By Dr. Mercola
A slew of media reports encouraging you to eat more fish have surfaced lately, following the publication of a study on omega-3 fats and health. The research, published in The Annals of Internal Medicine,1 suggests that eating oily fish once or twice a week may increase your lifespan.
Naturally, there’s still the issue of environmental pollution and contamination, which was not addressed in this study. Do the benefits of eating fish really outweigh the risks of contamination?
In my view, I believe the benefits CAN outweigh the risks, provided you make really wise choices. There are few uncontaminated fish available these days so you need to know what to look for.
Needless to say, toxins like mercury and PCB will not do your health any favors.
Lately, I’ve shifted my own diet a bit, and am now eating three ounces of Wild Alaskan salmon about every other day. But this is really the ONLY fish I’ll eat on a regular basis, and the only one I feel comfortable recommending as a good source of healthful fats.
Higher Blood Levels of Omega-3 Associated with Longer Life Span
The featured study investigated how eating fatty fish affected health. Nearly 2,700 American seniors in their seventies were included in the study. None of them had prevalent coronary heart disease (CHD), stroke, or heart failure at the outset of the study.
Rather than rely on food diaries, the researchers measured blood levels of omega-3’s instead. Since none of the participants took omega-3 supplements, their levels were indicative of their omega-3 consumption primarily from fish.
Phospholipid fatty acid levels and cardiovascular risk factors were measured in 1992, and the relationships with mortality and incidents of fatal or non-fatal CHD and stroke were assessed through 2008 – a total of 16 years. According to the featured NPR article:2
“After controlling for factors like age, sex and lifestyle, the researchers found that, on average, adults with the highest blood levels of omega-3 fatty acids lived 2.2 years longer. In particular, these adults had a 35 percent lower risk of dying from cardiovascular disease – which is in line with other studies that have tied omega-3’s to cardiovascular benefits. Higher levels of fatty acids were most strongly associated with decreased risk of coronary heart disease and stroke.”
Compared to those in the lowest percentiles, those with omega-3 blood levels in the highest 20 percent were:
- 27 percent less likely to die of any cause
- 40 percent less likely to die of coronary heart disease, and
- 48 percent less likely to die of an arrhythmia
One drawback is that since it was not a randomized trial, the findings cannot prove causation, meaning there’s no way of telling whether higher omega-3 blood levels were solely responsible for the health effects. That said, there’s ample evidence that omega-3 is critical for optimal health, particularly cardiovascular health, so this research provides additional support for the value of optimizing your omega-3 intake.
In the following video, I interview Randy Hartnell, founder-president of Vital Choice Wild Seafood and Organics, about the differences between wild and farmed salmon. Hartnell spent more than 20 years as a commercial fisherman before forming his company in 2001, which features sustainably harvested wild salmon that are particularly low in heavy metals.
I’m a huge fan of their sockeye salmon, and Vital Choice salmon is about the only type of fish I eat, for reasons I’ll discuss below.
Beware, as Media Tries to Mislead You About Healthful Fish Choices
According to lead author Dr. Dariush Mozaffarian, an associate professor of medicine at Harvard, the reason we need omega-3 is because 95 percent of your cells’ membranes are made of fat. Without fats such as omega-3, your cells cannot function properly. He recommends eating one or two servings of fatty fish per week to optimize your blood levels of omega-3. Interestingly enough, the New York Times3 gets quite specific about the types of fish recommended:
“...3.5 ounces of farmed salmon, 5 ounces of anchovies or herring, or 15 to 18 ounces of cod or catfish.”
I think not... That is one of your WORST options, for a number of reasons that I will detail below. Cod and catfish also primarily come from aquatic fish farms these days. Unfortunately, fish farming has become big business, and a protected one at that. To learn more about this sad state of affairs, please see my recent article on the film Salmon Confidential, which details how salmon farms threaten the entire ecosystem in Canada’s British Columbia, and how the Canadian government is covering it up to protect the farming industry.
Let me put it to you plainly: If you want to maximize health benefits from fish, you want to steer clear of farmed fish, particularly farmed salmon, and even more specifically genetically engineered farmed salmon. On December 21, 2012, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) took a giant step closer toward the final approval of the first genetically engineered (GE) food animal – a salmon designed to grow abnormally fast,4 and to an unnaturally large size. It now appears the first GE fish could reach your dinner plate within the next year or two, unless a sufficiently strong opposition is mounted.
How to Identify Wild Salmon from Farm-Raised
Unfortunately, salmon are often mislabeled (and genetically engineered foods don’t require any labeling at all as of yet). Studies have shown that as much as 70 to 80 percent of the fish marked "wild" are actually farmed. This includes restaurants, where 90-95 percent of salmon is farmed, yet may be mis-listed on the menu as "wild."
So how can you tell whether a salmon is wild or farm-raised? The flesh of wild sockeye salmon is bright red, courtesy of its natural astaxanthin content. It’s also very lean, so the fat marks, those white stripes you see in the meat, are very thin. If the fish is pale pink with wide fat marks, the salmon is farmed. Avoid Atlantic salmon, as typically salmon labeled "Atlantic Salmon" currently comes from fish farms.
The two designations you want to look for are: “Alaskan salmon,” and “sockeye salmon,” as Alaskan sockeye is not allowed to be farmed. So canned salmon labeled "Alaskan Salmon" is a good bet, and if you find sockeye salmon, it's bound to be wild. Again, you can tell sockeye salmon from other salmon by its color; its flesh is bright red opposed to pink, courtesy of its superior astaxanthin content. Sockeye salmon actually has one of the highest concentrations of astaxanthin of any food.
Why Farmed Salmon is an Inferior Choice
As the first video discusses, there are three major differences between wild-caught and farmed salmon, and once you realize how different the fish are, based on how they were raised, you’ll see why opting for the cheaper alternative isn’t the wisest choice – especially if you’re seeking to improve your omega-3 to omega-6 ratio:
- Nutritional content – Wild salmon swim around in the wild, eating what nature programmed them to eat. Therefore, their nutritional profile is more complete, with micronutrients, fats, minerals, vitamins, and antioxidants like astaxanthin (which gives salmon its pink, or in the case of sockeye, red-colored, flesh.)
Farmed salmon, on the other hand, are fed an artificial diet consisting of grain products like corn and soy (most of which is genetically modified), along with chicken and feather meal, artificial coloring, and synthetic astaxanthin, which is not approved for human consumption, but is permitted to be used in fish feed.
Mother Nature never intended fish to eat these things, and as a consequence of this radically unnatural diet, the nutritional content of their flesh is also altered, and not for the better. Farmed salmon taste different than wild-caught, and much of it has to do with the altered fat ratio, which is dramatically different. Farmed salmon contain far more omega-6, courtesy of their grain-based diet.
