The military action under consideration would be an aerial bombardment of an Iranian facility linked to its nuclear program, the officials further claimed. By Shlomo Shamir | 17 June 2019 THE JERUSALEM POST — Is […]
“O’Brien held up his left hand, its back towards Winston, with the thumb hidden and the four fingers extended. ‘How many fingers am I holding up, Winston?’ ‘And if the party says that it is […]
According to the World Health Organization, depression is the leading cause of ill health and disability worldwide, and increased 18% between 2005 and 2015.1 In the U.S., an estimated 17.3 million American adults, or 7.1% of the adult population, experienced at least one major depressive episode in 2017.2 The highest rates are reported among those aged between 18 and 25.3
Questions abound, however, over whether clinical depression is actually increasing, or whether people are simply being inappropriately diagnosed, and even more importantly, what the best treatment might be. With regard to treatment, my review will focus primarily on exercise which, rather overwhelmingly, appears to have a solid scientific basis of support.
Many are needlessly taking antidepressants
According to one 2013 study,4 major depression may be vastly overdiagnosed and overtreated. When Dr. Ramin Mojtabai, associate professor at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, evaluated the diagnostics of 5,639 participants with clinician-identified depression, he found only 38.4% of them actually met the DSM-4 criteria for a major depressive episode (MDE).5 Among seniors over the age of 65, only 14.3% met the criteria. Furthermore:6
“[P]articipants with more education and those with poorer overall health were more likely to meet the criteria. Participants who did not meet the 12-month MDE criteria reported less distress and impairment in role functioning and used fewer services. A majority of both groups, however, were prescribed and used psychiatric medications.”
Mojtabai told The New York Times:7
“It’s not only that physicians are prescribing more, the population is demanding more. Feelings of sadness, the stresses of daily life and relationship problems can all cause feelings of upset or sadness that may be passing and not last long. But Americans have become more and more willing to use medication to address them.”
An earlier 2009 meta-analysis8 of 41 studies that assessed the accuracy of diagnoses of depression by general practitioners found “GPs correctly identified depression in 47.3% of cases.” So, over the years, it appears overdiagnosis is becoming more prevalent and not less.
According to this review, findings suggest “that for every 100 unselected cases seen in primary care, there are more false positives (n=15) than either missed (n=10) or identified cases (n=10),” and that “Accuracy was improved with prospective examination over an extended period (three to 12 months) rather than relying on a one-off assessment or case-note records.”
There’s a fine line between depression and normal
While we must not downplay the seriousness of major depression, we must also not lose sight of the fact that the experience of a wide range of human emotions is normal and healthy.
In a controversial move, the bereavement exclusion9 — where “clinicians were advised to refrain from diagnosing major depression in individuals within the first two months following the death of a loved one” — which was included in DSM-4, was removed in DSM-5 in 2013. As noted in the paper, “The bereavement exclusion and DSM-5: An update and commentary:”10
“The removal of the bereavement exclusion in the diagnosis of major depression was perhaps the most controversial change from DSM-IV to DSM-5. Critics have argued that removal of the bereavement exclusion will “medicalize” ordinary grief and encourage over-prescription of antidepressants.
Supporters of the DSM-5’s decision argue that there is no clinical or scientific basis for ‘excluding’ patients from a diagnosis of major depression simply because the condition occurs shortly after the death of a loved one (bereavement). Though bereavement-related grief and major depression share some features, they are distinct and distinguishable conditions.
Bereavement does not ‘immunize’ the patient against a major depressive episode, and is in fact a common precipitant of clinical depression. Recognizing major depression in the context of recent bereavement takes careful clinical judgment, and by no means implies that antidepressant treatment is warranted.
But given the serious risks of unrecognized major depression — including suicide — eliminating the bereavement exclusion from DSM-5 was, on balance, a reasonable decision.”
1 in 6 Americans is on a psychiatric drug
The problem with taking an antidepressant to maneuver through difficult emotional territory is that many end up taking them long-term, and many find they cannot get off them without suffering debilitating withdrawal symptoms. As noted by pharmacist.com in April 2018:11
“Initially, the drugs were cleared for short-term use; but even today, with millions of long-term users, there is little data about their effects on individuals who take them for years …
And yet, it is not clear that everyone who is taking an open-ended prescription should stop. Most physicians agree that a subset of users may benefit from a lifetime prescription, though they disagree on the size of that group.”
According to a 2017 study,12 1 in 6 Americans between the ages of 18 and 85 were on psychiatric drugs, most of them antidepressants, and 84.3% reported long-term use (three years or more). Out of 242 million U.S. adults, 12% were found to have filled one or more prescriptions for an antidepressant, specifically, in 2013.
Long-term use places life and limb at risk
Research does show there may be a price to pay for the long-term use of antidepressants. For example, one 2015 study13,14 found that, compared to perimenopausal women treated with H2 antagonists or proton pump inhibitors (indigestion drugs), selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRI, a class of antidepressants) raised bone fracture rates by 76% in the first year of use.
After two years of treatment, the fracture rate was 73% higher. In 2017, Canadian researchers warned SSRIs might increase patients’ risk of cardiovascular events by 14% and all-cause mortality by 33%,15 likely due to their anticlotting properties. As noted in the abstract:16
“We conducted a meta-analysis assessing the effects of ADs on all-cause mortality and cardiovascular events in general-population and cardiovascular-patient samples … Seventeen studies met our search criteria. Sample type consistently moderated health risks.
In general-population samples, AD [antidepressant] use increased the risks of mortality (HR = 1.33, 95% CI: 1.14-1.55) and new cardiovascular events (HR = 1.14, 95% CI: 1.08-1.21). In cardiovascular patients, AD use did not significantly affect risks.
AD class also moderated mortality, but the serotonin reuptake inhibitors were not significantly different from tricyclic Ads … The results support the hypothesis that ADs are harmful in the general population but less harmful in cardiovascular patients.”
Low serotonin theory demolished, but antidepressant use goes on
Research17,18 published in 2009 also strengthened the evidence indicating the low serotonin idea is incorrect, finding strong indications that depression actually begins further up in the chain of events in the brain. Essentially, SSRIs focus on an effect of depression, not the cause.
