By Dr. Mercola
Glyphosate, the active ingredient in Monsanto's Roundup herbicide, has been the focus of increasing scrutiny after the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) determined it to be a probable human carcinogen.
Yet, glyphosate is not the only ingredient in Roundup and other glyphosate-based products, nor is it the only potentially toxic ingredient.
The formulation includes a number of so-called inert ingredients as well, and these have largely evaded scrutiny because they were concealed as proprietary "trade secrets."
Monsanto is now facing multiple lawsuits from people who developed non-Hodgkin lymphoma after using Roundup. The suits allege that glyphosate, along with the product's inert ingredients are to blame, and in fact that the mixture of chemicals together is far more dangerous than glyphosate alone.
According to the Intercept, one of the lawsuits states, "Monsanto 'knew or should have known that Roundup is more toxic than glyphosate alone and that safety studies of Roundup, Roundup's adjuvants and 'inert' ingredients' were necessary."1
Inert Ingredients in Glyphosate-Based Herbicides Are Toxic to Living Cells
Most studies looking into glyphosate toxicity have only studied glyphosate and its toxic breakdown product, aminomethylphosphonic acid (AMPA), even though the presence of "inactive" compounds are likely amplifying glyphosate's toxic effects.
A 2012 study revealed that ingredients such as solvents, preservatives, surfactants and other added substances are anything but "inactive." They can, and oftentimes do, contribute to a product's toxicity in a synergistic manner — even if they're non-toxic in isolation.
Certain adjuvants in glyphosate-based herbicides were also found to be "active principles of human cell toxicity," adding to the hazards inherent with glyphosate.
It's well worth noting that, according to the researchers, this cell damage and/or cell death can occur at the residual levels found on Roundup-treated crops, as well as lawns and gardens where Roundup is applied for weed control.2 As written in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health:3
"Pesticide formulations contain declared active ingredients and co-formulants presented as inert and confidential compounds. We tested the endocrine disruption of co-formulants in six glyphosate-based herbicides (GBH) …
All co-formulants and formulations were comparably cytotoxic [toxic to living cells] well below the agricultural dilution of 1 percent (18 to 2000 times for co-formulants, eight to 141 times for formulations).
… It was demonstrated for the first time that endocrine disruption by GBH could not only be due to the declared active ingredient but also to co-formulants.
These results could explain numerous in vivo results with GBHs not seen with G [glyphosate] alone; moreover, they challenge the relevance of the acceptable daily intake (ADI) value for GBHs exposures, currently calculated from toxicity tests of the declared active ingredient alone."
'Inert' Ingredient Polyethoxylated Tallowamine (POEA) 2,000 Times More Toxic Than Glyphosate
POEA (polyethoxylated tallow amine), a major adjuvant surfactant in Roundup, has been shown to be cytotoxic (toxic to cells) at doses far lower than glyphosate itself. Unfortunately, most regulatory bodies regard POEA as inert, requiring no risk assessment, even as research suggests otherwise.
The International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health study found POEA was between 1,200 and 2,000 times more toxic than glyphosate alone, which highlights the problems with letting so-called inert ingredients escape regulatory scrutiny.4 In 2014, the Institute of Science in Society (ISIS) reported:5
"The major adjuvant POEA in glyphosate Roundup formulations is by far the most cytotoxic for human cells, ahead of glyphosate and its metabolite. It also amplifies the toxic effects of glyphosate …
It is very likely that the primary target of Roundup, especially its POEA surfactant, is the mitochondria, which play a key role in the development of sperm cells and sperm motility. In addition, male infertility could arise from ROS damages to mitochondrial DNA."
Accumulating Research Shows Roundup More Dangerous Than Glyphosate Alone
Germany removed POEA-containing herbicides from the market in 2014 because a forestry worker developed inflammation of the lungs after exposure.
Earlier this year, ANSES, the national health and safety agency in France, also took steps to ban the product. The European Commission has also proposed banning POEA.
In the U.S., the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has announced plans to monitor food for glyphosate residue but not for POEA, and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) won't focus on POEA either, simply because it's not an official active ingredient.
Monsanto must be well aware of the problems, as they're reportedly preparing to transition to other types of surfactants.6 The fact is, research is mounting that, when it comes to Roundup, the sum of its parts may be even more toxic than glyphosate alone. For instance:7
• In 2005, research showed Roundup to be more toxic to rats' livers than glyphosate alone10
• In 2009, various Roundup formulations were found to be more toxic to human umbilical, embryonic and placental cells than glyphosate alone.11 The researcher explained:
"This clearly confirms that the [inert ingredients] in Roundup formulations are not inert … Moreover, the proprietary mixtures available on the market could cause cell damage and even death [at the] residual levels [found on Roundup-treated crops]."12
NAS Releases New Study on Genetically Engineered (GE) Crops
The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (NAS) released their assessment of genetically modified organisms (GMOs).13
The 400-page report, which was sponsored in part by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, cites an ongoing lack of transparency that is fueling distrust in consumers.14
For instance, in 2002 the U.S. General Accounting Office recommended that the FDA verify raw test data from a GMO developer on a random basis, but it doesn't appear the FDA followed through with this recommendation. As The Huffington Post reported:15
"The committee said that much of the information submitted to regulatory agencies seeking approval of new GMO products is kept secret, treated as 'confidential business information.'
This lack of public access to health and safety data submitted by developers creates distrust, the committee said.
'Given a developer's self-interest in getting a product approved and its control over the material considered by the agency, the lack of access creates skepticism about the quality of the data,' the committee said."
No Evidence GE Crops Changed the Rate of Increase in Yields
Also noteworthy, the NAS report found no evidence that GE crops led to overall increases in yields of soybeans, cotton or corn, a benefit long parroted by the industry for why GMO crops are necessary to "feed the world."
The spread of resistant weeds and insects as a result of GE crops is also discussed. As for glyphosate, the report only noted there is "significant disagreement among expert committees on the potential harm that could be caused" by its use. It also downplayed the severity of many issues while failing to recommend needed policy changes.
Charles Benbrook, Ph.D. an agricultural economist at Washington State University, recommended three strategies that could significantly reduce human exposure to glyphosate at very little cost (unfortunately, such common-sense strategies were missing from the NAS report):16
"Hopefully, the U.S. and EU will soon agree to three steps — banning all pre-harvest uses of glyphosate on small grains, edible beans, and other human food crops (all non-GE) …
… [S]econd, reducing the ridiculously high tolerances on GE crops that Monsanto and other companies were able to get onto the books over the last decade in the U.S., and internationally via Codex; and three, banning use of high-risk surfactants and other so-called 'inert' ingredients in formulated, ready-to-use herbicide products."
