of eating this snack in a shell, you may opt to wrap your fixings and shrimp in lettuce. Romaine lettuce is a good source of vitamin C, beta-carotene, folate and potassium. It also contains dietary fiber, which may help improve your gut health.
However, quality is also important when it comes to this popular salad ingredient. In November 2018, the CDC issued a food safety alert for romaine lettuce, after a few hundred individuals reportedly fell ill from consuming E. coli-contaminated varieties of this vegetable.
To avoid this dilemma, be sure to purchase high-quality organic romaine lettuce from a local farmer or farmers market near you. Avoid chopped and prepackaged ones, as they may be contaminated with chemicals, waste from concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs) and other dangerous substances. Better yet, try growing your own lettuce in your garden. These greens are among the easiest garden vegetables to grow, and they are prolific.
What Health Benefits Does This Dish Have to Offer?
Cilantro, garlic and mushrooms play a vital supporting role in this dish, giving it a variety of flavors and textures. But there’s more to these ingredients than meets the taste buds, as they also provide outstanding health benefits.
For example, cilantro (also called coriander) is a low-calorie, no-cholesterol herb that contains a variety of vitamins and minerals, including potassium, calcium, manganese, iron, magnesium and vitamins A, C, K and B. Studies have also shown that it provides the following pharmacological activities: ,
Garlic, on the other hand, has long been used for medicinal purposes. It provides antitumor, hypoglycemic, antifungal, antiviral, antibacterial and liver-protective properties. Modern studies also show that it may aid in improving cardiovascular health, as it helps reduce cholesterol lower blood pressure levels, inhibit atherosclerosis and platelet aggregation and improve fibrinolytic activity.
Mushrooms are not to be outshined in terms of health benefits, as they contain potent nutrients too, including vitamin D, riboflavin, niacin, pantothenic acid, vitamin C, potassium and selenium, among others. In fact, mushrooms are now gaining the superfood status. They act as a prebiotic to help promote healthy gut microbiome. Plus, they help support a healthy immune system and protect against cancer cells, viruses and bacteria.
How to Find the Best Shrimps
Many of the shrimps available today are imported from aquafarms, which are the water-based equivalent of CAFOs. As with CAFOs, shrimp farms and aqua farms promote unnatural diets, environmental pollution and disease-promoting overcrowding. Even the communities around shrimp farms are negatively affected, as aquaculture depletes the fish stocks for human consumption.
One of the ways you can help reverse the consequences of the farmed seafood industry is by not buying shrimp or any other seafood from these producers. Instead, buy shrimps that have been responsibly harvested.
Since the Country of Origin Labeling Law does not require fresh seafood to disclose whether it was farmed or caught, one of the ways to make sure that you’re buying “wild” shrimp is by looking for the certified by the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC).
About the Blog
Founded by Holistic Nutritionist and trusted expert on healthy living Andrea Donsky, Naturally Savvy’s main focus is to make sure its readers eat organic and additive-free foods, while learning how to integrate nutrition into their daily lives. The website shares the latest news on healthy living, lessons about the harmful ingredients lurking in various food items and other tips to make you and your family live a happy and healthy life. Follow them on social media @naturallysavvy and @andreadonsky.
In this interview, Dr. Steven Gundry, medical director for International Heart & Lung Institute and director for Center for Restorative Medicine, reviews some of the concepts covered in his book “The Longevity Paradox: How to Die Young at a Ripe Old Age.”
While trained as a cardiothoracic surgeon, Gundry now specializes in treating patients holistically, focusing on food. I’ve previously interviewed him about plant lectins — the topic of his book “The Plant Paradox” — and the damage they can wreak on your health. Considering their potential influence, it’s not surprising to find plant lectins covered in his book on longevity as well.
What are plant lectins?
As noted by Gundry, certain plant lectins are potent inflammatories, and inflammation is a foundational contributor to most disease. Some lectins — including wheat germ agglutinin found in wheat — bind to receptor sites on your intestinal mucosal cells and interfere with the absorption of nutrients across your intestinal wall.
At the 2019 American Heart Association’s vascular biology meeting, Gundry presented evidence showing dietary lectins can cause an autoimmune attack on the surface of blood vessels.
You can tell this by measuring a cytokine called IL-16, which pulls inflammatory cells to a site. “I showed that removing dietary lectins would dramatically reverse a score that’s been validated for risk of acute coronary syndrome in the next five years, called the pulse score,” Gundry says. “And it did so by lessening IL-16 production.”
In summary, plant lectins are proteins used by the plant as a self-defense mechanism. “The plants use lectins to defend themselves against being eaten,” Gundry says, admitting the concept that plants don’t want to be eaten is a tough nut for most people to swallow.
“On the other hand, it’s a way of distributing seeds,” he says. “That’s how plants, once again, manipulate their predators to get what they want … Lectins are sticky proteins designed to bond to particular sugar molecules that line our gut … the spaces in our joints … between nerves [and] … our blood vessels.
I and definitely others are convinced that lectins can contribute or are a major cause of what we associate with the diseases of aging, such as arthritis, heart disease [and] neuropathy. There is pretty good increasing information that Parkinson’s may be a lectin problem.
We know that several of the insecticides and herbicides can use lectins to climb the vagus nerve to the brain and go directly to the substantia nigra. My humble opinion is that lectins should be looked at seriously.”
Should everyone avoid plant lectins?
Avoiding certain inflammatory plant lectins is one of the foundational recommendations in “The Longevity Paradox,” and while lectins may be particularly hazardous to specific groups of people, especially those with autoimmune diseases, Gundry believes lectin avoidance is a core longevity strategy for anyone with a damaged gut, which would include most people.
“There are differences in how people react to lectins. Let me say that first off. I can tell you absolutely positively, when we get the major dietary lectins out and we simultaneously seal their gut wall and rebuild their gut microbiome, then over 90% of these people go into remission for their autoimmune disease,” Gundry says.
“On the other hand, is everybody sensitive to them? I think if you have a decent diverse gut microbiome and an incredibly thick mucus layer on your gut, then you’re going to be able to withstand the onslaught or the dietary lectins.
I think what’s happened [is] … our microbiome has been devastated. Our gut wall permeability has been devastated by nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, glyphosate and Roundup. Our proton pump inhibitor is changing.”
Does animal protein have a place in a longevity diet?
While Gundry’s book makes many excellent points, one of the positions I disagree with is his stance against animal protein — a position largely based on Blue Zone observations. So-called Blue Zones are areas in the world where people tend to be unusually long-lived. Gundry explains his position:
“I spent most of my career as a professor at Loma Linda University, which is a Blue Zone — Loma Linda, California. I’ve become convinced, looking at the diet of most of the Blue Zones … I think the unifying factor of all the Blue Zones is not that they eat grains and beans, but [that] they have limited amounts of animal protein.
None of them completely avoid animal protein, except the vegans study by Dr. Gary Fraser. The vegans have the longest long life of all the Adventists studied.
Recently, he’s introduced a paper showing that any addition of animal protein starts skewing them towards more heart disease. Now, this is a study that’s been ongoing in the Seventh-day Adventist community for a very long time.
I am not a vegan. I tend to eat mostly vegan during the week, but my wife and I eat fish and shellfish on the weekends. I consider myself a vegaquarian. I take care of a great number of vegans and vegetarians because of my experience at Loma Linda.
