Melanoma is a rare type of skin cancer. It is most likely to invade nearby tissue and spread to other parts of the body. For this reason, it is considered a serious and life-threatening cancer. Although it is only responsible for about one percent of all skin cancers, metastatic melanoma is the leading cause of death by skin cancer in the U.S., according to the American Cancer Society (ACS). The ACS estimates that approximately more than 96,000 people will be diagnosed with melanoma, while over 7,200 people will die due to skin cancer this year in the U.S. (Related: Melanoma (skin cancer) found to be easily prevented with low-cost Vitamin B-3.)
The researchers identified 11 bacterial strains that activated the immune system and hampered the growth of melanoma in mice. Moreover, they found a signaling pathway that maintains protein health called unfolded protein response (UPR) as a primary link between the gut bacteria and the immune system’s ability to fight tumors.
The team found that UPR activity was lower in people with melanoma whose cancer was responsive to immune checkpoint therapy. They suggested that UPR activity is a potential marker for identifying people with melanoma who have a higher chance of benefiting from immune checkpoint therapy. Immunotherapy is a general term for treating diseases by inducing, enhancing, or suppressing an immune response.
Gut microbiota is important for the immune system’s ability to fight off tumors
For this study, the researchers examined mice that lack the RING finger protein 5 (RNF5), which aids cells in removing incorrectly folded or damaged proteins. They found that mice that lack RNF5 were able to suppress the growth of melanoma tumors, given that they had an intact immune system and gut microbiome.
However, the mice that had RNF5, or were treated with antibiotics, lost their ability to fight melanoma tumors. This suggested that gut bacteria play an important role in the immune system’s ability to fight tumors. In addition, this also confirmed that antibiotics negatively affect gut microbes.
Further tests demonstrated the involvement of several components of the immune system in the gut. The reduction in UPR in immune and gut cells was also enough to trigger immune cells.
With the use of advanced techniques, the researchers also discovered that the RNF5-lacking mice had bigger populations of 11 strains of bacteria. These strains also activated an anti-tumor response and decreased the growth of melanoma tumors when they were transplanted to germ-free mice.
To verify that the results were relevant in human disease, the researchers conducted a final set of tests in which they collected tissue samples from three groups of people with melanoma who then received treatment with checkpoint inhibitors.
Based on the results of these tests, the researchers confirmed that reduced response to treatment correlated with levels of UPR components. This indicated that these could be used as potential biomarkers to predict who would be most likely to benefit from immunotherapy.
The next step for the researchers is to identify the cancer-fighting metabolites that gut bacteria produce. They plan to test these metabolites to measure their ability to enhance anti-tumor immunity and to determine which probiotics might boost their cancer-fighting effects.
(CNN)Authorities in China have approved a drug for the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease, the first new medicine with the potential to treat the cognitive disorder in 17 years.
The seaweed-based drug, called Oligomannate, can be used for the treatment of mild to moderate Alzheimer’s, according to a statement from China’s drug safety agency. The approval is conditional however, meaning that while it can go on sale during additional clinical trials, it will be strictly monitored and could be withdrawn should any safety issues arise.
In September, the team behind the new drug, led by Geng Meiyu at the Shanghai Institute of Materia Medica under the Chinese Academy of Sciences, said they were inspired to look into seaweed due to the relatively low incidence of Alzheimer’s among people who consume it regularly.
In a paper in the journal Cell Research, Geng’s team described how a sugar contained within seaweed suppresses certain bacteria contained in the gut which can cause neural degeneration and inflammation of the brain, leading to Alzheimer’s.
This mechanism was confirmed during a clinical trial carried out by Green Valley, a Shanghai-based pharmaceutical company that will be bringing the new drug to market.
Conducted on 818 patients, the trial found that Oligomannate — which is derived from brown algae — can statistically improve cognitive function among people with Alzheimer’s in as little as four weeks, according to a statement from Green Valley.
“These results advance our understanding of the mechanisms that play a role in Alzheimer’s disease and imply that the gut microbiome is a valid target for the development of therapies,” neurologist Philip Scheltens, who advises Green Valley and heads the Alzheimer Center Amsterdam, said in the statement.
Vincent Mok, who heads the neurology division at the Chinese University of Hong Kong, said the new drug showed “encouraging results” when compared to acetylcholinesterase inhibitors — the existing treatment for mild to severe Alzheimer’s.
“It is just as effective but it has fewer side effects,” he told CNN. “It will also open up new avenues for Alzheimer’s research, focusing on the gut microbiome.”
Alcohol is such an ingrained part of our culture that we rarely consider the negative effects it may be having on our health and wellness. In fact, the most dangerous drugs in the world are alcohol and tobacco, yet both of these can be freely purchased in almost any corner store or grocery market in the nation. Alcohol companies spend nearly $2 billion a year in the U.S. trying to convince you that alcohol is sexy and will make you a more fun person. All the while, the latest research reveals how destructive alcohol consumption is, even linking it to cancer.
The decision to quit drinking alcohol is a lot easier than actually quitting, because not only is alcohol addictive like other dangerous drugs, (quitting cold turkey can actually kill heavy drinkers), there is a tremendous amount of social and peer pressure involved.
Here are 7 things that will most likely happen to your body if you quit drinking alcohol.
1.) The Health of Your Liver Will Dramatically Improve
Alcohol is consumption is notoriously bad for the health of your liver, the organ which acts as the filter for the body, detoxifying the blood stream. Alcohol is high in glucose and the liver converts glucose into fat, which is why heavy drinkers often suffer from fatty liver disease which can cause scarring and liver failure.
“Anything that is eaten or consumed, whether it’s food, alcohol, medicine or toxins, gets filtered by the liver. Once we ingest food, it is digested by the stomach and intestine, gets absorbed into the blood and goes to the liver.” [Source]
The liver is also the organ known to manage the emotion of anger, and a dysfunctional or poisoned liver can result in emotional imbalances, which is why so many drunks are angry drunks. Once the body recognizes there is no more alcohol in the system, the liver can flush out remaining toxins, helping to improve liver performance which will have a positive impact on mood and emotional stability.
2.) It Improves the Balance of Good/Bad Bacteria in Your Gut
In recent years, scientists have come to the conclusion that the body’s microbiome is of critical importance to overall health, disease prevention, and even in managing mental health.
Hosting very complex and varied colonies of bacteria in the stomach and digestive track, the gut microbiome can be severely hampered by the consumption of foods which feed disagreeable bacteria. At the top of this list is sugar, which is a major component of alcoholic beverages. People don’t typically think about how much sugar they are consuming when they go out drinking, but quitting alcohol can offer a significant opportunity to bring these colonies back into balance.
3.) Overall Digestive Health will Improve
Digestive health is another area of health that is really being understood as an indicator of potential future disease. Furthermore, we are seeing an epidemic of gastrointestinal issues such as acid reflux, gastritis or inflammation of the stomach. Caring for the GI tract is more important than ever, but regular alcohol consumption may be one of the greatest stressors to your digestive system.
“The digestive system works hard to eliminate alcohol (a toxin) from our system. So when we cut out alcohol we are allowing the digestive system to better convert the food and beverages we consume into fuel, energy for us to function optimally.” ~Niket Sonpal, an adjunct assistant professor of clinical medicine at Touro College of Osteopathic Medicine
4.) You May Sleep Better
Many people have the misconception that a drink, or ‘night cap,’ will help them to sleep better, when actually the opposite is true. Alcohol can have an almost immediate relaxing effect on the body and mind, but once it begins to be broken down in the digestive system and sent to the liver, it creates a
The body does not sleep well after consuming even a small amount of alcohol. In fact, as noted by the National Sleep Foundation, alcohol disrupts sleep by blocking REM deep sleep patterns, it can aggravate breathing problems, lead to more bathroom trips, and severely disrupt circadian rhythms.
Even small or moderate amounts of alcohol can have a sever impact on sleep, but quitting alcohol can quickly help to restore healthy sleep patterns.
5.) Your Skin Will Clear Up
Alcohol is known toxin that kills living cells, which is why it is used as a disinfectant and preservative. And acting as a diuretic, once inside the body, it can cause moderate, even severe dehydration, which has a litany of negative effects on the body, not the least of which is the clarity and quality of your skin.
Being dehydrated can cause blotchy skin, and alcoholics commonly have blotchy, red-ish skin. For many drinkers, heavy consumption can aggravate rosacea and what has been known as ‘drinker’s nose,’ as it affects how the body circulates blood.
“Alcohol aggravates symptoms of rosacea because drinking enlarges the body’s blood vessels. When the blood vessels are more open, they allow more blood to flow to the surface of the skin, creating a flushed look that is typically referred to as the ‘alcohol flush.’ The redness can spread anywhere on the body but is most noticeable on the face, shoulders, and chest. For those already suffering from redness due to rosacea, alcohol can make this symptom increasingly worse.” [Source]
It’s no secret that being drunk can be like a mental disability as people lose motor control and their ability to walk and talk deteriorates, vision is blurred and memory fails. But while this effect dissipates as one sober’s up or sleeps it off the effect alcohol has on your brain is significant. A recent study tried to determine what the long-term physical effects of regular alcohol consumption have on the brain, finding that the hippocampus was seriously hampered.
“The study followed 550 men and women for 30 years, measuring their brain structure and function to determine how alcohol use affects the mind over time. What they found is that the more people drank, the more atrophy occurred in the brain’s hippocampus, a seahorse-shaped structure in your brain that plays a role in storing memories. The highest risk was for people who drank 17 standard drinks or more of alcohol per week. But even people who drank moderately saw an elevated risk for cognitive changes.” [Source]
7.) It Can Help You Lose Weight
In the midst of a national epidemic of diabetes and obesity, it’s important to maintain healthy body weight. alcohol is one of the biggest sources of calories and sugar there is, but most people don’t realize how fast calories from beer, wine, and mixed drinks can add up. Since alcohol metabolizes as a fat, it’s almost like double whammy where without even thinking about it you are increasing your sugar/calorie intake, and producing more fat.
“Alcohol does act like a fat once it’s been metabolized,” , a registered dietitian and the author of “Read It Before You Eat It,” told INSIDER. “Part of losing weight is also looking at a healthier lifestyle. A lot of people don’t consider the calories in alcohol again because they’re not chewing, because it doesn’t seem like it’s rich and fatty and buttery.” ~Bonnie Taub-Dix, Author of Read It Before You Eat It
Furthermore, making the decision to quit drinking is a signal to the body and spirit that you are determined to make better health choices overall, which can have a serious multiplier effect on your body’s health.
The following infographic sheds more light on what actually happens to your body as you consume alcohol.
You have to wonder how we ended up in a society that promotes heavy consumption of alcohol as a social norm and veritable right of passage, and at the same time the possession or consumption of the plant cannabis which is known to have many positive health benefits. Quitting alcohol is a great way to take control over your health.
Professor of Genetic Epidemiology, King’s College London
I felt nauseous and dizzy. My attempted one week of following the intensive olive oil diet was not going well. It was eight in the morning and on an empty stomach I had only finished half of the small glass of golden liquid specially chosen by my Spanish friends as the smoothest Albequina variety of extra virgin olive oil. Dipping crusty warm bread into it before an evening meal is one thing. Drinking it neat in the morning was another.
For the sake of science and my book I was trying to emulate the diets of Cretan fishermen from the 1960s, who reportedly had a glass of olive oil for breakfast before a hard day of fishing or goat herding. These high intakes of oil had been suggested as a cause of their remarkable longevity, despite the large amounts of saturated fat they consumed as a result.
I decided to replace my usual yoghurt and fruit breakfast with the golden drink to test the story. Thirty minutes later I was lying on the floor after a faint in the hairdresser, which was unlikely to be a coincidence. Despite realising I maybe should have lined my stomach first, I abandoned my heroic attempt.
In Britain and the US, people consume on average around 1 litre of olive oil per person per year, but isn’t much compared to the Greeks, Italians and Spanish who all consume more 13 litres per person. Olive oil, with its high calories and mixed saturated and unsaturated fats, was once assumed by many doctors to be dreadfully unhealthy. But health surveys of European populations kept finding that southern Europeans lived longer and had less heart disease despite higher fat intakes. It turns out olive oil was the likely reason.
Mediterranean diet vs low-fat
Ten years ago an ambitious and unique research trial was started in Spain in 7,500 mildly overweight men and women in their 60s at risk of heart disease and diabetes. They were randomly allocated to two diets for five years: one a low-fat diet recommended by doctors in most western countries and the other a high fat Mediterranean diet supplemented with either extra olive oil or nuts.
The “PREDIMED” study, published in the New England Journal of Medicine in 2013 conclusively showed that the Mediterranean diet group had a third less heart disease, diabetes and stroke than the low-fat group. They also lost a little weight and had less memory loss. The most recent results showed that it also reduced chances of breast cancer, albeit in a small number of women.
