Archives for posts with tag: Mercola

By Dr. Mercola

Mounting research suggests that your microbiome—colonies of bacteria, viruses, and other microbes living in your gut—may be one of the preeminent factors determining your health and longevity.

Feeding health-promoting gut bacteria with a healthy diet, avoiding hospitals (which are hotbeds for drug-resistant bacteria), and boycotting processed foods and animal foods raised in confined animal feeding operations (CAFOs)—both of which tend to have an adverse effect on your microbiome—may be keystone strategies for longevity.

Beneficial Microbes Prevent Disease

A number of studies have begun to identify specific species of bacteria that appear to have specialized functions and abilities to prevent disease.

For example, in one study, DNA analysis of diseased sections of intestine removed from patients suffering from Crohn’s disease revealed that one particular bacterium, Faecalibacterium prausnitzii, was lower than normal.

While researchers have linked the presence of specific bacteria to various diseases, this finding suggests certain species may be actively involved in preventing certain disease states.

When Faecalibacterium prausnitzii was transferred into mice, it protected them against induced intestinal inflammation, suggesting this particular species may play an important anti-inflammatory role in the human microbiota. As reported by Scientific American:1

“Each of us harbors a teeming ecosystem of microbes that outnumbers the total number of cells in the human body by a factor of 10 to one and whose collective genome is at least 150 times larger than our own. 

In 2012 the National Institutes of Health completed the first phase of the Human Microbiome Project, a multimillion-dollar effort to catalogue and understand the microbes that inhabit our bodies. The microbiome varies dramatically from one individual to the next and can change quickly over time in a single individual… 

[A] burgeoning body of research suggests that the makeup of this complex microbial ecosystem is closely linked with our immune function. Some researchers now suspect that, aside from protecting us from infection, one of the immune system’s jobs is to cultivate, or ‘farm,’ the friendly microbes that we rely on to keep us healthy.” 

Specific Microbes with Health-Promoting Functions

One group of microbes that appear important for maintaining healthy immune function is the clostridial group of microbes—ironically enough, this group is related to Clostridium difficile, which can cause severe and life-threatening intestinal infections.

But whereas C. difficile prompts chronic inflammation, the clostridial clusters help maintain a healthy and well-functioning gut barrier, preventing inflammatory agents from entering your bloodstream.

The featured research suggests that while certain genetic factors can predispose you to inflammatory bowel diseases like Crohn’s, it’s actually the loss of anti-inflammatory microbes that ultimately allow the disease to blossom. As noted by Scientific American:2

“[A]lthough… other good bacteria besides F. prausnitzii exist, this similarity hinted at a potential one-size-fits-all remedy for Crohn’s and possibly other inflammatory disorders: restoration of peacekeeping microbes… 

The tremendous microbial variation now evident among people has forced scientists to rethink how these communities work. Whereas a few years ago they imagined a core set of human-adapted microbes common to us all, they are now more likely to discuss core functions—specific jobs fulfilled by any number of microbes.”

Inflammatory bowel diseases are not the only health problems affected alterations in your microbiome. Other research has found that onset of type 1 diabetes (an autoimmune disease) in young children tends to be preceded by a change in gut bacteria.

Previous research has also found that certain microbes can help prevent type 1 diabetes, suggesting your gut flora may indeed be an epigenetic factor that plays a significant role in this condition.

Research also suggests there’s a connection between certain types of bacteria and body fat that produces a heightened inflammatory response that contributes to the metabolic dysfunction associated with type 2 diabetes.

In addition, preliminary research3  presented in 2010 revealed that transplanting fecal matter from healthy thin people into obese people with metabolic syndrome led to an improvement in insulin sensitivity, again suggesting that such conditions can be effectively addressed by correcting the microbial composition of your gut.

Antibiotic Overuse Has Fueled More Deadly Infections

Just as some bacteria help prevent disease, others promote it. One such bacterium is Clostridium difficile,4 the prevalence of which has steadily risen as a result of massive antibiotic overuse, especially in farm animals.

According to the latest statistics released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), half a million Americans were infected with Clostridium difficile in 2011, and 29,000 of them died within a month of diagnosis.5,,7Besides the human death toll, fighting C. difficile costs hospitals a staggering $4.8 billion per year.8

Hospitals are the number one location where you’re apt to contract this type of infection, but the CDC also notes that many appear to have contracted it during visits to doctor’s and dental offices.9 Nursing homes are also hotbeds for this hard-to-treat infection. As reported by Reuters:10

“The study11 by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention focused on the Clostridium difficile bacterium, which can cause deadly diarrhea. The findings… highlight how overprescription of antibiotics has fueled a rise in bacteria that are resistant to treatment.

People who take antibiotics are most at risk of acquiring C. difficile because these medications also wipe out ‘good’ bacteria that protect a healthy person against the infection. 

‘Antibiotics are clearly driving this whole problem,’ Clifford McDonald, CDC senior advisor for science and integrity, said… One in every three infections occurred in patients 65 and older, the study found, with more than 100,000 C. difficile cases found in US nursing homes.”

Fecal Transplants Found Effective Against C. Difficile Infections

One novel treatment that has been shown to be quite effective against C. difficile infections is the fecal transplant.12 Fecal microbiota transplant (FMT) is a relatively simple procedure that involves taking feces from a healthy donor and transferring it to the patient during a colonoscopy.

The patient basically receives a transplanted population of healthy flora that can go to work correcting any number of gastrointestinal problems, including C. difficile infection.

According to Dr. Mark Mellow, medical director of the Digestive Health Center at Integris Baptist Medical Center in Oklahoma City, fecal transplants lead to rapid resolution of symptoms in 98 percent of patients with Clostridium difficile who have not responded to other treatments.

While I believe fecal transplantation can be lifesaving in some circumstances, I want to make it clear that you will likely never have to resort to receiving donated feces if you address your gut health on a daily basis—by avoiding factors that kill off your beneficial gut bacteria, and continuously “reseeding” your gut through a healthy diet and regular use of fermented vegetables. Also, any time you take an antibiotic, it is important to take probiotics and/or fermented vegetables to repopulate the beneficial bacteria in your gut that are killed by the antibiotic, right along with the pathogenic bacteria. If you don’t, you’re leaving the door wide open for further health problems.

Beware of the Risks of Hospital-Acquired Infections

Hospitals are notorious hotbeds for drug-resistant disease, and hospital-acquired infections now affect one in 25 patients! Some of these infections are resistant to antibiotics, which is why avoiding hospitals, barring an acute, life-threatening condition, is good advice. You could enter with a minor ailment only to come out with one that is much worse…

In an effort to rein in some of these hospital-acquired drug-resistant infections, the US government is now finalizing new cleaning protocols for duodenoscopes13,14—camera-equipped flexible tubes that are threaded through your mouth, down your throat, through your stomach into the top of your small intestine. These reusable medical instruments have been implicated in a number of hospital-acquired drug-resistant outbreaks. In the latest outbreak, two of the seven patients affected died. The family members of one of them recently spoke out,15 chastising the hospital for not disclosing the risks of contracting such lethal infections upon admission.

According to Dr. John Allen, president of the American Gastroenterological Association:16 “This problem has been known since at least 1987. It certainly is disturbing that a fundamental design issue with these scopes would cause problems for this long.”

Factory Farming Is a Major Promoter of Antibiotic-Resistant Pathogens

While antibiotics are certainly overprescribed in medicine, the primary driver of deadly “superbugs” is actually factory farming. Animals raised in CAFOs are routinely given low doses of antibiotics to promote growth and prevent diseases resulting from the crowded and unsanitary conditions of these facilities. Eighty percent of all antibiotics sold in the US are fed to livestock, so eating CAFO-raised foods is likely to be the greatest source of antibiotics for many people.

Not only may this low-dose ingestion of antibiotics have an adverse effect on the composition of your microbiome, thereby affecting your health, about half of all meats sold in American grocery stores have also been found to harbor drug-resistant bacteria that can cause severe food-borne illness. This is one of the reasons why I recommend eating only organically-raised, grass-fed or pastured meats and other animal products, such as dairy and eggs, as organic standards do not permit non-medical use of antibiotics.

Processed Food Ingredients That Decimate Your Microbiome

Besides avoiding CAFO-raised animal food products, you’d also be wise to reconsider your consumption of processed foods of all kinds. Not only are processed foods very high in added sugars—high fructose corn syrup in particular—but recent research has also found that emulsifiers found in processed foods have a very detrimental effect on your microbiome. As reported by Time Magazine:17

“Ingredients such as polysorbate 80, lecithin, carrageenan, polyglycerols, and xanthan and other ‘gums,’ all of which keep ingredients—often oils and fats—from separating. They are also used to improve the texture and shelf-life of many foods found on supermarket shelves, from ice cream and baked goods, to salad dressings, veggie burgers, non-dairy milks, and hamburger patties. Now, a new study18… suggests these ingredients may also be contributing to the rising incidence of obesity, metabolic syndrome, and inflammatory bowel disease by interfering with microbes in the gastrointestinal tract.”

In this study, widely used food additives caused chronic colitis in mice with already abnormal immune systems. In mice with healthy immune function, they resulted in mild intestinal inflammation and subsequent metabolic dysfunction that led to obesity, hyperglycemia, and insulin resistance. Most notably, the emulsifiers were fed at levels that an average person would be exposed to if eating a lot of processed foods, suggesting these additives may indeed affect the health of many Americans.

Food additives such as these are all approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), again highlighting the severe limitation of our current regulatory system. A 2013 study19 published in the journal Reproductive Toxicology found that nearly 80 percent of the food additives approved by the FDA lack testing information that would help the agency estimate the amount people can safely consume before suffering health consequences…

Optimizing Your Gut Flora May Be One of Your Most Important Disease Prevention Strategies

Overusing antibiotics on humans and animals that do not need them has led to a pandemic of antibiotic-resistant disease, and both medical and agricultural uses are in dire need of serious revisions. Unfortunately, such changes are slow in the making, and I advise you not to wait for the food and medical industry to correct the problem. It seems quite clear that optimizing your gut flora may be one of the most important things you can do for your health, and here you can wield your personal power to the fullest, by making healthy food and medical choices.

Not only can optimizing your gut health help normalize your weight and ward off diabetes, it’s also a critical component for a well-functioning immune system, which is your primary defense against all sorts of disease—including infections. Reseeding your gut with beneficial bacteria is key for preventing pathogenic microbes and fungi from taking over and wreaking havoc with your health. To optimize your microbiome, keep the following recommendations in mind:

  • Eat plenty of fermented foodsTraditionally fermented and cultured foods are one of the best routes to optimal digestive health. Healthy choices include lassi, fermented grass-fed organic milk such as kefir, various pickled fermentations of cabbage, turnips, eggplant, cucumbers, onions, squash and carrots, and natto (fermented soy). Fermented vegetables, are an excellent way to supply beneficial bacteria back into our gut. And, unlike some other fermented foods, they tend to be palatable, if not downright delicious, to most people. As an added bonus, they can also a great source of vitamin K2 if you ferment your own using a starter culture that is optimized with bacterial strains that produce high levels of vitamin K2.
  • Take a probiotic supplement. Although I’m not a major proponent of taking many supplements (as I believe the majority of your nutrients need to come from food), probiotics is an exception if you don’t eat fermented foods on a regular basis.

