Mother and Baby BondingBreast milk may be tremendously important to mother-baby bonding. New research shows that breast-feeding mothers are more likely than formula-feeding moms to bond with their infants, and also demonstrate stronger brain responses when they hear their baby cry.

Researchers divided a group of new mothers into breast-feeders and formula-feeders, and performed functional MRIs (fMRI) on them about a month after their babies were born. Although all the mothers' brains became more active when listening to their own baby's cry, the changes in the breast-feeding mothers' relevant brain regions were much greater.

Time Magazine reports:

?The study, which the researchers say is the first to link brain activity with maternal behavior, is likely to reinforce the convictions of breast-feeding mothers that they're doing right by their babies?.


Dr. Mercola's Comments:

Breastfeeding is the least expensive and most effective way to improve and protect your baby's health, and now a first-of-its-kind study also suggests that breastfeeding may have a direct impact on a mother's brain, promoting 'maternal behavior' and increasing emotional bonding between the mother and child.

This is not altogether surprising, since breastfeeding promotes the increased release of oxytocin, also known as the "love hormone," or "bonding hormone."

Breastfeeding Alters Your Brain Activity

Still, it's interesting to note the changes in brain activity observed in breastfeeding moms. The results were published in the April issue of the Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, and the researchers suggest that breastfeeding may be "the secret" that strengthens mother-baby bonding.

The Yale University researchers divided mothers into two groups:

  1. Nine breast-feeders
  2. Eight formula-feeders

About one month after giving birth, the mothers underwent functional MRIs (fMRI) while listening to audio clips of their own baby, and an unknown baby, crying. While all of the mothers' brains became more active when listening to their own baby's cry, the breastfeeding mothers displayed more significant activity in relevant brain regions.

Whether or not this is directly related to increased oxytocin levels, or whether some other mechanism is at play is still unknown. But it can be worthwhile to take this information into consideration if you're still on the fence about breastfeeding, or perhaps if you're concerned about being able to successfully bond with your baby whether breastfeeding, or not.

The Many Health Benefits of Breastfeeding?For Both Mother and Child

Aside from promoting stronger emotional bonding, breastfeeding offers a long list of life-long health benefits, not just for the child, but for the mother as well.

Studies have shown that breastfed babies gain added protection against:

Sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) Eczema Respiratory- and other types of infections
Heart disease Obesity Type 1 and type 2 diabetes
Bowel diseases such as Crohn's disease Asthma and allergies Necrotizing enterocolitis among premature babies

Breastfeeding can also help promote cognitive development in your child. It also benefits the mother in several ways, including:

Enhancing maternal behavior through increased oxytocin release "Natural birth control," as it suppresses ovulation, making pregnancy less likely Diabetic mothers typically require less insulin
Easier weight loss Reducing your risk of endometrial-, ovarian- and breast cancers Reducing your risk of metabolic syndrome

Breastfeeding More Successful with Proper Maternity Leave

A recent article in Medical News Today brings up a related and important point in terms of what can help make breastfeeding more successful, and that is extended maternity leave.

Ideally, you'll want to breastfeed your baby for at least six months, but this can be tricky if you have to return to work after a few short weeks of maternity leave.  An article in the journal Pediatrics, published last month, points out that national breastfeeding rates in the US still fall short of the "Healthy People 2010" goals.

Of the women who had at least 13 weeks maternity leave, just over 74 percent started breastfeeding. Meanwhile, the breastfeeding rate dropped by nearly 10 percent for women who only had one to six weeks maternity leave. Those with longer maternity leave also had the highest ratio of babies still breastfeeding at three months of age.

The authors concluded:

"If new mothers delay their time of return to work, then duration of breastfeeding among US mothers may lengthen."

One answer to increase breastfeeding rates would be to extend the Family and Medical Leave Act, which is the recommendation of the study's authors. American women are currently entitled to 12 weeks unpaid leave after giving birth, according to the US Family Leave and Medical Act. However, this federal law does not apply to many women who work for small businesses with fewer than 50 employees, as they only have to offer this benefit to women who have worked a minimum of 1,250 hours in the preceding 12 months.

For comparison:

  • Swedish mothers get 16 months maternity leave at 80 percent pay
  • Japanese women receive 14 weeks leave at 66 percent pay, and
  • Canadians get 17 weeks off at 55 percent of their regular salary

Since American law does not require the employer to pay a percentage of a woman's salary during maternity leave, taking extra time off is a financial impossibility for many families. While there's no easy answer to that dilemma (barring legislative changes), if you can afford it, it may be well worth considering...

Is Home Birth Right for You?

In related news, home births are now at the highest level since 1990, and this could be a beneficial trend to help increase breastfeeding rates.

While there are multiple reasons for this trend, I see it as a sign that more families are now starting to take back control of their health, and that of their offspring. Patient-doctor trust is wearing thin these days, as conflicts of interest are becoming increasingly obvious, and more people are looking for low intervention birthing options. Many parents also want to return to a more soothing and natural way of greeting their child into the world, and opt to avoid immediate vaccinations.

As an added benefit, home births are also less expensive, costing about one-third of a hospital birth.

According to a recently published study in the journal Birth, the number of American women delivering their babies at home increased by a healthy 20 percent between 2004 and 2008.   The primary thrust behind this change is attributed to white women increasingly opting to give birth at home?Caucasians accounted for 94 percent of the increase.

Which is Safer?Home Births or Hospital Births?

There's much controversy over this issue. Some studies have concluded that hospital births are safer, and many women are still dissuaded by their obstetricians to pursue a home birth.

But is all that worry warranted?

An interesting review of the evidence was published back in 2003, which shatters many of these concerns.

