On November 30, 2010, the Institute of Medicine’s Food and Nutrition Board (FNB) released their updated recommendations for vitamin D (and calcium), which has sent shockwaves of disappointment through natural health community.

According to the FNB, the new recommended daily allowance (RDA) for pregnant women and adults up to 70 years of age is the same as that for infants and children – a measly 600 IU’s. This despite the overwhelming evidence showing that vitamin D is extremely important for a wide variety of health conditions besides bone health, and that most people need about ten times this amount or more.

In this interview, Dr. Cannell, founder of the Vitamin D Council, and Carole Baggerly, founder of GrassrootsHealth, share their concerns about this recent development.


Dr. Mercola’s Comments:

In their latest vitamin D report, the Institute of Medicine’s Food and Nutrition Board (FNB) claims the only evidence for the benefit of vitamin D they could document was the improvement of bone health.

How they could come to this conclusion is truly beyond belief, because there are literally hundreds if not thousands of studies showing that it benefits dozens if not hundreds of clinical conditions.

Based on their limited findings, the FNB’s updated recommended daily allowance (RDA) for vitamin D is as follows:

Infants 0-12 months 0 IU/day
1-18 years 600 IU/day
19-50 600 IU/day
51-70 600 IU/day
Over 70 years old 800 IU/day
Pregnant women aged 14-50 600 IU/day


As Dr. Cannell points out in our interview, these recommendations do not take into account the amount of vitamin D you need to prevent influenza, heart- or liver- disease, respiratory infections, cancer, or any of the numerous diseases that have a clearly documented link to vitamin D deficiency.

Why should we care about the IOM’s recommendations?

Well, as the Alliance for Natural Health states:

“Unless these findings are challenged, the public will accept it as true. Doctors, medical institutions, the media, and governmental agencies will all parrot these ultra-low recommendations on vitamin D dosage, pooh-poohing its important therapeutic benefits, and keeping the American public dangerously deficient in the vitamin.

This will mean more colds, more flu, greater dependence on dangerous flu shots and antibiotics, more illness in general, more weak bones, more cancer, and many more deaths. Some experts calculate that proper vitamin D supplementation could save Americans $4.4 trillion over a decade-about $1,346 per person every year.”

Scientific Evidence Supports FAR Higher RDA for All Age Groups

Dr. Heaney is widely believed to be one of the most prominent and well respected researchers on vitamin D. He’s authored more than 400 vitamin D papers in his lifetime, including the 2007 cancer study that showed a full 77 percent of all cancers could be prevented with a vitamin D level of at least 40 ng/ml. 

Dr. Heaney was also part of the previous FNB vitamin D panel (but not this one as previous panel members are excluded from future panels). Here’s what he had to say about the latest IOM/FNB recommendations:

“There is an impressive body of scientific evidence supporting levels higher than the Institute of Medicine panel is currently recommending. For reasons that are not entirely clear, the panel has discounted that evidence.

The public needs to know that evidence exist so that they can make up their own minds. It is helpful in making those decisions to know that intakes higher than the recommendations are safe.

For me that decision is easy even if the evidence for higher intake were uncertain. And I don’t believe it is. Intakes two to five times their recommendations would carry a good chance for benefit at essentially no cost and no risk.

. Finally, I believe that the presumption of adequacy should rest with vitamin D intakes needed to achieve the serum levels (40-60 ng/mL) that prevailed during the evolution of human physiology.

Correspondingly, the burden of proof should fall on those maintaining that there is no preventable disease or dysfunction at lower levels. The IOM has not met that standard.”

Clearly, the FNB moved their recommendations in the right direction. As Dr. Cannell points out, the recommended dose for infants, children and pregnant women was tripled, from 200 units to 600 units, and the dose for older people was increased by about 33 percent. The upper limits were also doubled.

However, these recommendations still leave a lot to be desired.

“What’s shocking to me is that the levels they are recommending will not even approximate what you would get if you were exposed to healthy levels of sunshine,” Dr. Cannell says.

A more appropriate way to analyze vitamin D requirements would indeed be to look at the vitamin D levels of early man. Those are the levels we want to have, because that’s what the human genome is designed for, or used to, from an evolutionary perspective.

“One thing that did concern me is they have 15 vitamin D experts to review their report before they released it. But they refuse to let anybody look at the vitamin D experts’ opinions about their reports,” Cannell says.

” Yesterday, we instructed our attorney to try to obtain them under the Freedom of Information Act.”

Time will tell whether or not that documentation will be released. I too am very curious to see what the vitamin D experts’ opinions were about the FNB’s conclusions.

Officially Sanctioned or Not, Higher Vitamin D Levels ARE Beneficial to Your Health

Please remember that you have the freedom to do your own research and are not obligated in any way to adhere to “government sanctioned” nutrient recommendations.

In this case, conventional medicine is still lagging far behind in their implementation of what the science shows about vitamin D.

“[P]eople need to remember about this report is that these are recommendations for those who want to proceed on their own without a doctor’s advice,” Cannell says.

“If you’re under the care of a physician, this report is almost meaningless. It doesn’t in any way preclude a physician from prescribing the usual dosages that they do; the 50,000 units once or twice a week. [The report] is not designed to prevent that.”

So, if what the Vitamin D Council and I have been posting about the health benefits of vitamin D and the optimal vitamin D levels make sense to you, then you can choose to flat out ignore this new recommendation from the Institute of Medicine.

As Carole Baggerly points out in the interview above, the FNB is recommending a vitamin D blood serum level of just 20 ng/ml, which, based on more appropriate parameters for optimal health, signifies a state of severe deficiency!

To me, it borders on criminal negligent malpractice to ignore the abundance of scientific evidence that suggest that the deficiency levels are far above 20 ng/ml.

This serum level may not even be sufficient to maintain bone health, as the IOM/FNB claims.

According to a statement issued by Dr. Heaney:

“The statement by the IOM that skeletal health can be maintained at serum 25(OH)D levels of 20 ng/ml is incorrect. 30 ng/ml should be looked at as the lower end of the acceptable range for bone health.

There have been randomized controlled trials showing major reductions in fractures by getting the serum level to 29 ng/ml. Fracture reduction does not reliably occur at levels less than 30 ng/ml and in some cases as high as 40 ng/ml.

Osteoid seam width, a measure of vitamin D deficiency, only reaches normal values when the level is above 30 ng/ml. There is significant evidence above the IOM panel’s “adequate” level of 20 ng/ml.”

This is further supported by Drs. Heike Bischoff-Ferrari and Walter Willett. You can read their entire critique of the IOM recommendations here.

Negative Vitamin D Results Frequently Due to Vitamin A in Cod Liver Oil

Dr. Cannell brings up additional food for thought with regards to some of the studies that suggest detrimental effects from vitamin D.

“It’s important for people to realize that of the several hundred studies that have come out in the last couple of years, not all of them are positive, for reasons that I believe has to do with vitamin A.

There is a U-shaped curve in some of the studies, especially the ones that come from Scandinavian countries. Most of the cohorts that were studied in these papers had their dietary information taken in the 80s and 90s and their blood drawn at that time. The intake of cod liver oil especially in the Scandinavian countries in that time was substantial.