In addition to knowing what to add to your diet and lifestyle, it’s equally important to know what to avoid, and these include:

Antibiotics, unless absolutely necessary (and when you do, make sure to reseed your gut with fermented foods and/or a probiotic supplement) Conventionally-raised meats and other animal products, as CAFO animals are routinely fed low-dose antibiotics, plus genetically engineered grains, which have also been implicated in the destruction of gut flora Processed foods. Excessive sugars, along with otherwise “dead” nutrients, feed pathogenic bacteria. Food emulsifiers such as polysorbate 80, lecithin, carrageenan, polyglycerols, and xanthan gum also appear to have an adverse effect on your gut flora.20

Unless 100% organic, they may also contain GMOs that tend to be heavily contaminated with pesticides such as glyphosate

Chlorinated and/or fluoridated water Antibacterial soap Agricultural chemicals, glyphosate(Roundup) in particular

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All My Profits from This Book Will Be Donated

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Among them, you’ll be benefiting and supporting the actions of:

  • National Vaccine Information Center (NVIC) – A non-profit organization that seeks to prevent vaccine injuries and deaths through public education and defending your right of informed choice.
  • Organic Consumers Association (OCA) – A grassroots public interest organization campaigning for health, justice, and sustainability, and addressing food safety, GMOs, the industrial agricultural complex, children’s health, and more. The ONLY U.S. organization focused exclusively on the interests that you and I share!
  • Consumers for Dental Choice – Children, the unborn, and employees in the dental field are particularly vulnerable to mercury. But so is everyone with a mouthful of amalgam fillings (which are 50% mercury) at risk. Consumers for Dental Choice is working to phase out amalgam use and to promote access to mercury-free alternatives.
  • Fluoride Action Network (FAN) – An international coalition aimed at ending water fluoridation and alerting you to fluoride’s environmental and health risks. FAN keeps you informed about fluoride toxicity, and monitors government actions that may expose you to fluoride.

Are you ready to get started? The timing has never been better. Order your copy of Effortless Healing today, collect your free gifts, and let your journey begin!

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By Dr. Mercola

Fluoride is a toxic drug linked with an array of potentially serious health problems. Most recently, research linking fluoridated water consumption to thyroid dysfunction received attention in both British and American media.1,2,3,4

Evidence also suggests it may contribute to or exacerbate behavioral problems such as ADHD, by way of pineal gland calcification.

Despite irrefutable evidence of harm, the United States still adds fluoride to municipal water supplies reaching nearly 211 million Americans. As of 2012, more than 67 percent of Americans receive fluoridated water.5

Of those, more than 11 million people receive fluoride at or above what has been deemed the “optimal” level, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

In the UK, about 6 million Britons receive water with added fluoride. Meanwhile, a growing number of countries—including Germany, Sweden, Japan, the Netherlands, Finland, and Israel6—have ceased this hazardous practice.7

Water Fluoridation Promotes Thyroid Dysfunction, Study Warns

Water fluoridation has long been promoted as a safe and effective way to improve dental health—a claim that in reality has no firm basis in science. On the contrary, the evidence clearly suggests there are wide-ranging health hazards associated with fluoride exposure.

British researchers are now warning that 15,000 people may be needlessly afflicted with hypothyroidism in the UK as a result of drinking fluoridated water.8

In areas where fluoride levels in the water registered above 0.3 mg/l, the risk of having a high rate of hypothyroidism was 37 percent greater compared to areas that do not fluoridate. As explained by Vice.com9 and in the featured video above:

“The key to a healthy thyroid is iodine, which is generally absorbed through the blood and stored and regulated by the body in the thyroid gland… 

But because fluoride is more electronegative than iodine, it displaces it in the body, disrupting thyroid function and subsequently impacting hormone levels that keep metabolism in check. 

Numerous studies (including one from just last year10) have previously confirmed fluoride’s ability to promote and exacerbate iodine deficiency11…”

Recommended Fluoride Levels in US Is Twice the Level at Which Thyroid Function Can Be Affected

The US currently recommends a fluoride level of 0.7 mg/L,12 and thyroid dysfunction is also rampant in the US, where an estimated 20 million people are affected,13 so from a public health standpoint, it makes absolutely no sense whatsoever to medicate the entire population with a drug that can either induce or exacerbate this condition.

Additional side effects of thyroid dysfunction include weight gain and depression. An equally or more important side effect is harm to the fetus in hypothyroid pregnant women, which can result in lowered IQ and other neurological deficits.

Because of all of these effects, the researchers urge city councils to stop adding fluoride to their drinking water. According to lead author Stephen Peckham:14

“I think it is concerning for people living in those [high fluoride] areas. The difference between the West Midlands, which fluoridates, and Manchester, which doesn’t, was particularly striking. There were nearly double the number of [underactive thyroid] cases in the West Midlands. 

Underactive thyroid is a particularly nasty thing to have and it can lead to other long term health problems. I do think councils need to think again about putting fluoride in the water. There are far safer ways to improve dental health.” 

Dr. Spyros Mezitis, an endocrinologist at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City who did not participate in the study told WebMD:15

“Clinicians in the United States should emphasize to patients this association and should test patients for underactive thyroid. Patients should probably be advised to drink less fluoridated water and consume less fluoridated products, including [fluoridated] toothpaste.”

Endocrinologist Dr. Terry Davies, who is also a professor of medicine at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, in New York City also agreed, saying that:

“This dramatic increase in thyroid dysfunction associated with fluoridation of the water supply adds to previous studies indicating that fluoride has an inhibitory effect on the thyroid gland. [The study] supports the argument that our water supply should be pure water and nothing else.”

How Is Water Fluoridation in the Public’s Best Interest?

Many fail to realize that fluoride is indeed a drug, and as such it is grossly inappropriate for it to be indiscriminately added to water supplies, as there’s no way to control who gets it, and in what dose.

Surely, protecting people from thyroid dysfunction—which can also raise your risk for cardiovascular disease, osteoporosis, infertility, neurological harm to fetuses and infants, and other health problems—is of greater concern than protecting people from dental caries, which can be very effectively addressed in other, far safer ways…

Besides, the science behind fluoride’s purported dental benefits is flimsy at best, and has repeatedly failed to stand up to closer scrutiny. Mounting scientific evidence reveals that:

Outwardly visual signs of this condition include pitting and discoloration of your teeth, caused by long-term ingestion of fluoride during early tooth formation. In some areas, fluorosis rates are as high as 70-80 percent, with some children suffering from advanced forms. Dental fluorosis can be an indication that the rest of your body, such as your bones and internal organs, including your brain, has been overexposed to fluoride as well.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), there is no discernible difference in tooth decay between developed countries that fluoridate their water and those that do not. Moreover, the decline in tooth decay the US has experienced over the last 60 years, which is often attributed to fluoridated water, has likewise occurred in all developed countries—most of which do not fluoridate their water.

  • Even topical application of fluoride may be largely ineffective. Research published in the journal Langmuir17 five years ago discovered that the fluorapatite layer formed on your teeth from fluoride is a mere six nanometers thick (about one ten-thousands’ the width of a strand of hair), which led the scientists to question whether this ultra-thin layer can actually protect your enamel and provide any discernible benefit, considering the fact that it is quickly eliminated by simple chewing. Other studies have concluded topical fluoride may be helpful.

Cavity Prevention 101

As I’ve discussed in previous articles, the best way to prevent cavities is not by adding fluoride, but by addressing your diet. Scientific American18 recently addressed this issue as well, noting that excessive sugar consumption is at the heart of the problem. According to Dr. Francesco Branca, Director of WHO’s Department of Nutrition for Health and Development: “We have solid evidence that keeping intake of free sugars to less than 10 percent of total energy intake reduces the risk of overweight, obesity and tooth decay.”

One of the keys to oral health is eating a traditional diet rich in fresh, unprocessed vegetables, nuts, and grass-fed meats. By avoiding sugars and processed foods, you prevent the proliferation of the bacteria that cause decay in the first place. Other natural strategies that can significantly improve your dental health is eating plenty of fermented vegetables doing oil pulling with coconut oil. Also make sure you’re getting plenty of omega-3 fats. The latest research suggests even moderate amounts of omega-3 fats may help ward off gum disease. My favorite source of high quality omega-3 fat is krill oil.

Fluoride Detrimentally Affects Many Tissues in Your Body

Many assume that the fluoride in drinking water (or in any other fluoride supplement) will somehow only affect your teeth. Unfortunately, this is simply not the case. According to one 500-page scientific review,19 fluoride is an endocrine disruptor that can affect not only your thyroid gland, but also your bones, brain, pineal gland, and even your blood sugar levels. There are more than 100 published studies illustrating fluoride’s harm to the brain alone, plus 43 more that directly link fluoride exposure to reduced IQ in children! Studies have also demonstrated that fluoride toxicity, caused by overexposure, can lead to:

Increased lead absorption Disrupted synthesis of collagen Hyperactivity and/or lethargy Muscle disorders
Bone cancer (osteosarcoma) Increased tumor and cancer rate Arthritis Skeletal fluorosis and bone fractures
Genetic damage and cell death Damaged sperm and increased infertility Inactivation of 62 enzymes and inhibition of more than 100 Inhibited formation of antibodies, and immune system disruptions

The Link Between Fluoride, Pineal Gland Calcification, and ADHD

A recent article20 by Frank Granett, R.ph, director of Clinical Pharmacy Operations at Behavioral Center of Michigan Psychiatric Hospital, and author of The American Epidemic and Over Medicating Our Youth, also addresses the issue of fluoride and pineal calcification, which can result in symptoms such as ADHD. He writes, in part:

“Located deep within the brain below the corpus callosum, which is the circuit connector for the right and left brain hemispheres, the pineal gland is responsible for the secretion of melatonin, the human body’s biological time-clock hormone regulating normal sleep patterns. More importantly, the pineal gland plays a critical role in the enzyme pathway for the production of brain neurotransmitters including serotonin and norepinephrine. Additionally, the body’s anti-oxidant defense system is optimized by healthy pineal tissue, which helps eliminate free-radical toxin accumulation in the body.”

Despite its diminutive size, your pineal gland tends to accumulate significant amounts of fluoride, which eventually causes it to calcify. Besides ADHD-like symptoms, pineal calcification may also play a role in Alzheimer’s and bipolar disease. Considering its effect on neurotransmitters, it’s also quite conceivable that it might promote depression and other neurological disorders. Granett also notes that studies have linked pineal calcification to precocious puberty in girls, attributed to abnormal melatonin secretion.

“Government agencies complicit in this public-health issue should re-evaluate the dangers fluoride poses in childhood behavioral development,” he writes. “Children and adults battling behavioral conditions should adopt an action plan to prevent the onset of pineal-gland calcification.” 

To help decalcify your pineal gland, Granett suggests:

  • Eliminating sugar, processed foods, and genetically engineered foods
  • Drinking purified water. To help break up the calcification, take one teaspoon of cold organic apple cider vinegar in water once per day
  • Consuming raw beets four times per week, as beets contains high amounts of boron that also help break up calcification
  • Taking an antioxidant supplement
  • Using non-fluoridated toothpaste

To Protect Your Health, Avoid Fluoride

No matter which scientific studies you examine or which population trends you view, the rational conclusion is that fluoride’s health dangers far outweigh the marginal dental benefits it mightoffer. Dental caries can be effectively prevented with means other than fluoridation, thereby avoiding the adverse effects of fluoride. It’s important to realize that fluoride is a cumulative toxin, which over time can lead to serious health concerns, from hypothyroidism to skeletal fluorosis and much more.

The neurological effects are particularly disconcerting. As mentioned, 43 human studies21 now link moderately high fluoride exposures with reduced IQ. We cannot afford to ignore such warnings! Water fluoridation needs to stop. The question is how. Despite all the evidence, getting fluoride out of American water supplies has been exceedingly difficult. It’s not impossible, however, as evidenced in areas that have successfully abolished water fluoridation.

According to the late Jeff Green, National Director of Citizens for Safe Drinking Water, a repeated theme in the cases where communities successfully removed fluoride from their water supply is the shifting of the burden of proof. Rather than citizens taking on the burden of proving that fluoride is harmful and shouldn’t be added, a more successful strategy has been to hold those making claims, and the elected officials who rely on them, accountable for delivering proof that the specific fluoridation chemical being used fulfills their health and safety claims, and is in compliance with all regulations, laws, and risk assessments already required for safe drinking water. To learn more, please see this previous article, which discusses these strategies more in-depth.

Help End The Practice of Fluoridation

There’s no doubt about it: fluoride should not be ingested. Even scientists from the EPA’s National Health and Environmental Effects Research Laboratory have classified fluoride as a “chemical having substantial evidence of developmental neurotoxicity.” Furthermore, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 41 percent of American adolescents now have dental fluorosis—unattractive discoloration and mottling of the teeth that indicate overexposure to fluoride. Clearly, children are being overexposed, and their health and development put in jeopardy. Why?