Picking through the data, the researchers found that the extra olive oil group did slightly better than the extra nut group, but both were clearly superior to low fat diets. The research was also much more reliable than many diet studies because it was a randomised control trial that looked at a large group of people over a long period of time, rather than just monitoring people on one diet for a few days or weeks.
The benefits can’t be narrowed down to one single food or factor but to some general themes. Extra fibre, a diverse range of fruits and vegetables, whole grains and legumes, yoghurts and cheese, small amounts of fish and meat, red wine, nuts and seeds and good quality olive oil all played their part. However the authors believe that the olive oil itself was the most powerful single factor.
The cheaper forms of olive oil (those labelled regular or virgin) didn’t show any benefit – it had to be extra virgin. The difference between the grades of oil lies not just in the lower acidity, freshness and richer taste but in the number of chemicals released called polyphenols. High grade extra virgin oil, especially if cold extracted, has around 30 polyphenols that act as antioxidants, which reduce inflammation and also help reduce the effects of aging particularly on the heart and brain.
Until recently it was thought these antioxidant polyphenols acted directly on genes and blood vessels. But it turns out that they also work via our gut microbes that make up our microbiome. This is the community of trillions of diverse bacteria which live in our large intestine. They feed off the different polyphenols and produce other small chemicals (short chain fatty acids) that dampen down inflammation and help our immune system.
The more bugs the better
Complex high fat foods such as extra virgin olive oil, when eaten with a wide variety of other healthy polyphenol-dense foods, provide the basis for a rich and diverse community of gut microbes. This diversity is increasingly being shown to be important for our health. The original PREDIMED study didn’t measure gut microbes directly (although subsequent research is doing so) but the striking benefits of the Mediterranean diet and particularly extra virgin olive oil are that they are superb gut microbe fertilisers and improve gut health.
Critics of olive oil, who usually promote untested alternatives, suggest its lower burning temperature make make it more likely to produce potential carcinogens in cooking. But the Spanish participants in the trial regularly cooked with the oil, reassuringly with no obvious health consequences.
Eating extra virgin olive oil as part of a diverse Mediterranean diet is clearly beneficial in Spanish adults. And although genes partially control preferences, there is no reason to believe it won’t work in other cultures and populations. If we start educating people to use high-quality extra virgin olive oil early in life and change its stigma as a medicine or punishment, we could make our populations and our gut microbiomes healthier. Although we are unlikely to ever match the Greeks.
The largest study of all time on the human gut has been underway since 2012 and they are discovering some remarkable things.
Scientists have been collecting fecal samples from around the world and tirelessly analyzing and comparing samples. Believe it or not, people have been paying $99 each to send their own stool samples along with oral and skin samples of bacteria to the research scientists. They also answer questions including those about their diet and lifestyle.
Three PhDs, Rob Knight, Jeff Leach, and Jack Gilbert founded the American Gut Project in 2012 on a quest to discover more about the human microbiome, more commonly referred to as ‘the gut’.
The microbiome is essentially a diverse world of different kinds of bacteria that live within our digestive system. These bacteria, some beneficial, some villainous, form a microscopic world of activity that can either fight disease, or give it the perfect atmosphere to thrive.
Many health problems have been linked to certain types of bacteria that live in our microbiome that are either foreign invaders or simply types that overgrow their beneficial bacterial counterpart and ruin the natural healthy balance.
So Far the American Gut Project Has Made the Following Discoveries
Firstly, they have noted that people who eat a wider variety of plants have a wider variety of bacteria in their microbiome. They haven’t necessarily stated that it’s better to have a more complex microbiome but they have noted that those people eating extra plants have less antibiotic resistance, which is noteworthy for sure.
This lack of antibiotic resistance could simply have to do with the subjects who favor a wide variety of plants eating fewer packaged and processed foods that contain animals raised with antibiotics.
The scientists have also discovered that people who have similar bacterial profiles tend to suffer from the same health problems. This was determined by matching subjects to controls with the same age, gender, and body mass index that did not suffer from the ailment.
Gut Bacteria and Mental Health
Some of the health problems that were found to have subjects in common with similar bacterial profiles were mental health problems, take PTSD for instance. Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), schizophrenia, depression, or bipolar disorder have stood out in the study thus far as having a very strong link to gut bacteria diversity.
In other words, subjects who suffer from PTSD tend to have the same bacteria in their digestive tract. The same goes for depression and bipolar disorder.
When you consider how many mental and physical health symptoms are linked to nutritional deficiencies and also how vital a role our gut plays in absorbing and utilizing nutrients, this all starts to make a lot of sense.
The results demonstrated that people who reported mental health issues had more bacteria in common with other people who reported similar problems than they did with the controls.
This association was strong regardless of gender, age, or geographical location. Also, the research suggests that some types of bacteria may be more prevalent in people who live with depression.
The MNT article also points out that a certain recent study found a connection between anxiety and a lack of healthy gut microbes. Another study discovered that certain bacteria are altered in people who suffer from PTSD.
“We observed a much greater microbial diversity than previous smaller studies found, and that suggests that if we look at more populations, we’ll see more diversity, which is important for defining the boundaries of the human microbiome,” said Daniel McDonald, PhD, the scientific director of the American Gut Project at UC San Diego School of Medicine.
The ultimate goal of the project is to map the human microbiome. Essentially it is to be able to tell people, ‘Alright, you’re suffering from this ailment, well here’s what is missing or different about your gut bacteria and here’s what you need to eat (or not eat) in order to fix it.’
Dr. Rob Knight said, “The human microbiome is complex, but the more samples we get, the sooner we will be able to unravel the many ways the microbiome is associated with various health and disease states.”
A study from the University of Geneva (UNIGE) backs the age-old knowledge that losing weight requires reducing your caloric intake. However, the researchers say it’s not so your body doesn’t get more than it can burn – rather, it’s because eating fewer calories is what’s good for the bacteria in your gut.
The traditional view on weight loss is straightforward – physical activity burns calories you take in through food. If your caloric intake is so high that your body cannot use all of the energy from the food you eat, the surplus calories become stored as fat. Losing weight, therefore, means eating less and moving more so that no surplus is created in the long run.
The researchers from the UNIGE study say this is merely one side of the picture. They restricted the caloric intake of mice for 30 days and found that the animals had developed beige fat. Unlike white fat that stores energy, beige and brown fats burn energy and are beneficial to weight loss.
They then obtained caecum microbial communities from the calorie-restricted mice and transferred these to sterile mice that had no microbes living in their gut yet. They noted that despite eating regularly, the recipient rats also developed beige fats and appeared leaner than normal. They took this as a sign that just changing the composition of the gut microbiome can have a profound effect on the ability of animals to burn fat and lose weight.
The researchers observed many beneficial changes in the mice going through the calorie-restricted diet. Apart from having more beige fat, they also showed signs of lower blood sugar and the ability to burn more fat. They were also more resistant to cold temperatures.
Low calories create compounds for treating obesity
Gram-negative gut bacteria produce lipopolysaccharides (LPS), endotoxins linked to various diseases. Because of their potential risks, LPS automatically trigger an immune response against their source when levels get too high.
Interestingly, the bacteria in calorie-restricted mice produce fewer LPS than in normal mice. When the researchers restored the levels of LPS to normal levels, the mice lost the benefits they gained from their calorie-restricted diet.
What this means, according to the researchers, is that the immune system does more than controlling the body’s reaction to pathogens, it also regulates metabolism. By lowering the levels of LPS produced by gut bacteria, it’s possible to simulate the calorie-restricted state and reap its many health benefits.
Eat healthily – Fruits and vegetables, as well as whole grains, need to be a big part of your diet. These contain dietary fibers that your body cannot digest, but your gut bacteria can use as food. Try to diversify your food choices, too, as this will result in a more diverse microbiome that can protect you from various types of diseases.
Eat fermented food – Eating fermented food is one of the easiest ways to keep your probiotic populations replenished. Foods like yogurt, sauerkraut, and kimchi are full of probiotics and nutrients that support proper digestion and better overall health.
Eat foods rich in polyphenols – These are natural compounds that play several roles in the human body. For the most part, they are antioxidants that help protect the body from common diseases. Because they are not digested easily, they also serve as food for gut bacteria.
Learn about the benefits of gut bacteria in terms of weight loss at Slender.news.
Your gastrointestinal tract is now considered one of the most complex microbial ecosystems on earth, and its influence is such that it’s frequently referred to as your “second brain.”
Nearly 100 trillion bacteria, fungi, viruses and other microorganisms compose your gut microbiome, and advancing science has made it quite clear that these organisms play a major role in your health, both mental and physical. Your body is in fact composed of more bacteria and other microorganisms than actual cells, and you have more bacterial DNA than human DNA.
In the interview above, originally aired in 2015, Dr. David Perlmutter discusses the importance of gut health, the connections between your gut and brain, and the role your gut plays in your health, and in the development of autoimmune diseases and neurological disorders.
According to an article published in the June 2013 issue of Biological Psychiatry,1 the authors suggest that even severe and chronic mental health problems, including post-traumatic stress disorder, might be eliminated through the use of certain probiotics.
Two strains shown to have a calming influence, in part by dampening stress hormones, are Lactobacillus helveticus and Bifdobacterium longum. Others may have similar effects, although more research is needed to identify them.
Using MRI scans, Dr. Emeran Mayer, a professor of medicine and psychiatry at the University of California, is also comparing the physical brain structure of thousands of volunteers, looking for connections between brain structure and the types of bacteria found in their guts.
So far, he has found differences in how certain brain regions are connected, depending on the dominant species of bacteria. As reported by NPR:2 “That suggests that the specific mix of microbes in our guts might help determine what kinds of brains we have — how our brain circuits develop and how they’re wired.”
Your Second Brain
The human gut has 200 million neurons — the equivalent of a cat’s or dog’s brain. And, if an animal is considered intelligent, your gut is equally smart. Your gut also houses nearly 100 trillion microorganisms, which influence everything from biological to emotional functioning.
Your upper brain is home to your central nervous system while your gut houses the enteric nervous system. The two nervous systems, the central nervous system in your brain and the enteric nervous system in your gut, are in constant communication, connected as they are via the vagus nerve.
Your vagal nerve is the 10th cranial nerve and the longest nerve in your body, extending through your neck into your abdomen.3 It has the widest distribution of both sensory and motor fibers.
Your brain and gut also use the same neurotransmitters for communication, one of which is serotonin — a neurochemical associated with mood control. However, the message sent by serotonin changes based on the context of its environment.
In your brain, serotonin signals and produces a state of well-being. In your gut — where 95 percent of your serotonin is produced — it sets the pace for digestive transit and acts as an immune system regulator.
Interestingly, gut serotonin not only acts on the digestive tract but is also released into your bloodstream, and acts on your brain, particularly your hypothalamus, which is involved in the regulation of emotions.
While we’ve known that the gut and brain communicate via the vagus nerve, researchers have only recently come to realize that gut serotonin regulates emotions in a much more complex way than previously thought. Not only can your emotions influence your gut, but the reverse is also true.
When Things Go Wrong in the Gut-Brain Axis
Researchers have been able to better examine the gut’s influence on emotions by studying people with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), which affects 1 in 10 people, and is characterized by digestive difficulties and severe abdominal pain. This, despite the fact that no organic malfunction in the digestive system can be found.
One theory posits that IBS is rooted in dysfunctional information flow between the gastrointestinal tract and the brain. But what could be causing these communication problems? One theory is that the problem originates in the intestinal wall, and that IBS is the result of faulty communication between the mucosal surface of your intestines and the nerves.”
Research shows that in patients with IBS, the nerves in the gut are far more active than in healthy people, which has led researchers to speculate that the pain IBS patients suffer is the result of a hypersensitive nervous system.
Others have noted that IBS is frequently brought on by stress or emotional trauma. To dampen hypervigilance in the nervous system, some researchers are using hypnosis to help ease IBS patients’ pain.
While the brain is still receiving the same kind of pain signals from the gut, hypnosis can make your brain less sensitive to them. So, pain that was previously intolerable is now perceived as tolerable. The effectiveness of hypnosis has been confirmed using brain imaging, showing hypnosis in fact downregulates activation of pain centers in the brain.
Similarly, Dr. Zhi-yun Bo, a doctor of traditional Chinese medicine who specializes in abdominal acupuncture,4 has been able to treat a wide variety of health conditions, both physical and mental, from acute pain to chronic illness and depression, by needling certain areas of the belly.
The Gut as the Seat of the Subconscious
Another intriguing idea is that your gut may in fact be the root of, or at the very least a part of, your subconscious mind. Your gut can send signals, to which your brain responds, even though those signals never reach conscious awareness.
