|(Natural News) The plummeting birth rate and aging workforce in Japan has forced its populace to resort to using robots for its increasing labor needs. An article on Geek.com reported that researchers have come up with a humanoid robot that will replace human workers in the construction industry. Created by the National Institute of Advanced…|
|(Natural News) Exercise doesn’t need to take up so much of your time, given that you’re doing the right form of exercise. A few minutes of high-intensity interval training (HIIT) offers the same benefits as longer workout sessions in terms of mitochondrial function, according to a study published in the American Journal of Physiology-Regulatory, Integrative…|
|(Natural News) It’s hard to get a decent amount of sleep when there are so many things going on around you. However, people who do not get enough rest have a higher risk of physical and mental health conditions. Among these is diabetes, which is one of the most prevalent diseases in the world. A study…|
California’s San Joaquin Valley is an agricultural powerhouse in the U.S., producing more than $17 billion a year in crops on some 7 million acres of fields.1 The region is also home to CAFO (concentrated animal feeding operation) animals, including cattle. At the valley’s largest feedlot, Harris Ranch, 100,000 cattle are packed in over a stretch of 800 acres.
While it’s no secret that California is saddled with a sizable problem of air pollution, many people picture urban traffic as the source of the area’s ever-present smog. Lesser known is the fact that, as news outlet Undark reported, trucks working for Harris Ranch drive a collective 6,000 miles a day just hauling food to CAFOs, releasing nitrogen oxides (NOx) along the way.
Once in the air, NOx reacts to form nitric acid, which combines with ammonia emissions from the CAFOs, to form ammonium nitrate. Ammonium nitrate, in turn, may account for up to half of the particulate pollution 2.5 (PM2.5) in the agricultural mecca’s air.2 PM2.5, or fine-particle pollution, is less than 2.5 micrometers in diameter and is responsible for reduced visibility as well as some of the worst health problems associated with air pollution.
These particulates can enter your lungs and bloodstream, leading to heart attacks, worsened heart and lung diseases, respiratory problems and aggravated asthma.3 It’s no coincidence that 1 in 6 children living in California’s Central Valley suffers from asthma, according to the California Air Resources Board, which notes:4
“California’s unique climate makes us a leading agricultural producer, but some of the areas with the most productive farmland of the state also suffer from the worst air quality in the nation. This not only impacts crops, but also impacts public health.”
‘Cows Plus Cars’ Ruining California’s Air
Speaking to Undark, Steve Brown of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Earth System Research Laboratory broke down California’s air pollution problem by stating, “[It’s] cows plus cars.”5 Those at the root of the problem, like Harris Ranch, have little incentive to change.
Even In-N-Out, California’s popular fast food chain that advertises fresh, locally-sourced food, gets its meat from Harris Farms CAFO.6 Further, CAFOs even receive government backing that allows their polluting practices to continue.
Case in point: U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) administrator Andrew Wheeler signed a rule in November 2018 that would make CAFOs exempt from reporting animal waste emissions.
What’s more, Harris Ranch hasn’t taken even basic steps to curb air pollution, such as swapping out its diesel trucks for those powered by low-emission natural gas, even though the government would give them about $2 million to do so.7
California has put policies in place to reduce NOx pollution from fossil fuel sources, which has led to NOx declining by 9 percent a year in urban areas like Los Angeles, San Francisco and Sacramento.8
However, a study published in Science Advances revealed agriculture, and particularly agricultural soils treated with nitrogen fertilizer, to be a major source of NOx pollution in California, contributing 20 to 51 percent of the total NOx emissions in the state.9
“These soil NOx emissions are sourced to N [nitrogen] fertilizer applications in Central Valley croplands,” the researchers explained. “Where agriculture is an important source of NOx, strategies to reduce nonpoint emissions will need to incorporate soil management approaches and policies that are fundamentally different from fossil fuel sources.”10
Just how bad is the air pollution in California’s Central Valley, where 4 million people reside? According to the EPA, “the San Joaquin Valley has some of the nation’s worst air quality, failing to meet federal health standards for both ozone (smog) and particulate pollution.”11
It blames the pollution on “heavy truck traffic on I-5 and Highway 99; diesel-burning locomotives, tractors and irrigation pumps; and wood-burning stoves and fireplaces” — failing to mention agriculture, which appears to be the greatest polluter of all. NOx pollution, in particular, may be responsible for 1 in 8 premature deaths worldwide, along with being linked to cancer, birth defects, heart disease and asthma.12
California Dairy CAFOs Also Problematic
The San Joaquin Valley is also home to a large number of dairy CAFOs, which together produce 20 percent of U.S. milk, making California the No. 1 milk producer in the country.13 There are nearly 2 million milk cows in California, which produce over 3 billion gallons of milk — and 35 million tons of manure — annually.14 The nonprofit environmental research and advocacy organization Californians Against Waste noted:15
“Most of California’s dairy farms are in the Central Valley, which suffers from both air and water pollution … researchers have also estimated that one cow can emit between 100 to 200 liters of methane per day.
