Is Ultrapasteurized Milk Hurting Your Health?

  • Ultrapasteurized milk arose in response to the emergence of pasteurization-resistant pathogens like Listeria and antibiotic-resistant Salmonella that couldn’t be killed using lower temperatures

  • The shift toward grain-based diets for dairy cows, encouraged by the U.S. Department of Agriculture since the mid-1980s, fosters antibiotic resistance and exacerbates milk contamination issues

  • Ultrapasteurization, which uses temperatures significantly higher than traditional pasteurization, has detrimental effects on milk nutrients, enzymes and proteins

  • A 2019 study found that all forms of milk processing tested caused “formation of protein oxidation products which impair spatial learning and memory in rats.” That includes boiling, microwave heating, spray drying and freeze-drying, and ultrapasteurization exposes the milk to far higher heat than boiling (284 F compared to 212 F)

  • For optimal health benefits, opt for organic, grass fed raw (unpasteurized) milk, ideally certified by the American Grassfed Association (AGA), which ensures the highest quality grass fed products

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Last winter, I spent nearly a month in Mexico and aimed to maintain my daily habit of drinking a glass of milk. My preference is organic milk, but the only type I could find was ultrapasteurized milk, which is widely available in grocery stores there. I was unaware of the risks associated with this product and feel it’s important to share my concerns with you and why I suggest you seriously consider avoid ever using this product.

In a recent article,1 Sally Fallon Morell, author of “Nourishing Traditions” and president of the Weston A. Price Foundation, discusses the implications of ultrapasteurization of milk, which arose in response to the emergence of pasteurization-resistant pathogens like Listeria, and antibiotic-resistant Salmonella.

It began in 1983 when an outbreak of listeriosis sickened 49 individuals, resulting in 14 fatalities. The outbreak was traced back to pasteurized milk, yet inspections of the plant where the milk was made uncovered no evidence of improper pasteurization.

Regulatory officials involved in the investigation noted that Listeria is notably resilient to heat and that the intracellular nature of L. monocytogenes might allow it to survive pasteurization. “These results … raise questions about the ability of pasteurization to eradicate a large inoculum of L. monocytogenes from contaminated raw milk,” they wrote.2

Further outbreaks occurred in 1984 and 1985, linked to Salmonella typhimurium. Disturbingly, investigations revealed this pathogen had developed resistance to commonly used antibiotics. An estimated 168,791 and 197,581 people were sickened and at least five people died in these outbreaks.

“Health officials concluded that the milk was contaminated after pasteurization by Salmonella, which persisted in the plant despite efforts to eradicate it,” Fallon writes.3 But just how did the Salmonella become so hardy?

As explained by Fallon, in the mid-1980s, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) started urging dairy farmers to enhance their efficiency by confining cows to barns and providing them with grain-based diets, which necessitates the use of antibiotics to keep the animals healthy. This, in turn, set the stage for antibiotic resistance to develop.

“Large amounts of grain are not a natural diet for cows,” Fallon explains,4 “nor is it natural for cows to live in close quarters with no way of distancing themselves from their fresh manure. To keep the cows alive in such conditions of filth, antibiotics became necessary. It was a recipe for antibiotic resistance and stronger, mutated pathogens.

With the outbreaks of the mid-1980s, the dairy industry realized that under these new conditions, pasteurization was not working. Unfortunately, their solution to the problem was not to go cleaner, but to go hotter. Enter UHT-ultra-high temperature processing.

Old-fashioned, ‘low-temperature’ pasteurization takes milk to 150 F — hot enough to destroy most of the enzymes in milk, many of which protect against pathogens, while others attach to vitamins and minerals in order to make them easy to absorb. High-temperature pasteurization (also called flash pasteurization) takes milk to 161 F, hot enough to kill all the enzymes and denature some of the proteins.

Ultrapasteurization takes milk to 284 F — hotter, much hotter, than the boiling point — by rushing this most fragile, delicate food past superheated stainless steel plates.

The process kills bacterial endospores — tough, dormant structures produced by many pathogens, which allows them to ‘hibernate’ and come back to life when conditions are sufficiently favorable (such as the small intestine). The process also kills everything else, including nutrients, enzymes, and proteins.”

According to Parmalat,5 which sells ultrapasteurized milk in Europe, the product is “the same as fresh milk” and “contains a lot of nutrients that are good for your body, just like fresh milk.” Scientific studies, however, strongly suggest otherwise.

For example, a 2019 study6 from China found that all forms of milk processing tested caused “formation of protein oxidation products which impair spatial learning and memory in rats.” That includes boiling, microwave heating, spray drying and freeze-drying, and as noted by Fallon, ultrapasteurization exposes the milk to far higher heat than boiling (284 F compared to 212 F). So, clearly, ultrapasteurized milk doesn’t even come close to real milk.

“All four techniques (even freeze-drying) caused ‘various degrees of redox state imbalance and oxidative damage in plasma, liver, and brain tissues,’” Fallon writes.7 “Feeding damaged milk proteins to rats resulted in learning and memory impairment — why would any parent want to give UHT [ultra-high temperature] milk to their kids?”

According to the authors of that study, the industry ought to “control milk protein oxidation and improve the processing methods applied to food.” Other researchers have come to similar conclusions.

A 2021 study8 in the journal Polymers noted that “The major protein modifications that occur during UHT treatment are denaturation and aggregation of the protein, and chemical modifications of its amino acids.”

Damaged milk proteins may contribute to allergic reactions, Fallon notes, and milk allergy is now commonplace. According to the Asthma and Allergy Network, an estimated 20 Americans die each year from anaphylactic shock caused by conventional milk9 — a shocking reminder of just how far modern milk has strayed from real, raw milk, which rarely causes any allergic reactions.

Nonorganic pasteurized milk also has other downsides. Aside from potentially hazardous pathogens, conventional milk has also been found to contain a variety of drugs and agricultural chemicals, including:10 11

  • Antibiotics such as amoxicillin, oxytetracycline and sulfadimethoxine, as well as sulfathiazole and sulfamethazine, both of which are banned for use in dairy production due to human health concerns, which include acute and potentially life-threatening allergic reactions.12

  • Pesticides such as chlorpyrifos (an insecticide known to disrupt brain development and cause brain damage, neurological abnormalities, reduced IQ and aggressiveness in children), atrazine (linked to reproductive harm in animals, birth defects and cancer), diazinon, cypermethrin and permethrin (a synthetic pyrethroid13 insecticide linked to behavior problems in children).

None of these pesticides and antibiotics were found in organic milk samples, however. As noted by the authors:14

“Among the conventional samples, residue levels exceeded federal limits for amoxicillin in one sample (3%) and in multiple samples for sulfamethazine (37%) and sulfathiazole (26%). Median bGH and IGF-1 concentrations in conventional milk were 9·8 and 3·5 ng/ml, respectively, twenty and three times that in organic samples …

Current-use antibiotics and pesticides were undetectable in organic but prevalent in conventionally produced milk samples, with multiple samples exceeding federal limits. Higher bGH and IGF-1 levels in conventional milk suggest the presence of synthetic growth hormone.”

While it may sound as though avoiding milk altogether might be your best bet, that’s not the case at all. As detailed in “The Amazing Benefits of Dairy Fat,” whole or full-fat dairy contains the odd-chain saturated fats (OCFAs) pentadecanoic acid (C15:0) and heptadecanoic acid (C17:0), which have significant health benefits.

These OCFAs are primarily found in dairy fat, and your body cannot make C15:0, so you must get it from your diet. This fat is so beneficial that researchers now speculate that it may be an overlooked essential fat. Higher circulating levels of OCFAs in the blood is associated with lower risks of obesity, chronic inflammation, cardiovascular disease, metabolic syndrome, Type 2 diabetes, NASH, COPD, pancreatic cancer and all-cause mortality.

And, importantly, OCFAs do not have an inhibitory effect on glucose burning because they are not converted to acetyl-CoA; rather, they enter the Krebs Cycle as succinyl-CoA. What this means in practical terms is that you don’t need to restrict your consumption of full fat dairy, as it won’t affect your ability to burn glucose.

Raw organic grass fed milk also has important immune-boosting benefits. According to a 2015 study15 in The Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, children who drank raw organic grass fed milk had 30% lower rates of viral and respiratory tract infections, including regular colds, then those who drink ultrapasteurized milk. So, milk can indeed “do your body good,” as the old marketing slogan used to say, but you must drink the right kind of milk.

The healthiest and safest variety of milk is raw, unpasteurized milk sourced from organically raised, grass fed or pastured cows. Contrary to widespread belief, raw milk is significantly less likely to harbor hazardous bacteria linked to foodborne illness compared to pasteurized counterparts.

Despite assertions by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration16 and the USDA17 regarding the increased health risks associated with raw milk consumption, empirical evidence from foodborne illness data contradicts these claims. According to an investigation by Dr. Ted Beals,18 the likelihood of falling ill from raw milk is 35,000 times lower than from other food sources.

Similarly, a 2012 investigation by Mark McAfee, CEO of Organic Pastures Dairy — which included a FOIA request to the CDC for data on deaths claimed to be related to raw milk — revealed:19

  • Zero deaths attributed to raw milk consumption in California over a 37-year span

  • The two deaths the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention lists as being related to raw milk were actually due to illegal Mexican bathtub cheese, and not raw milk produced in the U.S.

  • The last people to die from milk died from contaminated pasteurized milk

  • According to a Cornell study which used CDC data, 1,100 illnesses were linked to raw milk between 1973 and 2009. Meanwhile, 422,000 illnesses were traced back to pasteurized milk. And, while no one died from raw milk, at least 50 Americans died from pasteurized milk or pasteurized cheese

Both FDA and USDA caution against the potential presence of disease-causing bacteria in raw milk, yet fail to acknowledge that these pathogens stem from industrial farming practices, which contribute to animal health issues. Animals raised on pasture under healthier conditions typically do not harbor harmful levels of pathogenic bacteria.

Their cautionary stance on raw milk consumption would only be warranted if explicitly targeting unpasteurized milk from concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs), where risks are indeed elevated. Raw organic grass fed milk, when handled according to proper sanitary protocols, seldom poses health hazards as organic dairy farms are mandated to adhere to stringent guidelines, enhancing safety measures.

I, along with many others, have a distinct preference for raw goat’s milk over cow’s milk. This choice isn’t just about taste; it’s also influenced by the nutritional and physical properties of goat milk. One of the notable differences between goat’s milk and cow’s milk is the composition of fat. Goat milk has smaller fat globules and a different type of fat, which means it naturally remains more homogenous.