Your ability to think positive thoughts and feel emotionally uplifted is actually strongly associated with the chemical messages broadcast by your gut. Serotonin released during sleep has also been shown to influence your dreams.
The striking similarities between the gut and brain, both structurally and functionally, have also led scientists to consider the possibility that the two organs may share diseases as well. For example, Parkinson’s disease,5 a degenerative neurological disease, may actually originate in the gut.
Parkinson’s Disease — A Gut Disorder?
Parkinson’s affects nearly a half-million people in the U.S.6 According to recent research7 published in the journal Neurology, Parkinson’s disease may start in the gut and travel to the brain via the vagus nerve.
The study participants previously had a resection of their vagus nerve, often performed in people who suffer from ulcers to reduce the amount of acid secretion and reduce the potential for peptic ulcers.8
Using the national registry in Sweden, researchers compared nearly 10,000 people who had a vagotomy against the records of over 375,000 who had not undergone the surgery. Although the researchers did not find a difference in the gross number of people who developed Parkinson’s between the groups, after delving further they discovered something interesting.
People who had a truncal vagotomy, in which the trunk of the nerve is fully resected, as opposed to a selective vagotomy, had a 40 percent lower risk of developing Parkinson’s disease. The scientists adjusted for external factors, such as diabetes, arthritis, obstructive pulmonary disease and other health conditions. According to study author Bojing Liu, of Karolinska Institutet in Sweden:9
“These results provide preliminary evidence that Parkinson’s disease may start in the gut. Other evidence for this hypothesis is that people with Parkinson’s disease often have gastrointestinal problems such as constipation that can start decades before they develop the disease.
In addition, other studies have shown that people who will later develop Parkinson’s disease have a protein believed to play a key role in Parkinson’s disease in their gut.”
Protein Clumps Implicated in Parkinson’s Originate in the Gut
Indeed, mounting research suggests we may have had the wrong idea about Parkinson’s all along. As mentioned by Liu, there’s other compelling evidence suggesting this disease may have its origins in the gut. Research published in 2016 actually found a functional link between specific gut bacteria and the onset of Parkinson’s disease.10,11,12
In short, specific chemicals produced by certain gut bacteria worsen the accumulation of proteins in the brain associated with the disease. What’s more, the actual proteins implicated in the disease actually appear to travel from the gut up to and into the brain.
Once clumped together in the brain, these proteins, called alpha-synuclein, form fibers that damage the nerves in your brain, resulting in the telltale tremors and movement problems exhibited by Parkinson’s patients. In fact, the researchers believe alpha-synuclein producing gut bacteria not only regulate, but are actually required in order for Parkinson’s symptoms to occur.
The link is so intriguing they suggest the best treatment strategy may be to address the gut rather than the brain using specific probiotics rather than drugs. In this study, synthetic alpha-synuclein was injected into the stomach and intestines of mice.
After seven days, clumps of alpha-synuclein were observed in the animals’ guts. Clumping peaked after 21 days. By then, clumps of alpha-synuclein were also observed in the vagus nerve, which connects the gut and brain. As noted by Science News:13
“Sixty days after the injections, alpha-synuclein had accumulated in the midbrain, a region packed with nerve cells that make the chemical messenger dopamine. These are the nerve cells that die in people with Parkinson’s, a progressive brain disorder that affects movement.
After reaching the brain, alpha-synuclein spreads thanks in part to brain cells called astrocytes, a second study suggests. Experiments with cells in dishes showed that astrocytes can store up and spread alpha-synuclein among cells …”
Over time, as these clumps of alpha-synuclein started migrating toward the brain, the animals began exhibiting movement problems resembling those in Parkinson’s patients. Findings such as these suggest that, at least in some patients, the disease may actually originate in the gut, and chronic constipation could be an important early warning sign.
The same kinds of lesions found in Parkinson’s patients’ brains have also been found in their guts, leading to the idea that a simple biopsy of your intestinal wall may in fact be a good way to diagnose the disease. In other words, by looking at the intestinal tissue, scientists can get a pretty clear picture of what’s going on inside your brain.
These findings are now steering researchers toward looking at the potential role the gut might play in other neurological diseases, such as Alzheimer’s and autism, as well as behavioral disorders.
The Immune System in Your Gut
In addition to digesting food and allowing your body to extract energy from foods that would otherwise be indigestible, your gut bacteria also help determine what’s poisonous and what’s healthy, and play a crucial role in your immune system. Your immune system is to a great extent educated based on the information received from your gut bacteria.
So, exposure to a wide variety of bacteria helps your immune system stay alert and actually optimizes its function. Bacterial colonization begins at birth, and things like antibiotic use by the mother or child, birth by cesarean section, bottle feeding instead of breastfeeding and excessive hygiene can all impair a child’s immune function by limiting exposure to beneficial bacteria.
Researchers have also discovered that humans can be divided into three enterotypes14 — three distinct groupings based on the makeup of our gut microbiomes, and the difference between them lies in our capacity to convert food into energy. All three groups produce vitamins, but to varying degrees.
Curiously, these enterotypes do not appear to be related to geographical location, nationality, race, gender or age, and the precise reason for the development of these enterotypes is still unknown. Diet is one possible, and likely probable, factor.
In the future, researchers hope to be able to determine how various bacteria influence health and the onset of diseases. Already, scientists have identified bacteria that appear to predispose people to conditions such as obesity, Type 2 diabetes, liver disease and cardiovascular disease.
Experimental data also show different gut microbiota can have a determining effect on behavior, for better or worse, and probiotics have been shown to dampen emotional reactivity, reducing the effects of stress.
Scientists from Immanuel Kant Baltic Federal University took part in a large-scale research project to assess intestinal microflora changes during short-term nutrition changes. It turned out that a two-week long balanced diet was enough to considerably change the composition of intestinal microflora.
While using various search engines for “individual nutrition,” people find hundreds of websites with suggestions, comments, and recommendations. Scientists also recognize the value of trendy well-balanced nutrition in line with personal programs. Until recently, it was unclear how such nutrition plans influenced intestinal microflora.
University experts teamed up with their colleagues from other Russian universities and conducted a large-scale experimental research project to see whether a two-week long diet plan was enough to change the composition of intestinal microflora.
“Our partners formulated the experiment’s idea, and we provided technical support during some of its stages, including preparations of test samples and high-capacity sequencing,” said one of the research authors Alexei Korzhenkov from the University’s Institute of Living Systems.
During the first stage of this rather sensitive project, the participants filled out a questionnaire, noting the regularity of their eating habits. For example, some of them said they were eating carrots on a daily basis, plus sausages twice a week.
They also replied to how often they smoked and drank alcohol, how long they slept and what medication they are on. During the next stage, scientists conducted clinical tests of respondents’ intestinal microflora and compiled personalized nutrition plans for each of them. They conducted repeat tests two weeks later and compared the results. It turned out that even such short-term dieting positively affected intestinal microflora.
The project involved 207 people, including 110 men and 97 women aged 18-64. Their personalized nutrition plans consisted of individual and basic aspects.Scientists asked all volunteers to minimize their intake of sugar, salt, and saturated fats. They advised them to consume less “empty calories,” including sweet fizzy drinks, pastries, mayonnaise, and to drink plenty of water.
Individual nutrition plans were based on respondents’ data. Some of them who ate too many potatoes were advised to eat them only twice a week.
Before and after the dietary intervention, researchers analyzed the composition of intestinal microflora, and their total diversity topped 600 types of microorganisms. To compare the results, scientists calculated the so-called Bray-Curtis coefficient, used to assess the similarity of two animal groups’ species.
This coefficient is calculated by assessing the number of unique species and species that are common to both groups and varies from zero (absolutely identical composition) to 1 (absolutely different composition). A 0.45 intestinal microflora similarity coefficient was posted during the experiment before and after a two-week long dietary intervention. And a 0.26 indicator was calculated for representatives of a test group eating regular sorts of food.
According to experts, the results of their work can help compile effective individual nutrition plans using new data on intestinal microflora.
The project involved colleagues from ITMO University, the Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology (State University), Novosibirsk State University, the Medical-Genetic Research Center, George Mason University, University of Groningen and the Vinogradsky Microbiology Institute of the Russian Academy of Sciences.
The experiment’s results are published in the journal Nutrients.
Dr. Valerie Taylor is originally from Boxey, a small town on Newfoundland’s south coast. (Provided by Valerie Taylor)
Groundbreaking research by a scientist originally from Newfoundland’s south coast could broaden treatment options for mental illness — thanks to fecal transplants.
Dr. Valerie Taylor, head of psychiatry at Women’s College Hospital in Toronto, is studying how gut health could affect mental illness symptoms.
The research is the first to potentially link gut bacteria to bipolar disorder, but it’s part of a growing area of investigation that examines how the bacteria that live inside our digestive systems might affect our mental health.
Taylor’s potentially groundbreaking research relies on a medical treatment that might make some squeamish: fecal transplants.
‘An aha moment’
Taylor’s path to the unusual treatment wasn’t as winding as the small intestine, and actually came to her through direct experience with a patient.
She and a patient of hers struggled because she was unable to find a treatment that relieved the symptoms of his mental illness. While the patient was being treated with antibiotics for pneumonia, she noticed that those symptoms were decreasing — and that they unfortunately returned once the antibiotic treatment ended.
Scientists use donated stool to make a filtrate, or a slurry of sorts, out of feces, similar to this one made to treat C. difficile. (Maureen Taylor)
“For both of us it was sort of an aha moment,” Taylor, originally from Boxey, N.L., told the St. John’s Morning Show.
“What’s going on that an antibiotic that fights bacteria seems to be helping with his symptoms of depression?”
When she began researching the idea she found that there was interesting research done in animals, mainly rats and mice, showing that altering the bacterial flora in their digestive systems could, for example, make them anxious when they were not previously, or alleviate depression. It made Taylor curious about what the results would be like in humans.
“Humans aren’t rats or mice so we may not see the same things, but we thought that it was really worth looking into.”
Going straight to the source
It’s not advisable to give someone a particular antibiotic over the long term without an infection to fight, because it can lead to antibiotic resistance, Taylor said.
That meant changing the bacteria where it lives.
“We decided to go straight to the source, in that we’re interested in the [gastrointestinal] system,” Taylor said.
“So what we’re doing is a process called fecal transfer, which is exactly what you think it is.”
Taylor is chief of psychiatry at Women’s College Hospital in Toronto. (Ben Rahn/A-Frame)
For a fecal transfer, a carefully screened, healthy person donates stool, which is then prepared in an infectious disease lab into a filtrate.
The prepared stool is injected into the gastrointestinal tract of the patient in a sort-of reverse colonoscopy.
Taylor’s study will monitor those patients to see if changing the bacteria in the GI system by introducing healthy bacteria actually has an impact on mental health outcomes.
Valuable results either way
The idea of a fecal transplant may sound strange, but there is interest in this research, said Taylor, who has received inquiries from people around the world who want to be part of the study.
“I think it speaks to the fact that a lot of the medication treatments that we have for mental illness don’t work very well for a lot of people, and people are desperately ill,” she said.
A great feeling of security for a parent comes from administering a medicinal like iodine. It is what I give my children instead of dangerous antibiotics when they are sick. It is what I use when the first symptoms of flu approach and it does spare one the worst of that misery. After we understand that iodine is an excellent antiviral, antibacterial, anti fungal, mold and yeast agent we begin to glimpse the catastrophic mistake made for substituting pharmaceutical antibiotics for iodine.
Antibiotics do not kill yeast but they certainly can kill people on occasion.Not only do some antibiotics increase the risk of sudden cardiac death but sometimes they lead to liver compromise and failure. Despite the ever-widening use of antibiotics the National Center for Infectious Disease and the Centers for Disease Control announced that the U.S. death rate from infectious disease increased by more than 50% between 1980 and 1992, making it the third leading cause of death.
Studies have documented the association between increased rates of antimicrobial use and development of resistant infections thus doctors who prescribe antibiotics irrationally should be rebuked. There is a growing consensus among infectious disease specialists, epidemiologists and control experts from the U.S. and Europe about the dark side of antibiotic use. In the right form iodine is every mother’s cherished medicinal heavyweight because it can save a child where antibiotics, often today, will not.
According to several studies, obstetricians and gynecologists write 2,645,000 antibiotic prescriptions every week. Internists prescribe 1,416,000 per week. This works out to 211,172,000 prescriptions annually in the United States, just for these two specialties. Pediatricians prescribe over $500 million worth of antibiotics annually just for one condition, ear infections. Yet topical povidone iodine (PVP-I) is as effective as topical ciprofloxacin, with a superior advantage of having no in vitro drug resistance and the added benefit of reduced cost of treatment.
