Live in the Now Health. Freedom. Knowledge Fri, 31 Jul 2015 20:31:30 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Meet the 75 Brands Still Lacing Your Food with a Dangerous Chemical Fri, 31 Jul 2015 14:24:38 +0000 BPA laced foods

It’s widely known that bisphenol-A (BPA), an endocrine-disrupting chemical, is used in plastics, and as a result it’s been removed from many baby bottles, water bottles, and other plastic products.

Lesser known is the fact that BPA is also used to make BPA resins, which keep metal from corroding and breaking. It coats about 75 percent of cans in North America, which means if you eat canned foods, it’s likely a major source of BPA exposure for you.

In one study, eating canned soup for five days increased study participants’ urinary concentrations of BPA by more than 1,000% compared to eating freshly made soup![1] Even as the health risks surrounding BPA have become too many to ignore, food manufacturers have been slow to remove this chemical from cans – and even if they do, you’re still not in the clear.

75 Common Food Brands Still Use BPA in Their Canned Products

The Environmental Working Group (EWG) analyzed 252 canned food brands in 2014 to reveal whether their cans are coated with a BPA-based epoxy lining. Seventy-eight brands are still using the chemical including those listed below:[2]

Brands still using BPA

Why aren’t more food companies removing this toxic chemical from their products? The industry trade group the American Chemistry Council has continually insisted that BPA is safe, and has opposed both state and federal legislative proposals to ban the chemical.

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has also supported its safety, and in 2014 issued an official announcement in reaffirming BPA’s “safety.”[3] The decision came after a review of 300 studies, even though more than 800 academic studies have concluded BPA may harm reproduction and development.[4]

Why did the FDA only review 300? And if there are 800 showing developmental harm, how is it that they managed to pick 300 that fail to make such a connection?

These are questions that remain to be answered, but one piece of good news from EWG’s report is that 31 brands now use BPA-free cans for all of their canned products. This included:[5]

Brands That are BPA Free

BPA vs. BPS Options

Cans need to be lined with something, and you’ll typically have no way of knowing what that “something” is. Often, it’s a similar chemical known as bisphenol-S (BPS).

Unfortunately, BPS is not a safe alternative. Research has shown BPS has estrogenic activity comparable to estradiol, the most potent human estrogen. It was also found to be capable of enhancing estradiol-mediated cell signaling, making it a particularly potent endocrine disruptor.[6]

Furthermore, the study showed BPS can induce apoptosis (cell death) and interfere with cellular secretion of prolactin (PRL)—a hormone that regulates hundreds of biological functions, including metabolism, reproduction, and lactation.

Originally, BPS was heralded as a suitable alternative because it appeared to be less prone to leaching than BPA… but it must be getting into food because the majority of Americans already have detectable levels in their bodies. Scientific American noted:[7]

“BPS was a favored replacement because it was thought to be more resistant to leaching. If people consumed less of the chemical, the idea went, it would not cause any or only minimal harm. Yet BPS is getting out. Nearly 81 percent of Americans have detectable levels of BPS in their urine. And once it enters the body it can affect cells in ways that parallel BPA.”

Unfortunately, even if a can (or plastic product) is labeled BPA-free, you can’t be sure it’s also free of BPS. And even if it doesn’t contain BPS, there’s a good chance it contains other harmful chemicals, like phthalates.

Banning BPS will not solve this problem, as there are many types of bisphenols, and simply switching from one to another is nothing but a game of toxic musical chairs.

At present, you may be paying more for a “BPA-free” product that is no safer than the old BPA-containing variety… You’re also exposed to a number of other chemicals courtesy of food and beverage containers,[8] most of which have no warning labels at all.

What Are the Health Risks of BPA (and Possibly BPS)?

As an endocrine disrupter, BPA mimics or interferes with your body’s hormones and “disrupts” your endocrine system. The glands of your endocrine system and the hormones they release influence almost every cell, organ, and function of your body.

It is instrumental in regulating mood, growth and development, tissue function, metabolism, as well as sexual function and reproductive processes. BPA has been linked to a number of health concerns, particularly in pregnant women, fetuses and young children, but also in adults, including:

Health Concerns Linked to BPA

Further, research involving humans has shown similar risks. For instance, BPA from cans or plastic bottles can raise your blood pressure within just a few hours of ingestion.[9] And in an NHANES study, published in 2010, adults with the highest levels of BPA in their urine were more than twice as likely to develop coronary heart disease as those with the lowest levels.[10]

In addition, ovarian toxicity appears to be a particularly strong feature of BPA. Harvard researchers have found that higher BPA levels in women are linked to a reduced number of fertile eggs. According to the New York Times:[11]

“The accumulating research fuels rising concern among scientists that childhood exposure to BPA may well contribute to female infertility, and that adult exposure may result in a shorter reproductive life span. ‘I think most scientists working today agree that BPA is an ovarian toxicant,’ Dr. Flaws said. A review of research into BPA, published this summer in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives,[12] noted that ovarian toxicity is among the most consistent and strongest effects found ‘in both animal models and in women.’”