Published in the journal Birth, the authors criticize the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists for sensationalizing negative studies; one in particular alleged to have found that home births doubled the risk of newborn death. However, upon more careful review, the study in question contained "numerous flaws and limitations," and "could not be used" to make an informed decision about whether or not women should be discouraged from opting for home birth.

The review reads, in part:

"... The authors noted "controversy" in literature concerning the safety of home deliveries, but cited only 4 studies that they claim support their findings of increased risk of neonatal mortality and adverse outcomes. They failed to mention or discuss findings from the bulk of the recent national and international literature, which concluded that planned home birth is a safe and reasonable option. More importantly, they misrepresented the literature that they did cite. Even a cursory examination of those studies revealed that two of them included both low- and high-risk women in the home birth group.

... [R]eviewing controlled trials in Europe, Springer and Van Weel concluded that planned home birth is "safe in selected women and with adequate infrastructure and support". In the United States, Murphy and Fullerton concluded, "home birth can be accomplished with good outcomes under the care of qualified practitioners and within a system that facilitates transfer to hospital care when necessary."

The authors also point out that:

"... Recently, a policy statement by the Governing Council of the American Public Health Association concluded that "Births to healthy mothers, who are not considered at medical risk after comprehensive screening by trained professionals, can occur safely in various settings, including out-of-hospital birth centers and homes."

High-risk pregnancies that are typically not good candidates for home birth include women who are:

  • Over the age of 40
  • Obese (weighing over 300 pounds)
  • Hypertensive
  • Diabetic

The review concludes with the following advice:

"... Each year in the United States more than 25,000 women choose to deliver at home. It is time for the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists to recognize that the evidence calls for improvements in the provision of out-of-hospital services, rather than their elimination, and to provide leadership in ensuring adequate infrastructure and support for those women choosing home birth.

 It is time for national funding groups, government health agencies, and editorials to support investigations on the models of care that produce optimal outcomes across birth sites."


"... When the findings of a new study disagree with copious evidence from high-quality trials, the study methodology and interpretation must be examined closely."

Hopefully this level-headed review of the evidence will help put your mind at ease. Because while there's no way to completely eliminate all risk inherent with childbirth, there's actually very little evidence to indicate that giving birth at home with a well-qualified birthing professional is riskier than giving birth in a hospital, as long as you're in good health, and have a normal, low-risk pregnancy. On the contrary, it may actually be safer. And the added benefits can be great.

Help for Moms Who Can't Breastfeed

Ideally you should strive to breastfeed your baby exclusively for the first six months, and only then begin to supplement with solid foods (while still continuing to breastfeed as well). If you're having trouble breastfeeding, Le Leche League is a terrific resource to contact for help.

However, if you're unable to breastfeed for any reason, please steer clear of commercial infant formulas as much as possible and definitely avoid all soy infant formula. The next best alternative to breast milk is to make a healthy homemade infant formula using this recipe.

Related Articles:

  Seven Reasons to Breastfeed Your Child That You Need to Know

  Breastfeeding Best for Mothers as Well as Infants

  Why Breastfeeding in the First Hour of Life is Important

 Comments (152)

BacteriaEvery human being serves as a home to thousands of different species of microbes. But scientists are now reporting that there are just three distinct microbial ecosystems in the guts of people they have studied.

The three "enterotypes" showed no particular link to ethnic background, sex, weight, health or age. One possibility is that the intestines of infants are simply randomly colonized by different pioneering species of microbes, which alter the gut so that only certain species can follow them.

The New York Times reports:

"Whatever the cause of the different enterotypes, they may end up having discrete effects on people's health. Gut microbes aid in food digestion and synthesize vitamins ... Enterotype 1 produces more enzymes for making vitamin B7 (also known as biotin), for example, and Enterotype 2 more enzymes for vitamin B1 (thiamine)."


Dr. Mercola's Comments:

This is an interesting finding to say the least, particularly in light of how nutritional typing is increasingly used by physicians who practice "individualized medicine." For example, a customized meal plan based on the patient's nutritional type is the cornerstone of Dr. Nicholas Gonzalez' highly successful non-traditional cancer treatment.

Tailoring your diet to your own biochemical needs is also the hallmark of my Total Health program.

I believe eating according to your nutritional type is so essential for optimizing your health that I now offer the entire online nutritional typing test for free. We've charged thousands of people $29 for this test in the past, but decided this was too important and therefore made a mission decision to offer this to everyone for free. So if you have not yet taken it I would encourage you to do so.

Please remember that it is not a test that will tell you the perfect foods to eat but more of a process to help you learn and discover the foods that will make your thrive and move toward optimal health based on your specific biochemistry and genetics. It will teach you, over the course of several months, how to determine the best foods for you.

In this study, which supports nutritional typing, lead researcher Peer Bork suggests that one of the "obvious" potential benefits of his finding is that doctors may someday be able to tailor diets or drug prescriptions based on their gastrointestinal enterotype.

Considering that the process for determining your nutritional type is currently heavily dependent on listening to your body and tracking how different foods make you feel, both physically and psychologically, it's exciting to see the potential for using gut flora analysis as an aid.

Another exciting avenue is using gene typing. Dr. Stanislaw Burzynski and his son, Dr. Gregory Burzynski, already employ gene-target therapies in the treatment of cancer, and their approach also includes customized diets, tailored to the patient's genetic makeup.

Three Types of Human Gut Ecosystems Discovered

When you consider that your intestines contain about 100 trillion bacteria, it may seem surprising that people would fall into one of just three distinct types of bacterial ecosystems?each composed of a different balance of various bacteria species. But it makes sense when viewed as part and parcel of your nutritional type.

As of yet, we don't know which enterotype might correspond to which nutritional type, but I believe we will in time.