This doesn’t include the methane that continues to be generated through bacterial decomposition in waste storage lagoons. Methane gas is 25 times more powerful greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide.”
… The release of methane gas and the waste piles can cause major pollution problems … The decomposition of animal wastes in the dairy can cause methane and ammonia gases to be released into the atmosphere.
Methane contributes to greenhouse gases, which can lead to global warming, while ammonia can cause respiratory problems, as fine particulate matter formulates in the air. Dust generated from animal activity also causes respiratory diseases, such as asthma.”
Residents in the area complain of health problems, including migraines, from the contaminated air and say they’re unable to go outside during the summer due to the stench.16 When manure is stored in lagoons or applied to fields, ammonia can volatize into the air at the time of application, whereas additional emissions can be released later as the soil breaks down.
It’s a similar situation occurring elsewhere in the U.S. When a chicken CAFO in Kentucky was monitored for one year, more than 10 tons of ammonia were emitted into the air.17 Ammonia, which is formed when microbes digest nitrogen in manure, has a pungent odor and can lead to chemical burns, cough and chronic lung disease. Other toxic air pollutants commonly released by CAFOs include:18
- Hydrogen sulfide, which has a rotten egg odor and can cause inflammation of eye and respiratory tract membranes, loss of olfactory neurons and even death
- Methane, an odorless but highly flammable greenhouse gas
- Particulate matter, including particles from feed, bedding, dry manure, soil, animal dander and feathers, which can cause chronic bronchitis and respiratory symptoms, declines in lung function and organic dust toxic syndrome, a severe flu-like illness
How the Almond Industry Contributes to Polluted Air
California alone supports more than 12 percent of the U.S. food economy,19 which includes nearly 1 million acres of almond crops, supplying 80 percent of global demand.20
It’s not unusual for almond fields to measure PM2.5 levels upward of 142 micrograms per cubic meter of air, which is quadruple the standard set by the EPA. Most of the problem stems from dust created by the almond harvesting process, which makes up 15 percent of the PM2.5 in some areas.21
“Machines crawl through the plots of almond trees, shaking each one to force the almonds to drop. The nuts are then blown and swept into piles,” Undark reported. “The process kicks up massive clouds of dust and debris … Less dusty harvesting methods exist, but they require expensive investments in new machinery.”22
For two to three months a year, the almond harvest leaves trees, cars and homes coated in dust.23 Sometimes the plumes of dust are so thick that visibility is reduced on nearby roadways, necessitating warnings when harvests are taking place.
The EPA estimated that almond harvesting kicks up nearly 41 pounds of dust per acre,24 and each orchard may be harvested three times in a season, leading to copious amounts of pollution. For comparison, wheat harvesting raises closer to 6 pounds of dust per acre.
Oil Industry and Forest Fires Add to California’s Air Woes
Dense oil fields — up to 9,000 wells running on 10,000 acres at one location in Kern County, the worst county in the U.S. in terms of air quality25 — add to the pollution problems facing the state. According to Undark: 26
“Most of the light oil has already been tapped over the last century, so San Joaquin Valley oil wells tend to produce some of the thickest, dirtiest petroleum in the nation. To bring up the more viscous remaining oil, drillers burn natural gas to create steam, which they inject into the wells. This process, according to the state emissions inventory, accounts for roughly 4 percent of the valley’s particulate pollution.”
Forest fires, in particular those that have ravaged Northern California in 2018, only make California’s air that much deadlier. In November 2018, parts of California earned the dubious distinction of having the worst air quality worldwide due to wildfire smoke in the area.27
Taken together, the problem of CAFOs, almonds, oil and wildfires raise serious issues for air quality in the state year-round. The American Lung Association’s State of the Air 2018 report confirmed this, finding that over 35 million Californians — or 90 percent — reside in counties that received a failing grade for at least one pollutant.28
Californians Also Exposed to Pesticide Pollution
Aside from air quality, those living in agricultural regions must also deal with pesticide pollution, and this is true of those living in Salinas Valley, California, dubbed the world’s “salad bowl” because of its high production of greens, peppers, broccoli and a host of other vegetable crops.