Other Products Where BPA and Endocrine-Disrupting Chemicals Are Found

Cutting out canned goods will not be enough to rid your pantry of BPA. Aside from canned goods, BPA is often found in:

    • Soda cans
    • Certain plastics and food packaging
    • Certain tooth sealants
    • Certain BPA-free plastics
    • Receipts and currency (seek to limit or avoid carrying receipts in your wallet or purse, as it appears the chemical is transferring onto other surfaces it touches.

It would also be wise to wash your hands after handling receipts and currency, and avoid handling them particularly if you’ve just put on lotion or have any other greasy substance on your hands, as this may increase your exposure)

Even if you manage to avoid BPA or BPS, you’re likely to come into contact with phthalates, which are used as plasticizers in everything from vinyl flooring to detergents and toys. This hormone disrupter can also be found in soaps, shampoos, and cosmetics of all kinds. They’re even used as food additives!

Research has linked phthalates with the feminization of males of all species. These chemicals have disrupted the endocrine systems of wildlife, causing testicular cancer, genital deformations, low sperm counts, and infertility in polar bears, deer, whales, and otters, just to name a few.

Scientists believe phthalates are responsible for a similar pattern in humans as well. The effects of phthalate exposure are very similar to that of bisphenols (BPA and BPS), which isn’t surprising considering they all affect your endocrine system and sex hormones. The best way to steer clear of such chemicals is to eat fresh, unprocessed foods, which will minimize your exposure to chemicals in food packaging of all kinds.

15 Tips to Reduce Your Exposure to Endocrine-Disrupting Chemicals

Although it’s virtually impossible to steer clear of ALL potentially hazardous chemicals, you can certainly minimize your exposure by keeping some key principles in mind.

  1. Eat mostly fresh whole foods. Processed and packaged foods are a common source of BPA and phthalates—particularly cans, but also foods packaged in plastic wrap.
  2. Buy products that come in glass bottles and jars rather than plastic or cans. Brick-shaped cardboard cartons may also be preferable to plastic or cans.
  3. Store your food and beverages in glass, rather than plastic, and avoid using plastic wrap. Use glass containers if heating food in your microwave, as heat tends to increase the release of chemicals from plastic.
  4. Use glass baby bottles for your infants.
  5. Be careful with cash register receipts. If you use a store regularly, encourage the management to switch to BPA-free receipts. I shop at Publix for my food and when I called them about the receipts it turns out they had already switched. Nevertheless it is wise to limit your contact with all these receipts.
  6. Look for products that are made by companies that are earth-friendly, animal-friendly, sustainable, certified organic, and GMO-free. This applies to everything from food and personal care products to building materials, carpeting, paint, baby items, furniture, mattresses, and more. When redoing your home, look for “green,” toxin-free alternatives in lieu of regular paint and vinyl floor coverings, the latter of which is another source of phthalates.
  7. Choose toys made from natural materials to avoid plastic chemicals like phthalates and BPA/BPS, particularly for items your child may be prone to suck or chew on.
  8. Breastfeed your baby exclusively if possible, for at least the first year (as you will avoid phthalates exposure from infant formula packaging and plastic bottles/nipples).
  9. Use natural cleaning products, or make your own.
  10. Switch over to organic toiletries, including shampoo, toothpaste, antiperspirants, and cosmetics. EWG’s Skin Deep database can help you find personal care products that are free of phthalates and other potentially dangerous chemicals.[13]
  11. Replace your vinyl shower curtain with a fabric one.
  12. Replace feminine hygiene products (tampons and sanitary pads) with safer alternatives. While most ingredients in feminine hygiene products are undisclosed, tests suggest they may contain dioxins and petrochemical additives.
  13. Look for fragrance-free products; phthalates are often used to help the product hold its fragrance longer. Artificial fragrance can also contain hundreds—even thousands—of potentially toxic chemicals. Avoid fabric softeners, dryer sheets, air fresheners, and scented candles for the same reason.
  14. Check your home’s tap water for contaminants and filter the water if necessary. You may also want to use an alternative to PVC pipes for your water supply.
  15. Teach your children not to drink water from the garden hose, as many are made with phthalate-containing plastics.


This article originally appeared on: . See original here.


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Three New FDA-Approved Diabetes Drugs May Cause Diabetic Comas Thu, 30 Jul 2015 18:36:54 +0000 Pain MedicationThe FDA recently posted a warning that three drugs used to treat type 2 diabetes may lead to diabetic ketoacidosis, or DKA.