Some of the vegans and vegetarians who come to see me are some of the sickest people I deal with, because in general, they’re pasta and ‘grainarians,’ as I call them. When we get these major lectin-containing foods away from them, they do better.”
Beef alone is not an ideal carnivore diet
The idea that animal protein promotes disease is a position shared by many, so Gundry is certainly not a minority in that perspective. However, I would counter this view by pointing out there are specific variables that typically are not addressed when people promote a meatless diet. In my view, the problems associated with meat consumption are a side effect of:
- Eating too much protein
- Continuously eating throughout the day and not intermittently fasting
- Eating dinner too close to bedtime
- Eating only the muscle meat (steak) and not the whole animal, including organ meats and connective tissues
The observational studies cited by Gundry and others do not take these factors into account. For longevity in particular, methionine excess appears problematic. Methionine is an amino acid found in meat, fish and dairy.
However, when you add in connective tissue, one-third of which is glycine, the methionine-to-glycine ratio dramatically improves, thereby diminishing many of the pernicious effects of elevated methionine.
My belief is that when these variables are factored in, animal protein is likely to support optimal health and longevity. The keys, though, are to eat “nose to tail” and some form of cyclical fasting. Gundry replies:
“I don’t disagree with that at all. One of the big points of ‘The Longevity Paradox’ … [is that] we have to have periods of restricted calories at timed intervals, whether we call it intermittent fasting or that we call it time-restricted fasting, whether we call it pure water fasting.
You and I both agree that prolonged water fasting, unless you have a system for getting rid of those heavy metals … is not the best way to go, currently. I do agree with you. The case is very strong that glycine supplementation can make up for methionine restriction.
Glycine, in addition to a normal diet, will act almost as if you’re methionine-restrictive. I take glycine several times a day. [The herbicide] glyphosate is almost identical to glycine … I think the other reason to flood ourselves with glycine is to hopefully occupy those places that glyphosate could occupy.”
Glycine also helps increase nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide phosphate (NADPH), which can be likened to the battery of the cell that recharges your antioxidants. This is yet another reason for taking glycine.
Carnivorous societies tend to live shorter lives
One of Gundry’s main arguments against a carnivore diet is that no carnivorous societies are particularly long-lived. Personally, Gundry gets most of his animal protein from shellfish and mollusks, as well as fats from krill oil.
Krill oil is an excellent source of beneficial phosphatidylcholine (a phospholipid and a major component of biological membranes), serine (an amino acid required for many proteins) and important fats such as docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), which are essential cellular components.
Gundry also supports his stance against animal protein through blood testing. He still sees patients, and has the benefits of having observed certain patterns within the testing of those patients. He explains:
“Probably for 10 years now, I’ve been tracking insulin-like growth factor (IGF-1) in my patients. I was impressed by the St. Louis University study looking at their IGF-1s and also with a group of vegetarians that they follow.
The Calorie-Restriction Society (CR) does quite well with IGF-1, which you would expect. But they were surprised that they weren’t lower. They asked some of the CR Society members to switch to a vegan diet with the same number of calories. Their IGF-1 factors fell quite dramatically, sometimes 50 points.
I’ve asked some of my patients to let us get an IGF-1 baseline … and then dramatically limit animal protein. I haven’t written the paper yet, because I don’t think I have enough data to get good statistics, but invariably, their IGF-1s fall as much as 50 points from their baseline.
Just this morning, I saw a woman who’s 70 years old. I asked her purposely for the next test to diminish her animal protein. Her IGF-1 fell 30 points down to 160. She was impressed. I was impressed. Does that make a paper? No. That’s just an anecdote. But I think there’s something here …
She skips breakfast and … was doing a shortened feeding period … I think that if you have restricted feeding, it almost always means you’re restricting calories [so] you can get away with a higher protein diet simply because compared to a normal human being [you’re eating fewer calories].
On the other hand, in my practice, most people are not going to do that. They will tell me, ‘I have a life. I’m going out for dinner. I’m going to socialize with friends. Come on. Let’s be serious here.’
We’ve had the occasion of interviewing guests who are doing the carnivore diet. But that carnivore diet is a ketogenic carnivore diet with intermittent fasting, with periods of true fasting, supplementation [and] nose-to-tail eating, so we’ll see.”
Hallmarks of the ‘super old’
Gundry defines “super old” as 95 and older; people who are still thriving, are active and not confined to a nursing home. In general, these patients have an IGF-1 level between 70 and 80.
“The other thing that’s fascinating about these folks is they run low temperatures. Their temperatures are usually 95.5 to 96 [degrees Fahrenheit]. They’re never normal. They tend to run on the hypothyroid side of things. Particularly, they tend to run low free T3s. I think that may be one of the secrets.
Certainly, we see in fasting — at least in myself and certainly some of my other patients who I’ve asked to do this — their free T3s are low, but their thyroid-stimulating hormones (TSHs) are absolutely normal. In fact, on the perfect side of normal.”
Longevity requires metabolic flexibility
One of the reasons Gundry is so concerned about IGF-1 is that it tends to activate the mTOR pathway, which inhibits autophagy — one of the most important metabolic processes we have. Autophagy, the breakdown and repair of damaged subcellular parts, is inhibited in the vast majority of the population.
Keeping IGF-1 low will allow you to properly cycle through autophagy activation and mTOR activation. The leading edge of nutritional science right now is really focused on fine-tuning the timing of this cycling. I suspect it has a lot to do with the timing of meals and not just the foods you eat or the ones you avoid. Gundry weighs in:
“Certainly, circadian rhythms are probably lost on most of us in the modern world because of our sources for light, sources of food and availability of food. Up until 100 years ago, we had only light from oil or gas lamps, which is nicely full of red light. It doesn’t have any blue light. We went through seasons of bright blue light in the summer and none in the winter.
Food availability usually corresponded with light. The idea that we, 365 days a year, should be eating in the same pattern doesn’t make evolutionary sense. I’m convinced, looking at our modern hunter-gatherers who still exist, that even their microbiome shifts on a seasonal basis as their food shifts.
I think this diversity and shifting of microbiome that I talk about in ‘The Longevity Paradox’ may be one of those factors that has been lost in our modern diet. It’s fine to eat organic, grass-finished beef, but we didn’t eat these things every day, continuously for 365 days a year.
That’s part of what’s been lost in all this argument. Most of us have no metabolic flexibility anymore. No ability to switch from glucose … to ketones as our [metabolic fuel]. That’s one of our biggest problems.”
Again, the repercussion of this metabolic inflexibility is the inhibition of autophagy, which is a necessary process for optimal health and longevity. If your body cannot properly clean out damaged cellular components, they end up clogging the proverbial machinery, leading to increased damage. The result is a decline in functionality and frailty.
How to incorporate autophagy boosting supplements
“These plant compounds we would have eaten on a seasonal basis, not every day probably. I’ve written several papers on the effect, for instance, of grapeseed extract, pycnogenol, which is French maritime tree bark, on vascular flexibility and on phospholipase A2 (PLA2) activity which, for lack of a better word, is how sticky the insides of our blood vessels are to attracting oxidized cholesterol.
Adding these polyphenols actually improves vascular flexibility and stops stickiness. Removing these polyphenols stiffens blood vessels and makes blood vessels stickier. In my own research, polyphenols do some amazing things. They should be in everyone’s diet … [but] I think we should be eating fruit that’s growing locally only during the summer and fall.
