Story at-a-glance
  • This week Ron Paul is running within 2 points of Barack Obama in Gallup poll.
  • Congressman and Republican GOP candidate Ron Paul (TX) is a medical doctor with a strong track record of promoting health, defending health freedom and upholding the US Constitution.
  • Dr. Paul's ideology includes a move toward smaller government; cancelling the US debt to the Federal Reserve; and reinstating gold-backed US currency.
Dr. Ron Paul earned his medical degree from Duke University School of Medicine in 1961. He?s been a U.S. Congressman (TX) since 1997, and is now running for President of the United States for the second time. He recently authored the book Liberty Defined: 50 Essential Issues That Affect Our Freedom. Here, he discusses the concept of liberty, and why every American should be concerned about maintaining their health freedom, as well as his ideas for how to solve the still-looming debt ceiling problem.

In the recent Iowa Straw Poll Michelle Bachman came in first. That fact was reported by most of the national media. However, in an incredible display of conformity bias, virtually all of the major media blacked out the fact that Rep. Ron Paul came in a virtual tie with her. There was less than 1 percent difference between them, yet he was completely ignored by all the major media. 

The New American Reports:

?The glaring hypocrisy of the "lamestream media" commentators in pretending to be objectively reporting on the event while blatantly censoring Ron Paul out of existence was too much for liberal comedian/commentator Jon Stewart of Comedy Central's in a recent episode of The Daily Show.

In the last video above, Ron Paul explains his positions to Judy Woodruff, including his stance on raw milk, which comes up at 10:03 in the interview.


Dr. Mercola's Comments:

In this interview, Ron Paul explains his positions, including his stance on raw milk, which comes up at 10:03.

For the most part I am a political atheist.  I was equally critical of President Clinton, Bush and Obama, yet it is hard to avoid the enormous influence that politics has on our life. My belief is that the US has unfortunately been gradually merging corporate influence into government regulations which is terrific for the corporations but an unmitigated disaster for most people.  In my view this is one of the foundational issues that is contributing to the pervasive influence of the conventional medical model.

The last thing I want to spend my time on is sharing my political views (and some people will always criticize me when I do), and I want to make it clear that I really do not care about the political parties. That said, it's clear that our health is being severely harmed by the federal government and the corporate favoritism they display, and this concerns me a great deal. We are now at the point where you can't make a statement about the health benefit of a food without it being considered a drug; and genetically modified foods are unique enough to hold patents, yet this is kept hidden from you and not declared on the food label because they know you probably wouldn't buy it if you knew what it was. Other areas that now require you to take control of your own health and not let the federal government strip you of your health freedom include:

  • Water fluoridation
  • Right to buy, sell, and consume raw milk
  • Mercury amalgams in dentistry
  • Mandatory vaccinations

One of the factors that endear Dr. Ron Paul to me is the fact that he's a medical doctor, and he has a record of defending health freedom and promoting health in general. It's a quality that few other politicians have. He serves as an excellent role model for healthy living and preventive medicine, and leads by example.

For example, Dr. Paul is now running for President of the United States again, but he still makes time for exercise every day.

"Usually in the afternoon I ride the bike and I'll go 10, 12 or 15 miles depending on the time of day? [T]his morning I did? a 3.5 miles walk. When I get up, I like to get outside and do that, get the walking in, which helps me both psychologically as well as physically."

Defining Freedom and Liberty

This interview, however, will focus primarily on freedom and liberty, which is essential if you want to have any real control over your own health.

His most recent book is called Liberty Defined: 50 Essential Issues That Affect Our Freedom. It's a phenomenal book and I highly encourage you to read it. In it, Dr. Paul reminds us that the Declaration of Independence, the US Constitution, and every coin we carry have the word 'liberty' emblazoned on it. It's an essential element to our country's origins. Yet Americans have allowed a massive erosion of liberties to occur since the enactment of the US Constitution.

How did that happen?

"It's a good question," Dr. Paul says. "I think it's an important question because if you desire liberty, and our liberties have been eroded, we ought to know what happened or we can't correct the problem? When it comes to liberty, for some people it's an abstract and they don't think about it, and they have been misled for so long that they have been taught that the government is there to protect us and take care of us. Not to protect our liberties as much as to guarantee the entitlement that you have, and they distort the meaning of rights and freedoms.

They say you have a right to education, you have a right to medical care, you are entitled by the government to be taken care of. The entitlement system becomes a right.

But all these things they're talking about depend on the use of government force. Force?that is, if the government can give you or me something? some goods or some service, they have to extract it from somebody else. So they become thieves... That's what they're doing. They steal from one and give to another, and the politicians get rewarded. So we became soft on this. The people desired security over freedom, which we were warned against."

Do You Really Want to Live in a Free Society?

I agree with Dr. Paul when he says that what we need is a re-education on the meaning of freedom and liberty, and what self-reliance means. If you want to live in a free society, you must first understand what a free society is!

While Dr. Paul may be talking about liberty as it relates to the economy and various political issues, I've been publicly urging people through this newsletter to "take control of your health" for well over 12 years, and it's the same basic principle. It's a call to end blind reliance on authorities that aren't necessarily working in your best interest?even though they may not realize it themselves.

In terms of health, the health advice you get from doctors today is deeply colored by their education, which is largely controlled and manipulated by the drug industry. And drug companies only dispense advice that promotes profits for them and their shareholders?without much regard for the outcome for patients and the well-being of society as a whole.

"The biggest problem we have is that so many think that if you give them their liberty, you're going to take away something," Dr. Paul says. "But the truth is the governments can't provide [everything]. They eventually bankrupt the country and give us the conditions that we have today.

But the whole goal of defending liberty is first to define it, and then convince people that it's in their best interest to live in a free society.

If they think it's better to give up a little freedom and the government will take care of them from the cradle to the grave, which so many believe, we really can't win. We have an opportunity now because I think those who made all those promises look pretty bad because they can't fulfill their promises."

Your Health Freedom and Civil Liberties are at Great Risk

Unless you've been living beneath a rock, you're probably painfully aware that our economy is rolling downhill like a rock, picking up momentum with each passing day. As a result, we can expect that many will be challenged with health problems. It's questionable whether the traditional medical model of drugs and surgery will survive a complete financial collapse, which is all the more reason to take control of your own health and implement effective, low-cost strategies that can help you avoid illness in the first place.

Part of preventive medicine is diet, and raw milk plays an important part here. In recent years, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has begun clamping down on raw milk producers ever more forcefully?resorting to the use of armed SWAT teams to raid milk farmers and organic co-ops? This is the price of so-called "security." The FDA claims they're just doing their job and protecting your health. But are they really? And, even if that was their only incentive, is it worth surrendering one of your most basic rights for this protection?the right to buy and consume a food that's been sustaining human health long before the advent of pasteurization?

"When we talk about these medical issues, as a physician and as a person in politics, I have sharp lines because I have medical opinions. What I'm doing in politics is not exactly the medical opinion, whether it's the use of medicinal marijuana or whether it's raw milk or not. What I deal with in politics is your right of freedom of choice.

As long as you don't force other people, and as long as you don't defraud people, you ought to have a choice on alternative treatments and not have the FDA and the drug companies controlling things. That's where we get into so much trouble.

It doesn't mean anybody has perfect knowledge on these things, but one thing I know is the government doesn't have perfect knowledge. So if we defer to the government and say, "The FDA will take care of us. We'll just listen to them and they'll never delay drug usage or promote the wrong drugs, or prohibit or force us to do certain things," then we're foolish if we accept that notion."

Dr. Paul Addresses the Patriot Act

Your liberty is also under assault under the guise of the Patriot Act and Homeland Security.

"I've been commenting on what we've seen at the airport, and using that as an example," Dr. Paul says. "If we can tolerate the groping and the undressing of a 94-year-old woman in order for her to get on an airplane, I figure if the American people put up with this, we're in big trouble."

The Patriot Act is probably one of the most inappropriately named bills we've ever had. A patriot is defined by the dictionary as a person who regards himself as a defender of individual rights against presumed interference by the federal government. Recently in Chicago and Minneapolis, prominent peace activists had their door broken down and property confiscated without any charges being filed. Patriots are now considered terrorists, and are being terrorized?

I'm wondering what's going to take for American to wake up and see what the federal government has become. It's spending is out of control, and each year more new unconstitutional laws are enacted.

"[A]t the time of the founding of our country, the patriots were the ones who said they had too much government and they were going to challenge the government. Today, if you're "a patriot" you support all the wars and all the welfare and the Patriot Act, which undermines or destroys the Fourth Amendment. So they have turned the definition of the patriot on its head!

The Patriot Act? was passed right after 9/11? I said, if this bill had been named, not the Patriot Act, but "a bill to repeal the Fourth Amendment." How many people would have voted for it? That's essential what it does. It allows the government to do what they're doing and some of these authorities continuing to grow.