Roundup Residues Found in Foods You Might Not Expect
If you want to avoid consuming residues of Roundup, you'll want to limit or eliminate processed foods in your diet. Most of them are made with GE crops that are heavily sprayed with Roundup. Even foods you might not expect can also contain Roundup residues.
An Alliance for Natural Health (ANH) analysis found the highest levels of glyphosate in non-GE crops including bagels, bread and wheat cereal. This, they noted, is likely the result of the common practice of using glyphosate as a desiccant shortly before harvest.
Ten out of 24 breakfast foods tested in ANH's analysis had detectable levels of glyphosate. This included oatmeal, bagels, coffee creamer, organic bread and even organic, cage-free, and antibiotic-free eggs. In addition, advocacy group Moms Across America sent 10 wine samples to be tested for glyphosate. All of the samples tested positive for glyphosate — even organic wines, although their levels were significantly lower.17
Roundup isn't even sprayed directly onto grapes in vineyards, but it is often used to spray the ground on either side of the grape vines. A study of glyphosate residues by the Munich Environmental Institute also found glyphosate in 14 best-selling German beers.18
All of the beers tested had glyphosate levels above the 0.1 microgram limit allowed in drinking water. Although these studies didn't test for the "inert" Roundup ingredients, if glyphosate was detected there's a good chance their companion additives would be too.
Eat Organic Foods to Avoid Roundup Residues
Your best bet for minimizing health risks from herbicide and pesticide exposure — including both the active and "inactive" ingredients — is to avoid them in the first place by eating organic as much as possible and investing in a good water filtration system for your home or apartment. If you know you have been exposed to herbicides and pesticides, the lactic acid bacteria formed during the fermentation of kimchi may help your body break them down.
So including fermented foods like kimchi in your diet may also be a wise strategy to help detox the pesticides that do enter your body. One of the benefits of eating organic is that the foods will be free GE ingredients, and this is key to avoiding exposure to toxic Roundup ingredients.
Eating locally produced organic food will not only support your family's health, it will also protect the environment from harmful chemical pollutants and the inadvertent spread of GE seeds and chemical-resistant weeds and pests.
Monsanto Is Inside Everything
Researcher Reveals Monsanto Has Known Since 1981 That Glyphosate Promotes Cancer
By Dr. Mercola
The U.S. House of Representatives passed a bill that would provide $622 million to fight the Zika virus. Yet, by White House estimates, this is "woefully inadequate." They've recommended directing $1.9 billion to fight this latest declared public health emergency.1
I use the term emergency loosely here, as we've seen these types of overzealous responses before. First, a new threat is revealed. Remember SARS, bird flu, swine flu and Ebola? Or even the measles "outbreak" in 2015?
There was widespread fear, outrage and panic that the disease would sweep across the U.S., affecting populations from border to border. Calls for experimental drugs and vaccines were made and millions, if not billions, of dollars were spent. And for what?
In most cases, the diseases fizzled out on their own, exacting a far less sensational health toll than the media and, often, the government had you believe. In the case of swine flu, for example, the U.S. government ordered 20 million doses of the drug Tamiflu — costing $2 billion — to fight the pandemic that never was.
That drug has a shelf life of three years. Money well spent? Now they're proposing another $1.9 billion to fight Zika — is this a case of history repeating itself?
Zika Virus: From Obscure Mild Illness to Booming Industry Virtually Overnight
Last year at this time, you probably had never heard of Zika virus. And if you had, you probably wouldn't have given it a second thought.
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), "Most people infected with Zika virus won't even know they have the disease because they won't have symptoms."2
Then the headlines started. Cases of microcephaly, in which babies are born with unusually small heads, in Brazil were said to have surged from an average of about 150 suspected cases of microcephaly annually to more than 4,780 suspected cases from October 2015 to February 2016.
Although there does not appear to be any evidence prior to 2016 suggesting Zika virus might cause birth defects, the rise in microcephaly was blamed on Zika-carrying mosquitoes.
The Aedes aegypti mosquitoes, presumably, have been in Brazil all along — so why is the sudden increase in suspected cases of microcephaly being blamed on that mosquito?
This is but one questionable factor in the Zika virus scare. At this point, Zika virus might be associated with birth defects, but causation has not been definitively proven.
In the U.S., for instance, there are about 25,000 infants born with microcephaly every year. The U.S. is not considered to be a region where Zika virus is endemic and, according to the journal Neurology:3
"Microcephaly may result from any insult that disturbs early brain growth and can be seen in association with hundreds of genetic syndromes."
It may be too soon to rule out Zika virus as a contributing cause, but it's also too soon to declare it a public health emergency and pull out all the stops to wage a very expensive war against it.
The Zika Industry Is Born
Whenever a new health emergency is announced, look to see who stands to profit from its creation. In this case, many players have come out of the woodwork, hoping to get a piece of the (potentially $1.9 billion!) Zika cash cow.
The World Health Organization (WHO) has pledged to gather another $56 million to combat Zika.
Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen also announced two Zika grants totaling more than $2 million, which are going to the American Red Cross to support mosquito-control efforts and education in Brazil and to Chembio Diagnostics Systems, Inc., which is planning to develop rapid tests to diagnose Zika.4 As reported by The Vaccine Reaction:5
"It seems everybody wants in on the action. It is exciting to be one of the early pioneers in a brand new industry with lots of growth potential, particularly when it has such strong government support and when the prospects for mandated use of the vaccines are so promising … for the industry, that is.
There is already talk about Zika being with us forever and becoming one of those things against which we will routinely vaccinate."
Race to Develop Zika Vaccine Prompts Guillain–Barré Syndrome Concerns
At least 18 companies are racing to develop a vaccine against Zika, but one expert on vaccines combating mosquito-borne diseases, Dr. Thomas Monath, has expressed major concerns.
Guillain-Barré syndrome (GBS) is an autoimmune disease that can cause paralysis. Cases of GBS have been rising in areas reporting Zika outbreaks, and there is some evidence that Zika might be triggering GBS.
The concern is, then, that exposure to Zika virus in a vaccine could trigger GBS as well, even if it's a killed or inactivated form of virus. GBS is already a known vaccine reaction. It's in the process of being added to the official Vaccine Injury Table.
(In order to win uncontested federal compensation for a vaccine injury, a person must prove he or she developed certain clinical symptoms and medical conditions on the table within a certain time frame of receiving a certain vaccine and that there is no more biologically plausible explanation for the vaccine-related injury or death.)
The CDC Is No Longer Credible
" … Practically everyone in the world knows about Zika and believes that the primary cause of babies being born with shrunken heads (microcephaly) and brain damage in Brazil is that their mothers were bitten by the Zika-carrying mosquito while they were pregnant," The Vaccine Reaction reported. "Why does everyone believe that?" they continued.8
"Because public health officials at the U.S. Centers for the Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and National Institutes of Health (NIH) say so.
Forget that these federal health agencies have provided no solid scientific evidence of a causal relationship. That's beside the point. It's the CDC and NIH."
