1 Which of the following certifications offers the highest assurance of organic quality and regenerative standards?
Fair trade certification
USDA 100% Organic certification
Certified biodynamic products adhere to regenerative standards that far surpass USDA 100% organic certification. Neither the “all-natural” label nor fair trade certification offer any guarantee of organic quality or regenerative methods. Learn more.
2 What percentage of cancer incidence can be prevented by raising vitamin D levels to 60 ng/mL?
Brand-new data published by GrassrootsHealth shows 80 percent of cancer incidences could be prevented simply by raising vitamin D to 60 ng/mL from 20 ng/mL. Learn more.
3 Mercola.com has offered free health information to the public on the internet for how many years?
After starting a website to share the latest natural health developments in 1997, Mercola.com has been sharing information online for 21 years. Learn more.
4 Which of the following emotional states has been shown to combat depression and stress, improve heart health, immune function and sleep, and reduce inflammation and pain?
Gratitude triggers release of antidepressant chemicals and improves emotional resiliency, all of which helps combat stress and depression. Gratitude also has many physical benefits, including improved heart health, immune function and sleep, and reduced inflammation and pain. Learn more.
5 This workout is a type of high-intensity interval training known for having beneficial effects on your body’s 16 major muscle groups.
Nitric Oxide Dump
One particular HIIT I hope you’ll consider is the Nitric Oxide Dump. It is a four-minute workout featuring four exercises that address your 16 major muscle groups. Learn more.
Abs Interval Workout
6 What groundbreaking health rule took effect across the European Union on July 1, 2018?
Dental amalgam banned from use in children under 15 and pregnant and nursing women
Consumers for Dental Choice successfully facilitated a total ban on dental amalgam for children under 15 and pregnant and nursing women within the European Union, effective as of July 1, 2018. Learn more.
Twenty-five percent soda tax instituted across all European countries
Any fish caught in the Baltic banned for sale to the public due to toxicity
Plastic bags, cups, lids and straws banned across all of Europe
Omega-3 fats are essential polyunsaturated fats (PUFA) required for healthy digestion, muscle activity, blood clotting, visual acuity, memory and much more. Most omega-3s are considered “essential fats” as your body cannot make them. You have to get them from your diet. However, there’s plenty of confusion when it comes to which omega-3 fats are required for optimal health.
You can obtain omega-3 fats from both plants and marine animals like fish and krill. However, these sources provide very different types of omega-3, and they are no way interchangeable.
Both plant- and animal-based omega-3 have their first double-bond in the third position — hence the name “omega-3.” However, the length of the carbon chain of each omega-3 fat makes a significant difference when it comes to bioavailability and biological effect.
Basic Differences Between Plant- and Marine Animal-Based Omega-3s
Animal-based omega-3 — found in fatty fish, fish oil and krill oil — primarily contain docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), a long-chained PUFA consisting of 22 carbons, and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), which has 20 carbons.
Plant-based omega-3 — found in flaxseed, flaxseed oil, chia seeds, walnuts and leafy greens, for example — contain alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), a shorter-chained PUFA consisting of 18 carbons. Plant-based omega-3 is completely devoid of DHA and EPA.
ALA is indeed a precursor to EPA and DHA, which is why some say you can simply consume plant-based omega-3s. However, an enzyme is required to convert the shorter 18 carbon ALA into long-chained omega-3, and in most people, this enzyme is simply unable to convert sufficient ALA to EPA, and even less DHA.
Typically, less than 1 percent of the ALA is converted to EPA. Some studies have found the conversion rate to be as low as 0.1 to 0.5 percent.1 So, while a tiny amount of the ALA you consume can be converted by your body into long-chain omega-3, it’s a highly inefficient strategy and nowhere near as helpful as supplying “straight” DHA and EPA from marine sources.
Importantly, short-chain fatty acids are used by your body as a source of energy, while the long-chain fatty acids, those with 20 and more carbons, especially EPA and DHA, are structural elements that actually make up your cells. This is perhaps the most significant difference between plant- and animal-based sources, and why they are not interchangeable from a health perspective.
As structural elements, DHA and EPA are particularly important for proper cell division and function of cell receptors. They also play an important role in anti-inflammatory reactions. These fats are ideally obtained from the consumption of small fatty fish that are free of toxins. Unfortunately, most people opt for fish oil supplements over eating fatty fish like sardines, anchovies and herring.
Research Finds No Support for Fish Oil Supplementation on Heart Health
Overall, the health benefits of DHA and EPA are well-established.2 Research has provided clear evidence that higher intake of these animal-based omega-3 fats reduces your risk of heart disease and other chronic diseases, and are vital for neurological health.
Despite that, a number of studies have come up with conflicting results when studying the effects of fish oil supplements, which are generally accepted as a convenient source of these important fats. Here, I’ll review some of the reasons for these odd discrepancies.
Most recently, a Cochrane Collaboration review3 of available evidence concluded omega-3 supplementation has little to no discernible benefit for heart health or longevity. As reported by the Cochrane Library:4
“A new Cochrane systematic review … combines the results of 79 randomized trials involving 112,059 people. These studies assessed effects of consuming additional omega-3 fat … on diseases of the heart and circulation … Participants were randomly assigned to increase their omega-3 fats or to maintain their usual intake of fat for at least a year.
Most studies investigated the impact of giving a long-chain omega-3 supplement in a capsule form and compared it to a dummy pill … The Cochrane researchers found that increasing long-chain omega-3 provides little if any benefit on most outcomes that they looked at.
They found high certainty evidence that long-chain omega-3 fats had little or no meaningful effect on the risk of death from any cause. The risk of death from any cause was 8.8 percent in people who had increased their intake of omega 3 fats, compared with 9 percent in people in the control groups.
They also found that taking more long-chain omega 3 fats (including EPA and DHA), primarily through supplements probably makes little or no difference to risk of cardiovascular events, coronary heart deaths, coronary heart disease events, stroke or heart irregularities.”
Why Studies Don’t Always Support Health Effects of Nutritional Supplementation
There are a number of reasons for these kinds of complexing results. First of all, many nutritional studies fail to assess the correct parameters. The importance of looking at achieved blood levels of a nutrient rather than dosage has been made abundantly clear by GrassrootsHealth vitamin D researchers.
When studies look at dosage, no apparent benefits of vitamin D supplementation are found. However, when you look at people’s blood level — the concentration of the nutrient in the body — truly dramatic effects are detected.
The problem is that people metabolize the nutrient at different rates, and while one may need a very small dose to achieve a certain blood level, another may need several times that dose. So, assessing health effects based on supplement dosage can be extremely unreliable.
Scientific American5 also weighed in on the issue, noting that “… a quartet of new studies … may give insight into why human clinical trials of fish oil have failed to protect against AD [Alzheimer’s disease] and other forms of dementia.”
The Role of Your Microbiome and Liver in Omega-3 Metabolism
In these four studies, blood levels of molecules associated with lipid (fat) production in the liver were found to be linked to AD risk. Your brain, being made mostly of fats, need fats for optimal functioning as the lipids are involved in neuronal communication and nerve cell insulation.
Your liver is responsible for producing many of these important fats, and genes linked to AD are also involved in fat production and transport. APOE ?4, which is associated with a high risk for AD, is one of them. Your gut microbiome also plays a role in the processing of omega-3 fats, as do bile acids, produced from cholesterol in your liver.
When you consume omega-3 fats, certain microbes in your gut participate in the metabolism of these lipids. Your liver takes over during the final phase, creating brain-specific fats called peroxisomes, which are then transported via your blood stream into your brain. As reported by Scientific American:6
“Recognizing the central role of the liver in the brain’s health, the four research groups measured blood levels of these brain-critical lipids and the molecules that make them … One group … looked at lipids called plasmalogens, fats that contain the omega-3 fatty acids DHA and EPA.
They found reduced blood levels of these fats tracked with increased AD risk … A second group … found similar hints of lipid-processing anomalies in blood samples.
In the latter study, even people with AD who took fish oil supplements did not have increased blood levels of brain-beneficial lipids, possibly pointing to why fish oil supplementation does not appear to stem cognitive decline.