When you take cod liver oil, you’ll increase your vitamin D level but with it you’ll get toxic amounts of vitamin A. There are a number of studies that shows that vitamin A is not a good thing to have an excess of.”

That said, the randomized control trials that have been done have not shown any damage or any danger from high amounts of vitamin D. In fact, most studies that are now using higher vitamin D dosages are showing significant, positive treatment effects.

The Latest Vitamin D Studies Find Even More Health Benefits. 

Dr. Cannell’s passion is to carefully review the medical literature on vitamin D, and there’s no shortage of vitamin D studies showing its benefits. One of the latest studies to be published on vitamin D found that it is also linked to your risk of developing macular degeneration, which many have mistakenly attributed to ‘normal aging,’ as well as cataracts.

Dr. Cannell says:

“It turns out that the higher your vitamin D level the less likely it is for that [macular degeneration] to happen. There is even a cross-sectional study that indicates that the lower your vitamin D level the more likely you are to get cataracts (and one of the reasons you’ve always been told to stay out of the sun is because you’ll get cataracts).”

There is also an interesting new paper about Parkinsonism that suggests that low vitamin D levels exacerbate the disease.

“So if you know of anyone with Parkinsonism make sure their vitamin D levels are in the high range; higher than normal, between 50-80 ng/ml,” Cannell suggests.

This would also hold true for other chronic neurological diseases, such as Alzheimer’s.

“That’s a really important point,” Cannell says. “People are asking me, “What’s the right vitamin D level?”

 If you’re otherwise perfectly healthy, then a level of around 50 is fine. But many people who have heart disease, Parkinsonism, Alzheimer’s, emphysema, or cancer. It’s my opinion that [those] people should get their levels up into the high range of normal.

The rationale for that is that there are a number of studies with cancer now that show that the blood level of vitamin D you have at the time you’re diagnosed with cancer predicts how long you’re going to live. That is, high vitamin D levels at the time of diagnosis prolongs life.

. [I]f you’re sick, you want to keep your levels at 80-90 ng/ml.”

Why Pregnant Women Need to Take IOM’s Recommendations with a Grain of Salt

Likewise, there’s very compelling evidence backing up the advice that pregnant women should optimize their vitamin D levels prior to and during pregnancy to prevent neurological problems, such as autism, in their children.

There’s even evidence suggesting the child is significantly protected from type 1 diabetes if the mother has sufficient vitamin D levels during gestation, and/or if the infant receives sufficient amounts of vitamin D.

Vitamin D deficiency may also contribute to infertility.

From my perspective, with the mountain of scientific evidence we now have on the benefits of optimal vitamin D levels in pregnancy it is reprehensible malpractice to not routinely check a pregnant woman’s vitamin D level during the pregnancy.

Of course, it is still not the “standard of care” at this point and no physician will lose his or her license for failing to do this check.

According to Dr. Cannell:

“[I]f you’re thinking of having a child, both parents should take the steps necessary to be vitamin D sufficient. Once a woman is pregnant, she’s going to need probably 7,000-8,000 IU’s a day while she’s pregnant and lactating. And then when the infant is off breast milk, the infant needs an independent source of vitamin D.

The Food and Nutrition Board now say 400 IU is adequate [for pregnant/lactating women]. Four hundred is pretty good, but 1,000 IU’s is better.”

Is there a Hidden Agenda?

Interestingly enough, while the importance of sunlight and oral vitamin D supplements are being suppressed, a patentable vitamin D drug is currently in the works, the Alliance for Natural Health reports

“A pharmaceutical company is developing a patentable man-made vitamin D analog-yes, a synthetic drug version of vitamin D. And Glenville Jones, PhD, one of the committee members who determined the new vitamin D guidelines and who is quoted as saying that under these guidelines, most people “probably don’t have vitamin D deficiency” and “We think there has been an exaggeration of the public’s interest in vitamin D deficiency,” is an advisor for that same pharmaceutical company.”

Might this have anything to do with the IOM’s blatant disregard for the evidence at hand?

Carole Baggerly’s Take on the IOM/FNB Recommendations

The second part of the video above features Carole Baggerly, the founder of GrassrootsHealth. She has been instrumental in managing and implementing a massive effort to educate Americans and Canadians about the importance of vitamin D, both on a consumer and government level.

For example, she was a primary force behind getting Canadian health authorities to investigate the use of vitamin D against the swine flu last year.

She brings up several shocking facts about the manner in which the IOM/FNB came to their final conclusions. According to Baggerly, the panel carefully selected the type of data they wanted to review, and excluded a wide variety of important data.

“They did not look at epidemiological data at all,” she says, “of which there are decades of research substantiating that people die of all kinds of diseases that are impacted by vitamin D.

. They excluded all kinds of data that would be, in the public health field, considered very relevant data.

. [T]he agenda was very clearly set from the very beginning, and those of us who looked to see what kind of data they were choosing to include. knew the outcome would not be favorable for the implementation of vitamin D health.”

Exactly who set this agenda is still unclear. What is clear is that the IOM/FNB decided to ignore certain sets of pertinent data. Clearly, had it been included, it would have been impossible to justify their current position.

Canadian Developments

Carol has been working as a consultant to the Ontario government, primarily pertaining to what they should do about their vitamin D testing. They have, as of December 1, “de-listed” vitamin D, which means the government will no longer include payments for vitamin D testing as part of their health insurance.

This is a major setback. However, Canadians can still purchase vitamin D tests on their own. And Grassroots Health has initiated several vitamin D initiatives to help Canadians get their tests at a reduced cost, by enrolling them in a Grassroots Health vitamin D study.

The Canadian government may use the latest IOM/FNB recommendations as justification for taking out vitamin D testing.

However, there’s still some good news.

Heather Chappell of the Canadian Cancer Society (CCS) has stated that the organization will not lower their recommendations — which is currently 1,000 IUs per day, based on the vitamin D cancer research done by Dr. Heaney and Lappe – because the IOM recommendations cover bone health only. And the CCS is still concerned about vitamin D deficiency and cancer.

The “Expert” Vitamin D Panel is Not Even Made Up of Vitamin D Experts

So, just who’s on the IOM’s vitamin D panel?

Contrary to common sense, the panel did not consist primarily of vitamin D experts.

According to Carol:

“They did have a few people on the panel with a little bit of vitamin D experience but not much. (The full list of panel members is available on www.IOM.edu.)

Their experience certainly was not in the epidemiological realm at all like Dr. Garland.

What was disturbing to some of our panel, the vitamin D researchers, was that a number of them have been recommended or volunteered previously on the panel and they were explicitly rejected.

That is disturbing.”

Final Thoughts

Again, the position of the Vitamin D Council, GrassrootsHealth and myself is that you need to adhere to the scientific vitamin D panel recommendation, which is a vitamin D level of 40 ng/ml at minimum.

In my view, many people still would not be able to reach a therapeutically healthy range taking 4,000 IUs of vitamin D a day, which is the maximum dosage now recommended by the IOM. I’ve seen people who need double that, or more, to get to a level that’s going to make a difference in their health.