Yet, time and time again we see evidence that what the CDC says isn't always accurate. In fact, sometimes it's blatantly wrong.
According to documents obtained by USA Today, one CDC-run laboratory had its permit suspended due to serious safety violations while working with viruses, bacteria and toxins (such as anthrax, plague and Ebola) that could be used as biological weapons.
CDC labs have been referred for "secret federal enforcement actions" six times because of serious or repeated violations. USA Today had to win access to the records via a Freedom of Information Act appeal. Prior to that, the CDC refused to answer questions about enforcement histories relating to its own labs.9
This isn't the first time the CDC has been involved in safety violations. In 2014, as many as 84 scientists and staff members at a CDC biolab were exposed to live anthrax.
The live pathogen had been sent from a higher-security facility. Biosafety protocols were apparently not followed at either of the facilities. This and subsequent errors, involving H5N1 influenza virus and Ebola mix-ups at CDC labs, led to the creation of an external lab safety advisory group.
A follow-up report released by the advisory group in March 2015 called the CDC's commitment to safety "inconsistent and insufficient" and also pointed out that "laboratory safety training is inadequate."10 The point is, this is who many Americans are trusting to provide accurate information about circulating viruses and other diseases.
Are There Other Potential Explanations for an Increase in Microcephaly?
It's possible Zika-carrying mosquitoes could be involved, but there are other factors that should be considered as well. For starters, the outbreak occurred in a largely poverty-stricken agricultural area of Brazil that uses large amounts of banned pesticides.
Between these factors and the lack of sanitation and widespread vitamin A and zinc deficiency, you already have the basic framework for an increase in poor health outcomes among newborn infants in that area. Environmental pollution and toxic pesticide exposure have been positively linked to a wide array of adverse health effects, including birth defects. For instance:
- Vitamin A deficiency has been linked to an increased risk of microcephaly11
- The CDC lists malnutrition and exposure to toxic chemicals as known risk factors12
- The CDC also notes certain infections during pregnancy, including rubella, cytomegalovirus, toxoplasmosis, and others, are risk factors
Why Isn't the Government Targeting Opioid Addiction, Antibiotic-Resistant Disease and Other Proven Epidemics?
Microcephaly is a devastating birth defect and it's important to uncover its underlying cause. However, the U.S. government's plan to pour money into Zika virus research and vaccine development, i.e., to pour money into Big Pharma, for what is now a theoretical connection and certainly not an epidemic by any means, boggles the mind.
Meanwhile, there is no comparable uproar over existing (and pharmaceutical-caused) epidemics, like opioid addiction. The U.S. government seeks "treatment" for the opioid epidemic without addressing irresponsible prescribing and drug industry marketing or high-level financial conflicts of interest.
The government has also long allowed rampant overuse and inappropriate use of antibiotics, including in agriculture, which has led to rampant cases of antibiotic-resistant disease.
The government didn't "save us" from any of the other public health emergencies in recent years (swine flu, bird flu and Ebola among them), and it's not likely to change its spots anytime soon. What you can bet on, however, is that the government will continue to support the hand that feeds it. Only time will tell if that support will stop at the House bill's $622 million or keep going up to $1.9 billion.
How and Why a Mosquito Bites You
Gates Foundation Supports Research to Fight Zika Virus
By Dr. Mercola
Antibiotic-resistant infections affect 2 million Americans annually, leading to the death of at least 23,000.1 Even more die from complications related to the infections, and the numbers are steadily growing.
According to the Infectious Disease Society of America (IDSA), just one organism — methicillin resistant Staphylococcus aureus, better known as MRSA — kills more Americans each year than the combined total of emphysema, HIV/AIDS, Parkinson's disease, and homicide.2
A 2015 report3,4 commissioned by U.K. Prime Minister David Cameron estimates that by 2050, the annual global death toll from antibiotic-resistant disease will reach 10 million, and the global cost for treatment will be around $100 trillion.
Experts have been warning about the implications of antibiotic resistance for years, but as their warnings have largely been ignored, the number of strains developing resistance to even our strongest antibiotics has been allowed to grow unabated.
While overuse of antibiotics in medicine and widespread use of antibacterial household products (items containing triclosan5) are part of the problem, the inappropriate use of antibiotics in farming bears the heaviest responsibility for creating the antibiotic-resistant superbug crisis of today.
An estimated 80 percent of total antibiotic sales in the U.S. end up in livestock. For example, commercial chicken producers have a history of treating each egg with gentamicin, an antibiotic listed as "essential" to human medicine. One chicken producer has seen the light though, and has abandoned this risky practice.
Perdue Proves Meat Production Can Prosper Without Drugs
Perdue Farms no longer uses gentamicin. In fact, according to a recent report by Mother Jones,6 the only antibiotic remaining in use at Perdue is narasin, an antibiotic not used in human medicine, and only about one-third of its chickens ever get it. (It's used to treat a parasitic intestinal condition called coccidiosis.)
Any other antibiotics are administered to sick birds only (about 4 percent of all birds). According to Mother Jones:
"Perdue ... the country's fourth-largest poultry producer, has set out to show that the meat can be profitably mass-produced without drugs.
In 2014, the company eliminated gentamicin from all its hatcheries, the latest stage of a quiet effort started back in 2002 to cut the routine use of antibiotics from nearly its entire production process."
Interestingly, Perdue fared the best in a 2010 Consumer Reports test7 checking for the presence of the foodborne pathogens salmonella and campylobacter in commercial chicken meat. Fifty-six percent of Perdue's chickens were free of both pathogens.
Its main competitors, Tyson and Foster Farms, both had 80 percent of their chickens tested positive for one or both bacteria. Organic store brand chickens had no salmonella at all, but 57 percent still harbored campylobacter.
According to Consumer Reports, "This is the first time since we began testing chicken that one major brand has fared significantly better than others across the board." Even back then, Perdue's exemplary success was attributed to its more stringent policies on antibiotics.
Why Use Antibiotics in Food Production?
In food production, antibiotics are used for two purposes: 1) to combat disease brought on by overcrowding and unsanitary conditions, and 2) to promote speedy growth. The growth promoting ability of antibiotics was discovered by American Cyanamid (now part of Pfizer) in the 1950s.
It revolutionized livestock farming, allowing farmers to grow bigger chickens, turkeys, pigs and cows faster, without having to feed them more.
The main problem with using antibiotics in food production is that when microbes are exposed to repeated low doses of antibiotics, they quickly develop resistance. This possibility was highlighted by biologist Dr. Alexander Fleming, who discovered penicillin.