The ratio of omega-3 to omega-6 fat of wild salmon is far superior to farmed. Wild salmon typically has 600 to 1,000 percent more omega-3s compared to omega-6s. So whereas farmed salmon has a 1 to 1 ratio of omega-3s and omega-6s – again due to its “junk food” diet – the ratio for wild sockeye salmon is between 6 and 9 to 1. This is important, because if you’re trying to improve your omega-3 to omega-6 balance, you simply will not accomplish it with farmed salmon.
- Fish Health – Wild salmon return to their native spawning grounds each year, without you having to do anything, while farmed salmon are kept in pens. Naturally, fish swimming in the wild get more exercise, and this alone make wild fish healthier than their incarcerated counterparts. As explained by Tony Farrell5 with the University of British Columbia Zoology department, fish kept in constrained environments become the aquatic version of “couch potatoes,” with similar health consequences as humans face when we don’t exercise enough.
Recent research6 has shown that survival rates of fish that have received sufficient exercise is 13 percent higher than the “couch potato” controls, and the exercise-conditioned fish had better growth, and stronger immune systems, courtesy of certain gene activations.
- Environment – Nearly 99 percent of farmed salmon are raised in net pens in the open ocean. All the excess food that is dropped in ends up going out in the environment – the genetically engineered ingredients, the pesticides, the antibiotics and chemical additives. Anything the fish do not consume, along with all their now unnatural waste products, end up contaminating the environment. To learn more about the many hazards of fish farming, check out FarmedAndDangerous.org.7
There’s also the vegetarian or vegan ethical aspect. Wild sockeye salmon are the vegetarians of the salmon world. Their diet consists of krill, plankton and algae, and they are caught at the very end of their life cycle. By the time they enter the fishing grounds, they’ve lived 95 percent of their natural life in the wild. At the end of their life, they fight their way up-river to spawn, after which they die a natural death – unless they’re caught by fishermen or get eaten by some other predator.
Lethal Salmon Virus Found in Every Region with Installed Salmon Farms
According to whistleblower Dr. Rick Rutledge, professor and fisheries statistician at Simon Fraser University in Canada, wild river inlet sockeye have been found to be infected with Infectious Salmon Anemia Virus (ISA), also known as salmon influenza. This highly lethal and much-feared virus is directly attributed to farmed salmon, and has proliferated in every region across the globe where Atlantic salmon farms have been installed.
At least 11 species of fish in the British Columbia’s Fraser River have also been found to be infected with ISA, yet the Canadian food inspection agency has aggressively refuted the findings. In fact, everyone who has spoken up about these salmon viruses, which can be traced back to salmon farms, have been shut down in some way or another. By muzzling scientists looking into this problem, the Canadian government is allowing potentially contaminated farm-raised salmon to be sold, exported, and consumed, which is yet another reason to avoid farmed salmon.
In fact, Canadian farmed salmon purchased in various stores and sushi restaurants around British Columbia have tested positive for at least three different salmon viruses, including ISA, salmon alphaviruses, and Piscine reovirus, which gives salmon a heart attack and prevents them from swimming up river. Aside from the unknown effects on human health from eating salmon with lethal fish viruses, these contaminated farmed salmon may also pose a threat to local watersheds far from the site of origination, as viruses are preserved by cold so when you wash the fish the viruses get flushed down your drain...
This is a Flash-based video and may not be viewable on mobile devices.
The Best and Worst Fish to Eat in Terms of Environmental Toxins
Interestingly enough, and fortunately for us, the types of fish that tend to suffer the least amount of toxic contamination also happen to be some of the best sources of fat and antioxidants. So, by choosing wisely, the benefits of a diet high in fish can still outweigh the risks.
Most major waterways in the world are contaminated with mercury, heavy metals, and chemicals like dioxins, PCBs, and other agricultural chemicals that wind up in the environment. However, the risk of authentic wild-caught Alaskan sockeye salmon accumulating high amounts of mercury and other toxins is reduced because of its short life cycle, which is only about three years. Additionally, bioaccumulation of toxins is also reduced by the fact that it doesn’t feed on other, already contaminated, fish.
If you still want to take precautions, you can do what I do: Whenever I eat fish, I eat it with chlorella tablets. The chlorella is a potent mercury binder and if taken with fish will help bind the mercury before your body can absorb it, so it can be safely excreted in your stool.
Other fish with short lifecycles also tend to be better alternatives in terms of fat content, so it’s a win-win situation – lower contamination risk and higher nutritional value. A general guideline is that the closer to the bottom of the food chain the fish is, the less contamination it will have accumulated. This includes:
If you insist on eating typical, store-bought fish and want to know more about the extent of your mercury exposure, I urge you to check out the online mercury calculator8 at GotMercury.org to get an idea of the risks. Additionally, as mentioned above, you may want to consider taking natural mercury chelators with any fish dinner. This includes zeolite (green clay), chlorella, and fermented vegetables. Larger fish, which tend to live longer and have the highest contamination levels and should be avoided include (please note this is not an exhaustive listing):
Tuna (tuna steaks, sushi, and canned) Sea bass and largemouth bass Marlin Halibut Pike Walleye Shark Sword fish White croaker
Enjoy Your Fish, But Choose Wisely!
Fish has always been the best source for the animal-based omega-3 fats EPA and DHA, but as levels of pollution have increased, this treasure of a food has become less and less viable as a primary source of healthful fats. However, there are still exceptions, and the key is to understand which types of fish are the least contaminated.
I strongly recommend buying wild fish, and Wild Alaskan salmon is in my opinion one of the absolute best, both in terms of nutrition and potential contamination.
Remember, fish farms are the aquatic version of a confined animal feeding operation (CAFO), and just like land-based cattle and chicken farms, fish farms breed disease due to crowding too many fish together in a small space. They also produce toxic waste, and fish of inferior quality. These fish are further contaminated by drugs and genetically engineered corn and soy meal feed, and in the case of salmon, synthetic astaxanthin, which is made from petrochemicals that are not approved for human consumption.
What You Need to Know Before You Ever Order Fish at a Restaurant
Salmon Confidential—How a Canadian Government Cover-Up Threatens Your Health, and the Entire Ecosystem
By Dr. Mercola
Fish has always been the best source for the animal-based omega-3 fats EPA and DHA, but as levels of pollution have increased, this treasure of a food has become less and less viable as a primary source of healthful fats.
For example, the rate of mercury contamination in tuna and other Pacific fish increased 30 percent between 1990 and 2009. About 40 percent of all U.S. exposure to mercury comes from eating contaminated tuna from the Pacific, and roughly 75 percent of all human exposure to mercury in general comes from eating fish.
Still, tuna remains a favorite staple among many Americans. This may soon change, however, once people get wind of the latest food fraud...
As evidence of seafood fraud and widespread contamination grows, along with mounting evidence of the critical importance of omega-3 fats found in fish, finding and using a viable alternative becomes an increasingly pressing issue.