According to their report, canagliflozin (brand name: Invokana), dapagliflozin (Farxiga), and empagliflozin (Jardiance) — all sodium-glucose cotransporter-2 (SGLT2) inhibitors — are the drugs linked to the condition, which is characterized by having too much acid in the blood.

Ketoacidosis can lead to diabetic coma and even death. The signs and symptoms of DKA include difficulty breathing, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, confusion, and unusual fatigue or sleepiness.

Normally, those with type 1 diabetes are at risk for DKA, whereas it is a rare condition for those with type 2 diabetes.

The three drugs the FDA includes in the warning are called sodium-glucose cotransporter-2 inhibitors, which are designed to lower blood sugar in type 2 diabetes patients. From March 2013 to June 2014, the FDA reported twenty cases of DKA. Every case required hospitalization. FDA also found that the median time to onset was two weeks after starting the drugs.

This is another in a long line of examples of the harm Big Pharma’s drugs can cause. When it comes to the development of new ways to treat diseases, the current system drives the creation of more and more exorbitantly priced drugs that, as we’ve seen above and especially in last week’s testimonial, cause more harm than good.

As we’ve noted before, it is possible for many diabetics to keep their blood sugar levels close to a truly normal range with an integrative approach. Here are some natural ways to control or even reverse diabetes—though please remember that any significant changes to your diet, supplement regime, testing, or lifestyle should be made only after consultation with your healthcare professional:

  • Diet. A diet loaded with leafy greens and other low-starch veggies, high-quality fats, and clean sources of protein is helpful in controlling blood sugar. Be sure to look for a nutritional advisor who is independent, however! Organizations like the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and the American Society for Nutrition receive major funding from corporate food interests, including junk food companies. In stark contrast, the Board for Certification of Nutrition Specialists is not similarly compromised.
  • Botanicals. Jonathan Wright, MD, notes that several studies show that berberine, an alkaloid found in the herb goldenseal, can lower blood glucose as effectively as the drug metformin at similar doses (500 mg 3x/day). Indian kino gum resin (Pterocarpus marsupium) has been found to regenerate the beta cells that make insulin in the pancreas. This finding validates its long use in Indian Ayurvedic medicine for diabetes. Other herbs or food ingredients researched for control of blood sugar include cinnamon, bitter melon, and the fruit Garcinia cambogia to enhance insulin sensitivity.
  • Supplement wisely. According to Dr. Julian Whitaker, the water-soluble antioxidants and other nutrients that protect against damage may be lost in the excessive urination that accompanies diabetes. For this or other reasons, people with diabetes are more prone to develop kidney disease. All vitamin, mineral, and amino acid levels should be checked, monitored, and kept in normal range with supplements if necessary, along with checking blood glucose, insulin, and A1c, a longer-term marker for blood sugar. Dr. Whitaker particularly recommends supplementing with magnesium and chromium, and alpha lipoic acid and acetyl-L-carnitine for peripheral neuropathy.
  • Exercise at least thirty minutes every day. This will also control blood pressure.
  • Take care with prescription drugs. Besides the above warnings, the FDA has launched a safety review of the diabetes drug Actos in light of new data suggesting that the drug may increase risk of bladder cancer. And a combination of two common drugs—one an antidepressant, the other a statin used to lower blood cholesterol—may put people at risk for developing diabetes. This finding is especially important because so little is known about how drugs interact with each other, and so many people are prescribed multiple drugs together. The good news is that it is often possible to control diabetes without the use of any drugs.

This article was republished with permission from the Alliance for Natural Health newsletter. Go straight to the source

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10 Crucial Questions Your Doctor Should Ask You (But Probably Doesn’t) Wed, 29 Jul 2015 18:53:06 +0000 Doctor Writing a PrescriptionWe all know what it’s like to fill out detailed forms about our medical history at the doctor’s office. But is your doctor asking you the questions he or she really needs in order to get a good read on your health? At the Whole Health Medicine Institute, the training program my team runs for doctors, nurses, acupuncturists, energy healers and other health care providers, we teach healers how to ask patients the right questions.
But in case your doctor isn’t asking you the questions that might illuminate potential root causes of your illness, try asking yourself these questions.

1. What is your body saying no to?

What is really true for us—wholly, deeply, undeniably true at a soul level—often appears as flashes of intuition. We encounter it in dark nights of the soul. We see it reflected back to us through the mirrors of other people. We feel it in our bones. But we often deny what is true for us. If we ignore the truth when it visits us from the subtle realms, it tends to out-picture via the body.
The body speaks to us in whispers, but if we fail to pay attention to the whispers, the body starts to yell. Discomfort in the body may start as tightness in the solar plexus, or it shows up as back pain or headaches. If we still ignore the messages our bodies are sending us about what is true for us, the body breaks down in more life-threatening ways. If your doctor asked you “What is your body saying ‘No’ to?” would you be brave enough to tell yourself the truth?