Certainly at the airport they don't have the right to do what they do. The potential customers, the passengers, aren't suspects. There is no probable cause there, and yet they are being humiliated and groped and x-rayed continuously. ? [I]f we see a transition back toward a free society, the Patriot Act will be repealed. But right now, we couldn't even slow it up. In Washington, they have just renewed it, essentially the whole thing, for four more years."

Can a Smaller Government Save the United States?

Another primary concept Dr. Paul promotes is a movement towards smaller government. In light of the ongoing financial depression and the upcoming Presidential elections, this is going to be a massively important issue. We're now looking at a $1.6 trillion deficit for this year. That, plus the total deficit of $14 trillion, and probably unfunded liabilities that are well above $60-70 trillion!

Dr. Paul admits it's a complicated issue.

"It's so difficult because the majority of people, obviously, for quite a few decades have depended on the government and the wealth was there. But now we've consumed the wealth. We've destroyed the jobs, and all we have is debt."

He suggests we could "wean" ourselves off Big Government by implementing a transition program to progressively cut out unnecessary agencies and programs, without any major calamity.

"But I think the odds of that happening are about slim to none, because the politicians won't cut anything," he says. "There is a strong lobby for the military industrial complex and foreign adventurism; there is a strong lobby that says the entire system is perfect.

Still? I think what's happening is that more and more people are realizing they [politicians] can't fulfill their promises. The system doesn't work.

You could introduce the notion of nullification and say, if the states have determined that the federal government can't take care of us, whether it's through Obama care and they want to opt out of the system, or anything that the government does; if the monetary crisis moves to the point where the money is not doing the job and you get a check that doesn't buy anything, it means that people will opt out of the system.

It won't be actually opting out by law, but it will be a de facto nullification. People will just ignore it, ignore what the government says? Maybe it will get to the point where the system will break down, and maybe we won't have these armed bureaucrats coming in and raiding raw milk producers.

That's a little scary, because then there is the big decision on what is civil disobedience and what isn't? Are they going to ignore this or are they going to continue to make examples of us?

I think that's what they do with the raw milk issue. They want to show you they're still in charge, but eventually, they're not going to be in charge because they're not going to have any money. Hopefully, we can turn that around and make that a positive."

Will Dr. Paul's Plan Solve the US Debt Issue?

A recent Time Magazine article discussed Ron Paul's ideas for solving the debt ceiling problem. The US annual debt is over $1 trillion dollars, and cumulatively it is $14 trillion, but with the unfunded liabilities like Social Security and Medicare it probably rises to $70 trillion. Most everyone reading this, including me, really have an enormously difficult time comprehending how much a trillion dollars really is. So I am sharing a nice video that I embedded in the Dr. Paul video and I would strongly encourage you to watch it.

Time Magazine explains:

"Paul's plan starts with the Federal Reserve. In the last year or two the Fed has been buying up U.S. Treasury bonds in an effort to lower interest rates and boost the economy. The most recent round of that buying has been dubbed QE2? The result is that the Fed now holds nearly $1.7 trillion in U.S. debt. But that is really phony debt... Nonetheless? [it] is still counted in the debt ceiling number, which caps that amount of total Federal debt at $14.3 trillion.

Paul's plan: Get the Fed and the Treasury to rip up that debt. It's fake debt anyway. And the Fed is legally allowed to return the debt to the Treasury to be destroyed. A trillion and a half dollars is currently about what spending is expected to exceed tax revenue in 2011. And the deficit is expected to dramatically shrink in 2013 and beyond. So cut the debt by $1.7 trillion and you could run the government as is for at least the next year, and perhaps into 2013."

Another plan proposed by Dr. Paul in the past months calls for the U.S. government to sell its gold reserves. As many of you know, Dr. Paul is a strong supporter of gold as a counter to the devaluation of the dollar. But what made Dr. Paul suggest this plan in the first place?

"It was a mixture of things," Dr. Paul says. "? I would say when people are in trouble?if you or I got into trouble and we had a stash of gold, and we wanted to be honorable, don't you think we would sell our gold and pay our bills, and maybe go to work to buy the gold coins back again? That was the idea. I'm not necessarily against the gold being put back into the hands of the people.

It was also part of this idea of the [Federal Reserve] audit. If we're going to sell the gold, we would have to find out if we really have the gold? I've had this recent hearing to look into how much gold there really is, so it's all part of that. I don't think it would be the end of the world if the gold was all put in the hands of the people, because it was confiscated [from them].

But you know if you were going to deliver it to the people, you could make it all into coins and let people use it as legal tender. That's what the government is supposed to do. They weren't supposed to hold all the gold. They were just supposed to guarantee that when they minted the gold coins they would have an honest way to measure."

Folks, there are no easy and pain-free answers to any of the problems that currently face us. But one thing is for sure: if we do not rise to defend our most basic freedoms, we may lose them all.

Related Articles:

  Ron Paul -- How to End the Current Economic Crisis

  Congressman Ron Paul on Washington's Dirtiest Secrets

  Ron Paul vs the FDA Raw Milk Police

 Comments (640)
Gary Taubes is a science and health journalist, and author of several books, including Good Calories, Bad Calories: Fats, Carbs, and the Controversial Science of Diet and Health, and Why We Get Fat: And What to Do About It. While his earlier work focused on physics, in recent years his interests have turned toward medicine and nutrition. Here he discusses the research upon which his books are based, and reveals the truth behind several common health- and diet myths.


Dr. Mercola's Comments:

Gary Taubes is a prominent scientific journalist and author of several books, two of which delve into the fallacies of conventional wisdom with respects to diet and health. I actually published one of his articles on this site nearly 10 years ago, in which he expounded on the misguided dietary advice to "eat less fat and more carbohydrates," stating that this advice just might be the cause of the skyrocketing rates of obesity in America.

Today, of course, there's no shortage of evidence supporting this claim. Many of my articles touch on this each and every week. It just goes to show that if you're really a seeker of the truth, the truth will eventually make itself known.

More recently, I commented on his excellent expose on sugar, featured in the New York Times. This is definitely a highly important health topic, and I was thrilled to see an article speaking such powerful truths in the mainstream media. In this interview, Taubes shares a variety of insights from his own research as a health journalist, so I highly recommend listening to the interview in its entirety.

Interestingly, we are both about the same age and have very similar physical characteristics, and both have a passion for scientific journalism that communicates to the public.  We really connected well and I look forward to many more engaging future discussions with Gary as he is clearly a leader in the field and has a wealth of solid knowledge from his voracious review of the scientific literature. 

Mechanisms that Maintain Dogmatic Beliefs, Regardless of the Evidence

Today, it's easier than ever to connect the dots and see how health- and dietary recommendations are the result of massive conflict of interest, perpetuated by self-interested i groups, and industries that push unfavorable research findings under the proverbial rug. The medical- and health- fields are now absolutely riddled with dogmatic beliefs that defy both common sense and scientific truth. And yet they prevail, even though it's clear to see that many of these recommendations are doing more harm than good.

Why is that?

According to Taubes, part of the problem is that, contrary to research in physics, where a lot of attention must be paid to the many variables that may influence the result, and where negative results that do not confirm your beliefs are meticulously evaluated, medical research does not adhere to many of these same exacting standards. One of the reasons for this is the perceived need for speed, or as he likes to call it, "the Jurassic Park mentality."

"[A]bout every 10 minutes they would go, "But people are dying out there! People are dying out there!" As we're talking, I don't know; another 100 Americans have dropped dead from a heart attack. So you've got to move fast. You can't wait for the definitive evidence to come through," he says.

"I would look in the literature and I was always told this by the research: "We can't dot every i and cross every T. We're not like the physicist who? have the time and the patience to reproduce the experiment and make sure they control for all the variables." I say, basically, "What you're saying is you don't have the time to figure out whether you're really right or not, because if you don't dot every i and cross every T, you don't know." That's how cruel science is. But because people are dying out there, we have to move fast? We have to jump to conclusions and we have to hope that we're right. Unfortunately, all too often? when people do that, they're NOT right."

Unfortunately, once nutritionists, dieticians, personal trainers, and the average person has fully embraced a pre-conceived conclusion, it's very hard to reverse. It's even more difficult once the government agencies have bought into it and turned it into dogma.  

"[I]magine if the American Heart Association? decide they were wrong. What do they do? You can't just put out a press release saying, 'We apologize for the last 40 years of advice we've been giving you. We apologize if we got a lot of stuff wrong and we killed a lot of your loved ones?  Now, we're going to tell you what the real answer is and we have confidence in this one'? It just can't be done. All that stuff is institutional self-interest too."

Then there's the issue of what psychiatrists calls 'cognitive dissidence,' where, when faced with the possibility that you've been wrong for a long time, perhaps most of your career, your brain simply invents ways to convince you that you're still right. These are some of the mechanisms that keep dogmas firmly in place for extended periods of time. This is not only true for nutrition, but also in other areas of public health, such as the issues of water fluoridation, the use of mercury in dentistry, and the ever-growing childhood vaccination schedule.