My favorite animal-based omega-3 source is krill oil, which also provides other important immune boosting benefits courtesy of the astaxanthin it contains. Recent research shows fish oil may help protect against skin cancer, and astaxanthin alone is already known to act as an “internal sunscreen.”
Sushi Lovers Beware: Majority of 'White Tuna' is Actually Dangerous Fish Substitute
According to the nonprofit ocean protection group Oceana, nearly 60 percent of the fish labeled "tuna" in the US is not actually tuna... The startling revelation of absolutely massive seafood fraud came to light in February, when Oceana published its 69-page report,1 which focuses on fraudulent seafood substitution.
Between 2010 and 2012, Oceana conducted one of the largest seafood fraud investigations in the world to date. More than 1,200 seafood samples were collected from 674 retail outlets in 21 states, which were then genetically tested to determine if they were honestly labeled. As it turns out, the vast majority of the fish were not at all what they were claimed to be...
Overall, a full one-third (33 percent) of the fish samples were mislabeled; substituted for cheaper, less desirable and/or more readily available fish varieties. The results showed that:
- Mislabeling was found in 27 of the 46 fish types tested (59 percent)
- 87 percent of fish sold as snapper was actually some other type of fish
- 59 percent of tuna was some other type of fish
- 84 percent of “white tuna” sold in sushi venues was actually escolar, a fish associated with acute and serious digestive effects if you eat just a couple of ounces
- Grouper, halibut, and red snapper were sometimes substituted with king mackerel and tile fish, two types of fish the FDA advises pregnant women and other sensitive groups to avoid due to high mercury content
Seafood Fraud Found Everywhere Across the US
While seafood substitutions was found in every location where samples were collected, some areas were more affected by substitution fraud than others, and certain types of fish sold in certain locations were substituted more often than others. For example:
- In Seattle, Washington, 18 percent of all fish samples were mislabeled, but 100 percent of all snapper samples were substitutions
- In Northern California, seafood substitutions occurred in 38 percent of all samples
- Southern California had the highest mislabeling rate nationwide, with 52 percent of all fish samples being substituted with other types of fish
- In Austin, Texas, 49 percent of all samples were mislabeled and 48 percent of retail outlets visited sold mislabeled seafood
- 100 percent of sushi samples from New York, NY, Austin, TX, and Washington, DC, were mislabeled
According to Oceana,2 more than 90 percent of the seafood consumed in the US is imported, yet only one percent of imports are inspected for fraud, which may explain this clearly out-of-control situation:
“Our findings demonstrate that a comprehensive and transparent traceability system – one that tracks fish from boat to plate – must be established at the national level. At the same time, increased inspection and testing of our seafood, specifically for mislabeling, and stronger federal and state enforcement of existing laws combatting fraud are needed to reverse these disturbing trends. Our government has a responsibility to provide more information about the fish sold in the U.S., as seafood fraud harms not only consumers’ wallets, but also every honest vendor and fisherman cheated in the process – to say nothing of the health of our oceans.”
How Can You Avoid Being Scammed When Buying Fish?
So what can you do? Oceana offers the following tips for protecting yourself against rampant seafood fraud:3
- Ask questions. Consumers should ask more questions, including what kind of fish it is, if it is wild or farm raised, and where, when and how it was caught.
- Check the price. If the price is too good to be true, it probably is, and you are likely purchasing a completely different species than what is on the label.
- Purchase the whole fish. When possible, purchase the whole fish, which makes it more difficult to swap one species for another.
If You Choose Wisely, Benefits of a High-Fish Diet Can Still Outweigh the Risks
Besides seafood fraud, where you might not be getting the actual fish you paid for, there’s still the issue of contamination. Truly, with all the problems associated with fish these days, it’s hard to support fish as a healthful food, but there are still exceptions. It does require some vigilance on your part though.
In terms of contamination, the key is to understand which types of fish are the least contaminated. By choosing wisely, the benefits of a diet high in fish can still outweigh the risks — provided you also do your best to ascertain that you’re actually getting the fish you want, and not a substitution... In the video below, I interview Randy Hartnell, founder-president of Vital Choice Wild Seafood and Organics. I'm a huge fan of their sockeye salmon, and beside a fish dinner at a restaurant here or there, Vital Choice salmon is about the only type of fish I eat, for two primary reasons:
- Reduced risk of contamination: The risk of sockeye accumulating high amounts of mercury and other toxins is reduced because of its short life cycle, which is only about three years. Additionally, bioaccumulation of toxins is also reduced by the fact that it doesn't feed on other, already contaminated, fish.
- Superior nutritional content: Wild salmon swim around in the wild, eating what nature programmed them to eat. Therefore, their nutritional profile is more complete, with micronutrients, fats, minerals, vitamins, and antioxidants like astaxanthin (which gives salmon its pink, or in the case of sockeye, red-colored, flesh).
Farmed salmon, for comparison, are fed an artificial diet consisting of grain products like corn and soy (most of which is genetically modified), along with chicken and feather meal, artificial coloring, and synthetic astaxanthin, which is not approved for human consumption, but is permitted to be used in fish feed.
Nature never intended fish to eat these things, and as a consequence of this radically unnatural diet, the nutritional content of their flesh is also altered, and not for the better. Farmed salmon tastes different than wild-caught, and much of it has to do with the altered fat ratio, which is dramatically different. Farmed salmon contains far more omega-6, courtesy of their grain-based diet.
The ratio of omega-3 to omega-6 fat of wild salmon is far superior to farmed salmon. Wild salmon typically has 600 to 1,000 percent more omega-3s compared to omega-6s. So whereas farmed salmon has a 1 to 1 ratio of omega-3s and omega-6s — again due to its "junk food" diet — the ratio for wild sockeye salmon is between 6 and 9 to 1. This is important, because if you're trying to improve your omega-3 to omega-6 balance, you simply will not accomplish it with farmed salmon.
Beware: Mislabeled Salmon is Also Exceedingly Common
Unfortunately, salmon are also often mislabeled, even though salmon was not specifically pinpointed as a frequently mislabeled fish in Oceana’s fraud report. According to Hartnell, other studies have discovered that as much as 70 to 80 percent of the fish marked "wild" were actually farmed. This includes restaurants, where 90-95 percent of salmon is farmed, yet may be mis-listed on the menu as "wild." The following tips that can help you determine whether the salmon is authentically harvested Alaskan fish are:
- Canned salmon labeled "Alaskan Salmon" is a good bet, as Alaskan salmon is not allowed to be farmed.
- In restaurants, mislabeled salmon will typically be described as "wild" but not "wild Alaskan." This is because authentic "wild Alaskan" is easier to trace. The term "wild" is more nebulous and therefore more often misused. In many ways it is very similar to the highly abused "natural" designation.