The only real solution is to stop the archaic practice of water fluoridation in the first place. Fortunately, the Fluoride Action Network has a game plan to END water fluoridation worldwide. Clean pure water is a prerequisite to optimal health. Industrial chemicals, drugs, and other toxic additives really have no place in our water supplies. So, please, protect your drinking water and support the fluoride-free movement by making a tax-deductible donation to the Fluoride Action Network today.

Internet Resources Where You Can Learn More

I encourage you to visit the website of the Fluoride Action Network (FAN) and visit the links below:

Together, Let’s Help FAN Get The Funding They Deserve

In my opinion, there are very few NGOs that are as effective and efficient as FAN. Its small team has led the charge to end fluoridation and will continue to do so with our help!

Please make a donation today to help FAN end the absurdity of fluoridation.

By Dr. Mercola

For the past half century, cholesterol has been touted as a grave health hazard, and dietary fat and cholesterol have been portrayed as being among the “deadliest” foods you could possibly eat.

This may finally change, as limitations for cholesterol will likely be removed from the 2015 edition of Dietary Guidelines for Americans. It’s about time really, as 60 years’ worth of research has utterly failed to demonstrate a correlation between high cholesterol and heart disease.

Not only does undamaged natural cholesterol not cause heart disease, it is actually one of the most important molecules in your body; indispensable for the building of cells and for producing stress and sex hormones, as well as vitamin D.

Cholesterol is also important for brain health, and helps with the formation of your memories. Low levels of HDL cholesterol have been linked to memory loss and Alzheimer’s disease, and may also increase your risk of depression, stroke, violent behavior, and even suicide.

New American Dietary Guidelines May Remove Limits on Cholesterol

A draft1 of the 2015 edition of Dietary Guidelines for Americans,2 created by the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee, now states that “cholesterol is not considered a nutrient of concern for overconsumption.”

And, according to a recent report in the Washington Post,3 an insider claims the new stance on cholesterol will remain in the final report. As noted by medical journalist Larry Husten:4

“The proposed change reflects a major shift in the scientific view of cholesterol that has taken place in recent years. 

Although serum cholesterol is still considered an important risk factor, cholesterol consumed in food is now thought to play a relatively insignificant role in determining blood levels of cholesterol.”

However, if you process saturated fat or cholesterol and heat it by frying, then  you create very dangerous products that will clearly increase your risk of cardiovascular disease. So this new information does not give you free license to eat any type of cholesterol. Remember, trans fats are worse than sugar for your health.

Guidelines on Fat and Cholesterol Should Never Have Been Made

Steve Nissen, chairman of cardiovascular medicine at the Cleveland Clinic, told USA Today:5 “It’s the right decision. We got the dietary guidelines wrong. They’ve been wrong for decades.” This message was echoed in Time Magazine, which recently reported that:

“[I]n the latest review6 of studies that investigated the link between dietary fat and causes of death, researchers say the guidelines got it all wrong. In fact, recommendations to reduce the amount of fat we eat every day should never have been made.”

Low-fat diets saw a real upswing in 1977, but according to research published in the Open Heart journal,7 led by Zoe Harcombe, PhD, there was no scientific basis for the recommendations to cut fat from our diet in the first place.

What’s worse, the processed food industry replaced fat with large amounts of sugar, While Dr. Harcombe shies away from making any recommendation about how much dietary fat might be ideal, she suggests that the take-home message here is to simply “eat real food.”

I have to say, it’s refreshing to finally see that message being repeated in the mainstream media. As reported by Time Magazine:8

“The less adulterated and processed your diet is, the more nutrients and healthy fats, proteins and carbohydrates your body will get, and the less you’ll have to worry about meeting specific guidelines or advice that may or may not be based on a solid body of evidence.”

Processed Fructose Affects Your Body Like Alcohol

The low-fat craze led to an avalanche of new processed food products, promising to benefit both your waistline and your heart. Alas, nothing could have been further from the truth.

When fat was removed, sugar was added in, and this has led to a massive increase in obesity, diabetes, heart disease, and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. As it turns out, your body metabolizes fructose in the same way it metabolizes ethanol, creating the same toxic effects. 

Unlike glucose, which can be used by virtually every cell in your body, fructose can only be metabolized by your liver, because your liver is the only organ that has the transporter for it.

Since nearly all fructose gets shuttled to your liver, and, if you eat a typical Western-style diet, you consume high amounts of it, fructose ends up taxing and damaging your liver in the same way alcohol and other toxins do.

In fact, when you compare the health outcomes of fructose versus alcohol consumption, you see the diseases they cause are virtually identical:

Chronic Ethanol Consumption Chronic Fructose Consumption
Hypertension Hypertension
Cardiomyopathy Myocardial infarction
Dyslipidemia Dyslipidemia
Pancreatitis Pancreatitis
Obesity Obesity
Hepatic dysfunction (ASH) Hepatic dysfunction (NASH)
Fetal alcohol syndrome Fetal insulin resistance
Addiction Habituation, if not addiction

Non-Alcoholic Liver Disease Has Become a Serious Public Health Concern

Dr. Robert Lustig, Professor of Pediatrics in the Division of Endocrinology at the University of California, has been a pioneer in decoding sugar metabolism and sounding the alarm on processed fructose in particular.

In one of his papers,9 published in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics in 2010, Dr. Lustig describes three similarities between fructose and its fermentation byproduct, ethanol (alcohol):

  1. Your liver’s metabolism of fructose is similar to alcohol as they both serve as substrates for converting dietary carbohydrate into fat, which promotes insulin resistance, dyslipidemia (abnormal fat levels in the bloodstream), and fatty liver
  2. Fructose undergoes the Maillard reaction with proteins, leading to the formation of superoxide free radicals that can result in liver inflammation similar to acetaldehyde, an intermediary metabolite of ethanol
  3. By “stimulating the ‘hedonic pathway’ of the brain both directly and indirectly,” Dr. Lustig noted, “fructose creates habituation, and possibly dependence; also paralleling ethanol”

As recently reported in Scientific American,10 non-alcoholic fatty liver disease11 (NAFLD) now affects an estimated 25 percent of Americans, including an estimated 20 percent of children, who have never had a drop of alcohol. Cases of NAFLD have even been reported in children as young as three years old. This may sound like an impossibility. But did you know that most infant formulas contain the sugar equivalent of a can of Coca-Cola?

Ditto for many baby foods, which can contain as much sugar and harmful trans fats as chocolate cookies or cheeseburgers. Babies are methodically “poisoned” with exorbitant amounts of refined sugar and processed fructose from day one, so it’s really no wonder that so many of our youngsters struggle with weight issues and associated diseases.  As explained in Scientific American:12

“NAFLD describes the accumulation of fat in hepatocytes, or liver cells, in excessive amounts. These fats are typically triglycerides, which the body naturally stores and creates from calories that it doesn’t need right away. Normally these fats are burned off for energy, but if the body is overwhelmed with calories and a lack of exercise, then the triglycerides are simply never released. They instead accumulate in the liver and cause NAFLD, which can lead to inflammation, scarring, liver dysfunction and even liver cancer.”

Wrong Dietary Guidelines Has Led to Flawed Medical Interventions, Too

Since the cholesterol hypothesis is false, this also means that the recommended therapies—low-fat, low-cholesterol diet, and cholesterol lowering medications—are doing more harm than good. Statin treatment, for example, is largely harmful, costly, and has transformed millions of people into patients whose health is being adversely impacted by the drug. As noted in the featured video, we now know a whole lot more about HDL and LDL, commonly referred to as “good” and “bad” cholesterol respectively, although that is also a bit of a fallacy.

Depending on the size of the particles, LDL may be either harmful or harmless, so LDL is not necessarily “bad” across the board. The issue of particle sizes is discussed in greater detail in my 2013 interview with Chris Kresser, L.Ac. If you’ve had your cholesterol levels checked, your doctor most likely tested your total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol, HDL cholesterol, and triglycerides. But we now know those are not accurate predictors for cardiovascular disease risk.

A far more accurate predictor is your LDL particle number, the test for which is called an NMR Lipoprofile. It’s easy to get and all major labs offer it, including LabCorp and Quest. Most insurance policies cover the test as well. Best of all, even if your doctor were to refuse to order it, you can order it yourself via third-party intermediaries like Direct Labs, or you can order the test online, and get blood drawn locally. Also:

    1. Check your HDL to total cholesterol ratio. HDL percentage is a potent heart disease risk factor. Just divide your HDL level by your cholesterol. This ratio should ideally be above 24 percent.
    2. Boost your HDL cholesterol and lower your triglyceride levels. High triglycerides are a very potent risk factor for heart disease. In combination, high triglycerides and low HDL levels are an even bigger risk; this ratio is far more important to your heart health than the standard good vs. bad cholesterol ratio. In fact, one study found that people with the highest ratio of triglycerides to HDL had 16 times the risk of heart attack as those with the lowest ratio of triglycerides to HDL.

You calculate your triglyceride/HDL cholesterol ratio by dividing your triglyceride level by your HDL level. This ratio should ideally be below 2. So while you strive to keep your HDL cholesterol levels up, you’ll want to decrease your triglycerides. You’ll find strategies for increasing your HDL level below. Triglycerides are easily decreased by exercising and avoiding grains and sugars in your diet.

Statins Are Based on a Flawed Premise

Part of the reason why cholesterol-lowering drugs like statins are ineffective for heart disease prevention (besides the fact that the drug causes heart disease as a side effect) is that drugs cannot address the real cause of heart disease, which is insulin and leptin resistance, which in turn increase your LDL particle number via a number of different mechanisms. While some genetic predisposition can play a role, insulin and leptin resistance is primarily caused by a combination of factors that are epidemic in our modern lifestyle:

  • A diet high in processed and refined carbohydrates, sugars/fructose, refined flours, and industrial seed oils
  • Insufficient everyday physical activity. Chronic sitting is also an independent risk factor that causes biochemical changes that predispose you to insulin and leptin resistance, even if you’re very fit and exercise regularly
  • Chronic sleep deprivation. Studies have shown that even one night of disturbed sleep can decrease your insulin sensitivity the next day and cause cravings and overeating
  • Environmental toxins. Exposure to BPA, for example, can disrupt weight regulation
  • Poor gut health. Studies indicate that imbalances in your gut flora (the bacteria that live in our gut) can predispose you to obesity and insulin and leptin resistance, and processed foods high in sugar effectively feed harmful bacteria, allowing them to take over

For Heart Health, Focus on Boosting Your HDL

A healthy diet is foundational for optimal health, and step number one is to ignore the advice to eat a low-fat, low-cholesterol diet. Other strategies that will help reduce your risk of heart disease include the following:13

Replace processed foods (which are loaded with refined sugar and carbs, processed fructose, and trans fat—all of which promote heart disease) with whole, unprocessed or minimally processed foods, ideally organic and/or locally grown.
Avoid meats and other animal products such as dairy and eggs sourced from animals raised in confined animal feeding operations (CAFOs). Instead, opt for grass-fed, pastured varieties, raised according to organic standards.
Eliminate no-fat and low-fat foods, and increase consumption of healthy fats. Half of the population suffers with insulin resistance and would benefit from consuming 50-85 percent of their daily calories from healthy saturated fats, such as avocados, butter made from raw grass-fed organic milk, raw dairy, organic pastured egg yolks, coconuts and coconut oil, unheated organic nut oils, raw nuts, and grass-fed meats. No- or low-fat foods are usually processed foods that are high in sugar, which raises your small, dense LDL particles.

Balancing your omega-3 to omega-6 ratio is also key for heart health, as these fatty acids help build the cells in your arteries that make the prostacyclin that keeps your blood flowing smoothly. Omega-3 deficiency can cause or contribute to very serious health problems, both mental and physical, and may be a significant underlying factor of up to 96,000 premature deaths each year. For more information about omega-3s and the best sources of this fat, please review this previous article.