"[A]nd then you have the funding mechanisms," Taubes says. "They tend to fund people who agree with the conventional wisdom."

How You Get Fat?Has it All Been a Big, Fat, False Dogma?

Taubes' latest book, Why We Get Fat and What to Do about It, is far more of a lay person friendly book than his previous masterpiece, Good Calories Bad Calories, which is the book that any nutritional professional will want to read.

So, do you really get fat because you eat too many calories and don't exercise enough? Or is this just another deeply flawed dogmatic belief?

"The argument I've been making is that we're making a fundamental mistake even thinking in terms of the calories," Taubes says. "This is one of the places where the? obesity research community went off the rails. Heart disease research did it with dietary fat, and then that spread and affected everything else.

Prior to the Second World War, the European medical researchers had a different conception of what caused obesity. They said the human body, in essence, is very well regulated? Cells will not take up excess energy unless they're signaled to do so. If you think about it, that's what insulin does? Hormones are out there to say 'take up this, take up that because there is too much of it.' So if there is too much fat accumulating in the fat tissue, that's because the various factors in your body, the hormones, the enzymes, the central nervous system that regulate the uptake of fat by the fat tissue, and the release of fat are telling the fat to be taken up, and we got to figure what that is."

I personally agree with this school of thought. I believe your body is designed to always strive toward a healthy equilibrium. Self-healing is not only possible, but a built-in mechanism that is remarkably effective, as long as all the raw materials are supplied. The same applies to your weight. The fact that we now have an obesity epidemic on our hands is an unmistakable sign that something has gone terribly awry.

In the late 1950s and early 1960s, researchers discovered a mechanism that regulates fat tissue, namely insulin. And insulin is secreted primarily in response to carbohydrates in your diet.

"You could say the type of carbohydrates and the quantity of carbohydrates more or less regulate our insulin levels," Taubes explains, "So this led to the concept of a carbohydrate-restricted diet. But, if you're going to cut fat, you've got to add carbohydrates. If you're going to cut carbohydrates you have to add fat.

? Physicians started looking at what happened when they put their patients on very carbohydrate-restricted, high-fat diets, and they lost weight effortlessly. And then some very successful books were written on this? Calories Don't Count by? Herman Taller, and then 11 years later, the Atkins Diet revolution. They were pushing high-fat diets when we began to think that dietary fat cause heart disease, and the nutrition and heart disease community came down on them like a ton of bricks saying, "You guys are killing people."? [Yet] this was the exact same time that researchers had realized insulin causes fat accumulation. If you want to lower your insulin level, the way you do it is cut the carbs out of your diet."

The end result of this conflict of two hypotheses was an alternative hypothesis that said, "It's not about how much you eat or exercise. To get fat, you have to consume more calories than you expend." But is that correct?

Weight Gain?It's Really NOT about the Calories?

While the laws of thermodynamics tell us that this is true, there's much more to weight gain than consuming more calories than you use up during physical exertion. Certain nutrients, namely carbs (fructose and grains) affect the hormone insulin, which is a very potent fat regulator. And ever since the advent of processed high fructose corn syrup, the truth of what's really causing the obesity epidemic is becoming ever more self-evident.

"White sugar (sucrose) is half glucose, half fructose. And high fructose corn syrup is 55% fructose, 45% glucose? The fructose is mostly, about 90-95 percent, metabolized in your liver. It's fundamentally different. The pathway by which it's metabolized is fundamentally different. The place at which it's metabolized is different. It makes the liver do more work than just eating a starch, which will break down to glucose only," Taubes explains.

"? The phrase that [Dr. Robert] Lustig uses is 'isocaloric but not isometabolic,' which means you can have the same amount of calories from fructose or glucose, or fructose and protein, or fructose and fat, but you're going to have an entirely different metabolic fate. And that metabolic fate is going to determine the hormonal response, and that hormonal response is going to determine, among other things, how much fat you accumulate.

So this idea that it's only about calories, [and that] all calories are created equal; well, in terms of the energy in the calories, yes? But in terms of the fate of the nutrient downstream, entirely apart from the caloric content; the same amount of calories of different nutrients will have a dramatically different effect."

As I've discussed in numerous previous articles, fructose is FAR worse than other kinds of carbs?despite the fact that it's a low glycemic carb?because the vast majority of it converts directly to FAT. This fat not only accumulates in your fatty tissues, but fructose also accumulates in your liver. Amazingly, half a million British children now suffer from non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, according to a recent article in The Telegraph.

Fructose and the Low Glycemic Index

The fact that fructose ranks low on the low-glycemic index can cause a lot of confusion.

Chronically elevated insulin levels result in insulin resistance, which is at the heart of metabolic syndrome that is now pervasive in the Western world, and is a potent risk factor for a number of deadly diseases, including heart disease and cancer. But if fructose is low glycemic, why is it being pegged as the primary culprit in the obesity epidemic?

Taubes offers a summary of the basics:

"I talked about this in Good Calories, Bad Calories? [The] glycemic index? is a measure of the blood sugar rise and effect after consuming a set amount of a food, a hundred grams of, usually, a carbohydrate-rich food. The reason you don't want your blood sugar to rise is [because] you don't want the insulin secreted afterwards. Fructose doesn't count in blood. It doesn't go into the bloodstream. It goes directly to the portal vein into the liver. It doesn't raise blood sugar. It doesn't stimulate insulin. It's got this very, in the short term? low glycemic index.

When this concept came down in the 1980s it was popularized. The American Diabetes Association immediately said, 'then fructose is good, and sugar is good for diabetics because of the relatively low glycemic index since half the carbohydrates in sugar are fructose.' The corn refiners producing high fructose corn syrup pounced on this and used it... To portray it, they would talk about fructose as fruit sugar. Fructose is found naturally in fruits and vegetables in small amounts. So they made high fructose corn syrup look like this healthy product that was entirely different from sugar.

What was originally missed, was the fact that while fructose may not have an immediate effect on your insulin levels, it still causes insulin resistance in the long term. In the meantime, it's making you pack on extra fat.

"I believe the reason we started consuming more and more of what the USDA calls caloric sweeteners? was because the corn refiners did a very good job of never having us realize that they were marketing another kind of sugar, so we just ate more and more of it?in foods in which fat was removed and high fructose corn syrup put in to replace it?You can take a little [fat] out of a food, put in some sugar, and you have what the U.S. government considers a health food because it's low fat. So we ate more and more sugars total. We got fatter and fatter. We got more and more diabetic."

Saturated Fat?Friend or Foe?

While many are under the impression that decades' worth of studies provide clear substantiation for the hypothesis that saturated fat is harmful, Taubes has news for you:

"Those previous studies never actually confirmed the hypothesis," he says.  "? I lectured at the NIH a couple of years ago and afterwards I was talking to a guy who ran an? NIA-funded childhood obesity research program. He said their primary concern with obese kids is to keep their saturated fat content down because these kids are going to be at high risk of heart disease as they get older. He said there are thousands of studies showing that this is the thing to do confirming the evils of saturated fat.

I said to him, 'The difference between you and I is I actually spent a significant portion of my life reading those studies and 'getting' them all.'

In 1984 when there was a consensus conference by the NIH saying every American over the age two should eat a low-fat diet, there were actually about eight or nine studies? [but] they could never show that eating a reduced saturated fat diet would make you live longer. It might reduce heart disease rates; it did in some studies, but it increased cancer rates. And then since 1984 there have been about another dozen [where]? people are put on low fat diets not because they're looking at heart disease risk factors? but they might be looking at something else, like cancer. When you look at the meta-analyses that have been done looking at these issues, and a couple of them came out in the last two years, the results are always the same.

There is not enough evidence to say that saturated fat is bad for you, and there has never been that evidence."

Most of us don't have the scientific training and education, not to mention the time to really read and digest large amounts of scientific research, which is what makes interviews like this one so valuable. For Taubes, reading and really understanding the research was and is his primary job.

What Does the Research Say about Salt?

Another hypothesis that has become more or less cemented as a dogmatic principle is the idea that salt is bad for you and contributes to heart disease.

"[T]he data on salt has always been terrible," Taubes says. "Basically one study has managed to show that a salt-restricted diet will lower blood pressure by any significant amount. It's called? the DASH diet? which everyone pushes now? as the healthiest weight loss diet according to nutritionists, even though it's not a weight loss diet.

The DASH diet is very low in fructose? DASH is a low-sugar diet; a low-fructose diet. That's what it fundamentally is.  So after 40 years have come to this: basically one study, in which they refused to release, by the way, all of the data on the study. They were challenged. They were even sued to release it. One study suggesting that salt is the problem."

It's true that if you repeat something long enough, people will believe it's true. Such seems to be the case with salt. Even though researchers have repeatedly failed to link salt to heart disease, agencies like the National Institutes of Health (NIH), and the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) climbed aboard the anti-salt train, and it became, as Taubes says, "the deadliest nutrient with no meaningful evidence."

But why?