2. What does your body need in order to heal?

As doctors, we go to medical school, ostensibly so we know your body better than you do. While it may be true that we know your anatomy better than you, your intuition knows what is in your body’s best interest better than any doctor possibly could.
When you’re asked, “What does your body need in order to heal?” you may be surprised at what comes up. You might answer “I need to eat a raw foods diet” or “I need to do yoga every night” or “I have to make sure I get eight hours of sleep.” Or you might be surprised to find yourself saying things like “I need to quit my job” or “I need to break up with my boyfriend” or “I need to set boundaries with my mother.” There are no guarantees that you’ll be cured if you actually do what you think might support your healing. But you never know. There might be a miracle right around the corner if you’re willing to trust yourself.

3. What’s out of balance in your life?

In my book Mind Over Medicine, I share a wellness model that I call “The Whole Health Cairn,” which acknowledges that “whole health” depends not just on what you eat, how much you sleep, and how much exercise you get, but on the health of your relationships, your work and sense of life purpose, your creativity, your spirituality, your sexuality, your finances, your environment, and your mental health.

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Many of us devote all of our bandwidth to one or two aspects of our lives, at the expense of the others. We throw ourselves into our work but neglect our creative side. Or we deplete ourselves by caretaking those we love at the cost of our sense of life purpose. A wholly healthy life requires feeding all of what nourishes us. This isn’t just some New Age concept. It’s scientifically proven, with all the data to support these claims published in Mind Over Medicine (in case you’re a science nerd like me!)

4. Do you feel like you’re in touch with your life’s purpose?

People who are living in alignment with their life purpose tend to be healthier than those who feel out of touch with their mission or calling. In fact, some even experience “spontaneous” remissions from seemingly “incurable” illnesses when they finally do whatever it takes to live out their calling. Yet too many of us choose comfort and certainty as our primary values, even if it means violating how the soul yearns to contribute in this world.

5. Are you lonely?

Lonely people are three times more likely to die young than people who feel like they belong to part of a tribe, and those who feel supported by their community have half the risk of heart disease compared to those who feel socially isolated. In fact, researchers posit that loneliness may be a greater risk factor for your health than an unhealthy diet, not exercising, or smoking. But when was the last time your doctor screened you for loneliness?

6. Do you feel sexually satisfied?

Scientific data proves that sex increases your longevity, lowers your risk of heart disease and stroke, reduces your risk of breast cancer, bolsters your immune system, helps you sleep, relieves chronic pain, and reduces the risk of depression, and lowers stress levels. You may not think your sex life and your health are related, but studies suggest that they are. In fact, a study of Ikarian men (who are known to live to be well over a hundred), found that among men aged 65–100, 80% of them claimed to have sex regularly, and a quarter of that self-reported group said they were doing so with “good duration” and “achievement.” Go dudes.

7. Do you feel depressed, anxious, or frequently afraid?

Happy people live 7–10 years longer than depressed people, and as is well documented scientifically in my book The Fear Cure, fear and anxiety have been shown to predispose you to heart disease, cancer, and even the common cold.

8. Are you an optimist or a pessimist?

Your attitude affects your health. Happy people live, and optimists are 77% less likely to die from heart disease than pessimists.

9. Do you often feel helpless?

As has been demonstrated in many scientific studies, when we feel empowered to change the things that get us down, we boost our body’s ability to fight disease, whereas when we feel helpless, at the mercy of life, our immune systems weaken, and we are prone to illness. In fact, the phenomena psychologist Martin Seligman calls “learned helplessness” has been shown to reduce a rat’s ability to fight off cancer. Empowered rats injected with cancer died of cancer 30% of the time, while the helpless rats died 73% of the time.

10. Do you believe in a Higher Power?

Your spiritual life has been scientifically shown to protect your health. In fact, people who attend religious services live up to 14 years longer than those who don’t. You don’t have to go to the church, synagogue, or mosque to experience the health benefits of a rich spiritual life.

People who are “spiritual but not religious” also experience health benefits, most likely because trust in a Higher Power reduces stress responses in the nervous system, thereby activating the body’s natural self-repair mechanisms and helping the body heal itself.