As noted by investigative health journalist Robert Whitaker, as early as 1983 the National Institutes of Mental Health investigated whether or not depressed individuals had low serotonin.
At that time, they concluded there was no evidence that there is anything wrong in the serotonergic system of depressed patients. Drug companies kept running with the low serotonin theory, though, as it justified the aggressive use of antidepressants to correct this alleged “imbalance.”
The placebo response in depression
According to the 2015 paper,19 “Depression: How Effective Are Antidepressants?” studies suggest antidepressants may, on average, improve symptoms in 20 people out of 100. (Studies comparing the drugs to placebo found 20 to 40 out of 100 found relief from placebo alone, while 40 to 60 out of 100 reported improvement on an antidepressant after six to eight weeks.)
Several studies have addressed the surprisingly robust placebo response seen in those with depression.20 For example, a 2002 paper21 in the journal Dialogues in Clinical Neuroscience noted that, “With its naturally fluctuating course, depression is a highly placebo-responsive condition: Mean placebo response rates in antidepressant clinical trials are 30% to 40%.”
In those with mild depression, the likelihood of a positive response to placebo is even higher — as high as 70%.22 This paper also notes that when a placebo effect is at play, the patient will be more likely to experience a relapse, compared to when a true drug response is responsible for the improvement.
It also cites studies showing the placebo response rate tends to be highest “for women with a single episode of depression (66.7%) and lowest for women with recurrent depressive episodes (13.3%).”
Antidepressants may do more harm than good in most patients
In a recent article,23 professor Dr. Peter C. Gotzsche, co-founder of the Cochrane Collaboration and the Institute for Scientific Freedom, also points out other factors that can influence study results, falsely making antidepressants appear better than placebo in some studies. He writes:
“[V]irtually all trials are flawed, exaggerate the benefits of the drugs, and underestimate their harms … Virtually all patients in the trials are already on a drug similar to the one being tested against placebo.
Therefore, as the drugs are addictive, some of the patients will get abstinence symptoms (usually called withdrawal symptoms) when randomized to placebo, even if a wash-out period before randomization is introduced.
These abstinence symptoms are very similar to those patients experience when they try to stop benzodiazepines. It is no wonder that new drugs outperform the placebo in patients who have experienced harm as a result of cold turkey effects.
To find out how long patients need to continue taking drugs, so-called maintenance (withdrawal) studies have been carried out, but such studies also are compromised by cold turkey effects. Leading psychiatrists don’t understand this, or they pretend they don’t.
Most interpret the maintenance studies of depression pills to mean that these drugs are very effective at preventing new episodes of depression and that patients should therefore continue taking the drugs for years or even for life …
The smallest effect that can be perceived as an improvement on the Hamilton Depression Rating Scale is 5 to 6, but flawed trials attain only approximately 3. Several meta-analyses24 have found that the effect is larger if the patients are severely depressed, but the reported effects are small and below what is clinically relevant for all severities of depression.”
More health risks linked to antidepressants
Gotzsche also summarizes some of the known harms of these drugs, citing research showing antidepressants:
- Double the risk of harm from suicide and violence in healthy adults. According to this study,25 the number needed to treat to harm one healthy person was 16
- Increase suicidality and aggression two- to threefold in children and adolescents26 — “an important finding considering the many school shootings where the killers were on depression pills,” Gotzsche says
- Increase risk of suicide and violence by four to five times in middle-aged women with stress urinary incontinence27
- Double the risk of a core psychotic or potential psychotic event in women28
“I have described the dirty tricks and scientific dishonesty involved when drug companies and leading psychiatrists try convincing us that these drugs protect against suicide and other forms of violence,” Gotzsche writes,29 pointing out that “Even the FDA was forced to give in when it admitted in 2007, at least indirectly, that depression pills can cause suicide and madness at any age.”30
Whitaker takes it a step further in a commentary he wrote in 2005:
“A review of the scientific literature reveals that it is our drug-based paradigm of care that is fueling this epidemic. The drugs increase the likelihood that a person will become chronically ill, and induce new and more severe psychiatric symptoms in a significant percentage of patients …
… As with any epidemic, one would suspect that an outside agent of some type — a virus, a bacterial infection, or an environmental toxin — was causing the rise in illness. That is indeed the case here. There is an outside agent fueling this epidemic of mental illness, only it is found in the medicine cabinet.”31
Criteria for major depression
According to DSM-5 criteria,32 to receive a diagnosis of major depression, you must:
- Experience five or more of the following symptoms (see symptom list below) during a single two-week period
- At least one of the symptoms must include depressed mood and/or loss of interest or pleasure
- The symptoms must cause you “clinically significant distress or impairment in social, occupational or other important areas of functioning”
- The symptoms must not be related to substance abuse or another medical condition (see “More than 200 commonly used drugs are known to cause depression as a side effect” for more information on medical conditions and drugs that might influence your state of mind)
Major depression symptom list:
Depressed mood most of the day, nearly every day
Markedly diminished interest or pleasure in all, or almost all, activities most of the day, nearly every day
Significant weight loss when not dieting or weight gain, or decrease or increase in appetite nearly every day
A slowing down of thought and a reduction of physical movement (observable by others, not merely subjective feelings of restlessness or being slowed down)
Fatigue or loss of energy nearly every day
Feelings of worthlessness or excessive or inappropriate guilt nearly every day
Diminished ability to think or concentrate, or indecisiveness, nearly every day
Recurrent thoughts of death, recurrent suicidal ideation without a specific plan, or a suicide attempt or a specific plan for committing suicide
Keep in mind that major depression is typically associated with thoughts of suicide and feelings of deep hopelessness or helplessness, making it critical to recognize and address such symptoms. To assess your or a loved one’s risk factors, see “These types of children have an increased risk of suicidal thoughts,” and “Suicide is on the rise — Know the warning signs, and how to help.”
If you are feeling desperate or have any thoughts of suicide, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline,33 a toll-free number 1-800-273-TALK (8255), or call 911, or simply go to your nearest Hospital Emergency Department.
What science says about exercise as treatment for depression
If antidepressants are not the answer in most cases of depression, what is? There’s a solid and ever-growing body of scientific evidence showing physical exercise is a major key in the successful treatment of depression. Here’s a short-list of studies and scientific review articles that have investigated this oft-ignored prescription, starting with the most recent:
JAMA Psychiatry 201834,35 (a study funded in part by the National Institute of Mental Health) concluded exercise “may have greater efficacy than current approaches that target depressed mood.”