How Much Vitamin D Must You Take to Reach Therapeutically Healthy Levels?

Dr. Hollis has released preliminary findings of a brand new study that has not yet been formally published. In the interview above, Carol shares some of those details:

“One of the most significant findings is how much intake it takes to get to these higher levels.

For example, there has been a rule of thumb that for each 1,000 IUs of vitamin D you take you would get a serum level rise of about 10 ng/mL.

Well, it doesn’t work that way.

What we are finding is that once you get above the age of 30, the amount of rise that you get for each dosage [of oral vitamin D] is considerably less than that.

For example, between the age of 40 and 50, you’d have to take about 2,000 IU to reach a serum level of 10 ng/ml. You only get a 5 ng/mL rise for each 1,000 IU, not 10 ng/ml.

. What this means is that people have to take a lot more. It’s going to take about 6,000 IU a day to get about 90-95 percent of the population above 40 ng/mL.”

Some people will clearly need more.

Improve Your Health and be Part of Worldwide Public Health Campaign

D*Action is a worldwide public health campaign created by GrassrootsHealth, aiming to solve the vitamin D deficiency epidemic in one year through focus on testing, education, and grassroots word of mouth.

You can participate in the D*action study, if you like! Best of all, Mercola subscribers will receive a 15 percent discount on the 5-year sponsorship.

To sign up, and get your discount, follow these instructions:

When you sign up, at the beginning of the Payment Options (The area where it says “Please input any CLINIC ID or COUPON CODE assigned to your organization and click Apply:”) on the Order form, please enter ‘Mercola.’ Then continue with your payment process.

When you join D*action, you agree to test your vitamin D levels twice a year during a 5 year program, and share your health status to demonstrate the public health impact of this nutrient.

There is a $60 fee for every 6 months for your sponsorship of the project (Mercola sponsors get a 15 percent discount), which includes a complete new test kit to be used at home (except in the state of New York), and electronic reports on your ongoing progress.

When you finish the questionnaire, you can choose your subscription option. You will get a follow up email every 6 months reminding you “it’s time for your next test and health survey.”

To join now, please follow this link to the sign up form.

I, along with GrassrootsHealth, expect this study will demonstrate the real significance of this nutrient on your health and, of course, its value in the prevention of many diseases. So please sign up today so you can be part of a team of Mercola subscribers setting out to demonstrate that PREVENTION WORKS!

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In my experience, you can have the best diet in the world, have the best exercise program and be free from emotional stress, but if you aren’t sleeping well, for whatever reason, it is virtually impossible to be healthy.

In this interview, Dr. Rubin Naiman — a clinical psychologist, author, teacher, and the leader in integrative medicine approaches to sleep and dreams — , explains the importance of this crucial aspect of health.

Dr. Naiman earned his Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology at Alliant University in San Diego.

During the 1990’s, he served as the sleep and dream specialist at Canyon Ranch Health Resort in Tucson for 10 years, where he created the first formal sleep laboratory outside of a hospital setting. Dr. Andrew Weil was also on the staff at that time.

Later, he served as director of sleep programs for Miraval Resort. For more information on Dr. Naiman, please see his web site, www.drnaiman.com .


Dr. Mercola’s Comments:

Sleep is an essential part of optimal health. In fact, if you’re not sleeping well, it’s virtually impossible to be healthy.

In this interview, clinical psychologist and sleep specialist Dr. Rubin Naiman shares his extensive knowledge of this often overlooked aspect. His work has focused exclusively on sleep and dreams for the past 20 years.

What is “Sleep”?

This is an important question, because as Dr. Naiman says, “too often, we try to resolve sleep issues without knowing what it is.”

He draws a parallel to the general topic of health. Many people think that “getting healthy” equates to “fighting disease,” but health is much more than just the absence of illness.

“Likewise, sleep is not simply the absence of waking,” Dr. Naiman says. “This is a very common misunderstanding around the world today. We define sleep negatively. We define it in terms of what it’s not.

. So we believe that sleep is “not waking,” but to define it in those simple terms, which suggests that any kind of unconsciousness is a kind of sleep, is simply not true. There are certain qualities associated with sleep that most of us have become desensitized to.

So what is sleep?

When you look at changes in EEG, in electrical brain activity, as we go from waking into deeper stages of sleep, those changes parallel the same changes we see when people go into truly deep restful states. More specifically, I’m talking about meditators. Accomplished meditators have been shown to be able to access brainwave activity that looks very much like deep sleep.

In a sense, we need to think of sleep as not the absence of waking but another kind of experience in its own right. There is actually some data that suggests that you can learn to cultivate awareness during deep stages of sleep.”

The Spiritual Dimensions of Sleep

While research has shown that sleep is important for a number of different reasons, from improved performance and alertness to improved immune system function, and increased creativity, these benefits still do not tell the whole story.

“We need to remember that sleep, in addition to providing support to waking life, is of value in it of itself,” Naiman says.

“Sleep delivers something important. It takes us to another place in consciousness.

I deeply believe that sleep has spiritual benefit. It’s a valuable experience in it of itself.

When we recognize that, we really shift our attitudes towards sleep as something we can actually enjoy — not something we simply need to do to be healthier.”

A lot of people are interested in spirituality, but how many of you have ever considered tapping into, or taking advantage of this spiritual dimension of sleep? I agree that looking at sleep from this renewed perspective could have a very positive impact on your relationship to sleep.

Viewing it as a sort of spiritual process, as opposed to a temporary shut-down from waking life, could help relax your anxiety about “having” to sleep.

Understanding Why and How Insomnia Occurs

The most commonly reported sleep disorder is insomnia; having trouble falling asleep or staying asleep, or the inability to get quality sleep throughout the night.

According to Dr. Naiman, one of the most common symptoms of insomnia is a condition called “cognitive popcorn:”

“Cognitive popcorn is something that occurs when you put your head down, trying to go to sleep or trying to get back to sleep in the middle of the night, and suddenly your mind starts to produce all of these thoughts.

They’re unwanted thoughts, uncontrollable thoughts. It’s as if the mind has a mind of its own. That’s a very common complaint that keeps people awake.”

In order to understand why you can’t sleep, you need to understand that sleep is the outcome of an interaction between two classes of variables: sleepiness and “noise.

  1. Sleepiness – Under normal conditions, your sleepiness should gradually increase throughout the day, peaking just before you go to bed at night. This is ideal, as you want your sleepiness to be high at the beginning of the night.
  2. “Noise” – refers to any kind of stimulation that inhibits or disrupts sleep. If noise is conceptually greater than your level of sleepiness, you will not fall asleep.

    “Noise” occurs in three zones: the mind level, body level, and the environmental level.

    Dr. Naiman gives this example: “If you’re energized during the day, you’re feeling passionate, you want to move, be productive and so on, that’s great. But if that experience occurs in the middle of the night, that becomes a kind of noise.”

    The most common type of mind noise, however, is the “cognitive popcorn;” unstoppable thoughts running through your mind at night.

    Examples of body noise include pain, discomfort, indigestion, side effects from prescription drugs, or residual caffeine from drinking coffee too late in the day.