He noted that unless all of the microbes are killed, remaining survivors pass their resistant genes on to the next generation of bacteria, and so resistance becomes stronger and stronger, until the bacteria becomes completely impervious to the effects of the drug. As noted in the featured article:8
"When you treat thousands of chickens in a huge enclosed barn with, say, steady doses of tetracycline, you risk generating an E. coli bug that can resist the antibiotic you threw at it, and that bug's new superpowers can also jump to a strain of salmonella that happens to be hanging around.
Now, two nasty pathogens that plague humans have developed tetracycline-resistant strains."
The 50-Year Cover-Up
In the U.S., use of antibiotics in food animals rose six-fold between 1960 and 1970. It didn't take long before scientists started warning that this practice had the potential to create a public health crisis.
By the end of the 1960s, British scientists found that feeding antibiotics to animals produced resistant bacteria that could be transmitted to humans. A U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) taskforce came to a similar conclusion in 1972.
At that time, the FDA stipulated that drug manufacturers had to prove their products did not contribute to resistance or risk losing their drug approval. So, the drug industry set out to prove antibiotics in animal feed would not pose such problems.
As reported by Mother Jones, rather than settle the question, their efforts resulted in a 50-year long cover-up of the facts:
"[T]he Animal Health Institute, a trade group of animal-pharmaceutical manufacturers, contacted Dr. Stuart Levy, a young Tufts University researcher who specialized in antibiotic resistance.
The group wanted Levy to feed tiny, daily doses of antibiotics to chickens and see if the bacteria in their guts developed resistance ... Levy found a family farm near Boston and experimented on two flocks of chickens.
One got feed with small amounts of tetracycline. The other went drug-free. Within 48 hours, strains of E. coli that were resistant to tetracycline started to show up in the manure of the birds fed drugs.
Within a week, nearly all the E. coli in those birds' manure could resist tetracycline. Within three months, the E. coli showed resistance to four additional antibiotics the birds had never been exposed to: sulfonamides, ampicillin, streptomycin, and carbenicillin.
Most striking of all, researchers found that E. coli resistant to multiple antibiotics was appearing in the feces of the farmers' family members — yet not in a control group of neighbors.
The results, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, were so stunningly clear that Levy thought they would prompt the industry to rethink its profligate antibiotic use, or at least inspire the FDA to rein it in. But the industry rebuffed the study it had bankrolled, questioning the validity of the data ...
In 1977, the FDA proposed new rules that would have effectively banned tetracycline and penicillin from animal feed, but the House agriculture appropriations subcommittee, led by agribusiness champion Rep. Jamie Whitten (D-Miss.), ordered the FDA to wait, 'pending the outcome of further research.'"
FDA Complicit in the Antibiotic Cover-Up
An internal FDA review on the safety of feed additives belonging to penicillin and tetracycline classes of antibiotics, which began in 2001 and ended in 2010, revealed that 26 of the 30 drugs under review did not meet the safety guidelines set in 1973, and none of them met current safety guidelines.
However, this information only came to light after the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) filed a Freedom of Information Act request to the FDA to obtain the documentation. The FDA is supposed to look at three factors when determining the safety of an antibiotic-based feed additive:
- Are antibiotic-resistant bacteria being introduced into the food supply?
- Are people likely to be exposed to those bacteria?
- The consequences of what happens when people are exposed to those bacteria — would they still be able to get treated with human antibiotics?
Based on these three factors, the NRDC's report9 concluded that virtually ALL feed additives containing penicillin and tetracycline antibiotics pose a "high risk" to human health and should not be permitted in animal feed, yet about half of the total sales for these two antibiotics are used for that purpose.
The FDA knew this for well over a dozen years, yet did nothing to curtail the unsafe use of these drugs. The NRDC report also found that as far back as the 1970s, when many of the antibiotics now used in feed were being reviewed for FDA approval, 18 of the 30 antibiotics were already considered "high risk" for human health, but were approved for use in animal feed anyway.
Over the years, as warnings about dire human health effects mounted, farmers started using more antibiotics, not less. Between 2009 and 2014, agricultural antibiotic use in the U.S. increased by 23 percent.
Finally, in December 2013, the FDA issued its long overdue guidance on agricultural antibiotics. Alas, it only went so far as to ask drug companies to voluntarily restrict the use of antibiotics that are important in human medicine by excluding growth promotion in animals as a listed use on the drug label.10
The rule goes into effect in January 2017. However, farmers can still use antibiotics for therapeutic purposes, and this loophole allows them to continue feeding their animals antibiotics for growth promotion without actually admitting it, since enforcement is lax at best.
Why Most Commercial Chicks Are Treated With Vaccines and Antibiotics Before Hatching
Getting back to Perdue and poultry production, chickens are not just fed antibiotics in their feed. As mentioned earlier, most hatcheries also dose the egg with gentamicin. Why? Mother Jones explains:
"About 40 years ago, a herpes virus called Marek's disease began to attack chickens, and vets discovered that vaccinating the chicks while they were still in their shells could inoculate them for life. But when you penetrate eggs with a needle ... the tiny hole ... (allows) bacteria in.
To solve this problem, hatcheries added small amounts of gentamicin to the vaccine ... This method was so efficient that, decades later, the hatchery ended up being the trickiest place for Perdue to remove antibiotics from production.
The company gets its eggs from contract breeders, and in the past eggs often arrived covered in bacteria-laden manure. Now Perdue requires its breeders to deliver clean eggs. Perdue also used to mix its Marek's vaccines in the middle of a less-than-pristine hatchery.
Today the company mixes the drugs under sterile laboratory conditions and injects clean, antibiotic-free vaccines into clean eggs. It took a while, but by March 2014 the company had banished antibiotics from all 16 of its hatcheries."
How Poultry Vaccine Created a Lethal Supervirus
What Mother Jones does not delve into is the story of how this vaccine created a supervirus. As previously reported by PBS,11 vaccinated chickens spread Marek's disease to unvaccinated birds, and research shows the vaccine actually makes the disease spread faster than it normally would.
Compared to a sick, unvaccinated bird, a vaccinated bird sheds 10,000 times more viruses. Scientists have also found the vaccine made the virus more virulent, with exceptionally rapid lethal consequences for unvaccinated birds, which can catch the virus via contaminated dust.12 According to PBS:
"This is the first time that this virus-boosting phenomenon, known as the imperfect vaccine hypothesis, has been observed experimentally ... [T]he vaccine is 'leaky.' A leaky vaccine is one that keeps a microbe from doing serious harm to its host, but doesn't stop the disease from replicating and spreading to another individual ...
[T]he results ... raise the questions for some human vaccines that are leaky — such as malaria, and ... avian influenza, or bird flu ... Vaccines for HPV and whooping cough can leak too ...
'Previously, a hot strain was so nasty, it wiped itself out. Now, you keep its host alive with a vaccine, then it can transmit and spread in the world,' [co-author Andrew] Read said. 'So it's got an evolutionary future, which it didn't have before' ... The vaccination of one group of birds leads to the transmission of a virus so hot that it kills the other birds ...