You also need the appropriate ratios of calcium, magnesium, sodium, and potassium, and all of these are generally abundant in a whole food diet. To get more fresh vegetables into your diet, consider juicing.
Optimize your vitamin D level. Some researchers, like Dr. Stephanie Seneff, believe optimizing your vitamin D level through regular sun exposure, opposed to taking an oral supplement, may be key to optimizing your heart health. If you do opt for a supplement, you also increase your need for vitamin K2.  Meanwhile, Dr. Robert Heaney recently highlighted research showing that carnivorous animals actually get some of the vitamin D they need from the meat they eat. For the longest time, meat was not considered a good source of vitamin D, primarily because it was so difficult to measure that we didn’t think it contained useful amounts. He recommends getting approximately 5,000 to 6,000 IUs of vitamin D per day from all sources – sun, supplements, and food – in order to reach and maintain a healthy blood level of 40-60 ng/ml.
Optimize your gut health. Regularly eating fermented foods, such as fermented vegetables, will help reseed your gut with beneficial bacteria that may play an important role in preventing heart disease and countless other health problems.
Quit smoking and reduce your alcohol consumption.
Exercise regularly. Exercise is actually one of the safest, most effective ways to prevent and treat heart disease. In 2013, researchers at Harvard and Stanford reviewed 305 randomized controlled trials, concluding there were “no statistically detectable differences” between physical activity and medications for heart disease. High-intensity interval training, which requires but a fraction of the time compared to conventional cardio, has been shown to be especially effective.
Pay attention to your oral health. There’s convincing evidence linking the state of your teeth and gums to a variety of health issues, including heart disease. In one 2010 study,14 those with the worst oral hygiene increased their risk of developing heart disease by 70 percent, compared to those who brush their teeth twice a day.
Avoid statins, as the side effects of these drugs are numerous, while the benefits are debatable. In my view, the only group of people who may benefit from a cholesterol-lowering medication are those with genetic familial hypercholesterolemia. This is a condition characterized by abnormally high cholesterol, which tends to be resistant to lowering with lifestyle strategies like diet and exercise.

Effortless Healing – One Step at a Time – NOW AVAILABLE!

My newest bookEffortless Healing is now available! I’ve organized this book into a guide that will help you avoid the many pitfalls of the conventional approach to health. Rather than relying on expensive and potentially dangerous drugs, I will help you effortlessly make small shifts in what you eat and how you live to achieve your health goals. I promise, Effortless Healing isn’t a book that will overwhelm you. On top of that, ordering the book today entitles you to 3 exclusive bonuses:

BONUS #1:

A sneak peek of my new book! You won’t need to wait for the book to arrive to get started. Begin reading my new book right away with your free sneak preview!

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My most popular video interviews, all in one placeI’ve compiled 18 of my BEST expert interviews for you to watch and listen to at your leisure, and in the comfort of your own home or office.

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All My Profits from This Book Will Be Donated

That’s right. When you order a copy of my new book Effortless Healingyou’ll be making a much-deserved donation to the key organizations that work quietly and efficiently behind the scenes to make the world a healthier place for you, your family, and your community.

Among them, you’ll be benefiting and supporting the actions of:

  • National Vaccine Information Center (NVIC) – A non-profit organization that seeks to prevent vaccine injuries and deaths through public education and defending your right of informed choice.
  • Organic Consumers Association (OCA) – A grassroots public interest organization campaigning for health, justice, and sustainability, and addressing food safety, GMOs, the industrial agricultural complex, children’s health, and more. The ONLY U.S. organization focused exclusively on the interests that you and I share!
  • Consumers for Dental Choice – Children, the unborn, and employees in the dental field are particularly vulnerable to mercury. But so is everyone with a mouthful of amalgam fillings (which are 50% mercury) at risk. Consumers for Dental Choice is working to phase out amalgam use and to promote access to mercury-free alternatives.
  • Fluoride Action Network (FAN) – An international coalition aimed at ending water fluoridation and alerting you to fluoride’s environmental and health risks. FAN keeps you informed about fluoride toxicity, and monitors government actions that may expose you to fluoride.

Are you ready to get started? The timing has never been better. Order your copy of Effortless Healing today, collect your free gifts, and let your journey begin!

By Dr. Mercola

As a result of today’s skyrocketing rates of chronic disease and disability among children, including autism, some scientists are questioning the safety of large-scale vaccination programs.

In spite of serious adverse effects among some particularly vulnerable people—many of whom are children—public health officials and many doctors giving vaccines continue to bury their heads in the sand, refusing to even acknowledge there’s a problem.

The featured documentary, “Shots in the Dark: Silence on Vaccine,” takes a hard look at vaccine toxicity and its impact on families. Although released in 2011, the concerns raised are still relevant today.

Current research casts a shadow of doubt about vaccines being as safe as people have been led to believe. Several concerned scientists and many vaccine safety critics are sounding the alarm in hopes of gaining the attention of a public that tends to believe, without question, what doctors and the media say—that vaccines are unquestionably safe for everyone.

Certainly the original intention behind mass vaccination programs was a noble one—to reduce the spread of dangerous infections and increase our children’s odds of living long, healthy lives.

However, cases of severe, debilitating vaccine-triggered illnesses are becoming less of a rarity and lead to the logical conclusion that we may be trading artificial, temporary vaccine acquired immunity for life-long illness and disability.

Vaccine Safety Studies Severely Outdated – By Almost 100 Years!

There is increasing evidence that vaccines cause children to suffer more adverse reactions than any other pharmaceutical product.

Some of the recent research points to vaccines playing a key role in cases of autism, multiple sclerosis, Guillain-Barre syndrome and other major illnesses, particularly among individuals who are predisposed to react adversely to vaccine components.

Vaccines contain a variety of toxic compounds, including thimerosal (a mercury-containing preservative) and aluminum hydroxide, the most commonly used adjuvant which may be even more dangerous than mercury.

Vaccines are a $30 billion per year industry. Decades ago there used to be dozens of vaccine manufacturers, but today just five big drug corporations dominate the lucrative world vaccine market: Pfizer, Merck, Sanofi Pasteur, Novartis and GlaxoSmithKline.

Vaccine manufacturers, government health officials, medical trade associations and the majority of physicians reject outright any suggestion of a cause-and-effect relationship between vaccines and serious illness, relying on poorly designed studies, some dating back to the late 1920s.

With the scientific advancements over the past century, those studies are seriously dated. For example, in the 1920s we had no idea that certain compounds interact to produce toxic and mutating effects on human DNA.

There is no way to predict how vaccines may be causing new mutations and damaging you or your child’s DNA because it simply hasn’t been studied. There is much we didn’t know then about how the brain and immune systems develop and function, and much we still don’t know.

Today, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)1 recommends 69 doses of 16 vaccines for your child, starting on his or her day of birth and continuing through age 18—including 49 doses before the age of six. This is more than double the number of vaccines prescribed 30 years ago.

Such a regimen typically manipulates and deals a heavy blow to your child’s developing immune system, raising his or her risk for development of brain dysfunction and autoimmune disorders.

Vaccine Adjuvants Linked to Dangerous Gene Mutations

The official line is that vaccines don’t cause a type of brain and immune dysfunction that is labeled by doctors as “autism” or “autism spectrum disorder.” However, rates of autism, along with many other chronic immunological and neurological diseases have exploded over exactly the same time period that our infants and children have been hit with increasing numbers of vaccines.

Autism rates are approximately 200 times higher than they were 30 years ago. In 1985, autism affected one child in 10,000 in America. In 2014, it was one in 50. Senior MIT Research Scientist Stephanie Seneff estimates that, based on current projections, half of all children will have autism by the year 2025! 2

Vaccine advocates claim that autism is a “genetic disease,” but that’s an outdated model. Emerging evidence suggests that autism is actually an epigenetic disease—meaning, autism is triggered by de novo mutations that change a child’s genes.

But what’s causing these mutations and DNA changes? They are likely caused by a number of coexisting factors, related to the toxic nature of our modern world. Environmental chemicals and other toxins can turn genes on that would ordinarily be dormant, and turn genes off that would normally protect you.

For example, some researchers have correlated elevated autism rates with the introduction of vaccines that use human fetal cell lines and retroviral contaminants. There is also scientific evidence that the mercury preservatives and aluminum adjuvants in vaccines are creating health problems.

Scientist Finds Direct Evidence of Mercury Overload in Autistic Children

Human exposures to mercury and aluminum have increased dramatically over the past 30 years. The human body isn’t equipped to break down and eliminate these heavy metals, so they tend to accumulate in tissues over time. It’s been a challenging task for scientists to tease out exactly what effect this increased mercury load has on long term health.

For example, researchers have found that some people have a more difficult time excreting mercury from the body than others potentially due to genetic or other biological differences. Accumulation of mercury in the human body can have devastating effects on health.

Dr. Robert Nataf, Director of the Philippe Auguste Laboratory in Paris, France, was tasked with exploring the biology of children diagnosed with autism. He found direct evidence of mercury toxicity in the children, who had elevated porphyrin levels. Porphyrins are essential compounds that help you fight toxins, and he found porphyrins specific to mercury elevated in autistic children, which suggests mercury overload.

Prior studies have shown that when a person has mercury poisoning, the body’s cells cannot build the intercellular transport network (microtubules) necessary to get substances made by the cell to where they are needed. The result of this blockage can be chronic illness. In the documentary, Dr. Nataf uses this metaphor: “Mercury is like a highway accident. The result is a weakening of the cell’s functioning. When a cell weakens, it starts making mistakes, creating malformations.”

Aluminum Adjuvants May Cause Your Body to Attack Itself

Total Video Length: 41:58

Download Interview Transcript

In the video above, Dr. David Ayoub discusses how the aluminum in vaccines may be even more dangerous than mercury. Aluminum is to your brain and central nervous system as cigarette smoke is to your lungs, producing tremendous oxidative stress. When you review the signs and symptoms of aluminum toxicity, they are quite similar to the symptoms of autism, ADHD, Alzheimer’s, ALS, Parkinson’s and other neurological diseases.

Aluminum hydroxide is the oldest and most commonly used vaccine adjuvant and is considered “safe,” in spite of scientific evidence to the contrary. An adjuvant’s role is to hyper-stimulate the immune system to mount a strong antibody response to the lab altered virus or bacteria introduced into the body by a vaccine. It was once thought that the body eliminated aluminum hydroxide within a few days of an aluminum containing vaccine being injected into it, but scientists now know this isn’t necessarily true.  For genetic or biological reasons that we don’t yet understand, some people appear predisposed to poor aluminum detoxification, so it accumulates in their tissues and leads to myalgias, fatigue, cognitive deficiencies and other health problems.

Although somewhat rare, another illness that can result from injected aluminum hydroxide is macrophagic myofasciitis3(MMF), marked by disabling pain in your muscles, skin and fascia. Muscle biopsies of those with MMF show dark fibrous structures in the cytoplasm of their macrophages, proven to be aluminum hydroxide. The macrophages in their muscle tissue form masses called granulomas, and the resulting inflammation causes widespread pain throughout their bodies.

The aluminum vaccine adjuvant is doing what it was designed to do, telling the immune system to mount a strong response, but when aluminum is lodged in your muscle, your body can attack itself and elicit a classic autoimmune reaction. Aluminum can travel around your body easily, unimpeded, piggybacking on your iron transport system. It crosses biological barriers that normally keep other types of toxins out, such as your blood-brain barrier. Over time, aluminum can accumulate in your brain and cause brain inflammation. Aluminum toxicity may be contributing to the Alzheimer’s epidemic, as well as other neurological and immune disorders commonly seen today.

Vaccines May Contain Six Times More Aluminum Than Labels Say

If you go by the aluminum content on vaccine labels, the amount kids are getting is excessive, but if you add in the aluminum NOT listed on the labels—”accidental exposure” due to contamination—it’s a much more serious problem. Dr. Ayoub cites one study that found five to six times more aluminum in vaccines than what was actually listed on the labels. Vaccines are not the only source of aluminum exposure—it’s present in the air, water, food, beverages, cosmetics, anti-perspirants and other consumer products. Not surprisingly, as children’s aluminum burden has increased, so has the prevalence of childhood neurological disorders.