Unlike cow’s milk, which often requires mechanical homogenization to prevent its fat from separating, goat milk naturally maintains a consistent mixture. This characteristic not only affects its texture and taste, making it smoother and more palatable, but it also makes goat milk easier to digest for many people. Additionally, goat milk predominantly contains A2 casein.

Unlike most cow’s milk, which can have both A1 and A2 casein, goat’s milk, along with sheep and buffalo milk, generally contains the A2 type of casein that is considered to be easier to digest for some people and less likely to cause the adverse effects associated with A1 casein. This makes goat’s milk a preferred option for those sensitive to dairy products derived from cows with A1 casein.

Upon its introduction to the U.S. market in the early 1990s, ultrapasteurized milk was sold in specialized sterile containers, originally developed in Europe. This product required no refrigeration and boasted a shelf-life of up to nine months.

However, American consumers were leery about buying unrefrigerated milk. Consequently, the industry reverted to traditional packaging methods and relocated the product back to the refrigerated aisle. Fast-forward to today and most of the milk sold is ultrapasteurized, even if it’s organic.

Fermented products like sour cream and cheese, however, are typically made from pasteurized milk, but not ultrapasteurized, as milk that has undergone ultra-high heat treatment cannot ferment. “That’s another way of saying that UHT milk is indigestible, as fermentation is a form of digestion,” Fallon notes. She goes on:20

“A recent listeria outbreak causing two deaths and more than 20 hospitalizations initiated a Feb. 5 recall of pasteurized cheese, yogurt, and sour cream — an indication that pasteurization doesn’t ensure safety in fermented dairy foods.

UHT milk has served as a temporary fix for the dairy industry, but it will ultimately be its undoing. Milk consumption in the United States has declined by half since 1970, and the dairy industry has been unable to reverse the trend. It blames competition from sodas and plant-based ‘milk’ but won’t admit that UHT processing makes milk unpalatable, allergenic, and indigestible.”

Though organic milk stands as a preferable option compared to conventional counterparts, it’s crucial to recognize that any organic milk sold in mainstream grocery stores is either pasteurized or ultrapasteurized, thus compromising some of its advantages. Pasteurization, responsible for eliminating harmful bacteria, also eradicates beneficial bacteria and may harm essential enzymes.

To learn more, see RealMilk.com’s article, “The 15 Things That Milk Pasteurization Kills.”21 What’s worse — regulatory loopholes permitting CAFO dairies to produce “organic” milk, even though the cows are not grass fed on pasture? I discuss this in “How Organic is Your Organic Milk?

For optimal health benefits, opt for organic, grass fed raw (unpasteurized) milk, ideally certified by the American Grassfed Association (AGA), which ensures the highest quality grass fed products.

The AGA website allows you to search for AGA-approved producers22 certified according to strict standards that include being raised on a diet of 100% forage; raised on pasture and never confined to a feedlot; never treated with antibiotics or hormones; and born and raised on American family farms.

Other resources that can help you find raw grass fed milk locally include Raw-Milk-Facts.com23 and RealMilk.com.24 They can tell you what the status is for legality in your state, and provide a listing of raw dairy farms in your area. The Farm to Consumer Legal Defense Fund25 also provides a state-by-state review of raw milk laws.26 California residents can also find raw milk retailers using the store locator available at www.rawfarmusa.com.27 As noted by Fallon:28

“My prediction: Within 20 years UHT milk will be a thing of the past, recognized as a misuse of technology, a rust belt solution that ruins the goodness of Nature’s perfect food.

We have many elegant technologies today — stainless steel, on-site testing, a national cold chain, and moveable electric fencing that makes grazing feasible — which allow us to get clean raw milk safely to every person in America. ‘Get bigger, go hotter’ is not the future. The future is small and medium grass-based farms selling raw milk directly to grateful customers.”

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Disclaimer: The entire contents of this website are based upon the opinions of Dr. Mercola, unless otherwise noted. Individual articles are based upon the opinions of the respective author, who retains copyright as marked.

The information on this website is not intended to replace a one-on-one relationship with a qualified health care professional and is not intended as medical advice. It is intended as a sharing of knowledge and information from the research and experience of Dr. Mercola and his community. Dr. Mercola encourages you to make your own health care decisions based upon your research and in partnership with a qualified health care professional. The subscription fee being requested is for access to the articles and information posted on this site, and is not being paid for any individual medical advice.

If you are pregnant, nursing, taking medication, or have a medical condition, consult your health care professional before using products based on this content.

Rediscovered — Vitamin C Benefits Concealed for 70 Years

  • Vitamin C has always been vital to immune function, but research data also show it plays an important role in the treatment of several health conditions, including cancer. Since it cannot be patented, it’s likely a threat to Big Pharma and Western medicine’s disease model of care

  • From a historical perspective, vitamin C benefits associated with cancer, polio, multiple sclerosis and other damaging diseases have been suppressed, likely since it is effective, cheap and can’t be patented, which means you can’t make money prescribing or manufacturing it

  • Humans cannot make vitamin C, so it must be consumed. Large dose vitamin C is the foundation of Dr. Frederick Klenner’s cure for polio and Dr. Paul Marik’s treatment for sepsis. It’s also integral to the successful treatment protocols developed by the FLCCC Alliance for COVID, of which Marik is a founding member

  • Dr. Alpha Fowler performed Phase 1 trials of vitamin C in sepsis using Marik’s protocol. Phase 2 was the Vitamin C, Thiamine and Steroids in Sepsis (VICTUS) study that demonstrated an outcome difference, but the journal demanded the research be published as a negative result

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Vitamin C was first isolated in 1928 and the chemical structure was identified in 1933.1 It wasn’t until the early 1970s that Dr. Linus Pauling recommended that the optimum daily intake of vitamin C was 2,000 milligrams (mg) and everyone should consume at least 200 mg to 250 mg per day.2

However, as “modern” medicine and the pharmaceutical industry ramped up the health care machine, vitamin C quickly fell out of favor as it is inexpensive, easy to administer and has very few side effects. In other words, as effective as vitamin C is in prevention and treatment, you can’t make money prescribing or manufacturing it.

It’s important to note that most mammals can make vitamin C in the body,3 but humans and guinea pigs must get it from their diet. Vitamin C is an essential factor in many enzyme reactions and several studies have shown that it’s associated with a lower risk of cardiovascular conditions such as stroke, high blood pressure and coronary heart disease.

Vitamin C has always been vital to immune function, but research data also show that it plays an important role in the treatment of several health conditions, including cancer. Research suggests that IV vitamin C could extend survival,4 even in people with pancreatic5 and ovarian cancers,6 which are among the deadliest types of tumor growth.

Throughout the early years of the COVID pandemic, researchers and doctors who used vitamin C to help treat the infection were ridiculed and “modern” medicine organizations tried to sideline them. In the following three years, information about vitamin C continued to be shared but many suffered at the hands of Big Pharma.

Since vitamin C cannot be patented, it’s a significant threat to the pharmaceutical industry and Western medicine’s disease model of care. An Australian independent journalist, Just Call Me Jack from Totality of Evidence, published a deep-dive history of vitamin C,7 how it’s been used and suppressed.

He intends to identify and capture significant data points throughout history that have led up to the COVID-19 pandemic and document what has happened since, including to “discover incremental changes through time, which on their own may seem laudable or benign, but watch them morph and put them together and the Totality of Evidence reveals a picture of ever-increasing centralized control and influence.”8

Vitamin C has played a role in this influence.9 In 2002, Dr. Thomas E. Levy published the book “Vitamin C, Infectious Diseases, and Toxins: Curing the Incurable.” By 2011, research and publications identifying ways in which vitamin C might be used were reaching the media. Dr. Suzanne Humphries published a special report on the treatment of whooping cough and Orthomolecular Medical News proposed intravenous vitamin C as a cancer therapy.

In November 2013, “Clinical Guide to the Use of Vitamin C” was revised and republished. The book recorded the clinical experiences of Dr. Frederick R. Klenner, who used vitamin C in the treatment of polio, which I discuss below. In 2014, Alpha Fowler from Virginia Commonwealth University and his team published Phase 1 safety trials for the IV administration of vitamin C in patients with sepsis.

The goal was to move to Phase 2 trials and when Dr. Paul Marik, former chief of pulmonary and critical care medicine at Sentara Norfolk General Hospital in East Virginia, was asked if he wanted to participate, he declined since vitamin C had already become his standard of care after the Phase 1 trial was published.10 Marik further developed the treatment protocol, adding thiamine and steroids, which was published in the journal Chest in 2017.11

Some physicians joined Marik in using the early sepsis protocol while others dragged their heels, waiting for larger clinical trials despite knowing the treatment doesn’t have significant side effects or make patients sicker.

In a 2018 review12 of the protocol, the writers noted the reception for the treatment was mixed, which means your ability to receive this potentially life-saving treatment depends on the hospital where you end up. One of the anticipated larger studies was the Vitamin C, Thiamine and Steroids in Sepsis (VICTUS) study sponsored by Emory University and published in JAMA.13

Initially, the researchers, including Fowler, hoped for 2,000 participants but finalized the study with 501. In a presentation at the Fralin Biomedical Research Institute, Fowler describes the positive effects of vitamin C on sepsis.14

However, the VICTUS paper came to a negative conclusion — that the treatment “did not significantly increase ventilator- and vasopressor-free days within 30 days”15 — because he was told he to make it negative. In this video16 of the presentation, you can see Fowler’s reaction to the negative conclusion he and the team were asked to make.

He notes that $1 billion spent on clinical trials had not produced anything that enhanced survival, but in the VICTUS trial they “have shown an outcome difference.” Fowler goes on to say:17

“I got an email from them [JAMA] yesterday and I shared this with Leslie today. They have asked us to state that this trial is negative and that we do not recommend it as a therapy. I am going to put a caveat into that ‘until a large phase 3 trial is done.’”

In 2022, Marik’s paper in the journal Chest came under attack in a series of unsubstantiated allegations of fraud from Australian doctor Kyle Sheldrick.18 The journal then launched a thorough review of the study and in April 2023, stated there were no methodological errors. Marik and the FLCCC followed up with a defamation suit against Sheldrick and, as a result, Sheldrick had to publicly acknowledge regret for questioning Marik’s integrity.

One of the important threads that winds its way through polio and COVID history is vitamin C. During the polio epidemic of 1948 to 1955, many people avoided crowds and public gatherings19 in much the same way as during the COVID pandemic, without mandates to do so. In a biography on Klenner, Andrew Saul, assistant editor for the Journal of Orthomolecular Medicine, discussed some of the pioneering work by Klenner during the polio epidemic.20

Klenner began with vitamin C treatments for patients with viral pneumonia, the details of which he presented in 1948 in the Journal of Southern Medicine and Surgery. Before the polio vaccine was released, Klenner treated polio patients with high doses of vitamin C administered intramuscularly.