Remember, your body responds uniquely to food -- your fuel -- based on your genetics, biochemical makeup, family history, and your own interaction with your environment. Nutritional typing also divides people up into three groups:

  1. Carb/Veggie types normally feel best when the majority, about 60 percent, of their food is vegetable carbohydrate, along with about 25 percent protein and 15 percent fat, but this type may need as little as 10 percent fat and as high as 80 percent carb in exceptional times.
  2. Protein types do better on low-carbohydrate, high-protein and high-fat diets. A typical ratio might be 40 percent protein and 30 percent each of fats and carbohydrates, but the amounts could easily shift to 50 percent fats and as little as 10 percent carbohydrates depending on individual genetic requirements.
  3. Mixed are between the carb and protein types.

Since gut microbes aid in food digestion and absorption of nutrients, and help synthesize vitamins by creating specific enzymes, it actually makes perfect sense that different nutritional types might have the specialized gut flora required to optimize the utilization of their ideal dietary fuel...

The Powerful Connection between Your Gut and Brain

Most people fail to realize that your gut is quite literally your second brain, and in addition to digesting your food actually has the ability to significantly influence your:  

  • Mind
  • Mood
  • Behavior

It's not a widely understood or emphasized fact, but studies have repeatedly shown that a healthy gut reinforces a positive outlook and behavior, while depression and a variety of behavioral problems have been linked to an imbalance or lack of gut bacteria.

For example, a recent animal study published in the journal Neurogastroenterology & Motility, found that mice lacking gut bacteria behave differently from normal mice, engaging in what would be referred to as "high-risk behavior." This altered behavior was accompanied by neurochemical changes in the mouse brain.

According to the authors, microbiota (your gut flora)  plays a role in the communication between your gut and your brain, and:

"Acquisition of intestinal microbiota in the immediate postnatal period has a defining impact on the development and function of the gastrointestinal, immune, neuroendocrine and metabolic systems. For example, the presence of gut microbiota regulates the set point for hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis activity."

So, not only does this finding dovetail nicely with the theory that your gut flora may be a factor of your nutritional type, but it also helps explain how your diet and gut flora can impact your mental health, for better or worse.

Remember, your diet is largely responsible for your gut health, and when you feed your body the fuel it's designed for, your gut flora will be able to maintain optimal balance, which then supports optimal physical and mental health.

The intrinsic connection between your gut and your brain becomes easier to understand once you know that your brain and gut are actually created out of the same type of tissue. During fetal development, one part turns into your central nervous system while the other develops into your enteric nervous system. These two systems are connected via the vagus nerve; the tenth cranial nerve that runs from your brain stem down to your abdomen. This is what connects your two brains together.

Your gut and brain actually work in tandem, each influencing the other.

This is why your intestinal health can have such a profound influence on your mental health, and vice versa. For an interesting and well-written layman's explanation of the gut/brain connection, read through Sandra Blakeslee's 1996 New York Times article Complex and Hidden Brain in Gut Makes Stomachaches and Butterflies.

Now, even more interesting is the fact that certain neurotransmitters, such as serotonin, can also be found in your gut?in fact, the greatest concentration of serotonin, which is involved in mood control, depression and aggression, is found in your intestines, not your brain! Your bowels also contain some 100 million neurons?more than in either your spinal cord or your peripheral nervous system.

An excellent article by Adam Hadhazy, published in Scientific American last year, explains the intrinsic connection between your gut and your psychological well-being.

Hadhazy writes:

"The system is way too complicated to have evolved only to make sure things move out of your colon," says Emeran Mayer, professor of physiology, psychiatry and biobehavioral sciences at the David Geffen School of Medicine at the University of California, Los Angeles (U.C.L.A.). For example, scientists were shocked to learn that about 90 percent of the fibers in the primary visceral nerve, the vagus, carry information from the gut to the brain and not the other way around?

The second brain informs our state of mind in other more obscure ways, as well. "A big part of our emotions are probably influenced by the nerves in our gut," Mayer says?

Given the two brains' commonalities, depression treatments that target the mind can unintentionally impact the gut. The enteric nervous system uses more than 30 neurotransmitters, just like the brain, and in fact 95 percent of the body's serotonin is found in the bowels. Because antidepressant medications called selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) increase serotonin levels, it's little wonder that meds meant to cause chemical changes in the mind often provoke GI issues as a side effect."

All of that said, it makes perfect sense to nourish your gut flora to achieve optimal serotonin function, as it can clearly have a profound impact on your mood, psychological health, and behavior.

Gut Problems Also Linked to Brain Disorders

There's also no shortage of evidence of gastrointestinal involvement in a variety of neurological diseases, including autism, so in this way some forms of vaccine damage may also be explained.

Dr. Andrew Wakefield is just one of many who have investigated the connection between developmental disorders and bowel disease. He has published about 130-140 peer-reviewed papers looking at the mechanism and cause of inflammatory bowel disease, and has extensively investigated the brain-bowel connection in the context of children with developmental disorders such as autism.

For example, gluten intolerance is a frequent feature of autism, and many autistic children will improve when following a strict gluten-free diet. Many autistic children also tend to improve when given probiotics, either in the form of fermented foods or probiotic supplements.

A large number of replication studies have also been performed around the world, confirming the curious link between brain disorders such as autism and gastrointestinal dysfunction. For a list of more than 25 of those studies, please see this previous article.

According to Michael Gershon, chairman of the Department of Anatomy and Cell Biology at New York?Presbyterian Hospital/Columbia University Medical Center; a neurogastroenterology expert and author of The Second Brain, the same genes that make synapses form in your brain are also involved in the formation of synapses in your gut. Hence, if these genes are affected in autism, it could help explain both the GI abnormalities suffered by so many kids with autism, as well as the elevated levels of gut-produced serotonin in their blood.