If peroxisomes in the liver are not working properly, ‘taking more fish oil won’t let you make more plasmalogens because the machinery for making them is defective,’ says Mitchel Kling, associate professor of psychiatry at the University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine …”
According to Howard Fillit,7 founding executive director and chief science officer at the Alzheimer’s Drug Discovery Foundation, other recent evidence suggests people with the APOE ?4 gene may actually have altered DHA metabolism. Whether this might make them less likely to reap significant benefit from fish oil supplements is unknown, however.
Genetic variations were also linked to bile acid levels in two of the four studies, suggesting AD risk genes may interact with the gut microbiome, and that this is (at least in part) why these genetic variants raise your risk for dementia.
The Problem With Most Fish Oils
As it pertains to fish oil specifically, it’s now also becoming clear that the processing of fish oil is deeply problematic, rendering the final product into something far from the natural oils you get from the whole fish. This too appears to be a significant piece of the puzzle that helps explain why fish oil supplementation appears to be ineffective in some studies. As described by former CEO of Twinlab, Naomi Whittel:
“Even if you think the fish oil is coming from Norway or Europe, [the fish] is caught in Central and South America … The fish are then brought onto and thrown into the bottom of the boat …
By the time they get to Europe, the guts are so rancid that in order to get the omega-3s out, they have to go through a process of extracting these poisons and this rancidity. [In the end], you’re left with something that has none of the cofactors [and] it’s been heavily contaminated to clean out the rancidity …”
Whittel estimates about 98 percent of the omega-3 products on the market are inferior (and perhaps even toxic) due to the way the fish are caught and processed — a summary of which is provided in the graphic below.
Several factors come into play that affect the efficacy of fish oil. One is the form of the long-chained omega-3 fats. In fish, about 98 percent of the DHA and EPA are in the form of triglycerides, which are the most bioavailable. In most commercial fish oil supplements, however, the DHA and EPA are delivered in the form of ethyl esters.8
A triglyceride consists of a three-carbon molecule that forms a “backbone” for the fatty acids to latch onto. Each carbon molecule is linked to a fatty acid, so in total, a triglyceride is composed of three carbons bonded to three fatty acids.
Ethyl ester fish oil is most prevalent simply because it’s far less expensive to produce than the triglyceride form. Ethyl esters are also easier to work with during processing, as they have a higher boiling point. This becomes important during the molecular distillation phase (see above), during which the oils are heated and purified of harmful environmental pollutants.
The molecular distillation phase also concentrates the EPA and DHA. You can tell the concentration of these two fats in any given supplement by looking at the label. In fish, the oil consists of about 20 to 30 percent EPA and DHA, whereas purified fish oil concentrate typically contains between 60 and 85 percent EPA and DHA.
Ethyl esters are essentially a synthetic substrate, created through the micro distillation process of crude fish oil, in which ethanol and/or industrial alcohol is added. This mix is heat distilled in a vacuum chamber, resulting in a concentrated omega-3 ethyl ester condensate.
It is also important to note that this purifying molecular distillation process removes vital resolvins and protectins present in the raw material that are important in reducing inflammation.
Ethyl Esters Are Poorly Absorbed
Ethyl esters, unfortunately, are the least bioavailable form of omega-3, and while manufacturers could convert them back into triglyceride form (by detaching the ethyl alcohol molecule and reattaching a glycerol molecule in a process known as re-esterification), this process is a costly one.
The difference between triglyceride and ethyl ester forms become an issue when your body goes to metabolize them. Since the glycerol backbone is missing in the ethyl ester form, the EPA and DHA will scavenge for available triglycerides or steal a glycerol molecule from somewhere.
When the latter happens, the molecule that lost its glycerol will now go searching for a replacement, which creates a domino effect. One way or another, the fatty acids need to be converted back into triglyceride form, or else your gut epithelium will not be able to process them.
The fatty acids also cannot be transported through your blood unless they’re in triglyceride form. When you consume omega-3s in triglyceride form, the fatty acids are first separated from the glycerol backbone. All of the individual parts are then absorbed by gut epithelial cells, where they’re reattached to form triglyceride.
On the other hand, when you consume ethyl esters, they must be processed in your liver. There, the ethanol backbone is separated from the free fatty acids, and your body must then reattach the free fatty acids to glycerol to form triglyceride. As you may imagine, this process is far less efficient, compared to the processing of omega-3 fatty acids that are in triglyceride form from the start.
Ethyl Esters May Do More Harm Than Good
Not only does it delay and likely diminish the release of these beneficial triglycerides into your blood stream, your liver must also process the ethyl alcohol, which may release free radicals and cause oxidative stress — the complete opposite of what you’re trying to achieve.
Studies9 suggest a mere 20 percent of the EPA and DHA in ethyl ester form are absorbed by your body. When taken with other dietary fat, absorption increased threefold to 60 percent. Meanwhile, EPA and DHA in their natural triglyceride form were found to have a 69 percent absorption rate from the start, and when taken with additional dietary fat, absorption increased to 90 percent.
As a result, taking a triglyceride fish oil results in a 50 percent greater rise in omega-3 blood plasma levels than ethyl ester fish oil. Another major drawback of ethyl ester fish oils is their rapid oxidation rate. Ethyl ester DHA is far more reactive than triglyceride DHA, oxidizing 33 percent more rapidly, and consuming rancid omega-3 is not going to do your health any good. Quite the contrary.
Common side effects of prescription strength fish oil such as Lovaza — a highly-concentrated ethyl ester form of fish oil — are primarily due to the toxicity of ethanol, which is separated out in your liver. This includes unpleasant body odor, vomiting, gastrointestinal dysfunction, pancreatitis, cardiac effects and hypertriglyceridemia.
So, in summary, it’s important to realize that the vast majority of clinical evidence showing health benefits of omega-3 relates to actual fish consumption, and as mentioned, virtually all of the omega-3s in fish are in triglyceride form.
Ethyl ester omega-3 does not exist in nature — it’s a man-made byproduct of fish oil processing. Hence, to achieve reliable results, you really need to either eat omega-3-rich fish, or make sure the supplement you’re taking contains DHA and EPA in their triglyceride form. For a more in-depth understanding of these differences, see the paper, “A Comparison of Synthetic Ethyl Ester Form Fish Oil vs. Natural Triglyceride Form,”10 by Dr. Douglas MacKay, who specializes in naturopathy.
Steps for Fish Oil Ethyl Ester Production From Fish Waste11
Fish Oil Versus Krill Oil
While unrelated to human health effects, fish oil has another significant drawback, namely its environmental impact. Overfishing has become a great concern, and according to recent research, humans have damaged 87 percent of the world’s oceans.12,13
According to this study, marine wildlife have dwindled across the globe, thanks to overfishing, global marine shipping and rampant pollution from several sources. The good news is there’s an alternative source of marine-based omega-3 fats that doesn’t have this impact, and that’s krill.
Compared to fish oil, krill oil also has higher potency, and contains natural phospholipids, which makes it more readily absorbed. Krill oil also contains astaxanthin, a powerful antioxidant, which makes if far less prone to oxidation, is virtually contaminant free, and has a superior metabolic influence.
Click on the code area and press CTRL + C (for Windows) / CMD + C (for Macintosh) to copy the code
Krill Oil Is a Far More Sustainable Option
Getting back to sustainability, krill is the largest biomass on earth, and krill harvesting is also one of the most carefully regulated. Strict international precautionary catch limit regulations are reviewed and reassessed regularly to assure continued sustainability.
While krill can be found in all oceans, Antarctic krill is by far the most abundant. The Antarctic krill biomass is under the management of an international organism of 25 countries called the Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR).14
This is the only official and reliable international organism involved in the management of sustainable krill fishery and the monitoring of krill stock, and no shortage of krill has ever been forecast by CCAMLR.
CCAMLR is viewed as an outstanding framework that is well organized and has developed robust research programs to help ensure successful conservation measures in the Southern Ocean. They also have the authority to further micromanage, on a season to season basis, to counteract any concerns they may have regarding the strength of the krill population during a particular harvesting season.