- Whether you're in a grocery store or a restaurant, ask the seafood clerk or waiter where the fish is from. If it's wild, they will have paid more for it, so they're likely to understand the value proposition. Since it's a selling point, they will know where it came from. If they don't have an answer for you, it's a red flag that it's farmed, or worse... The US Food and Drug Administration is moving forward with approving genetically engineered salmon to be sold, and as you know, GE foods still do not need to be labeled in the US.
- Avoid Atlantic salmon, as all salmon labeled "Atlantic Salmon" currently comes from fish farms.
- Sockeye salmon cannot be farmed, so if you find sockeye salmon, it's bound to be wild. You can tell sockeye salmon from other salmon by its color. It's bright red as opposed to pink. The reason again for this bright red color is its superior astaxanthin content. Sockeye salmon has one of the highest concentrations of astaxanthin of any food.
Omega-3 Fats May Help Prevent Skin Cancer, Study Reveals
In related news, results from the first human clinical trial of its kind shows that consuming omega-3 fish oils can help you prevent skin cancer. Indeed, there’s no shortage of evidence that the omega-3’s you’d ideally get from a diet rich in seafood is critical for your health, which is why it’s so important to find a viable alternative in the face of declining fish quality... According to the findings, published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition,4 regularly consuming fish oils increases immunity to sunlight. As reported by Medical News Today:5
“[Fish oils] directly decreases sunlight-induced immunity suppression - called immunosuppression - which affects the body's power to combat skin cancer and infection. The volunteers consumed a 4g dose of omega-3 - approximately one and a half portions of oily fish each day. Then they were exposed to either 8, 15, or 30 minutes of summer midday sun in Manchester using a specific light machine. A number of other participants took a placebo before being exposed to the sunlight machine.
Immunosuppression was shown to be 50 percent lower in the subjects that took the omega-3 and were exposed to 8 and 15 minutes of sunshine compared with the volunteers who did not take the supplement. Little to no impact on those in the 30 minute group was shown.”
Krill Oil — An Even Better Alternative than Fish Oil
I was one of the first to promote krill as an exceptional source of animal based omega-3 dietary fats. Many have, and some still criticize me for recommending krill oil over fish oil, for the lack of studies to back it up, but the bulk of the new emerging studies are actually confirming that krill is the better option.
For example, research has confirmed that krill has the identical fats as fish oil but is a far higher quality source due to astaxanthin protecting the perishable fats, and the phospholipids that massively increase the absorption of the fats. Furthermore, fish oil, just like whole fish, is also prone to contamination with mercury and other heavy metals. Antarctic krill is not subject to this contamination.
In light of the study above, krill oil makes even more sense, as astaxanthin alone has been shown to act as a very effective “internal sunscreen.” So not only are you getting higher quality omega-3 fats, you’re also getting more potent protection against harmful sun rays, which can allow you to more safely optimize your vitamin D levels by exposing large amounts of skin to natural sun light. I believe it puts you in a perfect win-win situation.
Seafood Fraud and Widespread Contamination Makes Omega-3 Supplement More Important
Fish has always been the best source for the animal-based omega-3 fats EPA and DHA, but with increasing pollution levels, fish has become less and less viable as a primary source of healthful fats. Add to that the obnoxious prevalence of seafood fraud, and the picture is bleak indeed. At the same time, research continues to demonstrate the critical importance of omega-3 fats for human health, making finding and using a viable alternative an increasingly pressing issue.
While I don't advocate taking truckloads of supplements, this is an exception. I do recommend most people consider taking a high quality animal-based omega-3 oil, like krill oil.
Quality is of the essence when selecting any supplement and krill oil is no exception. The only kind of krill oil I recommend is from genuine Antarctic krill. Look for a brand that is cold-processed, which preserves its biological benefits. Please make sure that hexane is not used to extract the oil from the krill as some of the most popular krill oils on the market use this dangerous technique. It should also be free of heavy metals, PCBs, dioxins and other contaminants. The krill should also be harvested in compliance with international conservation standards.
Hazardous Levels of Mercury in Sushi
If You Choose Wisely, the Benefits of a High Fish Diet Can Still Outweigh the Risks Associated with Mercury Contamination
By Dr. Mercola
Fish — and salmon in particular — has always been an ideal source for the animal-based omega-3 fats EPA and DHA, but as levels of pollution have increased, fish in general have become less viable as a primary source of healthful fats.
Soon, there will be even more to worry about as salmon is getting a genetic makeover.
Not only will you need to beware of inferior and poorly labeled farmed salmon, you’ll also have to contend with it possibly being genetically engineered (GE), since the US still does not require GE foods to be labeled as such.
On December 21, 2012, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) took a giant step closer toward the final approval of the first genetically engineered (GE) food animal — a salmon designed to grow abnormally fast,1 and to an unnaturally large size.
It now appears the first GE fish could reach your dinner plate within the next year or two, unless a sufficiently strong opposition is mounted.
According to the FDA,2 the GE salmon is “as safe as food from conventional Atlantic salmon,” but many have brought up significant flaws and limitations of the environmental assessment (EA) on which this conclusion is drawn.
In recent years, mounting evidence shows that initial suspicions that GE foods might have unforeseen consequences were indeed correct — from alteration of soil composition, to contaminating waterways with antibiotic resistant bacteria linked to GE crops,3 to serious health consequences for animals and humans who consume GE products.
Latest GE-Related Health Threat: Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria from GE Experiments Found in Waterways...
The first-ever study4, 5 to address GE crop-related pollution of waterways discovered that Chinese rivers are contaminated with antibiotic-resistant genes from genetic engineering experiments, which (again) may have unforeseen repercussions for human health. According to the authors:6
“Antibiotic resistance poses a significant challenge to human health and its rate continues to rise globally. While antibiotic-selectable synthetic plasmid vectors have proved invaluable tools of genetic engineering, this class of artificial recombinant DNA sequences with high expression of antibiotic resistance genes presents an unknown risk beyond the laboratory setting.
Contamination of environmental microbes with synthetic plasmid vector-sourced antibiotic resistance genes may represent a yet unrecognized source of antibiotic resistance.
In this study, PCR and real-time quantitative PCR were used to investigate the synthetic plasmid vector-originated ampicillin resistance gene, β-lactam antibiotic (blá), in microbes from six Chinese rivers with significant human interactions.
Various levels of blá were detected in all six rivers... The resistance spectrum of transformants from the Pearl and Haihe rivers, in particular, had expanded to the third- and fourth-generation of cephalosporin drugs, while that of other transformants mainly involved first- and second-generation cephalosporins.
This study not only reveals environmental contamination of synthetic plasmid vector-sourced blá drug resistance genes in Chinese rivers, but also suggests that synthetic plasmid vectors may represent a source of antibiotic resistance in humans.”