How to Optimize the Bacteria in Your Gut

Fortunately, regardless of your type, optimizing your gut flora (the balance between "good" and "bad" bacteria in your gut) is relatively easy.

First, the MOST important step is to avoid consuming sugar and processed foods.  The sugars actually serve as fuel for the growth of pathogenic anaerobic bacteria, fungi and yeast, and competitively inhibit your good bacteria, tending to crowd them out of their appropriate niche. These pathogenic bacteria, fungi and yeast then produce metabolic waste products that will cause your health to deteriorate.

When you eat a healthy diet, based on your nutritional type that is low in sugars and processed foods, it automatically causes the beneficial bacteria in your gut to flourish. This is one of the many reasons why I highly recommend reducing, with the plan of eliminating, sugars and most grains from your diet.

Yet, even with an extremely low-sugar diet, there are other factors that influence your microflora, so you'll also want to avoid some of the factors that destroy healthy bacteria, such as:

  • Antibiotics
  • Chlorinated water
  • Antibacterial soap
  • Agricultural chemicals
  • Pollution

Considering the many toxins that surround most of us on a daily basis, it's generally a wise choice to "reseed" your body with good bacteria from time to time by taking a high-quality probiotic supplement or eating traditionally fermented foods. Healthy choices include:

  • Lassi (an Indian yoghurt drink, traditionally enjoyed before dinner)
  • Fermented milk, such as kefir
  • Various pickled fermentations of cabbage, turnips, eggplant, cucumbers, onions, squash and carrots
  • Natto (fermented soy)

If you were to eat a diet rich in fermented foods that have NOT been pasteurized (as pasteurization kills the naturally occurring probiotics), then you would likely enjoy great digestive health without any additional supplementation.

However, if you simply do not like any of these types of fermented foods, your next best option is to use a high quality probiotic supplement.

I've used many different brands over the past 20 years and there are many good ones out there. I also spent a long time researching and developing my own, called Complete Probiotics, in which I incorporated everything I have learned about this important tool over the years.

Related Articles:

  If You Can't Beat Depression, This Could be Why

  These Foods and Nutritional Deficiencies Can Make You Depressed or Violent

  The Danger of Excessive Vaccination During Brain Development

 Comments (96)

Flu VaccineSeveral recent studies have linked mercury to serious harm in children.

Dr. Joachim Mutter, author of one of the newest mercury studies, found evidence confirming that mercury in vaccines and other medical products could trigger autism. Another recent study observed that organic mercury is added to vaccines without sufficient safety testing, and warned that the use of mercury-containing Thimerosal is "potentially damaging the health of children."

According to PR Newswire:

"[The] rationale for the removal of mercury from medicine and dentistry is clear. ... [T]he medical community needs to adapt to what we now know is best for our children's health."

One study (Mutter) noted:

"Prenatal exposure to maternal amalgam, maternal Thimerosal and postnatal sources (mercury from vaccines for the child) together with genetic susceptibility may trigger autism."

Swine flu vaccines contain Polysorbate 80, an agent linked with infertility in mice, which may extend to infertility in humans. There are 3,587 reports from women who lost their babies very shortly after getting the H1N1 swine flu vaccine, causing many to question the safety of this vaccine.


Dr. Mercola's Comments:

This "news" isn't new?anyone who has taken a careful look at the scientific literature and epidemiological reports already knows mercury is harmful to pregnant women and children. But the more studies we have, the better?so I say, keep them coming! Who knows what critical mass is needed to eventually create a loud enough cry for change?

Every new piece of scientific evidence raises the chances that the U.S. government will finally have to enact legislation to protect your children from the toxic agents in vaccines.

In addition to its presence in vaccines and dental amalgams, mercury is also found in other pharmaceutical drugs, fish and seafood, high-fructose corn syrup, and many processed foods, including certain brands of jelly, ketchup, Coca Cola, and even Pop Tarts!

These latest studies are clearly a warning for us to clean up our toxic world.

Mercury in Dentistry Needs to Be Abolished NOW

Mercury and thimerosal need to be completely removed from the medical and dental industry. We are making progress, but not quickly enough. There needs to be zero tolerance for this potent neurotoxin as there is no safe level of exposure to mercury.

A massive grassroots campaign against the use of mercury in dental fillings, led by consumer protection attorney and activist Charlie Brown, has resulted in the FDA's agreement to re-examine its pro-mercury fillings position.

Dental amalgams are the largest source of the mercury found in the human body, contributing about 2 to 3 times as much mercury as all dietary and environmental sources combined. Your children don't need mercury in their food, their mouths, OR their vaccines.

Vaccines' Unsavory Assortment of Toxins

Thimerosal is a highly toxic and poisonous ethyl mercury agent that is used as a preservative in ALL injected flu vaccines. (Inhaled flu vaccines do not contain thimerosal.)

The mercury in thimerosal is 50 times more toxic than regular mercury. Thimerosal accumulates in the tissues and organs of your body, including your brain, which is why it is neurotoxic and parents and doctors maintain that it is a major factor in childhood autism.

In the U.S., most childhood vaccines are now thimerosal-free. But some vaccines still contain mercury, including:

All DTwP products (Diphtheria, Tetanus & whole cell Pertussis) Meningococcal multi-dose vials
DT (Diphtheria & Tetanus) multi-dose vials All multi-dose vials of seasonal- and swine flu vaccine, typically recommended for adults and children over the age of three.
All Tetanus Toxoid vaccines  

You can find a complete list of mercury content in U.S.-licensed vaccines here. You can also calculate the amount of mercury in shots your doctor recommends with the Vaccine Ingredient Calculator 

But thimerosal isn't the only dangerous ingredient in vaccines. They can also contain the following:

Formaldehyde, a known cancer-causing agent Phenol (carbolic acid)
Neomycin and streptomycin (antibiotics) Resin and gelatin, known to cause allergic reactions
Polysorbate 80 (Tween80?), which can cause anaphylactic reactions, and may cause miscarriage and infertility (see the next section for details) Triton X100 (detergent)

Some include highly toxic aluminum-derivatives that may be even WORSE than mercury, and a number of other adjuvants have been shown to be highly problematic. Unfortunately, there are so many vaccines, and so many ingredients, and a variety of brands with their own patented and therefore largely secret formulations?it makes for very tricky terrain.