CCAMLR has implemented a precautionary approach to minimize any risks associated with harvesting practices in conditions of uncertainty. They also use an ecosystem approach, meaning they take into account ecological links between different species and natural variability, such as the natural, cyclical rise and fall in reproduction of a species.
They also organize the strategic issuing of mandatory krill harvesting licenses as another control measure to promote sustainability, and are proactively combating illegal fishing of all kinds within the Convention Area, to protect the ecosystem. You can learn more about the safeguards in place to ensure the sustainability of krill in this previous krill article.
Your Best Options for Animal-Based Omega-3
Based on the evidence, it seems clear that to reap maximum health benefits, you really want a majority of your omega-3 to come from your diet. That means eating small fatty fish such as sardines, anchovies, mackerel and herring. Wild-caught Alaskan salmon is another good source.
If you opt for an omega-3 supplement, your choices become more complex. What seems obvious is that many commercial fish oil supplements are not going to give you the benefits you’re looking for. A key determining factor here is whether the supplement contains the triglyceride form or ethyl ester form of omega-3.
If you are taking a fish oil supplement, it is vital that you find out if the fish oil is a synthetic ethyl ester. If this information is not on the label, contact the manufacturer and find out. ONLY use fish oil that is in the natural triglyceride formulation. Choosing otherwise could be very problematic for your long-term health.
My preference, when it comes to omega-3 supplements, is krill oil, in part because of its superior absorbability, but also because it’s a vastly more sustainable source. Last but not least, don’t rely on a set dosage when taking a supplement. Like vitamin D, it’s your serum level that counts. Your omega-3 level can easily be measured using an omega-3 index test. You’ll want your index to be above 8 percent for optimal health and disease prevention.
Whether you’re an enthusiast of Asian and East Indian cuisine or enjoy experimenting with different herbs and spices in the kitchen, it’s likely you’re familiar with the warming essence of ginger. From stir-fries to salad dressings, the flavor and fragrance of ginger is versatile and distinct.
And like so many plants, ginger is renowned for both traditional and modern medicinal remedies. An attractive perennial herb that produces a sideways-growing rhizome underground, ginger is the common name for the plant known as Zingiber officinale.
Some ginger species (and there are roughly 1,600 of them) produce beautiful tropical flowers, and most thrive in warm humid climates. Turmeric and cardamom are considered members of the ginger family, according to Healthy Food Tribe, which discloses how to keep the nubbly roots fresh:
“There are many tricks for keeping ginger fresh for longer in your kitchen. One way is to keep the ginger root in the freezer until it is ready to use. This is probably the easiest way to keep ginger fresh for a very long time … You will often see pink pickled ginger in Japanese cuisine — it makes for a fantastic palate cleanser when eaten between each course, making the flavor of each new dish more distinctive from the last.”1
You can use a dehydrator to make ginger powder, which can be used in both smoothies and stir fries. To get the most of its complex, flavorful nuances, add ginger at the beginning of your cooking as well as toward the end, and peel it as little as possible for a deeper flavor profile.
Organic powdered ginger is an excellent alternative to using portions of ginger root, and can last up to a year when refrigerated. A number of studies reveal ginger as legendary throughout the world for thousands of years, and in many different capacities.
WebMD notes that this spice can stimulate saliva flow, settle an upset stomach, relieve nausea and diarrhea and prevent gas. One of the latest findings scientists have discovered2 is the chemical component in ginger responsible for eliminating bad breath.
How 6-Gingerol and Citric Acid Affect Saliva
The compound 6-gingerol, which enhances the mechanism that enables gastrointestinal transport (the time it takes for food to leave your stomach and travel through your intestines3), is the same one that enables an enzyme in saliva to break down unpleasant odors. That’s how scientists identified its ability to freshen your breath, as well as reduce disagreeable aftertastes.
Conversely, citric acid increases the sodium in saliva so salty foods won’t taste so salty. Additional aspects of food components and the molecules dissolved in saliva were explored by a study team from the Technical University of Munich (TUM) and the Leibniz-Institute for Food Systems Biology, according to Prevent Disease, which notes:
“Many food components contribute directly to the characteristic taste of food and beverages by means of contributing their own particular taste, scent or spiciness. However, they also indirectly influence our sense of taste via other, still largely unknown biochemical mechanisms.”4
A team from the chair of food chemistry and molecular sensory science, led by food chemist Thomas Hofmann, investigated this phenomenon in greater detail and found that 6-gingerol increases the enzyme sulfhydryl oxidase 1 in saliva 16 times over within a few seconds.
They also showed that citric acid influences your perception of taste. For instance, sour foods such as lemons stimulate your salivary glands while simultaneously and proportionally increasing the amount of minerals dissolved in your saliva. The sodium ion level in saliva rises by a factor of about 11 after it’s stimulated by citric acid, which makes you less sensitive to the taste of salt. As Hoffman explains:
“Table salt is nothing other than sodium chloride, and sodium ions play a key role in the taste of salt. If saliva already contains higher concentrations of sodium ions, samples tasted must have a significantly higher salt content in order to taste comparatively salty.”5
Hoffman believes more research is warranted to understand how molecules in food create taste and the biological interactions involving saliva. Driving his aim is to “satisfy the health and sensory needs of consumers.”6 That’s the thrust of a future project to develop a new scientific basis for food production. Meanwhile, TUM notes that the discovery of the 6-gingerol mechanism may provide a direction for the development of new oral hygiene products.
The Power of Ginger in Clinical Studies
Scientists also note ginger’s ability to relieve motion sickness. While the cause of motion sickness is what Prevent Disease7 describes as “conflicting sensory signals going to the brain,” there are several remedies for this bothersome condition. Ginger is all-natural and has myriad other valuable health benefits; plus, it’s backed by ample evidence over many decades.
The Journal of Visualized Experiments published a study involving patients highly prone to motion sickness. Twenty minutes after study subjects were given two capsules of powdered ginger, an antinausea medication or a placebo, they were given a spin on a motorized chair for up to six minutes (or as long as they could handle it).
The results: Taking ginger delayed the onset of sickness about twice as long as the medication, and half the participants who took ginger lasted the full six minutes, compared with none of those given either the placebo or the medication. The authors noted:
“Motion sickness occurs because of a mismatch between actual and expected perceptions from different sensory systems, such as the vestibular and the visual system.
This mismatch leads to a series of vegetative symptoms like nausea, vertigo, sweating, or tiredness, but also to changes in gastric myoelectrical activity, and can be evoked in most healthy participants depending on the strength of the stimulus.”8
As for anti-inflammatory effects achieved by using ginger, a blog in Arthritis Today9 suggests that because studies point to the rhizome for decreasing pain and inflammation, you might be wise to keep it in your spice cupboard as well as your medicine cabinet.
One of many little-known uses for ginger is for asthma, which is good news, as the medical mainstream’s solution usually involves drugs, which can actually increase the severity of the condition. Further, a University of Miami study10 says it has the potential of replacing nonsteroidal inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS).
Here, a placebo was placed up against ginger extracts in 247 patients with osteoarthritis in their knees. Those who received ginger reported a 40 percent reduction in pain and stiffness. Lead author Roy D. Altman said research indicates that gingerol affects certain inflammatory processes at the cellular level.
Ginger for Nausea and so Much More
As a therapeutic substance, ginger has been widely used in Chinese, Ayurvedic and other medical practices for any number of maladies, including arthritis, muscular aches, rheumatism, sprains, sore throat, indigestion, vomiting, cramps, constipation, hypertension, dementia, fever, infectious diseases and helminthiasis (parasite infestation).11
An indication that ginger is taken very seriously in the medical world is that it’s been approved by Commission E, Germany’s agency responsible for regulating herbal products.