Many women find after taking antibiotics, they get vaginal yeast infections (because their normal bacterial balance has been lost). Antibiotics bring on fungal and yeast infections thus will eventually be seen as one additional cause of cancer since more and more oncologists are seeing yeast and fungal infections as an integral part of cancer and its cause. With upwards of 40 percent of all cancers thought to be involved with and caused by infectionsthe subject of antibiotics and the need for something safer, more effective and life serving is imperative.
Every day, new strains of bacteria, fungi, and otherpathogenic microorganisms are becoming resistant to theantibiotics that once dispatched them with extreme prejudice
This book tells the iodine story that has become especially important as radiation levels increase because of the nuclear disaster in Japan. Everyone needs to hear the iodine story for there is nothing more important in the entire world now than taking our daily iodine supplements. An appropriate public health response to the nuclear disaster in Japan starts with iodine because any lack of the nutritional type will attract the radioactive type like honey attracts bees. The last thing anyone wants to be walking around with is a thyroid so starving for iodine it will take on the nasty radioactive isotope of iodine instead. It is very important to know that Dr. David Brownstein has tested 5,000 of his patients and has found out that 95 percent of them are iodine deficient and other iodine researchers he has talked to have found similar trends in their patients as well.
Though it kills 90 percent of bacteria on the skin within 90 seconds its use as an antibiotic has been ignored. Iodine exhibits activity against bacteria, molds, yeasts, protozoa, and many viruses; indeed, of all antiseptic preparations suitable for direct use on humans and animals and upon tissues, only iodine is capable of killing all classes of pathogens: gram-positive and gram-negative bacteria, mycobacteria, fungi, yeasts, viruses and protozoa. Most bacteria are killed within 15 to 30 seconds of contact.
Iodine is by far the best antibiotic, antiviral and antiseptic of all time.– Dr. David Derry
Dr. Derry says that iodine is effective “for standard pathogens such as Staphylococcus, but also iodine has the broadest range of action, fewest side effects and no development of bacterial resistance.” There is a world of difference between using an antibiotic – anti-life substance – and a antibiotic, antiviral and antifungal substance like iodine, which is life serving because it is a basic and most necessary nutritional substance.
Iodine kills single celled organisms by combining with the amino acids tyrosine or histidine when they are exposed to the extra-cellular environment. All single cells showing tyrosine on their outer cell membranes are killed instantly by a simple chemical reaction with iodine that denatures proteins. Nature and evolution have given us an important mechanism to control pathogenic life forms and we should use it and trust it to protect us in ways that antibiotics can’t.
 Ray WA, et al. (2004). Oral erythromycin and the risk of sudden death from cardiac causes. New England Journal of Medicine, 351(11): 1080–1096. A recent large study indicates that people who take erythromycin along with certain common medications may increase their risk of sudden cardiac death.
 Evaluation of topical povidone-iodine in chronic suppurative otitis media; Java C et al; Arch Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 2003 Oct;129(10):1098-100; Entrez Pubmed
 A major U.S. scientist says cancer – always believed to be caused by genetic cell mutations — can in reality be caused by infections from viruses, bacteria, yeasts, molds and fungus parasites. “I believe that, conservatively, 15 to 20 percent of all cancer is caused by infections; however, the number could be larger — maybe double,” said Dr. Andrew Dannenberg, director of the Cancer Center at New York-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center.” Dr. Dannennberg made the remarks in a speech in December 2007 at the annual international conference of the American Association for Cancer Research.
Are you or someone you know experiencing a mental health issue? With one out of every four Americans expected to experience a mental health condition during their lifetime, there is a good chance your life will be touched by mental illness. Why are so many people experiencing serious mental problems these days?
According to Professor Julia Rucklidge of the University of Canterbury, New Zealand, poor modern diets could be playing a surprisingly big role in the epidemic. In her research, she has uncovered a number of longitudinal and association studies illustrating the significant impact that diet can have on mental health.
One of the studies she cites is the SUN Project study, which is one of the biggest studies so far to explore the connection between depression and food. The study followed 12,000 participants over the course of six years. None had depression at the start of the study; 657 people had the condition by the study’s close. That study concluded that depression was related to the intake of trans unsaturated fatty acids.
Trans fats have been getting a lot of negative press lately because of their serious adverse health effects. Created when hydrogen is added to liquid vegetable oils to solidify them, it’s used in lots of fast foods and other processed foods. These fats have been everywhere you look in Western grocery stores in recent years, from baked goods and cookies to margarine, donuts, crackers and frozen pizza.
The substances are dangerous for human health in many ways, causing inflammation, obesity, insulin resistance, irrational behavior, and aggression. Dr. Beatrice Golumb, the lead author of a study that linked trans fats to poor memory function in men younger than 45, said: “As I tell patients, while trans fats increase the shelf life of foods, they reduce the shelf life of people.”
An FDA ban on trans fats finally takes effect this year, but the damage to countless Americans has already been done. While natural fats like omega 3 essential fatty acids are actually good for brain health, trans fats destroy brain cells, impact hormone production, and increase inflammation in the brain. They also reduce serotonin production, which is why they cause depression and memory problems.
Antidepressants often do more harm than good
Antidepressants are so commonplace these days that lots of people take them without giving the matter a second thought. While the drug companies sit back and rake in the profits, however, those taking these medications are suffering. Some of the most common side effects reported in a New Zealand study included sexual problems, a feeling of emotional numbness, apathy, and suicidal thoughts.
It’s the latter that’s the scariest side effect of all, with one study showing that antidepressants double a person’s likelihood of becoming violent and suicidal. The effect is particularly dramatic in young people, prompting the FDA to order all antidepressants to carry a “black box warning” informing people of the increased suicidal symptoms risk. With more than ten percent of Americans taking these drugs, it’s not surprising that we’re seeing so many incidents of mass violence like school shootings.
The physical side effects of antidepressants are also serious. They increase your risk of heart disease, breast cancer, and Type 2 diabetes, to name just a few.
The good news is that there are lots of safe ways you can feel better. Everyone’s experience with depression will be different and not all methods work for all cases, but some people have found success with yoga, meditation, regular exercise, and a clean diet heavy in superfoods. Given the connection between trans fats and depression, however, cutting out foods that contain these toxic ingredients should be everyone’s top priority.
“Those who ate the most baked goods had a 38 percent higher risk of depression than those who ate the least. This makes sense when you consider baked goods contain both processed grains and added sugars.”
March 16, 2018
Depression is the leading cause of ill health and disability worldwide, affecting an estimated 322 million people globally, including more than 16 million Americans, 6 million of whom are seniors
Research shows nutrition is a crucial factor in depression, and researchers have suggested diet is an important yet overlooked aspect of psychiatry
Recent research found seniors who followed the DASH diet were 11 percent less likely to develop depression over the following six years, whereas those following a standard Western diet had the highest rates of depression
Other studies have shown that unprocessed foods, especially fermented foods, help optimize your gut microbiome, thereby supporting optimal mental health, whereas sugar, wheat (gluten) and processed foods have been linked to a greater risk for depression, anxiety and even suicide
Your gut communicates to your brain via your vagus nerve and the stress pathway in your endocrine system, and by producing mood-boosting neurotransmitters. These links help explain why your gut health has such a significant impact on your mental health
By Dr. Mercola
According to the World Health Organization, depression is now the leading cause of ill health and disability worldwide,1,2 affecting an estimated 322 million people globally, including more than 16 million Americans, 6 million of which are seniors.3 Statistics also reveal we’re not being particularly effective when it comes to prevention and treatment. Worldwide, rates of depression increased by 18 percent between 2005 and 2015.4
If you or someone you love is struggling with depression or some other mental health problem, remember that your diet is a foundational aspect that must not be overlooked. As noted in a 2015 study5 published in the medical journal Lancet:
“Although the determinants of mental health are complex, the emerging and compelling evidence for nutrition as a crucial factor in the high prevalence and incidence of mental disorders, suggests that diet is as important to psychiatry as it is to cardiology, endocrinology and gastroenterology.”
The Compelling Link Between Food and Mood
Recent research6,7,8 looking at the effects of the antihypertensive DASH diet on mental health concluded this kind of dietary pattern, which is low in sugar and high in fresh fruits and vegetables, can help reduce the risk of depression in seniors. Overall, people who followed the DASH diet were 11 percent less likely to develop depression over the following six years, whereas those following a standard Western diet, high in red meat and low in fruits and vegetables, had the highest rates of depression.
It’s worth noting that while many conventional experts recommend the DASH diet, it is not necessarily ideal for optimal health, as it also promotes whole grains and low-fat foods, including low-fat dairy. Healthy fats, including saturated animal and plant fats and animal-based omega-3, are quite crucial for optimal brain health. I believe the reason the DASH diet produces many beneficial results is because it is low in sugar and high in unprocessed foods — not because it’s low in fat.
Other studies have shown that unprocessed foods, especially fermented foods, help optimize your gut microbiome, thereby supporting optimal mental health,9,10 whereas sugar, wheat (gluten) and processed foods have been linked to a greater risk for depression, anxiety and even suicide. The primary information highway between your gut and your brain is your vagus nerve, which connects the two organs.11
Your gut also communicates to your brain via the endocrine system in the stress pathway (the hypothalamus, pituitary and adrenal axis), and by producing mood-boosting neurotransmitters like serotonin, dopamine and gamma-aminobutyric acid or GABA. These communication links help explain why your gut health has such a significant impact on your mental health.
The Strong Link Between Sugar and Depression
A number of food ingredients can cause or aggravate depression, but one of the most significant is sugar, particularly refined sugar and processed fructose.12 For example, in one study, men consuming more than 67 grams of sugar per day were 23 percent more likely to develop anxiety or depression over the course of five years compared to those whose sugar consumption was less than 40 grams per day (which is still far higher than the 25 grams per day recommended for optimal health).13
This held true even after accounting for other contributing factors, such as socioeconomic status, exercise, alcohol use, smoking, other eating habits, body weight and general physical health. Lead author Anika Knüppel,14 a research student in the department of epidemiology and public health at University College London, commented on the findings, saying:15
“Sweet food has been found to induce positive feelings in the short-term. People experiencing low mood may eat sugary foods in the hope of alleviating negative feelings. Our study suggests a high intake of sugary foods is more likely to have the opposite effect on mental health in the long-term.”
Research16 published in 2002, which correlated per capita consumption of sugar with prevalence of major depression in six countries, also found “a highly significant correlation between sugar consumption and the annual rate of depression.” A Spanish study17 published in 2011 linked depression specifically to consumption of baked goods.
Those who ate the most baked goods had a 38 percent higher risk of depression than those who ate the least. This makes sense when you consider baked goods contain both processed grains and added sugars.
How Sugar Wreaks Havoc on Your Mood and Mental Health
Sugar has been shown to trigger depression and other mental health problems through a number of different mechanisms, including the following:
Feeding pathogens in your gut, allowing them to overtake more beneficial bacteria.
Suppressing activity of a key growth hormone in your brain called brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF). BDNF levels are critically low in both depression and schizophrenia, and animal models suggest this may actually be a causative factor.
Triggering a cascade of chemical reactions in your body that promote chronic inflammation, which over the long term disrupts the normal functioning of your immune system and wreaks havoc on your brain.
Contributing to insulin and leptin resistance, which also plays a significant role in your mental health.
Affecting dopamine, a neurotransmitter that fuels your brain’s reward system18 (hence sugar’s addictive potential19,20,21) and is known to play a role in mood disorders.22
Damaging your mitochondria, which can have bodywide effects. Your mitochondria generate the vast majority of the energy (adenosine triphosphate or ATP) in your body.When sugar is your primary fuel, excessive reactive oxygen species (ROS) and secondary free radicals are created, which damage cellular mitochondrial membranes and DNA. As your mitochondria are damaged, the energy currency in your body declines and your brain will struggle to work properly.
Healthy dietary fats, on the other hand, create far fewer ROS and free radicals. Fats are also critical for the health of cellular membranes and many other biological functions, including and especially the functioning of your brain.
Among the most important fats for brain function and mental health are the long-chained animal-based omega-3 fats DHA and EPA. Not only are they anti-inflammatory, but DHA is actually a component in every cell of your body, and 90 percent of the omega-3 fat found in brain tissue is DHA.