Contrary to popular belief, they found that while physical activity affected the participants’ mood afterward, their mood did not affect the amount of physical activity they engaged in. This defies the common assumption that depression causes physical inactivity. In fact, the results suggest it’s largely the other way around.
Frontiers in Pharmacology 201736 addressed the question of whether a comparison between exercise and drug treatment is evidence based, noting that:
In conclusion, they found three randomized controlled trials comparing four months of exercise to the use of antidepressants (two of which involved patients with major depression and one recruited those with minor depression). All of them found that exercise and antidepressant treatment were equally effective.
Of 11 randomized controlled trials comparing exercise as an adjunctive treatment to antidepressants (combination comparisons) against a wide variety of controls, 10 of them found “a significant depressive improvement after the exercise period, and/or that the proportion of patients with a clinical response was larger for the exercise group than the control.”
The paper reviews a variety of biological mechanisms by which exercise can benefit those with depression, including boosting BDNF and serotonin and lowering inflammation biomarkers. The authors also point out that:
Current Opinion in Psychology 201537 highlighted the role of inflammation in depression, and how biological markers can help explain how exercise reduces depressive symptoms. As explained in this review:
Many other studies support the view that depression is mediated, and perhaps directly caused,38 by inflammation, especially gastrointestinal inflammation.39 Cytokines40 in your blood, and/or inflammatory messengers such as CRP, interleukin-1, interleukin-6 and TNF-alpha are all predictive of41 and correlate42 to depression.
In melancholic depression, bipolar disorder and postpartum depression, white blood cells called monocytes express proinflammatory genes that provoke secretion of cytokines.43
At the same time, cortisol sensitivity goes down, and cortisol is a stress hormone that buffers against inflammation. Together, these inflammatory agents transfer information to your nervous system, typically by stimulating your vagus nerve, which connects your gut and brain.44
In one study,45 the researchers suggested “depression may be a neuropsychiatric manifestation of a chronic inflammatory syndrome,” and that “these findings justify an assumption that treating gastrointestinal inflammations may improve the efficacy of the currently used treatment modalities of depression …”
In this model, depression is the result of your body’s attempts to protect itself from an inflammatory response, and involves hormones and neurotransmitters. Depressive symptoms most strongly associated with chronic inflammation include:46
Asian Journal of Sports Medicine 201547 looked at “systematic reviews, meta-analyses and large-scale randomized control trials on effects of exercise on depression” to devise recommendations for doctors “who plan to use exercise protocols in depression.”
Here, they highlighted 10 different biological effects of exercise known to have a beneficial effect on people with depression. These effects include48 upregulation or increase in the levels of norepinephrine, serotonin, BDNF, endorphins and endocannabinoids, and a downregulation or decrease in the levels of cortisol, TNF-alpha, IL-1beta, IL-6 and ACTH.
They also note psychosocial effects that have a beneficial impact, such as self-mastery, social interaction and distraction from rumination. According to this evaluation, depressed patients most likely to benefit from exercise are: Under 20 or over 40 years old, have higher education status, untrained, and have mild to moderate depression.
Characteristics of an exercise program most likely to benefit people with depression include: Supervised and/or structured exercise; individually tailored exercise consisting of aerobic exercise and resistance training (or a mix); low to moderate intensity; 45 to 60 minutes per session at least three to four times per week for a minimum of 10 weeks. The authors also encourage physicians to employ a multidisciplinary team, noting that:
Journal of Clinical Psychiatry 201149 concluded 12 weeks of high-intensity exercise led to a 28.3% remission rate in patients who had previously failed to get any relief from SSRIs.
Clinical Psychology: Science and Practice 2006.50 This meta-analysis of 11 studies concluded doctors would be well advised to recommend exercise to patients suffering from depression, anxiety and eating disorders, as the evidence showed “substantial benefit.”
Archives of Internal Medicine 199951 reported 16 weeks of aerobic exercise was just as effective as Zoloft for the treatment of major depression in older patients.
Consider nondrug solutions first
Addressing your nutrition is perhaps the best place to start if you’re feeling depressed. Foods have an immense impact on your brain, and eating whole foods as described in my nutrition plan will best support your mental and physical health.
Avoiding processed foods, sugar (particularly fructose) and grains is particularly important as it will help normalize your insulin and leptin levels, which is an important contributing factor to depression. Certain nutrients are also known to cause symptoms of depression when lacking, and specific herbs and nutritional supplements may also help counteract symptoms.
To suggest that depression is rooted in nutrient deficiencies and other lifestyle related factors does not detract from the fact that it’s a serious problem that needs to be addressed with compassion and nonjudgment. It simply shifts the conversation about what the most appropriate answers and remedies are.
For a list of nutrients, herbs and supplements that have been shown to be particularly helpful for depression, as well as a long list of studies showing just how ineffective antidepressants are, and guidelines for safe drug withdrawal, please see “What Does the ‘Best Evidence’ Say About Antidepressants?”
Understanding the reasons we sleep has been a subject of study for years. Although scientists haven’t yet discovered all that occurs during sleep, there have been unique discoveries leading to a better understanding of cognitive1 and physical health.2,3
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention finds 1 in 3 Americans doesn’t get enough sleep4 and note insufficient sleep is linked with a wide variety of health problems.5 For example, getting less than five hours of sleep each night may double your risk of heart disease or stroke.6 Researchers have also found a persistent link between sleep deprivation, weight gain7 and insulin resistance.8
Sleep deprivation also influences your mental and cognitive abilities and emotional well-being. In fact, one of the reasons sleep deprivation is so detrimental is it doesn’t impact just one aspect of your health: It impacts many.
In a recent study published in Diabetes Care,9 funded by the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, researchers found it isn’t just the number of hours of sleep each night, but also the regularity of your sleep that impacts on your health.
Erratic sleep pattern increases risk of obesity and diabetes
Previous research has found detrimental health effects with sleep deprivation, but this new study discovered that when participants did not stick to regular bedtime and wake-up schedules it put them at higher risk for obesity, high blood pressure, high blood sugar and other metabolic disorders.