Can Vaccines Cause Permanent Brain Damage?

Although there are a number of biological mechanisms that have been implicated in facilitating vaccine-induced brain inflammation and immune dysfunction, clues about the effects of heavy metal toxicity on your brain can be found in the relatively new field of neuroimmunology. The brain’s immune system is comprised of cells called microglia, which function similarly to the macrophages found in other parts of the body. You have as many microglia in your brain as neurons—they cover nearly all of your brain tissue, and they are mobile, moving about in order to identify and destroy foreign particles that pose a threat to your neurons.

Playing a key role in your brain’s immune response, microglia produce a number of inflammatory molecules. This inflammatory response is a two-edged sword. If inflammation does not resolve, it can damage cerebral tissue—damage that CAN be permanent. When microglia are confused, they sometimes become “hyperactive” and attack everything, which can lead to cognitive deficiencies, demyelination, permanent brain damage or even death.  This is how vaccine adjuvants may cause permanent brain damage, especially among infants and children with genetic susceptibilities and underlying neurological or immune system disorders that may or may not have been diagnosed.

If your child has a hypersensitive immune response pattern that’s different from the norm, he or she may be at increased risk for suffering a vaccine reaction.  At the present time, it is well known that the large gaps in vaccine safety science mean that doctors have few ways to reliably predict which child is going to experience such a reaction. Parents are seldom warned of all vaccine risks, even when their child has had a previous vaccine reaction or has a known neurological or immune system disorder that has the potential to raise those risks!

Most Adverse Vaccine Reactions Are Never Connected

Proving causation is extremely difficult with vaccine reactions. Unless symptoms of a vaccine reaction are immediate and dramatic, parents and doctors may not connect a child’s health deterioration to vaccinations a child received. When parents report a reaction to their child’s physician, they are typically told the illness couldn’t possibly be related to the vaccine – it is just a “coincidence” say most pediatricians. Only the most extreme, dramatic and life-threatening vaccine reactions end up in federal vaccine court—the ones where the “dots” are easily connected. Unfortunately, at that point the damage is already done, and all too often it’s permanent.

The CDC’s VAERS database (Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System)4 lists 8,000 different adverse vaccine reactions, from localized swelling and anaphylactic shock to autism, coma and death.5 Because of the factors already discussed, the actual number of reactions is probably much higher than the database reports. The vast majority of adverse reactions are never reported.

Government’s Best Kept Secret: The National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program

Given the furor that erupts when anybody publicly questions vaccine safety, you would think that US government officials are certain that vaccines are safe for everyone. But in reality, they’ve known about serious vaccine risks for decades and they know that some people are more susceptible to having vaccine reactions that lead to permanent injuries and death.

At the insistence of vaccine manufacturers pressing Congress for a shield from vaccine injury lawsuits, 30 years ago Congress established the federal Vaccine Injury Compensation Program (VICP). Vaccine injury cases are adjudicated in the US Court of Claims, also known as “Vaccine Court.”6 The VICP is supposed to provide non-adversarial, expedited financial compensation for vaccine victims according to provisions in the 1986 National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act,7 which absolved vaccine manufacturers, pediatricians and other vaccine providers of nearly all responsibility and liability for vaccine injuries and deaths.

Unfortunately, two out of three vaccine victims applying to the VICP are turned away empty-handed. Very few families ever see a dime from this program, or they have ridiculously long waits for their cases to be heard and settled. Many parents are unaware that the compensation program even exists and miss the short filing deadlines for filing a vaccine injury claim in the VICP (two years following a vaccine death and three years following the first symptom of a vaccine injury).

The families seeking compensation are in vaccine court not because they were opposed to vaccination but because of what happened when they DID vaccinate their children. In the documentary “Bought,” vaccine safety activist Dawn Loughborough says this about VICP:

“We used to have this idea we were protecting children from infectious diseases. And we created the National Vaccine program with children in mind, but somewhere in time protecting the program became more important than what’s happening to our children.”

Do No Harm?

Another issue standing in the way of ensuring that pharmaceutical products licensed by the FDA are safe is ensuring that those who are involved in the licensing and safety monitoring process are free from conflicts of interest. For example, there is evidence that individuals with ties to the pharmaceutical industry occupy a significant number of seats on FDA advisory committees that review new prescription drug licensing applications.

Apparently, conflicts of interest are rampant with a recent published study8 revealing that on average, 13 percent of the members of FDA advisory committees in the Center for Drug Evaluation and Research (CDER) have a financial interest in the company whose drug is up for committee review. The Precautionary Principle—establish safety first—has been replaced with do whatever it takes to rush a drug to market.

Then, when it has been found to cause severe and sometimes fatal health outcomes, like Vioxx, health officials simply deal with the fallout later. And then there is the pharmaceutical lobby, arguably the most powerful lobby in Washington with more than 600 lobbyists doling out funds to political candidates of both parties—in exchange for their loyalty, of course. This is why getting anything done in Congress that the drug industry doesn’t want done is next to impossible.

Please Share Your Story

It’s about time we had some good science to accurately assess how many people are being injured by vaccines, and who is most at risk.  The vaccine injured cannot be swept under the rug like nothing more than “statistically acceptable collateral damage” from one-size-fits-all vaccination policies.

If you or a family member has suffered a serious vaccine reaction, injury, or death, please report it and talk about it. If we don’t share information and experiences with one another, then everybody feels alone and afraid to speak up. If you have a different perspective on a vaccine story that appears in your local newspaper, write a letter to the editor. Make a call to a radio talk show that is only presenting one side of the story. We cannot allow the drug companies and medical trade associations funded by drug companies, or public health officials promoting vaccine mandates, to dominate the conversation.

Protect Your Right to Informed Consent and Defend Vaccine Exemptions

With all the uncertainty surrounding the safety and efficacy of vaccines, it’s critical to protect your right to make independent health choices and exercise voluntary informed consent to vaccination. It is urgent that everyone in America stand up and fight to protect and expand vaccine informed consent protections in state public health and employment laws. The best way to do this is to get personally involved with your state legislators and educating the leaders in your community.

THINK GLOBALLY, ACT LOCALLY. 

National vaccine policy recommendations are made at the federal level but vaccine laws are made at the state level. It is at the state level where your action to protect your vaccine choice rights can have the greatest impact. It is critical for EVERYONE to get involved now in standing up for the legal right to make voluntary vaccine choices in America because those choices are being threatened by lobbyists representing drug companies, medical trade associations, and public health officials, who are trying to persuade legislators to strip all vaccine exemptions from public health laws.

Signing up for NVIC’s free Advocacy Portal at http://www.NVICAdvocacy.org gives you immediate, easy access to your own state legislators on your Smart Phone or computer so you can make your voice heard. You will be kept up-to-date on the latest state bills threatening your vaccine choice rights and get practical, useful information to help you become an effective vaccine choice advocate in your own community. Also, when national vaccine issues come up, you will have the up-to-date information and call to action items you need at your fingertips.

So please, as your first step, sign up for the NVIC Advocacy Portal.

Share Your Story with the Media and People You Know

If you or a family member has suffered a serious vaccine reaction, injury, or death, please talk about it. If we don’t share information and experiences with one another, everybody feels alone and afraid to speak up. Write a letter to the editor if you have a different perspective on a vaccine story that appears in your local newspaper. Make a call in to a radio talk show that is only presenting one side of the vaccine story.

I must be frank with you; you have to be brave because you might be strongly criticized for daring to talk about the “other side” of the vaccine story. Be prepared for it and have the courage to not back down. Only by sharing our perspective and what we know to be true about vaccination will the public conversation about vaccination open up so people are not afraid to talk about it.

We cannot allow the drug companies and medical trade associations funded by drug companies or public health officials promoting forced use of a growing list of vaccines to dominate the conversation about vaccination. The vaccine injured cannot be swept under the carpet and treated like nothing more than “statistically acceptable collateral damage” of national one-size-fits-all mandatory vaccination policies that put way too many people at risk for injury and death. We shouldn’t be treating people like guinea pigs instead of human beings.

Internet Resources Where You Can Learn More

I encourage you to visit the website of the non-profit charity, the National Vaccine Information Center (NVIC), at www.NVIC.org:

  • NVIC Memorial for Vaccine Victims: View descriptions and photos of children and adults, who have suffered vaccine reactions, injuries, and deaths. If you or your child experiences an adverse vaccine event, please consider posting and sharing your story here.
  • If You Vaccinate, Ask 8 Questions: Learn how to recognize vaccine reaction symptoms and prevent vaccine injuries.
  • Vaccine Freedom Wall: View or post descriptions of harassment and sanctions by doctors, employers, and school and health officials for making independent vaccine choices.

Connect with Your Doctor or Find a New One That Will Listen and Care

If your pediatrician or doctor refuses to provide medical care to you or your child unless you agree to get vaccines you don’t want, I strongly encourage you to have the courage to find another doctor. Harassment, intimidation, and refusal of medical care is becoming the modus operandi of the medical establishment in an effort to stop the change in attitude of many parents about vaccinations after they become truly educated about health and vaccination.

However, there is hope.

At least 15 percent of young doctors recently polled admit that they’re starting to adopt a more individualized approach to vaccinations in direct response to the vaccine safety concerns of parents. It is good news that there is a growing number of smart young doctors, who prefer to work as partners with parents in making personalized vaccine decisions for children, including delaying vaccinations or giving children fewer vaccines on the same day or continuing to provide medical care for those families, who decline use of one or more vaccines.

So take the time to locate a doctor, who treats you with compassion and respect and is willing to work with you to do what is right for your child.

By Dr. Mercola

http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2014/12/30/vaccine-injury-compensation-program.aspx?e_cid=20141230Z1-USCanada_DNL_art_1&utm_source=dnl&utm_medium=email&utm_content=art1&utm_campaign=20141230Z1-USCanada&et_cid=DM65689&et_rid=785411064

If you or your child were to be seriously injured after receiving a routine US government-recommended vaccination, your only recourse would be to apply to the federal Vaccine Injury Compensation Program (VICP).

Suing the vaccine manufacturer (or the doctor when the vaccine was given negligently) to obtain financial compensation for medical care, pain, and suffering is out of the question, as Congress and the Supreme Court have banned vaccine product liability and vaccine injury malpractice lawsuits in the US.

Instead, vaccine injury claims are awarded or denied by US Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) officials using US Department of Justice (DOJ) attorneys or adjudicated by “special masters” in the US Court of Federal Claims.

Why Vaccine Injury Compensation Program Was Created

The VICP was created by Congress in 1986 under the National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act because vaccine manufacturers threatened to stop producing vaccines if they weren’t protected from vaccine injury lawsuits.

It was created as an alternative to a civil court lawsuit, giving partial liability protection to vaccine manufacturers, pediatricians, and other vaccine providers from civil liability for injuries and deaths caused by federally recommended childhood vaccines.1

If the injured party was denied compensation or dissatisfied with the amount of the award, they could then proceed with a civil lawsuit with certain restrictions, depending upon the case.

Unhappy with this partial liability protection, drug companies kept pushing for complete liability protection and, in 2011, convinced the US Supreme Court majority to rule that federally licensed and recommended vaccines are “unavoidably unsafe” and that the VICP should be the “sole remedy” for all vaccine injury claims.2

I think it’s worth repeating, in case you just glossed over it: The reason you cannot sue a vaccine manufacturer for injury or death is because vaccines are “unavoidably unsafe.”

This also means that even if it can be proven that a government recommended vaccine that injured or killed someone in America was defectively designed and could have been made less reactive, no one can sue the drug company in question.3

Funds for the VICP come from a 75 cent fee added to the cost of every dose of vaccine (so the combination MMR vaccine has a $1.50 fee tacked on to it because that shot contains three vaccines).

In effect, Congress gave the pharmaceutical industry a free ride when it comes to drug companies having any financial accountability for the safety of vaccines they sell, and vaccine users and US taxpayers are the ones paying for this program.