Monsanto 'To the Rescue' in the Face of Rapid Climate Change?
Part of the PR tactic is to claim biotech companies, with Monsanto in the lead, are essential for mankind’s survival in the face of global climatic changes. In the following interview, Monsanto CEO Hugh Grant vaguely discusses the company’s strategy of “modifying maturity zones” in the U.S. “to encompass climatic shifts.” Essentially, he claims that we need GE crops in order to adapt fast enough to rapidly altering climate.
If you haven’t seen the man in charge of running what many people believe to be the most evil company on the planet, you can get a look at Hugh in the video above. Although he was not in charge when the company first produced Agent Orange and dioxin, it still is the same pernicious organization.
I’m sorry, Hugh. You don’t get a free pass to pollute the world for generations and walk away with tens of billions of dollars. You don’t get to force your “horizontal gene transfer” into living organisms, allowing it to infect like a virus and thereby enslave these life forms and seeds for your profit. Plants, animals, people – where does it stop? Propagating, proliferating, mutating and migrating… Climate changes indeed pose a serious problem, but genetic engineering is not the answer — not when the technology itself threatens all life on the planet!
Monsanto lies in the bed that’s been made, and their dirty deeds are coming back to haunt them. Rest assured, people around the world will relentlessly continue this fight. Grant’s statements are even more ironic in light of the fact that genetically modified (GM) crops are actually failing around the world. So much for offering salvation. According to a recent article in Farmers Weekly:8
“Some US farmers are considering returning to conventional seed after increased pest resistance and crop failures meant GM crops saw smaller yields globally than their non-GM counterparts. Farmers in the USA pay about an extra $100 per acre for GM seed, and many are questioning whether they will continue to see benefits from using GMs.
'It's all about cost benefit analysis,' said economist Dan Basse, president of American agricultural research company AgResource. 'Farmers are paying extra for the technology but have seen yields which are no better than 10 years ago. They're starting to wonder why they're spending extra money on the technology.' One of the biggest problems the USA has seen with GM seed is resistance. While it was expected to be 40 years before resistance began to develop ,pests such as corn rootworm have formed a resistance to GM crops in as few as 14 years.”
GE Crops are NOT the 'Most Tested' Product in the World
What good will GE foods do if they end up sending us into an early grave, riddled with disease, and/or result in widespread infertility one or more generations down the line, like animal studies have demonstrated? The fact is, GE foods have never been proven safe for human consumption over a lifetime, let alone over generations. Grant claims genetically engineered crops are “the most-tested food product that the world has ever seen.” What he doesn’t tell you is that:
- Industry-funded research predictably affects the outcome of the trial. This has been verified by dozens of scientific reviews comparing funding with the findings of the study. When industry funds the research, it’s virtually guaranteed to be positive. Therefore, independent studies must be done to replicate and thus verify results
- The longest industry-funded animal feeding study was 90 days, which recent research has confirmed is FAR too short. In the world’s first independently funded lifetime feeding study, massive health problems set in during and after the 13th month, including organ damage and cancer
- Companies like Monsanto and Syngenta rarely if ever allow independent researchers access to their patented seeds, citing the legal protection these seeds have under patent laws. Hence independent research is extremely difficult or nearly impossible to conduct. If these scientists get seeds from a farmer, they sue them into oblivion as one of their favorite tactics is to use the legal system to their advantage. Additionally, virtually all academic agricultural research is controlled by Monsanto as they are the primary supporters of these departments and none will risk losing their funding from them
- There is no safety monitoring. Meaning, once the GE item in question has been approved, not a single country on earth is actively monitoring and tracking reports of potential health effects
High-Priced PR should NOT be Confused with Science-Based Truth
All in all, if their genetically altered food products have something wrong with them that potentially could cause consumer illness, the biotech industry would rather NOT have you find out about it. Not through independent research, nor through a simple little label that would allow you to opt out of the experiment, should you choose not to take them on their word.
Why don’t they want labeling? Because it would clearly decrease their profits, just like it did in Europe once labeling was implemented.
Doesn’t this remind you of the public health debate that went on for decades over another multi-billion dollar industry -- cigarettes? For decades the companies producing this cancer-causing product denied they caused any harm, denied nicotine was addictive, and even ran advertisements featuring doctors claiming cigarettes were good for your cough. They produced study after study by their own scientists claiming there was no health threat whatsoever from cigarettes.
Executives from every major cigarette company even lied to Congress under oath, claiming they had no knowledge cigarettes were addictive, when in fact they did know — they even manipulated the nicotine content9 of cigarettes to keep you hooked! Bet you didn’t know that, did you? Genetically engineered foods are just another wolf in the same old sheep’s clothing. The propaganda and the fraud has worked so well for so long, why bother changing something that works so well? Don’t fall for the same old scheme! Instead, read what the few independent researchers are really saying about the science behind genetically engineered foods. You can find all previous articles on this topic on my dedicated GMO News page.
Monsanto Heads to Supreme Court
Monsanto has long been trying to establish control over the seeds of the plants that produce food for the world. They have patented a number of genetically altered food crops, which can only be grown with proper license, and the seeds which must be purchased anew each year. Alas, genetically engineered (GE) crops cannot be contained. And rather than being found guilty of contaminating farmers' property, Monsanto has successfully sued hundreds of unsuspecting farmers for patent infringement when unlicensed GE crops were found growing in their fields. Many farmers have subsequently, quite literally, lost their farms.
Few have had the fortitude necessary to stand up to Monsanto’s seemingly limitless power. According to a report10 by the Center for Food Safety (CFS), Monsanto had, as of December 2012, filed 142 patent infringement lawsuits against 410 farmers and 56 small businesses in more than 27 states. All in all, Monsanto has been awarded a staggering $23 million from their mafia tactics so far11.
Seventy-five year old Indiana soybean farmer Vernon Bowman is one of the few who is fighting back.12 On February 19, the US Supreme Court began hearing his appeal, in which he disputes Monsanto's claim that his farm used the patented seeds without authorization. According to a recent press release:13
“Farmer Bowman legally purchased seeds at a grain elevator, which bought them from farmers who had, with Monsanto's authorization, used the genetically modified Monsanto seeds to grow their soybean crops. Monsanto claims that Mr. Bowman infringed its patents on herbicide-resistant plants and seeds by using the grain elevator seeds to grow his soybean crops. Mr. Bowman asserts that Monsanto's sales of the original seeds to authorized purchasers exhausted Monsanto's patent rights and therefore Monsanto cannot enforce its patents against second-generation and later seeds that resulted from planting the original seeds.”
