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Why Are Food Allergies Increasing?



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Alex ‘Earthie Mama’ Du ToitGuest Writer

It seems everyone around is having to avoid certain foods due to allergic reactions. Whether its peanuts or milk, gluten or eggs, food allergies have become more common than ever. Food allergies used to be rare but now everyone is talking about making sure you have an Epi Pen in case someone has an anaphylactic reaction. As recent as the 1980’s, few children had allergies. However in the 1990’s more and more children’s immune systems began to overact to certain foods causing severely increased inflammation and sometimes life-threatening reactions. So why are food allergies increasing?

More than 4 million American children and their families live with food allergies. Allergies are an overreaction of the body’s natural defence system that helps fight infections. The body thinks it’s being attacked by these harmless substances and the immune system starts fighting. Food allergies can cause reactions such as itchy eyes, breathing issues, diarrhoea, skin rashes and nausea. According to the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, the numbers pf people developing food allergies are on the rise. The FDA has identified 8 common allergenic foods, milk, eggs, shellfish, fish, wheat, peanuts, tree nuts and soybean. In 1999, 3.4% of kids had a food allergy. In 2011, 5.1% of kids had a food allergy and in 2015, 5.7% of kids had a food allergy. The one allergy that has most noticeably been on the rise is the peanut allergy. Between 1997-2008, the peanut allergy tripled. There are many theories and studies out about the potential causes of food allergies and why more and more people are becoming allergic to certain foods.

Potential Reasons Why Food Allergies are Increasing:
The “Hygiene Hypothesis” or Microbial Hypothesis

This is currently the leading theory behind why food allergies are increasing. The idea is that an infant’s immune system needs to be exposed to germs to train itself to not overreact to things such as food, pollen or pollution. Children need to get dirty in order to build their immune systems. The environment impacts our micro-biome and those microbes interact with our immune system. In the increasingly sanitized world we currently live in, our immune systems are not educated at distinguishing between good and bad germs, leading to the increase in food allergies.

Early Introduction

Around 2000, the American Academy of Pediatrics released recommendations to avoid common food allergens. They said to delay dairy products until 1, eggs until 2 and peanuts tree nuts and fish until age 3. There was a big push to encourage parents to avoid certain foods at a young age in case they were allergic. This ended up backfiring and increasing the amount of people with food allergies. Now there are studies that have found results that say early introduction of allergenic foods may prevent food allergies in children. A 2008 study, found that those that were introduced to peanuts early in life were less likely to get allergies. In the study, a group of Jewish people in the UK where peanut allergies were high were advised to avoid peanuts. Those that were asked not to consume peanuts were 10 times more likely to have peanut allergies then a group in Israel where rates of peanut allergies were low and who were fed peanut butter from a very young age. By Pediatricians shifting to a place of recommending that parents avoid these now common food allergens caused the increase of food allergies.

Dual Allergen Exposure

The hypothesis that sensitivities to allergens may occur during skin exposure to allergenic proteins. For example, if an infant had eczema and peanut oil absorbed into the broken skin, then later on when peanuts were ingested, the immune system would attack the proteins full force thinking they are an enemy. The LEAP study further found that out of 600 children between 4 and 11 months who were instructed whether to consume peanuts or not, the ones that regularly consumed peanuts were highly effective at preventing a peanut allergy. Thus, eating peanuts early on will elicit a protective immune response rather than an allergic immune response.

Nutritional Deficiency

This hypothesis suggests that there are nutrimental deficiencies that might play a role in food allergies. Some of these might include, Vitamin D, Omegas and Folate. In one study, peanut and egg allergies were 3 times higher in children who were lacking Vitamin D. There is an increase in obesity and lack of nutrition and the rate of food allergies keeps increasing.


The use of antibiotics could also contribute to food allergies. A study published in Allergy, Asthma and Clinical Immunology has linked the use of antibiotics in infancy with increased odds in developing a food allergy. In another study, the data was collected for 7 years of 30,060 patients who had at least 2 uses of antibiotics in the first 3 months of life. The results concluded that antibiotic use in early life was linked to disruptions in the health of the micro-biome and a higher risk of developing allergies. Antibiotics have increasing been over prescribed and food allergies is on the rise.


Genetics could play a role for some with allergies. A recent study pinpointed five regions of DNA that were more highly mutated in kids with food allergies. In about 24% of food allergy cases, the abnormalities were mostly tied to immune regulation and genetics.

Obesity and Diabetes

There is ongoing research of the connection between obesity and the development of food allergies. Obesity and Diabetes have also been on the rise in alignment with food allergies. There are some that suggest that there might be a connection between food additives, preservatives, processed foods, genetically modified foods, foods sprayed with glyphosate, eating more fast foods and food allergies. As of now there have been no studies on this topic.

Food Proteins in Vaccinations

There are others that suggest that food allergies are connected to the increase in vaccinations and the food proteins in the vaccines. There are studies that have demonstrated that food proteins that are in vaccinations induce food allergies. In the CDC’c, Recommendation of the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices it states that those with allergies to egg proteins should avoid certain vaccines. Some vaccines include gelatin like the MMR, Chicken Pox, Flu Shot and DTaP. Anyone that has experienced an allergic reaction after eating gelatin should avoid gelatin-containing vaccines. The same goes for the vaccines that include baker’s yeast, eggs and peanut oil. The number of vaccines suggested we give our children has tripled since 1980 and so have food allergies.

Remember even if you do have food allergies you can still be healthy. It all goes back to building our immune systems to be as strong as possible. If you have had vaccines, antibiotics at a young age, you haven’t been eating healthy and you have been too clean, you can still make changes and support your health. Walk barefoot on the ground outside in the sun while eating an apple and drinking a kombucha. The dirt, the sun, the food and the probiotics can help build your immune system back up and heal.

Do you have food allergies?