I think, for most of us, that we should limit our fruit intake during the winter and early spring … Great apes only gain weight once a year. That’s during fruit season. Normal fruit does not ripen year-round, even in the jungle. Most of our fruit has also been hybridized for sugar content …
How long should you pulse them? Well, I tend to use a lot more polyphenols in the summer and fall, then I tend to back off in the winter. But having said that, I will track my PLA2s, my vascular flexibility markers. If I see them slipping, I’ll add some of these back in. That’s what I do. That’s what I usually do with my patients and watch where we go from there.”
I’ve reached similar conclusions. After taking autophagy-boosting polyphenols daily, year-round, I finally concluded that this probably is not a wise idea. Nowadays, I use a far more targeted approach, taking them only when fasting, as this is when autophagy is triggered.
I typically exercise while still in a fasted state, and then include higher amounts of protein — which will activate mTOR, the rebuilding process, and deactivate autophagy — when I break my fast and eat that day.
All of that said, none of these supplements will do you any good unless you also have sufficient amounts of nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD) — a coenzyme found in living cells of all types.
NAD is necessary to activate SIRT1, one of the longevity proteins. Based on my review of the scientific literature, I believe optimizing NAD is essential to optimize your health, but typically only becomes a problem after the age of 50 or 60.
A healthy gut might lower your protein requirement
I used to be mTOR-phobic — overly concerned with limiting protein and overly focused on autophagy. I’ve grown wiser as I’ve grown older and disagree with that position now. That’s why I’m more in favor of protein, especially animal protein, if you’re exercising extensively.
There are a number of experts who consistently agree that your protein requirements increase with age and when you’re engaged in strenuous exercise, especially strength-training exercise. Either of these will increase your protein requirement by about 25%. Those are two good reasons to include animal protein in your diet. Plant protein just doesn’t seem to work as well in my experience.
Interestingly, as noted by Gundry, most older people who are hospitalized will have low serum albumin, which is a marker for low protein intake. Albumin is a pretty good marker for longevity too. However, in his patients, he’s noticed that once their diet is changed and their gut wall is healed, their albumin levels rise back to normal even though they’re restricting animal protein.
“This is part of the longevity paradox,” he says. “I think our diet has been destroying the absorptive surface of our gut … We can rebuild those microvilli by taking away, among other things, lectins …
The other thing I will argue is we’ll never have the muscle mass of a gorilla or a horse, and all they eat are leaves and grass … To say we have to have animal protein to make muscle mass does not jive with the animal kingdom.”
On the pro-protein side is the argument that protein is a component of your immune system, and you need it to fight infections. The older you get, the more important that becomes, because elderly people tend to die from infections. On the other hand, Gundry argues, you might not require protein per se to optimize immune function. The real key might actually be periodic fasting, as this is one of the most effective ways to regenerate your immune system and stem cells.
Centenarians have healthy gut microbiomes
A key to longevity, Gundry believes, is optimizing your gut microbiome. “There are a number of people 105 years of age around the world who have vibrant health,” he says. “Their gut microbiome, No. 1, is very diverse.” Diet is, of course, a primary contributor to a healthy gut, but absence of food also plays an important role. Gundry explains:
“Evidence … shows that C. elegans ages and dies because of the breakdown in the intestinal barrier, even its little bacteria, eventually break down that barrier. The thicker you can make your mucus layer, the happier you can make Akkermansia muciniphila, the better. Fasting is one great way to do it.”
Gundry’s longevity plan
Gundry, now 69, is like me — interested in life extension, and more importantly, the extension of health. When asked about his personal strategy to live to 100 or beyond, he says:
“My strategy is, No. 1., I absolutely, positively think time-restricted feeding is going to be one of the big ways I can get there. For the last 13 years, from January through June … I eat no breakfast. I eat lunch. I eat all my calories between a two-hour window, between 6 and 8 o’clock at night.
Why did I choose that two-hour window? Well, if I was really smart, that would not be my two-hour window. But that’s when my wife and I both get home from work. That works for both of us. If I was going to do it and had total control, I would probably have lunch as my two-hour window.
On the weekends, I don’t eat breakfast. I eat a salad for lunch and then usually shellfish for dinner. I do that for six months. Why six months? Because that, I think, and evidence would suggest that that would have been the time period for limited access to food … I do think that polyphenols at the appropriate time [will be required] to get me to 150.”
As Gundry admits, eating that close to bedtime is far from ideal, as you’re feeding your body with calories at a time when calorie expenditure is at its lowest. When your body cannot burn those calories as fuel, they’re stored as energy instead.
In the process of storing it as energy, fatty acids are created, which are the biggest consumer of NADPH. As a result, late night eating lowers your NADPH level, which is the last thing you want to do, as reducing NADPH creates oxidative stress. Increased oxidative stress, in turn, is a major contributor to aging.
Overall, I believe Gundry’s book, “The Longevity Paradox: How to Die Young at a Ripe Old Age,” is a helpful addition to anyone’s library, as it provides many valuable viewpoints on how to maintain health well into old age.
“I think all of us want to live healthily to at least 100. But what we see in our future doesn’t look very good. We have to make changes. Our entire health care system will crumble if we don’t make some fundamental changes soon,” Gundry says.
Indeed, the U.S. has the most expensive health care system in the world, yet Americans struggle with exceptionally high rates of chronic illness. Our life expectancy is also on the decline, while soaring in many other parts of the world. Clearly, the U.S. health care system leaves much to be desired when it comes to addressing chronic illness, and the lack of focus on real food and disease prevention through nutrition is likely a huge component of that.
Holy basil, or tulsi, is a medicinal herb famous in Ayurvedic medicine because of the vast health benefits it offers. For hundreds of years, it's been widely utilized in Southeast Asia. Today, it's starting to make a name for itself in Western medicine as more and more people are finding out about its impressive properties.
It is available as an essential oil, supplement and tea. Continue reading this article to learn more about it and how you can benefit from this supplement today.
Holy basil (Ocimum tenuiflorum), is a green leafy plant native to India. It is especially popular in Ayurvedic medicine as an adaptogen, a substance that helps the body normalize when it is exposed to severe stress. The local name for holy basil is "tulsi," which may be translated to "the incomparable one."1 This is especially understandable as the plant positively influences human health in more ways than one, making it almost "incomparable" to other herbs.2
Tulsi, sometimes referred to as tulasi, has been treasured in India by Hindus as one of their most sacred herbs3 — it's the plant manifestation of Lakshmi, the Hindu goddess of "wealth and purity".4,5 In another legend, a single holy basil leaf has more value than gold.6 Judging by how holy basil can positively influence important body processes, it's no surprise that it's revered to this day as the "queen of herbs."7
Today, the number of holy basil products available in the market is increasing, which makes it easier for you to acquire this herb. One of these products is holy basil supplements, which are typically made from powdered leaves, as indicated in one study.8
Based on the numerous possible benefits of holy basil, it may be one of the most impressive herbs in the plant kingdom. Its usefulness in the realm of Ayurvedic medicine knows no bounds as the whole plant may be utilized for various human conditions. Some of the benefits you might get from holy basil supplements include:
• Helping abate stress and anxiety — Holy basil is well-known for its adaptogenic properties, which may help the human body cope when exposed to stressful environments. In a 2007 animal study, holy basil was found to contain ocimumosides and ocimarin, two compounds that have antistress properties.9
• Supporting the immune system — Holy basil is thought to be useful for combating infections due to its powerful antibacterial, antiviral and antifungal properties. A 2011 study found that holy basil boosts the immune system by increasing cytokine and immune cell efficacy in mounting immune responses.10
• Protecting the liver — Holy basil may inhibit toxin-induced damage in the liver because of its membrane-stabilizing properties. A 2011 animal study shows that holy basil may help reduce fatty changes and cloudy swelling in the liver.11
• Helping alleviate pain — According to a 2015 study, holy basil contains analgesic, anti-inflammatory and antipyretic properties. It may help alleviate arthritis and joint pain due to these characteristics.12
• Managing diabetes symptoms — Holy basil may manage diabetes symptoms by helping affected people by controlling weight gain and cholesterol, as well as regulating excess insulin in the blood.13
Holy basil is rich in various active compounds that may largely influence important body processes.14 In fact, the health benefits holy basil possesses are backed by numerous scientific studies and research. Among these is its potential for improving dental health.