One study notes the phenolic substances are collectively known as gingerols, but 6-gingerol is the major pharmacologically-active component. The 6-gingerol is extracted from ginger root using ethanol and other organic solvents. As noted in one study (and corroborated in many more):
“Due to its efficacy and regulation of multiple targets, as well as its safety for human use, 6-gingerol has received considerable interest as a potential therapeutic agent for the prevention and/or treatment of various diseases”12
Besides fighting inflammation and oxidation, the anticancer activities linked to 6-gingerol affects several biological processes, including apoptosis (programmed cell death), cell cycle regulation, cytotoxic activity and slowing angiogenesis (the formation of new blood vessels.
The National Cancer Institute explains that angiogenesis plays an important role in slowing cancer growth, as solid tumors need a blood supply to grow larger than a few millimeters in size.13
Also, in regard to the aspects of ginger for people with cancer, another study recognizes ginger as an antiemetic, or an antinausea remedy for morning sickness during pregnancy or stomach flu, but also for those undergoing chemotherapy, not to mention medications that may cause nausea and vomiting.
However, as noted by Medical News Today,14 one of the problems with antiemetic drugs is that other problems might emerge, such as:
Rapid heartbeat or palpitations
Muscle weakness, spasms or convulsions
Worsening nausea and vomiting
Drowsiness that prevents driving
Psychological effects such as confusion or hallucination
According to a study conducted in 2012, cisplatin is a platinum-based drug used for patients undergoing cancer treatment, but earlier studies have shown it to have numerous side effects. Gingerol, (as well as genistein, an antioxidant isoflavone in animal cells and plants) have demonstrated antigenotoxic and antimutagenic potential in cultured human lymphocytes.
There are three things of note in this study: 1) Gingerol is a proven antioxidant; 2) Gingerol can help prevent reactive oxygen species (ROS) damage by scavenging free radicals produced by genotoxic (DNA-altering) agents; and 3) Gingerol has greater potential to improve genotoxicity than genistein. It’s also important to note that in regard to chemotherapy:
“Chemotherapy leads to the complication of secondary cancers. Antioxidants in diet could protect patients undergoing chemotherapy as shown by studies where antioxidants were combined with chemotherapeutic drugs that increased growth-inhibition of chemotherapeutic agents on cancers.
Cancer cells and normal cells are different, which helps antioxidant complementary therapy protect the normal tissues from damage due to chemotherapeutic agents without compromising therapeutic effectiveness.”15
Ginger has also been shown to have positive effects on cognitive function, especially in healthy middle-aged women.16 Researchers started with the premise that middle-aged women “usually develop some form of cognitive impairment” in such areas as attention, calculation and immediate recall,” but that oxidative stress exacerbates it.
Ginger is also known for exerting positive effects in serum lipid levels, inflammation and arthritis, with a tradition of enhanced memory. In their conclusion, the scientists wrote that ginger “clearly demonstrates that Zingiber officinale may enhance both the attention and cognitive processing in middle-aged women,” and “the improvement of cognitive function was observed in all attention and cognitive processing domains.”
Ginger: Suggested Forms, Including Grated for Pain Relief
While ginger is a safe food, in rare cases, high doses may cause mild upset stomach, diarrhea, sleepiness, restlessness or heartburn. Taking ginger with food typically alleviates such problems. It may also interact with medications such as anesthesia, anticoagulants and analgesics, possibly leading to poor wound healing, sun sensitivity, irregular heartbeat, bleeding and prolonged sedation.
Among all the forms of ginger available, including tinctures, ginger tea, powders, oils, capsules and foods made from the root, capsules with “super-critical extraction” are what Roberta Lee, vice chair of the department of integrative medicine at Beth Israel Medical Center recommends because it results in the purest ginger and will provide the greatest effect.
Lee also suggests taking 100 to 200 milligrams of ginger daily for four to six weeks before increasing the dosage.
Since ginger has been proven effective for easing muscle pain caused by exercise, researchers of a study published in the Journal of Pain suggested trying a bit of grated ginger root in your food, such as salads or stir-fries, or a few teaspoons of it in a pot steeped with very hot water for five minutes for a soothing brew. The study noted that when ginger is heated, it exerts hypoalgesic effects — helping to alleviate pain 23 to 25 percent better than placebo.17
Jesse Laflamme, chief executive officer of America’s No. 2 egg brand, Pete and Gerry’s Organic Eggs, is asking tough questions about how the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) sets its food labeling rules.
After filing a 17-page citizen’s petition with the FDA in April 2018, Laflamme took to his company’s blog to make his point.1 Beneath photos of four food items, Laflamme posed this question: “Which of the following does the FDA consider ‘healthy’?”
The three so-called healthy choices noted were fat-free chocolate pudding, low-fat toaster pastries and sugary cereal — all of which the FDA considers to be good for you simply because they contain a few beneficial nutrients.
Surprisingly, the fourth food item featured — organic eggs, a completely natural product — does not meet the FDA’s standards for application of the word “healthy.”
Laflamme, who is passionate about saving his family’s third-generation egg farm from bankruptcy, is urging the FDA to reconsider its labeling rules to allow egg companies like his to add the word “healthy” to their products as a means of educating consumers — some of whom still believe eating eggs is bad for you.
If you think the FDA has your best interests in mind when it comes to food labeling, you may want to keep reading. The system regulating food labeling in the U.S. clearly is broken and it’s clear eggs are a healthy food. Here’s why.
The Puzzling Inconsistencies of Food Labeling
The basis of Laflamme’s petition centers on the apparent inconsistencies noticeable in how the word “healthy” is applied to various foods under the umbrella of oversight provided by the FDA. About these inconsistencies, Inc. magazine asserts:2
“The FDA has strict rules governing food labels’ nutrient content claims, but it also broadcasts puzzling inconsistencies. For example, the agency says an egg has too much fat, saturated fat and cholesterol to be considered healthy, but seemingly bad-for-you foods like low-fat pudding, which may be rich in potassium, calcium, iron and vitamin D are considered healthy.”
The agency announced plans in September 2016 to change its rules related to what it deems healthy, but has been slow to act or comment publicly about the status of its efforts. In the meantime, Laflamme and others are growing impatient with the delays.
He says, “It’s so antiquated and out of touch. The idea that a toaster pastry — a Pop Tart — is healthy or that Jell-O is healthy is crazy … We know we are shortchanging ourselves by not being able to say eggs are healthy … [I]t’s time to fight back.”3
The FDA has up to 180 days to respond to Pete and Gerry’s petition and nothing has come of it yet. A CBS television affiliate in Boston that was in contact with the agency says an FDA spokesperson told them, “[T]he agency is reviewing nutrition science data and public input as it considers modernizing the criteria for the term ‘healthy’.”4
Laflamme wants the FDA to change its ways because he believes an updated label is needed to dispel outdated and misleading information about eggs. After all, he says, “A whole generation grew up being told eggs were harmful.”5
How Can Chocolate Pudding and Toaster Pastries Be Considered Healthy?
On the company’s blog, Laflamme notes the apparent discrepancy related to the treatment of eggs as compared to the FDA’s handling of products long considered to be junk food. Says Laflamme:6
“Toaster pastries (Pop-Tarts), flavored gelatin (Jell-O) and fat-free chocolate pudding are all considered ‘healthy’ products, while eggs are not. That seems like a ridiculous notion … But, believe it or not, that is what the FDA says on the matter.
Those products may use … ‘healthy’ in reference to their products and Pete and Gerry’s Organic Eggs cannot, despite ample evidence to the contrary. We are hopeful that with the advances in nutrition science and understanding … the FDA will issue new guidance on eggs.”
The company enlisted the support of registered dietician and nationally recognized healthy living expert Keri Glassman in its efforts to petition to the FDA.
“It is long overdue that eggs be restored to their proper place in the American diet,” says Glassman. “It’s one of the best sources of natural, nutrient-dense protein you can find, to say nothing of its convenience and flexibility as a food.”7
Given the skyrocketing rates of unhealthy eating and obesity in the U.S., Laflamme believes consumers are “waking up” and beginning to educate themselves about the nutritional value of the foods they eat.