Be healthy! Alex

Recommended Articles by Alex ‘Earthie Mama’ Du Toit
About the Author

Alexandra is a true Earthie Mama, helping others tune into their most natural, thriving state while bringing harmony and balance into all areas of their lives. She hosts a well-known blog,, where she writes about health and wellness, conscious parenting, green living, self-sustainability and getting off the grid. Alex also has an MA in Psychology, and is a registered Yoga Instructor, environmentalist, conscious mother, green living advocate and natural birthing expert. She also sells all natural products and her eBooks through her website.

Please check out her website at, connect with Earthie Mama on Facebook, or sign up to the free EarthieMama e-newsletter here!

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Everything You Need To Know About Hemp VS. CBD



Everything You Need to Know About Hemp vs. CBD
Photo Credit: Getty

Dr. Edward F. GroupGuest Writer

Are you wondering about the differences between hemp and CBD oil? How do hemp and weed differ? With so many new hemp products on the market, conscientious consumers want to pick the best supplements made with the highest-quality processes and ingredients. If you want to learn how to distinguish between all the terms and products — or just see what all the excitement is about — read on.

People have used hemp (Cannabis sativa) since ancient times for its incredible health benefits. This diverse plant has thousands of uses and people used it — legally — for centuries. Early Americans grew the fast-growing plant for textiles and rope due to its stronger-than-steel stalk. But in 1970, due to political pressure, the Controlled Substances Act outlawed both hemp and weed in the United States. Companies still sold hemp products after then — you might have seen hemp shirts or jewellery or hemp seed hearts — but they came from imported sources.

With the passing of the 2018 Farm Bill (Agricultural Improvement Act), farmers can once again grow hemp in the U.S.

Companies can also sell hemp throughout the country.[1] As a result, you suddenly see thousands of hemp products like CBD or hemp extract on the market — and with them, a lot of possible confusion.

Let’s break it down.

The Beneficial Compounds in Cannabis

Hemp and weed are different forms of Cannabis. While all hemp comes from Cannabis sativa and contains low levels of THC, weed is bred for high THC and can be Cannabis sativa or C. indica. THC is the compound responsible for the psychoactive effects that people experience. Farmers breed hemp to have low THC content. In fact, the law classifies hemp as any Cannabis sativa containing 0.3% or less THC.[1]

The hemp plant contains many natural chemical compounds, including the phytocannabinoids it’s famous for. These natural substances stimulate the body’s endocannabinoid system, which keeps the body in balance (physiological homeostasis).

THC — Tetrahydrocannabinol

Most people have heard of THC because of the “high” it produces when used recreationally. Weed plants contain around 10% THC or even greater, compared to the much lower 0.3% or below for hemp. While some states regulate non-hemp Cannabis products, it is not federally legal to sell in the U.S.

If a hemp plant or hemp-derived product contains greater than 0.3% THC, it would also not be federally legal. On the other hand, full-spectrum hemp products that do contain up to 0.3% THC can now legally be sold nationwide. They can also be shipped in the postal mail, used in most public places, and taken on airplanes across state lines (be careful with international travel as other countries have different laws).

Some hemp products contain no THC. These products are considered broad-spectrum — as compared with full-spectrum (see below). Full-spectrum products are recommended because THC in itself is one of hemp’s beneficial compounds, with analgesic effects that ease physical discomfort as well as relieve daily stress and anxiety.[2]

CBD — Cannabidiol

The benefits of CBD are impressive! It is most known for its ability to bring relaxation and calm, ease joint discomfort, support a healthy inflammatory response.

On top of that, while CBD promotes an alert calm during daytime, it promotes restful sleep at night.

Growers often breed the hemp plant for a high CBD (cannabidiol) concentration, besides having low THC. Hemp-derived CBD with less than 0.3% THC is now widely sold.

You can also buy non-hemp CBD derived from weed, but it’s only legal in states with medical weed laws and is not federally legalized in any state, so you should not mail it, use it in public, or take it on airplanes. Hemp-derived CBD is perfectly fine in these places.

Other Cannabinoids and Nutritious Compounds

While CBD and THC are best known, Cannabis contains trace amounts of a wide variety of other cannabinoids. These include CBG (cannabigerol), CBC (cannabichromene), and CBN (cannabinol). Scientists are exploring the health benefits of hemp’s minor constituents, and the research results show promise.[3, 4, 5]

Hemp contains protein, chlorophyll, fibre, plus many vitamins, fatty acids, flavonoids, antioxidants, terpenes, and a wide variety of synergistic metabolites. In a full-spectrum product, all the plant compounds work together, creating a stronger effect on the body than each would alone. This is known as the “entourage effect.”

For more information, check out our article on the top five health benefits of hemp.

Types of CBD Products

As you may have noticed, CBD and hemp products are in high demand! You can find many product variations, ranging from liquid extracts or oils, gummies, and vamping options. These products vary greatly in concentration, quality, and how they’re absorbed in the body.

Full-Spectrum Hemp

A full-spectrum hemp extract or oil contains all the plant compounds found in the Cannabis plant for maximum health benefit.[2] Full-spectrum products are typically made with all parts of the plant — flowers, stalks, leaves, seeds, and roots.

A high-quality, full-spectrum product tends to be more expensive because it’s made using an artisanal approach, like a fine wine or craft beer. All the naturally-occurring substances work together, creating enhanced health benefits — the entourage effect. A full-spectrum product is recommended so that you get the full range of health benefits from this therapeutic plant.

Full-spectrum hemp extracts are created using a highly advanced process. The hemp plant gets macerated using state-of-the-art equipment, then soaked in liquid for several days. The extraction process results in a highly concentrated product.

Broad-Spectrum Hemp

A broad-spectrum product, in contrast to full-spectrum, has some components removed — usually THC.

Broad-spectrum offers a distant second-best option because you lose some of the health benefits as well as the entourage effect. It can be a good option for people who may be sensitive to even very low levels of THC or want to avoid it for other reasons.

CBD Isolates

CBD is not the same as hemp oil. CBD isolates are simply cannabidiol in its purest form, typically as a white crystal powder or waxy resin. They can be synthetic (not recommended) or non-synthetic — isolated and purified from the plant through laboratory processes.