Like Marek's vaccines, vaccines for avian influenza are leaky. For this reason, they're banned from agricultural use in the U.S. and Europe. When bird flu breaks out in these western chicken populations, farmers must cull their herds.
However, Southeast Asia uses these leaky vaccines, raising the possibility for virus evolution akin to what's happened with Marek's disease. 'In those situations, they're creating the conditions where super hot avian influenza could emerge, 'Read said. 'Then the issues become what does that mean when it spills over into other flocks, into wildlife or into humans. Avian flu is the setting to watch for evolutionary problems down the line.'"
Probiotics and Oregano Take the Place of Antibiotics at Perdue Farms
So what is Perdue using to keep its birds plump and healthy in lieu of antibiotics? The answer is natural remedies like probiotics and oregano. As in humans, by keeping the chickens' intestines "well-seeded" with healthy bacteria, pathogens are suppressed and immune function is boosted. Certain strains of probiotics (which Perdue guards as a trade secret) have also been shown to boost the chickens' growth rate. Moreover, as noted by Mother Jones:
"After Perdue bought an organic chicken company called Coleman Natural Foods in 2011, it adopted another unorthodox therapy: oregano. The fragrant herb ... has antimicrobial properties that, when added to feed, help the birds stave off infections. But, I ask Stewart-Brown, won't bad microbes develop resistance to oregano, too? Likely yes, he says, so Perdue only uses oregano to prevent particular infections, not as a constant additive.
Moving away from antibiotics, Stewart- Brown says, has forced him to think about the birds' overall well-being ... Perdue even turns off the lights in the chicken houses for four hours a night so the birds can rest. In the past, lights were left on 24 hours per day on the theory that chickens kept awake eat more and thus get fatter faster.
Reducing stress by letting the birds rest ... makes them healthier — and since healthy birds grow faster, the extra sleep has the same effect as constant feeding."13
Another alternative warranting further investigation would be colloidal silver, which has a history of use that stretches back thousands of years. As noted in a 2013 study,14 which assessed silver's ability to reduce or prevent post-surgical infections, its bactericidal activity is well established. Researchers have also demonstrated that silver makes antibiotics thousands of times more effective!15
Know This: Your Actions Make a Big Difference!
Why did Perdue make all of these changes when regulations don't require them to do so? Turns out Perdue listens to consumers. Starting in 2002, the company started noticing an increase in queries about its use of antibiotics. According to Perdue, "You can drown them with science to suggest they shouldn't be worried, but the worry is real."
A few years earlier, in 1998, the company began an experiment to evaluate the impact of antibiotics on growth. Three years later, the results were in, and they were not favorable for the continued use of the drugs. Nearly 7,000 chickens raised on 19 farms were included in the trial.
Half were given growth promoting antibiotics, and the other half got none. Before slaughter, each bird was weighed. The difference was minuscule. Antibiotic-free birds weighed on average a mere 0.03 to 0.04 pounds less than the antibiotic-fed chickens. That doesn't amount to much when you consider an average chicken weighs between five and six pounds.
The results proved you can eliminate the drugs without harming profitability, and armed with this knowledge, Perdue decided to address people's concerns by moving the operation away from antibiotics. Interestingly, a 2015 scientific review found that antibiotics don't promote growth the way they used to.
Before 1980, antibiotics boosted growth by about 15 percent. By 2000, that effect had dropped to 1 percent. The reason for this has been attributed to improved nutrition and hygiene, and better breeding methods. All in all, it seems clear that use of antibiotics — at least in chicken farming — has virtually NO benefits anymore over and beyond the occasional use to treat a sick animal.
Perdue's actions are a perfect example of what happens when enough people take the time to share their views and concerns with food companies. Your actions made the difference here, and it's important to recognize this fact. Even if you don't contact a company directly, each time you buy a product you vote with your pocket book, and your choices drive the food system. So be conscious of the system you choose to buy into.
Tell Sanderson Farms and KFC to Follow in Perdue's Footsteps
Remarkably, despite all the evidence pointing out just how dire the antibiotic-resistant disease situation has become, there are companies out there that still pay it no mind. Sanderson Farms is one of them. Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC) is another16 According to its CEO, Joe Sanderson, Perdue's shift away from antibiotics is nothing more than a marketing ploy, and one he doesn't care to imitate. As noted in the featured article:17
"Sanderson ... has held to the old-school party line, maintaining that 'there is no evidence that using these antibiotics for chickens leads to resistant bacteria.' Cost is the No. 1 decision maker when people go to the grocery store to buy chicken, he says, and using antibiotics remains the cheapest way to produce a lot of meat fast. 'We believe the majority of chicken sold in grocery stores will continue to be grown with antibiotics,' he says."
No, Mr. Sanderson. While cost certainly plays a role, at this point in the game it's no longer the determining factor. Literally millions of lives are at stake if we do not address the elephant in the room that is agricultural antibiotics. Paying a few pennies more per pound of chicken is a small price to pay for a clean bird, and I'm certainly not the only person who feels this way.
The fact that Perdue has been growing faster than any of its competitors is evidence of this fact. The fact that the other top poultry producers, with the exception of Sanderson, are also transitioning over to antibiotic-free is another tipoff. If you agree, I urge you to contact Sanderson and tell him antibiotic-free does matter. You can use their online Contact Page to write them an email, or better yet, call them at 1-800-844-4030, or write a letter to:
Attn: Joe Sanderson, CEO
PO Box 988
Laurel, MS 39441.
KFC is another major food company that has so far failed to take the situation seriously. While many restaurant chains, including McDonald's, Subway and Taco Bell have vowed to limit or discontinue use of chicken raised with antibiotics, KFC has made no move in that direction. You can reach KFC by calling 1-800-CALL-KFC, or fill out their feedback form, available on the KFC website.
Antibiotic-Treated Pork May Contain Carcinogenic Residue
Eating antibiotic-treated foods is like taking a small amount of antibiotic on a daily basis, and this is exactly what you don't want to do if you're concerned about your health and well-being. It can disrupt your gut flora, and predispose you to drug resistant infections.
It may also expose you to potentially dangerous drug residues. The veterinary antibiotic carbadox is one example. This drug has been used by American pork producers for nearly 40 years. Besides controlling swine dysentery and bacterial swine enteritis, it also boosts growth like many other antibiotics.
In April, the FDA announced it has conducted a preliminary risk characterization, which suggests pork derived from animals treated with carbadox may contain trace amounts of carcinogenic residue. This is particularly true for pork liver, found in lunch meats, hot dogs and sausages. According to Politico:18
"'The agency clarified that it isn't recommending people make changes in their food choices while it works to remove carbadox from the market.' Potential cancer risks are based on an assumed lifetime of consuming pork liver or other pork products containing carbadox residues, and short-term changes in diet are unlikely to affect a person's lifetime risk ... "
This just goes to show how little we know about the safety of the drugs used in food animals. And it's yet another warning signal that we really need to clean up our food supply. There are safe alternatives, so why not use them? The cost may (or may not) be a little higher, but I'm certain the 2 million Americans struck with a drug resistant infection each year would argue that the extra cost is worth it.