Well, one reason could be because it directs attention away from whatever the real culprit is. Whether or not that culprit is known by these agencies is up for debate, but at least it gives the appearance that they're 'doing something' about the pervasive problems of high blood pressure, hypertension, and heart disease.

"I point out in my book that hypertension is associated [with] obesity? Gout is a hypertensive state; [so is] heart disease. So that's why we want to avoid hypertension; because of heart disease and stroke? The simplest possible hypothesis is: Whatever causes all these diseases causes hypertension too.

The way we think about it now is you get fat because you eat too much. You get heart disease because of saturated fat. You get diabetes because you're sedentary. You get hypertension because of salt, and you get gout because of meat and alcohol. Yet hypertension is a common condition on all of them, so maybe it's something else."

That "something else" appears to be insulin resistance. And what do we know causes insulin resistance? Sugar, primarily fructose, and grain carbohydrates. Taubes agrees:

"Your simplest possible hypothesis is [that] it's the carbohydrates from the diet; the sugar and the refined carbohydrates that raise insulin and in turn raises blood pressure, causes hypertension, causes obesity, causes diabetes, causes heart disease.

The funny thing is the research community doesn't like these unified theories because it makes you sound like a quack. And yet? remember these clinical trials where you put somebody on a high-fat, high-saturated fat but low-carbohydrate diet without sugars; not only all their heart disease risk factors improve and their diabetes risk factors improve, but their blood pressure drops. It drops just as much in those studies as it does in this DASH-sodium study.

? What I'm trying to do is to get the medical research community and these public health authorities to look at this evidence, and look at it in an unbiased perspective. If you do that, everything implicates the carbohydrates."

Diet has a profound impact on your health. Of this there can be no doubt. And I hope this interview will have given you more ammunition with which to resist the status quo and turn a deaf ear to what many call "conventional health wisdom," which in many cases turns out to be little more than half-baked theories that fall apart upon closer scrutiny.

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Dr. William Harris is a research professor at the Sanford School of Medicine in South Dakota, and an established authority on omega-3 fats. He?s a prolific researcher and has published a number of articles in some of the major peer-reviewed scientific journals.

Here, Dr. Harris shares his insights on the health benefits of omega-3 fats, and an innovative new way to determine whether you?re getting enough of this valuable nutrient.


Dr. Mercola's Comments:

Dr. William Harris earned his PhD in nutrition from the University of Minnesota back in the 70s, and did a post-doctoral fellowship with one of the leading omega-3 experts in the world, Dr. Bill Connor in Portland, Oregon.

"One of the first assignments Dr. Connor gave as a new PhD was to figure out what salmon oil does to blood cholesterol level in people, because we really didn't know," Dr. Harris says. "? I did some of my original studies there, and we found that the omega-3 fats in fish oil lowered triglyceride levels in the blood. We thought we were looking for cholesterol effect, but we saw a triglyceride effect. It's a different blood lipid.

From that point, we started to learn about the Eskimo studies that had been done by Dyeberg and Bang in Greenland and how the high omega-3 diet of the Eskimo was apparently what protected them from heart attacks... It has just snowballed, since then."

Indeed, today, we know that omega-3 has many profound health benefits that go far beyond the lowering of triglycerides, although the heart health benefits of omega-3 are the most well-established and commonly accepted. Even the FDA allows claims for omega-3 for heart disease.

Did You Know? Your Omega-3 Levels Can Now Be Measured

Yes, you can actually measure the omega-3 level in your blood, which will also give you information about your risk for heart disease. Dr. Harris' research led to the development of an assay that measures your omega-3 level, which is referred to as the "omega-3 index." 

"We measure the omega-3 level in red blood cells as a reflection of the omega-3 levels in all the tissues," Dr. Harris explains. "We then use that to help people figure out if their omega-3 levels are too low. We really haven't seen [levels that are] too high, so that's apparently not a problem."

The red blood cell as a marker for the omega-3 fat level is comparable to a test used for diabetes, which measures the hemoglobin A1c, or glycosylated hemoglobin. Using the red blood cells can give you a good indication of how well you've controlled your diabetes in the past three months, because that's the typical life span of your red blood cells.

The omega-3 assay does the same thing and shows you your omega-3 status based on your omega-3 consumption over the last three months. So it's not easily influenced by a large fish meal the night before the test.

What's the Ideal Omega-3 Level?

Dr. Harris' omega-3 assay can be used as a helpful gauge of your heart disease risk. In case control studies, blood samples were obtained from people admitted to the hospital to evaluate heart attack risk based on their omega-3 levels.

"We looked at the difference in omega-3 levels and found that those who have heart attacks are much more likely to have a low level [of omega-3]. A low level meaning under 4 percent? and very unlikely to have an omega-3 level above the eight percent range where we think it's good" Dr. Harris says.

The omega-3 index is expressed as the amount of omega-3 in the red blood cell as a percentage. The omega-3s typically run from about two to 10 percent. According to Dr. Harris, the current belief is that a level:

  • Below four percent puts you at high risk for heart attack
  • Between four and eight percent puts you at intermediate risk
  • Above eight percent is considered the target value for low risk

Measuring Your Trans Fat Levels

Another piece of information that can be found in your fatty acid profile is your level of trans fats (omega-6 and omega-9)?the bad fats that we now know are responsible for the majority of cardiovascular problems that have long been blamed on saturated fats.

"Of course trans fats are the ones that are produced from industrial treatment of vegetable oils to make margarines and shortenings. They're pervasive in baked goods and fried foods," Dr. Harris explains. "We can measure that level in the red blood cell as well. Although there is not nearly as much data that will allow to us say?like we have for the omega-3 index?eight percent is good; four percent is bad. We're not quite there with the trans (fats) yet but we are developing those metrics.

We can say that, if a doctor has a patient, or an individual wants to know [their levels] themselves, they can do an omega trans test? They get their trans level and then they change their diet? If the patient or the individual? actually does reduce their intake, you'll see it? So it's a good indicator of following a healthier overall diet."

The Relationship Between Omega-3 Levels and Aging

In addition to evaluating heart disease risk, Dr. Harris has also looked at the relationship between omega-3 levels and cellular aging. It's well-known that although the clock on the wall may tick at the same speed for all of us, our biological clocks move at different speeds depending on a number of lifestyle factors, which includes omega-3 consumption.

A test that is being increasingly used to measure cellular aging involves measuring the length of your telomeres?a section of your DNA that's in every cell of your body. Based on what I've learned from experts within the anti-aging field, telomeres appear to be the most accurate biological clock we have. A telomere is about 15,000 bases long at the moment of conception in the womb. Immediately after conception your cells begin to divide, and your telomeres shorten each time the cell divides. Once your telomeres have been reduced to about 5,000 bases, you essentially can die of old age.

"If we look over a five year span of time, we can measure the loss of telomeres in the DNA," Dr. Harris explains. "The more telomeres that are lost, the faster the cell is aging? We have the marker then, of cellular aging."

After comparing the omega-3 levels of the participants with how fast their cells aged over five years, they discovered that, again, those who have an omega-3 index of less than four percent age much faster than those with indexes above eight percent.  Therefore, your omega-3 index may also be an effective marker of your rate of aging.

One of the central anti-aging theories relating to telomeres, as of right now, is to try to activate telomerase, to actually increase the telomeres' length and essentially reverse aging. Interestingly enough, according to Dr. Harris, omega-3 fats may play a role in activating telomerase!

"In the same study that we looked at the rate of aging in the cells, we? [also] did body counts; we measured how many people died, and found that those people who had the higher omega-3 levels died at a slower rate, or were less likely to die within the study period than the people who had low omega-3s," Dr. Harris says.  "So that fits with the idea that the rate of telomere changing correlates with the rate of death. It's just an important factor."

Although this research is preliminary, I would suggest that optimizing your omega-3 levels above eight percent would be a good strategy if you're interested in delaying aging. After all, you have nothing to lose and a lot to gain by doing so, since omega-3 has proven to be extremely important for your health in so many respects.

The Many Health Benefits of Omega-3 Fats

The cardiovascular benefits of animal-based omega-3 fats are quite well-established, and include:

Antiarrhythmic: counteracting or preventing cardiac arrhythmia Antiatherosclerotic: preventing fatty deposits and fibrosis of the inner layer of your arteries from forming Improves endothelial function: a major factor in promoting the growth of new blood vessels Lowers triglyceride concentrations
Antithrombotic: tending to prevent thrombosis (a blood clot within a blood vessel) Anti-inflammatory: counteracting inflammation (heat, pain, swelling, etc.) Lowers blood pressure  

More recent findings indicate that omega-3 may play an important role in brain health, potentially stalling the development of dementia. Previous research has already shown it can be quite useful in the treatment of depression. However, there is a caveat? More than likely, especially for the prevention of more serious brain diseases like Alzheimer's, you'd have to maintain optimal omega-3 levels for a good portion of your life. Waiting until you're in your mid-60's may be, as Dr. Harris says, "too little, too late" to have any major impact on the trajectory of your mental functioning.