“The result has been a move away from processed, artificial foods in favor of simple, whole foods such as vegetables, fruits, whole grains and natural proteins — like eggs,” notes Laflamme. “We believe by pushing the FDA on this out-of-date definition, we can help drive this healthy eating trend forward.“8
Glassman calls the FDA rules “outdated and misleading,” encouraging Americans to eat more nutrient-dense whole foods like avocados and wild-caught salmon, as well as organic, free-range eggs, mainly because they are healthy additions to any diet.
“Americans should be eating more of [these foods] as well as be encouraged to avoid sugar-packed, processed foods that are filled with unhealthy ingredients, but can still be labeled as ‘healthy,'” she says.9
A Great Source of Choline: Why Eggs Are a Healthy Choice
While the consumption of chicken as a source of meat protein has become popularized in recent decades, eggs have become unfairly vilified, in part because of misconceptions regarding their cholesterol content. In reality, eggs, particularly the yolks, provide important vitamins such as A, D, E and K, as well as antioxidants and essential omega-3 fats.
Eggs are also one of the best sources of choline available. Choline helps keep your cell membranes functioning properly, plays a role in nerve communications and prevents the buildup of homocysteine in your blood, which is good because elevated levels are linked to heart disease. Choline also helps reduce chronic inflammation.
This vital nutrient is also prized because it enables your body to make the brain chemical acetylcholine, which is involved in storing memories. In pregnant women, choline plays an equally, if not more, important role, helping to prevent certain birth defects such as spina bifida, while also playing a role in your baby’s brain development.
According to a study published in the journal Nutrients, only 8 percent of U.S. adults are getting enough choline — including only 8.5 percent of pregnant women.10
Among egg consumers, however, more than 57 percent meet the adequate intake levels for choline, compared to just 2.4 percent of people who do not consume eggs. Based on the outcomes, the study authors concluded, “This research illustrates that it is extremely difficult to achieve the adequate intake for choline without consuming eggs or taking a dietary supplement.”11
Some of the symptoms associated with low choline levels include lethargy, memory problems and persistent brain fog. Because your body can only synthesize small amounts of this nutrient, you must get it from your diet on a regular basis. One egg yolk contains nearly 215 milligrams (mg) of choline.
More Good Reasons to Eat Eggs
Beyond the presence of choline, egg yolks are good for you because they’re rich in the antioxidant carotenoids lutein and zeaxanthin, which are well-known to support healthy vision. In addition, egg yolks are an excellent source of healthy fat and contain about 6 grams of protein.
I advise against eating conventionally raised eggs mainly because they are far more likely to be contaminated with disease-causing bacteria such as Salmonella.
You can usually tell if your eggs are pastured simply by checking the color of the egg yolk. Hens that forage for their food produce eggs with noticeably bright orange yolks. In contrast, the presence of dull, pale yellow yolks is a sign your eggs were sourced from caged hens that are most likely fed an unnatural diet.
What About Cholesterol?
If you are middle aged or older, it’s possible you may still harbor misconceptions about eggs and cholesterol. After all, for decades, the American public was told that eggs, as a source of cholesterol and saturated fats, promote heart disease. In a 2015 study titled “The 50-Year Rehabilitation of the Egg,” the journal Nutrients credits the American Heart Association with promoting the mistaken guidance about eggs and cholesterol, stating:12
“The 1968 American Heart Association announced a dietary recommendation that all individuals consume less than 300 mg of dietary cholesterol per day and no more than three whole eggs per week.
This recommendation has not only significantly impacted the dietary patterns of the population, but also resulted in the public limiting a highly nutritious and affordable source of high-quality nutrients.
The egg industry addressed the egg issue with research documenting the minimal effect of egg intake on plasma lipoprotein levels, as well as research verifying the importance of egg nutrients in a variety of issues related to health promotion. In 2015, dietary cholesterol and egg restrictions have been dropped by most health promotion agencies worldwide.”
While it’s true fats from animal sources contain cholesterol, it is not necessarily harmful. In recent years, studies have clearly shown eggs — particularly egg yolks — to be one of the healthiest foods you can eat. Even though egg yolks are relatively high in cholesterol, numerous studies have confirmed eggs have virtually nothing to do with raising your cholesterol. About this, NPR comments:13
“[E]ating cholesterol can raise levels of it in the blood, but, as a growing body of research has shown, not by that much. Consuming sugar, trans fats or excessive saturated fat (from unhealthy sources) can be more harmful to cholesterol levels than dietary cholesterol itself.
Most of the cholesterol in our bodies we make ourselves in the liver, and total body levels are heavily influenced by genetics, gender and age. As more and more research suggests that some degree of cholesterol consumption is harmless, if not healthy, the egg’s reputation is gradually returning.”
Final Thoughts About Eggs, the Petition and the FDA
The bottom line is eggs are indeed a healthy food. The guidance provided by the FDA is outdated and practically absurd. You and I can recognize that adding vitamins to sugary cereal and highlighting the calcium content of chocolate pudding as a means of promoting them as “healthy” is ridiculous.
If the FDA classifies a wide array of junk food as healthy, then eggs most certainly deserve the same label. As mentioned, when produced by healthy, foraging hens, eggs are a natural food and one that is packed with health-boosting vitamins and minerals.
The folks at Pete and Gerry’s Organic Eggs are correct in demanding more from the FDA. Anyone producing organic, free-range eggs should be able to apply the word “healthy” to their product labels. About the disconnect with respect to FDA labeling for eggs, Laflamme states:14
“While nutrition experts recognize eggs as a nutritious food, many would probably be surprised to learn that federal regulations prohibit the use of the word ‘healthy’ to describe eggs.
Our goal with this petition is to encourage the FDA to bring outdated regulations in line with current nutritional science and general consumer awareness, and thereby help shoppers make more informed choices in the grocery store aisle.”
No matter what the FDA says, if you are able to tolerate them and have a reputable source from which to obtain high-quality organic ones, you’d be wise to remember: Eggs are healthy and it’s OK to eat them.
Many struggle with obesity and a variety of chronic diseases. Although your food choices affect your health and how you feel today, tomorrow and in the future, rapid growth in the processed food industry has triggered an avalanche of weight gain, inflammation and chronic disease.
It might be difficult to imagine you could find nutritious and delicious meals that are easy to fix and satisfying to eat, but this is exactly what you’ll find in the Recipe section.
Although eating right is not an overnight fix for chronic health conditions, it is one of the most effective steps to help you achieve health independence. We have a diverse collection of mouth-watering and good-for-you recipes based on my optimized nutrition plan.
In the recipe section you’ll find high-fiber meals to help control your blood sugar, support your immune system function, boost your weight loss and lower your risk of disease.
Satisfying salad recipes are a no-brainer as there are many choices to help you combine some of your favorite vegetables into one meal. We’ll give you suggestions to find organically grown fruits and vegetables and a variety of homemade salad dressing recipes so you control the types of seasonings and oils going into your blend.
Red meat is a main ingredient in dishes found around the globe because of its taste and versatility. What sets these recipes apart are the use of meat from organic, grass fed livestock combined with creative seasoning to make your whole family’s mouths water.
Healthy Desserts? Yes!
If you thought you had to give up cookies or cocoa, think again. Our Nutty No-Bake Keto Cookie recipe and Creamy Keto Hot Cocoa recipe are a combination sure to satisfy your sweet tooth without the carbohydrates.
The Nutty No-Bake Keto Cookies take just 20 minutes to prepare, and even less time to eat. Instead of loading up on processed sweets and pastries, why not make your own using a recipe that doesn’t even require your oven? The combination of macadamia nuts, pecans and grass fed butter make these cookies melt in your mouth.
Chocolate is a favorite treat for many. Cocoa is highly versatile and refers to roasted cacao or cocoa beans ground into a powder where most of the fat has been removed. Although you can buy cocoa powder drinks in the grocery, they don’t compare to the flavor you got when you make it from scratch using our Creamy Keto Hot Cocoa recipe and organic raw cacao powder.
Combining real ingredients instead of artificial substances helps deliver important benefits, warms you up when the weather gets cold and is packed with antioxidants.
