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Is Purple Cauliflower Better?

 

As a member of the Brassicaceae family,1 cauliflower is related to broccoli, cabbage, turnips and rutabaga.2 Plants in this family may be annuals, biennials or perennials. In the most common form, cauliflower is white. However, it's a versatile vegetable that also comes in green, purple and orange varieties.3

White cauliflower will turn yellow when exposed to the sun, so farmers sometimes use the large outer leaves to cover the plant. The purple variety is called Sicilian Violet, Graffiti or Violet Queen. Anthocyanin is the phytochemical responsible for the beautiful purple color. This phytochemical is also responsible for the red or purple color in berries.4

The orange varieties are called Cheddar or Orange Bouquet Cauliflower. They’re formed by a genetic mutation and hold more beta-carotene in the plant. Green cauliflower is a hybrid of cauliflower and broccoli. While the green variety has more beta carotene than the white variety, broccoli contains more than either.5

So, with a variety of color choices for cauliflower, you aren’t limited to just white on your menu. But, as you consider your choices, which has more health benefits, better flavor and is easiest to grow?

Health Benefits of Cauliflower

On the whole, cauliflower packs a punch for your health. In one evaluation by the CDC,6 researchers defined what might constitute a powerhouse fruit and vegetable, in other words, foods strongly associated with a reduction in disease.

They considered 47 foods and chose 41 nutrient-dense fruits and vegetables to propose a classification system for education and dietary guidance. They gave each a nutrient density score associated with nutrients protective against chronic disease.

The scores were capped at 100, but because it wasn’t possible to include all data on phytonutrients, the researchers wrote the scores “do not reflect all of the constituents” related to health benefits.7

The median score for this powerhouse list was 32.23, with cauliflower ranking 24th out of 41 with a score of 25.13. To put this in perspective, scientists estimate there are more than 300,000 edible plants, of which we eat approximately 200.8

Specifically, 1 cup of cooked white cauliflower contains 73% of your daily value of vitamin C, 19% of vitamin K and 14% of folate.9 In addition, it’s also a good source of thiamin, riboflavin, niacin and phosphorus, as well as dietary fiber. As a raw vegetable it has a low estimated glycemic load of 2 on a scale of zero to 250.10

As a powerhouse vegetable, cauliflower has been at the center of several research studies to identify how consuming it affects your health, and how to best retain the antioxidant levels. Some of the more prominent findings include:

  • Boosting antioxidant levels — Cauliflower is noted for its high antioxidant activity. However, if you choose to cook it, be sure to stir-fry it if you want to make the most of the nutrients.11
  • Eliminating harmful bacteria in the gut — A 2017 study notes brassica vegetables like broccoli and cauliflower may help eliminate sulphate-reducing bacteria, which may help boost gut health.12
  • Protecting cognitive health — In research published in Frontiers in Aging Neuroscience, it’s noted that cauliflower may have neuroprotective properties thanks to its sulforaphane content.13

Purple Cauliflower Offers Additional Benefits

While white cauliflower has many health benefits, the purple variety has one flavonoid not found in others — anthocyanins. This water-soluble compound belongs to the family of flavonoids. Major sources of anthocyanins include purple grapes, cherries, strawberries and blueberries.14

In the past, the pigments have been used as a natural food coloring and are now being considered as potential pharmaceutical ingredients for their health benefits.15 Studies in cell culture, animal models and clinical trials demonstrate the antioxidant capacity of the antimicrobial activities of anthocyanin.

These properties have been shown to help neuronal diseases, cardiovascular disease and cancer. They also have an impact on diabetes and inflammation.16 Scientists have identified a variety of effects anthocyanins have on platelets, blood vessels and lipoproteins.17 Peer-reviewed studies have published data noting in vitro activity regulating pathways involved in cardiovascular disease development.18

Human Interventional studies have demonstrated improvements in lipid peroxidation, dyslipidemia and total plasma antioxidant capacity.19 In one meta-analysis of 19 studies, researchers found that those who had the highest level of anthocyanin consumption were 9% less likely to have heart disease and 8% less likely to succumb to health conditions associated with it.20

Researchers have also noted the potential antitumor effects of anthocyanin and its ability to inhibit proliferation by changing signal pathways and stimulating apoptosis.21,22 Pharmaceutical companies are also interested in taking advantage of the anticancer properties of anthocyanins.