Two 2016 studies observed the effectiveness of holy basil as an antimicrobial agent for oral health. The first study, published in the Journal of Indian Society of Periodontology, collected bacterial samples of Actinobacillus actinomycetemcomitans from five patients with periodontal disease. After introducing a 6% concentration of holy basil to the bacterial cultures, the researchers concluded that holy basil may be used to help fight bacteria linked to periodontal disease.15
The second in vitro study, which appeared in the Journal of Clinical Diagnostic Research, used ethanolic extracts of tulsi to observe its antimicrobial function against P. actinomyctemcomitans, P. gingivalis and P. intermedia.
The 5% and 10% concentrations of holy basil proved to be effective against P. actinomycetemcomitans, but the succeeding two bacterial strains expressed resistance against the extract. The researchers noted that holy basil may be used as an aid for periodontal conditions, together with other treatment options.16
Holy basil is generally considered safe for consumption without causing serious side effects or complications. The only downside reported is a mild case of nausea, according to a 2017 study.17
However, note that there are little to no studies claiming that holy basil supplementation is safe during pregnancy; while holy basil may look beneficial for your health, there is no clear indication whether it's safe for your unborn child. Pregnant or breastfeeding women should veer away from this supplement to stay on the safe side.18
Holy basil has a long history of improving human health, and it has played a significant role in Ayurvedic practice for protecting people from disease even before it was introduced to Western medicine. Now that supplements have been developed, its health benefits have become more accessible.
However, remember that overall health cannot depend on this or any other one supplement alone. Holy basil may help you in achieving your best self, but remember that it is just as important to implement healthy lifestyle strategies, such as optimizing your diet, following a regular exercise regimen and minimizing your exposure to environmental toxins, to ensure that you maintain your health for the better.
Q: What is holy basil good for?
A: Holy basil may benefit various medical conditions such as metabolic and mental stress, and microbial infections, as well as providing protection against heavy metals.19
Q: Where can you buy holy basil?
A: Holy basil supplements, tea and other products are available at numerous health stores across the country. There are also a handful of online stores that sell holy basil supplements. However, make sure you get only the highest quality products from trustworthy companies.
Q: Are holy basil supplements safe?
A: Holy basil supplements are safe to ingest for most people.20 But before taking one, consult with your doctor and contact the doctor right away if you develop any severe side effects.
Like many of you, I clearly remember watching the black and white images of Neil Armstrong first walking on the moon, at home with my family. It was very moving for me and I was inspired, like many, to become an astronaut. Thankfully, I changed that course and redirected to medicine.
July 20, 2019, we celebrated the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing. In a riveting three-part documentary series, PBS explores the space race that led to American astronauts becoming the first men to set foot on the moon.
The Apollo 11 crew consisted of Neil Armstrong, Edwin “Buzz” Aldrin and Michael Collins.1 After a four-day journey through space, Armstrong and Aldrin landed the lunar module — Eagle — on the moon surface, while Collins remained in orbit.
Armstrong was the first to step onto lunar soil, uttering the now famous quote: “That’s one small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind.”2 The series includes long forgotten archival footage from the 1960s, much of which the younger generation has never seen. As reported by Space.com:3
“Part 1, ‘A Place Beyond the Sky,’ focuses on the space race the United States and the Soviet Union engaged in during the early years of the space program.
Part 2, ‘Earth Rise,’ covers the human Gemini and Apollo missions that prepared for the moon landing. Finally, Part 3, ‘Magnificent Desolation,’ examines the moon landing itself and the cultural and scientific legacy of Apollo 11.”
A snippet of Part 1 is embedded above. The full series, totaling six hours, can be found on PBS.org.4 For those of you who are old enough to remember watching the moon landing on TV back in 1969, this documentary will reignite the awe felt that day.
If you have any interest in space history I could not more strongly recommend watching the full six hours. It is one of the best documentaries I have ever seen. If you balk at the time, just consider a Netflix series, which typically runs about 10 hours.
American hero falls victim to lethal medical errors
In 2012, Armstrong, aged 82, underwent heart surgery at Mercy Health Hospital in Cincinnati, Ohio. He died two weeks later. According to The New York Times,5 his two sons insisted his death was caused by “incompetent post-surgical care.”
An investigator retained by the hospital reportedly agreed, finding “serious problems with his treatment.” Documents reveal Mercy Health paid the Armstrong family a $6 million malpractice settlement to avoid what The New York Times describes as “devastating publicity.”
Indeed, as noted by attorney Bertha Helmick, who represented Armstrong’s grandchildren in the proceedings against the hospital, “No institution wants to be remotely associated with the death of one of America’s greatest heroes.”6
According to Helmick, the malpractice settlement could be subject to repayment should the details of the terms be revealed. The New York Times cites records from probate court showing $5.2 million of the settlement was split 50/50 by Armstrong’s sons, Mark and Rick.
Armstrong’s brother and sister each received $250,000, and each of his six grandchildren received $24,000. Armstrong’s widow, Carol, did not participate in the settlement.
Armstrong’s fate revealed by anonymous source
Both the complaint and the settlement were in fact to remain secret, but the documents were leaked by an anonymous party to The New York Times in the days following the moon landing anniversary. The New York Times writes:7
“Armstrong had undergone bypass surgery in early August 2012, and his wife told The Associated Press afterward that he was ‘amazingly resilient’ and was walking in the corridor.
But when nurses removed the wires for a temporary pacemaker, he began to bleed into the membrane surrounding the heart, leading to a cascade of problems that resulted in his death on Aug. 25 …
The medical dispute and secret settlement, never before reported, comes to light days after the 50th anniversary of Mr. Armstrong’s moon walk drew a flood of nostalgic coverage celebrating his feat.
The New York Times received by mail from an unknown sender 93 pages of documents related to the astronaut’s treatment and the legal case, including dueling reports by medical experts for the two sides.
Some of the documents, though marked ‘filed under seal,’ are publicly available at the probate court’s website,8 confirming that the documents received by The Times are authentic. An unsigned note included in the envelope said the sender hoped the information would save other lives.”
What went wrong in Armstrong’s care?
According to The New York Times, the documents they received reveal that after the nurses removed the wires for Armstrong’s temporary pacemaker, which resulted in bleeding and a rapid drop in blood pressure, he was brought to the hospital’s catheterization laboratory. An echocardiogram was performed, showing “significant and rapid bleeding.”
Blood was drained from his heart at this point, after which he was finally brought into an operating room. At that point, it was too late. According to one of the expert reviews, the failure to bring Armstrong directly to the operating room, diverting him instead to the catheterization lab, was a crucial mistake. The New York Times writes:9
“‘The decision to go to the cath lab was THE major error,’ Dr. Joseph Bavaria, a vice-chair of cardiothoracic surgery at University of Pennsylvania wrote in a review conducted at the request of the Armstrong family.