The area is known for heavy spraying of organophosphate pesticides, leading to the CHAMACOS Study, which followed hundreds of pregnant women living in the region. The children were followed through age 12 to assess what impact the pesticides had on their development.29 It turns out the impact was quite dramatic, and mothers’ exposure to organophosphates during pregnancy was associated with:30
- Shorter duration of pregnancy
- Poorer neonatal reflexes
- Lower IQ and poorer cognitive functioning in children
- Increased risk of attention problems in children
Regenerative Agriculture Is the Solution
While CAFOs degrade the ecosystems around them, causing air, water and soil pollution along the way, regenerative agriculture rebuilds them, in large part by increasing soil organic matter and soil biodiversity. According to the nonprofit Regeneration International:31
“Regenerative agriculture leads to healthy soil, capable of producing high quality, nutrient dense food while simultaneously improving, rather than degrading land, and ultimately leading to productive farms and healthy communities and economies.
It is a dynamic and holistic, incorporating permaculture and organic farming practices, including conservation tillage, cover crops, crop rotation, composting, mobile animal shelters and pasture cropping, to increase food production, farmers’ income and especially, topsoil.”
You can help shape the future of our food system and help reduce pollution by being mindful of your own choices. Be sure to look and ask for biodynamic certified produce, for example, and AGA (American Grassfed Association) certified grass fed animal products.
Also seek out organic produce and animal products whenever possible, and boycott the CAFO meat, dairy and poultry that is a major source of air and water pollution and soil degradation in California and worldwide.
Last year’s 30-day new year’s resolution guide was a big hit. This year, for the month of January, we will revisit this tip-a-day format by looking back at 30 of the most-read Mercola.com articles of all time, reviewing the topics readers have found most valuable over the years.
First on the list, and the topic of this article, is vitamin D deficiency. What are the risks? How can you determine if you’re deficient? And what are the benefits of raising your vitamin D level?
Vitamin D deficiency is incredibly common around the world, but many mistakenly believe they aren’t at risk because they consume vitamin D-fortified foods, such as milk. Few foods have therapeutic levels of vitamin D naturally, and even fortified foods do not contain enough vitamin D to support your health needs.
Despite its name, vitamin D is actually a steroid hormone that you obtain primarily through sun exposure, not via your diet. Since most dermatologists and other doctors recommend avoiding the sun and using sunscreen before venturing outdoors, vitamin D deficiency has reached truly epidemic proportions around the world.
Unfortunately, while the justification for sun avoidance is that it may reduce your risk of skin cancer, by avoiding sun exposure you risk vitamin D deficiency, which in turn raises your risk for many cancers — not only internal ones but also skin cancer, as well as a whole host of chronic diseases.
Considering the importance of vitamin D for disease prevention, strict sun avoidance is likely doing far more harm than good. The major problem with sun exposure is burning, not overall exposure. And, the easily treatable forms of skin cancer — squamous and basal cell carcinomas — are the ones most likely to form.
Definition of Vitamin D Deficiency
According to research1 published in June, 2018, an estimated 40 percent of Americans are profoundly vitamin D deficient, defined as having a serum (blood) level of vitamin D below 20 ng/mL (50 nmol/L). Sufficiency is defined as having a level of 20 ng/mL or higher.
Calling someone with a vitamin D level of less than 20 ng/ml vitamin D deficient is like calling someone over 400 pounds simply overweight; in both cases a grossly serious understatement.
Seventy-five percent of American adults and teens are deficient in vitamin D when a sufficiency level of 30 ng/mL is used.2 If the sufficiency cutoff were to be moved to 40 to 60 ng/mL, sufficiency rates in the U.S. would likely be in the high 90 percent bracket.
It’s important to realize that 20 ng/mL has repeatedly been shown to be grossly insufficient for good health and disease prevention and, really, anything below 40 ng/mL (100 nmol/L) should be suspect. For example, research has shown that once you reach a minimum serum vitamin D level of 40 ng/mL, your risk for cancer diminishes by 67 percent, compared to having a level of 20 ng/mL or less.3
Most cancers occur in people with a vitamin D blood level between 10 and 40 ng/mL (25 to 100 nmol/L), and the optimal level for cancer protection now appears to be between 60 and 80 ng/mL (150 to 200 nmol/L).
Several studies also show that these higher vitamin D levels are protective against breast cancer specifically. Importantly, a 2005 study4 showed women with vitamin D levels above 60 ng/mL have an 83 percent lower risk of breast cancer than those below 20 ng/mL! I cannot think of any other strategy that can offer that kind of risk reduction.
More recently, a pooled analysis5 published in June 2018 of two randomized trials and a prospective cohort study came to a near-identical conclusion. The objective was to assess whether there are any benefits to having a vitamin D level above 40 ng/mL, as most studies do not venture into these higher levels.