In 1949, Klenner summarized his work with polio at the annual session of the American Medical Association. He was from Reidsville, North Carolina, and had no national credentials, research grants or experimental laboratory, but declared in front of this group of authorities that “When proper amounts are used, it [vitamin C] will destroy all virus organisms.”

Although Klenner found the most effective route was intravenous, he had determined that intramuscular injections were satisfactory at a dose of 25,000 to 30,000 mg for an adult delivered at 350 mg per kilogram of body weight every two hours. He operated under the premise that the sicker the patient, the higher the dose should be.

He treated 60 cases of polio with the administration of massive doses of vitamin C and cured everyone. None of his patients were paralyzed and all were well within three days.

Levy discussed the remarkable case of a 5-year-old girl who already had lower limb paralysis for four days by the time Klenner treated her. She only received massive doses of vitamin C and massage. By day 19, the girl had a complete return of sensation and motor function and no long-term impairment. Yet, this simple, effective and inexpensive treatment was not well-published, and Klenner did not receive any acknowledgment for his results.

Saul also describes the vitamin-based cure for multiple sclerosis that Klenner went on to develop. Following the doctor’s death in 1984, his son was implicated in the murders of five people, a tragedy that became the subject of a 1988 book and a 1994 made-for-TV movie. Yet, true to how the media treats the pharmaceutical industry, it was the son’s crimes that were reported far more than the father’s cures.21

Just Call Me Jack22 details the history of the polio vaccine, which is alarmingly similar to the release of the COVID-19 shot. By 1952, the public’s fear of polio was at a peak, and all were focused on the hope of a vaccine. April 12, 1955, the Salk inactivated polio vaccine was declared “safe and effective” and on the same day, the U.S. licensed it for use. Earlier that year — just like COVID —the diagnostic criteria for polio was changed too. Just Call Me Jack asks: Sound familiar?

In their book “Dissolving Illusions,” Dr. Suzanne Humphries and Roman Bystrianyk detail a history of medical interventions that have claimed to lengthen lifespan and prevent masses of deaths. The book demonstrates how these interventions were not responsible and an Amazon summary of the book asks the question: What else is being ignored and misinterpreted today?23 Polio is one of the diseases and subsequent vaccines included in the book.

Before 1954, patients with short-term paralysis were diagnosed with polio but this criterion changed in 1955 when the vaccine was released. Instead, patients who had no residual paralysis after 60 days did not have polio. Just Call Me Jack quotes the book, writing “Thus, simply by changes in diagnostic criteria, the number of paralytic cases was predetermined to decrease in 1955-1997 whether or not any vaccine was used.”

In other words, how a case was defined instantly changed both the incidence of the disease and the efficacy of the polio vaccine. April 2, 1999, the CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, entitled “10 Great Public Health Achievements,” said:24

“During 1951–1954, an average of 16,316 paralytic polio cases and 1879 deaths from polio were reported each year. Polio incidence declined sharply following the introduction of vaccine to <1000 cases in 1962 and remained below 100 cases after that year."

The question you must ask yourself is whether the decline in polio was a result of the vaccine or because the criteria for diagnosing polio had changed? The Totality of Evidence reports that less than one month after the oral vaccine was introduced, the lab suspended production because children who were vaccinated were infected with poliomyelitis,25 a concern that continues to this day.26

Statistics from American Polio Surveillance Reports demonstrated that in 1957, two years after the vaccine had been released, nearly half the cases of paralytic polio in children were happening in vaccinated children, which led to the decision that the children needed more vaccines.27

It is not difficult to see the similarities between the release of the COVID-19 vaccine, after which the number of deaths from COVID in the U.S. spiked, and the polio vaccine.

While public health officials initially told the public that the COVID clinical trials indicated the vaccine would prevent them from getting infected, prevent them from spreading the infection and that only one vaccine was required, those recommendations quickly changed when the genetic experiment was released to a far wider cohort than the one in which it was initially tested.

In other words, the shot was released to the world and the public health experts suddenly had much more disturbing data.

The antiviral capacity of vitamin C was successfully paired with quercetin during the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic and included in the initial MATH+ protocol released in April 2020. I reported that in the early months of COVID-19, the FLCCC Alliance recommended a combination of vitamin C, quercetin, zinc, melatonin and vitamin D3 for prophylaxis.

To date, the preventive protocol for COVID, flu and RSV includes antimicrobial mouthwash, vitamin D, vitamin C, zinc and melatonin. June 19, 2020, Marik published the paper,28 “Quercetin and Vitamin C: An Experimental, Synergistic Therapy for the Prevention and Treatment of SARS-CoV-2 Related Disease (COVID-19)” in the journal Frontiers in Immunology, noting:

“Ascorbic acid [vitamin C] … plays a role in stress response and has shown promising results when administered to the critically ill. Quercetin is a well-known flavonoid whose antiviral properties have been investigated in numerous studies.

There is evidence that vitamin C and quercetin co-administration exerts a synergistic antiviral action due to overlapping antiviral and immunomodulatory properties and the capacity of ascorbate to recycle quercetin, increasing its efficacy. Safe, cheap interventions which have a sound biological rationale should be prioritized for experimental use in the current context of a global health pandemic.”

However, as many have noted during the COVID pandemic, the use of “Safe, cheap interventions which have a sound biological rationale” has not been prioritized, but rather has been vilified. Much of the benefit from vitamin C is how it helps to mediate inflammation and oxidative stress.

This was demonstrated in a 2022 study,29 which sought to determine how vitamin C could help individuals with cystic fibrosis. The data showed that vitamin C supplementation in individuals with advanced inflammatory disease could help increase plasma vitamin E and lower the inflammatory response.

Vitamin C also plays a significant role in holistic cancer treatment as Dr. Nathan Goodyear and I discussed in a 2022 interview.30 In this area, Western medicine also strove to suppress information since vitamin C is inexpensive and cannot be patented.

As I said, Linus Pauling originally demonstrated that intravenous vitamin C could improve cancer survival, but when Mayo Clinic physicians attempted to reproduce the results without using IV administration, they found no benefit.

The history of vitamin C is replete with public health experts who count the benefits of vitamin C as preventive but continue to push Big Pharma solutions in the face of infection or disease, not the least of whom is former National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases director, Dr. Anthony Fauci, who was interviewed in 2016 in the Washingtonian.31

When asked how do you avoid getting sick when you’re around sick people all day, he replied: “I take vitamin C. It can enhance your body’s defense against microbes. I take 1,000 milligrams a day. Many people also do not get enough vitamin D, which affects a lot of body functions, so that would be helpful, too.”

During the COVID pandemic, Laura Bartlett and Greta Crawford founded an organization to help people address the forced treatments they were receiving when hospitalized. This same strategy, which must be in place before you are hospitalized, can be used to protect yourself against other medical hazards as well. Read more about how to include this in your health plan at “How to Save Your Life and Those You Love When Hospitalized.”

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Disclaimer: The entire contents of this website are based upon the opinions of Dr. Mercola, unless otherwise noted. Individual articles are based upon the opinions of the respective author, who retains copyright as marked.

The information on this website is not intended to replace a one-on-one relationship with a qualified health care professional and is not intended as medical advice. It is intended as a sharing of knowledge and information from the research and experience of Dr. Mercola and his community. Dr. Mercola encourages you to make your own health care decisions based upon your research and in partnership with a qualified health care professional. The subscription fee being requested is for access to the articles and information posted on this site, and is not being paid for any individual medical advice.

If you are pregnant, nursing, taking medication, or have a medical condition, consult your health care professional before using products based on this content.

Sleep Apnea in Children Linked to Detrimental Brain Changes

  • Sleep apnea occurs when obstructions in your airway impair breathing during sleep. Sleep apnea is becoming increasingly prevalent among children, largely due to processed food diets and lack of breastfeeding

  • Up to 5% of children are affected by sleep apnea, which has been linked to adverse brain changes that can affect behavior and cognition in children

  • An even larger percentage of children may be susceptible to sleep-disordered breathing, which is characterized as snoring, noisy breathing, or open-mouth breathing during sleep

  • Sleep apnea and sleep-disordered breathing are related to suboptimal growth of the mouth, teeth and face

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Editor’s Note: This article is a reprint. It was originally published April 6, 2017.

Sleep apnea occurs when you have obstructions in your airway that interfere with your breathing during sleep. The flow of air can be partially blocked or even completely stopped altogether. Sleep-disordered breathing, a common problem, affects more than half of all men and over one-quarter of women.1

Disturbingly, it’s also becoming more prevalent among children, largely due to processed food diets and lack of breastfeeding. Sleep apnea in childhood has been linked to adverse brain changes that can affect behavior and cognition.

Estimates suggest up to 5% of children are affected by sleep apnea.2 An even larger percentage of children may be susceptible to sleep-disordered breathing, which is characterized as snoring, noisy breathing or open-mouth breathing during sleep.

Fortunately, there are ways to prevent sleep apnea from occurring in the first place, and ways to address it without having to resort to a continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machine.

Sleep apnea and sleep-disordered breathing are related to suboptimal growth of the mouth, teeth and face. This may be prevented by exclusive breastfeeding for at least six months after birth and avoiding processed food diets.

If you’re pregnant, please consider breastfeeding. Also, be sure to pay careful attention to your child’s diet during his or her early years. A few simple changes can have an incredible impact of their lifelong ability to breathe and sleep comfortably.

If your child already struggles with impaired breathing, two treatment alternatives offer a great deal of hope: oral myofunctional therapy and learning how to breathe properly through the nose while awake.

It’s important not to ignore any breathing problems your children may have, as it can have serious repercussions for their health and academic performance. Not only do these breathing disruptions interfere with sleep, it also promotes poor health and chronic disease by:

  • Reducing the amount of oxygen in your blood, which can impair the function of internal organs and/or exacerbate other health conditions you may have

  • Slowing down or preventing critical detoxification of your brain tissue, as your brain’s waste removal system, known as the glymphatic system, only operates during deep sleep

  • Disrupting your circadian rhythm, resulting in reduced melatonin production and disruption of other body chemicals

  • Inhibiting the release of growth hormone, preventing optimal growth and development

  • Increasing sympathetic tone, causing problems with bedwetting, night sweating, night terrors, restless sleep and anxiety

  • Interfering with deep sleep, contributing to lack of focused attention during the day

By preventing deep, restorative sleep, reducing oxygenation and hampering brain detoxification, sleep apnea can have serious ramifications for your child’s mental functioning.