Dr. Richard Salzano, a cardiothoracic surgeon at Yale Medical Center who reviewed the case for the hospital, saw the decision to bring Mr. Armstrong to the catheterization lab as ‘defensible’ but ‘certainly riskier than taking the patient to the O.R.’ …
Dr. Ashish Jha, a professor of medicine at Harvard University and a hospitalist who regularly cares for patients post-cardiac surgery … reviewed the experts’ reports for The Times.
‘If someone has dropped their blood pressure substantially and this is a code blue, that means they are having life-threatening bleeding. I don’t totally understand why they went to the cath lab,’ he said.
Dr. Jha also questioned the hospital’s original decision to perform the bypass surgery on Mr. Armstrong on an emergency basis. ‘It feels to me like his death was wholly preventable,’ he said.”
According to Salzano, Armstrong would likely have had a 50-50 chance of survival had he undergone surgery without delay. As it happened, Armstrong “became unsalvageable on the way to the O.R.” In other words, precious time was lost and a crucial window for lifesaving treatment missed.
The New York Times also asked Dr. Craig Smith, a cardiac surgeon at Columbia University Medical Center, for comment on the case. While Smith was unfamiliar with Armstrong’s medical records, he noted that patients with Armstrong’s complications normally would not be brought to the cath lab for treatment.
“Generally, if a patient develops signs of bleeding inside the chest after pacing wires are pulled under observation, they would usually go straight to the operating room and usually survive,” Smith told The New York Times.10
No one is immune to medical errors
Armstrong’s case is a perfect example of the indiscriminate nature of lethal medical errors. If the conventional medical system can kill America’s greatest hero then it can happen to anyone at any time. Research11,12 shows 19% — nearly 1 in 5 — of elderly patients are injured by medical care in the U.S., and those experiencing medical injury have nearly double the death rate compared to those who receive proper treatment. Common injuries found in this study included:
- Being given the wrong medication
- Having an allergic reaction to a medication
- Receiving treatment that led to more complications of an existing medical problem
Further, the risk of an adverse medical event rose 27% for each chronic medical condition a person had.13 Lead researcher Mary Carter, director of Towson University’s gerontology program, told Medicinenet.com:14
"These injuries are caused by the medical care or management rather than any underlying disease … The rate of these injuries is probably higher than has been estimated.”
Medical error is the third leading cause of death in the US
Indeed, preventable medical errors have repeatedly been identified as being a leading cause of death in the U.S. for at least two decades. In 2000, JAMA published a commentary15,16 by Dr. Barbara Starfield, the data provided in which revealed doctors to be the third leading cause of death.
Her research showed 225,000 Americans die from iatrogenic causes, meaning their death is caused by a physician's activity, manner or therapy. Sadly, Starfield herself fell victim to medical error. She died suddenly in June 2011; a death her husband attributes to the adverse effects of the blood thinner Plavix taken in combination with aspirin.17
Mirroring Starfield’s findings, a paper18,19 by Dr. Martin Makary and research fellow Michael Daniel published in The BMJ in 2016 reports the same statistic right in its headline: “Medical Error — The Third Leading Cause of Death in the U.S.” As noted in this paper:
“Medical error has been defined as an unintended act (either of omission or commission) or one that does not achieve its intended outcome, the failure of a planned action to be completed as intended (an error of execution), the use of a wrong plan to achieve an aim (an error of planning), or a deviation from the process of care that may or may not cause harm to the patient.”
Makary’s and Daniel’s data suggest medical errors kill 251,454 Americans each year, an increase of more than 25,000 people annually from Starfield’s estimates 16 years earlier. These numbers may still be vastly underestimated however, as deaths occurring at home or in nursing homes are not included.
Makary is a surgeon and professor of health policy at one of the most prestigious hospitals in the U.S., Johns Hopkins. I recently interviewed him about his new book on this issue, “The Price We Pay,”20 which will be out September 10, 2019. The interview will be published right around that time and goes into great detail about medical abuses.
Estimated 440,000 Americans die from medical errors each year
Another study21 published in 2013 estimated that preventable hospital errors — when including diagnostic errors, errors of omission and failure to follow guidelines — kill 440,000 patients per year, or “roughly one-sixth of all deaths that occur in the United States each year.” This number likely hints at the true scale of the problem.
Still, whether we’re talking about 250,000 or 440,000, iatrogenic deaths would still rank third on the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s list of leading causes of death, right after heart disease and cancer,22 or fourth, if you include Alzheimer’s mortality statistics (which CDC doesn’t). As noted by the authors of this 2013 study:23
“Needed changes involve not only doctors and hospitals but increased participation by patients in their health-care decisions. Perhaps it is time for a national patient bill of rights for hospitalized patients that would empower them to be thoroughly integrated into their care so that they can take the lead in reducing their risk of serious harm and death.
All evidence points to the need for much more patient involvement in identifying harmful events and participating in rigorous follow-up investigations to identify root causes. Even for those harms identified in the medical records of Medicare patients, only 14% become part of the hospital’s incident reporting system.
Physician observers of our hospitals have made Congress painfully aware that the hospital peer-review system has widespread failures that permit negligent care by physicians. Hospitals are simply not going to heal without attentive, systematic listening to those harmed patients or their survivors.”
How to safeguard your life while hospitalized
While a patient’s bill of rights24 was adopted by the U.S. Advisory Commission on Consumer Protection and Quality in the Health Care Industry in 1998, it does not specifically address the prevention of medical errors by empowering patients in their own care, as suggested in the study above.
Staying involved with your care and paying close attention to everything about to be done is a crucial component, though, with or without such a bill of rights. In the video above, Dr. Andrew Saul, co-author of “Hospitals and Health,” shares important tips for staying safe during a hospital stay.
Remember, once you’re hospitalized, you’re immediately at risk for medical errors, so one of the best safeguards is to have someone there with you. Frequently, you’re going to be relatively debilitated, especially post-op when you’re under the influence of anesthesia, and you won’t have the opportunity to see the types of processes that are going on.
This is particularly important for pediatric patients and the elderly. It’s important to ask what procedure is being done and why. Know that you have every right to be fully informed about what’s about to be done to you or your loved one in the hospital.
For every medication given, ask “What is this medication? What is it for? What’s the dose? What are the side effects?” Take notes. Ask questions. Building a relationship with the nurses can go a long way.
Also, when they realize they’re going to be questioned, they’re more likely to go through that extra step of due diligence to make sure they’re getting it right. That’s just human nature.
Checklists can help minimize errors in care
Makary, co-author of the 2016 BMJ paper cited earlier, and his research partner Dr. Peter Pronovost have also developed a pre-surgery checklist and an ICU care checklist.
The World Health Organization used some of their principles to develop its own official checklist. The WHO surgical safety checklist and implementation manual25 — which is part of the “Safe Surgery Saves Lives” campaign26 that Makary and Pronovost participated in — can be downloaded here.
If a loved one is in the hospital, print it out and bring it with you, as this can help you protect them from preventable errors in care. As for what to do should you find yourself a victim of a preventable medical mistake, Makary — whom I interviewed about this in 2013 — suggests:
“Ask to talk to the doctor about that mistake. If you’re not satisfied, write a letter or call the patient relations department. Every hospital is mandated to have this service. They are set up to answer your concerns.