Dr. Lissa RankinLissa Rankin, MD is an integrative medicine physician, author, speaker, artist, and founder of the online communities and Discouraged by our broken health care system, Dr. Rankin set out to discover why some patients experience cure from seemingly “incurable” illnesses, while others remain sick even when they receive the best medical care. Fueled by a passion to determine what really makes people healthy and what really predisposes them to illness, she dug into the medical literature to study how doctors might better care for patients and patients might better care for themselves. Her research helped her understand and translate how thoughts and emotions originating in the mind translate into measurable physiological phenomena. She is now leading a health care revolution to help patients heal themselves, while encouraging the health care industry to embrace and facilitate, rather than resist, the possibility of patient-initiated spontaneous remission. She will be sharing the findings of her research about self-healing in her upcoming book Mind Over Medicine: Scientific Proof You Can Heal Yourself (Hay House 2013). Lissa lives in Marin County, California with her husband and daughter.

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11 Serious Concerns About Vegetable Oils (No. 3 is Scary) Tue, 28 Jul 2015 19:48:50 +0000 Saturated fat was previously blamed for raising cholesterol and causing heart disease, but this has now been disproven (1, 2). For some reason, dietary guidelines still recommend that we consume vegetable oils instead of saturated fats like butter. This includes oils like soybean oil, cottonseed oil, canola oil, safflower oil, sunflower oil and grapeseed oil (and a few others).

Vegetable oils are claimed to lower cholesterol levels, which should help prevent heart disease, the world’s biggest killer. However… many studies have raised serious concerns about these oils (3). Despite lowering LDL cholesterol, they can have disastrous consequences for other aspects of health and metabolism.

Here are 11 reasons to avoid vegetable oils like the plague.

1312565.large1. Vegetable Oils Are Extremely High in Omega-6 Linoleic Acid

You’ve probably heard of Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids before. These fatty acids are polyunsaturated, meaning that they have many double bonds in their chemical structure. They are often termed the essential fatty acids, because the body lacks the enzymes to produce them. These fatty acids play important roles in many biochemical pathways, including those related to inflammation, immunity and blood clotting.

The problem is… we need to get Omega-3 and Omega-6 in a certain balance. When this balance goes off, it can interrupt these important biochemical pathways (4). For example, these two types of fatty acids often compete for the same enzymes and the same spots in cell membranes (5, 6).

They often have related but opposing roles. For example, both of them are used to produce signalling molecules called eicosanoids. Eicosanoids made from Omega-6s tend to be pro-inflammatory, while those made from Omega-3s tend to be anti-inflammatory (7, 8).

Throughout evolution, we consumed balanced amounts of both Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids. The problem today, is that this balance is drastically skewed towards Omega-6. Not only are people eating way too much Omega-6, but their Omega-3 intake is also incredibly low, which is a recipe for disaster. Whereas back in the day our Omega-6:Omega-3 ratio may have been about 1:1-3:1, these days it is about 16:1… which is way outside of evolutionary norms (9).

Vegetable oils are the biggest source of Omega-6 fatty acids in the diet… by far. They are particularly high in the Omega-6 fatty acid linoleic acid. This fatty acid causes a host of problems when consumed in excessive amounts… especially when Omega-3 intake is low (which is usually the case).

Bottom Line: Vegetable oils are very high in an Omega-6 fatty acid called linoleic acid, which can contribute to all sorts of problems in large amounts.

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The Safest Alternative to Chemical Pesticides Has Been Right Under Our Noses Mon, 27 Jul 2015 21:55:58 +0000 mushrooms (high res)The devastation wrought by pesticides on the environment and human health cannot be overestimated. Is it possible for a non-toxic, natural substance to be an effective alternative to the harmful chemicals used to kill insects?

The Fungi Solution

In 2006, mycologist Paul Stamets was awarded a patent for a pesticide that is made from mushrooms. The scientist devised a way to grow fungi that attract pestilential insects, which results in the creatures’ death after they feed on the mushrooms that are lethal to their system. It is a safe solution for controlling more than 200,000 insects. The method doesn’t harm the health of the farmer or people who consume the crops, nor is it destructive to the environment.

How did the pesticide industry respond to the debut of the fungal pesticide? They said the patent represents “the most disruptive technology that we have ever witnessed.” Yet it is infinitely superior to the toxic pesticides in rampant use. As Disinformation pointed out, the entity affected by the “disruption” would be the chemical pesticide industry.

Effects of Chemical Pesticides

The fungal method of crop protection contrasts markedly with traditional pesticides that leave toxic residues behind. The toxicity has been linked to human health maladies, such as cancer, birth defects, and infertility, as well as has been responsible for a dramatic decline of the bee population. Aside from killing pestilential insects, chemical pesticides kill many of the beneficial ones that are natural predators of the pest variety. Furthermore, insects often become resistant to the pesticides, a problem that necessitates repeated and more voluminous spraying along with the use of stronger, more toxic chemicals.