Ideally, everyone really needs to aim for a lifetime of high omega-3 levels, to reap all the health benefits that it has to offer.

Another active area of research is omega-3's impact on joint health, arthritis, and inflammation. Omega-3 appears to be anti-inflammatory in a very general way, which seems to be good for most people in general.  For more information about the various health benefits of omega-3 fat, please review the following links:

Healthier, stronger bones Improved mood regulation Reduced risk of Parkinson's disease
Protecting your tissues and organs from inflammation Brain and eye development in babies Reduced risk of death from ALL causes

Surprising Findings on the Side Effects of Omega-3 Fats

According to Dr. Harris' research, there does not appear to be an upper limit, above which you will experience adverse effects, when you take animal-based omega-3 fats. This is somewhat surprising. Oftentimes, there's a price to pay for consuming too much of any particular nutrient, even if it's otherwise considered healthy. But so far, he's not found an upper limit, above which omega-3 turns detrimental.

 "Japan is a great example because? the Japanese live on average four years longer than we [Americans] do, and they have omega-3 levels that are twice as high as ours for their whole life; not just when they decide to take fish oil, because fish is just a big part of their diet.

The Japanese don't seem to have any adverse effect to having omega-3 levels that are double ours. They just benefit? [T]hey have very little heart disease and live four years longer on average, in spite of the fact that they smoke more than we do, and? have more hypertension?  In spite of those two problems, they still live longer. They still have less coronary disease than we do. I think that's an omega-3 related effect."

According to Dr. Harris, the average Japanese omega-3 level is around 9.5 to 10 percent. The highest level he's ever seen was 20 percent. That said, it's worth to consider that there may be a difference between getting high levels of omega-3 from regularly consuming a whole food like fish, compared to swallowing high amounts of concentrated omega-3 in the form of a supplement. Whenever you're dealing with a supplement, there's the potential that the fats may be damaged by oxidation.

Dr. Harris agrees on this point, stating that, ideally, you'd want to get your omega-3 from fish. However, virtually all fish are now highly contaminated with toxins, such as mercury, PCB's, and radioactive substances, which is why I personally do not recommend fish as your primary source of omega-3. In fact, I don't even recommend using fish oil supplements anymore, for a number of reasons.

Why I Recommend Krill Oil Instead of Fish Oil

Aside from higher potential for contamination, fish oil supplements also have a higher risk of suffering oxidation damage and becoming rancid, both during the processing and after you open the bottle. Dr. Rudi Moerck expounded on these risks at great length in a previous interview.

Krill oil would also be highly unstable if it wasn't for the fact that it contains the exceptionally potent antioxidant astaxanthin, which keeps it safe from oxidative damage. In fact, in tests performed by Dr. Moerck, the krill oil remained undamaged after being exposed to a steady flow of oxygen for 190 hours, compared to fish oil, which went rancid after just one hour!

That makes krill oil nearly 200 times more resistant to oxidative damage compared to fish oil.  Additionally, as Dr. Harris confirms, krill oil is also more potent gram for gram, as its absorption rate is much higher than fish oil.

"You actually get more omega-3 from eating krill," he says.

According to his research, you get somewhere between 25 to 50 percent more omega-3 per milligram when you take krill oil compared to fish oil.

Can You Receive the Same Benefits from a Plant-Based Omega-3?

It's important to realize that not all omega-3 fats are the same. Some people opt to exclude animal-based products from their diet, which can have a detrimental effect on their omega-3 status, even if they include plant-based omega-3's. According to Dr. Harris, you will not get the health benefits discussed so far from plant-based omega-3, which is primarily ALA. He explains:

"[T]he longer chain EPA and DHA omega-3s can be made from the short chain alpha linolenic ALA, but it's with great inefficiency? EPA will go up a little bit. Maybe if you really increase the ALA intake, you might get a half a percent increase in EPA but you? might get a decrease in DHA so that there is no effect on the omega-3 index... We've looked, and seen that people who really go out of their way to increase their ALA intake do not a get a bump in the omega-3 index."

This is important, as the omega-3 assay can be used as a marker for both heart disease risk and cellular aging.

More Information

If you're interested in getting your omega-3 levels tested, Dr. Harris recommends getting it done through your doctor.

"There is a laboratory that I'm now associated with called Health Diagnostic Laboratory," Dr. Harris says. "That's in Richmond, Virginia. It's abbreviated HDL, which is nice because that's the good lipoprotein. HDL is good.

At HDL, they're beginning to offer this test to clinicians as part of the panel that they're giving. They have brought my test into this lab. They're scaling it up much bigger than what I have been doing in my research lab. So HDL is a place that physicians can order the test for their patients in that context."

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Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride has a full-time medical practice in the United Kingdom where she treats children and adults with autism, learning disabilities, neurological disorders, psychiatric disorders, immune disorders, and digestive problems.

Here, she shares her insights about Gut and Psychology Syndrome (GAPS), which can make a child particularly prone to vaccine damage, and the GAPS Nutritional program; a natural treatment for autism, ADHD, dyslexia, dyspraxia, depression and schizophrenia.


Dr. Mercola's Comments:

I'm thrilled to share this interview with you as Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride presents a truly fascinating and elegant description of the foundational conditions that contribute to autism, along with a pragmatic approach to help circumvent and stem the autism epidemic, which has been a perplexing puzzle for most of us.

Dr. Campbell is a medical doctor with a postgraduate degree in neurology. She worked as a neurologist and a neurosurgeon for several years before starting a family. When her first-born son was diagnosed autistic at the age of three, she was surprised to realize that her own profession had no answers?

Back in 1984, when she graduated from medical school, autism was an exceptionally rare disorder, with a prevalence of about 1 in 10,000.

"By the time I graduated from medical school I had never seen an autistic individual," she says. "? To be honest, the first autistic child that I encountered was my own? Five years ago we were diagnosing one child in 150, which is almost a 40-fold increase in incidence. Now in Britain and some countries, we are diagnosing one child in 66."

The rates are similar in the United States, Australia, and New Zealand as well. She quickly delved into research, looking for an answer for her son, and ended up getting a second postgraduate degree in human nutrition. As a result of her work, her son fully recovered and is no longer autistic.

Although originally from Russia, where she received her medical training, she moved to the UK about 20 years ago, and now has a clinic in Cambridge, England, where she treats children and adults with autism, learning disabilities, neurological disorders, psychiatric disorders, immune disorders, and digestive problems.

Early Treatment is Key

The treatment she developed is simply called the GAPS Nutritional Program, and as Dr. Campbell explains, the younger the child is when you start the treatment, the better the results.

"When we start the GAPS treatment at the age of 2, 3, 4, up to 5, you give your child a real chance to completely recover from autism, from ADHD, ADD, dyslexia and dyspraxia?and that larger group of children who do not fit into any diagnostic box? These are the children with whom doctors usually procrastinate. They ask the parents to bring the child in six months and again in six months to observe the child in order to just give the child a diagnosis and a very precious, very valuable time gets wasted that way while the child could have been helped," she says.

It All Starts in the Gut?

Dr. Campbell is convinced that autistic children are in fact born with perfectly normal brains and perfectly normal sensory organs.

See Dr. Natasha Campbell-
McBride and Me Speak
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We are both scheduled to speak at the Weston Price Foundation Conference Nov 11-13th.

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"What happens in these children [is that] they do not develop normal gut flora from birth?" she says.  "Gut flora is a hugely important part of our human physiology. Recently research in Scandinavia has demonstrated that 90 percent of all cells and all genetic material in a human body is our own gut flora. We are just a shell? a habitat for this mass of microbes inside us. We ignore them at our own peril.

?As a result, their digestive system?instead of being a source of nourishment for these children?becomes a major source of toxicity. These pathogenic microbes inside their digestive tract damage the integrity of the gut wall. So all sort of toxins and microbes flood into the bloodstream of the child, and get into the brain of the child. That usually happens in the second year of life in children who were breast fed because breastfeeding provides a protection against this abnormal gut flora. In children who were not breastfed, I see the symptoms of autism developing in the first year of life.

So breastfeeding is crucial to protect these children."

Brain Toxicity Leads to Symptoms of Autism

Children use all of their sensory organs to collect information from their environment, which is then passed to the brain for processing. This is a fundamental part of learning.

However, in children with Gut and Psychology Syndrome (GAPS), the toxicity flowing from their gut throughout their bodies and into their brains, clogs the brain with toxicity, preventing it from performing its normal function and process sensory information...

"Sensory information turns into this mush; into a noise in the child's brain, and from this noise the child cannot learn. They cannot decipher anything useful," she explains.

"That's why they don't learn how to communicate. They don't learn how to understand language, how to use language, how to develop all the natural instinctive behaviors and coping behaviors that normal children develop. The second year of life is crucial in the maturation of the brain of the baby. That's when communication skills develop and how instinctive behaviors develop and play skills develop in children and coping behaviors develop.

If the child's brain is clogged with toxicity, the child misses that window of opportunity of learning and starts developing autism depending on the mixture of toxins, depending on how severe the whole condition is, and how severely abnormal the gut flora is in the child."