Family and friends of the tens of thousands who die from drug-resistant infections are likely to agree with this sentiment as well. At what point does public health begin to trump corporate profits? Aren't 23,000 deaths per year enough? How high must the death toll get before factory farmers like Sanderson wizen up to the seriousness of their obligation to create safe and healthy food?
Where to Find Healthy Food
In my view, buying antibiotic-free meat is an important step if you value your health. Ideally, opt for organically raised grass-fed or pastured meats and animal products such as milk and eggs. If you're still unsure of where to find raw milk, check out Raw-Milk-Facts.com and RealMilk.com. They can tell you what the status is for legality in your state, and provide a listing of raw dairy farms in your area.
The Farm to Consumer Legal Defense Fund19 also provides a state-by-state review of raw milk laws.20 California residents can also find raw milk retailers using the store locator available at www.OrganicPastures.com. Other organizations that can help you locate wholesome farm-fresh foods include:
EatWild.com provides lists of certified organic farmers known to produce safe, wholesome raw dairy products as well as grass-fed beef and other organic produce.
Here you can also find information about local farmers markets, as well as local stores and restaurants that sell grass-fed products.
Weston A. Price has local chapters in most states, and many of them are connected with buying clubs in which you can easily purchase organic foods, including grass-fed raw dairy products like milk and butter.
The Grassfed Exchange has a listing of producers selling organic and grass-fed meats across the U.S.
This website will help you find farmers' markets, family farms, and other sources of sustainably grown food in your area where you can buy produce, grass-fed meats, and many other goodies.
A national listing of farmers' markets.
The Eat Well Guide is a free online directory of sustainably raised meat, poultry, dairy, and eggs from farms, stores, restaurants, inns, and hotels, and online outlets in the United States and Canada.
CISA is dedicated to sustaining agriculture and promoting the products of small farms.
The FoodRoutes "Find Good Food" map can help you connect with local farmers to find the freshest, tastiest food possible. On their interactive map, you can find a listing for local farmers, CSAs, and markets near you.
The Cornucopia Institute maintains web-based tools rating all certified organic brands of eggs, dairy products, and other commodities, based on their ethical sourcing and authentic farming practices separating CAFO "organic" production from authentic organic practices.
The Race to Stay Ahead of Antibiotic-Resistant Superbugs
Three Sources of Antibiotics That Threaten Human Health
By Dr. Mercola
If it were wine, horseradish might be described as having an earthy, robust flavor, accompanied by an oddly sweet heat that warms you to your core. One taste and its intensity radiates not so much in your mouth as in your sinuses.
A cold-hardy plant, horseradish can be called a spring, fall or winter crop. Harvest by loosening the dirt around the plant with a digging fork (for minimal damage) before pulling out the roots. Cut off the tops and store them in a cool place until needed.
For ultimate freshness and heat, peel and grate for whatever dish or therapeutic use you may have.
As a condiment, horseradish is often prepared into a sauce to eat on prime rib or roast beef sandwiches. Some say it's red when it's used on shrimp (mixed with ketchup), and white when it's spread on beef.
Either way, it adds a kick of both heat and flavor, but be aware that heat from your stove will diminish the heat in the horseradish. Grated into casseroles, salads, mashed potatoes, deviled or scrambled eggs, this root is a versatile attention-grabber that can light up any dish or beverage.
Referred to botanically as Cochlearia armoracia, horseradish was referenced in the Greek Delphic Oracle as being worth its weight in gold. Some early Greek healers, finding no Icy Hot in the bathroom cabinet, had the wisdom to use horseradish as a rub for low back pain.
While it has a long tradition to represent "bitter" in Jewish Seder meals, horseradish was also suggested as an aphrodisiac in both Egypt and Greece. You've probably figured out that horseradish has nothing to do with either horses or radishes. Maybe it's a euphemism for radishes with a kick, which isn't a bad metaphor.
Where Does the Heat Come From?
Horseradish is a perennial plant native to Russia, Europe and Western Asia, but today it's grown across the globe. A member of the Brassicaceae family with cabbage, mustard and wasabi, the leaves and root have been recognized in the annals of medicine for thousands of years.
Incidentally, wasabi (Wasabia japonica) is a root plant from the same genus and native to Japan. The notoriously aromatic green condiment called "wasabi" requires horseradish, which is actually slightly hotter. Ironically, most of the wasabi sold in the U.S. is really just horseradish blended with dry mustard and food coloring.
Horseradish roots don't have much of an odor until you cut into them. Nick the skin and you'll get a powerful whiff of its unique, aromatic essence.
After it's cut and allowed to rest for 20 minutes or so, the strong essence begins to abate, unlike the zest from a habanero pepper, which has a heat index comparable to that of horseradish.
However, the Scoville Scale,1 which typically measures the heat of peppers, is based on capsaicin content. In horseradish, it's from allyl isothiocyanate.
However, allyl isothiocyanate (AITC) is much more than just a heat- and flavor-loaded compound. Scientists concluded that AITC may be useful for bladder cancer prevention, among other malignancies. One report explained that AITC:
"Presents many desirable attributes of a cancer chemopreventive agent, including extremely high bioavailability after oral administration, rapid uptake by cells, microbicidal activity against a wide spectrum of pathogens, significantly higher toxicity in malignant cell than in normal cells, its ability to rapidly induce cancer cell death regardless of its tissue origin … "2
Horseradish Offers Many Health Advantages
You don't have to look far to find references to compounds and nutrients in horseradish that impart many good mechanisms for your body. A book3 on the topic lists many of them: "Horseradish has been reported to have antimicrobial, spasmolytic, cytotoxic, antiseptic, diuretic, stimulant, and antioxidant properties."
Horseradish is also a mild antibiotic, which stimulates urine production, so it's been used to relieve urinary infections. Best of all, long-term use only does your body good, unlike most prescription drugs. Plus, symptoms such as urinary tract and sinus pain are not simply alleviated as they are with pharmaceuticals.
For the areas not covered, studies4 have indicated many other uses that can benefit nearly every area of your body:
✓ Joint and muscle pain
✓ Urinary infections
✓ Chest congestion
✓ Water retention
✓ Respiratory disorders
✓ Cold and flu
✓ Sinus infections
The Sinus-Impacting Bouquet of Horseradish Conveys Health Benefits
Calcium, potassium, magnesium and phosphorus are some of the most prominent minerals in horseradish. Besides fiber and vitamin C, this seemingly humble root contains volatile oils such as mustard oil, which is an anti-viral that can help you fight infection.