Researchers enrolled participants from the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis.10 They completed a seven-day actigraphy, which is a noninvasive way of monitoring rest and activity cycles. A sensor is worn for a week to measure gross motor activity. They were then followed for a median of six years.11
Metabolic abnormalities were defined using criteria developed for the National Cholesterol Education program, and researchers used five cross-sectional analyses adjusted for socio-demographic and lifestyle factors.
They found that for every one-hour deviation of sleep duration, the participants’ risk of metabolic syndrome increased by as much as 27%; a one-hour deviation in timing (i.e., going to bed earlier or later than regular) was associated with 23% higher odds.12 Study author Tianyi Huang, epidemiologist at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, commented:13
“Many previous studies have shown the link between insufficient sleep and higher risk of obesity, diabetes, and other metabolic disorders. But we didn’t know much about the impact of irregular sleep, high day-to-day variability in sleep duration and timing.
Our research shows that, even after considering the amount of sleep a person gets and other lifestyle factors, every one-hour night-to-night difference in the time to bed or the duration of a night’s sleep multiplies the adverse metabolic effect.”
Bedtime changes came before metabolic dysfunction
The study followed 2,003 men and women between the ages of 45 and 84. In addition to wearing sensors for seven days, the participants also filled out a sleep diary and answered standard questionnaires about their sleep habits and other lifestyle and health factors.14
The prospective results demonstrated variations in duration and bedtimes came before the development of metabolic dysfunction, providing evidence for a causal link between irregular sleep and metabolic disorders.
Researchers found the participants whose duration changed by more than one hour had a higher likelihood of being African-American, working non-day shift schedules, smoking and having shorter sleeping duration. Co-author Dr. Susan Redline with the Division of Sleep and Circadian Disorders at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, said:15
“Our results suggest that maintaining a regular sleep schedule has beneficial metabolic effects. This message may enrich current prevention strategies for metabolic disease that primarily focus on promoting sufficient sleep and other healthy lifestyles.”
Metabolic syndrome leads to greater health challenges
Metabolic syndrome is characterized by a cluster of symptoms, including large waist circumference indicating high levels of visceral fat, high blood pressure, insulin resistance and/or high blood sugar, low high-density lipoprotein cholesterol and high triglycerides. The combination of three or more of these factors is evidence of metabolic dysfunction.16
These risk factors raise your risk for heart disease, diabetes and stroke. Your risk is also raised even when you have “borderline high-risk factors.”17 Although a large waistline is a visible sign, the remainder have no visible signs or symptoms.
The incidence of metabolic syndrome often parallels obesity and Type 2 diabetes. According to a global survey18 of 195 countries in 2015, 604 million adults and 108 million children were obese. Researchers have found the problems of obesity have doubled in 73 countries since 1980.
However, obesity is not always synonymous with metabolic syndrome, as scientists have found there are individuals who are obese with high levels of insulin sensitivity yet have no high blood pressure. The data on metabolic syndrome is difficult to ascertain, as many who have the condition do not carry the diagnosis and many of the factors have no symptoms.19
Some researchers believe metabolic syndrome is three times more common than diabetes and estimate the global prevalence to be 25%. This global estimate is close to an estimation for the U.S. population. The CDC20 estimates 9.4% of the U.S. population has diabetes and three times this is 28.2%, slightly higher than the global estimation.
The high cost of sleep deprivation
Sleep deprivation comes at a steep cost to individuals and communities. For instance, third mate Gregory Cousins’ sleep deprivation led to one of the greatest environmental catastrophes in history when he ran the supertanker Exxon Valdez aground, causing 11 million gallons of crude oil to spill into Prince William Sound.21
The accident devastated 23 species of wildlife and nearly 1,300 miles of coastline habitat. As reported in The Balance, in just the first few days 140 bald eagles, 302 harbor seals, 2,800 sea otters and 250,000 sea birds were killed.22
According to the American Sleep Association,23 37.9% of Americans report unintentionally falling asleep during the day at least once a month. Unfortunately, many skimp on sleep to “get things done.” However, the evidence shows when you skimp on sleep, you lose productivity.24
Sleep deprivation costs the U.S. economy $411 billion every year in accidents and lost productivity.25 Loss of sleep not only affects quality of life, but when individuals like construction workers, nurses, doctors and pilots choose to push through sleep deprivation, it may have lethal consequences.
The CDC finds drowsy driving is a major problem in the U.S. and estimates it was responsible for 83,000 crashes, 37,000 injuries and 886 fatalities annually between 2005 and 2009.26 While falling asleep at the wheel is dangerous, being sleepy or drowsy makes you less attentive, slows your reaction time and affects your ability to make decisions behind the wheel.
The CDC finds those who do not get enough sleep, such as shift workers, those with untreated sleep disorders or those taking certain medications, are most likely to drive drowsy.27 Additionally, a loss of sleep increases your risk of cardiovascular disease,28,29 premature birth,30 lower academic performance,31 depression, anxiety,32 dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.33
More sleep may help you reach your goal weight
In addition to lowering your risk for these conditions, improving your sleep time and quality may well help you with your weight loss efforts. U.K. researchers investigated the connection between sleep duration, diet and metabolic health in 1,692 adults.34 The researchers analyzed adiposity, metabolic markers and food intake.
Blood pressure and waist circumference were also recorded. After results were adjusted for confounding factors such as age, gender, ethnicity, smoking and socioeconomic status, the researchers found the number of sleep hours was negatively associated with body mass index and waist circumference. However, it was not associated with any dietary measures.
They found adults sleeping fewer hours were more likely to be obese.35 If you’re trying to lose weight, getting an adequate amount of sleep may mean the difference between success and failure.
Researchers at the University of Chicago found those who slept 8.5 hours lost 55% more body fat than those who slept 5.5 hours. According to these researchers,36 “Lack of sufficient sleep may compromise the efficacy of typical dietary interventions for weight loss and related metabolic risk reduction.”
Light and EMF pollution reduces sleep quality
Your quality of sleep may be impacted by the number of hours you spend sleeping, an irregular sleep pattern and by light and electromagnetic pollution. If you have ever gone camping, you likely noticed a change in the quality of sleep you enjoyed. Chances are you slept deeper and awakened more rested.