The central issue in this case is the extent that a patent holder (in this case Monsanto) can control its use through multiple generations of seed.14 Many hope the Supreme Court will deliver a decision that will curb the current system of patenting seeds and other life forms (especially food sources). According to Reuters:15
“The court battle has ballooned into a show-down that merges contentious matters of patent law with an ongoing national debate about the merits and pitfalls of genetically altered crops and efforts to increase food production. More than 50 organizations - from environmental groups to intellectual property experts - as well as the U.S. government, have filed legal briefs hoping to sway the high court.
Companies developing patented cell lines and tools of molecular biotechnology could lose their ability to capture the ongoing value of these technologies if the Supreme Court sides with Bowman, said Hans Sauer, deputy general counsel for the Biotechnology Industry Organization.”
Why Won’t President Obama Answer the American People?
So far, there have been two petitions relating to genetically engineered foods on President Barack Obama’s “We The People” petition website that have surpassed the signature threshold required for a response. But instead of addressing the sincere concerns of the American people, as promised, there has been no answer forthcoming. Only deafening silence. This despite the fact that Obama vowed to label GE foods all the way back in 2007, were he to be elected. He’s now into his second term, and has yet to make a single move to uphold his initial campaign promise.
The FDA too has failed in its core purpose to protect American citizens. FDA policies have instead lead to a lack of transparency, revolving doors with industry, market bullying, seed privatization, and widespread illness. This despite the many well documented risks of GE foods...
Biotech Industry Ups Propaganda Efforts with Undercover Ambassadors?
Viral Gene in Genetically Engineered Foods Could Promote Disease
By Dr. Mercola
A recent article in the British Medical Journal (BMJ) throws conventional dietary advice on its ear. According to the American Heart Association (AHA), Americans should not reduce their consumption of omega-6 fats (think vegetables oils), and might even benefit from eating a little more.
The AHA has long promoted and still currently recommends getting at least 5 to 10 percent of your energy requirement from omega-6 fats, and teaches that reducing omega-6 PUFA intakes from current levels would likely increase your risk for coronary heart disease.
Unfortunately, this will worsen rather than improve your health, as eating too much damaged omega-6 fat and too little omega-3 sets the stage for the very health problems you seek to avoid, including cardiovascular disease, cancer, depression and Alzheimer's, rheumatoid arthritis, and diabetes, just to name a few.
Most people, especially Americans, are guilty of this lopsided omega-3 to omega-6 ratio, and to correct it, you typically need to do two things:
- Significantly decrease omega-6 by avoiding processed foods and foods cooked at high temperatures using vegetable oils
- Increase your intake of heart-healthy animal-based omega-3 fats, such as krill oil
Previously Missing Trial Data Confirms Harms of Too Much Omega-6
The myth that vegetable oils (rich in omega 6 fats) are healthier for you than saturated animal fats has been a tough one to dismantle. But the truth cannot be quenched forever. According to a BMJ press release:1
“Dietary advice about fats and the risk of heart disease is called into question on bmj.com today as a clinical trial shows that replacing saturated animal fats with omega-6 polyunsaturated vegetable fats is linked to an increased risk of death among patients with heart disease.”
The latest in-depth analysis of the health effects of omega-6 linoleic acid (LA) on coronary heart disease was not possible until now because data from the Sydney Diet Heart Study was missing.
This was a randomized controlled trial conducted from 1966 to 1973. Researchers from the US and Australia recovered the original data, and using modern statistical methods, they were now able to compare the death rates from cardiovascular disease, coronary heart disease, as well as all-cause mortality.2
“Their analysis involved 458 men aged 30-59 years who had recently had a coronary event, such as a heart attack or an episode of angina. Participants were randomly divided into two groups,” BMJ writes.
“The intervention group was instructed to reduce saturated fats (from animal fats, common margarines and shortenings) to less than 10 percent of energy intake and to increase linoleic acid (from safflower oil and safflower oil polyunsaturated margarine) to 15 percent of energy intake. Safflower oil is a concentrated source of omega-6 linoleic acid and provides no omega-3 PUFAs.”
The control group received no particular dietary advice and was allowed to eat whatever they wanted. Both groups kept food diaries for an average of 39 months. The results showed that:
- The omega-6 linoleic acid group had a 17 percent higher risk of dying from heart disease during the study period, compared with 11 percent among the control group (those who did not receive any particular dietary advice)
- The omega-6 group also had a higher risk of all-cause mortality
I’ve repeatedly stated it’s very important to maintain the proper ratio balance between omega-3 and omega-6, and medical researchers are also starting to realize and stress this importance. Jane Collis, an independent researcher not affiliated with the research commented on the study:3
“Commercial food processing destroys a significant amount of EFAs, along with their oxygenating ability... Polyunsaturated oils are unstable and very quickly become rancid. Oxidized fatty acids are dangerous to our health.
Lipid peroxidation and oxidative stress are important factors in this damage. Further damage is also caused by heating polyunsaturated fats in cooking (particularly frying foods).
Many omega 3 research trials did not consider the omega 3/6 essential fatty acid ratio which is vital to the eicossanoid balance. The correct omega 3/6 ratio is fundamental to holistic health for all. I believe that with simple dietary intervention diabetes complications such as retinopathy and nephropathy, could be ameliorated or prevented. ...
Healthy fertility and reproduction fundamentally rely on good nutrition, including EFAs [essential fatty acids] in plentiful supply. Poor maternal health is a cause for concern and may predict poor health in the next generations.”
Southern Diet Sends Stroke Risk Soaring
In related news, researchers from the University of Alabama at Birmingham recently presented the results from a study at the annual International Stroke Conference in Hawaii,4 which found that people who regularly ate a traditional “Southern” diet, known for its many deep-fried foods, had a whopping 41 percent increased risk of stroke. African-Americans had the highest risk — an incredible 63 percent higher compared to those who abstain from such foods. Lead researcher Suzanne Judd, PhD told ABC News:5
"Diet is an understudied risk factor for stroke. What was surprising about what we found was that when eating certain foods in the southern diet -- fried foods, organ meats, gizzards, sweet tea -- even when you account for other factors such as smoking, obesity, and physical activity, people still experienced a 30 percent increase in stroke risk."
Balance is Everything...
The science is loud and clear: the correct balance of omega-3 to omega-6 fats is essential if you want to be the healthiest you can be. There are actually two problems related to how these fats are being consumed by most Westerners today:
- Most people are consuming far too many omega-6 fats compared to omega-3 fats. The ideal ratio of omega-3 to omega-6 fats is 1:1, but the typical Western diet is between 1:20 and 1:50.
- The typical Westerner is consuming far too many polyunsaturated fats (PUFAs) altogether, which is a problem in and of itself.
So, most consume the wrong amount — AND the wrong ratio of these fats. Both omega-3 and omega-6 fats are PUFAs and they're both essential to your health, but when omega-6 is consumed in excess, it becomes problematic — and even more so if it’s damaged through processing. As a group, when consumed in the wrong ratios, PUFAs tend to stimulate inflammatory processes in your body, rather than inhibit them.