Indeed, mirroring the 2005 findings, women with vitamin D levels at or above 60 ng/mL had an 82 percent lower incidence rate of breast cancer than those with levels of 20 ng/mL or less. Published research by GrassrootsHealth reveal as much as 80 percent of all breast cancer incidence could be prevented simply by optimizing vitamin D and nothing else.
Top 5 Signs of Vitamin D Deficiency
The only way to definitively identify vitamin D deficiency is via blood testing. However, there are some general signs and symptoms to be aware of as well. If any of the following apply to you, you should get your vitamin D levels tested sooner rather than later, and take proactive steps to boost your level into the 60 to 80 ng/mL range:
1. Ongoing musculoskeletal pain and achy bones — According to vitamin D researcher Dr. Michael Holick, many who see their doctor for aches and pains, especially in combination with fatigue, end up being misdiagnosed as having fibromyalgia or chronic fatigue syndrome.
“Many of these symptoms are classic signs of vitamin D deficiency osteomalacia,6 which is different from the vitamin D deficiency that causes osteoporosis in adults,” Holick says. “What’s happening is that the vitamin D deficiency causes a defect in putting calcium into the collagen matrix into your skeleton. As a result, you have throbbing, aching bone pain.”7
2. Frequent illness/infections — Vitamin D regulates the expression of genes that influence your immune system to attack and destroy bacteria and viruses, so frequent illness and infections of all kinds, including colds and flu, is a tipoff that your immune function is subpar, which likely means you’re low on vitamin D.
3. Neurological symptoms — This includes depression, “feeling blue, cognitive impairment, headaches and migraines. In 2006, scientists evaluated the effects of vitamin D on the mental health of 80 elderly patients and found those with the lowest levels of vitamin D were 11 times more prone to be depressed than those who received healthy doses.8
The same study also found low vitamin D was linked to poor cognitive performance. Several other studies9
have also linked vitamin D deficiency with poor mental function, confusion, forgetfulness and difficulty concentrating. Headaches and migraines are also associated with low vitamin D.10,11
4. Fatigue and daytime sleepiness — Studies have linked low vitamin D to persistent fatigue.12,13 In one case, a woman struggling with chronic fatigue, daytime sleepiness (hypersomnia), low back pain and daily headaches was found to have a vitamin D level below 6 ng/mL.
Her symptoms resolved once she raised it to 39 ng/mL.14 Another study15 found women with vitamin D levels below 29 ng/mL were more likely to complain of fatigue than those with levels above 30 ng/mL.
5. Head sweating — According to Holick, a classic sign of vitamin D deficiency is a sweaty head. In fact, physicians used to ask new mothers about head sweating in their newborns for this very reason. Excessive sweating in newborns due to neuromuscular irritability is still described as a common, early symptom of vitamin D deficiency.16
Top 5 Risk Factors for Vitamin D Deficiency
Several factors will influence your risk for vitamin D deficiency, including the following:
- Rarely spending time outdoors and/or always wearing sunscreen — Researchers have noted that vitamin D deficiency is prevalent in adults of all ages who always wear sun protection (which blocks vitamin D production) or limit their outdoor activities.17 The ideal time for sun exposure is between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m., when the UVB rays are present.
- Darker skin — Your skin pigment acts as a natural sunscreen, so the more pigment you have, the more time you’ll need to spend in the sun to make adequate amounts of vitamin D. If you have dark skin, you may need as much as 10 times more sun exposure to produce the same amount of vitamin D as a person with pale skin.
- Being 50 or older — As you get older, your skin doesn’t make as much vitamin D in response to sun exposure. At the same time, your kidneys become less efficient at converting vitamin D into its active form. Older adults also tend to spend more time indoors (i.e. getting even less sun exposure and therefore vitamin D).
- Obesity — Because vitamin D is fat-soluble, body fat acts as a “sink” by collecting it. If you’re overweight or obese, you’re therefore likely going to need more vitamin D than a slimmer person. In one recent study,18 vitamin D deficiency was three times more prevalent in obese individuals.
- Gastrointestinal problems — Vitamin D is fat-soluble, which means if you have a gastrointestinal condition that affects your ability to absorb fat, you may have lower absorption of fat-soluble vitamins like vitamin D as well. This includes gut conditions like Crohn’s, celiac and nonceliac gluten sensitivity and inflammatory bowel disease.
Health Benefits of Vitamin D Optimization
Optimizing your vitamin D levels has been shown to have a powerful effect on health, helping protect against a wide variety of diseases. Among them:
Dry eye syndromes.19,20
Macular degeneration,21,22 which is the No. 1 cause of blindness in the elderly.
Autoimmune diseases — Vitamin D is a potent immune modulator, making it very important for the prevention of autoimmune diseases such as multiple sclerosis, inflammatory bowel disease and psoriasis, just to name a few.