Researchers from the Department of Pharmacy at the Himalayan Institute of Pharmacy and research write that new anticancer agents may be developed using anthocyanins as a basic structure.23

Researchers are looking into the use of anthocyanins for their neuroprotective capacity to mitigate the oxidative stress that leads to neurodegeneration. In cell studies, anthocyanin has been shown to have both neuroprotective and anti-inflammatory properties; this indicates it may address neurodegeneration.24,25,26

Cancer Researchers Interested in Cauliflower Glucosinolates

The various types of cauliflower are classified as cruciferous vegetables which contain a group of compounds known as glucosinolates. As you are preparing, chewing and digesting cauliflower, this compound breaks down and forms other biological compounds such as thiocyanate, isothiocyanates and indoles. Indole-3-carbinol and sulforaphane are two of the most frequently analyzed compounds for the effects they have on cancer cells.27

In several animal studies researchers found these two compounds were able to stop the development of cancer cells in the bladder, colon, stomach and liver. In studies done on cells in the lab, scientists have identified some of the ways they may help prevent the formation of cancer, including:28

  • Protecting cells from DNA damage
  • Inactivating carcinogens
  • Having antiviral, antibacterial and anti-inflammatory effects
  • Initiating apoptosis
  • Inhibiting angiogenesis and tumor cell migration

Scientists believe the presence of glucosinolates in vegetables in the Brassica family is so important that there are those who are investigating breeding programs to potentially increase the bioavailability of isothiocyanates and other functional glucosinolates.29 Bioavailability of the compounds is affected by preparation of the vegetable.30

After eating, the compounds may be partially absorbed through your stomach mucosa but the majority are metabolized in your gut. When eaten raw, the plant contains an enzyme called myrosinase, which is used to hydrolyze the glucosinolate in the upper part of the gut. It increases bioavailability of the metabolites, including indole-3-carbinol.

When the vegetable is cooked, the myrosinase gets inactivated and hydrolysis occurs using your intestinal microbiota.31 Researchers from Rutgers University have also demonstrated the sulforaphane found in cauliflower has chemoprotective properties that may prevent the expression of cancer-related genes.32

Although they could not identify how the compounds accomplished the protective benefits, the researchers demonstrated results using an animal study and found sulforaphane induced apoptosis and inhibited the proliferation of tumors.33

Which Has the Better Flavor?

While healthy and beneficial, you must first eat cauliflower to enjoy the benefits. If you don’t enjoy the taste this isn’t likely to happen. However, unlike many other cruciferous vegetables with a somewhat bitter flavor,34 cauliflower has a relatively mild taste.

In fact, cauliflower has such a unique ability to take on the flavor of the foods and spices that it’s used with that it may be used as a substitute for rice, mashed potatoes and even pizza crust when you’re trying to lower your carbohydrate intake. If you're using cauliflower this way for the first time, it's important to remember the texture will be different since you’re substituting a vegetable for a grain.

While it doesn’t have the same texture, its freshness has proven it to be a versatile alternative. Purple and orange cauliflower have the similar, subtle taste as the common white variety.

Although it’s called Cheddar Cauliflower, the orange vegetable tastes nothing like cheese. The purple cauliflower is mild and slightly sweet with a somewhat nutty flavor, while the orange variety has a creamier texture.35

History of Your Homegrown Cauliflower

Cauliflower is believed to have come from the Mediterranean region in what is now Turkey. Varieties were not usually selected for large compact heads as in the U.S., but rather according to which heads were loose. China and India, where it’s more popular than in the U.S., now produce 74% of the cauliflower world’s.36

The purple variety has been available for decades and gets its color from anthocyanin. Unfortunately, with cooking the purple color is lost.37

The orange variety was bred from a mutation discovered in 1970 and was then hybridized.38 A Canadian farmer found one orange cauliflower in a field of white that was less flavorful and smaller than the rest of the crop. Then, a New York horticulture professor crossed the mutant with standard cauliflower and the first orange cauliflower made its way to grocery stores in the fall of 2003.39

Cauliflower is challenging to grow as it's sensitive to temperature changes and prefers a cool season. In the U.S., nearly 75% of commercially grown cauliflower is found in the valleys of California.40 Although tricky, you can grow it at home if you watch your temperatures closely, use rich soil and provide it with a steady supply of water.

The size of a mature plant will depend on the variety. Most are ready for harvest in two months, although some varieties mature a little quicker. They will not form a head in warm weather and can’t handle frost, so it's important to choose a variety that will mature in your climate zone.41

Cooking With Cauliflower

If you're substituting cauliflower for rice for the first time, there are a couple mistakes you're going to want to avoid.42 Unlike rice, it doesn’t need to be cooked in water because this makes it mushy. If you're using it as a base, quickly sauté it for a minute or two over medium heat to soften it without losing some of the texture. Don't leave it on too long; three minutes should do the trick.

You'll need to change your flavor expectations as it doesn't have the same neutral taste that rice has. It also doesn't soak up moisture so if you top your dish with too much sauce it just sits on the bottom. You can use colored cauliflower in the same way — rice it, mash it, roast it or use it in soup.

While it’s loaded with antioxidants, the length of time it's exposed to heat can impact its health benefits. Using hot water, such as with steaming and boiling, causes the greatest loss of antioxidants, while dry cooking methods are usually the best, such as with stir-frying and roasting.43

Since cauliflower is high in fiber, eating it in excess may cause bloating and flatulence. It's a good idea to slowly increase your intake of high fiber foods to reduce this risk. Cauliflower is also high in vitamin K, so anyone who is taking a blood thinner shouldn’t suddenly start eating large amounts of it.44

If you’re new to cauliflower, consider this zesty roasted dish flavored with jalapeno pepper and lemon, adapted from Epicurious.45 When made with purple cauliflower you’ll enjoy a slightly nutty addition to the flavor combination. It is delicious served hot and is an excellent snack that can be enjoyed in its raw form.