Natural antibacterial agents contain even more cancer-killing compounds, with multiple detoxifying chemical reactions and expressions to the human body to its credit.
But the fragrance of this root is particularly effective against sinus infections because it helps rid your body of mucus in the sinuses, where bacterial infections often start. Stores of this thick substance accumulate deep in the nasal cavities, making it difficult to get rid of.
Some herbalists recommend horseradish preparations just for this purpose. Once your nostrils are introduced to the strong kick of horseradish, the mucus often can't help but begin flowing, which is the signal that the infection is on its way out of your body.
A recommended recipe to clear mucus from your nose, as well as congestion from your chest, is called the "Sinus Plumber."5 Be careful breathing it as you make it, because the fumes are powerful! It calls for:
- An 8- to 12-inch-long chunk of horseradish root
- 1 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar
- 2 Tbsp. water
- Pinch of salt (to taste)
Stir the ingredients together in a small glass jar, which can be stored in the refrigerator for four to five weeks. Eat one-half to 1 tsp. two to three times a day for as long as it takes for your congestion to begin clearing up.
You can dilute the mixture into one-quarter cup of tomato juice to make it more palatable if desired, but full-strength is best.
Glucosinolates: Flavor, Heat and a Whole Lot More
As already discussed, horseradish is related to broccoli. Multiple studies have extolled the organosulfuric, chemoprotective glucosinolates in broccoli, especially in broccoli sprouts,6 but horseradish contains the same amount 10 times over!
A recent University of Illinois (UI) review7 demonstrated how these powerful cancer-fighting enzymes work in horseradish:
"In the new study, the team looked for the products of glucosinolate hydrolysis, which activate enzymes involved in detoxification of cancer-causing molecules. These are compounds that could help detoxify and eliminate cancer-causing free molecules in the body."
Scientists also found that different species of horseradish contain varying amounts of glucosinolate molecules, and that the "premium" strain, U.S. Fancy, has the most.8 Still, the cheaper strains (U.S. No. 1 and U.S. No. 2) contain quantities that are nothing to sneeze at, according to UI food crop scientist Dr. Mosbah Kushad:
"We knew horseradish had health benefits, but in this study we were able to link it to the activation of certain detoxifying enzymes for the first time. There was no information on whether the USDA grade of the horseradish root is associated with cancer preventive activity, so we wanted to test that."
Glucosinolates, also found to affect the metabolism of hormones, are concentrated in horseradish greens as well as the roots, according to The George Mateljan Foundation,9 which provides scientifically proven, commercially-independent information on foods:
"We should also be thinking about spices like brown mustard seed, yellow mustard seed, and horseradish as cruciferous vegetables, because they are! Health-supportive molecules like glucosinolates are concentrated in these spices in the same way that they are concentrated in the leaves of the plants (like mustard greens or horseradish greens)."
More Healing Compounds Attributed to Horseradish
"One of the most powerful glycosides found in horseradish, sinigrin has been found to relive the symptoms of water retention, due to its stimulating effect on the blood capillaries. Horseradish is rubefacient, an agent that stimulates blood flow below and to the surface of the skin."
Another study11 explained how the pH of AITC against E. coli, Staphylococcus aureus (a bacteria), and S. cerevisiae (baker's yeast) stood up against sodium benzoate, a widely used food preservative linked to hyperactivity and behavioral problems.
Scientists determined that AITC was between six and 21 times more inhibitory to the growth of Gram-negative E. coli than benzoate, and three to 45 times more inhibitory to S. aureus. The study conclusion was that the main heat and flavor ingredient in horseradishes (and other Brassicaceae veggies) is much stronger than sodium benzoate. According to a disease prevention magazine:12
"Even within individual prostate cells, glucosinolates beneficially influence the metabolism of hormones, which may explain why a higher consumption of mustard family vegetables is associated with a lower risk for prostate cancer.
In addition, one of the anti-carcinogens produced, allyl isothiocyanate (AITC) demonstrated 90 percent absorption when ingested. Horseradish's pungent flavour is primarily caused by the AITC. This compound is produced from the hydrolysis of sinigrin by the enzyme myrosinase."
Food as Medicine — What a Novel Idea
Hippocrates was right! When you look at all the compounds, enzymes, nutrients and minerals in food such as horseradish, and find they really can impact your health for the better, you learn that food truly can be your medicine, just as medicine can be your food. If fully appreciated, another of the "father of medicine's" famous proverbs would be beneficial for impacting peoples' health:
"A wise man should consider that health is the greatest of human blessings, and learn how by his own thought to derive benefit from his illnesses."
Brussels Sprouts: A Superfood with Cancer-Fighting Potential
3 Reasons You Should Eat More Spicy Food
By Dr. Mercola
It seems that coconut oil has been getting a lot of press lately and for many different reasons. It has a number of surprising uses, as a food, certainly, but for many other health-related benefits. Some of them are quite surprising.
That's why coconut oil seems to have moved from "What is it?" to "It's a superfood!" as people all over the world take stock of what it can do for them.
Nutritionally speaking, the fatty acids in coconut oil lend several health benefits, including improved brain function, stimulating your body's metabolism, generating energy and helping you shed excess body fat, as has been shown among people from populations that regularly consume high amounts of coconut oil. Here are several of the best benefits of coconut oil.
Coconut Oil Has Fatty Acids That Are Good for You
You may have heard that while saturated fat was once thought to be a leading cause of heart disease, it's now known to be not just beneficial but crucial for good health. The good news: coconut oil is one of the best sources of saturated fat on the planet. In fact, about 90 percent of the fat content in coconut oil is saturated fat.
Rather than clogging your arteries, damaging your coronary system and putting you on the fast track to a stroke, new information has emerged in a significant meta-analysis,1 which showed no significant evidence that saturated fat causes any of the above, but is in fact very good for you.
Coconut oil contains medium-chain triglycerides that can have therapeutic benefits for people with certain brain disorders, epilepsy, and may even help prevent Alzheimer's disease.2
Where Coconut Oil Has Been Used, People Thrive
As you look at the civilizations around the world that have consumed coconut oil for decades and even centuries, it's clear there's a difference, medically speaking, between those individuals and those of the so-called "enlightened" first-world countries.
They seem to be healthier! As an example, individuals in Polynesian populations such as those in Tokelau and Pukapuka, where people tend to eat a lot of coconut, were examined in light of their high saturated fat intake and low cholesterol and sucrose levels.
Researchers found that "vascular disease is uncommon in both populations and there is no evidence of the high saturated fat intake having a harmful effect."3
Another case in point is the Kitevan people in New Guinea, whose collective diet is untarnished by the food habits of the Western world. Besides eating a lot of tubers, fruit and fish, the people also consume coconut as a prominent staple.