You also have differences between the vaccines released in Europe, versus those released in the U.S.

I believe it's clear that these studies, taken as a whole, are like smoke signals, indicating there are significant health dangers linked to excessive vaccinations, even though science still may have a ways to go to pin down the exact mechanisms for each and every physiological reaction.

Infertility and Miscarriages from H1N1 Vaccine

The vaccine-safety community fought long and hard to get thimerosal removed from childhood vaccines, and now, just a few short years later, we're looking at government recommendations that include multiple injections of mercury-containing flu vaccines, year-in and year-out from six months of age throughout childhood and until the las year of life.

Studies have shown that the H1N1 flu, also known as swine flu, is no more serious than most strains of seasonal flu. In fact, it's usually milder.

Yet, millions of doses of H1N1 vaccine were given to panic-stricken adults and children. The swine flu "pandemic panic" may go down in history as one of the most massive cover-ups in American history.

The H1N1 vaccine has been connected with numerous health problems, including:

  • Guillain-Barre syndrome (CBS)
  • Thrombocytopenia (inadequate platelets in your blood)
  • Bell's palsy (a neuroimmune reaction involving facial paralysis)

And it appears it may also be linked to a high rate of miscarriage and infertility that may be in part due to an ingredient called polysorbate 80. Both H1N1 vaccines, Fluarix and Novartis' Agriflu, contain this agent.

Polysorbate 80, also known as Tween 80, is a detergent (surfactant) used to deliver certain drugs or chemical agents across the blood-brain barrier.

You can also find this ingredient in any vaccine using the adjuvant MF59, which contains both polysorbate 80 and squalene, which is yet another hazardous ingredient. Squalene is an adjuvant used in vaccines marketed in Europe and other countries, but squalene has not yet been approved by the FDA as an ingredient for vaccines distributed in the U.S.

A Slovakian study, done in 1993, was a very damning study against polysorbate 80.

Researchers injected female rats with Tween 80 on days four through seven after birth. They discovered that Tween 80 accelerated the rats' maturation, prolonged the estrous cycle, decreased the weight of the uterus and ovaries, and caused damage to the lining of the uterus indicative of chronic estrogenic stimulation.

The rats' ovaries were also damaged, with degenerative follicles and no corpora lutea (a mass of progesterone-secreting endocrine tissue that forms immediately after ovulation).

Such severe ovarian damage can lead to infertility.

Polysorbate 80 has also been found to cause severe anaphylactic shock (see this 2005 study) and may exert cancer-promoting effects on cellular metabolism (1965 study).

Injecting Foreign Proteins into Your Body is Bound to Create Problems

Dr. Shiv Chopra presented the following additional perspective and concerns regarding the actual injection of the vaccine.

ALL vaccines, by their very definition, are antigens. Antigens are substances that, when introduced into your body, trigger the production of an antibody by your immune system. In other words, your body views antigens as harmful invaders and sends out the troops to fight them.

Every antigen, by definition, must be a protein your body views as foreign.

In nature, foreign proteins are NEVER allowed to directly enter your blood stream, whole and intact. They are always first broken down by your digestive tract into their constituent amino acids, which are familiar to your body.

Any tampering with these biological laws, such as injecting foreign proteins through a needle, holds great potential for causing autoimmune diseases, like autism, because it interferes with your natural immunological function.

This is precisely what may be happening with our massive injection of vaccines into children, while their fragile immune systems are still developing.

And there is evidence that just ONE dose of thimerosal-laced vaccine can cause neurological harm!

A 2009 study showed that monkeys receiving just one dose of hepatitis B vaccine (which contains thimerosal) suffered significant developmental delays, even though the vaccine was adjusted for body weight to simulate the amount given to human infants. Although, it wasn't clear if the damage resulted from the thimerosal, or from the vaccine itself.

Either way, it was bad news for the monkeys and has dire implications for human children. The vaccinated primates took more than twice as long as unexposed controls to acquire three standardized skills typically used to measure infant brain development.

The bottom line is, the drug industry knows vaccines are good for business. But they can't prove they're good for your health. Educating yourself is no longer an option. It's essential if you want to stay healthy.

Donate $10 and NVIC Receives $30 to Defend Freedom

In order to help you sort through the volumes of science on these issues, here are a few good places to start:

First, I strongly recommend your joining NVIC, one of the premiere vaccine-safety watchdogs here in the U.S. Their site is packed with vital information about vaccine side effects and vaccine-safety measures you can take to protect yourself and your children.

Please make a donation ? large or small ? to NVIC. Because for every dollar you donate by March 31, 2011 THREE dollars will be donated to NVIC by a courageous and compassionate American, who has pledged to expand national public education and state based advocacy programs.

This is a once in a lifetime opportunity to be part of building an effective, well-organized nationwide campaign to take back our freedom to make voluntary vaccination choices.

Additional Resources to Help You Build Your Knowledge Base

  • Here is complete list of studies confirming thimerosal as a health hazard.
  • For the latest news about what's happing in vaccines, visit my Vaccine News page.
  • and are great resources as they provide copies of full studies going back many years, so you can review the evidence for yourself. contains an impressive collection of evidence against thimerosal.
  • If you're willing to dig, you can dive into and search their medical database for information.
  • Finally, Consumers for Dental Choice is a great source of information about the dangers of mercury-based dental amalgams, as well as a place to get the latest updates on what's happening in "Battle Mercury."