    Environmental noise is usually obvious, such as noises in your room or house, a snoring partner, music, lights, or a bedroom that’s too warm.

In order to get a good night’s sleep, you want your sleepiness level to be high, and the noise level to be low.

According to Dr. Naiman, more often than not, the reason why people can’t fall asleep is NOT because of lack of sleepiness, but rather because of excessive noise.

Therefore, the FIRST thing you need to ask yourself when you can’t sleep is:

  • “Where/What is the noise (mind/body/environmental)?”

Typically, people will find a number of different factors that contribute to the noise burden keeping them awake!

So it’s important to carefully evaluate your environment and inner/outer state to determine ALL the contributing factors. If you address one problem, but not the others, you still may not be able to fall asleep, or stay asleep throughout the night.

For more in-depth details about the various forms of insomnia, please listen to the interview in its entirety, or read through the transcript.

Two Common Problems that Can Keep You Tossing and Turning

Two very important contributing factors that can make sleep elusive are:

  • Light
  • Temperature

Why You Need to Sleep in Complete Darkness

Having too much light in your bedroom at night can interfere with your body’s production of melatonin. Melatonin is both a hormone and an important antioxidant against cancer.

Disrupted melatonin production, caused by lack of bright light during the day, and too much light in the evening and at night, can also have a significantly detrimental impact on your health, aside from “just” disrupting your sleep. There’s actually strong evidence showing there is a dose-dependent relationship between exposure to light at night and a significantly increased risk for breast cancer.

Dr. Naiman takes a small amount of melatonin each night even though he does not have any sleep problems. He takes it because — like most people living in developed countries — he believes he’s overexposed to light at night, which contributes to melatonin deficiency.

“Years ago, the average length of a day was 12 hours; 12 hours of light, 12 hours of darkness,” Naiman says. “Today the average length of a day is 16 hours. We are exposed — this is true for children as well — to so much more light than we used to. . But it’s poor quality light. It’s like the empty calories that we get in a lot of food today.

And, during the day, most of us are underexposed to light.”

Using full spectrum lights in your home and office can help ameliorate the lack of high quality sunlight during the day, and paying attention to the amount of light you flood your home with in the evening is important as well.

You can now also find light bulbs that do not give off blue light, called “low blue lights,” which emit an amber light. The blue wavelength in the light spectrum is the light that specifically suppresses melatonin, so these types of light bulbs are ideal for your bedroom and bathroom.

TVs and computers also emit a lot of blue light, which will zap your melatonin if you work past dark.

Keep in mind that even a small amount of light, like turning on the bathroom light to go to the restroom, can be enough to temporarily suppress the melatonin production. This is why it’s so important to avoid using night lights, or turning lights on if you have to get up in the middle of the night.

This is also why I strongly recommend installing blackout shades to ensure total darkness in your bedroom.

Keep it Cool!

In addition to making sure your bedroom is kept pitch black, maintaining the ideal room temperature can have a dramatic impact on your ability to fall asleep and stay asleep.

Keep the temperature in your bedroom no higher than 68 degrees F. Many people keep their homes and particularly their upstairs bedrooms too warm.

Studies show that the optimal room temperature for sleep is quite cool, as low as 60 degrees.

Keeping your room cooler than 60 degrees F. or hotter than 70 degrees F. can lead to restless sleep.

This is because when you sleep, your body’s internal temperature drops to its lowest level, generally about four to six hours after you fall asleep. Scientists believe a cooler bedroom may therefore be most conducive to sleep, since it mimics your body’s natural temperature drop.

Why Sleeping Pills aren’t the Answer

About two years ago, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) produced an excellent meta-analysis on the effectiveness of sleeping pills.

What did they find?

Sleeping pills DON’T WORK!

“If you look at polysomnography (objective measures of sleep). more often than not, sleep is worse on a sleeping pill,” Naiman says.

In this meta-analytic study, they found that on average, sleeping pills would help people fall asleep approximately 10 minutes sooner. If it’s taking you an hour or two to get to sleep, 10 minutes is statistically significant, but frankly, personally, biomedically, it’s not significant at all.

On average, sleeping pills increase total sleep time maybe 15 to 20 minutes. Again, if you’re looking at an eight-hour night – it’s really insignificant.

But here is the catch. This was a really phenomenal find. They found that what most sleeping pills do is they create amnesia for awakenings and poor, fragmented sleep. Sleeping pills disrupt your memory formation.

So you wake up thinking you had a good night sleep, but when you look at objective measures of your sleep, it’s really very poor. So we’re tricking ourselves.  Sleeping pills result in poor quality sleep–what I call counterfeit sleep.”

Sleeping pills also come with a slew of detrimental and potentially dangerous side effects.

Additionally, most people do not realize that over-the-counter (OTC) sleeping pills — those containing Benadryl — can have a half life of about 18 hours. So, if you take them every night, you’re basically sedated much of the time. Not surprisingly, they’re associated with cognitive deficits in the morning.

Many sleeping pills are also a potent anti-cholinergics, which suppress REM sleep and dreaming. These drugs are also known to increase dementia risk in seniors.

In 2008, Americans filled more than 56 million prescriptions for sleeping pills and spent more than $600 million on over-the-counter sleep aids. But anticholinergic sleep medications in particular may be causing far more harm than good, especially long term, without providing any benefit at all.

Trust me, there are far better, safer and more effective ways to get a good night’s sleep.

For a long list of safe and sane tips to improve your sleep, please see this article.

Final Thoughts

This interview contains a treasure trove of important information, so please, if you or someone you love suffers from poor sleep, take the time to listen to the entire interview, or read through the transcript. It contains much, much more than what I’ve summarized above. (Please note that we did have some technical problems with the audio so the transcript might be better)

Also keep an eye out for the second installment of this interview, in which Dr. Naiman will discuss the ideal amount of sleep time.

There’s convincing evidence showing that if you do not sleep enough, you’re really jeopardizing your health.

Everybody loses sleep here and there, and your body can adjust for temporary shortcomings. But if you develop a chronic pattern of sleeping less than five or six hours a night, then you’re increasing your risk of a number of health conditions, including:

  • Heart disease
  • Autoimmune diseases
  • Arthritis
  • Neurodegenerative diseases
  • Cancer

For even more helpful guidance on how to improve your sleep, please review my 33 Secrets to a Good Night’s Sleep. If you’re even slightly sleep deprived I encourage you to implement some of these tips tonight, as high-quality sleep is one of the most important factors in your health and quality of life.

Related Articles:

  Want a Good Night’s Sleep? Then Never Do These Things Before Bed

  Americans Don’t Get Enough Sleep

  Want to Prevent Cancer? Make Sure You Sleep Well

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Dr. Ronald Hunninghake is an internationally recognized expert on vitamin C who has personally supervised more than 60,000 intravenous (IV) vitamin C administrations.

In this interview, Dr. Hunninghake shares his experience with this important modality.


Dr. Mercola’s Comments:

Vitamin C has taken a backseat in recent years with the advent of many newer antioxidants, but that doesn’t make it any less important. Vitamin C is clearly the ‘grandfather’ of the traditional antioxidants we know of, and its potent health benefits have been clearly established.