Two influential factors resulting in better sleep outdoors and away from “civilization” are a drastic reduction in exposure to artificial lights and electromagnetic fields (EMF). Your circadian clock is affected by your melatonin levels, which is in turn affected by your exposure to light at night. This plays a role in how deeply you sleep and how well rested you might feel the next day.
Even exceptionally dim light during sleep may have a detrimental effect on quality and quantity. Ideally, you’ll want to avoid having any light in your bedroom at night.
Consider using blackout blinds on your window if you have a street lamp outside your bedroom. Also, consider moving any alarm clock or other light emitting device outside the bedroom and/or wearing a sleep mask to reduce light exposure.
EMF may also impair your sleep quality37 and produce oxidative damage.38 Consider shutting off all electronic devices and your Wi-Fi at night to reduce your exposure and improve your sleep quality.
Strategies to improve your sleep quality
Sleep continues to be one of the mysteries of life. Although it was once thought to be little more than a waste of time, modern research has shed light on the crucial component sleep plays in a healthy lifestyle.
Unfortunately, sleep debt has a cumulative effect and a persistent lack of sleep may disrupt your health. The good news is there are many natural techniques you may use to restore sleep health, develop a regular pattern of sleep and enjoy high-quality sleep.
Whether you have difficulty in the early hours of the night falling asleep, waking up too often, difficulty falling back to sleep or don’t feel rested when you wake up in the morning, you will likely find tips in my previous article, “Top 33 tips to optimize your sleep routine,” to help adjust your pattern and improve your sleep quality.
Additionally, the article gives you the ideal amount of time you need to sleep depending on your age. As discussed, maintaining a natural rhythm of daylight and darkness is essential to quality sleep, and we share more about this in my interview with Dan Pardi in the article.
Warning: This oil comes with potentially damaging side effects due to either the ingredient it’s made from or the manufacturing process used to extract it. Because these negative effects overshadow the potential benefits, I do not recommend this oil for therapeutic use. Always be aware of the potential side effects of any herbal oil before using.
Canola oil is widely promoted as “one of the best oils for heart health.”1 However, this information is rather flawed, as canola oil and similar highly processed cooking oils hold untold dangers to your health.
Read on to learn what you should know about canola oil, and what my personal recommendations for the best cooking oil are.
Referred to as “the healthiest cooking oil” by its makers, canola oil is low in saturated fats and high in monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFA) and polyunsaturated fats (PUFA) such as oleic acid, linoleic acid and alpha-linolenic (ALA).2,3 The oil is produced from a series of processes ranging from solvent extraction with hexane, to refining, bleaching and deodorization.4
Although canola is a type of rapeseed, the canola you see on store shelves is not the rapeseed you may be familiar with that is used for industrial and nonedible purposes, such as for lubricants, plastics and hydraulic fluids. The edible canola oil, on the other hand, is specifically grown as a food crop, genetically altered to contain significantly lower levels of erucic acid and glucosinolate in it, which makes it safe to eat.5
The modification focuses on broadening the seasons and regions where the plants can be cultivated and maximizing yield. The bad news is that in order to boost the resistance, researchers have developed herbicide-tolerant canola, including Roundup-ready and Liberty-tolerant types.6
Canola oil is a common ingredient in food products such as salad dressings, salad oil and margarines.7
Even though it’s marketed as a food product, according to the Canola Council of Canada, once plant-sourced oils like canola oil are processed they “can be used industrially to formulate lubricants, oils, fuels, soaps, paints, plastics, cosmetics or inks.”
Canola can also be used to produce ethanol and biodiesel. The point is, the Canola Council says, is that “just because you can do this doesn’t make the approved food oils at the grocery store somehow poisonous or harmful.”8
Canola oil is often praised by the mainstream food industry due to its fatty acid content:9
- Saturated fat — Canola oil contains about 7%, or about half the amount found in corn oil, olive oil and soybean oil.
- Monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFA) — This is the most abundant fat in canola oil. The MUFA oleic acid makes up 61% of canola oil — second only to olive oil.
- Polyunsaturated fatty acid (PUFA) — Compared to palm oil and olive oil, canola oil has a higher amount of PUFA. It has a ratio of omega-6 fat (linoleic acid) and omega-3 fat (alpha-linolenic acid) of 2-to-1.
Unfortunately, details you’re told by vegetable oil manufacturers about canola oil’s production and benefits don’t tell the whole story. As mentioned, canola oil was created through the hybridization and genetic alteration of the rapeseed, a plant used for industrial purposes.10 Rapeseed oil came from the plant known as “rape,” from a Latin word meaning “turnip.”11 Along with cruciferous vegetables, rape is a domesticated crop belonging to the Brassicaceae family.12
Although rapeseed oil is composed of 60% monounsaturated fat, it is inedible because of two dangerous substances:
- Erucic acid — a type of fatty acid that is associated with Keshan’s disease, characterized by fibrotic lesions in the heart13
- Glucosinolates — bitter compounds that negatively affected the taste of rapeseed oil14
To turn rapeseed oil into an edible product, Canadian manufacturers used selective breeding to formulate seeds that had lower levels of erucic acid and glucosinolates. Canola oil, also known as “low erucic acid rapeseed (LEAR),” was formed.15
But, what the manufacturers don’t call attention to when they’re calling canola “healthy” is that hexane, one of the chemicals needed to extract oil from the seeds, is an HAP: a hazardous air pollutant. This begs the question of whether hexane is safe when ingested.16
According to the Toxicology Data Network, hexane may target the central nervous system and respiratory system when ingested.17 While hexane occurs in canola oil in only minute amounts, there are no sufficient studies that prove that it is safe to ingest.
Another part of the processing of canola oil is deodorizing, which is the step responsible for its bland taste. The bad news with this is that deodorizing reduces canola oil’s omega-3 fatty acids by up to 20%18 — so in the end, there’s not enough omega-3s for you to reap the benefits.
Although the food industry says it is, I do not believe canola oil is safe. Despite its “generally recognized as safe” (GRAS) status, no long-term human safety studies have been conducted on canola oil.19 Animal studies, however, contradict some of the health claims about canola oil.