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 Comments (66)

Plastic ContainersPlastic containers and linings often leach chemicals into the surrounding environment.  And some of those chemicals, like the endocrine-disrupting bisphenol-A (BPA) and phthalates, may be harmful to your health.

Manufacturers have even begun advertising some products as "BPA-free." But a recent study found that most plastic products leach endocrine-disrupting chemicals even if they're labeled "BPA-free!"

The scientists found that 70 percent of common plastic products tested positive for estrogenic activity, and that number rose to 95 percent when the products were subject to real-world conditions such as dishwashing or microwaving.

Time Magazine reports:

"BPA is particularly worrisome simply because it is so common. Nearly every American has some amount of BPA in his or her body, in part because plastics are so ubiquitous."


Dr. Mercola's Comments:

You would think labeling a product "BPA-Free" would be some measure of protection against ingesting this toxic plastic by-product, but it turns out that tests on plastics using this label have not been conducted under real-world conditions like running the plastics through a dishwasher or heating them in a microwave.

In the "real-world", 95 percent of all plastic products in the study above tested positive for estrogenic activity, meaning they can still disrupt your hormones even if they carry a BPA-Free label. Even more disconcerting is the finding that BPA-Free plastics in some cases leached more BPA than the non-BPA free plastics.

Does this mean there is no safe plastic when it comes to storing or serving your food or drinks?

In a word, yes, that's what it means.

I suppose you could research exactly which five percent of commercial plastic products did not leach BPA in the study mentioned above, but my guess is you'll never be able to identify which products contain this very specific variation of plastic, because commercial products are not required to list details like that on their labels.

This is another study in a long line of scientific studies that highlight the fact that eating or drinking out of plastic containers will deposit residual BPA into your body, potentially causing a whole host of health problems that I will list in more detail below.

What is BPA?

BPA or Bisphenol A is a estrogenic plastic by-product used in the manufacture of polycarbonate plastics. It can leach into food or drinks from the plastic containers holding them. Canada in September 2010 declared BPA as a toxic substance, but to date no other country has followed suit, although BPA has been banned in baby bottles in Europe and the US (although they may still be sold in EU countries until June 2011).

BPA has been linked to estrogen mimicking compounds since the 1930s and has been widely reported in the media as being a suspected disruptor of your body's hormones. BPA's proponents argue that the substance does not accumulate in your body and therefore is not harmful, even though BPA has been found in 98 percent of all people tested in the US and is commonly found in the umbilical cords of babies in utero.

The suspected health hazards of BPA are many, listed in detail below.

BPA is Especially Harmful to Infants and Pregnant Women

Plastic chemicals are among the most potentially damaging toxins for a fetus, so if you're pregnant or thinking of becoming pregnant, now is the time to start limiting your exposure.

This includes BPA, which is an endocrine disruptor, meaning it mimics your body's natural hormones and can trigger major changes in your body. Of 115 published animal studies, 81 percent found significant effects from even low-level exposure to BPA.

BPA first caught researchers' attention after normal mice began to display uncommon genetic abnormalities. The defects were linked to plastic cages and water bottles that had been cleaned with a harsh detergent, causing BPA to leach out of the plastic. After determining how much BPA the mice had been exposed to, the researchers realized even an extremely small dose of 20 parts per billion daily, for just five to seven days, was enough to produce effects.

Some of the greatest concern surrounds early-life exposure to BPA, which can lead to chromosomal errors in your developing fetus, causing spontaneous miscarriages and genetic damage. And exposure to just 0.23 parts per billion of BPA is enough to disrupt the effect of estrogen in your baby's developing brain.

Again, if you are a woman of childbearing age or pregnant, you should be especially diligent about avoiding this toxin, because just like it sounds, .23 parts per billion is not very much BPA.

Other BPA Health Risks

No one is immune to the health risks of BPA. Research has linked BPA to:

Structural damage to your brain
Hyperactivity, increased aggressiveness, and impaired learning
Increased fat formation and risk of obesity
Altered immune function
Early puberty, stimulation of mammary gland development, disrupted reproductive cycles, and ovarian dysfunction
Changes in gender-specific behavior, and abnormal sexual behavior
Stimulation of prostate cancer cells
Increased prostate size, and decreased sperm production
Heart disease
Liver damage

As it stands, BPA is one of the world's highest production-volume chemicals and is widely used in the production of:

Plastic water bottles Tooth sealants
Plastic gallon milk bottles Canned foods and soda cans (most have plastic lining in the cans)
Plastic microwavable plates, ovenware, and utensils Baby toys, bottles, pacifiers, and sippy cups

Avoiding these items is an important step to limit your BPA exposure, and you can find even more tips in this past article.

Phthlates: Another Plasticizer Chemical to Avoid

Phthalates, or "plasticizers," are a group of industrial chemicals used to make plastics like polyvinyl chloride (PVC) more flexible and resilient. They're also one of the most pervasive endocrine disrupters so far discovered.

These chemicals have increasingly become associated with changes in the development of the male brain as well as with genital defects, metabolic abnormalities and reduced testosterone in babies and adults.

Phthalates are found in, among other things:

Processed food packaging Lubricant and adhesives
Hoses Detergents
Raincoats Beauty products like nail polish, hair spray, shampoo, deodorants, and fragrances
Shower curtains Toys
Vinyl flooring and wall coverings  

The Bottom Line about Plastics

Plastics are everywhere in the modern world, and much of it is designed to either go into your mouth or into your children's mouth, or serve as a vessel for things that go into your mouth (food and drinks). A sensible approach to limiting your exposure to BPA and phthlates would be to not put things into your mouth that are made from or come out of plastic.