One of the problems with PUFAs is that they are very chemically unstable, and highly susceptible to being altered and denatured by what's around them. Think about what happens to the oils in your pantry — they are susceptible to going rancid as a result of oxidation. In your body, PUFAs undergo a similar process when exposed to the toxic byproducts of proteins and sugars — especially fructose. This is one of the reasons why most fish oil supplements have such a short shelf life, and many are already oxidized before they hit the bottle.
Consuming oxidized fats (whether in the form of processed vegetable oil high in omega-6, or rancid fish oil, high in omega-3) can do your body more harm than good. When you eat too many PUFAs, they are increasingly incorporated into your cell membranes.
Because these fats are unstable, your cells become fragile and prone to oxidation, which leads to all sorts of health problems, such as atherosclerosis. I believe a lack of omega-3 is one of the most serious health issues plaguing contemporary society today, in addition to being seriously deficient in vitamin D. But on the flip side is the problem of simply consuming far too many processed and damaged omega-6 fats in the wrong balance with omega-3.
How to Balance Your Omega 6:3 Ratio
The primary sources of omega-6 that you would benefit from by reducing include:
Corn oil Canola oil Soy oil Hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated fats Margarine Shortening
Just look at the labels on the foods and condiments you buy and you’ll see just how overabundant these oils are. It’s very difficult to find any kind of processed or prepackaged food that does not contain one of these oils. I strongly recommend you avoid all of the above as they will only worsen your omega 6 to omega 3 ratio. Acceptable oils include:
- High quality extra virgin olive oil
- Coconut oil
- Organic, grass-fed butter
- Rendered fat from cooking healthy animals can also be used
Another way to improve your omega 6:3 ratio is to change the type of meat you eat. You could consume more game meat like venison, or other game animals that are raised exclusively on grass or free-range diets. Keep in mind that because nearly all cattle are grain fed before slaughter, if you eat traditionally raised beef it will typically worsen your omega 6:omega 3 ratio. Free-range and/or grass-fed beef, however, contain better ratios of these two fats, and are a far better option.
Limiting Omega-6 During Pregnancy May Be Key for Healthy Baby Weight
As mentioned by Collis above, fertility and reproduction rely on good nutrition, and essential fatty acids (EFA’s) are absolutely critical in this regard. EFA’s is a term referring to the PUFAs your body needs but cannot produce (or convert from other fats), so they must be obtained from your diet. Traditionally, only two fats were considered "essential" — ALA (an omega-3 fat) and LA (an omega-6 fat). However, we now know it's the long-chain derivatives — arachidonic acid, DHA, and EPA — that your body needs the most. (Although you have the enzymes to convert LA into these longer-chain fats (ALA, DHA and EPA), the conversion isn't efficient enough for optimal brain growth and development.)
According to recent research,6 limiting your intake of omega-6 fats and boosting intake of omega-3 during pregnancy can result in a healthier, more muscular baby. The researchers examined the relationship between the mothers’ levels of PUFA’s and the body composition of their babies in 250 mother-child pairs. Levels of omega-6 in the mother’s blood during pregnancy was positively correlated with their child’s fat mass at ages four and six. One of the co-authors of the study, Dr. Rebecca Moon, told Food & Drink Europe:7
“Omega-6 and omega-3 PUFAs seem to act in opposite directions on fat mass; previous trials have attempted to use omega-3 supplementation to reduce fat mass, but our results suggest that such an approach might work best when combined with a reduction in dietary omega-6 intake.”
Do You Need an Omega-3 Supplement?
It is my belief that most people would benefit from taking a high quality animal based omega-3 supplement, in addition to reducing the amount of omega-6 — which you get plenty of from processed foods. In my view, krill oil is clearly your best option when it comes to obtaining important high quality animal based omega-3 fats. It contains essential EPA and DHA in a double chain phospholipid structure that makes it far more absorbable than the omega-3s in fish oil.
Krill oil also contains vitamin E, vitamin A, vitamin D and natural astaxanthin, which is a potent antioxidant that helps prevent it from going rancid. Research has shown the antioxidant potency of krill oil is, in terms of ORAC (Oxygen Radical Absorptance Capacity) values, 48 times more potent than fish oil.
As discussed above, the importance of proper omega-3 to omega-6 balance simply cannot be understated. If you want to increase your overall health and energy level and prevent health conditions like heart disease, cancer, depression and Alzheimer's, rheumatoid arthritis, diabetes, ulcerative colitis, and a host of other diseases, one of the most important strategies at your disposal is to increase your intake of omega-3 fats and reduce your intake of processed omega-6 fats.
This Cooking Oil is a Powerful Virus-Destroyer and Antibiotic
Major Trouble Ahead - if You Don't Fix This Deadly Deficiency
By Dr. Mercola
The United States spends $2.7 trillion annually -- TWICE the amount per person as most other industrialized nations – on health care. With this level of spending, you might think Americans would be among the healthiest people on the planet … unfortunately, that isn't the case.
Japan Tops List of Healthiest Countries
The Global Burden of Disease study, which assessed health and disease trends in 187 countries and is said to be the “largest ever systematic effort to describe the global distribution and causes of a wide array of major diseases, injuries, and health risk factors,”1 released its rankings of the top 10 countries with the highest life expectancies. The United States did not make the cut – not even close.
For male life expectancy, the U.S. was ranked 29th, while for female life expectancy the rank was even lower, at 33rd. Japan ranked highest for both, followed by:2
Highest Male Healthy Life Expectancy Highest Female Life Expectancy 1. Japan 1. Japan 2. Singapore 2. South Korea 3. Switzerland 3. Spain 4. Spain 4. Singapore 5. Italy 5. Taiwan 6. Australia 6. Switzerland 7. Canada 7. Andorra 8. Andorra 8. Italy 9. Israel 9. Australia 10. South Korea 10. France
What’s Japan’s Secret?
As for why the Japanese are the longest-lived race on the planet (they were also ranked healthiest back in 1990), the researchers couldn’t say exactly, although Harvard School of Public Health Professor Joshua Salomon, one of the study’s lead investigators, noted:3
“It’s likely a combination of factors, a combination of genetics and of healthy behaviors, including diet.”
Indeed, at least one “secret” is likely that their diets are naturally high in animal-based omega-3 fats, a nutrient many Americans are deficient in. According to Dr. William Harris, an expert on omega-3 fats, those who have an omega-3 index of less than 4 percent age much faster than those with indexes above 8 percent. Therefore, your omega-3 index may also be an effective marker of your rate of aging.
In general, the Japanese also enjoy fermented foods like natto, which contains beneficial microbes that help balance your intestinal flora, and is also very high in vitamin K2, thereby boosting overall immunity, far more often than the average American … this too could be playing a role in their good health.