According to published research,3 children with sleep apnea display troubling brain changes in areas involved with thinking and problem solving. These areas were found to be smaller in those with sleep apnea compared to children without sleep apnea.4 5 Previous studies have found sleep apnea can produce changes in the brain by causing nerve cells to die.

Studies6 have also shown that kids with sleep apnea tend to struggle more in school and perform worse in language arts, math and science compared to those who do not have sleep or breathing problems, scoring on average 11% lower on academic tests.

In this latest study, they used magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to analyze and compare the volume of gray matter in children with and without sleep apnea.

Gray matter is the outer layer of the brain associated with high-level brain functions such as problem solving, language, memory, personality, planning and judgment. Indeed, children with sleep apnea were found to have substantially lower gray matter volume than those without sleep apnea.

Paul Macey, director of technology and innovation at the Los Angeles School of Nursing and one of the authors of the study, told Reuters, “It really does seem that there is a change in the brain or that the brain is affected.”

Lead author Dr. Leila Kheirandish-Gozal, director of pediatric clinical sleep research at the University of Chicago, added:7

“The Images of gray matter changes are striking. We do not yet have a precise guide to correlate loss of gray matter with specific cognitive deficits, but there is clear evidence of widespread neuronal damage or loss compared to the general population.”

Next, the researchers aim to find out whether treating the sleep apnea will help children to recover and regain full function.

Considering what we now know about brain plasticity, chances are your child will be able to make a complete recovery once he or she starts breathing and sleeping normally. The key is treating it, ideally getting to the very root of the problem, which can often be traced back to the size and shape of the child’s oral cavity.

While obesity is a common factor that increases your risk for sleep apnea, an increasingly common root cause is related to an improperly shaped mouth and incorrect positioning of the tongue. This is particularly true for younger generations raised on infant formula and processed foods.

Dr. Weston Price’s pioneering work showed how diet can affect your entire mouth, yet most people are still clueless about this effect, and how the size and shape of your oral cavity affect the placement of your tongue and your overall ability to breathe properly.

According to Dr. Arthur Strauss, a dentist and diplomat of the American Board of Dental Sleep Medicine, our mouths have progressively gotten smaller through the generations due to lack of breastfeeding and not chewing enough, combined with poor childhood nutrition.

Breastfeeding actually helps expand the size of your child’s palate, shifting the jaw forward — two important factors that help prevent sleep apnea by creating ample room for unobstructed breathing.

Tongue placement also plays an important role, as revealed in a 2015 study on pediatric patients.8 The newborn palate is as soft as a drum, and if we place into it a bottle, pacifier, a spouted cup or the child finds his or her thumb, the palate may deform, making the nasal airway smaller, as well as preventing the ability of the teeth to erupt normally.

Having an abnormally short lingual frenulum9 can result in impaired orofacial growth in early childhood, reducing the width of the upper airway. The upper airway is very pliable, so this increases the risk of it collapsing during sleep. The study found that children with an untreated short frenulum developed abnormal tongue function early in life, which also impacted their orofacial growth and led to disordered breathing during sleep.

The researchers suggest pediatricians and otolaryngologists should systematically examine the lingual frenulum in children exhibiting difficulties such as trouble sucking, speech impediments, snoring or other breathing problems. They also note that while removing the frenulum can be helpful, it typically will not resolve all abnormal breathing patterns, so oral myofunctional therapy, both pre- and post-surgery is recommended to restore normal breathing through the nose.

Oral myofunctional therapy is a form of facial muscle therapy that helps reshape your oral cavity and promote proper placement of your tongue, head and neck, thereby alleviating sleep apnea. Four years ago, I interviewed Joy Moeller, a leading expert in this form of therapy, about its many benefits. I’ve included that interview here for your convenience.

In a meta review10 of nine studies that included a total of 120 patients with obstructive sleep apnea, oral myofunctional therapy reduced the severity of sleep apnea by about 50% in adults and 62% in children. It also teaches you to breathe through your nose, with your tongue resting against the roof of your mouth. This is an important aspect of proper breathing that the Buteyko Breathing Method also addresses (see the next section).

Grinding and clenching your teeth is another common sign indicating you may have a sleep disorder and/or need to retrain your orofacial muscles. More specifically, teeth grinding is indicative of an upper airway obstruction, causing your body to compensate by attempting to move your jaw to open the airway. Getting all your oral facial and neck muscles to work correctly can make a big difference in this case.

The Buteyko Breathing Method — named after the Russian physician who developed the technique — is another powerful approach that can help reduce sleep apnea. By learning to consistently breathe through your nose rather than your mouth, your breathing volume will be brought back to normal. This in turn allows for optimal oxygenation of tissues and organs, including your brain.

When it comes to your breathing patterns, diet may also play a role. Processed foods, which tend to acidify your blood in an attempt to maintain normal pH, will make you breathe heavier and can lead to chronic overbreathing. The reason for this is because carbon dioxide, which is in your blood, helps regulate pH.

Besides water, raw fruits and vegetables have the least impact on your breathing, followed by cooked vegetables. Processed, high-protein and high-grain meals have the greatest adverse effect on breathing.

Typical characteristics of overbreathing include mouth breathing, upper chest breathing, sighing, noticeable breathing during rest and taking large breaths prior to talking. If you recognize these signs, I would suggest taking a look at the Buteyko breathing method, because if you’re not breathing correctly while awake, you’re at increased risk of breathing problems while sleeping as well.

As mentioned earlier, one of the reasons sleep apnea is now starting to affect a growing number of young children may have to do with lack of breastfeeding, which sets the stage for abnormal development of the child’s mouth. A processed food diet during early childhood further adds to the problems created by an improperly shaped oral cavity.

Dr. Kevin Boyd, a dentist at Lurie Children’s Hospital in Chicago who is a major advocate of baby-led weaning, has compared modern Westernized infant feeding regimens to what he calls “ancestral-type” on-demand infant feeding regimens and the subsequent differences in mouth and facial bone structure. It turns out that when children are fed the way they were designed to be fed, it stimulates the structure of the mouth and facial bones to develop in an optimal way.

This begins with EXCLUSIVE breastfeeding, ideally for the first six months, followed by a gradual introduction of solid food while continuing to breastfeed. Breastfeeding should continue along with solids for a MINIMUM of one year according to the American Academy of Pediatrics, and for a minimum of two years according to the World Health Organization (WHO). Alternative methods of feeding for those who cannot breastfeed, for whatever reason, are specially designed cups.

According to the WHO and Boyd, feeding a child from a juice size cup is far better than using baby bottles with synthetic nipples. By placing the rim of the cup with a small arc cut out for the baby’s lower lip, and putting a small bolus of milk on the tongue, it will encourage babies to use their oral anatomy similarly to how it is used at the breast.

Avoid the temptation to use a regular spouted cup as it will discourage correct oral function, including encouraging the tongue to rest up and the palate to form the proper width and develop the airway.

The reason to avoid using a baby bottle is because it does not allow the natural suction a baby exerts on the breast. The slightest pressure of the baby’s tongue pushing on the baby bottle nipple rewards the baby with milk, thus encouraging incorrect use of the oral anatomy.

It was assumed that babies massage the milk via a peristaltic wave motion, pressing the nipple up against the roof of the mouth. Alas, all of these assumptions have been solidly disproven by renowned lactation researcher, Donna Geddes, Ph.D.11 12

The following video shows the mechanics of breastfeeding using ultrasound. A vacuum is created when the middle of the baby’s tongue comes down, which helps express milk from the breast. Next, the forward part of the baby’s tongue pushes the mother’s nipple inside, right behind the two front teeth.

This motion explains why ancestral feeding widens the jaw, and pushes both the upper and lower jaws forward. It also pushes the cheekbones in the mid-face forward. Add to that restricted frenums, and the tongue, lips and cheek do not usually allow the baby to breastfeed normally.

The sucking motion on the breast essentially acts like a piston that pushes the baby’s mid-face outward. When a child is bottle fed, none of this happens, resulting in a narrow facial structure and poorly defined jaw. The anatomically incorrect palate and poorly aligned jaw bone also crowd teeth, resulting in crooked teeth.

If you know or suspect your child has sleep apnea, your first step would be to identify a qualified sleep specialist who can help you address the sleep apnea at the foundational level. Many have little in their tool bag besides a prescription for a CPAP machine, so you may have to do some homework and search around a bit.

Sometimes if the tonsils or adenoids are large, the doctor may recommend removing them. However, if the functions of nasal breathing, chewing and swallowing are not corrected, the structures may collapse again.

While a CPAP can provide symptom relief, it does not address the root problem, and is difficult to use, clean and maintain to boot. Besides, a mask on your face and a noisy, EMF-emitting machine next to your bed hardly encourage deep, restorative sleep. CPAP is rarely a satisfactory long-term solution for a child because it may push the face in and develop the “Smashed Face Syndrome.”

If your child is obese, losing weight might significantly improve the problem. If the sleep apnea is related to tongue or jaw position, specialty trained dentists can design a custom oral appliance to expand the palate and bring the face forward to address the issue. These devices work much better when myofunctional therapy is incorporated into the treatment plan.

For adults, these appliances include mandibular repositioning devices, designed to shift the jaw forward. Others help hold the tongue forward without moving the jaw. Myofunctional therapy may help to make the appliances more comfortable and prevent temporomandibular joint (TMJ) problems.

The oral appliance approach has been recognized as part of the standard of care for sleep apnea since about 1995, and oral appliances are typically recommended as the first line treatment for mild to moderate sleep apnea for adults. One source where you can find a treatment specialist familiar with oral appliances is the American Academy of Dental Sleep Medicine.13

I would also encourage you to seek out an oral myofunctional therapist to work with your child. To find a qualified therapist, see the Academy of Orofacial Myofunctional Therapy’s website.14

Also teach him or her the importance of proper nasal breathing. You can learn more about the Buteyko Breathing Method in McKeown’s books, “The Oxygen Advantage,” and “Close Your Mouth: Self Help Buteyko Manual,” which can be found on amazon.com and ButeykoClinic.com. There’s also a website dedicated to children, called ButeykoforKids.com.

Disclaimer: The entire contents of this website are based upon the opinions of Dr. Mercola, unless otherwise noted. Individual articles are based upon the opinions of the respective author, who retains copyright as marked.

The information on this website is not intended to replace a one-on-one relationship with a qualified health care professional and is not intended as medical advice. It is intended as a sharing of knowledge and information from the research and experience of Dr. Mercola and his community. Dr. Mercola encourages you to make your own health care decisions based upon your research and in partnership with a qualified health care professional. The subscription fee being requested is for access to the articles and information posted on this site, and is not being paid for any individual medical advice.