GAPS may manifest as a conglomerate of symptoms that can fit the diagnosis of either autism, or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), attention deficit disorder (ADD) without hyperactivity, dyslexia, dyspraxia, or obsessive-compulsive disorder, just to name a few possibilities...

How has Children's Gut Flora Become so Drastically Altered?

If the epidemic of autism and other learning disorders originate in the gut, what has changed in the past 25 years to alter children's gut flora into such an abnormal state?

Dr. Campbell explains:

"As far as science knows, the baby inside the mother's womb during nine months of gestation is sterile. The baby's gut is sterile. The baby acquires its gut flora at the time of birth, when the baby goes through the birth canal of the mother. So whatever lives in mom's birth canal, in mom's vagina, becomes the baby's gut flora.

So what lives in mom's vagina? It's a very richly populated area of a woman's body. The vaginal flora comes from the bowel. So if the mother has abnormal gut flora, she will have abnormal flora in her birth canal. Fathers are not exempt because fathers also have gut flora, and that gut flora populates their groin and they share their groin flora with the mother on a regular basis.

? I always collect health history from the mother, the father, and preferably even grandparents of the child. I find that we have a growing and a deepening epidemic of abnormalities in the gut flora, which began since Second World War when antibiotics were discovered.  Every course of broad spectrum antibiotics wipes out the beneficial species of microbes in the gut, which leaves the pathogens in there uncontrolled."

The Massive Importance of Fermented Foods and Probiotics

This is why it's so important to 'reseed' your gut with fermented foods and probiotics when you're taking an antibiotic. If you aren't  eating fermented foods, you most likely need to supplement with a probiotic on a regular basis, especially if you're eating a lot of processed foods.

"In parallel with beneficial microbes in the healthy gut, scientists have found thousands of different species of downright pathogenic disease-causing microbes; bacteria, viruses, fungi and other microbes. But as long as the good ones predominate in your gut, they control all the pathogens? They keep them in small colonies and they don't allow them to proliferate.

Every course of antibiotics tends to wipe out the beneficial bacteria and that gives a window of opportunity for the pathogens to proliferate, to grow uncontrolled, and to occupy new niches in your gut. The beneficial flora recovers, but different species of it take between two weeks to two months to recover in the gut and that's a window of opportunity for various pathogens to overgrow.

What I see in the families of autistic children is that 100 percent of mom's of autistic children have abnormal gut flora and health problems related to that. But then I look at grandmothers on the mother's side, and I find that the grandmothers also have abnormal gut flora, but much milder."

In essence, what we have is a generational build-up of abnormal gut flora, with each generation becoming ever more prone to being further harmed from the use of antibiotics?and vaccines as well, which I'll discuss in a moment.

Bottle-Feeding and Antibiotics Exact a Heavy Toll

Adding injury to insult is the significant decrease in breastfeeding. We now know that breastfed babies develop entirely different gut flora compared to bottle-fed babies. Infant formula never was, and never will be a healthy replacement to breast milk, for a number of reasons; altered gut flora being one of them.

Dr. Campbell discovered that a large percentage of the mothers of autistic children were bottle-fed. Then, as they received many courses of antibiotics throughout their childhood, the abnormalities in their gut flora further deepened.

"Ever since antibiotics were prescribed, particularly from the 50s and 60s, they were prescribed for every cough and sneeze. They really over-prescribed antibiotics. And with every course of antibiotics, the abnormalities in the gut flora would get deeper and deeper in these girls.

And then, at the age of 15, 16, these ladies were put on a contraceptive pill? [which] have a devastating effect on the gut flora. Nowadays ladies are taking it for quite a few years before they're ready to start their family."

So, to recap, bottle-feeding along with over-use of antibiotics and use of the contraceptive pill set the stage for increasingly abnormal gut flora with each passing generation. Then, add to that a diet of processed junk food and excessive consumption of high fructose corn syrup and you have a prescription for disaster in terms of intestinal health.

It's important to realize that processed foods and sugar almost exclusively feed pathogens in your digestive system, allowing them to proliferate.

"Many of these modern factors created a whole plethora of young ladies in our modern world who have quite deeply abnormal gut flora by the time they are ready to have their first child. This is the abnormal gut flora that they are passing through their children," she explains.

"So these babies acquire abnormal gut flora from the start and while the baby is breastfed the baby is receiving protection because whatever is in the mother's blood will be in her milk. Women who have abnormal gut flora would have immune factors in their blood, which they have developed against their own gut flora to protect them. These immune factors will be in their milk.

While the baby is breastfed, despite the fact that the baby has acquired abnormal gut flora from the mom, there will be some protection. But as soon as the breastfeeding stops that protection stops as well. That is the time when the abnormalities in the gut flora really flourish and the child starts sliding down into autism or ADHD or ADD or any other learning disability or physical problems such as diabetes type 1, for example, and celiac disease or other autoimmune conditions, or? asthma, eczema and other physical problems.  That's where this epidemic comes from."

Changes are Urgently Needed

Unfortunately, all the factors that create abnormal gut flora are getting increasingly more prevalent, across the globe. This means that the next generation of young women having children will have even worse gut flora than their mothers, so the proportion of GAPS children being born predisposed to develop autism will be even higher!

"Our authorities need to understand that, and they need to be ready for that," Dr. Campbell warns.

The Role of Vaccines

As Dr. Campbell explains, babies are born not only with a sterile gut, but also with immature immune systems. And establishment of normal gut flora in the first 20 days or so of life plays a crucial role in appropriate maturation of your baby's immune system. Hence, babies who develop abnormal gut flora are left with compromised immune systems.

"Vaccinations have been developed, originally, for children with perfectly healthy immune systems," she says. "GAPS children are NOT fit to be vaccinated with the standard vaccination protocol."

Her book Gut and Psychology Syndrome contains an entire chapter outlining what health care professionals need to do to improve the vaccination strategy, because the standard vaccination protocol is bound to damage GAPS babies.  

"It's a matter of the last straw breaking the camel's back," she explains. "So if the child is damaged enough, the vaccine can provide that last straw. But if it doesn't provide that last straw in a particular child, then it will get the child closer to the breaking point."

She also points out another risk factor of vaccines:

"What we also have to understand is that the pharmaceutical industry cannot patent natural viruses, natural bacteria or any microbe that nature has created. They have to genetically modify them before they can patent them," she says.

"So these vaccines contain genetically modified viruses, genetically modified microbes. We still haven't got enough data to know what exactly they're doing to the human body, and what exactly these genes are doing to our gut flora in these children."

How to Identify GAPS

Fortunately, it is possible to identify GAPS within the first weeks of your baby's life, which can help you make better informed decisions about vaccinations, and about how to proceed to set your child on the path to a healthy life.

One of the KEY issues is to screen all children BEFORE they are immunized, and if they have the metabolic characteristics of GAPS, they should NOT be immunized until that is reversed. This simple measure could prevent unnecessary and tragic trauma in hundreds of thousands of families. In all likelihood there are far more children being harmed by vaccines than being helped at this point.  By simply modifying the process one could radically reduce the risk of a child developing an illness on the autism spectrum.

Dr. Campbell describes the entire process in her book.

In her practice, she starts out by collecting a complete health history of the parents, and their gut health is assessed. Then, within the first few days of life, the stool of the child can be analyzed to determine the state of her gut flora, followed by a urine test to check for metabolites, which can give you a picture of the state of your child's immune system.

"Now we have excellent tests that find chemicals produced by various species of microbes in the gut," she says. "? So by analyzing urine, indirectly we can say what kind of species of microbes are sitting in the gut of the child, or what kind of chemicals they are producing."

"? If the child has abnormal gut flora we can assume that the child has a compromised immunity, and these children must not be vaccinated with the standard vaccination protocol because they simply get damaged by it. They should not be vaccinated."

The non-invasive tests described in her book are now available in most laboratories around the world, and typically run around $80-100 each in the US. This is peanuts compared to the incredible expense of treating an autistic child once the damage is done.

"Our children are being used as a market for selling vaccines," Dr. Campbell says. "The children are vaccinated in our Western world, I'm afraid, not for the sake of saving the child but for the sake of making money? It's an extremely sad and worrying situation."

Siblings are Also at High-Risk for Vaccine Damage

Another group of children that may also over-react to vaccinations are siblings of children with autism, severe hyperactivity, obsessive compulsive disorder, mental conditions, or type 1diabetes.

"Younger siblings of autistic children, and younger siblings of children with all these disabilities should not be vaccinated with the standard vaccination protocol," she warns.

"The immune tests that I was talking about can be repeated every six months or every year for these children. Whenever the child is considered to be perfectly healthy and the immune system shows itself to be perfectly well functioning, only then can a vaccination be considered for these children because we simply cannot take the risk."

Strategies to Restore Health to Children with GAPS and Autism

Dr. Campbell has developed a very effective treatment for GAP children, called GAPS Nutritional Protocol. It is described in great detail in her book, Gut and Psychology Syndrome, which is designed to be a self-help book.