You can also buy CBD oil, which is CBD extracted into an oil base.

While CBD alone offers incredible health benefits, a pure CBD product is the least recommended option for a couple of reasons. First, CBD oil contains a single chemical compound, whereas full-spectrum hemp oils or extracts contain all of the plant’s vitamins, nutrients, and cannabinoids. Second, you can easily end up with a synthetic product. Finally, isolates can create tolerance, where you need more and more to achieve the same effect.

Full-Spectrum Hemp Extract Shopping Guide

Many brands are capitalizing on the Cannabis craze. You can now find hundreds of products — how do you know which you want? Something sold as “hemp oil” can be any number of products, ranging from something from just hempseed oil to a full-spectrum product. While cold-pressed hempseed oil makes a delicious addition to a salad dressing and does wonders for your skincare regimen, it’s not the product that most people are looking for these days — something that contains CBD and other helpful cannabinoids.

Instead, seek out a pure, high-quality product: certified organic, free of harmful additives and fillers, whole-plant, full-spectrum, and grown from American hemp. Products made with imported hemp do not go through the rigorous quality-control process that American-made, organic products do. Imported hemp can contain impurities or even toxins. Also, make sure to buy from an established supplement company experienced in sourcing, processing, and testing for quality ingredients.

Global Healing Centre’s full-spectrum, high-potency Organic Hemp Extract is a product you can trust. We use American-grown hemp and test each batch for purity and safety, so you can enjoy the remarkable benefits of this miracle plant just like nature intended. Our cold process extraction reduces the loss of volatile yet important phytochemicals and ensures you get the best, most potent product on the market.

Points to Remember

Full-spectrum hemp extract, CBD, hempseed (or hemp seed) oil, and hemp oil are different things. It pays to know the difference when it comes to your overall health and well-being — and to get your money’s worth. CBD or cannabidiol is a unique phytocannabinoid found in Cannabis that offers many health benefits. In contrast, a full-spectrum product captures all the plant compounds, including CBD plus CBG, CBC, THC, and other beneficial compounds.

Full-spectrum means that the products contain all of hemp’s naturally-occurring cannabinoids and other nutrients. This means you get the ultimate in relaxation, deep sleep, easing of joint discomfort, and other health benefits. Be careful if you are searching for “hemp oil” because you may end up with pure hempseed oil instead — while it’s great for culinary uses, it does not contain a full-spectrum of cannabinoids.

High-quality full-spectrum hemp extracts are typically made using a connoisseur’s approach. This means that manufacturers use all of the plant parts, including flowers, leaves, roots, seeds, and stems, so they capture all the nutritious and beneficial chemical compounds. A quality product like Global Healing Centre’s cold-processed certified Organic Hemp Extract will ensure you get all the health benefits that hemp can offer.

Have you tried hemp or CBD? What was your experience?

Article Sources
  1. The Farm Bill, Hemp Legalization and the Status of CBD: An Explainer. The Brookings Institute. Published 14 Dec 2018. Accessed 28 Jun 2019.
  2. Hill KP, et al. Cannabis and pain: a clinical review. Cannabis Cannabinoid Res. 2017;2(1):96–104.
  3. Prenderville JA, et al. The role of cannabinoids in adult neurogenesis. Br J Pharmacol. 2015 Aug; 172(16):3950–3963.
  4. Williamson EM, Evans FJ. Cannabinoids in clinical practice. Drugs. 2000 Dec;60(6):1303-1314.
  5. Andre CM, et al. Cannabis sativa: the plant of the thousand and one molecules. Front Plant Sci. 2016;7:19.

Originally published at Global Healing Center and reproduced here with permission.

Recommended Articles by Dr. Edward Group
About the Author

Dr. Edward F. Group III (DC, ND, DACBN, DCBCN, DABFM) founded Global Healing Center in 1998 with the goal of providing the highest quality natural health information and products. He is world-renowned for his research on the root cause of disease. Under his leadership, Global Healing Center earned recognition as one of the largest natural and organic health resources in the world. Dr. Group is a veteran of the United States Army and has attended both Harvard and MIT business schools. He is a best-selling author and a frequent guest on radio and television programs, documentary films, and in major publications.

Dr. Group centres his philosophy around the understanding that the root cause of disease stems from the accumulation of toxins in the body and is exacerbated by daily exposure to a toxic living environment. He believes it is his personal mission to teach and promote philosophies that produce good health, a clean environment, and positive thinking. This, he believes, can restore happiness and love to the world.

For more, please visit Global Healing Center.

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Cholesterol Does Not Cause Heart Disease



Photo Credit: Getty

Dr. Joseph MercolaGuest Writer

Cholesterol is a waxy substance found in nearly every cell of your body, vital for optimal functioning. For instance, your body uses cholesterol in the construction of cell membranes and in regulating protein pathways required for cell signalling. Without sufficient amounts of cholesterol in your body you may experience a negative impact on your brain health, hormone levels and heart disease risk.

Your body also uses cholesterol to manufacture vitamin D after exposure to the sun. Most of the cholesterol in your body is manufactured in your liver using nutrients extracted from your food. Animals use cholesterol in much the same way, which means meat from beef, pork or chicken have similar levels.1

The rate your body absorbs dietary cholesterol ranges between 20 and 60%, depending on individual factors.2 Unfortunately, while critical to your health, saturated fats and cholesterol have been wrongly vilified as the culprits of heart disease for more than six decades.

The first scientific evidence linking trans fats to heart disease and exonerating saturated fats was published in 1957 by the late biochemist Fred Kummerow.3 Unfortunately, his research was overshadowed by Ancel Keys’ Seven Countries Study,4 which linked saturated fat to heart disease.

Later, reanalysis of Keys’ study revealed the data was cherry picked to produce this link, but by then the saturated fat myth was already firmly entrenched. In the past several decades, other studies have debunked the saturated fat myth.