If you are pregnant, nursing, taking medication, or have a medical condition, consult your health care professional before using products based on this content.

Even More Health Benefits of Niacinamide

  • Niacinamide, also known as nicotinamide (a form of vitamin B3), is important for healthy mitochondrial function and cellular energy production

  • Patients with established glaucoma scored significantly higher on visual field tests after taking niacinamide and calcium pyruvate daily for about two months

  • Niacinamide can be used to treat declining testosterone levels in men and women, and protects against stress by lowering cortisol

  • Niacinamide has anticancer and antiaging effects, and can be useful in the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease and COVID-19

  • It may also be valuable in the treatment of both alcoholic liver disease and nonalcoholic liver disease (NAFLD), as low NAD is involved in the disease process

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I recently posted an article detailing the importance of niacinamide (aka, nicotinamide, a form of vitamin B3 or niacin) for healthy mitochondrial function and cellular energy production, and how it can help reverse obesity and leaky gut, and prevent neurodegeneration, kidney disease and heart failure. Here, I’ll review several additional conditions that can be prevented and/or treated with this inexpensive and readily available supplement.

Keep in mind that the dosages used in the research studies discussed below do vary widely, but as a rule, I only recommend taking small doses of 50 milligrams of niacinamide three times a day.

This dosage has been shown to optimize energy metabolism and boost NAD+ levels, which are foundational for everything else to work. It can be taken four times a day if you space them out. Take a dose as soon as you get up, before going to bed, and twice evenly spaced between those times.

The problem with taking too much vitamin B3, whether in the form of niacin or niacinamide, is that it might backfire and contribute to cardiovascular disease as documented by the Cleveland Clinic. ZeroHedge reports:1

“The new study out of the Cleveland Clinic, published in Nature Medicine,2 determined there is a delicate balance between too much niacin and just enough — a sort of Goldilocks effect … [As] observed by the Cleveland Clinic team, too much niacin creates a byproduct known as 4PY.

This product circulates within the bloodstream and is associated with a higher risk of heart attack, stroke, and other cardiac events. Additionally, 4PY was shown in preclinical studies to trigger vascular inflammation, damaging blood vessels and eventually leading to atherosclerosis.

The researchers discovered this by examining data from 1,162 patients who had experienced major cardiovascular events. Just under half of the patients (442) were female. Initially, the team sought common markers that could lead to cardiovascular events. The most common factor within the pool of patients was excess levels of niacin.

The findings led to additional studies to validate the initial research. Both cohort studies, conducted in the United States and Europe, confirmed that niacin breakdown predicted an individual’s future risk of heart attack, stroke, and death from cardiovascular disease.”

With that caveat out of the way, let’s take a look at some of the health benefits associated with niacinamide supplementation, starting with its ability to ameliorate damage caused by linoleic acid (LA) consumption.

One of the most toxic metabolic byproducts of LA is 4 HNE, a toxic aldehyde that appears to play a causative role in heart failure.3 Fortunately, there is an enzyme system called aldehyde dehydrogenases that deactivates 4 HNE. The best way to increase the activity of this enzyme system is to make sure you have sufficient NAD+, and the most efficient way to optimize your NAD+ level is to make sure you’re getting 50 mg of niacinamide three times a day.

Niacinamide can be used to treat problems associated with declining testosterone levels due to aging, as demonstrated in a February 2022 Nature Aging study.4 This study also involved eye health, specifically evaporative dry eye disease, but with a focus on the effects of androgens.

They found that by raising NAD+, local testosterone distribution in the meibomian gland in the eyelids, which produces oil to prevent the evaporation of tears, was improved. As a result, age-related atrophy of the gland was reduced, which alleviated the dry eye condition. In this case, they used a 5% solution of the NAD+ precursors nicotinamide mononucleotide (NMN) or nicotinamide riboside (NR). The two regimens assessed were as follows:

  • Chronic — 2 mg NAD+ precursor four times a day in each eye for 90 days.

  • Acute — 5 mg NAD+ precursor six times a day in each eye for 14 days.

However, as noted by biohacker Georgi Dinkov,5 plain niacinamide has been shown to be just as effective as NMN and NR for raising NAD+, so there’s no reason why it wouldn’t work as well. Moreover, these findings are also applicable for other tissues and organs affected by declining testosterone, not just your eyes.

It confirms that niacinamide is a necessary cofactor to address the nearly universal decline in testosterone in both males and females, so this is yet another reason that most people need it. Dinkov writes:6

“… the findings that androgen (in this case, testosterone) deficiency seen almost universally with advancing age is apparently due primarily to deficiency of the co-factor NAD+, which can apparently be remediated by supplementing NAD+ precursors such as niacinamide.

It appears that the rate-limiting step for androgen (testosterone) synthesis is the enzyme 3b-HSD, for which NAD+ is the main cofactor. Thus, a decline in NAD+ seen in aging (and disease) leads to decline in 3b-HSD activity and thus reduced androgen (testosterone) levels.

Conversely, the study found that restoring NAD+ levels almost fully remediated the reduced function of 3b-HSD, the androgen (testosterone deficiency), and thus was basically curative for the specific condition (dry-eye) the study investigated …

As far as the systemic steroidogenic deficiency seen with aging that I mentioned earlier, oral dosing of an NAD+ precursor such as niacinamide would likely be needed, and human studies have demonstrated that daily doses in the 300 mg-500 mg daily range optimally stimulate NAD+ synthesis. (It would be better to start with 50 mg three times a day (150 mg) and increase if necessary.)

While most studies found that higher daily oral doses are unable to further raise NAD+ levels through the precursor pathway, higher doses of niacinamide specifically have been shown to inhibit the enzyme PARP-1, which is a ‘consumer’ of NAD+ and inhibiting it also raises NAD+ levels.

So, experimenting with the niacinamide with doses in the 500mg-1,500mg daily range would probably identify an optimal daily dose regimen for most people looking to increase steroidogenesis, especially if precursors such as pregnenolone and/or DHEA are taken as well.”

To address declining testosterone, I recommend taking:

  • 50 mg of niacinamide three times a day

  • 5 mg to 10 mg of DHEA orally once a day

  • 50 mg of oral pregnenolone once a day

Ideally, take the hormone supplements DHEA and pregnenolone with a saturated fat, like a teaspoon of butter, to make sure they bypass metabolism in the liver, which will radically decrease their effectiveness.

Another phenomenally important human study7 8 9 confirms that niacinamide lowers cortisol by increasing NAD+. NAD+ is the cofactor for an enzyme called 11b-HSD2, which deactivates cortisol by turning it into cortisone. So, increasing NAD+ with niacinamide will help lower cortisol, and this can benefit just about everyone, seeing how most people are plagued by stress and have elevated cortisol, which in turn drives inflammation and inhibits fat loss.

Raising NAD+ with niacinamide supplementation was also shown to improve glucose metabolism and insulin sensitivity. It also increased ATP levels, which is your cellular energy currency. As such, niacinamide may be one of the most important supplements you can take.

Importantly, this study used plain niacinamide rather than the more expensive NMN or NR, so we don’t have to infer these benefits. They took place using plain niacinamide and D-ribose. The dosages used were 240 mg of niacinamide twice a day, and 1,280 mg of D-ribose twice a day, for one week.

Niacinamide can also help prevent and treat cancer. As noted in one 2022 study in Nature Metabolism,10 11 limiting fat availability to cancer cells may be one of the keys to curing cancer. NAD+ also plays an important role, and niacinamide raises NAD+:

“Production of oxidized biomass, which requires regeneration of the cofactor NAD+, can be a proliferation bottleneck that is influenced by environmental conditions … Here, we show that de novo lipid biosynthesis can impose a substantial NAD+ consumption cost in proliferating cancer cells.

When electron acceptors are limited, environmental lipids become crucial for proliferation because NAD+ is required to generate precursors for fatty acid biosynthesis. We find that both oxidative and even net reductive pathways for lipogenic citrate synthesis are gated by reactions that depend on NAD+ availability.”

An earlier study,12 published in 2020, found that niacin (vitamin B3) could control the growth of brain tumors by reactivating myeloid cells (a type of bone marrow cell). As explained by the authors:

“Although innate immune cells are typically present inside tumors, they often have an inactive phenotype such that they are ineffective at killing the cancer cells or even promote tumor growth. Sarkar et. al. discovered that it may be possible to reprogram these cells to a more active type using niacin (vitamin B3).

The authors showed that niacin-exposed monocytes can inhibit the growth of brain tumor-initiating cells. Moreover, niacin treatment of intracranial mouse models of glioblastoma increased monocyte and macrophage infiltration into the tumors, stimulated antitumor immune responses, and extended the animals’ survival …”

Here, a mere 7 mg of niacin per kilo of bodyweight per day halted the growth of brain tumors and nearly doubled survival times. The niacin group also survived longer than those receiving chemotherapy alone. While this study used niacin, niacinamide would work just as well. Tying the results back to the study above, Dinkov notes:13

“The proposed mechanism of action was immune system activation. I, personally, do not buy this explanation as a main mechanism of action. IMHO vitamin B3’s known effects on inhibiting lipolysis … and promoting the oxidation of glucose are probably more important for inhibiting the tumor growth and prolonging survival.”

Niacinamide and other B vitamins also have important antiaging effects. In a December 2021 article, Dinkov reviewed a 2011 study14 that suggests fasting can speed up aging by depleting your energy reserves, and that vitamin B2 has the opposite effect and slows the aging process. Commenting on this finding, Dinkov wrote:15

“[This is] a great study that not only suggests a dirt cheap and widely available option for retarding aging, but once again demonstrates that stress (e.g. fasting) directly causes aging by depleting/blocking OXPHOS [oxidative phosphorylation, the metabolic pathway cells use to oxidize nutrients, thereby releasing chemical energy to produce ATP], and the key mechanism for stopping/reversing aging is by restoring energy production.

The proposed ‘senolytic’ in this study is the humble vitamin B2, also known as riboflavin. Vitamin B2 is the precursor for FAD [flavin adenine dinucleotide] — a key coenzyme, responsible for about 20% of the energy produced in the OXPHOS process. Btw, the other 80% are controlled by NAD — a molecule synthesized endogenously from the precursor niacinamide.

There has been an explosion in publications over the last decade touting NAD as the cure to virtually every disease out there, and many of those claims are well-backed by evidence. While there are … proprietary NAD precursors such as nicotinamide riboside and nicotinamide mononucleotide, plain old niacinamide works just as well and is drastically cheaper.

Niacin is another NAD precursor but [it] increases histamine and serotonin, and still has to be converted into niacinamide before it can end up as NAD. So, no reason to take anything else but niacinamide.