Eating Real Food Is Key
A paper23 published in Nutritional Neuroscience last year looked at evidence from laboratory, population research and clinical trials to create “a set of practical dietary recommendations for the prevention of depression, based on the best available current evidence.” According to this paper, the published evidence reveals five key dietary recommendations for the prevention of depression:
Following a “traditional” dietary pattern such as the Mediterranean, Norwegian or Japanese diet
Increasing consumption of antioxidant-rich fruits, vegetables, legumes, wholegrain cereals, nuts and seeds (note that autoimmune diseases are rampant and whole grains and legumes are loaded with lectins and best avoided. See my interview with Dr. Steven Gundry for more details)
Eating plenty of omega-3-rich foods
Replacing unhealthy processed foods with real, wholesome nutritious foods
Avoiding processed foods, fast food, commercial baked goods and sweets
Processed Foods Are Problematic in More Ways Than One
Three brain- and mood-wrecking culprits you’ll automatically avoid when avoiding processed foods are added sugars, artificial sweeteners24 and processed vegetable oils — harmful fats known to clog your arteries and cause mitochondrial dysfunction. Gluten also appears to be particularly problematic for many. If you’re struggling with depression or anxiety, you’d be well-advised to experiment with a gluten-free diet.
Certain types of lectins, especially wheat germ agglutinin (WGA), are also known for their psychiatric side effects. WGA can cross your blood brain barrier25 through a process called “adsorptive endocytosis,” pulling other substances with it. WGA may attach to your myelin sheath26 and is capable of inhibiting nerve growth factor,27 which is important for the growth, maintenance and survival of certain target neurons.
Processed foods are also a significant source of genetically engineered (GE) ingredients and toxic herbicides like Roundup. In addition to being toxic and potentially carcinogenic, glyphosate, the active ingredient in Roundup, has been shown to preferentially decimate beneficial gut microbes. Many grains need to dry in the field before being harvested, and to speed that process, the fields are doused with glyphosate a couple of weeks before harvest.
As a result of this practice, called desiccation, grain-based products tend to contain rather substantial amounts of glyphosate. This reason alone is enough to warrant a grain-free diet, but if you do choose to eat whole grain products, make sure it’s organic to avoid glyphosate contamination.
Your beverage choices may also need an overhaul, as most people drink very little pure water, relying on sugary beverages like sodas, fruit juices, sports drinks, energy drinks and flavored water for their hydration needs. None of those alternatives will do your mental health any favors.
Anti-Inflammatory Diet Protects and Supports Good Mental Health
As mentioned above, one of the mechanisms by which good nutrition bolsters mental health is by cutting down inflammation in your body, and a high-sugar diet is exceptionally inflammatory. A number of studies have linked depression with chronic inflammation.28,29
For example, a study30 published in the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry in 2016 concluded that depressed patients had 46 percent higher levels of the inflammatory marker C-reactive protein in their blood. Interestingly, they also had 16 percent lower levels of low fractional exhaled nitric oxide, which adds further support for doing exercises that boost nitric oxide cycling, such as the Nitric Oxide Dump exercise. As explained in the study:
“Nitric oxide (NO), in addition to being an inflammatory mediator, is also a neurotransmitter at the neuron synapses. It modulates norepinephrine, serotonin, dopamine and glutamate and thus is speculated to play a role in the pathogenesis of depression. Nitric oxide is also currently seen as a marker of airway inflammation and can be measured during exhalation.
Fractional exhaled nitric oxide (FeNO) may represent both constitutive and inducible NO. Small studies suggest that subjects with depressed mood have low levels of FeNO … Subjects with depression also have low levels of plasma and platelet NO. The low systemic levels of NO have been postulated to be responsible for the increased risk of cardiovascular events observed in subjects with depression, as NO produces vasodilatation …
In summary, this large population-based study found that depression is associated with high levels of CRP and low levels of FeNO. These findings corroborate the premise that inflammation could play a role in the pathophysiology of major depression and that major depression may be seen as a psychoneuroimmunological disorder.”
Four Powerful Dietary Interventions
In addition to transitioning from a diet of processed fare to real food, consider:
• Implementing a cyclical ketogenic diet, high in healthy fats, low in net carbs with moderate amounts of protein. This kind of diet will optimize your mitochondrial function, which has significant implications for mental health. In fact, one noticeable effect of nutritional ketosis is mental clarity and a sense of calm. The reason for this welcome side effect has to do with the fact that when your body is able to burn fat for fuel, ketones are created, which is the preferred fuel for your brain.
• Intermittent fasting will also help optimize your brain function and prevent neurological problems by activating your body’s fat-burning mode, preventing insulin resistance and reducing oxidative stress and inflammation, the latter of which has been identified as a causative factor in depression.31,32
While you may achieve some of the benefits from intermittent fasting simply by respecting the time boundaries, regardless of the foods you consume, it is far better if you consume high-quality unprocessed food.
Since you’ll be eating less, it’s vitally important that you get proper nutrition. Healthy fats are essential because intermittent fasting pushes your body to switch over to fat-burning mode. Particularly if you begin to feel tired and sluggish, it may be a sign that you need to increase the amount of healthy fat in your diet.
• Water fasting. Once you’re starting to burn fat for fuel, gradually increase the length of your daily intermittent fasting to 20 hours per day. After a month of 20-hour daily fasting, you’re likely in good metabolic shape and able to burn fat as fuel. At that point, you can try a four or five-day water-only fast.
I now do a quarterly five-day fast, as I believe this is one of the most powerful metabolic health interventions out there. A five-day fast will effectively clean out senescent cells that have stopped duplicating due to aging or oxidative damage, which would otherwise clog up your optimal biologic function by causing and increasing inflammation.
• Exercise and get regular movement throughout your day. Exercise is one of the most effective antidepressant strategies out there, beating most medical interventions for depression.
Electromagnetic Field Exposures Could Be Wreaking Havoc With Your Mental Health
Another foundational strategy to prevent or treat depression and anxiety is to limit exposure to electromagnetic fields (EMFs). Studies have linked excessive EMF exposure to an increased risk of both depression and suicide.33 Addiction to or “high engagement” with mobile devices can also trigger depression and anxiety, according to recent research from the University of Illinois.34
Research35 by Martin Pall, Ph.D., reveals a previously unknown mechanism of biological harm from microwaves emitted by cellphones and other wireless technologies, which helps explain why these technologies can have such a potent impact on your mental health. Embedded in your cell membranes are voltage gated calcium channels (VGCCs), which are activated by microwaves. When activated, a cascade of biochemical effects occurs that result in the creation of extremely destructive hydroxyl free radicals.
Hydroxyl free radicals decimate mitochondrial and nuclear DNA, their membranes and proteins. The end result is mitochondrial dysfunction, which we now know is at the heart of most chronic disease. The tissues with the highest density of VGCCs are your brain, the pacemaker in your heart and male testes. Hence, health problems such as Alzheimer’s, anxiety, depression, autism, cardiac arrhythmias and infertility can be directly linked to excessive microwave exposure.
So, if you struggle with anxiety or depression, be sure to limit your exposure to wireless technologies, in addition to addressing your diet and exercise. Simple measures include turning your Wi-Fi off at night, not carrying your cellphone on your body and not keeping portable phones, cellphones and other electric devices in your bedroom. The electric wiring inside your bedroom walls is probably the most important source to address.
Your best bet here is to turn off the power to your bedroom at night. This will work if there are no adjacent rooms. If there are, you may need to shut those rooms off also. The only way to know would be to measure the electric fields. For additional lifestyle guidelines that can help prevent and/or treat depression, see the nondrug solutions section at the end of this previous article on depression.
“The gut is the epicenter of our health, and its functioning affects most, if not all, other aspects in the body,” explains Frank Lipman, MD, author of How to Be Well and founder of Be Well. A greater understanding of both mental illness and microbiome interactions has lead scientists to study the relationship between the two systems, and there’s mounting evidence that supports a link between gut health and anxiety. With this continually growing and evolving information, you may soon be on your way to treating mental illness with proper nutrition. Ahead, Lipman explains how gut health and anxiety may be linked and what foods you should eat to take advantage of this connection.
Gut Health and Anxiety
“More and more, we are seeing the direct correlation between gut health and mood,” says Lipman. This is because the gut produces neurotransmitters and hormones that can affect a person’s mood. “If these bugs are compromised in any way, the production of these neurotransmitters and hormones will also be compromised and will affect how we function and how we feel,” he says.
There are multiple scientific studies that back up these statements. A 2016 study conducted by Emily Deans, MD, at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital at Harvard Medical School looked into the role of microbiota in mental health. According to the study, the modern microbiome is drastically different than that of human ancestors due to diet, antibiotic exposure, and differences in the environment. All of this may contribute to changes in brain health.
In 2015, researchers tested theories about gut health and mood on people. They gave healthy participants without mood disorders a four-week probiotic food supplement. Compared to those who received a placebo, participants who took the probiotic had a significantly reduced reactivity to sad moods. Researchers concluded that these results were evidence that probiotics could reduce negative thoughts associated with sad mood.
Additionally, a 2017 study performed on mice concluded that the microbiome is necessary for balancing gene regulators in the brain known as miRNAs. Its findings were based on observations of mice living in germ-free environments that ended up with unusual amounts of anxiety. After researchers reintroduced gut bacteria to the mice, the gene regulators normalized, proving that probiotics could be necessary for maintaining mental health.
Maintaining a Healthy Gut
So how do you keep your gut health in check? “Generally speaking, a diet filled with a variety of real, whole foods is ideal for supporting gut function,” says Lipman. That means green, leafy vegetables, healthy fats, and quality protein like well-sourced animal proteins, wild-caught fish, beans, and lentils.
“Sadly, the Standard America Diet is the epitome of foods that should be avoided for gut health, brain health, energy, and everything in between,” Lipman explains. In order to keep your gut in top condition, you’ll want to avoid processed and packaged foods that contain preservatives, coloring, and sweeteners. Lipman also advises steering clear of sugar, gluten, nonorganic soy, factory-farmed meats and dairy, processed vegetable oils, and even some gluten-free grains.
Gut Health Red Flags
“The most common signs of gut problems present as digestive issues,” shares Lipman. If you think you may have an imbalance in your gut that could be impacting your mental health, look out for symptoms like bloating, gas, constipation, loose stool, digestive discomfort, and heartburn. There are also less obvious symptoms like skin irritations, joint pain, foggy thinking, imbalanced mood, and fatigue. “If someone is feeling like that they are not functioning optimally and that they should be feeling better, they probably could be, and the gut is often a great place to start,” Lipman says.
“Although diet can be extremely helpful for some, it is not the answer for everyone,” Lipman says. When a change in diet just isn’t enough, there are supplements that can be used to improve the balance of bacteria in your gut. “Probiotics can also be extremely beneficial, as they constantly inoculate our gut with the beneficial bacteria that support proper gut function.”
While there’s not yet evidence that proves a healthy diet can cure all mental health issues or that food alone is an effective form of treatment for anxiety or depression, focusing on nurturing your gut health isn’t a bad place to start. Turn to natural, whole foods packed with powerful nutrients to keep your gut healthy so your mind can heal, too.
A new study claims that drinking tea without milk can speed up your metabolism and promote good gut health, as reported by The Daily Mail. The researchers from the University of California, Los Angeles studied the relationship of metabolism and tea by conducting an experiment in mice. They divided the mice into four groups and gave each group different diets, which included low-fat, high-sugar; high-fat, high-sugar; high-fat, high-sugar, and green tea extract; and high-fat, high-sugar, and black tea extract. The study was conducted in a span of four weeks.
Towards the end of the experiment, the researchers made an evaluation on the weight of the mice, bacteria content in the large intestine, and fat deposits in the liver tissues.
The findings, published in the European Journal of Nutrition, revealed that mice who received either green or black tea extract lost weight similar to the weight of those who had a low-fat diet. Moreover, the green and black tea extracts acted as a prebiotic for the intestines. The groups of mice that had either of the two green tea extracts had less intestinal bacteria linked with obesity and more microorganisms associated to lean body mass.
Surprisingly, the researchers discovered a new health benefit of black tea.
“For black tea lovers, there may be a new reason to keep drinking it,” said Zhaoping Li, an author of the study.
The group of mice who had black tea-extract were seen to have a bacteria that enhanced the metabolic processes. The researchers believe that this is because of the big size of the black tea’s molecules. As a result, these molecules of black tea are too large to be absorbed by the body, but instead they stay in the large intestine.
“It was known that green tea polyphenols are more effective and offer more health benefits than black tea polyphenols since green tea chemicals are absorbed into the blood and tissue,” said Susanne Henning, lead author of the study.
“Our new findings suggest that black tea, through a specific mechanism through the gut microbiome, may also contribute to good health and weight loss in humans,” said Henning.
Moreover, Henning said that the results suggest that both green and black teas are prebiotics, which are substances that prompt the growth of good microorganisms, which in turn can benefit to the health of a person. (Related: 10 Benefits of Drinking Black Tea to Improve Health.)
Black tea can make you look young and fit and can de-stress you. A study found that drinking black tea can lower the levels of the stress hormone cortisol more quickly than those who were given the fake or placebo tea.