None of the people involved in the study4 reported stroke, sudden death, weakness, brain diseases, or chest pain related to heavy lifting. Coronary artery disease was nowhere to be found.
The only inference that can be made is that, rather than being sick, weak and diseased, many populations around the world have managed much better than more "progressive" parts of the world on their traditional diets with the plentiful addition of coconut oil.
Triglycerides, Fat and Where It's At
No matter where you travel, practically every place has been influenced by the Western diet, and not in a good way.
Where there's obesity in large amounts of the population, there's a very good chance you'll find misguided and destructive eating habits such as low-fat diets along with too much processed, CAFO (concentrated animal feeding operation) meat and not enough vegetables and healthy sources of fat.
Some believe it's all about calorie intake; however, people who have been paying attention to which foods are actually healthy and which are not understand this isn't really the case. It's about the substance behind the calories.
Medium-chain fatty acids or triglycerides (MCTs) in coconut oil amount to about two-thirds its total fatty acids. In explanation:5
"Dietary fats are molecules composed of individual carbon atoms linked into chains ranging from two to 22 carbon atoms in length. Long-chain fatty acids (LCTs) ranging from 12 to 18 carbons long are the predominant form of fat in the American diet.
MCTs, by contrast, are composed of only six to 10 carbon links. Because of their shorter chain length, MCTs have a number of unique properties which give them advantages over the more common LCTs."
The bottom line is, when you eat foods high in medium-chain triglycerides, your body benefits.
Case in point: when seven healthy men were tested for metabolic function in relation to triglycerides, scientists determined that long-term substitution of medium-chain foods for long-chain "would produce weight loss if energy intake remained constant."6 The potential benefit is significant weight loss.
Microorganisms Are Destroyed by Coconut Oil
Lauric acid in coconut oil makes up about half of the fatty acids. In the digestion process, coconut oil morphs into a monoglyceride called monolaurin. Both substances can exterminate harmful pathogens such as fungi, bacteria and viruses.
Staphylococcus aureus and a common cause of yeast infection, Candida albicans, were two of the most notorious pathogens these coconut oil compounds were able to eradicate in one study7 and candida in another.8
Coconut oil also works on fungal infections such as athlete's foot and ringworm. The European Journal of Pediatrics even reported research showing that blending coconut oil and anise was almost twice as effective as the commonly prescribed (and toxic) permethrin lotion for treating head lice. According to the review:9
"The spray was significantly more successful (41/50, 82.0 percent) cures compared with permethrin (21/50, 42.0 percent ... ).Per-protocol success was 83.3 percent and 44.7 percent, respectively."
Want to Lose Weight? Coconut Oil Reduces Your Appetite
Many people pay good money in search of a substance that would truly curb their appetite so they would eat less and lose weight. How serendipitous that coconut oil can actually do that for you! The actual process has to do with how the fatty acids you consume are metabolized.
Ketone bodies, created when your body breaks down fat for energy, are an alternative fuel for your brain. They're produced as you digest coconut oil.
The ketogenic diet, featuring low carb and high fat intake, has applications in relation to treating a number of other health problems. Significantly, it's been shown to reduce epileptic seizures in drug-resistant children12 as well as other individuals with epilepsy.
At the New York Obesity Research Center at Columbia University, researchers reported:13
"Consumption of medium-chain triglyceride oil as part of a weight loss plan improves weight loss compared with olive oil and can thus be successfully included in a weight loss diet. Small changes in the quality of fat intake can therefore be useful to enhance weight loss."
Coconut Oil Can Upgrade Your Blood Cholesterol Levels
As previously discussed, coconut is loaded with healthy saturated fat, but it does nothing to diminish the health of your blood lipid profile as the food and medical industries has for decades tried to tell you. In fact, saturated fats raise your HDL (good) cholesterol while transforming your LDL. According to the data:14
"A high saturated fat intake … is associated with increased concentrations of larger, cholesterol-enriched LDL and this occurs in association with decreased HL [hepatic lipase] activity."
Consuming coconut oil helps you to maintain optimal cholesterol levels. One study involving 40 women showed that when put up against soybean oil consumption, coconut oil increased HDL and lowered LDL to HDL ratio while decreasing waist circumference. On the other hand, soybean oil led to decreases in beneficial HDL.15
Coconut Oil as a Toiletry, a Cleaner — Even an Insect Repellent
If you haven't had a chance to explore all the extraordinary uses for coconut oil, you may be in for a pleasant surprise. Besides its ability to promote heart health and squelch the risk of stroke, it's been shown to strengthen your immune system even as you attain soft, supple skin.
Coconut oil works well as a facial cleanser and makes a great shaving lotion. Slathering it on dry, lifeless hair for 15 minutes helps restore lost moisture and shine.
While it doesn't impart the minty aftertaste that most toothpastes pride themselves on, using it before bed helps not only freshen your breath, but kills bacteria that cause plaque and other problems, without the fluoride (and if you miss the minty taste, just add a drop of peppermint essential oil). If you're looking for a natural deodorant that will last and won't pose potential health risks from added aluminum, thoroughly mix:
- 3 Tbsp. organic coconut oil
- 3 Tbsp. non-GMO cornstarch or arrowroot powder
- 3 Tbsp. baking soda
- 2 drops of essential oil of your choice, or a pinch of clove powder
As for the insect repellent, a good recipe combines coconut oil with a high-quality essential oil such as peppermint, lemon balm, rosemary, tea tree or vanilla, which may help keep insects from biting, as opposed to applying toxic sprays like DEET.
What You Don't Know CAN Harm You
In spite of all the clinical verification to the contrary, the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI)16 still maintains there's "no good evidence" that coconut oil performs any of the above functions. CSPI even contradicts recommendations that people switch from vegetable oils, including canola oil, to coconut oil for better health.
In another decidedly ignorant move, CSPI fell in lock-step with the biotech industry for profit with the announcement that "fear" of GMOs is "irrational" and that GMO foods are "safe to eat."
At the same time, a statement signed by 300 scientists, researchers, physicians, and scholars was published contending that claims of GMO safety have been "falsely perpetuated." Clearly, somebody is not telling the truth or has not done their due diligence to figure it out.
That's not the only discrepancy in the world of pseudo science that purports to be in the interest of human health. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) came forward with a declaration that, as of 2018, partially hydrogenated oils (aka trans fat) would no longer be allowed in food unless authorized by the agency because of potential health risks. Yet the FDA was in the forefront of getting trans fats into the marketplace in the 1980s.
In the 1980s, CSPI actually spearheaded a highly successful campaign against the use of healthy saturated fats, touting trans fats as a healthier alternative, so take their official stance against coconut oil with a (big) grain of salt. In spite of the naysayers, the real science speaks. Coconut oil has undergone the trials that prove its benefits are, indeed, undeniable.
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