Most recently, a scientific review5 identified significant flaws in three recent industry-funded studies, and presented substantial evidence that total cholesterol and low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol levels are not an indication of heart disease risk.

Yet Another Study Busts the Cholesterol Myth

Guidelines published for eating fats continue to be confusing as the basic premise was wrong. Dietary fat is associated with heart disease, but it is processed vegetable oils loaded with trans fats and damaged omega-6 fats that are producing the problem, not saturated fats.

An international team of 17 experts analysed the results from three large reviews recently published by statin advocates. The three studies attempted to validate the current belief that statin treatment helps prevent cardiovascular disease. The international team was unable to satisfy criteria for causality and found fault in the conclusions the three studies made.6

The international team wrote there may be an association between young and middle-aged people with high total or LDL cholesterol that may potentially raise the risk of heart disease.

However, they point out an association is not the same as causation, and few previous studies have adjusted for other factors linked to heart disease such as coagulation, inflammation, infections and endothelial sensitivity. Specifically, the authors found:7

  • There was no association between total cholesterol and the degree of atherosclerosis severity.
  • Total cholesterol levels are generally not predictive of the risk of heart disease and may be absent or inverse in many studies.
  • In many studies LDL was not associated with atherosclerosis and in a large U.S. based study of nearly 140,000 patients who suffered an acute myocardial infarction, LDL levels at the time of admission were lower than normal.
  • Adults over the age of 60 with higher LDL levels generally live longer.
  • Few adults who experience familial hypercholesterolemia die prematurely.

The researchers concluded that high cholesterol levels cannot be the main cause of heart disease as those with low levels have nearly the same degree of sclerosis as those with high levels, and the risk of having a heart attack is the same or higher when cholesterol levels are low.

They believe the hypothesis has been kept alive by reviewers using misleading statistics and excluding results from unsuccessful trials while ignoring numerous contradictory observations.8 For a description of other studies debunking the saturated fat myth, often linked closely to increasing cholesterol levels, see my previous article, “The Cholesterol Myth Has Been Busted — Yet Again.”

Statins Raise Risks Without Benefits, Especially in Those With Diabetes

In dire cases, physicians may prescribe a medication with significant side effects when the potential benefits outweigh the possible risks, such as a strong antibiotic known to potentially trigger kidney damage when you suffer a life-threatening infection. In this instance, although there is significant risk with the antibiotic, without it you will likely die.

However, as statin drugs are designed to reduce cholesterol levels and cholesterol does not cause heart disease, all risks associated with the medication come without any benefit to your health. The trend for prescribing statin drugs is concerning, and is particularly relevant to diabetics whose underlying disease increases their risk of heart disease.

Recent recommendations suggest high dose statins should be automatically started in anyone 40 to 75 years of age with diabetes but no other risk factors for heart disease.9 This, despite the fact that statins have been shown to increase fasting blood glucose levels in diabetics.10 While statin supporters claim the drug is safe and effective, research has uncovered multiple side effects, some of which are deadly:11,12

  • General — Urinary tract infections, dizziness, partial loss of sensitivity to sensory stimuli, distortion of the sense of taste, amnesia and headache
  • Gastrointestinal — Diarrheal, indigestion, nausea, intestinal gas, constipation, abdominal discomfort, abdominal pain, vomiting and pancreatitis
  • Metabolic — Abnormal liver function tests, hyperglycemia, hepatitis, anorexia, hypoglycemia and weight gain
  • Musculoskeletal — Joint pain, pain in extremity, musculoskeletal pain, muscle spasms, myalgia, joint swelling, back pain, elevated creatine phosphokinase, neck pain and muscle fatigue, muscle wasting and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS)13
  • Cardiovascular — Death in up to 10% of patients,14 contributes to heart disease15

Strikingly, the expert reviewers in the featured study noted claims of effective and safe treatment with statin drugs are invalid, saying:16

“In our analysis of three major reviews, that claim the cholesterol hypothesis is indisputable and that statin treatment is an effective and safe way to lower the risk of CVD [cardiovascular disease], we have found that their statements are invalid, compromised by misleading statistics, by exclusion of unsuccessful trials, by minimizing the side effects of cholesterol lowering, and by ignoring contradictory observations from independent investigators.”

Inflammation Drives Cardiovascular Disease

Biased research launched a low-fat myth and reshaped the food industry for decades to come. As saturated fat and cholesterol were rejected, manufacturers switched to using trans fats and sugar to add taste to processed foods. These changes increased inflammatory levels and drove a new level of disease.

A study from Brigham and Women’s Hospital was the culmination of a nearly 25-year cardiovascular research work designed to test if reducing inflammation would also reduce the risk of recurrent heart attack or stroke. The study enrolled 10,000 people with a history of heart attack and a persistently elevated C-reactive protein level, a strong biomarker of inflammation.

At the conclusion of the study, the researchers noted that using medication to reduce inflammation also reduced the risk of cardiovascular disease, lung cancer and death.17 However, the medications used in the study came with significant side effects. In contrast to acute inflammation after an injury, chronic inflammation does not produce immediate symptoms.

Over an extended period of time, chronic inflammation silently damages your tissues and arterial walls, which your body attempts to repair. These repairs may build over time and create plaque, potentially breaking off and blocking smaller arteries in the heart or brain, triggering a heart attack or stroke.

This process may go on for years without being noticed, as chronic inflammation has few apparent symptoms. Research has demonstrated deficiencies and excesses of certain micronutrients, such as folate, vitamin E and zinc, may result in an ineffective or excessive inflammatory response. Researchers note:18

“Inflammation acts as both a ‘friend and foe’: it is an essential component of immuno-surveillance and host defence, yet a chronic low-grade inflammatory state is a pathological feature of a wide range of chronic conditions, such as the metabolic syndrome, nonalcoholic fatty liver disease, Type 2 diabetes mellitus and CVD.”

Assessment of Heart Disease Risk More Effective Using These Tests

Specific ratios and blood level values tell you more about your risk of heart disease than your total cholesterol number. The size of your LDL cholesterol and your LDL particle number, for example, is more important than your overall total LDL value.