Dr. Ronald Hunninghake is an internationally recognized expert on this vitamin. He got his start in this field about 22 years ago when he joined Dr. Hugh Riordan, who conducted research on intravenous (I.V.) vitamin C for cancer patients. His clinic is the successor to Linus Pauling and his work on vitamin C, and there is likely no clinic in the world with as much experience as his.

Dr. Hunninghake’s Experience with Vitamin C for Cancer and Infectious Diseases

Dr. Riordan carried on a 15-year long research project called RECNAC (cancer spelled backwards). His groundbreaking research in cell cultures showed that vitamin C was selectively cytotoxic against cancer cells.

Together, Hunninghake and Riordan conducted studies with a series of patients who had either stage 3 and stage 4 cancer.

“I.V. vitamin C was found to be very beneficial,” Hunninghake says. “It’s not considered a stand-alone therapy for cancer, but it’s a perfect adjunct to any kind of therapy that the cancer patient is receiving at this time.

It will reduce side effects and improve quality of life. There have actually been two major studies now showing how it improves quality of life.”

Cancer is clearly a life threatening disease, and most cancer patients also experience depression, pain, and tremendous fatigue – all of which can make treatment all the more difficult.

These are all signs of scurvy, which is the result of vitamin C deficiency. And if you actually measure vitamin C levels in cancer patients, especially advanced cancer patients, most, if not all, are vitamin C deficient, Hunninghake claims.

“One of the things that I.V. vitamin C does is it immediately relieves their scurvy symptoms,” Hunninghake says. “So they start having a greater sense of well being. They don’t need as much pain medicine. Their appetite improves. Their mood improves. They have a better quality of life.”

Vitamin C may be better known, however, for its benefits for infectious diseases.

Dr. Hunninghake remarked:

“Certainly, anyone that’s got a cold or a flu, or chronic fatigue, or any chronic viral infection, we do use [vitamin C].

. Dr. Levy wrote “Curing the Incurable,” which is a fantastic book about vitamin C for infectious disease and toxin control. So certainly, I.V. vitamin C works very well for infectious diseases, as well as cancer.”

A perfect example of the healing power of this antioxidant vitamin is the dramatic case of Allan Smith, who contracted a serious case of swine flu, and was brought back from the brink of death using a combination of IV and oral vitamin C. (Interestingly, Smith is now also free of the cancer he was diagnosed with while undergoing treatment for swine flu.)

“It’s definitely a very underutilized modality in infectious disease,” Hunninghake says.

“It’s really a premiere treatment for any chronic infection. Again, it’s not typically recognized by conventional medicine.”

Why is Vitamin C Not a Widely Adopted Treatment Strategy?

If vitamin C is so effective, why hasn’t conventional medicine caught on?

Dr. Hunninghake tries to explain:

“I’m sure there are several factors here. Number one, most people think of vitamin C as a vitamin. You define vitamin as a trace amount of a substance that you need to prevent [ailments like] scurvy, in the case of vitamin C. But what we’re talking about here is something in a pharmacological range.

The way to really understand vitamin C is to go back to the writings of Irwin Stone who wrote The Healing Factor, which was a fantastic book written in the 70s about vitamin C.

He points out that every creature, when they are sick, greatly increase their liver’s or their kidney’s production of vitamin C. But humans, primates, and guinea pigs have lost that ability.

We still have the gene that makes the L-gulonolactone oxidase enzyme that converts glucose to vitamin C but it’s non-functional. We have to get our vitamin C from the outside; from food.

When we give vitamin C intravenously, what we’re doing is recreating your liver’s ability to synthesize tremendous amounts of vitamin C.

. So I always look upon high dose vitamin C as nature’s way of dealing with crisis in terms of your health. This notion however does not exist in the conventional thinking in the medical mind.”

There are also financial factors. The standard oncology treatments are extremely expensive while I.V. vitamin C is relatively inexpensive. And conventional medicine, as a general rule, is notoriously uninterested in solutions that can’t produce profits.

Administration Methods and Dosage Recommendations

There are two primary ways you can administer vitamin C; orally and intravenously.

“For the average patient, I. encourage them to take at least the Linus Pauling dose, which is 1 gram, twice a day, of vitamin C,” Hunninghake says.

“Certainly you can do more than that. If you’re suffering from chronic infections or chronic fatigue you can go ahead and gradually increase your dose up to what’s called the bowel tolerance dose.

It’s very safe. The idea that vitamin C causes kidney stones has been completely disproven… There have been several studies by urologists that have shown that is not an issue with high-dose vitamin C.

For the typical patient oral [supplementation] is fine, but if you have a serious illness, you should think in terms of doing intravenous vitamin C from a practitioner because it can greatly amplify and change the benefits of I.V. vitamin C.”

As for the typical dosage for intravenous vitamin C, the Riordan IVC protocol calls for a starting dose around 15 grams.

However, it’s important to first get your G6PD (Glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase) level checked.

Check for G6PD Deficiency Before Starting I.V. Vitamin C

G6PD is an enzyme that your red blood cells need to maintain membrane integrity.

What many people don’t understand is that high dose intravenous vitamin C is a strong pro-oxidant. And giving a pro-oxidant to a G6PD-deficient patient can cause hemolysis of their red blood cells.

So administering intravenous vitamin C is not for the novice.

I strongly recommend getting it done by an experienced practitioner who uses the Riordan protocol or some other protocol that ensures the vitamin C is administered in a safe manner.

Fortunately, G6PC deficiency is relatively uncommon. People of Mediterranean- and African decent are at greater risk, but it’s rare even in those groups. In one series of over 800 G6PD tests, Hunninghake only found four people with a deficiency.

So it’s not a great concern, but should you happen to be that rare person with a deficiency, the ramifications of barreling ahead with high dose I.V. vitamin C could be disastrous.

Dr. Riordan’s original research suggested that you need to achieve a vitamin C blood level of around 300-350 mg/dl in order to achieve selective cytotoxicity. However, Hunninghake claims blood levels around 250 mg/dl may be sufficient to have an anti-cancer effect.

Dr. Hunninghake expounds on this issue:

“Now, just to put that into perspective for the average person, if we were to measure someone off the street, their blood level would be about 1 mg/dl if they’re eating a fairly decent diet. If they’re less than 0.6 mg per dl, they’re into a scurvy type range of vitamin C.

But what we’re talking about for a post-IVC saturation level, giving, let’s say 25 to 50 grams of vitamin C intravenously over about a 90-minute period, is in the 200 to 300 mg/dl range.

So we’re talking about 200 to 300 times the normal amount of vitamin C that your blood normally experiences just eating a balanced diet.”

It’s important to understand that these extremely high levels are really only indicated for the treatment cancers and infectious diseases, not for every-day, general health. This is because vitamin C, which will always be an antioxidant, nevertheless starts to have a pro-oxidant effect at these extreme levels.

Interestingly, this pro-oxidant effect may actually be responsible for vitamin C’s anti-cancerous properties.

Hunninghake explains:

“. At our second annual Riordan IVC and Cancer Conference held a few weeks ago in Japan, we had Dr. H. Chen, who was the author, along with Mark Levine, on high dose vitamin C as a source for creating hydrogen peroxide in the extracellular space surrounding tumor cells.