Black tea was found to be beneficial for the cardiovascular health. One study discovered that those who drank black tea for four weeks had improvements in the functioning of their blood vessels by 50 percent. This may be the effect of the tea’s flavonoids, which are plant compounds that act as antioxidants and prevent the formation of plaque in artery walls.
Another benefit of black tea is it is considered an anti-cancer agent. A study found that a black tea compound known as theaflavin-3′-monogallate, or TF-2, caused colorectal cancer cells to self-destruct without damaging normal cells.
This tea was also found to increase memory, focus, and concentration, according to study. It is because of the combination of caffeine and L-Theanine, an amino acid found in tea that improves reaction time and memory.
Lastly, it can lower your cholesterol levels. One study found that five servings of black tea per day reduced cholesterol levels by 6.5 percent.
What is cancer? Above are pictures of Russell bodies or perhaps “the cancer microbe.” Image credit: Dr. Alan Cantwell
Cancer – it’s not what you think it is.
Like it or not, cancer has become the 2nd leading cause of death in the US. Sources state that, based on 2012-2014 data, about 38.5% (close to two fifths) of Americans will be diagnosed with cancer at some point during their lives. Yet, despite how deadly it has been, we also know that cancer is a relatively recent disease that seemingly didn’t exist (or cause many deaths) 100 years ago. What on earth has happened since then? Why is cancer so widespread? What is cancer exactly? Is there a cancer microbe? Is cancer really terminal? If not, what are the natural solutions?
History of Cancer
Before we embark on the difficult problem of defining cancer, where there are many different and competing theories, let us turn to one thing which is commonly accepted: cancer is essentially a new disease. Yes, it was detected over 2000 years ago, but it was extremely rare. The article Scientists suggest that cancer is purely man-madestates:
“Professor Rosalie David, at the Faculty of Life Sciences, said: “In industrialised societies, cancer is second only to cardiovascular disease as a cause of death. But in ancient times, it was extremely rare. There is nothing in the natural environment that can cause cancer. So it has to be a man-made disease, down to pollution and changes to our diet and lifestyle.”
She added: “The important thing about our study is that it gives a historical perspective to this disease. We can make very clear statements on the cancer rates in societies because we have a full overview. We have looked at millennia, not one hundred years, and have masses of data.”
The data includes the first ever histological diagnosis of cancer in an Egyptian mummy by Professor Michael Zimmerman, a visiting Professor at the KNH Centre, who is based at the Villanova University in the US. He diagnosed rectal cancer in an unnamed mummy, an ‘ordinary’ person who had lived in the Dakhleh Oasis during the Ptolemaic period (200-400 CE).
Professor Zimmerman said: “In an ancient society lacking surgical intervention, evidence of cancer should remain in all cases. The virtual absence of malignancies in mummies must be interpreted as indicating their rarity in antiquity, indicating that cancer causing factors are limited to societies affected by modern industrialization”.”
This naturally leads people to blame things like industrialization, the modern environment and the modern diet as cancer causes, although none of these factors clearly explains why millions of people die every year from a variety of malignancies.
What is Cancer? – The Mainstream Definition
Incredibly for this day and age, we still don’t know exactly what cancer is. Although cancer is commonly defined in terms of DNA damage and cellular mutation, these things are the effect of cancer, not the cause or definition of it. The AMA, the CDC, the American Cancer Society and all the other arms of the Big Pharma-Western Medicine conglomerate will mostly tell you that cancer has an unknown etiology (cause). Sometimes they will point out the obvious, that things like tobacco, alcohol, infectious disease like hepatitis, and nuclear radiation will cause cancer, although many spokesmen for these institutions will still deny that things like glyphosate and EMF radiation are carcinogenic. In fact, some people from these institutions used to promote the very things that caused cancer; remember Camel-smoking Western doctors promoting cigarettes as healthy?
Big Pharma-Western Medicine likes to emphasize that cancer has a genetic component. They also use words like “incurable”, “inoperable”, “hopeless” and “terminal.” Notice how these words induce you to feel helpless, victimized and not responsible for your current state of health. If cancer just happens, you’ve just got bad genes or bad luck, right?
The standard definition of cancer is that it’s a large group of diseases characterized by abnormal cell growth (called a tumor or neoplasm) which becomes so out-of-balance that it grows uncontrollably and spreads to other parts of the body. There are 6 hallmarks of cancer:
Cell growth and division absent the proper signals
Continuous growth and division even given contrary signals
Absence of programmed cell death (apoptosis)
Unlimited and unending cell divisions
Promotion of blood vessel construction (angiogenesis)
Invasion of tissue (metastasis)
We All Have Cancer – All the Time
What is highly interesting about cancer is that we all have it – all the time. Your body makes around 50 million cancer cells every day! To put this into perspective, your body contains 30-37 trillion cells, so 50 million is comparatively small. Yet, this goes to show that cancer in and of itself cannot be the major problem mainstream science makes it out to be, since a strong body and healthy immune system overcomes and transforms it daily. Cancer, like any disease, cannot survive in the presence of a strong immune system. The biological terrain must be weakened or deficient in order for cancer to gain a foothold.
What is Cancer? – Alternative Definitions Including the Cancer Microbe
There are theories that hold that cancer is either a fungus or a bacterium. Some people have cured cancer with the strongly alkaline sodium bicarbonate (baking soda), based on the idea that cancer is a fungus that cannot withstand such alkalinity. The Italian doctor Tullio Simoncini has famously cured many patients with intravenous sodium bicarbonate.
It may not be a case of either/or. There is a certain class of bacteria called mycobacteria which spread like fungus (myco means fungus in Greek). What if cancer were caused by a bacterium that acted like a fungus? There have been a handful of brave scientists, doctors and researchers who have had the courage to go against the medical establishment (when the evidence indicated to), risking their jobs and careers to claim that there may be a cancer microbe, and that cancer may be caused by a bacterium. William Russell (1852-1940) was a pathologist in the School of Medicine at the Royal Infirmary in Edinburgh. In 1890 he gave an address to the Pathological Society of London in which he explained that:
“he had found ‘a characteristic organism of cancer’ that he observed microscopically in fuchsine-stained tissue sections from all forms of cancer that he examined.”
He posited the existence of a parasite later called the Russell body. Dr. Virginia Livingston MD was another medical heretic who did further research to confirm the so-called Russell body. In 1970, she named the cancer organism she had detected as progenitor cryptocides (according to her biography progenitor was a pseudonym for “ancestral”; cryptocides is a Greek and Latin word meaning “hidden killer”). Livingston theorized that progenitor had highly variable growth cycles and the ability to adopt a variety of shapes including spindles, rods and cocci. Livingston inspired Dr. Alan Cantwell, and they both wrote books on the topic of the cancer microbe. In this presentation, Cantwell spells out the characteristics of such a germ:
Intra-cellular and extra-cellular (lives inside and outside the cell)
Cell wall deficient (CWD)
By definition, is therefore also pleomorphic (able to exist in many shapes and forms)
It has a “filterable” virus-like growth stage which can’t be seen in an ordinary light microscope. This suggests a close relationship with viruses and nanobacteria
More on the Mysterious Cancer Microbe
The ICRF (Independent Cancer Research Foundation) led by Webster Kehr is amassing a heap of very important information on the nature of cancer and how to heal it. In this article, Kehr asserts that cancer is most probably the bacterium called Helicobacter Pylori. He claims that the “evidence that H. Pylori causes cancer is very solid” and lists 4 reasons among many:
It is ubiquitous in the stomach and common in the bloodstream (all humans have some cancer cells at all times),
It is known to be a pleomorphic microbe,
The most effective herb at killing H. Pylori, turmeric, is also the same herb that is most effective at treating cancer,
More than one alternative cancer researcher has come to the same conclusion independently.
The 2nd point that Kehr makes – that the cancer microbe is pleomorphic – was not only known by Livingston and Cantwell. Kehr refers to the research of Gaston Naessens, who went further down the rabbit hole and discovered that the cancer microbe has at least 16 distinct shapes and sizes:
Naessens’ research on the cancer microbe. Note: the above chart does not show the proportional sizes or the shapes of the cancer microbe. Image credit: CancerTutor.com
What makes the cancer microbe difficult to detect and eradicate is that it can literally be smaller than a virus or as big as a red blood cell. In the case of the former, it can get inside the cell nucleus and damage the cell DNA. However, according to Kehr, we do know one thing which is very important: the cancer microbe changes its shape and size based on the acidity or alkalinity of the inside of the cell. As the alkalinity increases, the size of the cancer microbe decreases. As the alkalinity decreases (and the acidity increases), the size of the cancer increases. This is not surprising, given the strong relationship between cellular health and alkalinity.
What Causes Cancer?
There are many levels on which to address this question. On one level, you can zero in on specific physical and environmental causes – tobacco, alcohol, infectious disease like hepatitis, glyphosate and heavy metal contamination. On another level, you can look at the role of energetic and non-physical causes such as nuclear radiation, EMF radiation and unresolved and suppressed emotional issues. On yet another level, you can analyze how the immune system was weakened, such that it was no longer able to suppress the development of tumors. On a further level, you can look at the sequence by which a healthy cell gets transformed into a cancerous cell – and it doesn’t just happen magically. It has everything to do with the cell input and output.
Many in the Big Pharma-Western Medicine conglomerate, whether out of ignorance or deliberate concealment, attribute cancer to DNA damage. However, this is confusing effects with causes. Kehr writes:
“Everyone has cancer cells in their body, so why does one person never get diagnosed with cancer and another person is diagnosed with cancer? Cancer is almost always caused by the same multi-step sequence of events.
First, nasty microbes and parasites get inside of the organs and make their homes there. These microbes generally come from meat that was not adequately cooked, but they can come from other sources.
Second, these microbes intercept glucose which was headed for the cells in the organs.
Third, these microbes excrete (as waste products) mycotoxins, which are highly acid and totally worthless to the cells.
Fourth, because the cells (in the organs) don’t get the food they need (because it has been intercepted), and because they are living in a sea of filth (i.e. mycotoxins), the cells in the organ become weak.
Fifth, organs are made exclusively of cells. In other words, if you took all of the cells out of an organ, there would be no organ. Thus, because the cells in the organ(s) are weak, the organ(s) are weak.
Sixth, because one or more major organs are weak the immune system becomes weak. Actually, the microbes weaken the immune system both directly and indirectly.
Seventh, because the immune system is weak it cannot kill enough cancer cells and the cancer cells grow out of control.”
Billions of Dollars … But No Cure
Sadly, Western Medicine neither knows or divulges the big picture of what causes cancer, nor knows how to properly cure it. Even when allopathic medicine “cures” cancer (remission), it has not fixed the root cause, so it is almost certain to return. There are all sorts of charities, fundraisers, pomp and circumstance, with billions of dollars donated to cancer research, but nothing ever seems to eventuate from it. It’s no wonder, when you consider that some of these ventures like the Susan Komen pink ribbon charity actually lead unsuspecting women into regular mammograms that cause the very cancer they are supposed to be detecting or protecting against!
Some of these charities also ally themselves with Big Pharma companies that make products (like vaccines) with provably carcinogenic ingredients and adjuvants like mercury and formaldehyde! It’s more fakery designed to give the gullible public the impression that someone is trying really hard to “find the cure.” Many people have seen through the entire charade, especially as it becomes known that the American Cancer Society has financial ties to Big Pharma companies and radiology equipment manufacturers, and receives funding from the petrochemical industry, the biotech industry (oops, I repeat myself), the cosmetics industry (oops, I repeat myself again) and the junk food industry (oops, I repeat myself a third time). Yes, they are all full of petrochemicals … Western Medicine is Rockefeller Medicine, right?
Toxic Side Effects of Western Medical Cancer Treatments
Western Medicine has 3 main approaches against cancer, all of which have severe side effects: surgery, radiation and chemotherapy. Surgery involves cutting out the diseased tissue however it clearly takes a toll on the body; besides, there is no way to stop cancer just by cutting it out, for it will just come back. Radiation itself is carcinogenic. According to cancer survivor Suzanne Somers, another side effect of radiation is that your body cannot make HCl (hydrochloric acid) again for rest of your life! This means you will not be able to digest properly unaided; in the best case scenario, you would have to take HCl tablets before every meal for the rest of your life. Entire volumes of books could be written about the side effects of chemotherapy. Indeed, calling it a “therapy” is rather generous, given that it is a selection of chemical drugs derived from mustard gas that was used in World Wars I and II as a toxic killing agent.
Kehr writes in the above-linked article that “regardless of what the cancer microbe is, it has been known since the 1930s that one of the best ways to cure cancer is to kill the microbes which are inside of the cancer cells. In this way the cancer cells will revert into normal cells.” In part 2, we will turn our attention to the natural solutions, remedies and treatments for cancer (with little to no side effects) – and fortunately there are many such natural cancer cures.