Large particle LDLs are not harmful to your health while small, dense LDL particles may create injury as they squeeze through the lining of your arteries, oxidize and trigger inflammation.

An NMR LipoProfile, which measures your LDL particle number, is a better assessment of your risk of heart disease than total or total LDL cholesterol level. The following tests may also give you a better assessment of your potential risk for cardiovascular disease:

High sensitivity C-reactive protein (HS-CRP) — This is one of the best overall measures of inflammation and an excellent screen for your risk of heart disease. Ideally your level should be below 0.7 and the lower the better.

Cholesterol ratios — Your HDL/cholesterol ratio and triglyceride/HDL ratio are both strong indicators of your risk. For your HDL/cholesterol ratio divide your HDL by your total cholesterol and multiply by 100. The percentage should ideally be above 24%. For your triglyceride/HDL ratio divide your triglyceride total by your HDL. The ideal percentage is below 2%.

Fasting insulin level — As sugar and carbohydrates are metabolized they trigger a release of insulin, which creates triglycerides and promotes the accumulation of fat. This process increases inflammation and makes it more difficult to lose or maintain an ideal weight. Excess fat around your midsection is one of the major contributors to heart disease.19

Your fasting insulin level can be determined by a simple, inexpensive blood test. A normal fasting blood insulin level is below 5 microunits per millilitre (mcU/ml) but, ideally, you’ll want it below 3 mcU/ml. If your insulin level is higher than 3 to 5, the most effective way to optimize it is to reduce net carbs.

Fasting blood sugar level — Studies have demonstrated people with higher fasting blood sugar levels have a higher risk of having coronary heart disease.20 When your fasting blood sugar is between 100 and 125 mg/dl, your risk of coronary artery disease increases by 300% compared to having a level below 79 mg/dl.

Iron level — Iron creates an environment for oxidative stress, so excess iron may increase your inflammation and increase your risk of heart disease. An ideal iron level for adult men and non-menstruating women is between 40 and 60 nanograms per millilitre (ng/ml). You do not want to be below 20 ng/ml or above 80 ng/ml.

Manage Your Risk of Heart Disease With Effective Lifestyle Choices

To effectively manage your cardiovascular risk, it is critical to reduce chronic inflammation. Magnesium plays a vital role in biological function and mitochondrial health, and is a culprit in the development of inflammation when your levels are low. It may also play a role in inhibiting the deposit of lipids on arterial walls and plaque formation.21

In one double-blind, placebo-controlled trial, patients who received intravenous magnesium within 24 hours of their heart attack experienced 24% fewer deaths within the following five years.22 Researchers concluded the benefits of magnesium intake on chronic disease may be explained by the effect it has on inhibiting inflammation.

There are multiple factors affecting the inflammatory process in your body. Some of the more significant over which you have control, include:

•Hyperinsulinemia — An excess of insulin in your blood triggered by a diet high in net carbohydrates. What you eat tends to be the deal-breaker in how much insulin your body secretes. However, there are other factors contributing to your insulin levels, such as smoking, sleep quality, exercise and vitamin D level.

You can read more about how to reduce your insulin and fasting blood sugar levels to reduce inflammation in my previous article, “Insulin, Not Cholesterol, Is the True Culprit in Heart Disease.

Unbalanced fatty acids — Your body needs a balance of omega-3 and omega-6 fats. Unfortunately, most diets have an overabundance of omega-6 fats leading to greater levels of inflammation. Strive for a 1-to-1 ratio of omega-3 to omega-6 fats to reduce inflammation and your risk of heart disease.

High iron stores — Ensure your ferritin blood levels are below 80 ng/ml. If elevated, the simplest and most efficient way to lower your iron level is to donate blood. If you can’t donate, then therapeutic phlebotomy will effectively eliminate the excess iron.

Leaky gut — Food particles and bacteria leaking from your intestines increase your level of inflammation and your risk of heart disease. By eliminating grains, sugars and lectin-rich legumes, while adding fermented foods, you may heal your gut and reduce your level of inflammation.

Inadequate levels of magnesium — A century ago your diet provided nearly 500 milligrams (mg) of magnesium per day. Today, courtesy of nutrient-depleted soil, you may be getting only 150 mg per day. Your body flushes excess magnesium through your stool, so using magnesium citrate and monitoring stool consistency, consider starting with 200 mg of oral magnesium citrate and gradually increasing until you develop slightly loose stools.

My personal preference for magnesium supplementation is magnesium threonate, as it appears to more efficiently penetrate cell membranes, including your mitochondria. It penetrates your blood-brain barrier and may help improve memory. It also may be a good alternative to reduce migraine headaches.

Originally published at and reproduced here with permission.

Article Sources
  1. Berkeley Wellness, September 1, 2011
  2. Eating Well, How much does eating cholesterol in my food really affect my blood cholesterol?
  3. Washington Post June 16, 2015
  4. The Seven Countries Study, Ancel Keys
  5. Expert Review of Clinical Pharmacology, September 10, 2018,
  6. Expert Review of Clinical Pharmacology, September 10, 2018,
  7. Expert Review of Clinical Pharmacology, September 10, 2018,
  8. Expert Review of Clinical Pharmacology, September 10, 2018,
  9. American College of Cardiology, May 22, 2017
  10. Journal of Investigative Medicine, 2009;57(3)
  11., Atorvastatin
  12. WebMD, Simvastatin Side Effects by Likelihood, 2018
  13. Drug Safety, 2007;30(6):515
  14., Atorvastatin
  15. Expert Reviews of Clinical Pharmacology 2015;8(2):189
  16. Expert Review of Clinical Pharmacology, September 10, 2018,
  17. Forbes, August 27, 2017
  18. British Journal of Nutrition, 2015;114(7)
  19. Critical Pathways in Cardiology, 2007;6(2):51
  20. The American Journal of Cardiology, 2002;89(5):596
  21. Dr. Sircus, July 17, 2015
  22. European Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 2014;68: 510
Recommended Articles by Dr. Joseph Mercola
About the Author

Born and raised in the inner city of Chicago, IL, Dr. Joseph Mercola is an osteopathic physician trained in both traditional and natural medicine. Board-certified in family medicine, Dr. Mercola served as the chairman of the family medicine department at St. Alexius Medical Center for five years, and in 2012 was granted fellowship status by the American College of Nutrition (ACN).