Roasted Cauliflower with Lemon zest, Parsley, Capers and Jalapeño

Ingredients

  • 1 head cauliflower cut in bite-sized florets
  • 3 to 4 tablespoons coconut oil, plus extra for drizzling
  • Fresh ground Himalayan sea salt and black pepper
  • 1 lemon
  • 1 large handful parsley, roughly chopped
  • 1 tablespoon capers
  • 1 jalapeño, seeded and thinly sliced
  • Himalayan sea salt

Procedure

  1. Heat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Spread the cauliflower florets on a baking sheet, drizzle with the coconut oil and season generously with salt and pepper.
  3. Toss the vegetables to coat evenly with the oil and seasoning.
  4. Roast in the oven for 30 to 35 minutes, tossing halfway through, until they are a deep golden color and crispy.
  5. While the cauliflower is roasting, peel three strips from the lemon.
  6. Cut each strip in thin crosswise pieces.
  7. Slice the lemon in half.
  8. Once roasted, transfer the cauliflower to a bowl and top with parsley, capers, jalapeños and the sliced lemon zest.
  9. Squeeze the mixture with half the lemon and drizzle more oil.
  10. Toss to coat all ingredients.
  11. Sprinkle with salt as desired.

Why Is the Celery Juice Trend Exploding?

 

The celery juice phenomenon is often attributed to Anthony William, who considers himself the originator of the Global Celery Juice Movement.1 The movement has received both social media and major media attention in The New York Times2 and LA Times3 among others.

You can easily grow your own organic celery at home when you keep it cool, give it an unfailing supply of water and plant it in good soil.4 It’s important to choose organically grown celery as it’s one of the more contaminated vegetables available at the grocery store.

Choose Organic Celery for Your Table

Each year the Environmental Working Group (EWG),5 a nonprofit organization aimed at protecting health and the environment, publishes a guide to pesticides in produce. This document is called “The Dirty Dozen;” celery usually makes an appearance on the list.

In 2012, it was No. 2 on the list and the one most likely to contain multiple pesticides, with 96% of the samples testing positive and nearly 90% retaining more than one pesticide.6 By 2019, celery had dropped to number 11, having been overtaken by strawberries, spinach and kale.7

Before testing the fruits and vegetables, the produce was washed and peeled as consumers may be expected to at home.8 The Shopper’s Guide, which the EWG has published since 2004, ranks contamination in 47 fruits and vegetables based on more than 40,900 samples.9 Carla Burns, EWG Research Analyst, commented:10

“The main route of pesticide exposure for most Americans who do not live or work on or near farms is through their diet. Studies have shown that eating fruits and vegetables free of pesticides benefits health, and this is especially important for pregnant women and children.”

The American Academy of Pediatrics11 emphasizes children's exposure should be limited. Pesticide exposure is linked with poor mental development, pervasive developmental disorders and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. Their data also suggest an association with physical birth defects, fetal death and neurodevelopmental effects.

The EWG evaluated the U.S. Department of Agriculture's tests, which found 225 different pesticides on fruits and vegetables.12 Dr. Philip Landrigan is director of the Global Public Health Initiative at Boston College and one of the writers of the 1993 National Academy of Sciences study, “Pesticides in the Diets of Infants and Children.”13

He underscores the implications of pesticide exposure and stresses that when possible, steps should be taken to lower a child's exposure while continuing to offer a diet full of fresh produce.14

The dangers of pesticide exposure continue into adulthood. The Pesticide Action Network reports long-term toxicity at low doses has been associated with Parkinson's disease, depression, anxiety, asthma and certain cancers.15

Celery Juice Trending: Rising Cost Is a Perfect Storm

Michael Karsch is the CEO of a New York chain of juice bars, Juice Press,16,17 and he tracks juice trends. In 2018 he noticed a rise in celery juice interest and decided to offer a 12-ounce, one ingredient drink for $7. Karsch spoke to The New York Times about the shortage and his take on the future, saying:18

“Within a few days, it was our third best selling beverage, which is astonishing for a one-ingredient offering. I have been historically unimpressed by celery. It’s not vibrant. It’s got a ton of water and a ton of a fiber … Three months ago where we couldn’t provide enough celery juice for about 4 days … Five years ago it was organic almonds, there was kale maybe 7 years ago. Usually what happens is it corrects.”

Vandana Sheth,19 spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, finds these trends are often driven by social media and may be enticing because she believes many people are looking for a quick fix for their health.

She noted moving back and forth between different trending eating plans may be dangerous, and said:20 “I'm seeing a lot more of a disordered way of eating in my practice. It's not sustainable long-term.”