For example, in Canadian research published in 1997 in Nutrition Research, piglets fed with milk replacers containing canola oil had signs of vitamin E deficiency, even if the replacement contained sufficient amounts of the nutrient. Deficiency in vitamin E can be dangerous, as it can lead to free radical damage and cardiovascular problems.20
A year later, researchers found the piglets fed with canola oil had reduced platelet count and an increase in platelet size. The researchers concluded that the ingestion of canola oil interfered with normal hematological development.21 In another animal test conducted, rats ended up with high blood pressure, an increased risk for stroke and a shortened lifespan when canola oil became their primary source of fat.22
It is important to take note that these studies were made prior to the introduction of GE canola oil. This means you face not only the dangers of canola oil discovered in these studies, but also the potential hazards of genetically modified vegetable oils that may remain as residues in the final product.
So, what really happens when you use canola oil in your food? The answer is that canola oil and other heated vegetable oils are some of the worst ingredients you can add to your food, if for no other reason that eating foods with canola oil will only distort your omega-6 to omega-3 ratio.
The bottom line is if you’re using canola oil, it’s time to throw it out and replace it with fats that will truly benefit your health. One of your best options is coconut oil, which I personally use. Olive oil is also good, but if you’re going to cook with an oil, coconut is the better choice because it tolerates higher heat levels, as I explain later in this section.
Another problem with canola oil is that it’s even more dangerous when hydrogenated, which is common in processed foods. Manufacturers hydrogenate the oil because it prolongs processed foods’ shelf life.23 And then, to make matters worse, consuming these foods exposes you to even higher levels of trans fats.24
So, the idea that canola oil is beneficial to your health is nothing but a myth. Another myth is that saturated fat is bad for you. The “bad” fat belief stemmed from Ancel Keys’ Seven Countries Study,25 which linked saturated fat with heart disease. The truth is that his research was manipulated to achieve the conclusion that saturated fat is “bad,” as he selectively analyzed data from seven countries rather than comparing all data from 22 studies available to him at the time.
When you look at the majority of the data he had available to him, you’ll find that all the data combined actually disproved his theory. The truth is saturated fat does not cause heart disease and is, in fact, an important part of a healthy diet.26
The reason coconut oil is the best choice for cooking is that it’s resistant to heat damage, unlike canola oil and other vegetable oils. Coconut oil also carries beneficial fat like lauric acid, which provides antiviral, antibacterial and antiprotozoa properties.27
If you’re not cooking with it, another beneficial oil I recommend is olive oil. It’s important to remember that olive oil is highly sensitive to heat damage, so you definitely don’t want to cook with it. But it’s great at room temperature drizzled over cold salads.
Another caveat: Make sure you purchase only high-quality authentic olive oil, as 60% to 90% of the brands sold in the market today are adulterated. Good quality olive oil contains important vitamins and nutrients, and can be a salad superstar if you buy the right kind. For more information on olive oil, check out my article on using it in salads, “Olive Oil: The salad superstar.”
It sounds like a fairytale or maybe the plot of a Charles Dickens novel — but it’s a true story.
It began when Víctor Martín Angulo Córdova, an 11-year-old boy from Moche, Perú, caught the attention of the officers monitoring the city’s security cameras.
A street camera captured video of the sixth grader sitting and lying down in the road under a streetlamp doing his homework.
Soon the images and the backstory went public on news outlets and social media.
By Benjamin Fulford,
The meltdown of the Zionist control grid is now public, as even the corporate mainstream propaganda media is reporting the attacks last week on tankers near Oman as “false flag.” The situation has reached the point that former U.S. colonies like Germany and Japan are openly and publicly defying the U.S. President and Secretary of State on this issue. This surreal turn of events is comparable to the fall of Communism and the Soviet Union.
In this case, we are witnessing the fall of the U.S. corporate government and (possibly) the rebirth of the Republic of the United States of America. In fact, we may even be witnessing the fall from power of the secret family groupings hiding behind monotheism.
The 13 bloodlines who have controlled monotheism are, in fact, negotiating a new system for running the planet, according to European royals and members of the White Dragon Society (WDS). If these negotiations succeed, it will be the biggest event in thousands of years of human history. If they fail, there will be chaos and bloodshed, especially among the elite, anti-bloodline Gnostic Illuminati, sources say.
Even if this sounds exaggerated, events in the actual real world do show a fundamental change. Let’s start with the failure of the false flag attack of the coast of Oman. U.S. naval intelligence and CIA sources followed the money to see who benefits from this attack. The trail led to the Rothschild-owned Glencore commodities company in Switzerland, which had positioned itself to profit from a spike in oil futures prices immediately before this attack took place, the sources say. Unfortunately, the oil futures price spike turned out to be merely a dead cat bounce and the Rothschilds failed to profit as expected. That’s because the markets, and the world, have had enough of the Zionists crying Iranian wolf, they say.
What’s interesting about this latest provocation is how even a former U.S. colony like Japan is no longer going along with the Zionist playbook. To quote from corporate news reports, “Even if it’s the United States that makes the assertion, we cannot simply say we believe it,” said a source close to Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. If having expertise sophisticated enough to conduct the attack could be a reason to conclude that the attacker was Iran, “That would apply to the United States and Israel as well,” said a source at the Foreign Ministry.
As far back as I can remember, this sort of public Japanese rebuke of a sitting U.S. administration has never happened even once since Japan lost World War II.
The attack in Oman came as Abe was in Iran trying to get Iranian agreement for a new financial system, Japanese military intelligence sources say. The Iranians were supportive, but …
… not if Zionists like Trump and his Rothschild stooges were involved, the sources say. “I do not see Trump as worthy of any message exchange,” Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei told Abe.
“The botched false flag to blame Iran has only weakened the Zionists, and may lead to the firing of [National Security Adviser John] Bolton and sincere efforts for a summit with Khamenei,” Pentagon sources said.
However, Iran and other countries are taking a hard line because it’s clear the U.S. is losing the trade war with China big time. Here’s the bottom line: ships are going from China to the U.S. full of real stuff and then returning empty. Even if China wanted to buy stuff from the U.S., it’s too expensive and there’s not enough of it. So, in the real world, if trade between the U.S. and China stopped, Americans would stop getting Chinese computers, smartphones, etc. while the Chinese would stop getting American IOUs. In other words, the Chinese would just be losing a customer who cannot pay his bills. It’s a no-brainer as to who will win.