While in practice in the late 80s, Dr. Mercola realized the drugs he was prescribing to chronically ill patients were not working. By the early 90s, he began exploring the world of natural medicine, and soon changed the way he practiced medicine.

In 1997 Dr. Mercola founded, which is now routinely among the top 10 health sites on the internet. His passion is to transform the traditional medical paradigm in the United States. “The existing medical establishment is responsible for killing and permanently injuring millions of Americans… You want practical health solutions without the hype, and that’s what I offer.”

Visit for more information, or read Dr. Mercola’s full bio and resumé here.

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Have You Ever Heard Of This Healthy Alternative To Flour?



Photo Credit: Pexels

Dr. Joseph MercolaGuest Writer

Have you ever heard of breadfruit? It’s a rather strange name for a piece of fruit that sounds like it may smell or taste like bread. Instead, breadfruit is grown in tropical regions of the world and, like jackfruit, is a member of the mulberry family.1

Breadfruit trees were originally found in Polynesia. People use the fruit to bake, broil or fry the produce, similar to the way that potatoes are used. Others dry the flesh and grind it into flour to make bread and crusts. Polynesians brought the trees to Hawaii, when anthropologists believe it was colonized 1,000 years before Columbus landed in the Western world.

By the time European explorers came to the Western world in the late 1700s, the Polynesian settlers had established an agricultural system that supported hundreds of thousands of people.

More About Breadfruit

A breadfruit tree thrives in a Caribbean or tropical climate and can grow as tall as 85 feet, producing up to 200 fruits per year. The fruit is round, oval or oblong and can grow as big, or bigger than a basketball. The outer skin is neon green and covered in bumps, which hides the firm flesh people cook like potatoes or plantains.2,3

A single breadfruit yields enough fruit to feed a family of four. When the fruit is ripe, the interior is creamy white or yellow and soft. While it is a fruit, it’s treated and cooked more like a vegetable. The texture and taste resemble a potato, a grainy piece of bread or an artichoke heart, depending on the ripeness of the fruit and how it’s prepared.

Because the taste is bland, it lends itself to culinary creativity. As breadfruit ripens, it becomes sweeter, but it never approaches the sweetness of a papaya or mango. The British are credited with spreading it outside Polynesia.

Captain James Cook and botanist Sir Joseph Banks discovered breadfruit in Tahiti and believed it could be the answer to Britain’s food challenges of the era. The first time the trees were exported to the West Indies, the expedition was led by Lieutenant William Bligh from the infamous HMS Bounty.

Enroute to the West Indies from Tahiti, the lieutenant and members of the crew were cast into a small boat and all breadfruit tree plants were thrown overboard. After returning to England, Lieutenant Bligh was promoted to Captain and led another expedition to Tahiti in 1791, during which he successfully brought breadfruit plants to the Caribbean and Jamaica.

Although the plants thrived, the people didn’t enjoy the food and ate it only when they had to. Currently, breadfruit trees are grown in more tropical areas in Africa, Australia, southeast Asia and South America. Trees can also be found in the U.S. in Hawaii and South Florida.

The fruit, which is packed with nutrients, is a staple in Hawaii. The flesh of breadfruit is high in antioxidants, calcium, carotenoids and fibre. It also contains copper, niacin, magnesium, phosphorus and protein. Interestingly, although it’s a fruit, one cup provides 5% of the RDA for protein, 14% of magnesium and 31% of potassium.4,5

Could Breadfruit Be the Next Superfood?

Although it has been a traditional staple for centuries, there has been a distinct lack of scientific evidence demonstrating the health impacts of breadfruit. In a recent study from the University of British Columbia, scientists analysed flour made from breadfruit.6,7 The objectives were to identify any health problems associated with breadfruit flour in consideration of it as a sustainable source of nutrition and to establish it as a functional food.

In the lab, using an enzyme digestion model, they found the protein in breadfruit was easier to digest than protein found in wheat. The digested flour was tested for cytotoxicity by applying it to caco-2 cells. These cell lines are used to analyse drug permeability and they have been used for the past two decades “as a model of the intestinal barrier,” according to researchers from Italy.8,9

The researchers found no difference between wheat and breadfruit in terms of cytokines and immune factors. When breadfruit-based food was substituted for wheat in a diet for mice, they found there was no sign of illness, death or malnutrition related to the change. Major bacteria and histology of the ileum were similar between the mice fed with breadfruit and those fed with wheat products.

The researchers concluded: “No negative health outcomes were observed in studies with in vitro or in vivo models and breadfruit flour is a healthy alternative to other starches for modern foods.”10

The combination of scientific evidence and knowledge that the breadfruit tree is high-producing and easily grown may provide health benefits and address food shortages around the world. Susan Murch, Ph.D., is a chemistry professor and one of the researchers on the study. She said:11

“Breadfruit is a traditional staple crop from the Pacific islands with the potential to improve worldwide food security and mitigate diabetes. While people have survived on it for thousands of years there was a lack of basic scientific knowledge of the health impacts of a breadfruit-based diet in both humans and animals.”

Doctoral student Ying Liu shared:12

“Overall, these studies support the use of breadfruit as part of a healthy, nutritionally balanced diet. Flour produced from breadfruit is a gluten-free, low glycemic index, nutrient-dense and complete protein option for modern foods.”