It’s thought that it is this hydrogen peroxide, or pro-oxidant effect, of vitamin C that’s causing the anti-tumor property. It’s also that same pro-oxidant effect that, in fact, helps your body get rid of infectious disease.”

To hear Dr. Hunninghake share some of the remarkable recoveries from difficult to treat cancers and other diseases, please listen to the interview in its entirety, or read through the transcript.

What You Need to Know About Oral Vitamin C

The latest version of oral vitamin C supplementation is liposomal vitamin C, which I was introduced to by Dr. Thomas Levy, who is clearly one of the leaders in this area.

Liposomal vitamin C bypasses many of the complications of traditional vitamin C or ascorbic acid, and, according to Dr. Levy, you can achieve far higher intracellular concentrations this way.

“I’m all in favor of people trying this,” Hunninghake says. “I think it can be used as an adjunct to I.V. vitamin C. Most people are only going to do I.V. vitamin C once or twice a week. So by doing the liposomal vitamin C, they can easily do 6 grams of liposomal vitamin C orally without a bit of gastrointestinal distress.”

From Hunninghake’s perspective, liposomal vitamin C may still be somewhat unproven, but is nonetheless quite safe.

There are also other forms of vitamin C on the market, such as buffered forms of sodium ascorbate. One example would be Ester-C. These buffered forms are also effective and do not cause the gastrointestinal distress associated with conventional ascorbic acid.

So far, I have recommended avoiding Ester-C, as I believe it’s an oxidized form of vitamin C, which could do more harm than good. Dr. Hunninghake disagrees with my assessment, stating he’s never seen any evidence indicating that Ester-C might be an oxidized form of vitamin C.

Based on Dr. Hunninghake’s expertise in this area, I may reconsider my stance on Ester-C, although I still believe liposomal vitamin C has benefits that cannot be matched by buffered forms of vitamin C.

Dosing Frequency Can Also Make a Difference

Another factor to keep in mind when taking oral vitamin C is dosing frequency.

Dr. Steve Hickey, who wrote the book Ascorbate, has shown that if you take vitamin C frequently throughout the day, you can achieve much higher plasma levels. So even though your kidneys will tend to rapidly excrete the vitamin C, by taking it every hour or two, you can maintain a much higher plasma level than if you just dose it once a day (unless you’re taking an extended release form of vitamin C).

There are also a number of people, primarily with the naturopathic perspective, who believe that in order to be truly effective, ascorbic acid alone is not enough — you need the combination of the ascorbic acid with its associated micronutrients, such as bioflavonoids and other components.

Hunninghake agrees.

“There is no question that would be a better way to go. Any time you can [get it from] food, you’re going to be better off. [F]ood is still the essential thing your body needs in order to get optimal cellular functioning.

But when you’re sick, you can use trace nutrients in orthomolecular doses to achieve effects that you can’t get from just food alone.

But in general, for people who are healthy and want to stay healthy, I would recommend using vitamin C that has bioflavonoids and other co-factors associated with it.”

As far as getting your vitamin C from food, remember that the more colorful your diet, the higher it will be in bioflavanoids and cartenoids. Eating a colorful diet (i.e. plenty of vegetables) helps ensure you’re naturally getting that phytonutrient synergism needed for maintaining health.

One of the easiest ways to ensure you’re getting enough vegetables in your diet is by juicing them. For more information, please see my juicing page.

You can also squeeze some fresh lemon or lime juice into some water for a vitamin C rich beverage.

For More Information about Intravenous Vitamin C

If you, or someone you know, want more information about using vitamin C as an adjunct to your cancer protocol, please visit www.RiordanClinic.org, where you can find the Riordan IVC Protocol discussed above. That site also contains a number of research articles so that you can review the evidence for yourself.

Dr. Hunninghake has also created a video on how vitamin C fights cancer, available at www.HealthHunterOnline.org.

This site also contains an informative lecture by Dr. Glen Hyland called IVC, Chemotherapy and Radiation – Are They Compatible? Hyland offers compelling evidence showing that not only are they compatible but they are synergistic.

Last but not least, for more details about vitamin C, its many health benefits, and the synergistic effects achieved when combined with other nutrients such as vitamin D, please listen to the entire interview as it contains much more than what I’ve summarized here.

Final Thoughts

In closing, Dr. Hunninghake says:

“If you’re going to treat cancer, you can’t rely upon one modality. Even though we do kind of focus on I.V. vitamin C at our clinic, we measure nutrient levels.

We have people reexamine their diet. We encourage detoxification strategies, regular exercise, adequate sleep, improving interpersonal relationships. All of these can have a bearing on your outcome in cancer.”

In my opinion, a cancer treatment plan that does not include testing and optimizing your vitamin D levels is nothing short of criminal negligence. Optimizing your vitamin D levels is just that important, especially if you have a disease like cancer.

In fact some experts believe that vitamin D is the “new” vitamin C. Of course they are not mutually exclusive and can be taken together, but I am still more of a fan of vitamin D as it really is a hormone and influences up to10 percent of your genes, which has very profound consequences if you are deficient.

However vitamin C also has great potential here, and there is overwhelming evidence showing that using I.V. vitamin C as an adjunct to conventional treatment methods can be extremely beneficial, with virtually no risk.

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Dr. Rudi Moerck is a drug industry insider and an expert on fats and oils.

In this interview, Dr. Moerck discusses the ins-and-outs of cooking oils; the good, the bad and the ones to avoid like the plague.


Dr. Mercola’s Comments:

A common question that many people have is whether or not food should be eaten uncooked. I personally believe that consuming a majority of your food uncooked is a cornerstone of optimal health.

Typically, the less processed and heat-treated the food is, the more nutritious and healthier it is going to be.

Nevertheless, most people prefer to cook their food, at least occasionally. When you do, you’re going to cook with some form of oil.

The question is, what’s the best, healthiest type of oil to use when cooking?

Dr. Rudi Moerck has studied oils for a long time, and offers some intriguing insights in this interview.

Cooking with Tropical Oils – Your Healthiest Alternative

I have, for many years now, recommended coconut oil on the basis and the supposition that it doesn’t contain much unsaturated fat. As a result, it’s not going to be damaged by heat and create trans fats like some other oils. (Another tropical oil that is very similar is palm oil.)

Dr. Moerck agrees, saying:

“I would say that coconut oil is okay to cook with. It’s a saturated fat.  Your body will burn it as fuel or it will get rid of it some other way. It won’t store it in your body.. So from that point of view, if you’re going to use oil then that’s a good one to use.”

Interestingly, unlike carbohydrates, which can also deliver quick energy to your body, coconut oil does this without producing an insulin spike. Yes, it acts like a carbohydrate, but without any of the debilitating insulin-related effects associated with long-term high carbohydrate consumption.

But that’s merely the beginning.