Doing so, raises the NAD/NADH ratio, shifts the cell redox state towards oxidation (as opposed to reduction), and the ample energy produced by the cell can be used for all types of maintenance ‘work’ the cells need to perform in order to stay healthy, prevent aging, etc …

[V]itamin B2 has a similar metabolic role as well. It is a precursor to the co-factor FAD and taking B2 raises FAD and thus the FAD/FADH ratio, which facilitates electron flow through the electron chain complexes I&II. Conversely, having insufficient levels of FAD (and/or low FAD/FADH ratio) can effectively block the ETC [electron transport chain].

This crucial role of FAD in the ETC demonstrates why excessive fatty acid oxidation (FAO) is harmful. Namely, FAD is consumed in the process of beta-oxidation of fatty acids and as such excessive FAO can consume too much FAD, drop the FAD/FADH ratio, and thus block electron flow through ETC.

This reduction/blockade of ETC is exactly what is seen in most chronic, degenerative diseases, but especially in conditions such as cancer, diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease, autoimmune conditions, etc.

Well, the [Physiology] study … found that this reduction of mitochondrial activity (ETC) is exactly what triggers the senescence process, and activating mitochondria (specifically ETC II) by supplementing vitamin B2 prevented cellular aging. Here is the actual explanation from the study authors:

‘… Cells under stress produce SLC52A1, and increase their absorption of vitamin B2 from outside the cell. Once inside the cell, the vitamin B2 is converted into FAD and increases mitochondrial energy production by becoming a coenzyme of mitochondrial respiratory chain complex II. As a result of the AMPK and p53 (which induce cellular senescence) are inactive, therefore stress-mediated cellular senescence is suppressed.’”

Niacinamide may also be valuable in the treatment of both alcoholic liver disease and nonalcoholic liver disease (NAFLD). By now, you can probably guess why. It’s because low NAD is involved in the disease process.

A study16 17 published in 2016 showed that chronic alcohol bingeing injures your liver and other organs by reducing NAD+, which is a required cofactor for important enzymes and mitochondrial renewal.

In short, a decline in the NAD/NADH ratio (your redox status) is a main driver of alcohol-related pathologies, and not just in your liver but in all organs. The answer is to increase NAD+, which is effectively done using niacinamide. According to Dinkov, niacinamide also works synergistically with methylene blue:18

“Both [niacinamide and methylene blue] can raise the NAD/NADH ratio quite robustly on their own, but in combination are synergistic and may allow for much lower doses to achieve the same effects.

People have sent me emails showing their blood tests demonstrated the same increase in NAD/NADH from a combination of 1mg MB [methylene blue] and 250 mg niacinamide as using 5mg+ MB or 750mg-1,000mg niacinamide separately.”

Related to this is the importance of eating the correct fats. You want to increase your saturated fat and avoid PUFAs, especially linoleic acid (LA), as PUFAS are stored and accumulated whereas saturated fats are burned for energy.19 20 It can take up to seven years to clear LA from your body due to its long half-life. In the meantime, you need to be careful about not pushing the LA out too rapidly through fasting, low-carb diets or vigorous exercise.

“Niacinamide can help while you’re clearing stored PUFAs from your cells, as it’s an anti-lipolytic agent.”

The accumulation of PUFAs in your cells are, I believe, one of the greatest contributors to chronic and degenerative diseases of all kinds, as they wreak havoc with your cellular machinery and impair mitochondrial function (and hence reduce energy production). Niacinamide can be helpful while you’re clearing stored PUFAs from your cells, as it’s an anti-lipolytic agent.

Niacinamide is required for healthy metabolism and, as such, it can also be useful in early Alzheimer’s treatment.21 Combining it with methylene blue may boost benefits even further, as they work synergistically, and methylene blue alone has been shown to stop the progression of Alzheimer’s.22

Increasing the carbs only seems to work when your fat intake is below 35% of your total daily carbs. If it is higher, the Randle cycle will prevent the extra carbs from being metabolized in the mitochondria and will shuttle them to glycolysis which increases lactic acid and will likely worsen one’s health.

Thiamine, the B1 mentioned in the study, is a cofactor for the enzyme that converts the glucose metabolite pyruvate into acetyl-CoA, which is what is pushed into the mitochondria to be burned as fuel. Taking niacinamide (vitamin B3) will help three of the complexes in the mitochondria work and vitamin B2, riboflavin, will help one complex to produce the ATP, so using all three would be ideal.

Niacinamide is the only one that appears to benefit from lowering the dosing to 50 mg three times a day. As reported by Dinkov:23

“[A 2019] study24 demonstrated that increasing levels of acetyl-CoA (the starting intermediate of the Krebs cycle), even at a stage of very advanced aging/AD [Alzheimer’s disease], can reverse aspects of both pathologies.

While the study used patented compounds, the same effects can be achieved by ensuring a steady supply of dietary carbs combined with increasing the function of pyruvate dehydrogenase (PDH). Increasing the activity of PDH can be achieved by supplementing with vitamin B1 (a cofactor of PDH), keeping the NAD/NADH ratio as high as possible and keeping fatty acid oxidation (FAO) down …

[T]hese approaches have been successfully tested in many animal models and one of the molecules that works through the latter two mechanisms is niacinamide. In fact, there is a human clinical trial25 [completed in August 2022] with 3 grams of niacinamide daily for treating AD, and though the results have not been published yet the leaked information suggests highly positive results. Methylene blue (MB) can do the same …”

As it turns out, raising NAD+ appears to be therapeutic for COVID infection as well.26 The reason for this is because SARS-CoV-2 infection dysregulates NAD synthesis and the NAD metabolome, which is a component of your innate immunity.

As noted by Dinkov, this study again demonstrates “the crucial role energy plays even in ‘non-metabolic’ diseases such as viral infections.” Indeed, without energy your body cannot defend itself against infection and disease, and since NAD+ is such a crucial component of energy production, it makes perfect sense that having higher NAD levels will make you more resilient against viral infections. The answer again, then, is niacinamide, with or without methylene blue.

By now, you should have a good idea about how important niacinamide is for your health, and why I think it’s one of the most important supplements you can take on a daily basis.

Research27 28 published in November 2021 reported that patients with established glaucoma scored significantly higher on visual field tests after taking 3 grams of niacinamide in combination with 3 grams of (calcium) pyruvate daily for about two months. As reported by the authors:

“Given the decrease in NAD with aging, which may render retinal neurons more vulnerable to disease-related insults, the investigators hypothesized that increasing NAD may support the mitochondrial activity of RGCs and decrease their susceptibility to glaucoma.

In a rat model of ocular hypertension, retinal and optic nerve NAD declined as a function of IOP, while nicotinamide was neuroprotective at a range of doses. In addition, nicotinamide has been shown to be low in the sera of patients with primary open-angle glaucoma. These data further support a role for NAD in glaucoma.

Furthermore, Harder et al reported that an IOP-mediated decrease in retinal pyruvate levels was associated with dysregulated glucose metabolism prior to detectable optic nerve degeneration in metabolic studies of DBA/2J mice.

They also found that oral supplementation with pyruvate protected both rat and mouse models of glaucoma from neurodegeneration, with a combination of nicotinamide and pyruvate being the most protective in the chronic mouse model …

Given the significant neuroprotective effects observed in recent studies, the similarities in cellular biology of NAD+ and pyruvate pathways between mice and humans, as well as the safety profile of these supplements, we investigated the effect of nicotinamide and pyruvate on the visual function of patients with treated manifest glaucoma …

[R]esults suggest that treatment with nicotinamide and pyruvate tripled the likelihood of improvement of test locations relative to placebo.”

If you have glaucoma and want to give niacinamide a try, I recommend limiting your dose to 50 mg three times a day, before increasing to 3 grams a day, which I believe is excessive.

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Disclaimer: The entire contents of this website are based upon the opinions of Dr. Mercola, unless otherwise noted. Individual articles are based upon the opinions of the respective author, who retains copyright as marked.

The information on this website is not intended to replace a one-on-one relationship with a qualified health care professional and is not intended as medical advice. It is intended as a sharing of knowledge and information from the research and experience of Dr. Mercola and his community. Dr. Mercola encourages you to make your own health care decisions based upon your research and in partnership with a qualified health care professional. The subscription fee being requested is for access to the articles and information posted on this site, and is not being paid for any individual medical advice.

If you are pregnant, nursing, taking medication, or have a medical condition, consult your health care professional before using products based on this content.

Amish Farmer Raided by Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture

  • Amish farmer Amos Miller, owner of Miller’s Organic Farm in Bird in Hand, Pennsylvania, offers traditional, nutrient-dense food to his community via a private membership association

  • In January 2024, the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture raided Miller’s farm, searching for raw dairy products and placing wholesome foods ranging from pickled beets and maple syrup “under detention”

  • According to local food activist Max Kane, the officials detained about $100,000 worth of food

  • Miller’s traditional farming practices have been under scrutiny by regulators for close to a decade

  • On February 29, 2024, Kane is calling for people to take action in support of Miller by traveling to his court rally and hearing

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The Amish live life much the way it was 300 years ago, and this includes producing the majority of their own food. Amish farmer Amos Miller, owner of Miller’s Organic Farm in Bird in Hand, Pennsylvania, also offers traditional, nutrient-dense food to others in his community via a private membership association.

Thousands of customers depend on Miller’s farm-fresh food, but they may soon be left empty-handed.

Miller’s traditional farming practices have been under scrutiny by regulators for close to a decade, and in January 2024, the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture raided Miller’s farm, searching for raw dairy products and placing wholesome foods ranging from pickled beets and maple syrup “under detention.” According to local food activist Max Kane, the officials detained about $100,000 worth of food.

On its website, Miller’s Organic Farm states it offers traditional Amish farm foods, shipped to your table.1 In an era where fresh, pure food is hard to come by, it’s a service that appeals to many health-conscious consumers. Members have access to “100% raw grass-fed and finished milk and dairy products, pastured meats and eggs, and other unadulterated, nutrient-dense foods, grown on our farm and other surrounding Amish farms.”

Further, they state, “All of our suppliers have the highest standards of product quality. Our purpose is to provide real farm fresh, nutrient-dense, great tasting, beyond organic, non-GMO, chemical-free, hormone-free, and antibiotic-free foods employing traditional farming methods.”

Problems began in 2015, when Miller came under scrutiny from federal officials at the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The Food Safety Network (FSN) prominently featured Miller’s situation, dedicating significant coverage to the issues faced by his farm.2

The conflict escalated when the U.S. Justice Department, at the USDA’s behest, initiated legal proceedings against him, as reported by journalist David Gumpert.3 Miller first became aware of the USDA’s concerns in November 2015 while attending a conference hosted by the Weston A. Price Foundation, where he temporarily stored his raw milk products in hotel coolers.