While health risks like infectious diseases and malnutrition are causing fewer deaths across the board than they have in decades, other more insidious causes of death, like chronic disease, have taken their place in many countries, including the United States where heart disease and cancer make up the two leading causes of death. Meanwhile, as a global population we are getting sicker not healthier, as although life expectancy has mostly risen, more of those years are being spent in poor health or disability.
The Lancet reported:4
“The results show that infectious diseases, maternal and child illness, and malnutrition now cause fewer deaths and less illness than they did twenty years ago. As a result, fewer children are dying every year, but more young and middle-aged adults are dying and suffering from disease and injury, as non-communicable diseases, such as cancer and heart disease, become the dominant causes of death and disability worldwide.
Since 1970, men and women worldwide have gained slightly more than ten years of life expectancy overall, but they spend more years living with injury and illness.”
Why Isn’t Life Expectancy Higher in the United States?
Using life expectancy as a barometer for the return of our health care investment shows us that this expenditure is entirely in vain. Other countries that spend far less are outpacing us in life expectancy by leaps and bounds. What’s the problem? Well for starters, the U.S. health care system has a tremendous amount of waste. A recent review of U.S. healthcare expenses by the Institute of Medicine5 revealed that 30 cents of every dollar spent on medical care is wasted, adding up to $750 billion annually. Six major areas of waste identified in the report were:
Unnecessary services: $210 billion Inflated prices: $105 billion Inefficient delivery of care: $130 billion Improper payments: $70 billion Excess administrative costs: $190 billion Fraud: $75 billion
Meanwhile, statistics also tell us that the U.S. health care system itself may be one of the greatest health threats facing us today. Over a decade ago, Professor Bruce Pomerance of the University of Toronto concluded that properly prescribed and correctly taken pharmaceutical drugs were the fourth leading cause of death in the U.S.
More recently, an article authored in two parts by Gary Null, PhD, Carolyn Dean, MD, ND, Martin Feldman, MD, Debora Rasio, MD, and Dorothy Smith, PhD, describes in excruciating detail how the modern American conventional medical system has bumbled its way into becoming the leading cause of death and injury in the United States.
From medical errors to adverse drug reactions to unnecessary procedures, heart disease, cancer deaths and infant mortality, the authors took statistics straight from the most respected medical and scientific journals and investigative reports by the Institutes of Medicine (IOM), and showed that on the whole, American medicine caused more harm than good. In 2010, years after the original article was written, an analysis in the New England Journal of Medicine6 found that, despite efforts to improve patient safety in the past few years, the health care system hasn't changed much at all.
Instead, 18 percent of patients were harmed by medical care (some repeatedly) and over 63 percent of the injuries could have been prevented. In nearly 2.5 percent of these cases, the problems caused or contributed to a person's death. In another 3 percent, patients suffered from permanent injury, while over 8 percent experienced life-threatening issues, such as severe bleeding during surgery.
In all there were over 25 injuries per 100 admissions!
Of course, there are other factors involved in Americans’ poor life-expectancy rankings, too, not the least of which is the standard American diet, which indirectly contributes to an untold number of deaths every year from obesity and chronic disease. The good news is that, no matter what country you live in, most chronic diseases, including cancer, heart disease, diabetes, and obesity, are largely preventable with simple lifestyle changes. Even infectious diseases like the flu can often be warded off by a healthy way of life.
Do You Want to Give Your Life Expectancy a Boost?
The more healthy habits you embrace, the higher your chances of aging "successfully" becomes … and the longer your lifespan is likely to be. Imagine the lowered death toll, not to mention costs to the economy, if more people decided to take control of their health … heart disease and cancer alone accounted for 47 percent of deaths in the United States in 2010, and there are many strategies you can implement to lower your risk of these diseases … and most of the leading causes of death in the United States.
The added bonus to this is that the healthier you are, the less you will need to rely on conventional medical care, which is a leading cause of death if you live in the United States. So what does a "healthy lifestyle" entail?
- Proper Food Choices
For a comprehensive guide on which foods to eat and which to avoid, see my nutrition plan. Generally speaking, you should be looking to focus your diet on whole, unprocessed foods (vegetables, meats, raw dairy, nuts, and so forth) that come from healthy, sustainable, local sources, such as a small organic farm not far from your home.
Nearly as important as knowing which foods to eat more of is knowing which foods to avoid, and topping the list is fructose. Sugar, and fructose in particular, acts as a toxin in and of itself, and as such drive multiple disease processes in your body, not the least of which is insulin resistance, a major cause of accelerated aging.
- Comprehensive Exercise Program, including High-Intensity Exercise like Peak Fitness
Even if you're eating the healthiest diet in the world, you still need to exercise to reach the highest levels of health, and you need to be exercising effectively, which means including not only core-strengthening exercises, strength training, and stretching but also high-intensity activities into your rotation.
High-intensity interval-type training boosts human growth hormone (HGH) production, which is essential for optimal health, strength and vigor. I've discussed the importance of Peak Fitness for your health on numerous occasions, so for more information please review this previous article.
- Stress Reduction and Positive Thinking
You cannot be optimally healthy if you avoid addressing the emotional component of your health and longevity, as your emotional state plays an intimate role in nearly every physical disease -- from heart disease and depression, to arthritis and cancer. Effective coping mechanisms are a major longevity-promoting factor in part because stress has a direct impact on inflammation, which in turn underlies many of the chronic diseases that kill people prematurely every day. Meditation, prayer, energy psychology tools such as the Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT), social support and exercise are all viable options that can help you maintain emotional and mental equilibrium.
- Proper Sun Exposure to Optimize Vitamin D
We have long known that it is best to get your vitamin D from sun exposure, and if at all possible, I strongly urge you to make sure you're getting out in the sun on a daily basis. Vitamin D plays an important role in preventing numerous illnesses ranging from cancer to the flu.
The important factor when it comes to vitamin D is your serum level, which should ideally be between 50-70 ng/ml year-round. Sun exposure or a safe tanning bed is the preferred method for optimizing vitamin D levels, but a vitamin D3 supplement can be used as a last resort. Most adults need about 8,000 IU's of vitamin D a day to achieve serum levels above 40 ng/ml, which is still just below the minimum recommended serum level of 50 ng/ml.
- High Quality Animal-Based Omega-3 Fats
Animal-based omega-3 fat like krill oil is a strong factor in helping people live longer, and some experts believe that it is likely the predominant reason why the Japanese are the healthiest people on the planet.
- Avoid as Many Chemicals, Toxins, and Pollutants as Possible
This includes tossing out your toxic household cleaners, soaps, personal hygiene products, air fresheners, bug sprays, lawn pesticides, and insecticides, just to name a few, and replacing them with non-toxic alternatives.
Why the Affordable Health Care Act is Unlikely to Benefit Your Health
Kills More People Than Heart Disease or Cancer (But Hardly Anyone Knows)