Infectious diseases, including influenza and HIV.24,25
Inflammatory rheumatic diseases26 such as rheumatoid arthritis.
Osteoporosis and hip fractures.
Cardiovascular disease — Vitamin D is very important for reducing hypertension, atherosclerotic heart disease, heart attack and stroke, as it plays a vital role in protecting and repairing damage to your endothelium.27
It also helps trigger production of nitric oxide — which improves blood flow and prevents blood clot formation — and significantly reduces oxidative stress in your vascular system, all of which are important to help prevent the development and/or progression of cardiovascular disease.
According to Holick,28 vitamin D deficiency increases your risk of heart attack by 50 percent, and if you have a heart attack and you’re vitamin D deficient, your risk of dying from that heart attack is virtually guaranteed.
Indeed, a Norwegian study29 published in The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism found “a normal intake of vitamin D” significantly reduces your risk of death if you have cardiovascular disease.30
Neurological diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease31,32 and epilepsy — In one study,33 epileptics given a one-time megadose of vitamin D3, ranging from 40,000 IUs all the way up to 200,000 IUs, followed by a daily dose of 2,000 to 2,600 IUs a day for three months to bring each individual’s vitamin D status to at least 30 ng/mL, resulted in significant improvements.
Ten out of 13 had a decrease in the number of seizures, five of which experienced more than a 50 percent reduction. Overall, the group had a 40 percent reduction in the number of seizures.
Lupus — According to researchers in Cairo,34 most patients with systemic lupus erythematosus have some level of vitamin D deficiency, defined as a level of 10 ng/mL or less, or insufficiency, a level between 10 and 30 ng/mL.
Obstructive sleep apnea — In one study, 98 percent of patients with sleep apnea had vitamin D deficiency, and the more severe the sleep apnea, the more severe the deficiency.35
Bone health, falls and fractures — A 2006 review36 looking at vitamin D intakes and health outcomes such as bone mineral density, dental health, risk of falls, fractures and colorectal cancer, found “the most advantageous serum concentrations of 25(OH)D begin at 30 ng/mL, and the best are between 36 to 40 ng/mL.”
Obesity and diabetes — Research37 has shown vitamin D supplementation (4,000 IUs/day) combined with resistance training helps decrease your waist-to-hip ratio, a measurement that is far better at determining your risk for Type 2 diabetes and heart disease than body mass index.
Type 1 diabetes — Data from GrassrootsHealth’s D*Action project to prevent Type 1 diabetes38 suggests maintaining a vitamin D level between 40 and 60 ng/mL (100 to 150 nmol/L) may prevent Type 1 diabetes, and stop the progression of the disease, which is a growing problem.
Neurodegenerative diseases, including Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and multiple sclerosis (MS)39,40,41 — Research shows MS patients with higher levels of vitamin D tend to experience less disabling symptoms.42 Vitamin D deficiency is also common among patients with Parkinson’s43 and seniors with severe vitamin D deficiency may raise their risk for dementia by 125 percent.44
DNA repair and metabolic processes — One of Holick’s studies45 showed healthy volunteers taking 2,000 IUs of vitamin D per day for a few months up-regulated 291 different genes that control up to 80 different metabolic processes, including DNA repair and autoxidation (oxidation that occurs in the presence of oxygen and/or UV radiation, which has implications for aging and cancer).
Preterm birth — A level of 40 ng/mL has also been shown to offer powerful protection against preterm birth if you’re pregnant.46 Women with a vitamin D level of at least 40 ng/mL may lower their risk of preterm birth by as much as 62 percent, compared to having a level of just 20 ng/mL. Women with a history of preterm birth gain even greater protection — an 80 percent reduction — when raising their vitamin D level above 40 ng/mL.
Pregnancy complications — Having a vitamin D level above 40 ng/mL also protects the mother by reducing her risk of preeclampsia, gestational diabetes and prenatal infections by approximately 50 percent.47
All-cause mortality — Studies have also linked higher vitamin D levels with lowered mortality from all causes.48,49,50
Check Your Vitamin D Level Twice a Year
Regular, sensible sun exposure is the best way to optimize your vitamin D status, but many will need to take an oral vitamin D3 supplement, especially during winter months.
The only way to gauge whether you might need to supplement, and how much, is to get your level tested, ideally twice a year, in the early spring, after the winter, and early fall when you level is at its peak and low point. This is particularly important if you’re pregnant or planning a pregnancy, or if you have cancer.
Again, the level you’re aiming for is between 60 and 80 ng/mL, with 40 ng/mL being the low cutoff point for sufficiency to prevent a wide range of diseases, including cancer.