Sammy Duda,21 senior vice president of Duda Farm Fresh Foods, one of the largest celery growers in the world, spoke to The New York Times about his family’s familiarity with the supply and demand issue when celebrities endorse a specific type of vegetable juice. Out of 10 items listed on their products page, three of those are packaged celery and one is fresh celery.22

The cost not only is affected by demand from the juice trend, but also by the weather. The New York Times23 reports a warm, dry fall in Palm Beach, Florida, where some of the crop is grown, and a cold, wet winter on the west coast where other fields are located, have affected growth and harvest.

The crop on Duda Farm was also impacted by a soil-borne disease, which together added up to a shorter than normal supply in an environment with a greater than normal demand.

Phytonutrients Promote Health Benefits

Although there’s been a push to promote celery as a cure for many different health conditions, scientific evidence supports a more limited number. One cup of raw celery contains 40% of your daily value of vitamin K.24 In addition to this it contains 11% of your daily value of molybdenum,25 a trace mineral your body uses for the detoxification of heavy metals.

Some of the larger threats from heavy metal are associated with cadmium, mercury, arsenic and lead.26 Long-term exposure may result in neurological damage, skin cancers, kidney damage and bone fractures.

Toxicity will depend on several factors including the route of exposure and duration.27 You can read more about how molybdenum functions in heavy metal detoxification in my past article, “The Three Pillars of Heavy Metal Detoxification.”

Celery also contains measurable amounts of folate, potassium and vitamin B2. Celery stalks are a great source of antioxidants, phytosterols, flavanols and flavones, many of which provide anti-inflammatory benefits.28 But, one of the more advantageous compounds found in celery may be apigenin, gaining interest for its potential to fight cancer.29

Apigenin is a flavonoid found in several fruits and vegetables and some Chinese medicinal herbs. It has strong anti-inflammatory, antibacterial and antiviral properties and is now being reported as subduing different forms of cancer. This has been found in vitro and in vivo by initiating apoptosis and autophagy, as well as stimulating an immune response.30

Apigenin is associated with stimulating the growth of nerve cells. One animal study demonstrated learning and memory improvements when apigenin was injected or taken orally.31 Studies have also linked apigenin with activating AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK) in human skin cells.

The results suggest that “one of the mechanisms by which apigenin exerts its chemoprotective action may be through activation of AMPK and induction of autophagy in human keratinocytes.”32 In another published study, scientists looked at the anticarcinogenic properties on the regulation of oxidative stress and DNA damage. They wrote:33

“One of the most well-recognized mechanisms of apigenin is the capability to promote cell cycle arrest and induction of apoptosis through the p53-related pathway. A further role of apigenin in chemoprevention is the induction of autophagy in several human cancer cell lines.”

Large Amounts May Interfere With Kidney Function

Although not high in oxalates, celery has between 11 and 20 mg for every 3 1/2 ounces of the vegetable. Oxalates are found in plant and animal foods with some of the more concentrated sources including spinach, almonds and beet greens.34 Oxalates are related to kidney stone formation and calcium absorption.

Your gut bacteria play a role in how available oxalate will be for absorption. A combination of oxalate and nonoxalate-containing foods will also impact how much soluble oxalate gets absorbed from the digestive tract.35

Calcium oxalate kidney stones are among the more common types of stones. However, it's not high amounts of calcium that cause the stones but, rather, oxalate.36 Oxalates are compounds that protect plants from predators.37 The oxalic acid binds with calcium to make it less bioavailable and insoluble, increasing the risk of kidney stones.

Oxalates are broken down by gut bacteria, but when your microbiota are compromised the compounds enter the bloodstream and get stored in the kidneys. While 11 to 20 mg of oxalate in one 3 1/2-ounce serving of celery is minor, drinking 16 ounces of celery juice each day may not be.

One 16-ounce glass of celery juice requires one large bunch of celery,38 which often contains 10 stalks39 and weighs about 16 ounces or more.40 Drinking this much celery juice is roughly equivalent to 90 mg of oxalates every day. In addition to other foods, including chocolate, berries, nuts, legumes and grains,41 this may increase your risk for kidney stones. 

Soothing Chamomile Tea — An Option With Similar Benefits

Herbal teas are a rich source of polyphenols and flavonoids with antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. One of the most soothing is chamomile tea, belonging to the Asteraceae family42 containing a large number of herbs, shrubs and trees.43

In addition to being used as a tea, chamomile has been praised for many health benefits, including those in the volatile oils found in the flowers. One of the major constituents in the flower is apigenin, primarily found as a glycoside.44

Adults can use the volatile oils from the flower in a bath, as a cream for flaky skin, as an inhalant or tincture to relieve menstrual cramps and to improve sleep. For more information about the benefits of chamomile and how to make a tincture at home, see my past article, “What Are the Benefits of Chamomile?