Switch Up Your Veggie Selections
Vegetables are great tasting and nutritious, especially when you combine them into our delicious Immune-Boosting Vegetable Soup. Consuming the right kinds of foods has a significant impact on your physical and emotional health. Remember, when following this simple recipe use real food — ideally organic and locally-grown, whole, non-GMO varieties.
These choices help make this recipe delectable and help ramp up your immunity and protect you from illnesses. You’ll want to forget what you thought about beets until you try our recipes for cooking them. Once cooked, you can add them to salads, juices, pickle them or even warm them up with a pat of grass fed butter as a side dish.
How long you cook them depends on a variety of factors but once prepared and refrigerated they can last up to five days. If you’re looking for a more intense flavor, try roasting them in the oven.
Brussels sprouts are a vegetable with a bad flavor reputation, but this nutrient-dense food is usually misunderstood and improperly cooked. There are a variety of ways of teasing out the delicious flavor from this bite-sized vegetable, while keeping their bright green color and sweet nutty flavor.
Preparation is important, whether you plan to pan roast, bake, sauté, grill, fry, steam or roast. The recipe section has instructions on exactly how to prepare these small cabbage-like buds so they become one of your family’s favorites.
This is just a small sample of the variety of foods you’ll find in the recipe section at Mercola.com. While I believe nutrition is vital to your health, future and longevity, I don’t believe it needs to be boring or tasteless.
Try incorporating just one healthy, appetizing food from our Recipe section each week into your meal plan. Before you know it, you and your family will be reaping the benefits.
In this interview, Charlie Brown, founder of Consumers for Dental Choice, provides us with an update to the global mercury-free dentistry campaign you’ve so generously helped us support through the past eight years.
We are now incredibly close to the ultimate finish line, thanks to Brown’s persistent and dedicated efforts and your unrelenting financial support. I want to extend a personal thank you to all who have contributed to this mission in the past, and are considering doing so now.
“We’ve been a great team since 2010,” Brown says. “It’s been fantastic. Without Mercola.com, we could not have built this world juggernaut, because that’s where we are now in terms of our progress.”
European Union Bans Dental Amalgam for Most Vulnerable Populations
Topping our list of good news: Consumers for Dental Choice has successfully facilitated a total ban on dental amalgam for children under 15 and pregnant and nursing women within the European Union (EU), effective July 1, 2018 — a victory that will positively affect half a billion people in 28 countries.
Edo, Nigeria, has also followed suit, as have the Bangladesh Dental Society (BDS), the Bangladesh Civil Society and the Vietnam Dental Society. In 2020, the EU will decide whether to take it a step further and phase out amalgam for all individuals across Europe. “Believe me, we’re going to be there. When that question comes, there’s only going to be one answer,” Brown says.
Consumers for Dental Choice
316 F St., N.E., Suite 210
Washington DC 20002
Chicago Declaration to End Dental Industry Mercury Use
In the U.S., Chicago has become a leading torch-bearer for mercury-free dentistry. “We decided Chicago was the right place. It’s the city where so many ideas assembled,” Brown says.
They began by getting a number of groups involved, including Sierra Club, Greenpeace, the Environmental Working Group, the Organic and Natural Health Association, the Learning Disabilities Association of America, Health Care Without Harm, the International Indian Treaty Council and the Mercury Policy Project.
All of these groups now endorse the Chicago Declaration for Mercury-Free Dentistry. This, finally, made the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) sit up and take notice.
“These major organizations joined with Consumers for Dental Choice to say, ‘We want amalgam for children ended now, just like the EU has done in 2018. We want to phase [dental amalgam] out in 2020,'” Brown says.
“Let’s thank the dentists of America who decided they would be mercury-free very early. We are supported by [mercury-free] dentists, and we want everybody … to only go to mercury-free dentists, because those men and women have stood strong for mercury-free dentistry.
I talked to the dental school’s dean in the oldest dental school in sub-Sahara, Africa. He’s in Nigeria. He is resolutely against amalgam and is moving his entire dental school to mercury-free dentistry. In Cameroon, the Baptist Hospital System [and] the Cameroon Baptist Convention Health Services … all the dentists are mercury-free … [since] 2005.”
Mercury-Free Dentistry Is Finally Reaching Tipping Point in US
Indeed, the mercury-free dentists in the U.S. were pioneers who understood the folly of placing mercury in a person’s head very early on. They were vilified, criticized by their peers and penalized by their medical boards, to the point where their licenses were removed.
Brown was there supporting them during those early years and has seen it all. As former state’s attorney for West Virginia, he fought for their right to practice mercury-free dentistry; over time increasing their numbers from a handful to half of all dentists in the U.S.
“Absolutely. People look back and say, ‘That’s impossible and inconceivable.’ It was not. Dentists were told, ‘Do not talk about the mercury,’ and had their licenses threatened. Some lost their license, despite the First Amendment, despite the freedom of speech in America,” Brown says.
“We went in and fought the establishment and defeated the gag rule. We freed dentists so more and more of them not only could be mercury-free as they were, but could advocate mercury-free dentistry, advise patients to be mercury-free and advertise mercury-free dentistry.
When we started, just 3 percent of the dentists in America were mercury-free. Now, it’s 50 percent — half of them. The pro-mercury dentists are dwindling in number.
If the FDA won’t step up, well, the dentists are stepping up. The consumers are stepping up. This campaign is stepping up. Basically, we are going to change this country even if the government continues to get in the way.”
We’re Not Waiting for FDA Action
The U.S. was one of the first countries to ratify the Minamata Convention on Mercury, an international treaty to end mercury pollution, in 2013. It was a major victory, but even at that time, a central question was, “Who’s going to be responsible for enforcement?” August 2017, that treaty became legally binding, as 50 countries are ratified. Now the U.S. must begin enforcement.
“It’s a treaty on all major sources of mercury. Of course, dental amalgam is a major source. It’s the largest use of mercury in America. It’s time for FDA to do [their job]. I mean, for goodness’ sakes, the railway of India has ended amalgam.
That’s the largest employer in the world, the Indian Railways system. Their health system is massive. They are phasing out amalgam. The Bangladesh Armed Services have ended amalgam totally. The Pentagon says they can’t afford it? Give me a break!
It can happen. It’s not a question of wealth or of income. It’s a question of willpower. We see this willpower moving in places like Tanzania and Nigeria, in India, Vietnam and Uruguay. We [also] see momentum in the United States.
I say we can do this block by block, by consumers saying, ‘I’ll only go to mercury-free dentists,’ and dentists saying, ‘I’m done with mercury,’ and dental schools changing [to mercury-free dentistry only], like New York University — or the FDA can step up. It’s time they stepped up. It’s their turn to act. But believe me, we’re not going to wait on them. We’ll end run them.”
The “end run” Brown refers to really begins with changing consumer preference — having more and more people demand mercury-free dentistry from their dentists and their insurance companies.
Consumers for Dental Choice has launched a consumer campaign for full and fair insurance reimbursement for mercury-free dental fillings called DEMAND Your Choice. If you have not signed onto this campaign, you can do so now. You can also use the Consumers for Dental Choice website, ToxicTeeth.org, to locate a mercury-free dentist in your local area.
The international website is MercuryFreeDentistry.net. On either of these websites you can also find dentists trained in the safe removal of dental amalgam, which requires special education and equipment to keep you, and the dental staff, safe from toxic mercury vapors.
Part of the message from this campaign, aimed directly at the FDA, is that we, the public, demand action; we will not tolerate being forced to receive neurotoxic mercury fillings anymore. This is the 21st century, and there are many far better, safer and less expensive alternatives.
“Please do sign the petition. Our message is, ‘It’s your turn, FDA.’ It’s also everybody’s opportunity to do what Dr. Mercola has done now for eight years — to make sure we’ve had the funding to win these fights. He is matching dollar-for-dollar what we raise here during Mercury Awareness Week.
It’s an amazing commitment. He has put in six figures over and over, to the point that he’s added up to seven figures. He’s given over $1 million to this cause. We feel it’s very effectively used. But that happens because you give, dentists give, other health professionals give, and Mercola is there at the end of Mercury Awareness Week to match it dollar-for-dollar.”