Later Research on Fungal Pesticides

After the launch of Stamets’ product, other researchers showed an interest in studying the use of fungi for pesticides. One such case occurred in 2010, when a study at Swansea University at the U.K. discovered that Metarhizium anisopliae, a naturally occurring fungus, was an effective pesticide against a broad range of crops. The scientists achieved almost total control over the larvae of western flower thrips and vine weevils when the fungus was combined with nematodes. “The benefits are far reaching—not just for those with organic farms or nurseries but also for conventional growers, offering an effective, environmentally friendly alternative to chemicals,” said lead author Tariq Butt. He believes this fungal biological control agent could reduce the use of chemical pesticides while decreasing costs for farmers.

Aside from the UK study, yet more research on fungal pesticides has had positive results. An Australian government experiment in 2009 successfully used a fungal biopesticide to control lice on sheep. In addition, scientists at Utah State University studied a fungus that kills Mormon crickets by depositing spores inside the insects, a mechanism of action that eventually breaks the creatures’ exoskeletons.

While the methods differ in which fungal pesticides work, all of the products show great promise as substitutes for chemical pesticides. The impact of this field of research and development could be enormously significant.


Mary West is a natural health enthusiast, as she believes this area can profoundly enhance wellness. She is the creator of a natural healing website where she focuses on solutions to health problems that work without side effects. You can visit her site and learn more at Ms. West is also the author of Fight Cancer Through Powerful Natural Strategies.

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What Every Man Needs to Know if He’s Taking Testosterone Replacement Drugs Fri, 24 Jul 2015 20:37:16 +0000 The Link Between Testosterone Replacement Drugs and Heart AttacksAre you a man thinking about taking an ED drug or other testosterone products? Heed this: Testosterone therapy could increase your risk of heart disease. And the Food and Drug Administration finally wants you to know.

Last year the government agency decided to look into the possibility that testosterone products such as drugs that treat erectile dysfunction could increase the risk of cardiovascular events (think: heart attacks and stroke). This came on the heels of a UCLA study that found that testosterone therapy could increase the incidence of a heart attack in men under 65 twofold, and could double the risk in men over 65. And this wasn’t any small study. The researchers looked at the health records of 55,593 men who were prescribed these therapies. What’s more: the findings backed up those of three smaller studies that raised similar concerns over men taking these drugs and their increased risk of cardiovascular events.

How could this happen? Turns out that those drug approvals were based on short-term studies. Sure, they showed that they could raise testosterone levels but they didn’t prove to improve overall health. It has been known for a while that testosterone raises blood pressure. We know from Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) that testosterone can increase the risk of a cardiovascular event occurring in women—a population that is thought to suffer less heart disease risk than men. So why wouldn’t anyone think that the hormone could have the same effect in men?

Just this month, the FDA decided to make drug makers warn their patients that testosterone products could increase their risk of heart attacks and strokes, and that these products may not help low testosterone levels that may occur because of age. The agency is also requiring the makers of these drugs to conduct long-term studies to clarify the products’ effects on health. And it only took them a year.

Carey Rossi is a writer and editor with 10 years of experience covering all aspects of nutrition and fitness. She was the editor-in-chief of Better Nutrition, a shopping magazine for natural living, and the founding editor of Muscle & Fitness Hers. In addition, her work has appeared in Muscle & Fitness, Looking Good Now, Healthy Family, Vegetarian Times and Natural Health. She is the author of No More Diets Ever, Lose Weight the Natural Way.

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This Cooking Method Could Increase Risk for Prostate Cancer by 40%! Thu, 23 Jul 2015 15:16:12 +0000 Prior research studies have implicated overcooking meats, especially red meat, due to the formation of carbon-based amines that greatly increase the risk of digestive cancers over many years of consumption. These studies have suggested eating meats that have been stewed or roasted in favor of char grilled or well done to avoid the charred ‘bark’ that forms as a result of barbequing or grilling over open flames.

Consuming Grilled, Well-Done and Barbecued Meat Produces Cancer Causing Heterocyclic Amines

A research team publishing in the journal Carcinogenesis from the University of Southern California and Cancer Prevention Institute of California found that cooking red meats at high temperatures, especially pan-fried red meats, may increase the risk of advanced prostate cancer by as much as forty percent. This new study provides startling new evidence on how red meat is cooked not only increases digestive cancer incidence, but may also increase the risk for prostate cancer.

Researchers gathered data from nearly 2,000 individuals participating in the California Collaborative Prostate Cancer Study. Each participant completed a comprehensive questionnaire that evaluated amount and type of meat intake, including poultry and processed red meat. Additional information gathered included the cooking method: pan-frying, oven-broiling or grilling. Over the course of the study, more than 1,000 of the men included in the study were diagnosed with advanced prostate cancer.