Research Project Takes Aim at Magnesium Deficiency

 

Many of the nutrients your body needs for optimal health must be derived from your diet, as your body cannot produce them. One crucial one that many are deficient in is magnesium. It’s the fourth most common cation (positively charged ion) in your body1 and is required for the functioning of more than 300 enzyme systems driving a diverse array of biological reactions.2,3

As noted in a 2018 scientific review,4,5 “because of chronic diseases, medications, decreases in food crop magnesium contents, and the availability of refined and processed foods, the vast majority of people in modern societies are at risk for magnesium deficiency.”

According to this review, most fail to meet the recommended daily allowance (RDA) for magnesium; 48% of Americans do not get sufficient magnesium from their diet. Among postmenopausal women with osteoporosis, the rate of magnesium deficiency is 84%.6

Type 2 diabetics also tend to be more prone to magnesium deficiency, and magnesium depletion has been found in 75% of patients with poorly controlled Type 2 diabetes based on serum magnesium status. The review states.7

While severe deficiency can be identified through a careful analysis of physical symptoms8,9 (some of the most common of which are muscle spasms, heart arrhythmias or spasms, fatigue and frequent headaches), mild or subclinical deficiency is far more difficult to spot.

Absence of symptoms doesn’t mean you’re in the clear, however. Again, magnesium is required for the optimal function of many bodily systems, so a mild deficiency will still take its toll.

Magnesium Testing Is a Valuable Health Screen

Considering the importance of this mineral for good health — including cognition and heart health — it’s a good idea to measure your level. GrassrootsHealth Nutrient Research Institute, which has spearheaded research into vitamin D and omega-3, has now added magnesium, offering low-cost testing for all three.

Like its vitamin D and omega-3 projects, the Magnesium*PLUS Focus Project10 aims to identify the ideal dosage and level, the specific health outcomes associated with magnesium deficiency and sufficiency, the dose-response relationships and much more. As noted by GrassrootsHealth:11

“Measuring your nutrient status, adjusting intake as needed, and re-testing is the only way to tell if your nutrient intake is helping you achieve sufficient or desired nutrient status which is tied to particular health outcomes.

We will analyze the collected data and give participants feedback on how the magnesium could be working for them; we will publish scientific papers on key results, the first after meeting an enrollment target of 1,000 participants. There will be preliminary analyses and interim newsletters available for all during the enrollment phase.”

Choosing to add the “Plus Elements” test to this magnesium test will also measure other important trace elements — selenium, zinc and copper — that interact with magnesium, and three toxic heavy metals — lead, cadmium and mercury — that can interfere with and block availability of these essential elements.

Why Do You Need Magnesium?

Enzymes are proteins composed of individual amino acids. They are necessary to speed up many cellular functions and biological processes, and each has a different function.

Due to it being required for the functioning of hundreds of enzyme systems, magnesium can therefore play a role in a very long list of ailments.12 In the video above, Dr. Carolyn Dean discusses magnesium deficiency and some of the effect it has on your health.

She also indicates that the serum magnesium test is not the right one — it’s highly regulated by the body so that’s why this project will be using the RBC (red blood cell) test to see how much magnesium is in the red blood cells.

For starters, magnesium plays a role in the creation of adenosine triphosphate (ATP), the energy currency of your body.13,14 Needless to say, without sufficient energy, cellular functions throughout your body will suffer, creating a cascade of dysfunction.

Magnesium also affects your mitochondrial function and health, as it’s required both for increasing the number of mitochondria in your cells and for increasing mitochondrial efficiency.

It’s also important for the metabolism of other nutrients, including calcium, potassium, zinc, phosphorous, iron, sodium, hydrochloric acid, acetylcholine and nitric oxide.15 Importantly, magnesium is required for the activation of both thiamine16 and vitamin D.17,18,19

In fact, magnesium deficiency has been shown to impede your ability to convert vitamin D from sun exposure and/or oral supplementation. As noted by Mohammed Razzaque, professor of pathology at Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine in Pennsylvania, coauthor of a study published in The Journal of the American Osteopathic Association in March 2018:20

"By consuming an optimal amount of magnesium, one may be able to lower the risks of vitamin D deficiency, and reduce the dependency on vitamin D supplements.”

Another study21 published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition in December 2018 also concluded that your magnesium status plays an important role in your vitamin D status.

Overall, people with high magnesium intake were less likely to have low vitamin D. As explained by Dr. Qi Dai, professor of medicine at Vanderbilt University Medical Center and the lead author of this study, “Magnesium deficiency shuts down the vitamin D synthesis and metabolism pathway.”

Magnesium Is Important for Heart Health

Magnesium is involved in the regulation of blood sugar and insulin sensitivity, which is important for the prevention of many chronic diseases, including Type 2 diabetes22,23,24,25 and heart disease and dementia. It also supports your brain and heart health via other mechanisms.

It supports healthy heart function by relaxing your blood vessels and normalizing blood pressure, for example. Magnesium also has anti-inflammatory activity, support your endothelial function,26 and the function of your muscles and nerves, including the action of your heart muscle.