This includes limiting water you drink from plastic bottles, avoiding foods that come from plastic containers and never microwaving foods in plastic containers. Processed foods are notorious for coming packaged in plastic, especially foods that go straight from the supermarket shelf into the microwave. Another major source of processed foods containing BPA are soups and canned goods, which I also advise you to avoid.

By the way, never microwaving your food will also help your health in other ways as well.

A good replacement for bottled water is making your own superior quality filtered water using a point of use reverse osmosis filter. The few dollars this filter will cost you will more than make up for its purchase price as you safely make hundreds of gallons of pure water from your home tap ? water that is much safer than any you can buy in a plastic bottle, and certainly much safer than the water that usually flows out of your home tap!

You can also store your superior home-based point of use filtered water in glass containers, which will not leach toxins into your water. For taking your water on the go, a good option is to tote it in stainless steel containers, which are available at many retail outlets. With a little work you can just say no to bottled water and all the BPA and phthlates associated with long-term bottled water use.

10 Tips to Reduce Your Exposure to BPA

To be fair, you probably can no longer completely eliminate your exposure to BPA (since it's likely in our air, water, and food, too) but you can certainly reduce your exposure dramatically.

The following tips will not only reduce your exposure to BPA, but also to many of the other dangerous plastics chemicals as well.

Only use glass baby bottles and dishes for your baby
Give your baby natural fabric toys instead of plastic ones
Store your food and beverages in glass -- NOT plastic -- containers
IF you choose to use a microwave, don't microwave food in a plastic container
Stop buying and consuming canned foods and drinks
Avoid using plastic wrap (and never microwave anything covered in it)
Get rid of your plastic dishes and cups, and replace them with glass
If you opt to use plastic kitchenware, at least get rid of the older, scratched-up varieties, avoid putting them in the dishwasher, and don't wash them with harsh detergents
Avoid using bottled water; filter your own using a reverse osmosis filter
Before allowing a dental sealant to be applied to you, or your children's, teeth, ask your dentist to verify that it does not contain BPA

In the event that you do opt to use plastic containers for your food, be sure to avoid those marked on the bottom with the recycling label No. 7, or the letters PC, as these varieties are most likely to contain BPA.

Related Articles:

  Scientists Warn -- Dangerous Chemical Found in Plastic

  Dangers of Drinking From a Plastic Bottle

  BPA Toxins put Newborns, Mothers at Risk

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Omega-3 CapsulesFor cancer patients, supplementation with omega-3 fats could help them maintain and even regain lost muscle mass, according to a new study. Most patients who took a daily supplement for 10 weeks either maintained or gained muscle mass. Patients who didn't take anything either maintained or lost muscle mass.

MSNBC reports:

"[Omega-3's] interfere with inflammation, thereby reducing its effect on muscle ... Loss of muscle mass and fat is bad for cancer patients because it hampers their ability to respond to cancer treatments."


Dr. Mercola's Comments:

If you've known anyone with advanced cancer, chances are they have experienced cachexia, also called catabolic wasting. Cachexia, or more precisely cancer anorexia-cachexia syndrome (CACS), is a clinical wasting syndrome characterized by unintended and progressive weight loss. Both muscle and fat tend to be lost.

More than 80 percent of patients with advanced cancer develop cachexia, especially those with solid tumors. Cachexia is more common among children and elderly patients, and it becomes more pronounced as the cancer progresses.

Patients experience anorexia, chronic nausea, early satiety, and changes in how foods taste to them, making previously enjoyed foods less palatable. If you've ever had a friend or family member with cachexia, your loved one may have seemed to "waste away" before your very eyes.

Cancer patients can have other adverse effects, associated with the cachexia:

Anemia Hyperlipidemia and insulin resistance
Fatigue and weakness after minimal activity Psychological distress
Systemic inflammation Diminished quality of life

Cachexia is a SERIOUS and complex metabolic syndrome?it is estimated to be responsible for one-fifth to one-third of all cancer deaths.

This may be explained, at least in part, by a 2010 study in mice that showed the wasting can result in damage to the heart. This is quite significant because prior to now, most clinicians believed cachexia did not affect the heart muscle in the way it does skeletal muscle.

This study demonstrated that cancer cachexia impairs heart function by causing "increased fibrosis, disrupted myocardial structure, and altered composition of contractile proteins of cardiac muscle."

What Causes Cachexia?

It used to be thought that cancer increased your metabolic demand and suppressed your appetite, resulting in malnutrition. However, new research shows there is more to it than that.

Cancer actually alters your metabolism from an anabolic one (muscle building) to a catabolic one (muscle breakdown). Recent research shows that cancer raises your resting metabolic rate, and supplemental general nutrition does not alleviate it.

Today, clinicians believe that tissue wasting results from a variety of tumor products, immune factors, and cytokines.

According to an article in Life Extension:

"The cytokines interleukin-1 (IL-1), IL-6, interferon-gamma, tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-alpha), and brain-derived neurotrophic factor appear to increase and play a role in the progression of cachexia in cancer, as well as in other diseases associated with bodily wasting."

Basically, you end up with an energy deficit, so your body is forced to use your muscles, internal organs and fat for energy. Add to that the ravaging side effects of common cancer treatments, such as chemotherapy and radiotherapy, and it is easy to understand why your loved one looks malnourished and even emaciated. 

Numerous Other Studies Show the Positive Effects of Omega-3s on Cachexia

This is not the first study showing that omega-3 fatty acids may help to reverse cancer-induced cachexia. Studies in mice have been very favorable, and studies in humans have been largely favorable.