Consuming More Than 1.5 Serving of Pan Fried Meat per Week Skyrockets Cancer Risk

The lead study author, Dr. Mariana Stern notedWe found that men who ate more than 1.5 servings of pan-fried red meat per week increased their risk of advanced prostate cancer by 30 percent… in addition, men who ate more than 2.5 servings of red meat cooked at high temperatures were 40 percent more likely to have advanced prostate cancer.” The scientists found that among red meats, the consumption of hamburger meat, but not steak, was linked to an increased risk of prostate cancer. They speculate that the findings are a result of different levels of carcinogen accumulation found in hamburgers, as they attain higher internal and external temperatures faster than steak.

Cooking method is a significant factor in determining the risk of developing many different forms of cancer, due to the formation of the DNA-damaging carcinogens called heterocyclic amines (HCAs). During the cooking of red meat and poultry, HCAs are formed when sugars and amino acids are cooked at higher temperatures for longer periods of time. It is important to note that this does not vilify the consumption of free-range, grass fed red meat in moderate portions. Avoid well done, barbequed or grilled cuts of any meat (red meat, chicken pork or fish) to significantly lower risk of prostate and digestive cancers.

Sources for this article include:

John Phillip is a Certified Nutritional Consultant and diet, health and nutrition researcher and author with a passion for understanding weight loss challenges and encouraging health modification through natural diet, lifestyle and targeted supplementation. John’s passion is to research and write about the cutting edge alternative health technologies that affect our lives.
Discover the latest alternative health news concerning diabetes, heart disease, cancer, dementia and weight loss at My Optimal Health Resource

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The No-Fail Way to Beat a Headache in 2 Minutes Flat (We Were Actually Shocked) Wed, 22 Jul 2015 21:36:02 +0000 The No-Fail Way to Beat a Headache in 2 Minutes Flat

We recently heard of a headache busting trick that sounded a little silly, but after having a few people in the office try it with such great success, we knew we had to share.

The trick comes from Kamil K. Wawrzyszko, a motivational speaker and lifestyle strategist whose YouTube channel boasts more than 25,000 subscribers. His trick to relieving a headache in two-minutes flat? Just spend two quiet minutes alone, visualizing the answers to these three questions:

1. Where is the headache?

2. What color is it?

3. What shape is it?

The key is to cycle through the questions, spending roughly 15-30 seconds on each one then repeating. While this seems an unlikely fix, daily headache suffers say this trick has saved them from debilitating head pain on several occasions. Have you ever tried it? If so leave your comments below — I’m eager to hear if it worked for you.

Here is a video of the trick, and also a video explaining how it likely works. It’s pretty interesting.

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Natural Sugars 101: Your Guide to Natural Sweeteners and Sugar Substitutes Wed, 22 Jul 2015 20:02:12 +0000 natural-sweeteners-2130

We know sugar is dangerous. Toxic, even. And with our knowledge of the dangers of sugar growing, the need to reduce sugar in our diets has never been greater.  But how can we reduce our sugar intake without giving up many of the foods we love? More importantly, how can we do this without resorting to health damaging sugar substitutes like Splenda and aspartame? Luckily, there are many natural, healthy sugar substitutes that you can use to keep the sweetness in your food, without all of the extra calories and health risks of sugar.  Consider these seven substitutes the next time you are looking to add some healthier sweetness to your food.

1. Stevia

 Stevia is one of the most popular sweeteners worldwide, especially in South America (the native region of the herb) and Japan.  It is about 30 times sweeter than sugar, making it an excellent choice for coffee, tea, sweets, and other foods.  Stevia is not currently available as a “sweetener” under the FDA labeling system, but is sold as a dietary supplement.  Best of all, stevia has zero calories and helps with the treatment of many diseases, including diabetes, hypertension, and digestive problems.  When using stevia, try following packaging labels and experimenting with amounts until you find the appropriate sweetness.

2. Honey

Honey is sweeter than sugar and has been used as a sweetener for centuries.  It has a low glycemic index, making it ideal for weight loss, and is rich in antioxidants, which help protect the body from many different illnesses.  It is a very versatile sweetener, and excellent for baking.  The best types of honey to buy are usually those that are organically and locally produced, as they will typically have more vitamins and antimicrobial properties.

3. Agave

This sugar substitute is extracted from the agave cactus plant, and usually converted into a syrup form.  Agave tastes somewhat similar to honey, is also sweeter than sugar, and may be a good substitute for diabetics.  Agave is another sweetener with a low glycemic index, which can be helpful in losing weight by natural means.  Agave extract has even been shown to support the immune system, relieve inflammation, and lower the risk of cancer.