The Impact Grains Have on Health

The potential exists to substitute wheat flour for breadfruit flour in baked breads and crusts. While breadfruit flour is gluten-free, wheat products are not. In years past, only people with wheat allergies and celiac disease sought out gluten-free products. After adopting a diet free of gluten products, they often reported a resurgence of good health.13

Gluten is a protein found in wheat and cereal grains.14 When these proteins are in contact with water, they form an elastic bond that gives bread the ability to hold its shape. Gluten can also be found in barley, oats, rye and spelt and may hide in processed foods under a variety of names, including malts or natural flavoring.15

Some people react negatively to just a small amount of gluten because their body identifies it as a toxin. When left unchecked, excessive gluten consumption can predispose a person to nutrient deficiencies along with neurological and psychological conditions. It can have a potentially negative effect on the joints, liver, nervous system and skin.16

In addition, professionals at the Celiac Disease Foundation believe that undiagnosed celiac disease may contribute to the development of “autoimmune disorders like Type 1 diabetes and multiple sclerosis (MS), dermatitis herpetiformis (an itchy skin rash), anemia, osteoporosis, infertility and miscarriage … epilepsy and migraines, short stature and intestinal cancers.”17

As you might imagine, a gluten intolerance can trigger signs of gastrointestinal distress, including bloating, diarrhoea and belly pain. Beyond this, you might also experience anxiety, confusion, headache, nausea or joint and muscle pain. Although gluten-free food options may look like they help people who have a wheat allergy or celiac disease, it’s prudent to approach these cautiously.

I believe most processed, packaged gluten-free foods are glorified junk foods because they are some of the most ultra processed foods in the store. They lack fibre, are often loaded with toxic amounts of sugar and salt and include unhealthy fats in their list of ingredients.18

Whether you have a sensitivity to gluten or not, nearly everyone can benefit from eating fewer grains, which are high in net carbs. The potential for using breadfruit flour and baked goods may help reduce your exposure to gluten and the glycemic index of the foods you eat.

Your Body Needs Fibre

Breadfruit is high in fibre, which is far more important than science had thought before. In fact, just 1 cup contains 43% of all the fibre you need for the day.19 A low fibre diet can alter your gut flora. In one study using an animal model, a low fibre diet altered the gut flora, which was also passed on to the offspring.20

In some cases, even after the mice were fed high-fibre meals, the gut was unable to repopulate with certain bacteria that had been severely diminished. Past studies have confirmed that the human microbiome has changed over the course of history, as has the human diet.21 In general, researchers have found that people who eat more plant-based foods have a more diverse gut microbiome.

The benefits of eating enough fibre include preventing leaky gut syndrome that also triggers anxiety, joint pain, fatigue and bloating.22 Food Integrity Now explains leaky gut syndrome this way:23

“The wall of the intestine is considered semi-permeable. This means it only allows certain things to enter the bloodstream and blocks other things from entering the bloodstream. For instance, specific molecules and nutrients are allowed to pass through but toxins and large undigested food particles are blocked.

When you have leaky gut, the pores in your small intestine widen and this allows undigested food particles and toxins, that would normally be blocked, to enter your bloodstream. These particles and toxins aren’t recognized and the immune system goes into attack mode because they are not supposed to be in the blood. In essence, the immune system literally recognizes these undigested particles as dangerous.”

Fibre has other health benefits as well. For example, researchers have found an inverse relationship between fibre and heart attack, showing those eating a high fibre diet have a 40% lower risk of heart disease.24

As I’ve written before, fibre can delay brain inflammation and aging that negatively influence your function. In particular, low fibre diets can be harmful to older adults, as they have a lower ability to produce butyrate, a nutrient that helps delay brain aging.

Sustainable Crop May Impact Global Health

Breadfruit is a sustainable, high production crop that has a low glycemic index and may provide one answer to the growing problem of food shortages around the world. It’s also easy to grow in the right climate. With winter fast approaching in the Northern Hemisphere, it might be time to think about dramatically reducing your food bill by growing an indoor organic garden.

As the cost of organic produce rises due to demand and problems related to the pandemic, many have taken to starting their own backyard gardens and container gardens. If you thought fall was the time to hang up your gardening gloves, you may want to reconsider since you can harvest spinach, beets and carrots well into February. Many herbs and vegetables can be grown indoors with adequate lighting.

Have you ever heard of the Blue Java Banana? It tastes just like vanilla ice cream! (Click here to read the full article!)

You’ll enjoy the benefits of winter gardening, which include savings on your grocery bill and the assurance that the produce you’re harvesting is from organically grown, non-GMO seed. Before diving in, take time to plan your garden.

Some plants do well with an extended growing season, while others are planted in the fall to overwinter for an early spring harvest. Still others do best in container gardens indoors. Gardening is good for your health in other ways, as it’s a simple way to reduce stress and get a little exercise, something each of us needs.


Originally published at and reproduced here with permission.

Recommended Articles by Dr. Joseph Mercola
About the Author

Born and raised in the inner city of Chicago, IL, Dr. Joseph Mercola is an osteopathic physician trained in both traditional and natural medicine. Board-certified in family medicine, Dr. Mercola served as the chairman of the family medicine department at St. Alexius Medical Center for five years, and in 2012 was granted fellowship status by the American College of Nutrition (ACN).

While in practice in the late 80s, Dr. Mercola realized the drugs he was prescribing to chronically ill patients were not working. By the early 90s, he began exploring the world of natural medicine, and soon changed the way he practiced medicine.

In 1997 Dr. Mercola founded, which is now routinely among the top 10 health sites on the internet. His passion is to transform the traditional medical paradigm in the United States. “The existing medical establishment is responsible for killing and permanently injuring millions of Americans… You want practical health solutions without the hype, and that’s what I offer.”

Visit for more information, or read Dr. Mercola’s full bio and resumé here.

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Zapped: Your Brain On Electromagnetic Fields



Zapped: Your Brain On Electromagnetic Fields
Photo Credit: Pexels

Deane Alban, Guest Writer

You’ve certainly heard the controversy about cell phones. Some experts think they cause brain cancer, while others don’t. But there is an even bigger issue here — how all your electronics affect your brain health, beyond just cell phone use.