We made the commitment a long time ago to generate and donate 20 percent of our net revenues to projects such as this — projects that are really going to have a major impact on public health. Eliminating this major source of mercury exposure — mercury being an incredibly potent neurotoxin and one of the most pernicious — is right at the top of the list of public health movements that will have far-reaching consequences for generations to come.
“This is a [toxic exposure] that we can end. There’s no doubt about it. If we keep the pedal to the metal, we’re going to win,” Brown says. “Our single mission is to end amalgam. When we finish, Consumers for Dental Choice closes up shop.”
Indeed, one of the things I’ve learned as I’ve ventured more into philanthropy, is that many ostensibly well-intentioned nonprofits have as a primary goal to persist forever. Yes, they seek to help, but they don’t want to go out of business. Consumers for Dental Choice is looking to make itself obsolete. With your help, one day there will be no more talk about mercury-free dentistry, because dental amalgam simply won’t be an option anymore.
Covenant of Nations
May 2017, government activists, nonprofit groups, dentists, dentist leaders, manufacturers and academics from 21 nations convened to work on strategies to end amalgam for women and children worldwide. In essence, how can we duplicate the success we had in Europe?
The resulting report is cosponsored by the United Nations (UN), along with the international arm of Consumers for Dental Choice, the World Alliance for Mercury-Free Dentistry, of which Brown is president. The opening speaker at last year’s meeting was the executive director of UNEP, Erik Solheim, who is also undersecretary general of the UN.
“He, years ago, was the environment minister of Norway. He was the first minister in the world to ban amalgam. Now he’s the top person in UNEP. Afterward, when I wrote him, he said, ‘What can I do next?’ So, we have the commitment all the way to the top of the international environmental leadership from the UN,” Brown says.
“We will gather next at the conference of the parties in Geneva in November, 2018. This is where everybody gathers to make the decisions about the future of mercury. Obviously, the pro-mercury lobby group comes, the World Dental Federation (WDF). The American Dental Association (ADA) funds them.
But we are there in force. We have an incredible team, women and men from every continent. The momentum is there, in Africa, key Asian nations and across the world. The will power is there. The FDA is an isolated entity now.
They’ve been saying, ‘Well, this is the way the way the world does it.’ No, it’s not the way the world does it. This year we circle back to the FDA and the U.S., because now we can say, ‘If these countries that are considered poor, low-income, low-resource, they’re ending amalgam, what is the excuse of the FDA?
What is the excuse of the Bureau of Prisons, the Medicaid programs and the Indian Health Service?’ Remember, I want every consumer to have access to mercury-free dentistry. You may be living on an Indian reservation, you may be a prisoner.
You may be a soldier, a sailor, airman or marine. You may be on Medicaid. Demand. Insist. Do not let somebody put mercury in your child’s mouth or your mouth. Insist. Say, ‘I don’t want that. I want composite, ionomers.’ Insist on mercury-free dentistry, because there is no way you should let a dentist do that to you.
I know it’s harder if you’re in a low-income or an institutional setting. But we’ve got teams everywhere and we’re fighting. If it’s a question about it, please write me at Charlie@ToxicTeeth.org, because we’re here to fight for you too.”
Go to a Mercury-Free Dentist
Insist on mercury-free dentistry, yes. But take it another step — don’t go to a dentist who puts mercury fillings in any child or any person. Spend your time, spend your money, only with a mercury-free dentist. How do you find one? Here are several organizations with lists or information:
This website was created 21 years ago, in 1997, when I combined my two primary passions in life — health and technology — and made it my mission to share exciting new developments in natural health with a wider audience.
Thanks to you, this site has become one of the most visited natural health websites in the world for the last 12 years, with more than 10 million unique visitors each month and more than 80 million unique visitors annually.
Because of your loyal support, we’ve slowly but surely awakened the world to the false promises of the fatally flawed conventional medical view, which claims disease is best treated with drugs, and that the government knows what’s best for your health and should be allowed to dictate your health options.
In the video above, I discuss my own journey toward health, which ultimately led me to my present-day philosophies and recommendations.
This video and article were initially published during three years ago during anniversary week. It was a big hit, and since we’ve had a significant influx of new subscribers since then, I’m rerunning it for those who missed it.
Learning Through Experience
Experience is a formidable teacher, and much of what I’m teaching today grew out of the lessons I learned as I tried to get healthier. I made plenty of mistakes, and fell for many of the lies, deceptions and confusion of conventional medicine.
Like so many others, I grew up eating cereal for breakfast, and I fully believed margarine was healthy. My diet was high in carbs and sugars and low in fat, and there’s little doubt this played a significant role in dental decay, which I struggled with throughout a large portion of my life.
By the time I was an adult, I had a mouth full of amalgam fillings. Eventually, I discovered the truth about amalgam — that it’s actually 50 percent mercury — and in 2009 I approached Charlie Brown (president of the Alliance for Mercury Free Dentistry) at a Health Freedom Expo in Chicago.
At that event, I offered to partner with him to raise awareness about mercury in dentistry and to help get this toxin out of dentistry for good.
It’s been a highly successful partnership, and on October 10, 2013, a legally binding international treaty to control the use of this toxic metal was signed into action, thanks largely to the work of the Campaign for Mercury-Free Dentistry, the project organized and led by Charlie Brown.
The treaty, named the United Nations Minamata Convention on Mercury, requires the phasing out of many mercury-containing products by 2020. Importantly, the treaty marks the beginning of the end for dental amalgam around the world, as it mandates each nation phase down amalgam use, effective immediately.
Since then, I’ve partnered with a number of select health and research organizations that are true health advocates and educators, including GrassrootsHealth, Fluoride Action Network (FAN), National Vaccine Information Center (NVIC), Institute for Responsible Technology (IRT), and the Organic Consumers Association (OCA).
Together, we’ve formed a nonprofit coalition known as Health Liberty, dedicated to improving fundamental education to all on important health, food safety, and informed consent issues.
A Lifelong Passion for Exercise Got Me Into Medicine
My mother instilled in me a passion for reading. In 1968 I picked up Dr. Ken Cooper’s book, “Aerobics,” which sparked a lifelong passion for exercise as I have been exercising regularly for the last 48 years, never taking more than a few days off at any one time.
Cooper actually designed the exercise program for the NASA astronauts, but aside from keeping astronauts fit in an antigravity environment, exercise wasn’t viewed very favorably down here on Earth.
When I first took up running, people would throw things at me because they thought I was some kind of hooligan or criminal running from the scene of a crime! People simply did not run “for no reason” back in the ’60s.
I was a freshman in high school when the first man landed on the moon. Along with the rest of the nation, this event captured my attention and I decided I wanted to be an astronaut. The quickest way to do that was to join the Air Force Academy.
Unfortunately, it was tough getting a congressional appointment to get in, so in the meantime, I continued my education, focusing on engineering. I later switched to pre-med — in large part because I was so excited about exercise and health.
At the very beginning of med school, one of my professors told our class that by the time we graduated, most of what we were being taught would be outdated or obsolete.
The key element of our education was really teaching us how to learn, and that has stuck with me ever since. I never reached a point where I thought I know it all and don’t need to learn any more. In essence, med school taught me how to become a perpetual student, and that attitude has served me well.
Unfortunately, most doctors ignore that message and get stuck practicing what in essence is outdated medicine.
Nutrition as Medicine
Conventional medicine is excellent at diagnosing disease, but where it fails miserably is in the treatment approaches. It typically focuses on treating the symptoms, not the root cause, and it does so using toxic drugs that frequently cause problems that are more dangerous than the original complaint.
The discovery of nutrition as a method of healing was nothing short of revolutionary for me. It really opened my eyes and gave me a whole different perspective on health and healing.
I began scouring the medical and lay literature on nutrition, and started attending conferences on alternative healing modalities, typically every month, to acquire the knowledge and skills to help people heal.
I would then apply what I’d learned in my medical practice and get tremendous results — so much so I finally reached the point where I said, “This stuff really works!” and with that, I made a commitment to practice medicine without drugs.