4. Maple Syrup

No, maple syrup is not just useful in pancakes, it makes an ideal sugar substitute for most cakes, cookies, and other sweets, and requires a smaller dose since it is a liquid.  As with honey, organic maple syrup is the healthiest kind, and may boost the immune system, promote better cardiac health, and lower the risk of certain types of cancer.

5. Date Sugar

Despite the name, date sugar is actually not a form of sugar, and is made from an extract taken from dehydrated dates, which is then ground into a powder.  Through this process it maintains most of the nutritional benefits of dates, and serves as a great substitute for brown sugar, particularly in baking recipes.  Date sugar will not dissolve, but its high fiber content slows absorption, and the extract is rich in iron, calcium, potassium, magnesium, and zinc, thus supporting good blood pressure and the immune system.

6. Molasses

Molasses is produced as a by-product of the sugar production process.  Through the process, many nutrients remain in molasses, and blackstrap molasses is a particularly good source of iron and calcium.  This thick liquid is great for baking, and is sweeter than sugar, so you do not have to use as much of it.

7. Brown Rice Syrup

This syrup is made from boiling brown rice, and is both gluten and wheat free.  Brown rice syrup is best used for cooking, baking, and in some drunks, but can also be used as a condiment on many foods, and even in muffins and salad dressing.  It is only half as sweet as white sugar, but it has a mild flavor that is similar to butterscotch.  Although it is processed, it still maintains many of the benefits of brown rice.  Look for brands that do not include barley malt or corn syrup.

More Substitutes and Cooking Tips

In addition to these seven choices, check out this spreadsheet for even more sugar substitute options, and for some tips on how to use them in your recipes and foods.  Cutting sugar from your diet does not have to be extremely difficult, and can significantly improve your health.  Try using some of these substitutes the next time you are looking for a sweetener.

Derek is a technical writer and editor with 10 years of experience in the health care field, having first earned a Bachelor of Arts in English from the University of Delaware. He is a contributing author on a number of textbooks in the medical field, ran a nuclear cardiology licensing course, and has written a variety of other pieces from online training courses to medical software manuals. Derek pursues his personal interest in health and wellness by playing multiple sports and running marathons. An insatiable traveler, he spent 16 months working and living abroad while traveling through South America, Europe, and Southeast Asia.

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3 Ways You May Be Unknowingly Harming Your Pet Wed, 22 Jul 2015 19:57:06 +0000 Dogs-Are-Remarkable-Health-Care-Providers-400x265Do you love rewarding your dog with a treat after he performs a new trick? Does your feline pass most afternoons lounging sleepily in the sun? Chances are, you do. Pet owners love to spoil their pets. But are these practices potentially contributing to a bigger problem?

Humans aren’t the only species prone to obesity; our pets are vulnerable also. Studies show that 54% of dogs in the United States are carrying more weight than their joints are designed to handle, and many times, the owner is completely unaware of the problem.

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A study on humans revealed that every pound of excess weight exerts about 4 pounds of extra pressure on the knees. While similar studies haven’t been done on cats or dogs, research does tell us that 25% of overweight dogs develop serious joint complications. This is because extra weight puts extra weight puts pressure on the ligaments and cartilage intended to help joints function smoothly.

Our pet’s weight gain usually happens slowly in 3 seemingly harmless ways:

1) Too Much Time Alone

Bring home alone during the day, many pets are content to snooze away the time.

2) Too Much Food Left in the Bowl

Another common problem is overfeeding. If you eye-ball your pet’s daily food portions, you may be offering up too much at meal time.

3) Too Many “Small Bites” that Add Up


This is the biggest culprit of all. While it seems innocent enough, too many treats or calorie-rich table scraps can add up.

So How Can You Protect Your Pet’s From Weight Related Joint Problems?

As a pet owner, routinely monitoring your pet’s weight is an important safeguard against joint damage — that’s the obvious answer. Bu it can be hard to notice the occasional pounds creeping up in yourr dog or cat, so be sure to listen to your veterinarian’s advice. If your furry friend needs to shed a few pounds, add some extra walks and playtime, start measuring out food portions, and limit those treats (and table scraps… we’re all guilty of it).

Once your canine reaches what is considered adulthood for his breed, pay extra attention to joint care. Larger breeds or athletic dogs are good candidates for a joint supplement, such as glucosamine and chondroitin, or something with hyaluronic acid and omega fatty acids (look for omega-7, in particular). A memory foam bed is also helpful for distributing the dog’s weight while resting, minimizing joint stress.

Always check with your vet before adding any supplement, or if you notice any changes in mobility.

With some TLC and a healthy lifestyle, you’ll be able to keep joint issues to a minimum.

unnamedDebbie Swanson is a freelance writer, published in numerous national and local outlets. An avid vegetarian, animal lover and reader, she loves learning about healthy eating and finding natural cures for everyday ailments.

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