This is because the federal government is the biggest purchaser of vaccines provided in public health clinics. When everything is said and done, vaccine manufacturers have virtually no incentive whatsoever to ensure the safety and effectiveness of vaccines that are recommended by federal health officials and mandated by state health officials.

Feds Vow to Publicize Vaccine Injuries Claim Program

Unfortunately, while the VICP was originally set up to give vaccine-injured Americans an expedited, non-adversarial, less expensive administrative alternative to a civil court lawsuit, the process usually only adds more suffering.

Many vaccine victims are left waiting without support and financial assistance for years on end, while their case snakes its way through the red tape. Some VICP claimants even say they felt “attacked” by the government that was supposed to help them.

Another problem has been a lack of public awareness that this program even exists. Reportedly, federal officials operating the VICP have now vowed to publicize the program better,4 promising improvements in its literature to make it easier to understand, and improvements to its website.

They’ve also stated they will seek to increase awareness among health care providers, parents and expectant parents, older adults, Spanish speaking adults, as well as civil litigation and plaintiff’s attorneys.

What actually happens remains to be seen. Several years ago, a comprehensive consultant report about publicizing the VICP was created at a cost of $300,000.5 Few recommendations were ever implemented however. At present, less than $20,000 of the VICP’s $6.5 million annual budget is spent on public outreach.

Moreover, VICP directors didn’t begin taking action on publicity until after a congressionally requested Government Accountability Office (GAO) inquiry began earlier this year. Public outreach has also been largely ignored since the program’s inception. A direct quote from the book, The Vaccine Court: The Dark Truth of America’s Vaccine Injury Compensation Program reads:

“One of the most OVERLOOKED provisions of the act was the requirement that the HHS Secretary conduct public awareness and outreach programs to inform the general public about the program and the eligibility to file a claim for either a vaccine-related injury or death. …This provision has been greatly ignored by the HHS Secretary.”

The Associated Press6 also claims it found evidence suggesting that “the government seems intent on keeping the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program’s public profile low.”

Judge Warns Publicity May Further Exacerbate Process Delays

The judge who oversees the special vaccine court in the US Court of Federal Claims warns that greater publicity may result in a greater number of filings, which means the process may take even longer than it already does.

As noted in a recent article by Insurance Journal,7 compensation through the VICP can be painfully slow—at times stretching out over a decade—and that’s if your case is even approved for compensation. Most aren’t. According to the Associated Press:8

“Overall, the government says it distributed $2.8 billion [from 1988] through March 2014. In recent years, the program has received more than 400 claims annually.

Claims are supposed to be resolved within 240 days, with options for another 150 days of extensions. But between the court’s opening in 1988 and the end of 2012, less than 7 percent of 7,876 cases not including those claiming a vaccine caused the developmental disability autism met the 240-day target…

Hundreds have surpassed the decade mark. Several people died before getting any money.”

Vaccine Injury Denialists Object to Publicizing Reality of Vaccine Injuries

Another concern among vaccine proponents is that increased publicity around the compensation program may be “misinterpreted” as a public message that vaccines can cause harm, which might dissuade people from vaccinating.

Well, the truth is vaccines can cause harm. The fact that the VICP has kept such a low profile for this long means that most people have no idea that billions of dollars have in fact been paid out to vaccine injured individuals. This is the truth, and however people want to interpret that, it deserves to be widely known that vaccine injuries can and do occur.

Unfortunately, some legal experts still vehemently deny the reality of vaccine injuries and are working overtime to remove the ability for parents to make informed vaccine decisions for their children. For example, UC Hastings law professor Dorit Reiss has been quite vocal in her opposition to changes in the VICP that would allow more vaccine injured children to be compensated.9

She’s also advocating for the elimination of vaccine exemptions and has, in fact, been using her position to claim that there is no evidence vaccines cause harm, and that parents refusing to give their children all government recommended vaccines should be held criminally liable for deaths causes by infectious diseases.10 Journalists are also being manipulated into only reporting information about vaccines that the CDC, FDA, and other government agencies give them, which clearly adds to the lack of transparency on questions about vaccine safety.

According to a July 16 issue of the Nieman Reports,11 “Public health reporters say federal agencies are restricting access and information, limiting their ability to cover crucial health issues.” Fed up with the perceived censorship, a group of journalists have formed a new organization called Stop the New American Censorship12 to raise awareness about this problem. Even students are being blackmailed into not reporting the truth about vaccine injuries. If they write about it, they can get charged with academic misconduct, as evidenced by this recent report13 about a Master of Science student in Australia who wrote a thesis giving evidence for the fact that the whooping cough vaccine isn’t working.

Adult Flu Vaccine Injuries Dominate VICP Claims

According to the GAO’s report, while the VICP was established to assist children injured by government-recommended childhood vaccines, most claims are now filed by adults suffering vaccine injury after receiving influenza vaccine. The flu vaccine was added to the VICP in 2005.14 Most cases involve adults developing Guillain-Barre Syndrome (GBS)—a crippling condition in which your immune system attacks your nerves. GBS has been a known side effect of influenza  vaccines for nearly 40 years.

According to the book, The Vaccine Court: The Dark Truth of America’s Vaccine Injury Compensation Program, the swine flu vaccine program was cut short in 1976 when it became clear that the swine flu vaccine was associated with serious neurological side effects such as GBS and transverse myelitis. Congress also passed the “Swine Flu Act” that same year, which transferred liability for vaccine injuries associated with the swine flu vaccine from the vaccine manufacturers to the federal government. Some influenza vaccines, including the adult high-dose flu vaccine for seniors sold under the name Fluzone, also list GBS as a potential side effect in its package insert.15

All Vaccines Carry Risks

It’s important to understand that ALL vaccines carry a risk for provoking an immediate acute adverse reaction, such as anaphylactic shock, fainting, or having a seizure, which could be truly life threatening if you’re driving a car or crossing a street after you have left the store where you got vaccinated, for example. Further, vaccines can impair and alter immune system responses and can also cause brain inflammation (encephalitis or encephalopathy) that may lead to permanent brain damage.

In addition, as Institute of Medicine Committees have pointed out in published reports, some individuals are more susceptible to suffering harm from vaccines because of biological, genetic, and environmental risk factors but, most of the time, doctors cannot predict who will be harmed because there are few scientific studies that have evaluated vaccine risks for individuals.16Here are just some of the ways vaccines can impair or alter immune responses and brain function:

  • Some components in vaccines are neurotoxic, including heavy metals such as mercury preservatives and aluminum adjuvants; residual toxins like endotoxin and bioactive pertussis toxin; and chemicals like formaldehyde and phenooxyethanol.
  • The lab-altered and genetically engineered viruses and bacteria in vaccines may impair immune responses and do not stimulate the same kind of immunity that occurs when the body responds to an infectious disease
  • Foreign DNA/RNA from human, animal and insect cell substrates used to produce vaccines may trigger serious health problems for some people
  • Vaccines may alter your T-cell function and lead to chronic illness
  • Vaccines can trigger allergies by introducing large foreign protein molecules into your body that have not been properly broken down by your digestive tract (since they are injected). Your body can have an allergic reaction to these foreign particles

In the video below, Barbara Loe Fisher, co-founder and president of the non-profit National Vaccine Information Center (NVIC), interviews a Connecticut artist and her mother, a former professor of nursing, who developed GBS after getting a seasonal flu shot in 2008. She became permanently disabled with total body paralysis.

It’s really important to understand what influenza and flu shot risks are, so that you can ask yourself, “Does my (or my child’s) risk of getting influenza and developing complications outweigh the risks of getting a flu shot and developing complications?” In the end, it is up to you to become fully informed about all risks and make informed vaccine and other health care decisions for yourself or your child if you are a parent.

New Changes to VAERS

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) are also proposing changes to the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS). Public comments are accepted until January 23, 2015.17In recent years VAERS has received about 30,000 vaccine-injury reports annually. The suggested changes to the VAERS reporting form are intended to “improve reporting efficiency and data quality.”  Significant changes include:

  • A special box for military-related vaccine injuries
  • The addition of check-boxes to indicate more specifically the location where the person was vaccinated (e.g., nursing home, pharmacy, school health clinic, etc.)
  • Boxes to report pre-existing conditions the person may have had prior to vaccination, such as allergies, other illnesses, and long-standing chronic health conditions
  • A box to list any over-the-counter and prescription drugs the person was on, as well as a list of dietary supplements or herbal remedies they may have been taking

VAERS is another critical resource that has not been given due publicity or attention. In 1999, FDA Commissioner David Kessler, MD wrote in The Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) that physicians failed to report up to 99 percent of all serious adverse reactions to vaccines and medications,18 and it still remains that way today. At best, a maximum of 10 percent of adverse reactions are ever reported. At present, the VAERS database19 lists 8,000 different adverse vaccine reactions, from localized swelling and anaphylactic shock to autism, coma, and death.20

According to Dr. Kessler, physicians should report when there is a suspicion that the drug may be related to a serious event; they do NOT have to establish the connection or wait for more compelling evidence. Unfortunately, most doctors today are pressured by public health officials and medical trade organizations to push vaccines and consider preventing disease through vaccines to be a primary goal of their profession.21 Some doctors go so far as to “fire” patients who refuse to get every government recommended vaccine even when patients report they have suffered reactions after previous vaccinations! If doctors would instead actively look for and report serious adverse health outcomes following vaccination, including hospitalizations, injuries and deaths, instead of dismissing them as a “coincidence,” it could go a long way toward building a clinical evidence base that will reveal the whole truth about vaccine risks.

Protect Your Right to Informed Consent and Defend Vaccine Exemptions

With all the uncertainty surrounding the safety and efficacy of vaccines, it’s critical to protect your right to make independent health choices and exercise voluntary informed consent to vaccination. It is urgent that everyone in America stand up and fight to protect and expand vaccine informed consent protections in state public health and employment laws. The best way to do this is to get personally involved with your state legislators and educating the leaders in your community.

THINK GLOBALLY, ACT LOCALLY. 

National vaccine policy recommendations are made at the federal level but vaccine laws are made at the state level. It is at the state level where your action to protect your vaccine choice rights can have the greatest impact. It is critical for EVERYONE to get involved now in standing up for the legal right to make voluntary vaccine choices in America because those choices are being threatened by lobbyists representing drug companies, medical trade associations, and public health officials, who are trying to persuade legislators to strip all vaccine exemptions from public health laws.

Signing up for NVIC’s free Advocacy Portal at http://www.NVICAdvocacy.org gives you immediate, easy access to your own state legislators on your Smart Phone or computer so you can make your voice heard. You will be kept up-to-date on the latest state bills threatening your vaccine choice rights and get practical, useful information to help you become an effective vaccine choice advocate in your own community. Also, when national vaccine issues come up, you will have the up-to-date information and call to action items you need at your fingertips.

So please, as your first step, sign up for the NVIC Advocacy Portal.

Share Your Story with the Media and People You Know

If you or a family member has suffered a serious vaccine reaction, injury, or death, please talk about it. If we don’t share information and experiences with one another, everybody feels alone and afraid to speak up. Write a letter to the editor if you have a different perspective on a vaccine story that appears in your local newspaper. Make a call in to a radio talk show that is only presenting one side of the vaccine story.

I must be frank with you; you have to be brave because you might be strongly criticized for daring to talk about the “other side” of the vaccine story. Be prepared for it and have the courage to not back down. Only by sharing our perspective and what we know to be true about vaccination will the public conversation about vaccination open up so people are not afraid to talk about it.

We cannot allow the drug companies and medical trade associations funded by drug companies or public health officials promoting forced use of a growing list of vaccines to dominate the conversation about vaccination. The vaccine injured cannot be swept under the carpet and treated like nothing more than “statistically acceptable collateral damage” of national one-size-fits-all mandatory vaccination policies that put way too many people at risk for injury and death. We shouldn’t be treating people like guinea pigs instead of human beings.