Low magnesium has been linked to a higher risk for hypertension,27 cardiovascular disease, arrhythmias, stroke28 and sudden cardiac death.29 According to one scientific review,30 which included studies dating as far back as 1937, low magnesium actually appears to be the greatest predictor of heart disease, and other recent research shows even subclinical magnesium deficiency can compromise your cardiovascular health.31

Magnesium and Your Brain

Brain related benefits of magnesium include lowering mental and physical stress,32 catalyzing mood-regulating neurotransmitters like serotonin, which helps prevent anxiety and depression.33

Research34 published in 2015 found a significant association between very low magnesium intake and depression, especially in younger adults. A study35 published in PLOS ONE demonstrated magnesium supplementation improved mild-to-moderate depression in adults, with beneficial effects occurring within two weeks of treatment.

In fact, the effects of magnesium were comparable to prescription SSRIs in terms of effectiveness, but without any of the side effects associated with these drugs. Participants in the treatment group received a daily dose of 248 milligrams (mg) of elemental magnesium for six weeks, while controls received no treatment. According to the authors, “It works quickly and is well tolerated without the need for close monitoring for toxicity."

Importantly, magnesium acts as a buffer between neuron synapses, particularly those involved with cognitive functions (learning and memory). Magnesium “sits” on the receptor without activating it, protecting the receptor from overactivation by other neurochemicals, especially glutamate, an excitotoxin that can harm your brain if it accumulates.

Magnesium also activates nerve channels involved in synaptic plasticity.36 Magnesium threonate, which has the ability to cross your blood-brain barrier, appears to be the most effective in this case.

An animal study37 published in the journal Neuron in 2010 found this form of magnesium enhanced “learning abilities, working memory and short- and long-term memory.” You can find more specifics in my previous article, “Cognitive Benefits of Magnesium Threonate.”

Magnesium also helps prevent headaches, including migraines,38 by relaxing blood vessels in your brain and acting as a calcium channel blocker.39 In fact, researchers have noted that empiric treatment with a magnesium supplement is justified for all migraine sufferers.40

As a prophylactic, be prepared to boost your magnesium intake for at least three months to experience results, ideally in combination with CoQ10. In many cases, receiving a high dose of magnesium can also abort an attack in progress. The most effective way would be to get an intravenous (IV) infusion. Barring that option, magnesium threonate may be your best option for an oral supplement.

Magnesium Deficiency May Increase Your Vulnerability to EMFs

In theory, magnesium may also help prevent or ameliorate health problems associated with electromagnetic field (EMF) exposure by blocking voltage gated calcium channels, which are activated by EMFs.41,42,43,44

Since magnesium is a natural calcium channel blocker, it’s possible that having an optimal level of cellular magnesium could help limit the damage from exposure to EMF, which includes heart arrhythmias, infertility, anxiety and depression — all of which are indeed associated with magnesium deficiency.

Conversely, being magnesium deficient could potentially increase your sensitivity to EMFs. To learn more about this, see “The Harmful Effects of Electromagnetic Fields Explained.”

Are You Getting Enough Magnesium?

The RDA for magnesium is around 310 to 420 milligrams (mg) per day depending on your age and sex,45 although some researchers believe we may need as much as 600 to 900 mg/day for optimal health. I believe many may benefit from amounts as high as 1 to 2 grams (1,000 to 2,000 mg) per day.

As mentioned, many fail to meet this RDA, and one of the primary reasons for this shortage is eating a primarily processed food diet. Magnesium resides at the center of the chlorophyll molecule, so fresh leafy greens are an important food source.

A number of things can also affect your magnesium absorption and excretion. For proper absorption of magnesium, you need selenium and vitamins B6 and D, as well as sufficient levels of parathyroid hormone, while factors that raise your risk for insufficiency by boosting magnesium excretion include:46

Carbonated beverages

Soft drinks, as the phosphates bind to magnesium, preventing absorption

Alcohol consumption

Lack of sleep

Prescription drug use (especially diuretics, statins, fluoride and fluoride-containing drugs such as fluoroquinolone antibiotics)

Elevated insulin levels47

Heavy sweating

Stress

Excess coffee consumption

Excess salt intake

Parasite infestation

Heavy menstruation

Many experts agree that magnesium supplementation is advisable,48 but to have a better idea of whether you need additional magnesium, and how much, testing is highly recommended.

As a general rule, I recommend starting out on a dose of 200 mg of oral magnesium citrate per day, gradually increasing your dose until you develop slightly loose stools. To use this method, you need to use magnesium citrate, as it's known for having a laxative effect.

Once you know your cutoff, you can switch to other forms if you like. Other effective ways to boost your magnesium level include taking Epsom salt (magnesium sulfate) baths, as the magnesium will effectively absorb through your skin, or using a homemade topical solution made from 7 tablespoons of Epsom salt mixed with 6 ounces of water.