In an unrelated event, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention identified two cases of listeriosis, attributing them to products from Miller’s Organic Farm. By 2016, the court authorized armed law enforcement officers to accompany USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) investigators during inspections of Miller’s home and farm, despite his status as an Amish pacifist.

During these investigations, the USDA demanded food purchase records dating back to 20124 from Miller, who refused, citing contractual obligations to maintain the privacy of such information, Gumpert reported.5 While Miller assumed the investigation stemmed from the CDC’s report on listeriosis, it was actually launched by the National Organic Program within the USDA in March 2015, predating the CDC’s identification of the listeria “outbreak” linked to Miller’s farm.

In 2022, Miller continued to face ongoing scrutiny from the USDA, including another visit by armed federal employees to his farm in Pennsylvania.6 The government attempted to issue hundreds of thousands of dollars in fines, which would essentially put the farm out of business. Rebel News7 called the court-ordered armed threat “an attack on Amish religious freedom just 150 miles from Washington, D.C.”

The January 2024 raid stems from accusations from Michigan and New York states’ departments of health, which suggested two E. coli illnesses originated from Miller’s raw milk or raw milk products.8 As reported by Food Safety News:9

“This time, the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture executed a duly issued search warrant on Amos Miller and Miller’s Organic Farm.

The state’s responsibility was to determine if raw eggnog and other unpasteurized, raw dairy products produced by Miller were responsible for positive Shiga toxin-producing E. Coli tests in Michigan and New York, causing human illnesses. It is against federal law to sell raw milk and raw dairy products across state lines.”

Pennsylvania state police came along for the raid with state agricultural officials. The raid comes on the heels of federal litigation against Miller that resulted in a Third Consent Decree.

That order prohibits Miller from “conducting livestock/poultry slaughter and processing” intended for sale, resale, offer for sale, transportation, donation, or distribution to his “customers or elsewhere,” according to Food Safety News.10 The Decree also grants the FSIS access to Miller’s properties. But, according to Miller’s attorney, Robert Barnes, the way the raid was conducted was illegal:11

“[T]he Department of Agriculture of the State of Pennsylvania suddenly came, without notice, raided Amos’ farm, and detained everything Amos had in the farm’s freezer.

They did so in a lawless manner, without appropriate authority, in violation of their own rules and regulations, despite never objecting to the prior resolutions reached with the federal government, and despite a complete failure by the state to even reach out to Amos’ known counsel, Robert Barnes.

The state’s rules require advance notice, reasonable time frames for inspections, and a showing of credentials, none of which occurred here.

Instead, the state unlawfully obtained a search warrant based on materially false statements in an affidavit by a high-ranking state official in an agency with a known grievance against independent farmers like Amos, and, after the raid and finding no evidence of wrongdoing, then illegally ordered detained every item of food in one of Amos Miller’s coolers, including buffalo meat not even subject to federal regulation.

The detention order is patently illegal under Pennsylvania law. Despite the constant harassment, Amos will continue to do all he legally can to provide the food his members deeply need. Amos thanks you for your continued support at this critical time for food freedom in America.”

For millennia, humans have consumed “raw” milk, also referred to as fresh milk, as it was the sole type of milk available. However, accessing raw milk has become increasingly challenging for Americans in numerous states, requiring them to navigate various obstacles to procure this natural and nutritious food.

The decision to sell, purchase and consume raw milk should rest with the individual rather than being dictated by state or federal authorities. Nevertheless, Big Dairy has effectively restricted access to raw milk for many Americans who seek it. Despite assertions by health departments, the underlying motive behind these restrictions is financial gain, rather than genuine concern for public health and safety.

A Campaign for Real Milk outlined the stark difference in income for farmers selling conventional, pasteurized milk compared to those selling raw milk — and it’s easy to see why Big Dairy wants to keep this under wraps. A conventional dairy farmer may receive about $16 per hundredweight — or per 100 pounds, which keeps him and his family in near-poverty.12

In contrast, a farmer selling raw, grass fed dairy directly to consumers will have a very different outcome — one that allows him to thrive while selling a superior, healthier product to his customers.13 But as Miller’s case demonstrates, if farmers sell raw milk to consumers in states where it’s not allowed, they can face armed raids on their farms or be slapped with fines and jail time.14

Raw milk undeniably serves as a nutrient-rich food, boasting essential nutrients, fats, anti-inflammatory properties, beneficial enzymes, probiotics and additional health-promoting components. Its consumption has been associated with a decreased prevalence of asthma, allergies, eczema and respiratory infections.15

Regardless of your stance on raw milk, whether fully embracing it as a whole food or holding reservations, the fundamental principle remains: individuals should possess the right to produce and distribute it, along with other whole foods, to consenting adults seeking to purchase them.

Why are governments so intent on targeting small operators of food clubs delivering farm-fresh foods to local residents? As long as farmers are prevented from selling to consumers directly, processors can and do price fix the market, ultimately leading to the intentional destruction of small, family dairy farms and consolidation of CAFO dairy farms using taxpayer-funded subsidies.16

This isn’t only an issue in the U.S., however. Many Dutch farmers are facing the loss of their farms over controversial nitrogen rules. The Dutch government claims it needs to nationalize half of cattle farmers’ land — an amount equal to about one-third of Holland — in order to reduce nitrogen, but experts say this plan is seriously flawed.17

Just like cracking down on an Amish farmer providing wholesome food to their neighbors, seizing control of farmland consolidates resources into the hands of a powerful few. And once you control the food supply, you control the population. But there’s hope on the horizon.

Kane is calling for people to take action in support of Miller by traveling to his court rally and hearing, scheduled for February 29, 2024.

Court Rally: 11:30 a.m.
Court Hearing: 1 p.m.

Lancaster County Court House
50 N Duke Street
Lancaster, PA 17608

If you believe in the right to access unadulterated, traditional food, this is a practical and powerful way to voice that belief and help invoke change. Miller and other farmers are also targeted via oppressive meat processing regulations, which is why supporting the Processing Revival and Intrastate Meat Exemption (PRIME) Act is another way to fight for food freedom.

Under current government regulations, the USDA, not individual states, has control over how meat is processed. Small livestock producers are forced to drive long distances to have their animals slaughtered at slaughterhouses that meet federal inspection standards.

Small, custom slaughterhouses are not permitted to sell any of their meat to grocery stores, schools or restaurants. The PRIME Act, introduced by Rep. Thomas Massie R-Ky, would allow farmers to sell meat processed at these smaller slaughtering facilities and allow states to set their own meat processing standards.

Because small slaughterhouses do not have an inspector on staff — a requirement that only large facilities can easily fulfill — they’re banned from selling their meat. The PRIME Act would lift this regulation without sacrificing safety, as random USDA inspections could still occur.18

The act would make meat much more affordable and available, while protecting the livelihoods of small farmers like Miller. Ultimately, the solution to ensuring food safety and security resides within a decentralized food system that fosters connections between communities and farmers who cultivate genuine, sustainably-grown food and distribute it locally.

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Disclaimer: The entire contents of this website are based upon the opinions of Dr. Mercola, unless otherwise noted. Individual articles are based upon the opinions of the respective author, who retains copyright as marked.

The information on this website is not intended to replace a one-on-one relationship with a qualified health care professional and is not intended as medical advice. It is intended as a sharing of knowledge and information from the research and experience of Dr. Mercola and his community. Dr. Mercola encourages you to make your own health care decisions based upon your research and in partnership with a qualified health care professional. The subscription fee being requested is for access to the articles and information posted on this site, and is not being paid for any individual medical advice.

If you are pregnant, nursing, taking medication, or have a medical condition, consult your health care professional before using products based on this content.

Eating the Right Foods Can Give Your Mood a Boost

  • Research confirms your diet can have a pronounced effect on your mental health

  • Foods that promote good mental health do so by optimizing your gut microbiome, quelling inflammation, reversing insulin resistance and optimizing mitochondrial function

  • Sugar, wheat (gluten) and processed foods have been linked to a greater risk for depression and anxiety. Diets low in animal-based omega-3 fats and folate also raise your risk

  • Key dietary recommendations for the prevention of depression include following a “traditional” dietary pattern such as the Mediterranean diet and avoiding processed foods, fast food, commercial baked goods and sweets

  • Another foundational strategy to prevent or treat depression and anxiety is to limit exposure to electromagnetic fields (EMFs). Studies have linked EMF exposure to an increased risk of both depression and suicide

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Editor’s Note: This article is a reprint. It was originally published November 30, 2017.

The connection between your food and mood has come under increasing scientific scrutiny in the past couple of decades. William Dufty brought early attention to this link with his book, “Sugar Blues.” Written over 30 years ago, it has become a classic. Another classic is “The Omega-3 Connection,” written by Dr. Andrew Stoll, published in 2001. This was one of the first books to bring attention to and support the use of omega-3 fats for depression.

A third early pioneer that brought attention to the nutritional underpinnings of psychiatric disturbances was Dr. Abram Hoffer, co-author of “Niacin: The Real Story.” Niacin, Hoffer found, may in fact be a “secret” treatment for a number of psychological disorders, including schizophrenia, which can be notoriously difficult to address.

It’s really unfortunate that so few people consider how their diet may be influencing their mood, seeing how it can indeed have a pronounced effect on your mental health. For example, research has shown that unprocessed foods, especially fermented foods, help optimize your gut microbiome, thereby supporting optimal mental health.

Dark chocolate, coffee, animal-based omega-3 fats and the anti-inflammatory spice turmeric (curcumin) also tend to boost your mood, whereas sugar, wheat (gluten) and processed foods have been linked to a greater risk for depression and anxiety.

According to the World Health Organization, depression is now the leading cause of ill health and disability worldwide,1 2 affecting an estimated 322 million people globally, including more than 16 million Americans, 6 million of whom are seniors.3 Statistics also reveal we’re not being particularly effective when it comes to prevention and treatment. Worldwide, rates of depression increased by 18% between 2005 and 2015.4

According to the U.S. National Institute of Mental Health, 11% of Americans over the age of 12 are on antidepressant drugs. Among women in their 40 and 50s, 1 in 4 is on antidepressants.5 While these drugs are prescribed for conditions other than depression, their widespread use suggests mental health problems are indeed pervasive.

In the U.S., suicide rates have also steadily risen since 20006 7 8 — a trend blamed on the effects of social isolation, economic pressures, opioid addiction and limited access to mental health care. Considering these facts, it would make sense to be proactive about your mental health, and this includes taking a cold, hard look at your diet. Are you eating foods that increase your chances of feeling calm and content, or is your diet a recipe for doom and gloom?