Internet Resources Where You Can Learn More

I encourage you to visit the website of the non-profit charity, the National Vaccine Information Center (NVIC), at www.NVIC.org:

  • NVIC Memorial for Vaccine Victims: View descriptions and photos of children and adults, who have suffered vaccine reactions, injuries, and deaths. If you or your child experiences an adverse vaccine event, please consider posting and sharing your story here.
  • If You Vaccinate, Ask 8 Questions: Learn how to recognize vaccine reaction symptoms and prevent vaccine injuries.
  • Vaccine Freedom Wall: View or post descriptions of harassment and sanctions by doctors, employers, and school and health officials for making independent vaccine choices.

Connect with Your Doctor or Find a New One That Will Listen and Care

If your pediatrician or doctor refuses to provide medical care to you or your child unless you agree to get vaccines you don’t want, I strongly encourage you to have the courage to find another doctor. Harassment, intimidation, and refusal of medical care is becoming the modus operandi of the medical establishment in an effort to stop the change in attitude of many parents about vaccinations after they become truly educated about health and vaccination.

However, there is hope.

At least 15 percent of young doctors recently polled admit that they’re starting to adopt a more individualized approach to vaccinations in direct response to the vaccine safety concerns of parents. It is good news that there is a growing number of smart young doctors, who prefer to work as partners with parents in making personalized vaccine decisions for children, including delaying vaccinations or giving children fewer vaccines on the same day or continuing to provide medical care for those families, who decline use of one or more vaccines.

So take the time to locate a doctor, who treats you with compassion and respect and is willing to work with you to do what is right for your child.

Phthalates and BPA Linked to IQ Reductions in Children

http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2014/12/24/phthalates-bisphenol-a.aspx?e_cid=20141224Z1-USCanada_DNL_art_1&utm_source=dnl&utm_medium=email&utm_content=art1&utm_campaign=20141224Z1-USCanada&et_cid=DM62886&et_rid=776636877

By Dr. Mercola

A number of chemicals found in plastic products are known to act as endocrine disruptors. Being similar in structure to natural sex hormones, they interfere with the normal functioning of those hormones.

This is particularly problematic in children who are still growing and developing, as the glands of your endocrine system and the hormones they release influence almost every cell, organ, and function of your body.

Your endocrine system as a whole is instrumental in regulating mood, growth and development, tissue function, metabolism, as well as sexual function and reproductive processes, and endocrine-disrupting chemicals have in fact been linked to a number of reproductive health problems.

Phthalates are among the most pervasive of all known endocrine disrupters. According to estimates by the Environmental Protection Agency1 (EPA), more than 470 million pounds of phthalates are produced each year.

They’re primarily used to make plastics like polyvinyl chloride (PVC) more flexible and resilient, but they can also be found in air fresheners, dryer sheets, and personal care products like shampoo, shower gels, and makeup. Their prevalence in personal care products is thought to be the reason why women tend to have higher levels of phthalates in their system than men.

Furniture, upholstery, mattresses, and wall coverings can also contain phthalates. They’ve even been detected in infant formula and baby food (likely because they migrated from the packaging materials).

Phthalates Now Linked to Reduced IQ in Children

While previous research has linked phthalate exposure to birth defects, low sperm count, polycystic ovary disease, and early or delayed puberty, just to name a few, recent research suggests prenatal phthalate exposure may also lead to reduced IQ in children.2,3

They also found an association between phthalate concentrations in the mother’s system during pregnancy and the child’s ability to concentrate, working memory, their perceptual reasoning skills, and the time it took for the child to process and retrieve information at the age of seven. As reported by CNN Health:4

“Women who had a high amount of the chemicals called di-n-butyl phthalate and di-isobutyl phthalate in their bodies during pregnancy gave birth to children who had markedly lower IQ scores, according to a new study running in the journal PLOS One.5

The study found that by the age of seven, children exposed to more of these chemicals had IQs that were more than six points lower than children exposed to lower levels of the chemicals…

The results from this study were not entirely what the authors expected. ‘We are a little surprised at the magnitude of the IQ drop,’ Factor-Litvak said… ‘We are not happy about the finding since phthalates are very ubiquitous in the environment.'”

The exact cause for the reduction in IQ is still unknown, as this was only an observational study, but previous animal research has found that:6

  • Phthalates may affect the activity of aromatase, an enzyme that converts testosterone into estrogen. Estrogen plays an important role in brain development
  • The chemical may interfere with the production of thyroid hormone, which plays a role in the timing of brain development
  • Phthalates may also disrupt brain activity related to the neurotransmitter dopamine, which can produce symptoms like inattention and hyperactivity

BPA Can Have a Direct, Immediate Impact on Cardiovascular Health

Phthalates are not the only endocrine disruptor that can produce chronic health problems. Like phthalates, bisphenol-A (BPA) can be found in countless personal care and plastic products, including the liner of canned goods, plastic- and non-stick food containers, plastic wraps, water bottles, and cashier’s receipts.

BPA, which mimics the hormone estrogen, has been linked to:

Structural damage to your brain Early puberty, stimulation of mammary gland development, disrupted reproductive cycles, ovarian toxicity,7 and infertility8
Hyperactivity, increased aggressiveness, and impaired learning Heart disease
Increased fat formation and risk of obesity Stimulation of prostate cancer cells
Altered immune function Increased prostate size, decreased sperm production, and hypospadias9 (penis deformation)

Now we can add high blood pressure to this list. According to a brand new randomized, controlled trial,10 BPA from cans or plastic bottles can raise your blood pressure within just a few hours of ingestion.11 As reported by the New York Times:12

“The study found that when people drank soy milk from a can, the levels of BPA in their urine rose dramatically within two hours – and so did their blood pressure. But on days when they drank the same beverage from glass bottles, which don’t use BPA linings, there was no significant change in their BPA levels or blood pressure…

[T]he findings suggest that for people who drink from multiple cans or plastic bottles every day, the repeated exposure over time could contribute to hypertension.”

The amount of BPA leaching from the lining of cans may actually be more significant than previously thought. After drinking from a can, the levels of BPA in the participants’ urine rose by about 1,600 percent, compared to when they drank soy milk stored in glass.

According to the authors, the effects may be caused by the fact that BPA blocks estrogen receptors that are involved with repairing blood vessels and controlling blood pressure. By disrupting your thyroid hormone, BPA may also affect your blood pressure indirectly. Lead author Dr. Yun-Chul Hong told the New York Times:13

“‘Clinicians and patients – particularly hypertension or cardiovascular disease patients – should be aware of the potential clinical problems for blood pressure elevation when consuming canned food and beverages.’ …He recommended that people choose fresh foods and glass bottles over cans and plastic containers, and he urged manufacturers ‘to develop and use healthy alternatives to BPA for the inner lining of can containers.'”

Amid Negative Publicity, FDA Reaffirms BPA’s Safety

The industry trade group, the American Chemistry Council, has continually insisted that BPA is safe,14 and has opposed both state and federal legislative proposals to ban the chemical.

Interestingly, just three days prior to the online publication of the featured BPA study, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued an official announcement15 in which it reaffirms BPA’s safety. After a four-year long review16 of 300 studies, the FDA has concluded that “BPA is safe at the current levels occurring in food.” The agency also stated that “the available information continues to support the safety of BPA for the currently approved uses in food containers and packaging.”

It is beyond irrational to conclude anything other than this verdict is a favor to the chemical industry. There is damning evidence against the use of BPA—particularly in food-related products that is being ignored. Ironically, Bloomberg,17 in reporting on the FDA’s announcement, even mentions that there are “more than 800 academic studies that have concluded bisphenol-A could harm reproduction and development.” So why did the FDA only review 300? And which 300 did they choose? And if there are 800 showing developmental harm, how is it that they managed to pick 300 that fail to make such a connection?

FDA’s Assessment Is NOT in Line with International Findings

The fact of the matter is, when industry funds research, the results are FAR more likely to support the industry’s claim of safety and effectiveness, and we know that many BPA studies were funded by the chemical industry. As discussed in a previous article, there’s also a hidden network at play. Not only has the chemical industry borrowed the tobacco industry’s strategies to keep their products on the market, they’re also using tobacco industry ‘experts’ to back up their safety claims…

For example, industry-funded studies get published in certain journals that in many cases have links to the tobacco industry. The chemical industry has also relied on scientists that previously helped discredit the science linking smoking and second-hand smoke exposure to disease. Leaked minutes18 from a 2009 meeting of the BPA Joint Trade Association also revealed some of the tactics involved in shaping public opinion, regardless of the scientific facts.

Members of this trade association include the American Chemical Council, the American Chemistry Council, Coca-Cola, Del Monte, and many others. In this meeting, they explored a variety of messaging strategies. The attendees agreed that “the holy grail spokesperson” would be “a pregnant young mother who would be willing to speak around the country about the benefits of BPA.” One of the most disturbing aspects of the chemical industry’s efforts to hide hazardous effects is that they purposely target those who are the most vulnerable to damage, such as young children and pregnant women.

The FDA’s assessment also flies in the face of a recent report co-produced by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP), titled: “State of the Science of Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals,”19 issued on February 19, 2014This report suggests an outright ban on endocrine disrupting chemicals may be needed to protect the health of future generations. Touted as the most comprehensive report on endocrine disrupting chemicals to date, it highlights a wide variety of health problems associated with exposure, including:

Non-descended testes in young males Breast cancer in women Prostate cancer in men
Developmental effects on the nervous system in children Attention deficit /hyperactivity in children Thyroid cancer

According to the report:

 “The diverse systems affected by endocrine-disrupting chemicals likely include all hormonal systems and range from those controlling development and function of reproductive organs to the tissues and organs regulating metabolism and satiety. Effects on these systems can lead to obesity, infertility or reduced fertility, learning and memory difficulties, adult-onset diabetes or cardiovascular disease, as well as a variety of other diseases.” 

Beware: BPA-Free Claims Are Not an Assurance of Safety

In response to consumer demand for BPA-free products, many manufacturers have switched to using a different chemical called bisphenol-S (BPS). However, BPS appears to be just as toxic as BPA. In some cases, it appears to be even worse! Trading one endocrine-disrupting chemical for another is hardly making products any safer so, unfortunately, the “BPA-free” label may not mean much. Last year, researchers at the University of Texas Medical Branch discovered that even minute concentrations—less than one part per trillion—of BPS can disrupt cellular functioning.

Metabolic disorders like obesity, diabetes, and even cancer, are potential ramifications of such disruptions. Other animal tests20 also show that BPS has very similar effects as BPA. For example, researchers studying the effects of BPS on zebra fish embryos found that fish exposed to BPS in similar concentrations as that found in the water of a nearby river experienced explosive neuronal growth, which led to hyperactive and erratic behavior.

Fish embryos exposed to BPS had a 170 percent increase in neuronal growth; while those exposed to BPA had a 240 percent increase. Another study using rats found that exposure to either BPA or BPS caused heart arrhythmia in the females. Here, the dose used was similar to concentrations found in humans. The researchers discovered that BPS blocked an estrogen receptor found only in the females, which disrupted the calcium channels. This is also a common cause of heart arrhythmia in humans.

Tips to Help You Avoid Toxic Chemicals

Although it’s virtually impossible to steer clear of ALL potentially hazardous chemicals, you can certainly minimize your exposure by keeping some key principles in mind.