If you’re not satisfied with that, write a letter to the hospital’s lawyer, the general counsel. And you will see attention to the issue, because you’ve gone through the right channels. We don’t want to encourage millions of lawsuits out there.
But you know, when people voice what happened, what went wrong, and the nature of the preventable mistake, hospitals can learn from their mistakes. Sometimes they’re taking a lot of attention now to prevent mistakes from happening again. You should let that mistake be known.”
This appears to be the exact sentiment that drove the anonymous source to leak Armstrong’s malpractice case to the media. As long as medical mistakes continue to be swept under the rug, no significant changes will be made. We already have two decades’ worth of data showing medical mistakes aren’t decreasing.
The fact that medical mistakes are the third leading cause of death in the U.S. is a shameful stain on conventional medicine as a whole, but ignoring it won’t make it go away. One can only hope Armstrong’s case proves to be the match that finally alights a real campaign for change.
While you might have thought a tick is an insect, it really belongs to the arachnid family, along with spiders, scorpions and mites.1 A tick survives by feeding on the blood of a host, growing from the size of an apple seed before food and swelling to more than double their size after feeding.2
Ticks are more active during the summer months, between March and November in the northern hemisphere. Most enjoy living in warm moist places, such as bushes, tall grasses and shrubs. Animals and humans get ticks while walking through these areas.3
Of the 899 species of ticks found throughout the world, only 90 reside in the U.S.,4 and just a select few are known to bite humans.5 After a tick gets on you, it doesn't usually bite right away but will crawl around to find an acceptable place to latch on and feed. They look for soft, moist areas, including near your ears, hair, underarms and groin. They also like to settle under the waistband of your pants.6
After piercing your skin with its mouth, the tick inserts a tube to feed on your blood until it's full. This may take up to two weeks.7 Tick bites are often painless so it may be difficult to tell if you've been bitten.
First new tick species in US in 50 years
In the past decade the U.S. has become home to a new species, the Asian longhorn. Dr. Gregory Poland from the Mayo Clinic says this tick represents the first time in 50 years a new species has made its way to the U.S.8 Because it is an emerging threat in the U.S. the CDC recommends that surveillance should include testing for pathogens.9
Ticks are associated with diseases in humans and animals. The Asian longhorn tick is known to carry human hemorrhagic fever caused by thrombocytopenia syndrome virus10 in Asia.11 This species has been found in 11 states, including:12
However, while it appears to be spreading across the eastern U.S., the CDC has reported there is currently no evidence these ticks have transmitted disease to humans or animals.13 Asian longhorned ticks in Asia carry a virus responsible for killing 15% of those they bite.14
In recent years, this population has spread to several Pacific Islands, Australia and New Zealand. Although some experts warn against extrapolating information to the Asian longhorn tick carrying serious viruses in the U.S.,15 this species also represents additional dangers to livestock and other animals.16
North Carolina State veterinarian Dr. Doug Meckes sent out information17 reminding farmers and pet owners to be vigilant with preventive measures to avoid ticks in their animals. Five cows in Surry County, North Carolina, recently died due to acute anemia triggered by a tick infestation.18
Asian tick sounds like something from a horror film
Samples from the cows confirmed the ticks were Asian longhorn. According to Meckes, this was the fourth confirmed case since 2018 and the first in 2019.19 One young bull presented to the diagnostic lab for necropsy had 1,000 ticks. As described in this short video, the ticks are aggressive biters, feeding on both animals and humans.
The first identified case, in 2010, involved a white-tailed deer from West Virginia.20 In other reports the tick was found in New Jersey in 201721 when a woman discovered them on her sheep.22
The first recorded human bite was reported by a 66-year-old man from Yonkers, New York, in June 2018. He removed the tick from his leg and subsequently took it to the Lyme Disease Diagnostic Center in Westchester County for testing.23 After confirmation that it was the Asian longhorned tick, sampling was done near his home and nearby park, finding 90 ticks.24
A unique characteristic of this species is its ability to reproduce quickly and prolifically without mating.25 The female does not need a male to lay as many as 2,000 eggs at a time.26 The threat to livestock may be significant. A dairy cow may experience a 25% drop in milk production after becoming a host.27
As the species continues to multiply and spread, it is conceivable millions of animals could be exposed.28 A study published in the Journal of Medical Entomology29 developed a model demonstrating the wide area of North America where favorable conditions for the Asian longhorned tick may exist.30
Study author Ilia Rochlin, Ph.D., is a professor at Rutgers University. She believes the adaptability of this species means it has the potential to spread across the U.S. and southern Canada.31 The ability of the tick to reproduce without mating may make it extremely hard to control. Rochlin said,32 “In practice, it's impossible to eradicate this species.”
Tick population rising, along with the diseases they carry
The number of all ticks and the range in which they live have both increased. According to the CDC,33 the lone star tick has expanded from the southeastern U.S. into the northern and Midwestern states. The range of the black-legged tick, responsible for many cases of Lyme disease, has more than doubled in the past 20 years. Between 1993 and 2012, the number of counties in the U.S. at high risk for Lyme disease rose by more than 300%.34
Although the Asian longhorned does not yet carry disease, many other ticks do. The CDC announced it will begin monitoring the population and diseases ticks carry as the number of people diagnosed with diseases carried by ticks has more than doubled. Anna Perea, from the CDC’s Division of Vector-Borne Diseases, commented on the new monitoring:35
“For the first time this year, the CDC is funding states to conduct widespread surveillance of ticks and the pathogens they can transmit, in addition to funding human disease surveillance and education and prevention. Taken together, the data can help define areas where ticks are spreading, the infectious pathogens that they carry, and where risk of tick-borne disease is increasing.”
Tick-borne diseases may include Lyme disease, suspected to affect nearly 300,000 people each year.36 Rocky Mountain spotted fever, anaplasmosis, ehrlichiosis and babesiosis are also spread by ticks. New infections have also been detected, including the Bourbon virus, Heartland virus37 and Powassan virus.38 Ticks spread disease by virtue of the way they find nutrients.
In order to transition through life stages, ticks must have a blood meal to survive.39 Through the process of hatching from the egg, going through the larvae, nymph and adult stage, they may live up to three years. If unable to find a suitable host, they die.40 As they ingest blood, they also suck up any pathogens from the host and spread it to their next host.
Lyme disease rates skyrocketing
The rising number of ticks and their spreading habitat has meant an increase in the number diagnosed with tick-borne diseases. Lyme disease is the most prevalent of those conditions. CDC41 data show that in 1997, there were 12,801 confirmed cases which more than doubled to 29,513 confirmed and 13,230 probable cases in 2017.
Data also show more males than females are affected, with the age group of 5 to 9 years having the greatest number affected. The disease is most frequently diagnosed in the months of June and July.42 One study from researchers at Carnegie Mellon University43 called the rising epidemic of Lyme disease a “Ticking Bomb.”
These researchers found a relationship between rising temperatures and the incidence of Lyme disease, predicting the number of people diagnosed may rise by more than 20% by midcentury.44 In addition to temperature playing a role in the rising number of tickborne illnesses, researchers find smaller patches of forest may also increase the number of Lyme carrying ticks.