GrassrootsHealth makes testing easy by offering an inexpensive vitamin D testing kit as part of its consumer-sponsored research. By signing up, you are helping further vital health research that can help millions in coming years. (All revenues from these kits go directly to GrassrootsHealth. I make no profit from these kits and only provide them as a service of convenience to my readers.)
All women are also encouraged to enroll in the Breast Cancer Prevention project,51 to track your vitamin D level and help prevent an initial cancer occurrence, or, if you’ve already had it, to help prevent a recurrence. In addition, anyone affected by Type 1 Diabetes is invited to enroll in the Type 1 Diabetes Prevention Project.
Required Dosage Is Highly Individual
Research52 suggests it would require 9,600 IUs of vitamin D per day to get 97 percent of the population to reach 40 ng/mL, but individual requirements can vary widely, and you need to take whatever dosage required to get you into the optimal range.
As noted by Carole Baggerly, director and founder of GrassrootsHealth, a nonprofit public health research organization dedicated to moving public health messages regarding vitamin D from research into practice:53
“Our first paper, published in 2011, showed the dose response relationship. You can easily see that two people taking the same dose (e.g., 4,000 IU/day) could have very different results. That’s why testing … is so important.”
If you’ve been taking a certain amount of vitamin D3 for a number of months and retesting reveals you’re still not within the recommended range, then you know you need to increase your dosage.
Over time, with continued testing, you’ll find your individual sweet spot and have a good idea of how much you need to take to maintain an ideal level year-round. GrassrootsHealth also has an online vitamin D calculator you can use to estimate your vitamin D3 dosage once you know your current serum level.
Additional Guidelines When Using Oral Vitamin D3
Aside from determining your ideal dose of vitamin D3, you also need to make sure you’re getting enough vitamin K2 (to avoid complications associated with excessive calcification in your arteries), calcium and magnesium.
Research54,55 has shown that if you’re taking high doses of vitamin D while having an insufficient magnesium level, your body cannot properly utilize the vitamin D you’re taking. The reason for this is because magnesium is required for the actual activation of vitamin D. If your magnesium level is too low, the vitamin D may simply get stored in its inactive form.
This may actually help explain why many need rather high doses of vitamin D to optimize their levels. According to this scientific review, as many as 50 percent of Americans taking vitamin D supplements may not get significant benefit due to insufficient magnesium levels.
On the other hand, when you have an optimal magnesium level, your vitamin D level will rise even if you’re taking a much lower dose.56 In fact, previous research57 has indicated that higher magnesium intake helps reduce your risk of vitamin D deficiency — likely by activating more of it.
Beavers are intriguing animals found throughout North America. The largest living rodents in the region, beavers were hunted for their pelts to near extinction in the 1800s, but have made a comeback and are now relatively common along rivers, streams, lakes and marshes.
Beavers’ have an ingenious ability to change the landscape to suit their needs, building dams in order to create deep, calm water, or ponds, in which to build their homes, known as lodges.
It’s their natural inclination to build dams that has led to conflicts with humans, as the dams can cause flooding or block irrigation, not to mention that sometimes the trees beavers chew down may be ornamental or fruit-bearing instead of a type not missed by landowners.
As a result, many have long labeled beavers as little more than pests. In the 1970s, states including Washington, California and Oregon had laws in place that required beaver dams to be removed from streams to allow fish to pass through and, in 2009, the Atlantic Salmon Conservation Foundation funded a proposal to eradicate beavers from 10 rivers systems on Prince Edward Island.1
Even as recently as 2016, Wildlife Services, a part of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, killed more than 400 of the animals in Oregon in order to “allow people and wildlife to coexist,” prompting the Center for Biological Diversity and Northwest Environmental Advocates to threaten legal action against the agency to stop the killings.2
The threat of litigation led Wildlife Services to agree to stop killing beavers (along with river otter, muskrat and mink) in Oregon in January 2018 as well as analyze their wildlife-killing program’s effects on endangered fish, including salmon and steelhead.3
The fact is, killing beavers and removing their dams remains hotly debated and highly controversial, as research continues to show that these creatures, far from being pests, are actually an integral and beneficial part of the environment.
Beavers May Benefit Endangered Salmon Species
Beavers are known as “ecosystem engineers” with an “ability to manipulate and change their environment” that’s second only to humans.4 Their creation of dams and ponds benefits many other animal, bird and insect species. According to the Washington Department of Fish & Wildlife:5
“Beavers dams create habitat for many other animals and plants of Washington. In winter, deer and elk frequent beaver ponds to forage on shrubby plants that grow where beavers cut down trees for food or use to make their dams and lodges.