"[P]robably tens of thousands of people now, around the world, are saving their children with this program," she says. "? The majority of these people just bought the book, read it, followed the program, and got fantastic results."

In summary, the protocol consists of three elements:

  1. Diet?the GAPS diet consists of easily-digestible foods that are dense in nutrition, including fermented foods.

    According to Dr. Campbell: "On average, people adhere to the diet a couple of years. It takes two years to drive out the pathogenic flora, to reestablish normal flora in the gut, to heal and seal the damaged gut lining in these people and turn the gut back to being a major source of nourishment for the person instead of being a source of toxicity."
  2. Food supplements, including: probiotics and vitamins D and A in the form of cod liver oil, although sun exposure is also an important part for GAPS patients, for proper vitamin D production.
  3. Detoxification?The GAPS nutritional protocol will naturally clear out most toxins. Dr. Campbell does not use any kind of drugs or chemicals to remove toxins as it can be too drastic for some, and can produce damaging side effects. Instead she recommends juicing as a gentle but effective way of removing toxic build-up, as well as baths with Epsom salt, sea salt, seaweed powder, apple cider vinegar, and baking soda.

Dr. Campbell discusses many additional and priceless details relating to this protocol, so please, set aside some time to listen to the interview in its entirety, or read through the transcript.

More Information

See Dr. Natasha Campbell-
McBride and Me Speak
in November

We are both scheduled to speak at the Weston Price Foundation Conference Nov 11-13th.

Please click here for more details.

Hurry! Early bird discount expires August 1st.

I have always found that the best health strategy is prevention, and I'm sure many would agree. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

Now that we've identified a way to help prevent autism and related neurological and physical damage from manifesting, I can't urge you enough to take this information to heart, and to pay close attention to your gut health well before planning your pregnancy, and to take the simple and relatively inexpensive precautions described by Dr. Campbell that can significantly reduce the chances of your child being harmed.

The avalanche of autism must be curbed?and quickly! And for now the burden rests on you, the parent, to take control of your and your child's health, and to arm yourself with information that can have life-altering ramifications.

If you're pregnant, planning a pregnancy, or know someone who is, I can't recommend Dr. Campbell's book enough. Buy it for yourself, or as a gift.

You can also find more information on Dr. Campbell's website:, and on her blog at

"We have an absolute epidemic of GAPS ? Gut and Psychology Syndrome and Gut and Physiology Syndrome, and the number of sufferers are growing," she says. "I'm completely overwhelmed by demands for consultations, and people all over the world need GAPS practitioners...

So I am preparing a training course for medical practitioners and health practitioners. The first wave of training will be done in September-October in Seattle, Chicago, New York and Dallas.

We will cover the U.S. with a good number of GAPS trained practitioners. This will be people who will be able to take you through the diet, through the whole protocol, and they will run local GAPS groups where all the patients and other GAPS people will be able to come weekly or fortnightly to exchange recipes, exchange news, help each other, give each other moral support and learn more about GAPS."

Once she's done the trainings in the US, she will continue on to Europe and other parts of the world. If you're a doctor, nutritionist, dietician, osteopath, homeopath or other health practitioner and you're interested in becoming a certified GAPS practitioner, please see this link for more information.

Related Articles:

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Dr. Jack Thrasher has a PhD in cell biology from the UCLA School of Medicine, and is an expert on the impact of mold on human health.  Here, he discusses the health effects of toxic molds and bacteria, as well as his recommendations for remediation.


Dr. Mercola's Comments:

Jack Thrasher, PhD, is extremely knowledgeable on the topic of mold and how it impacts your health. Interestingly, from a toxicity point of view, some mycotoxins that molds produce are actually far more toxic than heavy metals, in terms of concentration. Mold mycotoxins also tend to affect more biological systems in your body than pesticides or heavy metals do.

"For example, stachybotrys produces mycotoxins referred to as trichothecene. They inhibit protein synthesis. It infects every organ of your body from your toes to the top of your head," Dr. Thrasher says. "I really think that the molds are much more dangerous from that point of view."

This flies in the face of what is commonly appreciated about toxic contaminants. Most would assume that pesticides or heavy metals would be far more dangerous. However, mold is a very significant health issue. And despite the fact that molds have been around forever, mankind has not developed greater tolerance against them than more modern chemical toxins. Part of that is because they tend to rapidly mutate.

"Let's take a look at Cryptococcus for example," Dr. Thrasher says. "Cryptococcus used to be endemic to the desserts of southwest United States. Now there is a new species? that was accidentally released up in Vancouver, Canada. It's spreading from the northwest throughout the country. It's a mutated form, [and] highly pathogenic to humans. About 25 to 30 percent of the humans who have become infected with it die? When they mutate they avoid our immune system.

The other thing they can do is produce chemicals that suppress your immune system at the same time. So therefore, I don't think we'll ever become resistant to these organisms."

Mold?A Hidden Pandemic in America?

According to Dr. Thrasher, the prevalence of mold in America is so great, he refers to it as pandemic. As many as 40 percent of all American schools and at least 25 percent or more of all homes are believed to be affected by mold and microbial growth due to water intrusion. A large portion of the problem stems from shoddy construction.

He explains:

"One thing that I have seen and observed by working with individuals in the field who understand construction, is that construction is extremely poor in the homes we have today. Plus, they're using building materials that are tremendous good food material for the microbes.

When I was a child? all the homes were built with genuine lath and plaster on the inside. [Now] you walk in and knock on any wall and you have what we call wallboard. That wallboard loves and is a good growth medium for all forms of mold. Everyone that I can think of, almost everyone now has carpets. The backside of carpets is also a great growth medium for mold and bacteria.

? The other type of home that I'm seeing that is of tremendous potential problems to the homeowner is homes that are built with a basement? [T]hey put the concrete down, and there is no water barrier between the earth and the concrete wall of the basement.

The same thing with the foundation, there is no water barrier. So when you water your yard, when there are heavy rains and things like this, the moisture? goes right to the foundation and into the basement or underneath the house, and then the moisture wicks up through the home, increasing humidity.

All of that increasing humidity, anything above 60 percent is going to lead to growth of mold and bacteria? People have to be very careful about this situation. That's the reason why I call it a pandemic."

Gutters can also cause problems. You need to be mindful of the drainage from your roof. I didn't realize this myself, and suffered the consequences when one of the gutters on my home drained onto the ground directly beside the wall, and the water seeped straight through to my basement. So you want to make sure the downspout is far enough away from the building. Ideally, it should empty at least 5 to 10 feet from the wall.

You also want to take care that the soil next to the walls of your home slopes away from the walls, to prevent water from collecting around the foundation. And make sure your lawn sprinklers do not spray the walls. Other common construction issues that can contribute to water intrusion and subsequent mold proliferation include:

  • Using polyethylene PVC piping instead of copper or galvanized piping, which can be easily punctured by nails or staples
  • Bath tubs installed with improper sealing around the drain
  • Improperly sealed sinks and garbage disposal
  • Installing particleboard (waferboard) after it has been rained on during construction

Bacteria?Another Health Risk Related to Mold Damage

Growing right along with mold are what's called 'gram negative' and 'gram positive' bacteria. Just like mold, they require moisture and organic material to thrive, and the synergistic action between mold and bacteria further increase and worsen inflammatory health conditions.

"The gram positive are group of bacteria that are being totally overlooked," Dr. Thrasher says.

"These positive bacteria consist of several bacilli, cocci, and one group called the actinomycetes. The actinomycetes contain several different groups of bacteria like mycobacterium. We're all familiar with? mycobacterium tuberculosis.

There are 139 other species of mycobacterium that can grow in our environment and 11 to 12 of those in the indoor environment are very serious human pathogens and can cause a condition called mycobacterium avium complex... and this is a very dangerous situation. It causes serious infection of the lungs and can spread throughout the body. Many of the symptoms are those of hypersensitivity pneumonitis. The condition can go on and develop into an asthma-like condition and then also into sarcoidosis particularly of the mediastinum.

Then the other group are the streptomyces? Streptomyces gave rise to a lot of antibiotics. Also, streptomyces are a source of many of the chemotherapeutic agents that are used today. These organisms are growing in the indoor environment."

Gram negative bacteria are also extremely harmful. When they die, they release their cell walls, which are referred to as lipopolysaccharide, or endotoxins. These endotoxins can severely exacerbate asthma and other conditions because they are highly inflammatory. According to Dr. Thrasher, research indicates the inflammation they cause can also affect your brain and other organs.

How to Detect a Mold Problem

Clearly, the first step would be to conduct a visual inspection. A musty, mildew odor is a tip-off that you need to check the area in question for any visible signs of mold. If you can't see any visible traces of mold, Dr. Thrasher recommends taking an air sample, and using a moisture meter to determine the moisture level in the area.