Heat the mixture until all the salt has dissolved. Pour into a dropper bottle and apply to your skin. I rub a fresh aloe leaf over it to help it dissolve better. This is an easy and inexpensive way to increase your magnesium and will allow you to get higher dosages into your body without risking diarrhea.

Magnesium Needs To Be Balanced With Other Nutrients

Magnesium works synergistically with calcium and vitamins K2, D and B6 (pyridoxine). The ideal ratio of magnesium to calcium is thought to be 1-to-1. Keep in mind that, if like most people, you get more calcium than magnesium from your diet, your need for supplemental magnesium may be two to three times greater than calcium.

Vitamin B6 is important as it actually escorts magnesium to the cells that need it most. When you get insufficient amounts of magnesium from your diet, your body will leach magnesium from your bones, muscles and internal organs, which can lead to osteoporosis, kidney problems and liver damage.

Getting enough vitamin B6 can help ameliorate this chain of events by ensuring the magnesium in your body is being used as efficiently as possible. To learn more, see “The Crucial Connection Between Magnesium and Vitamin B6.”

A Chance to Participate in a Groundbreaking Research Project

I’m really pleased GrassrootsHealth Nutrient Research Institute has expanded its research projects to include magnesium, seeing how deficiency may be needlessly affecting the health of so many. Like its Vitamin D*action Project, the Magnesium*PLUS Focus Project49 will allow us all to take action on known science with a consensus of experts without waiting for institutional lethargy.

The Vitamin D*action Project has truly demonstrated the value measurement can have on public health, and there’s no doubt in my mind that the Magnesium* PLUS Focus Project will have the same impact. As in earlier projects, once the study of a community is completed, all that information can be used to push for public health recommendations that will benefit everyone.

So, I encourage you to participate by purchasing GrassrootsHealth’s Magnesium *PLUS testing kit, available in my online store. I offer this kit as a service to my readers, and take no profits from its sale. The price is the same whether you buy it from my website or directly from GrassrootsHealth Nutrient Research Institute.

Remember, by participating in this public research project, you not only are identifying your own magnesium level, but allowing yourself to make decisions about your diet and supplements to improve your health. Your data (which is anonymous) will also help GrassrootsHealth researchers to determine the ideal levels for the prevention of various diseases, and what kind of dose-response relationship exists among the general population.

As with vitamin D, the cost/benefit picture for magnesium is compelling. It’s inexpensive, yet can have a wide range of health effects. With the data from this project, individuals will be able to see what works for them, and, researchers will be able to demonstrate just to what extent health care costs may be reduced simply by getting people into an optimal range.

Weekly Health Quiz: Plants, Depression and EMFs

 

1 Which of the following plants contain a flavonoid with the most potent antiaging effects found so far, thanks to its ability to induce autophagy?

  • Arugula
  • Broccoli
  • Purple grape
  • Ashitaba

    Recent research shows ashitaba is a potent inducer of autophagy, capable of increasing the life span of nematodes and fruit flies by 20%. The flavonoid responsible for ashitaba's antiaging effects is known as DMC. Of 180 plant flavonoids screened, DMC offered the strongest cellular protection. Learn more.

2 Which of the following industries is the most distrusted and poorly regarded in the U.S., according to a September 2019 Gallup Poll?

  • Pharmaceutical industry

    The pharmaceutical industry is now the most distrusted and poorly regarded industry in the U.S. A mere 27% have a "totally positive" view of the drug industry, while 58% have a "totally negative" view. Learn more.

  • Internet industry
  • Telephone industry
  • The federal government

3 Which of the following cellphones was recently found to be "the worst of the worst" in terms of exceeding the legal limit for radiofrequency exposure in independent testing?

  • Samsung Galaxy J7
  • iPhone 7

    Cellphone testing by the Chicago Tribune reveals several popular cellphones emit far higher levels of RF radiation than legally permitted. Of the 11 models tested, iPhone 7 tested the worst, exceeding the legal RF limit by 1.6 to 2.2 times. Learn more.

  • Google's Pixel 3
  • Motorola's Moto e5

4 Evidence suggests this is a major contributor to depression:

  • A chemical imbalance in the brain
  • Perfectionism
  • Unhealthy living conditions

    There's no scientific evidence to suggest depression is the result of a chemical imbalance in your brain. A lot of the evidence suggests unhealthy living conditions are at the heart of the problem. Learn more.

  • Excess serotonin

5 Dahlia plants do best when they are:

  • Planted in rich soil and watered well from the day they are planted.
  • Planted in heavy soil and kept dry until the plant is established, then watered deeply through the summer.
  • Planted in sandy soil and watered well after planting, then watered intermittently.
  • Planted in rich soil, watered lightly after planting and watered deeply through the summer after the plant has established.

    Dahlia plants do best when they are planted in rich soil, watered lightly after planting and watered deeply through the summer after the plant has established. Learn more.