White-footed mice, also known to carry Lyme disease,45 are often the first blood meal for the larval tick.46 In smaller forest fragments measuring less than 5 acres, the mice are abundant because smaller areas of forest support fewer predators.47
Felicia Keesing from Bard College, New York, and other researchers have found an average of three times the number of ticks in a three-acre forest fragment than in larger areas. As many as 80% of the arachnids in the smallest patches were infected.48
Challenges of diagnosis and treatment for Lyme disease
Although the disease has been around for thousands of years, the medical community only began describing it in the 1970s. An autopsy of a 5,300-year-old mummy found the presence of the bacteria and a German physician first wrote about symptoms more than 130 years ago.49
Lyme disease is caused by a bacterium, which when left untreated may spread to the joints, heart and nervous system. The bacterium, Borrelia burgdorferi, may be treated successfully when found early.50 However, while commonly acknowledged now, Lyme disease has historically been a challenge to diagnose.
CNN reported51 on a U.S. Air Force enlisted man, Ruben Lee Sims, who was voted the “top enlisted management analyst of the year” in 1977. Only seven years later he was discharged and labeled a hypochondriac when the military was unable to diagnose Lyme disease. Misdiagnosed for more than three decades, he now shares his story to help others.
Early symptoms resemble the flu and the bullseye rash is not always recognized.52 Within 30 days of being bitten, you may experience fever, chills, fatigue and muscle and joint aches. Up to 80% of those infected will have a rash resembling a bull’s-eye target at the site of the tick bite, which gradually reaches 12 inches or more across.53
Later on, signs of infection may include severe headache and neck stiffness, a spreading rash on other areas of your body, severe arthritis pain and swelling, facial palsy, heart palpitations and possibly an irregular heartbeat.54 If left untreated, you may develop inflammation of the brain and spinal cord. This can lead to pain, numbness and tingling in the hands and feet as well as problems with short-term memory.55
Some people have seen multiple physicians and undergone a plethora of tests before being given a correct diagnosis.56 Early tests may not detect antibodies to the bacteria as it may take several weeks to rise to detectable levels.
Since early treatment is most effective57 some physicians begin treatment before offering a definitive diagnosis.58 The Lyme antibody test looks for exposure to the bacteria, but it may take your immune system several weeks to produce measurable levels. This can result in a false negative test with early testing.59
You’ve found a tick — now what?
Anytime you’re out in grassy areas or around trees and bushes do a quick skin check when you get back inside. Look for small brown to black spots or crawling, eight-legged arachnids. If the tick is unattached to your skin and has not fed, slip a sheet of paper under it and seal it in a container with alcohol.
However, if it's become attached to your skin, it's important to remove it to lower your risk of infection. While there are several tools on the market you may want to consider, a set of fine-tipped tweezers will also do the job. According to the CDC you should:60
- Grasp the tick close to the skin’s surface.
- Using steady and even pressure, pull the tick upward. Twisting or jerking may cause the mouth parts to remain in the skin. If the mouth parts are left behind, try to remove them with clean tweezers. If you are unable to remove them easily, allow the skin to heal.
- Clean the area and your hands thoroughly with rubbing alcohol or soap and water.
- Do not crush the tick as this forces blood and pathogens into your body.61
Avoid using techniques such as painting the tick with nail polish or covering it with petroleum jelly. This will not suffocate it. Likewise, poking it or using heat to make it detach are not recommended.62
Once a tick has been safely removed drop it in a sealed container with alcohol and take it to your health department or Lyme disease center for identification. Keep an eye on the area for the next several weeks. If you develop a rash or flu-like symptoms, see a doctor who’s experienced in treating Lyme disease.
- What is wormwood?
- 9 wormwood benefits that you should be aware of
- 4 wormwood uses you should know about
- Wormwood's artemisinin content helps alleviate malaria
- What is absinthe and its association with wormwood?
- Wormwood oil also provides numerous uses and benefits
- Try this wormwood tea recipe today
- Wormwood side effects to watch out for
- Wormwood supplements promote beneficial effects in animals
- Growing wormwood at home
- Frequently asked questions (FAQs) about wormwood
Wormwood is a medicinal herb that was thought to cause toxicity in absinthe, a popular liqueur in France during the 19th century.1,2 But what is wormwood exactly, and what are its potential benefits and side effects? Read on to learn more about this plant.
Woodworm (Artemisia absinthium) is a perennial and herbaceous plant native in regions with mild temperatures such as Europe, North Africa, North India, Scotland and Scandinavia.3 Today, it may also be found in America, North and West Asia, New Zealand and the Azores. It thrives best in uncultivated fields and roadsides with nonacidic, sandy loam.
This plant grows up to 1.1 meters (3.6 feet) or higher, with spirally arranged leaves and branches that produce light yellow flowers. Its long leaves are green with hints of silver or gray because of the fine, silky strands of hair that cover them.
Although it is known to have a bitter taste, wormwood root has an aromatic and warm taste. Other common names of wormwood are green ginger, grand wormwood, American or Western wormwood, madderwort and wormwood sage. The name Artemisia is believed to have originated from Artemis, a Greek goddess, while the name absinthium is said to be derived from the ancient Greek word “absinthion.”4
Wormwood contains thujone, a monoterpene ketone often found in its essential oil.5 It acts as a modulator for the GABAA-receptor, which causes excitations and convulsions, as observed in an animal study published in the journal Regulatory Toxicology and Pharmacology.6 Its variant, sweet wormwood (Artemisia annua), is a medicinal plant traditionally used by the Chinese to help relieve fever.7
According to the Scientific American journal, the earliest recorded medicinal use of wormwood dates back to ancient Egypt, where this plant had “religious as well as medicinal significance.”8 During the Roman period, wormwood was also known for its neuroprotective properties that may help alleviate stroke.9 Wormwood may provide beneficial effects to combat the following health conditions:
1. Lead exposure — Exposure to lead may greatly affect your central nervous system, since it is a neurotoxic agent. Wormwood extract, with its neuroprotective effects, may help reduce this by inhibiting cell damage and restoring enzyme activities and behavioral changes.10
2. Liver disease — Wormwood extract was found to exhibit hepatoprotective activities against liver damage by helping suppress microsomal drug metabolizing enzymes (MDME).11
3. Depression — The methanolic extract of wormwood's aerial parts were found to contain natural antioxidants that may help improve the symptoms of depression.12
5. IgA nephropathy — Consumed as a supplement, thujone-free wormwood was found to help manage proteinuria14 or the presence of abnormal amounts of protein in urine, which is a symptom of IgA nephropathy.15
6. Osteoarthritis — A 2017 study found that wormwood ointment may help reduce pain caused by knee osteoarthritis, one of the most common types of osteoarthritis.16
7. Leukemia — A 2019 study found that artemisinin (a drug extracted from wormwood17) and its derivatives may be therapeutic alternatives to chemotherapy for leukemia. Aside from their antimalarial and antischistosomal properties (the ability to inhibit the growth of schistosomes or blood flukes),18 they also exhibit anticancer activities that may help induce programmed cell death and suppress cancer cell growth and reproduction.19
8.Lyme disease — Dr. Dietrich Klinghardt, one of the top authorities on Lyme disease, recommends the Klinghardt antimicrobial cocktail to help you recover from the infection. The formula includes phospholipids, vitamin C, specific herbs and artemisinin, which can be extracted from wormwood.20
9. Lymphoma — Artesunate, a derivative of artemisinin, was found to help suppress the growth of B lymphoma cells,21 which may affect your immune system.