Weasels, raccoons and herons hunt frogs and other prey along the marshy edges of beaver ponds. Migratory waterbirds use beaver ponds as nesting areas and resting stops during migration.
Ducks and geese often nest on top of beaver lodges since they offer warmth and protection, especially when lodges are formed in the middle of a pond. The trees that die as a result of rising water levels attract insects, which in turn feed woodpeckers, whose holes later provide homes for other wildlife.”
Ironically, while it was long believed that beaver dams would provide an obstacle for salmon and steelhead, posing a threat to the fish, it’s now been shown that they may, in fact, do the opposite.
One study revealed that the density and survival of juvenile steelhead increased following the installation of simulated beaver dams, with researchers concluding, “Beaver mediated restoration may be a viable and efficient strategy to recover ecosystem function of previously incised streams and to increase the production of imperiled fish populations.”6
It shouldn’t come as a surprise, considering that in the early 1800s, when Lewis and Clark explored the Pacific Northwest, both salmon and beavers not only existed but coexisted in very high numbers.7
Young salmon, it turns out, spend the early seasons of their life in the quiet depths of beaver ponds before migrating toward the ocean. As such, beaver provide help in maintaining the proper complexity of habitat that young salmon need to thrive.
In their recovery plan for Oregon Coast Coho salmon, the National Marine Fisheries Service even named beaver dams and man-made beaver dam analogues among their strategies for improving habitat.8
Meanwhile, research by Michael Pollock, of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), revealed that decreasing beaver populations were responsible for declines of up to 86 percent of juvenile coho salmon production potential in the Stillaguamish River basin in Washington.9
Speaking to The Atlantic, Pollock explained, “Beavers create complex habitat and enhance local biological diversity in a way that’s really unique … They do a much better job of managing these systems than we do.”10
Beavers Slow Down Water Flow — An Understated Benefit to the Environment
Ben Goldfarb, an environmental journalist who has written extensively about beavers, describes beavers as a keystone species because their dams and resulting beaver ponds support so many other organisms. In an interview with Water Deeply, Goldfarb explained that one of the beavers’ greatest gifts to the environment is slowing down water flows and impounding water.11
The latter results in water storage, allowing water to infiltrate the ground and restore aquifers. Further, for young salmon, beaver ponds provide much-needed protection that larger waterways can’t provide. He explained:12
“Think about what it’s like to be a baby salmon — you’re this tiny little creature that gets eaten by bigger fish and birds and all kinds of things, and you’re looking for a nice, slow bit of slack water in which you can take refuge.
You don’t want to be in the main channel because then you just get blown downstream. For a juvenile salmon or trout, you can’t really conceive of better habitat than a beaver pond or wetland.”
The Tulalip Beaver Project, which relocates “nuisance” beavers from urban and suburban areas to the upper Snohomish Watershed in Washington, has had great success in creating wetlands that support fish spawning habitat and water storage. Since its start in 2014, the project has moved 122 beavers to 20 locations, building more than 12 acres of wetlands in the process.13,14
There’s still a long way to go to restore beaver habitats and related benefits, however. According to the Center for Biological Diversity, beaver populations remain at only 3 to 10 percent of their historical levels.15 A study by researchers with Utah State University similarly found that beavers occupied just 8 to 17 percent of available stream habitat.16
Goldfarb acknowledged the challenges of humans coexisting with beavers, but believes there’s much room for improvement:17
“The problem is that good beaver habitat is the same as good human habitat. We both like low-gradient, fertile river valleys. That’s where we’ve build our towns and our farms and our infrastructure.
Today, we’re occupying a lot of the habitat that beavers would like to use. It’s not possible to get back to the place that we once were with beavers in every stream and pond and wetland. But, certainly, I think that we’re at a tiny fraction of where we could be.”
Beavers Change Water Chemistry, May Offset Some Effects of Industrial Agriculture Pollution
Runoff from synthetic chemical fertilizers as well as the excessive amounts of manure from concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs) that’s often sprayed onto farm fields are highly problematic for water.
When provided with an excess of nutrients, such as occurs when fertilizer runoff from farms contaminates waterways, algae can quickly grow out of control, depleting oxygen from the water, blocking light to organisms lower in the water column and clogging fish gills.18
Massive manure and fertilizer pollution churned out by CAFOs has been blamed for causing the largest dead zone on record in the Gulf of Mexico.19 Fertilizer runoff has also been blamed for toxic algae taking over Florida coastlines. It’s so prolific in some areas that blue-green algae can now be seen from space.20
Solving the problem will take sweeping changes to industrial agriculture, transitioning to a regenerative agricultural system instead, but there’s also potential for beavers to help.