"I use a moisture meter on every wall of the building or the home looking for hidden moisture. The moisture content of wood flooring, for example, should be no more than 10 to 12 percent. I'm finding floors that have moisture content of 48 percent. Exterior walls shouldn't have anything more than 15 percent, and I'm finding exterior walls with 40, 50, 60 percent.

? The other thing I recommend is to not rely on air samples from mold spore counts. Invariably, that will give you misinformation. The number of mold spores that are in the indoor environment and the outdoor environment vary over the day; it's a diurnal type variation? So it's not a very reliable test for what's in the air.

Secondly, there are certain bacteria that do not release their spores into the air very regularly and you won't find them in the air? So become educated as to what to look for and how to look for it, and don't accept somebody coming in, taking an air sample and saying, "There is nothing wrong with this because the indoor counts are less than outdoor counts." That's wrong logic. Certain species of mold grow indoors much more regularly than they do outdoors. So you have to look at the species of mold, not just the spores."

A better option is to do 24-hour monitoring. However, this type of testing cannot be performed by a typical mold inspector. You need to hire a high-level mold expert for this type of air testing. (I'll list several sources for finding a qualified expert below.) Dr. Thrasher also suggests interviewing the expert in question to find out who they typically work for.

"If they're doing work for insurance companies stay away from them," he says. "You want somebody who is unbiased? [Also] ask them the question, "If you take the airborne mold in the indoor environment can it hurt you or cause toxic reaction?" If the person says, "No, don't worry about it. All it can do is cause allergies," then stay away from that person. That person is not well informed."

After air sampling, Dr. Thrasher also takes swab and bulk samples of the mold growth; actually cutting out a piece of the affected area if necessary, for proper lab testing. Dr. Thrasher explains what he typically tests for:

"We culture for the bacteria. We culture for the mold. We do what we call ERMI (Environmental Relative Moldiness Index), which is an EPA test that was developed by a group in the EPA. This is a PCR-DNA analysis for 31 different species of mold? that is very inexpensive, relatively speaking. It costs $350 to do that test? [W]e take swab samples looking for endotoxins. We also look for? polysaccharides called 1,3-beta-D-glucans? We want to get a good idea what's going on in the indoor environment."

Next Step: Remediation

As soon as you've identified the problem, you have to stop the water intrusion and remediate the problem at its source.

"Let's say you have an infested wall that's in the middle of the home between the living room and say, the adjoining den; what is recommended is that the whole area must be walled off from the rest of the house? In other words, you drape them with a plastic and you have to tie the plastic down with masking tape so that that area will not, theoretically, contaminate the rest of the house," Dr. Thrasher explains.

While you can clean affected metal objects, all organic materials (such as wood, particle board, and carpets) must be completely removed and replaced. You want to make sure that the contractor you hire for the job uses a HEPA (High Efficiency Particulate Arresting) filtration machine to trap minute particles, and that they're meticulous when using it.

WARNING!! Be Careful How You Chose Your Remediator

There is no question that a high quality active air purifier can help control mold issues but it will NOT remediate against them. You can use the best air filters and purifiers and they will never solve the problem if you continue to have water intrusion into you home that increases the humidity and feeds the growth of the mold.

You will need to stop the water at its source and carefully remove and clean the mold infested materials. While this may superficially seem an easy task, let me assure you that it isn't.

I recently had a leak in my basement that was improperly remediated for $10K. The cause was not addressed so the problem worsened, which more than tripled the price to properly clean it up. That is part of the reason that prompted me to contact some of the leading experts in this area and learn how to do this properly.

So let me tell you from personal experience, you need to find a qualified expert and professional that is certified by one of the agencies below. I would also suggest getting several bids for the work. You can find contractor or professional listings on the following sites. Both the IICRC and NORMI are certifying organizations for mold remediation, but the IICRC certification is perhaps the most widely used:

  • IICRC (Institute of Inspection, Cleaning and Restoration Certification)
  • ACAC (American Council for Accredited Certification)?a certifying body that is third-party accredited.
  • The IAQA (Indoor Air Quality Association)?a membership organization with no certification program (the ACAC handles this by agreement)
  • RIA (Restoration Industry Association)
  • NORMI (National Organization of Remediators and Mold Inspectors) 

Keep in mind that a mere certification or listing may not be enough. Also evaluate the remediator's qualifications and insurance (liability as well as workman's comp). With the ACAC, there are a few different levels.

How to Clean Up Minor Surface Mold

If you have just a small area of surface mold, you probably don't have to call in an expert. However, only attempt to clean it if it's limited to the surface of a small area. You cannot "clean" deep-rooted mold. Dr. Thrasher has one word for those of you who have bought into the home-remedy advice to "kill off mold" with ammonia or bleach: Don't.

"What happens is you'll kill the mold but you'll leave the carcass behind," Dr. Thrasher explains. "The carcass will disintegrate and release toxins into the air. So you really went from one problem (mold growth) to another problem; dead mold and the release of all of their toxins? and then once water is reintroduced in the environment, the mold will grow right back to the surface."

However, for minor visible surface mold on say a baseboard, or on a piece of furniture, you could use a little bit of sodium bicarbonate (baking soda) and vinegar to wipe it off.

"I just use the concentrated vinegar and baking soda," he says. "All you need is a couple of tablespoons [of baking soda] to a quart of water. The vinegar I just take straight out of the bottle? I generally do the vinegar first and then follow it with the baking soda? The vinegar will kill the mold and the bacteria but you're going to leave residue on the surface and so you scrub the surface to try to get rid of the residue.

? I never validated that procedure, but that's what I recommend; what I do use and it seems to work, but I haven't validated it with research data. I have to be honest with the population out there."

What about Ozone Generators?

While Dr. Thrasher does not recommend using an ozone generator, other indoor air experts do. Ozone generators essentially generate photocatalytic oxidation that can help destroy airborne mold. However, Dr. Thrasher strongly cautions against their use, stating that oxidizing an organic chemical of any kind will create free radicals, and he also points out that ozone can be highly irritating to your mucous membranes and lungs.

Personally, I believe the claim that ozone generators facilitate the removal of volatile organics is correct? But do beware that they should not be used when you're in the room at levels higher than the EPA recommends, and they do pose a danger to both plants and pets. However, the ozone dissipates quickly, so after airing the area out for about 20 minutes, it's safe to return.

Keep in mind that this is different from air filtration, as the ozone generator actually purifies the air and neutralizes any odors at the source, on the molecular level.

Could Your Health Problems be Related to Mold?

Common health problems that can be attributed to poor and potentially toxic indoor air quality include:

Frequent headaches Depression Chronic fatigue Allergies
Neurological problems; poor concentration and forgetfulness Skin rashes Stomach and digestive problems, such as dysbiosis, leaky gut, and frequent diarrhea Chronic sinusitis
Joint aches and pains Muscle wasting Frequent fevers Asthma or trouble breathing

If you have any of these issues, it may be worthwhile to consider your indoor air quality, and the possibility that your health problems may be related to mold. A meta-analysis, published in last year in the journal Environmental Health, concluded that:

"Residential dampness and mold are associated with substantial and statistically significant increases in both respiratory infections and bronchitis. If these associations were confirmed as causal, effective control of dampness and mold in buildings would prevent a substantial proportion of respiratory infections."

It's important to determine whether or not your health problems are indeed due to mold, in order to properly treat it. Most doctors will simply prescribe an antibiotic for chronic sinusitis, for example. But if your sinusitis stems from bacteria- and mold growth in your home, it's not going to clear up. The next step is typically to prescribe either prednisone or a corticosteroid, which could further worsen your condition.

"You want to stay away from the corticosteroids; you want to stay away from the antibiotics," Dr. Thrasher warns. "What you need to do is to do a culture. Go to a good ENT physician and actually get a diagnosis of what is going on inside of your sinuses. You want to stay away from the corticosteroids because two weeks use -- or even less than this -- of corticosteroids will increase your risk of other infections. Corticosteroids inhibit the oxidative burst produced by macrophages? Let's say you have mold that's growing in your sinuses. So the macrophages in your body, called the innate immune system, are in there gobbling up the spores of the mold, correct?

Then what happens is they put you on corticosteroids, and the role of the macrophages, they'll gobble them up, engulf them, and then produce oxidative burst that kill the spores and the bacteria. The corticosteroids do not inhibit the engulfing aspect of it so they take up the spores and the bacteria, but the corticosteroids inhibit the extra oxidative burst produced by the macrophages. Now, the macrophages contain live spores and bacteria. Now where do they go?

They go any place else in the body they want to go to. So therefore you have increased your risk of other infections particularly fungal infections. I've seen individuals who have been put on corticosteroids because they have been exposed to these indoor environments and then, sometime down the road, have been diagnosed with Aspergillosis."

That's definitely a concern. Additionally, long term use of steroids has other side effects that are well documented, including increasing your risk of osteoporosis and cataracts, and disrupting your hormone balance. So, educate yourself on indoor air quality, and particularly on mold. For more information about mold and its health consequences, check out Dr. Thrashers website at

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