Earlier this week I published an entire special report on the health benefits of coconut oil, which include:

  • Promoting heart health
  • Promoting weight loss, when needed
  • Supporting your immune system health
  • Supporting a healthy metabolism
  • Providing you with an immediate energy source
  • Keeping your skin healthy and youthful looking
  • Supporting the proper functioning of your thyroid gland

Part of what makes coconut oil such a healthful oil for cooking is that 50 percent of the fat content in coconut oil is a fat rarely found in nature called lauric acid.  This is also one of the features that distinguishes coconut oil from other saturated fats.

Your body converts lauric acid into monolaurin, which has potent anti-viral, anti-bacterial and anti-protozoa properties.

In addition, coconut oil is about 2/3 medium-chain fatty acids (MCFAs), also called medium-chain triglycerides or MCTs.  These types of fatty acids also produce a host of health benefits.

Best of all, coconut oil is stable enough to resist heat-induced damage, which you cannot say for other oils. In fact, it’s so stable you can even use if for frying (although I don’t recommend frying your food for a number of health reasons).

I recommend using coconut oil in lieu of every other oil, whether your recipe calls for butter, olive oil, vegetable oil or margarine.

Important, New Information about Olive Oil

Extra-virgin olive oil is a good monounsaturated fat that is also well-known for its health benefits. It’s a staple in healthful diets such as Mediterranean-style diets.

However, it’s important to realize it is NOT good for cooking. It should really only be used cold, typically drizzled on salads and other food.

Due to its chemical structure and a large amount of unsaturated fats, cooking makes extra-virgin olive oil very susceptible to oxidative damage. However, during this interview I learned that extra-virgin olive oil has a significant draw-back even when used cold – it’s still extremely perishable!

As it turns out, extra-virgin olive oil contains chlorophyll that accelerates decomposition and makes the oil go rancid rather quickly.

In fact, Dr. Moerck actually prefers using almost tasteless, semi-refined olive oil rather than extra-virgin olive oil for this reason.

If you’re like most people, you’re probably leaving your bottle of olive oil right on the counter, opening and closing it multiple times a week. Remember, any time the oil is exposed to air and/or light, it oxidizes, and as it turns out, the chlorophyll in extra virgin olive oil accelerates the oxidation of the unsaturated fats.

Clearly, consuming spoiled oil (of any kind) will likely do more harm than good.

To protect the oil, Dr. Moerck recommends treating it with the same care as you would other sensitive omega-3 oils:

  • Keep in a cool, dark place
  • Purchase smaller bottles rather than larger to ensure freshness
  • Immediately replace the cap after each pour

To help protect extra virgin olive oil from oxidation, Dr. Moerck suggests putting one drop of astaxanthin into the bottle. You can purchase astaxanthin, which is an extremely potent antioxidant, in soft gel capsules. Just prick it with a pin and squeeze the capsule into the oil.

The beautiful thing about using astaxanthin instead of another antioxidant such as vitamin E, is that it is naturally red, whereas vitamin E is colorless, so you can tell the oil still has astaxanthin in it by its color.

As the olive oil starts to pale in color, you know it’s time to throw it away.

You can also use one drop of lutein in your olive oil. Lutein imparts an orange color and will also protect against oxidation. Again, once the orange color fades, your oil is no longer protected against rancidity and should be tossed.

This method is yet another reason for buying SMALL bottles. If you have a large bottle, you may be tempted to keep it even though it has begun to oxidize.

The Worst Cooking Oils of All

Polyunsaturated fats are the absolute WORST oils to use when cooking because these omega-6-rich oils are highly susceptible to heat damage.

This category includes common vegetable oils such as:

  • Corn
  • Soy
  • Safflower
  • Sunflower
  • Canola

Damaged omega-6 fats are disastrous to your health, and are responsible for far more health problems than saturated fats ever were.

Trans fat is the artery-clogging, highly damaged omega-6 polyunsaturated fat that is formed when vegetable oils are hardened into margarine or shortening.

I strongly recommend never using margarine or shortening when cooking. I guarantee you you’re already getting far too much of this damaging fat if you consume any kind of processed foods, whether it be potato chips, pre-made cookies, or microwave dinners…

Trans fat is the most consumed type of fat in the US, despite the fact that there is no safe level of trans fat consumption, according to a report from the Institute of Medicine.

Trans fat raises your LDL (bad cholesterol) levels while lowering your HDL (good cholesterol) levels, which of course is the complete opposite of what you want. In fact, trans fats — as opposed to saturated fats — have been repeatedly linked to heart disease. They can also cause major clogging of your arteries, type 2 diabetes and other serious health problems.

Personally I don’t cook very much but when I do I use our Pure Virgin Coconut Oil as it is the most resistant to heating damage, but also a great source of medium chained triglycerides and lauric acid.

So, cleaning these oils out of your kitchen cupboard is definitely recommended if you value your health.

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Ori Hofmekler, author of The Warrior Diet, is an expert on how to build muscle and improve your health with foods.

In this interview, Ori shares his insights about whey protein – known as the gold standard of proteins. But as you will find out, not all whey products are created equal.


Dr. Mercola’s Comments:

Ori Hofmekler is a wealth of knowledge when it comes to fitness and how to use food to burn fat, build muscle, and optimize your health.

He has found whey protein to be a particularly beneficial food for all of these purposes.

Whey protein, a by-product of milk and cheese, was promoted for its health benefits as early as 420 B.C. At that time, Hippocrates, also known as “the Father of Medicine,” recommended whey to his patients. These days, evidence continues to mount in favor of whey, often referred to as the gold standard of protein.

Ori is an authority in this area and I’ve learned a lot from him personally.

We cover a load of information in this interview, so I urge you to listen to it in its entirety, or read through the transcript for additional information, over and above what I’ve summarized below.

Health Benefits of Whey Protein

Whey protein has been linked to a variety of health benefits, including:

  • Helping your insulin work more effectively, which helps maintain your blood sugar level after a meal — This is important as research suggests lowering your blood sugar levels after meals may be more beneficial for your health than lowering fasting blood sugars.
  • Promoting healthy insulin secretion, which is imperative for optimal health. This is one of the foremost reasons for avoiding sugars and grains, as overconsumption of grains and sugary foods has a negative impact on both, and is a prime factor in developing type 2 diabetes.
  • Helping to promote your optimal intake of proteins, fats, carbohydrates, vitamins, and minerals needed for your overall wellness
  • Supporting your immune system, as it contains immunoglobulins
  • Helping you preserve lean body tissue (particularly during exercise) as it delivers bioavailable amino acids and cysteine
  • Maintaining blood pressure levels that are already within the normal range

Whey Isolate

There are a number of whey products on the market, but unfortunately many of them will not give you the health benefits associated with high-quality whey.

Most commercial whey products are derived from pasteurized dairy and are processed with heat and acid. Many are also artificially sweetened. All of these factors render them completely useless from a health perspective.

Whey isolate is one such inferior product, because when you remove the fat, you actually remove important components of itsimmunological properties, such as phospholipids, phosphatidylserine and cortisol.

Additionally, all of the IgG immunoglobulins, which are an excellent source of glutamine and cysteine, are also bound to the fat globule. Fat provides not just calories. In fact, most food rich in healthful fat, including nuts, seeds, chia and almonds are carriers of antioxidants, such as vitamin E and phytosterols.