When University of Rhode Island researchers were looking into the nitrogen content of streams, they noticed that nitrogen levels were lower in water collected downstream of beaver ponds — an effect that’s believed to be related to the slowing down of the water and its mixing with organic matter.21
When researchers looked into the matter, they found beaver ponds acts as sinks for nitrogen in the water and result in a process called denitrification, during which nitrogen compounds are turned back into nitrogen gas, which is then released from the water. They estimated that in rural watersheds of southern New England with high nitrogen loading, denitrification from beaver ponds could remove from 5 to 45 percent of nitrates from the water.22
Following Nature’s Cues May Help Solve Man-Made Problems
Separate research by scientists at the University of Exeter in England has followed a family of captive beavers living in an outdoor fenced-in enclosure, which are part of Devon Wildlife Trust’s enclosed beaver trial. From 2011 to 2018, the family of beavers built 13 dams, creating deep ponds in an area that was formerly a small stream.23
The actions trapped significant amounts of sediment (made up of mostly soil eroded from an industrial agriculture site upstream), nitrogen and phosphorus, which would otherwise have passed through to a local river system.
The results suggest that beaver ponds may help mitigate the soil erosion and pollution from industrial agriculture. Lead study author Richard Brazier, a hydrologist and professor of earth surface processes, said in a news release:24
“It is of serious concern that we observe such high rates of soil loss from agricultural land, which are well in excess of soil formation rates. However, we are heartened to discover that beaver dams can go a long way to mitigate this soil loss and also trap pollutants which lead to the degradation of our water bodies.
Were beaver dams to be commonplace in the landscape we would no doubt see these effects delivering multiple benefits across whole ecosystems, as they do elsewhere around the world.”
It seems that, when humans are willing to listen, nature has many lessons to teach, and the more we strive to live in concert with nature, as opposed to against it, the better off we’ll be.
Similar to the way oysters have been found to process nitrogen compounds into harmless nitrogen gas, or worms naturally excrete beneficial microbes into the soil, drastically improving its composition, by allowing beavers to do what they naturally do in the environment, the ecosystem as a whole may glean a great benefit
By Anna Von Reitz
“The Show” just keeps getting more and more entertaining. When I saw that msm-ers had been selected to “drop the ball” at the Times Square NYC New Year’s party, I could hardly believe it! But how beautifully ironic… especially recalling what Q wrote some time back:
Q 1794: “Never Interfere With an Enemy While He’s in the Process of Destroying Himself”
This is exactly what the msm-ers are doing. By their so-called “journalism”, their one-dimensional “anything Trump does is bad”, “Orange Man bad, so make positive news about him look negative”, “Being in Syria is now good because Orange Man is getting us out of Syria”, etc., they are taking themselves down. (this prior Kp blog post relates)
This could not have happened to a more self-righteous bunch of people, organizations, networks.
MAIN STREAM MEDIA IS THE PROPAGANDA ARM OF THE DEEP STATE. Period.
Yes, msm has “Dropped the ball” on being true journalist outlets, and lo and behold, they are literally, “Dropping the ball” on New Year’s Eve. How perfect.
I’m placing a couple highlights from a Conservative Treehouse article I found somewhere, for reading fun. Also I’ve added a couple short videos at the end from a couple of independent journalists who are not owned by one of the six major corporations (view image).
“To cap off the most stunning year of journalistic ineptitude, the officials in charge of the New York City Time’s Square celebration have selected journalists to drop the ball.
“”Leading journalists will ring in the New Year Monday in New York City’s Times Square as the annual ball drop, watched globally by billions, recognizes journalism and free speech. The group of reporters and editors will appear on stage just before midnight to push the button that officially begins the 60-second countdown to the lowering of the Times Square New Year’s Eve Ball and the New Year.” ~ Via Time”
“We shared a discussion thread several months ago about how the media are enmeshed within the story of the DOJ and FBI corruption. The media engagements with the parties swirling around the FBI, DOJ and Clinton-Steele Dossier are so pervasive they could not reasonably report on any aspect of the story without exposing their own duplicity.
“As the year comes to a close, and more information surfaces about corrupt DOJ and FBI activity, it’s worth remembering the media’s complicit role.”
The class “Dinosauria” was originally defined by “Sir” Richard Owen of the Royal Society, and Superintendent of the British Museum Natural History Department in 1842.
In other words, the existence of dinosaurs was first speculatively hypothesized by a knighted museum-head “coincidentally” in the mid-19th century, during the heyday of evolutionism, before a single dinosaur fossil had ever been found.
The Masonic media and mainstream press worldwide got to work hyping stories of these supposed long-lost animals, and then lo and behold, 12 years later in 1854, Ferdinand Vandiveer Hayden during his exploration of the upper Missouri River, found “proof” of Owen’s theory!