Public statements last week by the respective commerce ministers of both countries show this power imbalance. “President Trump has indicated his strong desire for a meeting [with Xi Jinping],” Trump economic adviser Larry Kudlow said. Kudlow also made vague threats.
Here was the response: “China’s attitude is very clear. The United States must change its attitude, show sincerity, and correct its wrong practices if it wants the talks to continue,” Ministry of Commerce spokesperson Gao Feng told a press conference.
So now Trump has asked for a meeting with Vladimir Putin at the G-20 meeting in Japan on June 28–29, in the hopes of getting Russian help in dealing with China.
However, Trump has been threatening Germany with troop cuts and other sanctions if they buy gas from Russia instead of (at a much higher price) from the U.S. This was “nothing other than blackmail and a form of unfair competition,” according to Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov.
The fact is that the Trump regime is now threatening or carrying out sanctions on Russia, Iran, India, Turkey, China, North Korea, Germany, Venezuela, Japan, etc. What these “sanctions” really boil down to is a hollow threat to “buy our stuff or else.” With so many countries not obeying, the schoolyard bully is quickly becoming isolated.
However, this does not mean the U.S. military-industrial financial complex is powerless. The Oman attack did serve as a discrete reminder that the U.S. military still has the technical ability to choke off vital world trade routes like the Hormuz or Malacca Straits.
Also, the Anglo/Dutch/American nexus still controls much of the world’s oil, especially in the Middle East. They are negotiating behind the scenes with other oil powers like Russia and France to create a more stable Middle East and bring Iran back to the negotiating table. Already, the Pentagon sources say, “Lebanon is now a multilateral protectorate of not just Russia, France, and Italy, but the UK is hoping to drill for gas there with British Petroleum.”
The U.S. military-industrial complex also still has a huge military advantage over all other countries. “United Technologies buying Raytheon should give pause to Boeing and Lockheed and foster more competition and innovation for the military-industrial complex,” the Pentagon sources say.
Finally, as the huge demonstrations last week in Hong Kong showed, Asians—including India, ASEAN, Japan, and the Korean Peninsula—do not want total Chinese domination. The Asians remain willing and able to finance the U.S. military to guard their independence, multiple Asian sources concur.
The rest of the world also does not want to replace Zionist hegemony with Chinese totalitarianism. That means that in the end, despite the posturing, the world will make sure the U.S. and China reach a win-win conclusion.
The Zionists, meanwhile, are waving their Stuxnet card around like crazy in an effort to keep from imploding. They staged a blackout last week all over Argentina as that country prepares to remove Zionist stooge President Mauricio Macri. The New York Times article last week saying the U.S. could shut down Russia’s entire electrical grid was also an obvious Zionist Stuxnet threat.
However, Stuxnet may be the Zionists’ last card, as they lose their grip over the media and the financial system. (They have already lost control of the military.)
The latest development in their media meltdown was the revelation that “A fake Iranian activist (he doesn’t exist) published 61 articles in Forbes Magazine (my former employer).”
Although I did not read these 61 articles, it’s a safe bet that they were anti-Iranian fearmongering propaganda.
The chart below shows how the fearmongering corporate media constantly harps on about murder, terrorism, and suicide, even as people tune out because none of these issues are even close to being the biggest threats we face.
The age-old bloodline tactic of divide-and-conquer fearmongering is no longer working.
The attempts by the ruling elite families to keep power by murdering people are also failing. The probable murders of New York Deputy Police Chief Steven Silks, veteran detective Joe Calabrese, and former Arkansas State Senator Linda Collins-Smith failed miserably to stop ongoing investigations of elite pedophilia. The Justice Department responded to these attempts with the June 11th announcement of the arrest of 1,700 suspected child predators.
The Zionists are also about to lose financial control. Pentagon sources say “a Deutsche Bank implosion should lead to the collapse of fiat currency and the launch of the Quantum Financial System (QFS).”
The people behind the QFS are negotiating now with the White Dragon Society for the creation of a future planning agency and the start of a massive campaign to “save the planet,” WDS and British royal family sources say. However, no announcement is likely before the autumn, the sources say. This is because changing the world without a world war takes time.
In the meantime, we shall see if the U.S. corporate government finally goes bankrupt over the summer. This will be seen in public as another U.S. government shutdown. However, this time it may lead, as many U.S. patriots hope, to a formal announcement of the rebirth of the Republic of the United States of America on the 4th of July this year. Maybe by then Trump will reveal whether he is a Trojan horse for the patriots, as many still hope, or for the Zionists, as his own public words and actions seem to show.
Like a cosmic flower, I open the petals of my soul to you, allowing the vivid, sacred and intensely loving light of the core of my being to pour into your reality, aura, body, and soul. We exist within an extraordinary and vast universe; it is akin to the garden that has been created and tended to by the Creator. I am the flower head that you can rest upon, protected by my strong powerful petals, which encapsulate you in the purest vibration of light. I am the vast pale golden sun shining upon your face, heart, and soul; accept my warmth and cosmic love as it beams down onto you. I am the air that flows naturally into your body, encircling your being and constantly brushes against your skin. I am the carer, nurturer and affectionate devotee to the Creator’s garden; I am the Creator’s universe. I am a unified aspect of the Creator; I oversee every aspect of the universe, small or large. My energy exists within all because I am an expression of the Creator’s love and consciousness, an overseer and guiding light for all on the Earth. Please understand that I am here to support you, helping you to overcome the challenges of Earth school and comprehend the truth of the Creator. I am your mother, father, brother, sister; I am the soil that you stand upon, the sky above you. I am your soul, you are my soul; we are the Creator in manifestation on the Earth and inner planes.