The "not favorable" human studies often involve treatment with insufficient doses of omega-3 fatty acids, or treatment over too short of a time. Because these studies have been done mostly on late-stage cancer patients (since they are the ones with the worst cachexia), there is a relatively high attrition rate, which skews the results toward "unfavorable."

The bottom line is, the sooner you bump up your omega-3 levels, the better your long-term outcome will be.

Here are a few of the specific studies:

  • A 2004 study of human patients with advanced malignancy found that, although the majority of patients did not gain weight with the fish oil, a subset of patients had weight stabilization or weight gain. The researchers theorized that the length of time patients receive omega-3 supplementation is a factor?the longer, the more significant the positive effect. They also suggested inadequate dose as the explanation for part of the lack of effect in some patients.
  • A study in 1996 of eighteen human pancreatic cancer patients showed that taking fish oil capsules resulted in less muscle wasting, and many actually gained lean body mass.
  • A 2000 study investigating the effects of a combination of omega-3 fatty acids AND vitamin E found the combination produced a significant immunomodulating effect, and the omega-3 prolonged patient survival.
  • A 1990 scientific study of cachexia-inducing tumors in mice showed that when part of the carbohydrate calories in their diet was replaced by fish oil, their weight loss was inhibited.
  • A 1991 study found that fish oil concentrate inhibited skeletal muscle degradation and even reduced tumor size in mice.

Krill Oil?NOT Fish Oil?Is Your Best Source of Omega-3 Fatty Acids

The time to begin supplementing your diet with these important fatty acids is NOW, rather that waiting until you have cancer or another serious disease.

The average American diet is seriously deficient in the animal based omega-3 fats, DHA and EPA. Except for certain types of fish, there are very few sources of these important fats.

Unfortunately, fish supplies around the world are found more contaminated every year as increasing numbers of fish test positive for mercury, PCBs, toxic metals like lead and arsenic, and radioactive substances like strontium. If you have cancer, the LAST thing you want to do is place additional stress on your body by taking in toxic heavy metals.

Your safest and most cost effective choice for bumping up your omega-3 fatty acids is taking a high-quality Antarctic krill oil.

Krill oil is superior to fish oil because it contains phospholipids, a very powerful antioxidant called astaxanthin, and omega-3s bonded together in a way that keeps them safe from oxidation and easily absorbed by your body. Krill oil is 48 times more potent than fish oil. Krill oil also contains vitamin E, vitamin A, and vitamin D. Many popular fish oil brands are already oxidized before you open the bottle.

And harvesting krill is more sustainable and earth-friendly than harvesting fish.

Your risk of getting mercury contamination from krill is extremely low, since krill are so small they don't have the chance to accumulate toxins before being harvested.

Plant based omega-3 sources like flax, hemp and chia are high in ALA and are important sources of nutrients, as we all need ALA. However, the key point to remember is that ALA has to be converted by your body into far more essential EPA and DHA by an enzyme in which the vast majority of us are deficient.

So, I believe it is essential to get some of your omega-3 fatty acids from animal sources.

There are studies that even show ALA from flaxseed can actually increase your risk of cancer. Personally, I regularly include ALA omega-3 plant based foods in my diet, like flax and hemp, but these are always combined with animal-based omega-3 fats.

Other Important Nutritional Aspects, for Those Who Have Cancer

No one wants to battle cancer.

But if you find yourself in this unfortunate position, many of the lifestyle suggestions for preventing cancer apply to treating it as well.

Besides omega-3 fatty acids, you should also address the following:

  • Optimize your vitamin D. Vitamin D influences virtually every cell in your body and is one of nature's most potent cancer-fighters. Vitamin D is actually able to enter cancer cells and trigger apoptosis (cell death).

    If you have cancer, your vitamin D level should be between 70 and 100 ng/ml. Vitamin D works synergistically with every cancer treatment I'm aware of, with no adverse effects. I invite you to watch my one-hour free lecture on vitamin D to learn how to best optimize your vitamin D level.

  • Eat the right foods for your Nutritional Type. If you are not familiar with this approach, start by taking my FREE Nutritional Type Test here.
  • Avoid sugar, grains, processed foods, chemicals, and artificial sweeteners. Sugar fuels the growth of cancer cells. Normalizing your insulin creates an environment that is unfriendly to cancer cells.
  • Use organic coconut oil every day. Coconut oil is rich in medium chain triglycerides (MCTs), which offer a wide variety of health benefits and may also be effective in preventing or reversing cachexia.  
  • Avoid charring your meats. Charcoal or flame broiled meat is linked with increased cancer growth
  • Avoid unfermented soy products. Unfermented soy is high in plant estrogens, or phytoestrogens, also known as isoflavones. In some studies, soy appears to work in concert with human estrogen to increase cell proliferation, which increases mutations and cancerous cells.
  • Drink a quart of organic green vegetable juice daily. Please review my juicing instructions for more detailed information about this.
  • Avoid drinking alcohol, or at least limit your alcoholic drinks to one per day.
  • Drink plenty of pure water every day.
  • Get some sort of exercise daily. Exercise will help you maintain your muscle mass, thereby slowing down cachexia. Realizing cancer can really diminish your energy level, you may have to experiment a bit to find forms of exercise you can tolerate, but it is important to do it, nevertheless. Exercise has been proven to extend the lives of cancer patients.
  • Avoid electromagnetic fields as much as possible. Minimize cell phone use, and make sure your cordless phone base station is as far from your sleeping area as possible. Keep medical radiation exposure as low as possible. Even electric blankets can increase your cancer risk.

Related Articles:

  Finally, Proof that Cancer is a Man-Made Disease

  Rats on Junk Food Pass Cancer Down the Generations

  How Exercise Protects You From Cancer

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