Electromagnetic Fields (EMFs) and the Brain

Whenever an electric current flows through a wire, an electromagnetic field (EMF) is created. EMFs are produced by electricity flowing through power lines, home wiring, appliances, cell phones, and other electrical devices. You would expect your microwave, cell phone, and WiFi to be high EMF producers, but so are your fridge, hair dryer, vacuum cleaner, and blender.

Radio frequency (RF) is one specific range of frequency of electromagnetic energy used in many types of wireless technologies — including cordless phones, radar, GPS devices, cell phones, and radio and TV broadcasts.

And your brain is exposed to it all.

Here are some of the known ways EMFs harm your brain:

— EMFs create free radicals — unattached oxygen molecules that attack your cells much in the same way that rust attacks metal. Your brain uses a lot of oxygen which is why it’s very susceptible to free radical damage. Free radicals can kill cells and even cause DNA damage.

— Low-level EMFs have been found to rupture delicate brain cell membranes causing them to leak calcium ions. Calcium ions are used by your brain cells to communicate with each other.

— EMFs have been shown to break the  brain-blood barrier, allowing toxins and chemicals to enter the brain and seriously affect brain function.

— Over 100 proteins in the brain are negatively impacted by EMF. Proteins are integral in brain cell structure and neurotransmitter formation.

— EMF exposure affects the structure and function of the thyroid. Low thyroid hormone levels can lead to concentration problems, forgetfulness, and difficulty making decisions, as well as muscle aches, fatigue, and weight gain.

— Dr. Ann Louise Gittleman, author of  Zapped, reports that patients with a wide range of symptoms, such as dizziness and anxiety, memory loss, ringing in the ears, unrelenting fatigue, and weight gain, can attribute them to high levels of EMFs.

EMFs and Alzheimer’s Disease

In 2008, researchers claimed to have found a direct link between the electromagnetic fields created by power lines and all types of dementia. People living within 150 feet of a high voltage power lines are more likely to die of Alzheimer’s.

Occupational exposure to electromagnetic fields can lead to an increased risk of Alzheimer’s. One of the weirdest findings showed that sewing machine operators have four times the risk of Alzheimer’s caused by strong, continuous exposure to EMFs over long periods of time.

Some people are more sensitive to the effects of EMFs than others — in particular, children, seniors, and those suffering from ill health. Even when there is no reason to believe EMFs caused Alzheimer’s, they can make the symptoms worse.

EMFs and Sleep

Dozens of studies have found that even low levels of EMFs can disrupt your body’s production of melatonin. This naturally occurring hormone regulates your sleep cycle and is a potent antioxidant — 5x more potent that vitamin C.

By suppressing melatonin, EMFs deal a double whammy. This disrupts  sleep, when memory consolidation and new brain cell generation occurs. And it is no longer available to prevent free radical damage.

Cell Phones and the Brain

Cell phones are a particular worry since they are used so often and so close to the head. You can just as readily find studies to prove they cause cancer as that they don’t.

But there is more than cancer to be worried about. EMFs can penetrate as much as 1-1/2 inches into the brain and lead to headaches, dizziness, sleep disorders, benign tumours, and Alzheimer’s.

The World Health Organization has come down on the side of caution, putting cell phones in the same  cancer-causing category as lead, engine exhaust, and chloroform.

The  Journal of the American Medical Association  (JAMA) reports that simply holding an activated cell phone next to your head for less than an hour  changes brain metabolism.

Clinical Neurophysiology  reports that mobile phone emissions affect the brain’s “cross talk,” slowing down the brain’s reaction time.

I don’t expect you will give up your cell phone. The trend is for people to spend  more  time on their smartphone and less on their PC, and this is expected to continue. But there are a few common-sense precautions you can take.

  • Keep your phone as far away as you can when it’s turned on.
  • Turn it off when you can.
  • Invest in a cell phone radiation protector.
  • Don’t sleep with it on next to your head.
Steps to Protect Your Brain

Science doesn’t yet fully understand what living in this ocean of EMFs is doing to our health, but there is much evidence that it is detrimental to our brains. Here are some common-sense guidelines to reduce your risk.

  1. Minimize your EMF exposure at night. Keep computers and TVs out of the bedroom  or shut off the power to them before sleeping. Place your alarm clock three feet from your head, don’t sleep with your cell phone by your head, and don’t use an electric blanket.
  2. Protect your brain from cell phone radiation and optimize your signal with a  Pong Soft Touch Radiation-Redirecting Case  or similiar. A patented antenna redirects the potentially harmful electromagnetic radiation away from your head, reducing your radiation exposure. This allows more radiation to communicate with the cell tower, which optimizes your signal.  Your cell phone’s battery life is also optimized, because your phone doesn’t have to work as hard to communicate with the cell tower. A win-win-win situation!
  3. A great place to learn more about the effects of EMFs is  Zapped: Why Your Cell Phone Shouldn’t Be Your Alarm Clock and 1,268 Ways to Outsmart the Hazards of Electronic Pollution  by New York Times best-selling author,  nutritionist, and  First for Women  magazine columnist Ann Louise Gittleman. This is an eye-opening read for anyone who is concerned about what electromagnetic radiation is doing to their health. While most of the news is not good, this book claims to share over 1,200 ways to avoid the hazards of electronic pollution. (But who’s counting?) This book brings what could be a complex topic down to earth and gives you plenty of actionable advice.

Click here to find more information on the dangers of EMFs, plus ways you can protect yourself from exposure.

Recommended Articles by Deane Alban
About the Author

Deane Alban holds a bachelor’s degree in biology and has taught and written on a wide variety of natural health topics for over 20 years. Her current focus is helping people overcome brain fog, “senior moments”, and other signs of mental decline now, and preventing Alzheimer’s and dementia in the future.

The human brain is designed to last a lifetime, but modern life takes a greater toll on the brain than most people realize.Deane teaches the best ways to keep your brain healthy and stay mentally sharp for life at her website

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