Dairy also contains lipoic acid, which is a carrier of enzymes and immunoglobulin.

Therefore, if you take the fat out you’re left with a clearly inferior whey protein.

“I’m totally against whey isolate,” Ori says. “I think it’s just the wrong whey.”

Pasteurized versus Raw Milk Whey

When selecting a whey product, I strongly recommend making sure it’s made from raw, grass-fed milk, in order to obtain the majority of its immune-enhancing benefits.

Unfortunately, most of the whey protein sold on the market is made from pasteurized milk, including whey protein concentrate and New Zealand whey. The New Zealand whey does come from grass-fed cows. However by New Zealand law the whey must be made from pasteurized milk, which negates many of the inherent health benefits of whey, even though it’s grass-fed.

There are, however, a few good sources of high-quality whey protein, made from the raw (unpasteurized) milk of grass-fed cows.

“When you look at this whey,” Ori says, “you can immediately tell the difference in the smell, the taste. It tastes creamy and good by itself. It’s water soluble. It gives you only the mineral component.”

Fortunately, manufacturers in the US are allowed to process whey from raw milk.

“In my opinion. in America, you can find some of the best whey in the world. You just need to know where to look for it and how to process it,” Ori says.

Guidelines for Buying High-Quality Whey

As explained by Ori, these are the factors you need to look for in order to ensure you’re buying a high-quality product:

  • Organic (no hormones)
  • Grass-fed
  • Made from unpasteurized (raw) milk
  • Cold processed, since heat destroys whey’s fragile molecular structure
  • Minimally processed
  • Rich, creamy, full flavor
  • Water soluble
  • Sweetened naturally, not artificially
  • Highly digestible-look for medium chain fatty acids (MCTs), not long chain fatty acids

Some of the best whey protein you can get today is derived from raw milk cheese manufacturing. They have very high quality controls and produce great-tasting whey, with optimal nutritional content.

One of the most important components of the whey is glycomacropeptides (GMP). GMP has amazing immuno components that are critically important for your gut flora. However, only whey produced from raw milk cheese contains GMP. Other varieties do not.

For more in-depth information about the actual processing procedure that high-quality whey must undergo, please listen to the entire interview above.

Your Second-Best Option.

High quality whey is typically more expensive than lower quality whey products and I believe it’s well worth the investment. However, if you can’t afford high quality whey, what’s your second-best option?

The answer is simple: raw dairy products, such as raw milk or raw milk cheese.

To find a source near you, check out www.RealMilk.com. They are a great resource for raw dairy.

An additional benefit of raw milk cheese is that the fermentation process also produces vitamin K2, which is a very important nutrient for optimal health that is difficult to obtain on a normal diet, unless you eat traditionally-fermented foods.

Raw milk and raw milk cheese is also a good source of calcium, which we discuss in further detail in this interview.

Whey Protein versus Yoghurt – One Builds Muscle, The Other Doesn’t

Research clearly shows that sour milk, such as kefir or yoghurt, has amazing cardiovascular benefits, such as reducing your blood pressure and triglyceride levels.

Whey and raw milk cheese also both contain compounds called casomorphins that have beneficial effects on blood pressure and blood sugar.

The real difference between them, however, becomes apparent when you want to build muscle. The benefits of sour milk products are primarily evident in your cardiovascular system, not your body’s ability to build muscle.

So if you want to build muscle, do not use yoghurt. It contains protein, but the fermentation process strips away many of the additional immuno components that make whey stand out as a primary fuel to increase your muscle mass.

Ori recommends yoghurt for detoxifying your body and reestablishing a healthful balance of beneficial gut bacteria (probiotics). This is also important for building muscle, but yoghurt is not an ideal source of protein to build muscle or boosting your immune system.

Increasing Your Muscle Mass

Whey protein, however, is a great source of protein for building muscle.

Ideally, you’ll want to use a combination of sour milk products and whey, as each has its own set of benefits.

Ori explains the supportive mechanisms of these two products.

“. [A]s protein is digested in your stomach, a large percentage of amino acids actually are not fully utilized and do not reach your low intestine. That’s when probiotics come into action. They can help you utilize the remaining amino acid.

More than that, if your gut flora is healthy, we now have proof that they can actually synthesize essential amino acids, including lysine, which is missing in food stuff.

That’s one of the downside of vegans — they don’t have enough lysine.

They [probiotics] can also synthesize leucine, which you need for muscle building. Good quality protein and good gut flora, and good timing of meals, is important.”

Please remember that a major challenge many go through is a process called sarcopenia, which is age related muscle loss This recent New York Times article addresses this topic and clearly suggests most of us should be doing some type of strength training.

You just need to know that lifting weights will NOT necessarily result in gaining muscle mass. If you are involved in heavy catabolic exercises like aerobics or running, you will not have the hormonal influences to build muscle.

Additionally, you need to supply your muscles with fuel at the appropriate time so they will have the building blocks to build new muscle tissue. Ideally you would want to consume the whey about one hour before and one hour after your workout.

I personally add two organic pasture-raised eggs to my whey shake along with some raw milk rather than water. I am currently in a muscle gaining phase and have gained about 10 pounds of muscle in the past six month, and lost about 13 pounds of fat, using the Peak Fitness program and whey protein/raw milk/raw egg combination.

Another important benefit of the whey is that if you consume it during the day, you facilitate detoxing while at the same time giving your muscles exactly what they need to rebuild. For more information about this, please see this previous article that discusses how whey can naturally optimize your glutathione production, which is an important component for optimal health and muscles.

You will also burn more fat because you’re less likely to consume excess calories. (Protein, as you may recall from previous articles, is the most filling type of food, which will help eliminate high-carb/high-calorie snacking.)

What About Naturally Occurring MSG?

Monosodium glutamate (MSG) is a commonly used flavor enhancer with potent neurotoxic properties. MSG should therefore be avoided as much as possible.

That said, however, it’ important to realize that MSG can also occur naturally in certain foods, including yoghurt, and these types of MSG-containing foods do not cause the same kind of harm that synthetic, added MSG does.

Ori explains:

“You want to stay away from MSG. However, your body is very well equipped to protect itself from MSG… [W]e have naturally occurring MSG in many healthy foods; tomato, potato, yoghurt.

Are you going stop eating sour milk and yoghurt with all their benefits just because it produces some MSG in the processing, the fermentation of milk?

No. We cannot be too obsessive, because your body can easily protect itself from MSG when on a healthy diet.

One of the compounds your body produces is called betaine. Betaine is produced from choline. Milk and whey is loaded with choline; with all the nutrients that help you protect yourself from MSG. It’s not that it doesn’t produce MSG, it provides you — through the sunflower lecithin — with all the nutrients your body needs to protect itself from glutamate excitotoxicity.”

Whey Protein – A Great Way to Start Each Day!

For all the reasons mentioned here, and then some, high-quality whey protein is my preferred breakfast. I drink a delicious whey protein shake after my morning exercise routine, which includes high intensity Peak 8 exercises, as whey is ideal for facilitating muscle building and fat burning.

For my personal recipe using great-tasting Miracle Whey, please see this previous article.

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