Makia Freeman is the editor of alternative media / independent news siteThe Freedom Articles and senior researcher at ToolsForFreedom.com, writing on many aspects of truth and freedom, from exposing aspects of the worldwide conspiracy to suggesting solutions for how humanity can create a new system of peace and abundance.
The relatively recent discovery of the microbiome is not only completely redefining what it means to be human, to have a body, to live on this earth, but is overturning belief systems and institutions that have enjoyed global penetrance for centuries.
A paradigm shift has occurred, so immense in implication, that the entire frame of reference for our species’ self-definition, as well as how we relate fundamentally to concepts like “germs,” have been transformed beyond recognition. This shift is underway and yet, despite popular interest in our gut ecology, the true implications remain unacknowledged.
It started with the discovery of the microbiome, a deceptively diminutive term, referring to an unfathomably complex array of microscopic microorganisms together weighing only 3-4 lbs. in the average human, represents a Copernican revolution when it comes to forming the new center, genetically and epigenetically, of what it means in biological terms to be human.
Considering the sheer density of genetic information contained within these commensals, as well as their immense contribution towards sustaining basic functions like digestion, immunity, and brain function, the “microbiome” could just as well be relabeled the “macrobiome”; that is, if we are focusing on the size of its importance rather than physical dimensionality.
For instance, if you take away the trillions of viruses, bacteria and fungi that coexist with our human cells (the so-called holobiont), only 1% of the genetic material that keeps us ticking, and has for hundreds of millions of years, remains. One percent isn’t that much for the ego to work with, especially considering it now has to thank what were formerly believed to be mostly “infectious agents” for the fact that it exists. Even more perplexing, the remaining 1% of our contributed DNA to the collective gene pool of the holobiont is at least 8% retroviral (yes, the same category as HIV) in origin!
Us Against Them?
Once the object of modern medicine’s fundamental responsibility – the human body – is redefined and/or perceived with greater veracity, and “germs” become less other and more self, a challenge for germ theory which seeks to differentiate between the “good” germs we are versus the “bad” ones out there that we must fight with antibiotics and vaccines.
As many readers are already poignantly aware, today’s political climate and agenda is unilaterally pro-vaccination on both sides of the aisle (conveniently funded by the same industry lobbyists), with a tidal wave of bills across the U.S. set to eliminate exemptions against mandatory vaccination. The rationale, of course, is that deadly germs can only be prevented from killing the presumably germ-free host through injecting dead, weakened or genetically modified germ components to “prevent” theoretical future exposures and infection. This concept is of course intellectually infantile, and if you do some investigating you’ll find it was never quite grounded in compelling evidence or science.
But the intellectual implications of the microbiome go even deeper than undermining germ theory, vaccine policy, and the culture of medical monotheism that upholds these constructs…
Maternal Origins of Health and Ultimately our Species Identity
Deep within the substratum of humanity’s largely unquestioned assumptions of what it means to be human, the microbiome has also fundamentally displaced a latent patriarchal prejudice concerning the relative importance and contribution of the man and woman towards the health and ultimately the continuation of our species.
It has been known for some time that only women pass down mitochondrial DNA, already tipping the scales in favor of her dominant position in contributing genetic information (the seat of our humanity or species identity, no?) to offspring. The microbiome, however, changes everything in favor of amplifying this asymmetry of hereditary influence. Since we are all designed to gestate in the womb and come through the birth canal, and since the neonate’s microbiome is therein derived and established thereof, it follows that most of our genetic information as holobionts is maternal in origin. Even when the original colonization eventually changes and is displaced through environmentally-acquired microbial strains as the infant, child, adolescent, and then adult, develops, the original terrain and subsequent trajectory of changes was established through the mother (unless of course we were C-sectioned into the world).
Put in simpler terms: if 99% of what it means to be human is microbiome-based, and if the mother contributes most, if not all, of the original starting material, or at least the baseline and trajectory of future changes in the inner terrain, then her contribution becomes vastly more important than that of the father.
Moreover, the conditions surrounding gestation (important because of maternal-to-fetal microbiome trafficking in utero), her general health, and the way in which she gives birth (home, birth center, or hospital) now take on vastly greater importance than previously imagined. In other words, being born in a hospital via C-section and vaccination, will produce, genetically and epigenetically, a human that is so different – qualitatively – from one born at home, naturally, that they could almost be classified as different species, despite sharing nearly identical eukaryotic DNA (remember, only 1% of the holobiont’s total).
The Scientific Inevitability of Birth Feminism
Given this perspective, obstetric interventions are the archetypal expression of a male-dominated paradigm that seeks to manage a woman’s birth experience with largely unacknowledged consequences for the health of our species. Protecting health and preventing disease has now been traced back to the origins of the microbiome, best expressed through natural birth in the home, which has been estimated to be as much as 1,000 times safer than a hospital birth despite propaganda to the contrary.
In light of the new, microbiome-based view, the male role in protecting the health of women and children will be irrevocably downgraded in importance, not just professionally and medically, but biologically. First, it is interesting to look at the ancient roots of the biology-based psychospiritual disparities that exist between men and women, and which still influence today’s practice of medicine.
It would appear that men have from the beginning of time envied the creative role of women in conception, pregnancy, birth and caretaking. Erich Fromm also described the pyschospiritual implications for men of this biologically-based existential disparity in terms of the phenomena of womb-envy, exemplified by the biblical passage where God takes a rib from Adam to “create” Eve – an obvious reversal of the natural order of things, reflecting the inherent impotence men feel knowing their creative potency is secondary importance. It has been said, rightly, that the most powerful thing in the universe is to create life (is this not why we attribute this to “God”), and the second most powerful thing to take it. It is no coincidence that history, since it’s inception as recorded, is largely a documentation of the history of wars, of men “creating meaning” by killing men, and establishing symbol systems intended to capture by proxy the creative power latent within every woman’s body and experience. And so, 10,000 years later, the world ruled by monotheistic, male-principled religious and cultural systems, both in secular and religious form, it seems that the facts of our biology are now intervening to shake up these largely subconscious belief systems in favor of an ancient truth: women are superior to men, fundamentally. (Though it is not a type of superiority to be used against the “weaker sex”: men, rather but to denote a higher responsibility, and perhaps greater need to be supported by men to get the job done, together, as inscribed in the natural order of things and its inherent design.)
The birth process, also, has been described as the closest thing to death without dying (it is ironic that anesthesiology, which could also be described in the same way, makes obstetrical interventions like C-section and epidural possible, at the same moment that it negates the spiritual experience of natural birth/women’s empowerment we are describing), offering women a window into the ‘in between’ and a direct experience of Source that men, less likely to experience it naturally would later emulate and access through the various technologies of shamanism.
Clearly, protecting the microbiome is of utmost importance if we are making the health of our future generations a priority. Indeed, ensuring the health of our offspring is perhaps the most fundamental evolutionary imperative we have. How do we accomplish this? What is the microbiome but ultimately a selective array of commensal microorganisms that ultimately originated from the environment: in the air we breath, the soil we interact with, and the water and food, of course, we ingest. This means we can’t simply live in a hermetically sealed bubble of shopping for organic, non-GMO certified foods at Whole Foods, while the entire planet continues to go to post-industrial hell in a hand basket. Our responsibility becomes distributed across everything in the world, and every impactful choice then becomes relevant to the fundamental issue and imperative at hand. With the microbial biodiversity in Big Ag, GM-based agricultural zones fire-bombed with biocides, by the very same corporations that either own or distribute the “organic brands” we all love to think will save our bodies, if not the planet, we need to step deeper into our activism by stepping out of the diversions and palliative measures that don’t result in lasting change.
When we work with the natural world, when we honor and acknowledge what is unknown about the complex web that we all share, we will bring back a vital health that now seems so far out of reach. When we engage technologies positioned in the war against germs and organisms, however, we are doomed to fail and to cripple not only our species but our home.
Considering the high rate of wheat consumption, one wouldn’t suspect that the wheat industry has created a massive problem. Yet, looking at the facts surrounding this industry and this food source will give you pause.
The documentary What’s With Wheat examines the dynamics that shaped modern wheat and the business around it. It offers insights from many experts in the field who’ve conducted extensive research to help you understand why wheat has become so problematic for many people. The film gives unprecedented details of why wheat may be one of the key reasons behind many health issues.
The Wheat Dilemma
Wheat has transformed dramatically since the inception of modern industrial agriculture. Almost everything about wheat has changed. The way it’s raised, the hybridization, the way it’s processed, and the amount that we’re eating.
These changes have done little good when it comes to the environment and our health. First of all, through modern chemical farming, the food industry has destroyed the nutritional value of the wheat plant. In addition, the overuse of agrochemicals is slowly destroying our soil.
“Chemical fertilization leaves your foods and your crops deficient in vital minerals trace elements, micronutirents, because the soil is not getting those nutrients. Your soil is becoming desertified.” ~ Dr. Vandana Shiva, activist and author of Who Really Feeds the World
Furthermore, due to our over-consumption of wheat, we are also destroying the body’s ability to digest it. As a result, many people are now faced with insidious health problems. Often, it takes them years to realize that wheat is to blame.
“At a time as our diets are getting more and more nutrient void, and richer and richer in inflammatory compound, we are creating a perfect storm of events for chronic illness.” ~ Sarah Ballantyne, Ph. D., Health Advocate
Role of the Chemical Industry
Modern wheat wouldn’t be what it is today without the chemical industry.
The agrochemical revolution really started after World War II. At that time, corporations that produced chemicals for warfare needed a new market, and the agricultural industry was the perfect fit.
Sadly, instead of focusing their efforts to make plants healthier, the chemical producers focused on the yield of the plant.
With wheat in particular, they were definitely effective. Today, we have a pervasive abundance of wheat. It is heavily subsidized, making it a cheap ingredient available for food products.
In support of the wheat industry, corporations and politicians have effectively sold the public on the idea that wheat needs to be an important part of our diet.
“690 million tons of wheat that are produced every year indicate just how much money is at stake. This is a very difficult time for those who are more concerned about the truth and about what’s best for our health, versus the powers that be, who don’t want people to know the truth about wheat.” ~ Sayer Ji, Founder of GreenMedInfo
This abundance of modern wheat means that the plant and the byproducts of its production are now used to make many products. We are most familiar with wheat in foods such as breads and pastas. But, it is also present in food additives, preservatives, flavorings, cosmetics, personal care products, supplements, medications, and drinks.
One of the most popular chemicals used in wheat production is glyphosate, branded as Roundup. Interestingly, it is also the most contested. Regardless of countless red flags surrounding its safety, glyphosate use has increased multi-fold over the last few decades.
In 1990, wheat crop in the U.S. was sprayed with over 497,000 pounds of glyphosate. In 2014, this increased 35-fold, to over 17.7 million pounds sprayed just in that one year. (source)
Glyphosate is, of course, just one of the chemicals that producers spray on wheat fields. In fact, farmers typically use chemicals as many as ten times during the growing process. This includes sprays they put on seeds to make them sprout. Hormone sprays are used to make the stalks strong and to make the plants seed at the same time. Furthermore, fumigants are used during the warehousing stage. Finally, producers will use even more chemicals during the food processing stage to speed up the production process.
“The same things that protect wheat from insects and disease, are the same things that are the most inflammatory for our bodies.” ~ Cindi O’Meara, Nutritionist and founder of Changing Habits
Effect on the Microbiome
Today’s methods of growing wheat and producing wheat foods are creating a host of health problems for many people.
Many scientists believe that part of the problem stems from modern wheat’s effect on the gut microbiome.
The microbiome is a group of organisms that help us get the nutrition that we need. They help make vital nutrients and enable proper digestion of food. In addition, these beneficial bacteria support immune system function and the production of neurotransmitters.
“Glyphosate wreaks havoc on our microbiome. It inhibits our ability to have access to certain minerals, because it acts as a chelating agent. And it down regulates our ability to utilize Vitamin D.” ~ David Perlmutter, MD, neurologist and author of Grain Brain
As a result of increased wheat consumption, many people’s gastrointestinal track does not function properly. Consequently, the microbiome becomes less effective and more hostile.
Have you ever considered why non-celiac gluten sensitivity is more common now than ever before? Many researchers into the wheat dilemma believe it’s because of modern wheat and its chemicals.
Non-celiac gluten sensitivity can manifest itself into stomach aches, regurgitation, acid reflux, chronic constipation, chronic diarrhea, headaches, joint pain, irritability, attention deficit syndrome, etc. Because of the wide variety of symptoms, doctors have a difficult time diagnosing gluten sensitivity. As well, there is no way to test for it.
The problem of gluten sensitivity is amplified by the approach that the medical system uses to treat it. Instead of addressing the issue, doctors often address the symptoms. Yet, the only way to really treat the symptoms of gluten sensitivity is to stop consuming gluten.