I am Lord Melchizedek, Universal Logos and loving heart of the Creator. I am a cosmic, galactic master and Christ, holding the Universal Christ Consciousness within my being. I embody the many levels of the Creator’s universe and understand how to progress through the dimensions of learning and integration to gain greater unity. I oversee the Earth from the universal level, I protect, nurture and guide souls existing on the Earth, at a planetary level, solar level, galactic level, and universal level. I integrate all rays of light and enlightenment from each vast and expansive level into my energy and the universal level. I accept the high vibrational energies of the cosmic and multi-universal levels of the Creator’s universe channeling them into every level and soul at the most appropriate energy vibration for acceptance. I realise the will, profound ideas and energy of the Creator as they are passed down to me through evolved masters and beacons of light. It is my purpose to unravel the will of the Creator, to anchor and distribute it through the universal level and into the minds of the galactic, solar and planetary Logoi. You may describe me as a universal anchor for the Creator’s energy and Christ Consciousness, a source through which the light of the Creator shines and is distributed. I hold the many skills, abilities, wisdom, and vibrations of the Creator; I am united with the heart, mind, and soul of the Creator and assist all in gaining an aspect of unity that is most appropriate for their own spiritual growth process.
To connect with me personally, you simply need to repeat my name as a mantra, ‘Lord Melchizedek,’ or call me to your side in your own way. Repeating my name will assist in the anchoring of my vibration, light, love, and consciousness into your being.
The Relationship of Your Soul and Your Mind
Your soul is pure, it is a high vibrational energy of love and wisdom, it is an extremely positive influence in your life and yet it can become isolated, depleting in vibration due to physical influences and the illusions of the ego. While every aspect of your being is a manifestation of the Creator and is in truth pure and sacred, the ego at a physical Earth level has the tendency to take control in a negative way and this is simply because the mind and the soul are disconnected to some extent and are not working as one. The mind draws on past experiences even past lifetime experiences to get through each experience in your life. The mind wants you to feel safe and secure, this can manifest as a need to feel in control especially if the soul is not being engaged. The mind can become enrolled in being the main source of wisdom and overpower your soul and divine intuition that naturally flows through your being. Your mind is so powerful it supports you in projecting and manifesting the reality you experience before you. Your mind sieves through past memories constantly as if searching for something, maybe it is guidance or enlightenment. Its main aim is to recreate your connection with the Creator on the Earth such as feelings of joy, peace, unity, and oneness. However, it tries to achieve this through material knowledge and experiences.
Your soul is ever present within your being, constantly sharing wisdom, love, and divine support to serve you. It is the mind through habits and conditioning that can cause you to not even be aware or conscious of the presence of your soul and its constant emanation through you. This can cause the illusion that your soul is blocked from integrating into your being or that you are unable to connect with or communicate with your soul.
The soul holds onto many lessons and experiences from other lifetimes as well as experiences that will manifest greater learning and expansion. It can appear as if the soul requires cleansing, however, your soul is inviting full body and being realisation of your soul through gifting certain experiences to your life on the Earth.
When the soul is ignored and the mind takes control and an engagement with illusion can manifest, in this case, there is a simply a need to bring greater unity to your being, connecting your mind with your soul, thus empowering and relaxing your mind with the energy of your soul. This creates beautiful experiences of trust, harmony, serenity and of being loved within the mind which influences your entire being and reality. The mind is able to let go of fear, judgment, suffering, and pain to be divinely inspired by the truth of the Creator. This creates such a beautiful feeling of being fully supported, loved, safe and healed.
Embracing the Mind with Your Soul
Focusing on the love of your soul pulsating throughout your being is a powerful pacify of a chattering and unfocused mind. Embracing the mind with love can assist in deepening meditation as the mind adopts a greater stillness which allows a new connection with your soul. When others speak of soul development, ascension, enlightenment, and integration, they are speaking of the unity between the soul and the mind, it is a great achievement that is obtainable and can lead to greater mastery and awakening.
Allow yourself to sit peacefully, relax and try to focus on the word ‘Stillness,’ within your mind, you can imagine the word or repeat it. Focus on this word and allow yourself to be aware of how long it takes for your mind to distract you with an additional thought. Once you realise you have been distracted then bring your focus back to the word ‘Stillness.’ Do not judge yourself, instead, every time you experience a distraction, detach from the distraction and bring yourself back into the moment. This will help you to understand how influential and distracting your mind can be in your everyday life. Complete the practice by inviting your soul to embrace your mind in the purest powerful love energy and vibration. Feel, sense or acknowledge your soul’s love anchoring into every aspect of your mind, as if it is a soothing balm.
Then state: ‘I now invoke the beloved and sacred energy of my soul to expand and swell, melting into my body, aura, and surroundings. I ask my soul to create a deeper bond and connection with my mind, help me to exist as a beacon of my soul light, expressing the light and love of the Creator from every pore of my being. I ask Lord Melchizedek to oversee this process of integration. Thank you.’
Imagine how the light will manifest within your mind, it may create a beam of light through the centre of your mind that emanates into every aspect of your mind. You may imagine the light flowing over your head like a cap or hat and melting into your mind or a golden heart may manifest within your mind, pulsating love and positive consciousness into your thoughts. Allow yourself and soul to be creative generating a symbol you can meditate on and experience the connection between your soul and mind. Allow your mind to be flooded with the light of your soul, knowing that the light holds the divine will of the Creator, a high vibrational consciousness of enlightenment, the wishes of your soul, and precious thoughts of love.
Imagine your soul extending to fill your entire body, it melts through your skin and enters into your aura, dissolving all negative energy and anchoring love into your entire being. Sit and experience your divine energy. If your mind tries to take control embrace it in profound love and forgiveness. This is your special time of connection and integration between your soul and mind, which in itself can be life changing. The more you engage in this practice the more your mind will open to realise and recognise the sacred presence of your soul, allowing you to feel soul filled and soul realised.
‘My soul connects deeply with my mind, I experience focus, clarity and the expression of love through my thoughts. I am consciously in the presence of my soul.’
This is a powerful affirmation that can be used as a mantra to centralise your thoughts and invoke assistance to help you gain a deeper connection between your soul and mind.
With loving supportive pure integration,
Because you were likely born after the sexual revolution, you may not realize that so much of your reality is nudging you towards casual sex.
From the sexual stimuli you perceive in a normal day out in the city to the specific venues you frequent where casual sex can be quickly achieved, you are constantly being funneled into desiring shallow intimacy.
Many corporate industries and globalized forces are controlling this funnel, which all depend on you believing that having a “sex life” is one of the most important features of your existence.
You’ve likely purchased products and services from internet websites. From your perspective, the process is easy and seamless: you’re presented with images, videos, a sales page, and an easy checkout process.