  1. Eat mostly fresh, raw whole foods. Processed and packaged foods are a common source of BPA and phthalates—particularly cans, but also foods packaged in plastic wrap.
  2. Buy products that come in glass bottles rather than plastic or cans.
  3. Store your food and beverages in glass, rather than plastic, and avoid using plastic wrap. Use glass containers if heating food in your microwave, as heat tends to increase the release of chemicals from plastic. Be aware that even “BPA-free” plastics  typically leach other endocrine-disrupting chemicals that are just as bad as BPA.
  4. Use glass baby bottles for your infants.
  5. Be careful with cash register receipts. If you use a store regularly, encourage the management to switch to BPA-free receipts. I shop at Publix for my food and when I called them about the receipts it turns out they already switched. Nevertheless it is wise to limit your contact with all these receipts.
  6. Look for products that are made by companies that are Earth-friendly, animal-friendly, sustainable, certified organic, and GMO-free. This applies to everything from food and personal care products to building materials, carpeting, paint, baby items, furniture, mattresses, and more. When redoing your home, look for “green,” toxin-free alternatives in lieu of regular paint and vinyl floor coverings, the latter of which is another source of phthalates.
  7. Choose toys made from natural materials to avoid plastic chemicals like phthalates and BPA/BPS, particularly for items your child may be prone to suck or chew on.
  8. Breastfeed your baby exclusively if possible, for at least the first year (as you will avoid phthalates exposure from infant formula packaging and plastic bottles/nipples).
  9. Use natural cleaning products, or make your own.
  10. Switch over to organic toiletries, including shampoo, toothpaste, antiperspirants and cosmetics. EWG’s Skin Deep database21 can help you find personal care products that are free of phthalates and other potentially dangerous chemicals.
  11. Replace your vinyl shower curtain with a fabric one.
  12. Replace feminine hygiene products (tampons and sanitary pads) with safer alternatives. While most ingredients in feminine hygiene products are undisclosed, tests suggest they may contain dioxins and petrochemical additives.
  13. Look for fragrance-free products; phthalates are often used to help the product hold its fragrance longer. Artificial fragrance can also contain hundreds—even thousands—of potentially toxic chemicals. Avoid fabric softeners, dryer sheets, air fresheners, and scented candles for the same reason.
  14. Check your home’s tap water for contaminants and filter the water if necessary. You may also want to use an alternative to PVC pipes for your water supply.
  15. Teach your children not to drink water from the garden hose, as many are made with phthalate-containing plastics. They are typically more expensive but usually higher quality hoses and well worth the investment.

From Mercola.com

By Dr. Mercola

As noted in the featured video, there are currently five different artificial sweeteners on the market. The one you’re most likely to encounter is aspartame, which also tends to be the worst of the bunch.

Aspartame and other artificial sweeteners are primarily promoted to diabetics and those concerned about their weight. This despite the fact that artificial sweeteners have repeatedly been shown to produce the exact opposite effects:

Over time, artificial sweeteners have also crept into a wide variety of products not directly targeting diabetics and dieters.

Artificial sweeteners are added to about 6,000 different beverages, snacks, and food products, making label-reading an ever pressing necessity. Disturbingly, food industry groups are now trying to hide the presence of artificial sweeteners in certain foods…

Like GMOs, Industry Wants to Hide Artificial Sweeteners in Foods

Last year, the International Dairy Foods Association (IDFA) filed a petition with the FDA requesting the agency amend the standard of identity for milk and 17 other dairy products, in order to allow for the addition of artificial sweeteners without having to indicate their use on the label.

The IDFA claims the proposed amendments would “promote more healthful eating practices and reduce childhood obesity by providing for lower-calorie flavored milk products” since many children are more inclined to drink flavored milk products than unflavored milk.

Not only is IDFA behind the push to put aspartame in milk,  but they are also one of four trade organizations suing Vermont1 in an effort to overturn the state’s GMO labeling law, which was passed in May.

It would seem that, far from being concerned about providing Americans with high quality dairy, the IDFA is wholly invested in deceiving the American public for the benefit of the chemical technology industry. Why else would they be so insistent on hiding ingredients that are suspected of harmful effects?

Artificial Sweeteners Cause Metabolic Confusion

One of the reasons why artificial sweeteners do not help you lose weight relates to the fact that your body is not fooled by sweet taste without accompanying calories.2,3

When you eat something sweet, your brain releases dopamine, which activates your brain’s reward center. The appetite-regulating hormone leptin is also released, which eventually informs your brain that you are “full” once a certain amount of calories have been ingested.

However, when you consume something that tastes sweet but doesn’t contain any calories, your brain’s pleasure pathway still gets activated by the sweet taste, but there’s nothing to deactivate it, since the calories never arrive.

Artificial sweeteners basically trick your body into thinking that it’s going to receive sugar (calories), but when the sugar doesn’t come, your body continues to signal that it needs more, which results in carb cravings.

Besides worsening insulin sensitivity and promoting weight gain, aspartame and other artificial sweeteners also promote other health problems associated with excessive sugar consumption, including:

    • Cardiovascular disease and stroke4,5,6
    • Alzheimer’s disease. While poor diet is a major driver of Alzheimer’s in general (the primary culprits being sugar/fructose and grains, especially gluten), the key mechanism of harm here appears to be methanol toxicity—a much-ignored problem associated with aspartame in particular.

In a previous interview, toxicology expert Dr. Woodrow Monte (author of the book While Science Sleeps: A Sweetener Kills7), explains the links between aspartame and methanol toxicity and the formation of toxic formaldehyde.

Research Overwhelmingly Refutes ‘Diet’ Claims of Artificial Sweeteners

Contrary to industry claims, research over the last 30 years—including several large scale prospective cohort studies—have shown that artificial sweeteners stimulate appetite, increase cravings for carbs, and produce a variety of metabolic dysfunctions that promote fat storage and weight gain—often to the researchers’ great surprise.

Below is sampling of some of the studies published through the years, clearly refuting the beverage industry’s claims that diet soda aids weight loss. The 2010 review in the Yale Journal of Biology and Medicine8 is particularly noteworthy.

It provides a historical summary of artificial sweeteners in general, along with epidemiological and experimental evidence showing that artificial sweeteners tends to promote weight gain. It also illustrates that as usage of artificial sweeteners has risen, so has obesity rates.

obesity trends
Source: Yale Journal of Biology and Medicine June 8 2010: v83(2)
Preventive Medicine 19869 This study examined nearly 78,700 women aged 50-69 for one year. Artificial sweetener usage increased with relative weight, and users were significantly more likely to gainweight, compared to those who did not use artificial sweeteners—regardless of their initial weight.

According to the researchers, the results “were not explicable by differences in food consumption patterns. The data do not support the hypothesis that long-term artificial sweetener use either helps weight loss or prevents weight gain.”

Physiology and Behavior, 198810 In this study, they determined that intense (no- or low-calorie) sweeteners can produce significant changes in appetite. Of the three sweeteners tested, aspartame produced the most pronounced effects.
Physiology and Behavior, 199011 Here, they found that aspartame had a time-dependent effect on appetite, “producing a transient decrease followed by a sustained increase in hunger ratings.”
Journal of the American Dietetic Association, 199112 In a study of artificial sweeteners performed on college students, there was no evidence that artificial sweetener use was associated with a decrease in their overall sugar intake either.
International Journal of Food Sciences and Nutrition, 200313 This study, which looked at 3,111 children, found that diet soda, specifically, was associated with higher BMI.
International Journal of Obesity and Metabolic Disorders200414 This Purdue University study found that rats fed artificially sweetened liquids ate more high-calorie food than rats fed high-caloric sweetened liquids. The researchers believe the experience of drinking artificially sweetened liquids disrupted the animals’ natural ability to compensate for the calories in the food.
San Antonio Heart Study, 200515 Data gathered from the 25-year long San Antonio Heart Study also showed that drinking diet soft drinks increased the likelihood of serious weight gain – far more so than regular soda.16 On average, for each diet soft drink the participants drank per day, they were 65 percent more likely to become overweight during the next seven to eight years, and 41 percent more likely to become obese.
Journal of the American College of Nutrition, 200517 In this two-year long study, which involved 166 school children, increased diet soda consumption was associated with higher BMI at the end of the trial.
The Journal of Pediatrics, 200618 The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute Growth and Health Study included 2,371 girls aged 9-19 for 10 years. Soda consumption in general, both regular and diet, was associated with increase in total daily energy intake.
Journal of Biology and Medicine, 201019 This study delves into the neurobiology of sugar cravings and summarizes the epidemiological and experimental evidence concerning the effect of artificial sweeteners on weight.

According to the authors: “[F]indings suggest that the calorie contained in natural sweeteners may trigger a response to keep the overall energy consumption constant. …Increasing evidence suggests that artificial sweeteners do not activate the food reward pathways in the same fashion as natural sweeteners… [A]rtificial sweeteners, precisely because they are sweet, encourage sugar craving and sugar dependence.” 

Yale Journal of Biology and Medicine, 201020 This review offers a summary of epidemiological and experimental evidence concerning the effects of artificial sweeteners on weight, and explains those effects in light of the neurobiology of food reward. It also shows the correlation between increased usage of artificial sweeteners in food and drinks, and the corresponding rise in obesity. More than 11,650 children aged 9-14 were included in this study. Each daily serving of diet beverage was associated with a BMI increase of 0.16 kg/m2
Appetite, 201221 Here, researchers showed that saccharin and aspartame both cause greater weight gain than sugar, even when the total caloric intake remains similar.
Trends in Endocrinology & Metabolism, 201322 This report highlights the fact that diet soda drinkers suffer the same exact health problems as those who opt for regular soda, such as excessive weight gain, type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease and stroke.23,24 The researchers speculate that frequent consumption of artificial sweeteners may induce metabolic derangements.
Nature, 201425 This study was able to clearly show causality, revealing there’s a direct cause and effect relationship between consuming artificial sweeteners and developing elevated blood sugar levels.

People who consumed high amounts of artificial sweeteners were found to have higher levels of HbA1C—a long-term measure of blood sugar—compared to non-users or occasional users of artificial sweeteners.

Seven volunteers who did not use artificial sweeteners were then recruited, and asked to consume the equivalent of 10-12 single-dose packets of artificial sweeteners daily for one week.

Four of the seven people developed “significant disturbances in their blood glucose,” according to the researchers. Some became pre-diabetic within just a few days. The reason for this dramatic shift was traced back to alterations in gut bacteria. Some bacteria were killed off, while others started proliferating.

PLOS One, 201426 This study, which was done on rats, using aspartame, also found an increased risk of glucose intolerance. Animals that consume artificial sweeteners ended up with raised levels of propionate—short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs) involved in sugar production. Consumption of artificial sweeteners shifted gut microbiota to produce propionate, which generated higher blood sugar levels.

Latest Research Reveals New Mechanism of Harm

Research published in the journal Nature27 in September of this year (see list above) reveals another, previously unknown, mechanism by which artificial sweeteners make you pack on unwanted pounds and disrupt your metabolic function. Most importantly, this study proves causation. In recent years, we’ve learned that gut microbes play a significant role in human health. Certain gut microbes have been linked to obesity, for example, and as it turns out, artificial sweeteners disrupt your intestinal microflora28,29,30,31—thereby raising your risk of both obesity and diabetes.

Specifically, the researchers found that artificial sweeteners alter metabolic pathways associated with metabolic disease. Decreased function was observed in pathways associated with the transport of sugar in the body, for example. Artificial sweeteners were also found to induce gut dysbiosis and glucose intolerance in otherwise healthy people. Of the artificial sweeteners tested, saccharin (Sweet’N Low) had the strongest impact, followed by sucralose and aspartame. Glucose intolerance is a well-known precursor to type 2 diabetes, but it also plays a role in obesity, because the excess sugar in your blood ends up being stored in your fat cells.According to the authors of this widely publicized study:32

“[W]e demonstrate that consumption of commonly used non-caloric artificial sweeteners formulations drives the development of glucose intolerance through induction of compositional and functional alterations to the intestinal microbiota… Collectively, our results link non-caloric artificial sweeteners (NAS) consumption, dysbiosis and metabolic abnormalities, thereby calling for a reassessment of massive NAS usage.”

The following month, another study came out with very similar findings. This one, published in PLOS One,33 found that when rats were fed aspartame, it shifted their gut microbiota, causing it to produce propionate—short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs) involved in sugar production—which led to elevations in blood sugar.

Reclaim Your Health by Ditching Artificially Sweetened ‘Diet’ Foods

When you add together the various routes of harm—from confusing your body with sweet taste without calories, to altering your gut bacteria for the worse—it becomes easy to see how artificial sweeteners have likely played a role in worsening the obesity and diabetes epidemics since their emergence in our food supply. I strongly recommend avoiding all artificial sweeteners, and to read food labels to make sure you’re not inadvertently consuming them. They’re added to some 6,000 different beverages, snacks, and food products, so there’s no telling where they might be hiding.