When I notified my patients of this new direction, 70 percent of them left. They were unwilling to quit using the drugs they were on and to address their health problems with nutrition and other lifestyle changes.
This turned out to be a blessing, as the patients I had left really wanted to get better and were willing to do the work. Eventually, word spread about their healing successes, and over the years I ended up treating patients from all over the world.
Staying Ahead of the Curve
Over the past 21 years, I’ve often been among the first in the media to communicate commonsense strategies of healing and staying well naturally to the wider audience. The truth is your body has an innate ability to heal. It is designed to move toward health and away from disease, provided you give it the basic support it needs in terms of nutrition, physical movement, exposure to sunlight and myriad other natural health strategies.
For example, I began talking about the importance of vitamin D for health beyond rickets back in 2000, and have warned people about the adverse effects of shunning sun exposure for over 18 years. Thankfully, the medical literature has now firmly established that vitamin D is essential for health, and that deficiency plays a role in dozens of chronic diseases.
Eighteen years ago I also began blowing the whistle on genetically engineered (GE) foods, warning people to avoid them in order to protect their health. Now, the public discussion about GE foods has finally been brought to the fore, and grassroots efforts have led to ballot initiatives to label genetically modified organisms (GMOs) in dozens of states, with major media outlets like National Geographic reporting that genetically engineered foods are a dangerous fraud.
Fight Against Mercury and Fluoride Continues
In 1998, I warned my readers to avoid dentists who still use mercury amalgams in their practice, having learned that painful lesson myself. Amalgams really have no place in modern dentistry. It’s an antiquated practice, and it simply makes no sense to place a known neurotoxin inches away from your brain. As noted earlier, the international treaty on mercury now heralds the beginning of the end of mercury in dentistry.
Also in 1998, I began writing about the hazards of water fluoridation, pointing out that fluoride is a toxic drug that accumulates in your body and can destroy human enzymes. Since then, the evidence against fluoride as a panacea for dental caries has only gotten stronger, and the fight to get fluoride out of municipal water supplies continues. Here, we’re partnered with FAN, which is intent (as am I) to eliminate fluoride from drinking water not just in the U.S., but around the world.
As all of these examples show, it usually takes a decade or more to reverse deeply ingrained medical myths, no matter how unscientific their basis. But eventually, the truth does tend to prevail, and I believe it’s only a matter of time before water fluoridation is seen for what it really is — one of the biggest public health blunders in U.S. history, opposed to being one of the greatest public health achievements of the 20th century.
Last year, the U.S. government finally admitted Americans have been overexposed to fluoride, and for the first time since 1962 lowered the recommended level of fluoride in drinking water. It’s not enough, but it’s a move in the right direction. I’ve also begun working with an organization in Mexico that is developing a low-tech fluoride removal system that even poorer rural communities will be able to use to make their drinking water safer.
Early Warnings Issued — Years in Advance
In 2006, I began warning about the artificial sweetener aspartame, convinced it was one of the most dangerous additives in the food supply. Since then, the medical literature has become filled with studies demonstrating its harmful effects. Not only do artificial sweeteners actually promote obesity, they also worsen diabetes, and it’s fraught with side effects. In fact, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has received more health complaints stemming from aspartame than ALL other food additives combined.
I was the first in the media to issue a stern warning against Vioxx. In 1999 I uncovered a study that showed people taking this drug were at massively increased risk of dying from heart disease and stroke, and I published this information in my newsletter.
I actually issued the first public warning about Vioxx while it was still in clinical trials — a year before it became available by prescription. I predicted Vioxx would be pulled from the market once the increased cardiac deaths were finally recognized and, indeed, that’s exactly what happened — but not before more than 60,000 people had died from taking the blockbuster drug.
Take Control of Your Health, for Life!
I would encourage anyone who feels skeptical to really evaluate the evidence and put some of these healthy lifestyle principles to the test, because the ultimate proof for most people is their own experience. It either works or it doesn’t. You feel better and get healthier, or you don’t. My mantra is “Take Control of Your Health,” and my goal is to teach you how to get off the merry-go-round of drugs, which typically treat only the symptoms while actually deteriorating your health.
Drugs can also be lethal, and even when properly prescribed and administered they kill hundreds of thousands of people each year. My message is: There are safer, less expensive alternatives that can truly address the root cause of your disease. Invariably, reclaiming health and treating disease involves addressing your diet, exercise and other lifestyle factors, most of which cost little or nothing.
Have you ever wondered how much vitamin C is in a serving of strawberries or what makes avocados so good for you? Or maybe you’re interested to know which has more sugar: raisins or dates? It’s questions like these that necessitated the creation of Mercola.com Food Facts.
Nutrition is key to staying healthy and avoiding chronic diseases. That’s why I recommend virtually anyone starting out on the path to optimal wellness to adopt my nutrition plan. The plan provides a guide to changing your diet and lifestyle for the better, and it goes hand-in-hand with our Food Facts resource.
Now, when you add fresh vegetable juice to your diet, for instance, you can look up each ingredient and find out how its components, from vitamins and minerals to antioxidants and other phytochemicals, help keep you well.
Did you know, for instance, that blackberries contain impressively high levels of antioxidants or that the leaves and roots of eggplant have been used traditionally to treat stomach troubles and foot pain? This is just a sampling of the valuable information available at your fingertips via Food Facts. You’ll also:
• Discover nutrition facts, interesting trivia, uses around the world and important scientific studies about the healthy foods you consume
• Gain access to a wealth of delicious, healthy recipes that will surely fit your holistic meal plans
• Debunk common foods myths and misconceptions
• Find out where to shop for safe, naturally healthy foods
• Learn how consuming wholesome, healthy foods can help you stave off diseases and other common health problems
One of our most popular articles is “The 9 Foods You Should Never Eat,” so clearly many people are interested in eating right. However, misinformation abounds about which foods are really good for you and which are not. If in doubt about a particular food, look it up in Food Facts.
You can search alphabetically to quickly find out the types of vitamins and minerals in your food of choice. There’s also interesting lore, historical information, relevant research studies, fun facts and recipe ideas (for even more recipe options, check out Mercola Healthy Recipes).
Mercola Food Facts is continuously expanding, so if a food you’re interested in isn’t there today, check back soon. We’re adding new foods all the time. Here are more examples of the valuable insights you can find via Food Facts:
• One tablespoon of dill seed contains more calcium than one-third cup of milk
• Garbanzo beans contain high amounts of folate (71 percent of the daily value) and manganese (84 percent)
• Kiwi provides 273 percent of the daily-recommended amount of vitamin C in every 1-cup serving
• With about 60 percent monounsaturated fat oleic acid — the same amount as in olives — macadamia nuts provide a high amount of healthy fat while being on the low end of the carb spectrum
• The herb sage has been used to make a drink called the “thinker’s tea” and may even help boost your mood
Why Is It so Important to Know What’s in Your Food?
Satisfying your curiosity aside, knowing what’s in your food is integral to taking control of your health. You may even be eating foods that are banned in other countries as shown in the video above. If you eat a balanced, whole-food diet like the one described in my nutrition plan, you’re probably getting adequate amounts of the vitamins and minerals your body needs to function.
If not (and this applies to the majority of the U.S. population), there’s a good chance you may be lacking important nutrients. Your age and certain health conditions (digestive issues and others) can also impact your body’s ability to absorb the nutrients in your food.
For example, magnesium is among the most common nutrient deficiencies. Insufficient cellular magnesium levels set the stage for deterioration of proper metabolic function that typically snowballs into more significant health problems.
Most people can keep their magnesium levels in the therapeutic range without resorting to supplements by eating a varied diet, including plenty of dark-green leafy vegetables.
Seaweed and green leafy vegetables like spinach and Swiss chard can be excellent sources of magnesium, as are some beans, nuts and seeds, like pumpkin, sunflower and sesame seeds. This is precisely the type of information you can find using Mercola Food Facts.
If you know you need more of a certain vitamin or mineral in your diet, or you’re interested in consuming more antioxidants, you can peruse the food options, find those that best meet your nutritional needs and plan your meals accordingly. As Hippocrates said, “Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food”!