Wormwood and its derivatives not only may help improve the symptoms of the mentioned health conditions, but may also be used as a culinary herb with its preservative and digestive properties, distinct odor, and bitter taste.22 Its other uses are:
- Insecticide — According to a study published in the Journal of Economic Entomology, wormwood essential oil has an acaricidal property,23 a specific insecticidal activity that affects species under the arachnid subclass Acari,24 which includes mites and ticks.25
- Anthelmintic — According to a 2009 study, wormwood extracts may be used as an alternative to anthelmintics or a group of drugs that may help suppress infections caused by parasitic worms.26
- Analgesic ointment — Wormwood ointment may be used to help heal wounds, and relieve muscle and joint pain.27
- Ornamental plant — Wormwood’s unique gray-green foliage makes it a good addition to gardens.28
A Chinese study led by Tu Youyou, chief professor at the China Academy of Traditional Chinese Medicine, found that artemisinin or qinghaosu, a sesquiterpene lactone, may help suppress malaria.29 Tu received the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 2015 for this significant discovery.30
Artemisia annua contains the highest amount of artemisinin out of all Artemisia species, but this compound can be extracted from Artemisia absinthium leaves as well.31 According to the World Health Organization (WHO), artemisinin may be used as a potent and fast-acting blood schizonticide,32 a destructive agent against the malaria parasite.33
In addition, a 2012 study suggests that dried sweet wormwood plant material, together with an artemisinin-based combination therapy (ACT) drug partner, may be utilized as a low cost and effective oral therapy against malaria.34 The World Health Organization recommends ACT because its artemisinin content may help kill gametocytes,35 which are responsible for the transmission of disease from the host to the vector.36
As a flavoring agent, wormwood may also be mixed with alcoholic beverages, liqueurs, aperitifs, wines and vermouths. Being the main ingredient in absinthe,37 wormwood consumption led to the establishment of a daily event called “Green Hour” or a “happy hour” when people gather in cafés to drink absinthe.38
Absinthe should not be consumed straight, so French drinkers introduced a way of drinking this liqueur to fully savor its taste. First, a sugar cube must be placed on an absinthe spoon or a spoon with holes, which is placed across the glass rim. Cold water is then poured over the sugar until the cube dissolves. This procedure creates a louche, or white cloud effect, in the liquid. It may be stirred after.39
Chronic consumption of this once-banned beverage can lead to something called absinthism. It is a psychiatric disorder caused by absinthe’s high thujone content, with symptoms such as:40,41
- Hallucinations and delirium
- Limb shaking
- Mental decline
- Digestive disorders
Modern premium grade absinthe products are made by distillation with at least 45% alcohol volume and no artificial dye. These products must also have a recognizable wormwood flavor and must be able to create the louche effect when infused with liquid sugar.42
Wormwood essential oil is usually produced in Morocco, China, India and Bulgaria through steam distillation.43 According to the journal Planta Medica, wormwood oil is greenish and has a strong odor.44 Although this plant is known for its toxicity, a 2008 study found that essential oil of wormwood flowers from Iran has a lower thujone content.45
Wormwood oil may be used to help alleviate bruises and lower back muscle or joint pain.46 Other ways in which wormwood oil promotes benefits are by helping to:47
- Kill pests through its antifeedant (a property that helps inhibit insect feeding)48 and toxic effects
- Suppress agricultural and foodborne pathogens through its antifungal and antimicrobial activities
- Inhibit the growth of parasites
- Relieve spasm of involuntary muscles when used in small amounts49
Despite its bitterness, wormwood may be brewed as a tea to maximize its health-giving properties. Learn how to make wormwood tea with this quick and easy recipe from Leaf.TV:50
Wormwood tea recipe
- 1 teaspoon dried wormwood leaves
- 1 cup of hot water
- Raw honey (optional)
- Place the dried leaves in a cup filled with hot water. Set it aside for several minutes. Remember that using more than 1 teaspoon of wormwood leaves may make your tea too bitter or strong.
- Strain the infusion and drink while hot.
- To reduce its bitterness, you may add honey or mix it with another herbal tea, such as peppermint or anise tea.
Wormwood tea may have other uses around the house, too. When sprayed on the ground, it may help lure away slugs and aphids on trees and plants, and ward off beetles. For dogs and cats, wormwood tea baths may help get rid of fleas.51
Although wormwood provides numerous beneficial effects, you should also be aware of its side effects, especially if taken in large doses. Thujone, a ketone found in wormwood essential oil, may exhibit neurotoxic effects if threshold concentrations are exceeded.52
A 2016 study suggests that this toxic agent may cause redness and pain in the face when used as a poultice. This may lead to a first-degree burn, so remember to consult a health care professional before applying wormwood products on your skin.53 According to WebMD, wormwood may also cause the following side effects because of its thujone content:54
- Muscle breakdown
- Kidney failure
- Difficulty sleeping
- Stomach cramps
- Irregular heart rate
- Numbness of arms and legs
- Urine retention
Pregnant women and breastfeeding moms should avoid wormwood oil because of the potential toxicity of thujone. You should also avoid this herb if you have a kidney disorder or an allergy to ragweed and other related plants.55
Aside from the notable applications mentioned, wormwood may also be used as a supplement, according to a 2017 study involving rabbits. Wormwood helped improve their growth performance and exhibited antioxidant effects. Additionally, it helped reduce the number of oocysts, or the thick-walled stage in the life cycle of one-celled parasites,56 in the rabbits.57
Dried wormwood plant is usually more palatable to animals compared to freshly cut wormwood. In a 2002 study involving male cattle, it was found that they consume more nutrients when rice straw is replaced with dried wormwood, which contains more crude protein, crude fat and organic matter.58
Growing wormwood at home is easy. It can be easily propagated from the seed or through cutting or dividing the roots. This plant does not need too much care and attention — it simply has to be watered and pruned occasionally when transferred to the ground.59 Here are a few maintenance tips when growing wormwood plants:
- They must be planted in an area where children or pets can’t reach them, as they are mildly toxic when ingested.60
- Due to their toxic root excretions, they must not be grown near other plants, such as fennel, sage and caraway, since they may inhibit their growth. Instead, plant them in separate beds around ornamental plants to help ward off pests.61
- Aside from seeds, you may also plant divided wormwood plants or their stems.62
- Fertilizers are not necessary when planting wormwood because they do not like rich soil.63
- These plants must be grown in an open area to help avoid fungal and rust diseases.64
- Wormwood plants may be planted along with carrots, as their toxic components may help repel carrot flies and other garden pests such as ants, slugs, cabbage loopers, flea beetles, codling moths and tomato hornworms.65
Q: What is wormwood good for?
A: As found by studies, wormwood may be beneficial against malaria, Lyme disease, lymphoma, leukemia, liver disease, depression, Crohn's disease, IgA nephropathy, lead exposure and osteoarthritis.
Q: Can wormwood make you hallucinate?
A: Wormwood, a key ingredient in absinthe, may cause hallucinations if taken in high amounts due to its thujone content.
Q: Is wormwood safe to eat?
A: Wormwood leaves may be steeped in water to make tea, while their extracts may be used in alcoholic beverages such as absinthe. However, I advise regulating your intake of this liqueur because it contains thujone, a potentially toxic chemical, which may be detrimental to your health if consumed in excessive amounts.66
Q: How does wormwood taste like?
A: Wormwood has a bitter taste with a strong, distinct odor.
Q: Where can I buy wormwood?
A: Wormwood essential oil, tea bags, supplements and seeds are available online.