A paper9 published in Nutritional Neuroscience in April 2017 looked at evidence from laboratory, population research and clinical trials to create “a set of practical dietary recommendations for the prevention of depression, based on the best available current evidence.”

This is sorely needed, as psychiatrists do not currently have any established dietary guidelines to follow in the treatment of depression. Chances are, many patients might never resort to medication were they to receive proper dietary guidance. According to this paper, the published evidence reveals five key dietary recommendations for the prevention of depression:

  1. Following a “traditional” dietary pattern such as the Mediterranean, Norwegian or Japanese diet

  2. Increasing consumption of antioxidant-rich fruits, vegetables, legumes, wholegrain cereals, nuts and seeds

  3. Eating plenty of omega-3-rich foods

  4. Replacing unhealthy processed foods with real, wholesome nutritious foods

  5. Avoiding processed foods, fast food, commercial baked goods and sweets

Indeed, while there are many “superfoods” known to lower inflammation, improve mitochondrial function and lower your risk of insulin resistance — all of which are factors implicated in depression — what you don’t eat may actually be more important than what you do eat. Adding a few superfoods to an otherwise poor diet is unlikely to yield any significant results. So, it’s important to realize that unless you get the foundation right, it’s going to be a continuous uphill battle.

The simplest, most basic foundation here would simply be to eat real food. This means ditching all processed, prepackaged food items and replacing them with whole foods that you cook from scratch — including condiments and snacks.

Your beverage choices may also need an overhaul, as most people drink very little pure water, relying on sugary beverages like sodas, fruit juices, sports drinks, energy drinks and flavored water for their hydration needs. None of those alternatives will do your mental health any good.

Three brain- and mood-wrecking culprits you’ll automatically avoid when avoiding processed foods are added sugars, artificial sweeteners10 and processed vegetable oils — harmful fats known to clog your arteries and cause mitochondrial dysfunction. Gluten also appears to be particularly problematic for many. If you’re struggling with depression or anxiety, you’d be well-advised to experiment with a gluten-free diet.

Certain types of lectins, especially wheat germ agglutinin (WGA), are also known for their psychiatric side effects. WGA can cross your blood brain barrier11 through a process called “adsorptive endocytosis,” pulling other substances with it. WGA may attach to your myelin sheath12 and is capable of inhibiting nerve growth factor,13 which is important for the growth, maintenance and survival of certain target neurons.

HRI Labs has investigated a number of other foods as well, including grains, legumes and beans. Most if not all of these types of crops need to dry in the field before being harvested, and to speed that process, the fields are doused with glyphosate a couple weeks before harvest. As a result of this practice, called desiccation, grain-based products, legumes and beans contain rather substantial amounts of glyphosate.

Wine also contains surprising amounts of glyphosate. As it turns out, weeds in vineyards are managed by spraying glyphosate, which ends up in the grapes as the roots of the grape vines pick it up through the soil.

If you drink wine, I recommend you choose one that is high-quality and either organic or biodynamic. There are even ones available that won’t kick you out of ketosis. All of the wines provided by Dry Farm Wines are either organic or biodynamic, and every wine they source comes from small vineyards, mostly from Europe, and none from the U.S. All of their wines:

  • Are dry farmed — produces more resilient, healthier plants

  • Have low alcohol — helps minimize adverse effects of alcohol

  • Are low sugar — only source wines with sugar levels under 1 g/L

Eating real, unprocessed food is the key to sustaining good health, but even when it comes to whole food, its quality is largely determined by how it was grown. Certified organic food is recommended to avoid toxic contaminants such as pesticides. But even organic foods may be lacking in important nutrients if grown in nutrient-poor soils. To truly build good topsoil, you have to implement regenerative farming methods, many of which are not automatically required by organic standards.

Next, if you’re serious about your physical and mental health, consider taking things a step or two further by:

  • Maintaining a healthy ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 Is important for optimal health. Ideally, you want to maintain a 4-to-1 ratio of omega-6 and omega-3 fats or less

  • Controlling the amount of omega-6 fat in your body LA is highly susceptible to oxidation, and as the fat oxidizes it breaks down into harmful sub-components such as ALEs and oxidized LA metabolites (OXLAMs). These ALEs and OXLAMs are what cause most of the damage.

    
    

    The omega-6 fat LA is highly susceptible to oxidation, and as the fat oxidizes it breaks down into harmful sub-components such as ALEs and oxidized LA metabolites (OXLAMs). These ALEs and OXLAMs are what cause most of the damage.

    
    

    Carnosine binds to ALEs like a magnet and acts as a sacrificial sink. It’s basically a substitute target for these profoundly damaging molecules. In this way, carnosine allows your body to excrete the ALEs from your body before they damage your mitochondria, DNA or proteins. (Another molecule that protects against LA-induced damage is carbon dioxide). The illustration below shows how carnosine works in this regard

  • Supplement with ubiquinol — There are loads of studies showing that ubiquinol works well; that is not in question. There are no studies that demonstrate what the actual working molecule is in the mitochondria. It appears that it is ubiquinone that is likely oxidized ubiquinol from NAD+. I have been in discussion with the manufacturers of ubiquinol to explore research studying this question

Once you’re eating healthy in general, there are a number of different superfoods you can focus on that are known for their beneficial impact on mood and psychological well-being. While this list could be quite long, here are five suggestions sure to please most people’s palate. For even more suggestions, check out the articles listed in the references:14 15

  • Wild Alaskan salmon and other small, fatty fish such as anchovies and sardines are a great source of animal-based omega-3 fats necessary for mental health and optimal brain function (DHA and EPA are actually structural elements that make up your cells).

    
    

    These fats also play a role in the regulation of brain chemicals such as dopamine, released in response to pleasurable experiences. Studies have also confirmed Stoll’s early claims that omega-3s reduce the risk of depression. More recently, researchers concluded omega-3 deficiency may contribute to the development of mood disorders, and that supplementation “may provide a new treatment option.”16

  • Foods high in tryptophan — Egg whites (should not be eaten without the yolks) contain the greatest amounts. Please see this chart for more information.

  • Spinach and other folate-rich foods — B vitamins in general are important for psychological well-being, and a deficiency in either B6, folate (B9) or B12 are all capable of triggering psychiatric side effects, including depression. Most organic leafy greens are a good source of folate. Aside from spinach, other top sources include broccoli, asparagus and turnip greens.

  • Organic dark chocolate — According to a 2009 study17 conducted at the Nestle Research Center in Switzerland, eating 40 grams (1.4 ounces) of dark chocolate per day for 14 days, divided into three daily servings (morning, afternoon and night), reduced levels of stress-related hormones in all participants — even in those who did not report feeling stressed at the outset of the study.

    
    

    A systematic review18 published in 2013 also found that dark chocolate may be a helpful mood booster. Milk chocolate will not have the same effect though. To work, opt for dark chocolate with at least 70% cacao or greater, and limit your portions.

  • Organic coffee also has its benefits — and its drawbacks. In fact, findings are mixed when it comes to its effect on depression,19 so you’ll have to gauge its effects from personal experience.

    
    

    One meta-analysis20 published in 2015, which looked at a population of nearly 347,000 individuals, concluded caffeine helped protect against depression. Other medical experts warn it might worsen anxiety, which often goes hand-in-hand with depression. A 2014 study21 came to the following conclusion:

    “[W]e observed a biphasic profile in caffeine psychostimulant effect: low to moderate doses may correlate with a reduction in depressive risk in healthy subjects and an improvement of many clinical symptoms (attention, arousal, psychomotor performance) in depressed patients, whereas the assumption of high doses may result in thymic dysregulation, favor mixed affective states and worsen circadian profiles and anxiety symptoms.”

Another foundational strategy to prevent or treat depression and anxiety is to limit exposure to electromagnetic fields (EMFs). Studies have linked excessive EMF exposure to an increased risk of both depression and suicide.22 Power lines and high-voltage cables appear to be particularly troublesome. Addiction to or “high engagement” with mobile devices can also trigger depression and anxiety, according to research from the University of Illinois.23

Research24 by Martin Pall, Ph.D., reveals a previously unknown mechanism of biological harm from microwaves emitted by cellphones and other wireless technologies, which helps explain why these technologies can have such a potent impact on your mental health.

Embedded in your cell membranes are voltage gated calcium channels (VGCCs), which are activated by microwaves. When that happens, about 1 million calcium ions per second are released, which stimulates the release of nitric oxide (NO) inside your cell and mitochondria. The NO then combines with superoxide to form peroxynitrite, which in turn creates hydroxyl free radicals — some of the most destructive free radicals known to man.

Hydroxyl free radicals decimate mitochondrial and nuclear DNA, their membranes and proteins. The end result is mitochondrial dysfunction, which we now know is at the heart of most chronic disease. The tissues with the highest density of VGCCs are your brain, the pacemaker in your heart and male testes. Hence, health problems such as Alzheimer’s, anxiety, depression, autism, cardiac arrhythmias and infertility can be directly linked to excessive microwave exposure.

So, if you struggle with anxiety or depression, be sure to limit your exposure to wireless technologies. Simple measures include turning your Wi-Fi off at night, not carrying your cellphone on your body and not keeping portable phones, cellphones and other electric devices in your bedroom.

The electric wiring inside your bedroom walls is probably the most important source to address. Your best bet here is to turn off the power to your bedroom at night. This will work if there are no adjacent rooms. If there are, you may need to shut those rooms off also. The only way to know would be to measure the electric fields.

Depression is multifactorial. It may take some sleuthing to identify specific triggers. That said, an all-around healthy lifestyle will take care of the most common underlying problems. Addressing your diet and experimenting with nutritional ketosis, intermittent fasting, longer fasts or all three will set you on the right track.

Avoiding EMFs, getting sensible sun exposure, exercise and plenty of sleep rounds out the list of the basic components for an antidepressive lifestyle. For more tips and guidance, use the search feature on my site. I’ve written many in-depth articles on depression, covering a wide range of angles, over the years.

Disclaimer: The entire contents of this website are based upon the opinions of Dr. Mercola, unless otherwise noted. Individual articles are based upon the opinions of the respective author, who retains copyright as marked.

The information on this website is not intended to replace a one-on-one relationship with a qualified health care professional and is not intended as medical advice. It is intended as a sharing of knowledge and information from the research and experience of Dr. Mercola and his community. Dr. Mercola encourages you to make your own health care decisions based upon your research and in partnership with a qualified health care professional. The subscription fee being requested is for access to the articles and information posted on this site, and is not being paid for any individual medical advice.

If you are pregnant, nursing, taking medication, or have a medical condition, consult your health care professional before using products based on this content.