Further details surrounding the wheat dilemma are discussed in the full documentary, What’s With Wheat, available below:
About the author
Anna Hunt is writer, yoga instructor, mother of three, and lover of healthy food. She’s the founder of Awareness Junkie, an online community paving the way for better health and personal transformation. She’s also the co-editor at Waking Times, where she writes about optimal health and wellness. Anna spent 6 years in Costa Rica as a teacher of Hatha and therapeutic yoga. She now teaches at Asheville Yoga Center and is pursuing her Yoga Therapy certification. During her free time, you’ll find her on the mat or in the kitchen, creating new kid-friendly superfood recipes.
This article is copyrighted by GreenMedInfo LLC, 2017
This work is reproduced and distributed with the permission of GreenMedInfo LLC.
Groundbreaking research indicates that nearly everything we once believed about the purportedly deadly properties of flu virus may be based on institutionalized superstition and myth.
Germ theory is an immensely powerful force on this planet, affecting everyday interactions from a handshake, all the way up the ladder to national vaccination agendas and global eradication campaigns. But what if fundamental research on what exactly these ‘pathogens’ are, how they infect us, has not yet even been performed? What if much of what is assumed and believed about the danger of microbes, particularly viruses, has completely been undermined in light of radical new discoveries in microbiology?
In today’s article, I will take a less philosophical approach, and focus on influenza as a more concrete example of the Copernican-level paradigm shift in biomedicine and life sciences we are all presently fully immersed within, even if many in the establishment have yet to fully acknowledge it.
Deadly Flu Viruses: Vaccinate or Die?
The way health policy makers talk about it today, flu virus is a deadly force, against which all citizens, of all ages 6 months or older, need to take an annual influenza vaccine to protect themselves against, lest they face deadly consequences. Worse, those who hold religious or philosophical objections, or who otherwise conscientiously object to vaccinating, are being characterized as doing harm to others by denying them herd immunity (a concept that has been completely debunked by a careful study of the evidence, or lack thereof). For instance, in the interview below Bill Gates tells Sanjay Gupta that he thinks non-vaccinators “kill children”:
But what if I told you that there isn’t even such a thing as “flu virus,” in the sense of a monolithic, disease vector existing outside of us, conceived as it is as the relationship of predator to prey?
First, consider that the highly authorative Cochrane collaboration acknowledges there are many different flu viruses that are not, in fact, influenza A — against which flu vaccines are targeted — but which nonetheless can contribute to symptoms identical to those attributed to influenza A:
“Over 200 viruses cause influenza and influenza-like illness which produce the same symptoms (fever, headache, aches and pains, cough and runny noses). Without laboratory tests, doctors cannot tell the two illnesses apart. Both last for days and rarely lead to death or serious illness. At best, vaccines might be effective against only Influenza A and B, which represent about 10% of all circulating viruses.” (Source: Cochrane Summaries).” [emphasis added]
This makes for a picture of complexity that powerfully undermines health policies that presuppose vaccination equates to bona fide immunity, and by implication, necessitates the herd collectively participate in the ritual of mass vaccination campaigns as a matter of social responsibility and necessity.
Even the use of the word “immunization” to describe vaccination is highly misleading. The moment the word is used, it already presupposes efficacy, and makes it appear as if non-vaccinators are anti-immunity, instead of what they actually are: pro-immunity (via clean air, food, water, and sunlight), but unwilling to subject themselves or their healthy children to “unavoidably unsafe” medical procedures with only theoretical benefits.
Why Flu Virus Doesn’t Exist (The Way We Were Told)
But the topic gets even more interesting when we consider the findings of a 2015 study entitled “Conserved and host-specific features of influenza vision architecture.” This was the first study ever to plumb the molecular depths of what influenza virus is actually composed of. Amazingly, given the long history of vaccine use and promotion, the full characterization of what proteins it contains, and where they are derived from, was never previously performed. How we invest billions of dollars annually into flu vaccines, and have created a global campaign to countermand a viral enemy, whose basic building blocks we don’t even know, is hard to understand. But it is true nonetheless.
The study abstract opens with this highly provocative line:
“Viruses use virions to spread between hosts, and virion composition is therefore the primary determinant of viral transmissibility and immunogenicity.” [emphasis added]
Virion are also known as “viral particles,” and they are the means by which viral nucleic acids are able to move and ‘infect’ living organisms. Without the viral particle (taxi) to carry around the virus DNA (passenger), it would be harmless; in fact, viruses are often described as existing somewhere between living and inanimate objects for this reason: they do not produce their own energy, nor are transmissable without a living host. And so, in this first line, the authors are making it clear that virion composition is also the primary determinant in how or whether a virus is infectious (transmits) and what affects it will have in the immune system of the infected host.
Influenza viral particles.
This distinction is important because we often think of viruses as simply pathogenic strings of DNA or RNA. The irony, of course, is that the very things we attribute so much lethality to — viral nucleic acids — are not even alive, and can not infect an organism without all the other components (proteins, lipids, extra-viral nucleic acids) which are, technically, not viral in origin, participating in the process. And so, if the components that are non-viral are essential for the virus to cause harm, how can we continue to maintain that we up against a monolithic disease entity “out there” who “infects” us, a passive victim? It’s fundamentally non-sensical, given these findings. It also clearly undermines the incessant, fear-based rhetoric those beholden to the pro-vaccine use to coerce the masses into undergoing the largely faith-based rite of vaccination.
Let’s dive deeper into the study’s findings…
The next line of the abstract addresses the fact we opened this article with: namely, that there is great complexity involved at the level of the profound variability in virion composition:
“However, the virions of many viruses are complex and pleomorphic, making them difficult to analyze in detail”
But this problem of the great variability in the virion composition of influenza is exactly why the study was conducted. They explain:
“Here we address this by identifying and quantifying viral proteins with mass spectrometry, producing a complete and quantifiable model of the hundreds of viral and host-encoded proteins that make up the pleomorphic virions of influenza virus. We show that a conserved influenza virion architecture, which includes substantial quantities of host proteins as well as the viral protein NSI, is elaborated with abundant host-dependent features. As a result, influenza virions produced by mammalian and avian hosts have distinct protein compositions.”
In other words, they found that the flu virus is as much comprised of biological material from the host the virus ‘infects,’ as the viral genetic material of the virus per se.
How then, do we differentiate influenza virus as fully “other”? Given that it would not exist without “self” proteins, or those of other host animals like birds (avian) or insects, this would be impossible to do with any intellectual honesty intact.
There’s also the significant problem presented by flu vaccine production. Presently, human flu vaccine antigen is produced via insects and chicken eggs. This means that the virus particles extracted from these hosts would contain foreign proteins, and would therefore produce different and/or unpredictable immunological responses in humans than would be expected from human influenza viral particles. One possibility is that the dozens of foreign proteins found within avian influenza could theoretically produce antigens in humans that cross-react with self-structures resulting in autoimmunity. Safety testing, presently, does not test for these cross reactions. Clearly, this discovery opens up a pandora’s box of potential problems that have never sufficiently been analyzed, since it was never understood until now that “influenza” is so thoroughly dependent upon a host for its transmissability and immunogenecity.
Are Flu Viruses Really “Hijacked” Exosomes?
Lastly, the study identified something even more amazing:
“Finally, we note that influenza virions share an underlying protein composition with exosomes, suggesting that influenza virions form by subverting micro vesicle” production.”
What these researchers are talking about is the discovery that virion particles share stunning similarities to naturally occurring virus-like particles produced by all living cells called exosomes. Exosomes, like many viruses (i.e. enveloped viruses) are enclosed in a membrane, and are within the 50-100 nanometer size range that viruses are (20-400 nm). They also contain biologically active molecules, such as proteins and lipids, as well as information-containing ones like RNAs — exactly, or very similar, to the types of contents you find in viral particles.
Watch this basic video on exosomes to get a primer:
In light of this post-Germ Theory perspective, viruses could be described as pieces of information in search of chromosomes; not inherently “bad,” but, in fact, essential for mediating the genotype/phenotype relationship within organisms, who must adapt to ever-shifting environmental conditions in real-time in order to survive; something the glacial pace of genetic changes within the primary nucleotide sequences of our DNA cannot do (for instance, it may take ~ 100,000 years for a protein-coding gene sequence to change versus seconds for a protein-coding gene’s expression to be altered via modulation via viral or exosomal RNAs).
This does not mean they are “all good,” either. Sometimes, given many conditions outside their control, their messages could present challenges or misinformation to the cells to which they are exposed, which could result in a “disease symptom.” But with the caveat that these disease symptoms are often if not invariably attempts by the body to self-regulate and ultimately improve and heal itself.
In other words, the virion composition of viruses appears to be the byproduct of the cell’s normal exosome (also known as microvessicle) production machinery and trafficking, albeit being influenced by influenza DNA. And like exosomes, viruses may be a means of extracellular communication between cells, instead of simply a pathological disease entity. This could explain why an accumulating body of research on the role of the virome in human health indicates that so-called infectious agents, including viruses like measles, confer significant health benefits. [see: the Health Benefits of Measles and The Healing Power of Germs?].
Other researchers have come to similar discoveries about the relationship between exosomes and viruses, sometimes describing viral hijacking of exosome pathways as a “Trojan horse” hypothesis. HIV may provide such an example.
The remarkably recent discovery of the host-dependent nature of the influenza virus’ virion composition is really just the tip of an intellectual iceberg that has yet to fully emerge into the light of day, but is already “sinking” ships; paradigm ships, if you will.
One such paradigm is that germs are enemy combatants, and that viruses serve no fundamental role in our health, and should be eradicated from the earth with drugs and vaccines, if possible.
This belief, however, is untenable. With the discovery of the indispensable role of the microbiome, and the subpopulation of viruses within it — the virome — we have entered into an entirely new, ecologically-based view of the body and its environs that are fundamentally inseparable. Ironically, the only thing that influenza may be capable of killing is germ theory itself.
For an in-depth exploration of this, watch the lecture below on the virome. I promise, if you do so, you will no longer be able to uphold germ theory as a monolithic truth any longer. You may even start to understand how we might consider some viruses “our friends,” and why we may need viruses far more than they need us.
Interesting in learning more about vaccines, germ theory, and their implications to medicine and personal liberty? Watch the upcoming Vaccines Revealed documentary, with Sayer Ji, and 30 other experts on the topic.
Diets can be overwhelming, but one small change can do a lot.
In the spirit of Drynuary, I’d like to propose another health-oriented month of the year. Perhaps called Crunch-uary or Poop-tober, it would be 30 days in which Americans, for once, eat enough dietary fiber.Currently, Americans only eat about 16 grams of fiber —the parts of plants that can’t be digested—per day. That’s way less than the 25 to 30 grams that’s recommended.There are so many reasons why, from fast-food marketing to agriculture subsidies, but one contributing factor is the slow death of cooking, and the rise of the restaurant meal. Americans now spend more on food at restaurants than they do at grocery stores, but restaurant food tends to have even less fiber than the food we would otherwise eat at home.One problem seems to be that restaurant meals aren’t typically loaded with two of the best sources of fiber, unprocessed fruits and vegetables. A revealing study from 2007, in which researchers interviewed 41 restaurant executives, showed that restaurants think fruits and vegetables are too expensive to feature prominently on the menu, and “61 percent said profits drive menu selections.” They also opposed labeling certain menu items as healthier choices, saying that would be “the kiss of death.” So people like to eat out, and when they do, they prefer mushy, fiber-free comfort foods. But that’s a pretty dangerous road to go down.As my colleague Ed Yong has written, low-fiber diets make gut bacteria more homogenous, possibly for generations. Mice that are fed high-fiber diets have less-severe food allergies, potentially because gut bacteria break down fiber into short-chain fatty acids, which support the immune system. A more recent study in mice found that a low-fiber diet can spark inflammation in the intestines. We still need more studies to understand exactly how fiber and the microbiome interact in humans. But we do know that hunter-gatherer communities in Tanzania and elsewhere, who don’t eat Western diets, eat about 100 grams of fiber a day and have much more diverse microbiomes than Westerners.“We’re beginning to realize that people who eat more dietary fiber are actually feeding their gut microbiome,” Justin Sonnenburg, a microbiologist at Stanford University, explained to NPR.There are also already plenty of other studies detailing the many ways fiber boosts health.
Behold, an extremely confusing flow chart, from a 2005 study, showing how fiber leads to greater satiety, less insulin secretion, and more short-chain fatty acids, which all amounts to one thing: Less body weight.
“Our citizens should know the urgent facts…but they don’t because our media serves imperial, not popular interests. They lie, deceive, connive and suppress what everyone needs to know, substituting managed news misinformation and rubbish for hard truths…”—Oliver Stone