6 Cystic fibrosis is a:

  • Progressive and terminal genetic disease that causes an overproduction and buildup of mucus in the lungs and other organs

    Cystic fibrosis is a progressive and terminal genetic disease that causes an overproduction and buildup of thick, sticky mucus in the lungs and other organs. Learn more.

  • Noncancerous pus-filled sac, caused by infection that can occur anywhere on the body
  • Noncancerous or cancerous fluid-filled pockets in or on an ovary
  • Lung disease resulting from damage or scarring

7 The following U.S. states eliminated the personal belief exemption for vaccination in 2019:

  • Washington, Oregon and Texas
  • Maine and New York

    More than 500 vaccine-related bills were introduced in U.S. state legislatures in 2019, many of which proposed to restrict or eliminate vaccine exemptions, while other bills proposed to expand exemptions. Maine eliminated the religious and conscience vaccine exemptions and New York eliminated the religious exemption. In Washington State, the conscience exemption for the MMR vaccine was eliminated. Learn more.

  • Florida and Alabama
  • Arizona and Colorado

How to Make Black Garlic Sauce

 

[ ADD VIDEO: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_gdzgRXxy8o&feature=youtu.be]  

Garlic is an essential ingredient in most recipes as it provides a unique flavor and aroma to a dish. Its culinary uses are diverse — for stir-frying, sautéing, roasting, braising and baking. But a new variety of this herb, called black garlic, is now being used to bring a sweet and unique twist to dishes.

Black garlic is a fresh garlic variety that has undergone fermentation, which gives it its sweet taste and black color. Just like regular garlic, it can also be used as an ingredient in soups, marinades, spreads and sauces. Here is a recipe on how to make black garlic sauce by Mercola.com employee Briana Earley.

How to Make Black Garlic Sauce

Makes: 4 servings
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 6 minutes

Ingredients:

1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup fresh orange juice
2 tablespoons Dr. Mercola’s raw honey
1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon of Dr. Mercola’s organic black fermented garlic puree
1/8 teaspoon crushed rosemary
1 1/2 tablespoons Dr. Mercola’s coconut oil 

Procedure:

  • Combine in a bowl vinegar, juice, honey, rosemary, black garlic and red pepper flakes. Mix the ingredients together.
  • Heat 2 teaspoons of coconut oil in a skillet over medium heat and add black garlic puree.
  • Cook until the sauce begins to bubble.
  • Whisk in the remaining coconut oil.  
  • Pour over desired dish.

How Is Black Garlic Produced?

Black garlic is made by fermenting a bulb of fresh garlic in a temperature- and humidity-controlled room. This method breaks down enzymes and combines proteins and sugars, increasing its water-soluble content by up to 790.96 percent. This results in the garlic’s black color and sweet taste, which is somewhere in between licorice and chocolate. Unlike fresh garlic, it does not produce a garlicky after-breath.
A number of studies have mentioned that black garlic emerged from Asia, and is particularly prominent in Japan and Korea. It is sold in markets as whole bulbs and peeled cloves and considered a staple in their culinary scene.

 

Health Benefits of Black Garlic

Black garlic is definitely a new flavor in many recipes today. But aside from its unique features, it even has more health benefits — one of which is its higher antioxidant properties and S-allylcysteine levels compared to fresh garlic. Studies have found that it may also help:

  • Protect against liver damage — A 2011 study found that aged garlic has a hepatoprotective effect or the ability to help mitigate oxidative liver damage caused by alcohol.
  • Minimize diabetic complications — Fermented black garlic has antioxidant properties that may help reduce complications caused by a high-fat diet in diabetics, according to another 2011 study. Additionally, it may help regulate high cholesterol (hyperlipidemia) and high blood sugar (hyperglycemia) when taken appropriately.
  • Boost immunity — Black garlic extracts were found to improve the activity of natural killer cells, boosting cellular immunity as they destroy tumor cells.
  • Curb cancer cell growth — Partly due to its antioxidant properties, black garlic extract was found to restrain the growth of inoculated tumors in mice. Another study found that it has anticancer properties that may help decrease the volume and weight of tumors on gastric cancer.

The chart below shows the nutrients found in black garlic:


Black Garlic Nutrition Facts
Serving Size: 1 teaspoon (4.62 grams)

 

Amt. Per 
Serving

 

Calories

7 kcal

 

Calories from Fat

 

 

Total Fat

0.33 g

 

Saturated Fat

0 g

 

Trans Fat

0 g

 

Cholesterol

0 g

 

Sodium

26 mg

 

Total Carbohydrates

0.66 g

 

Dietary Fiber

0.2 g

 

Sugar

0 g

 

Protein

0.16 g

 

Vitamin A           0.2 mg

Calcium 3 mg

 

Iron                     0.06 g

 

 

 

Other Ingredients That Complement This Recipe

Black garlic is just as versatile and healthy as its fresh variant. Moreover, the ingredients used in this recipe offer their own nutrients and benefits:

  • Honey — It is a natural sweetener that may help manage chronic diseases associated with oxidative stress through its antioxidant properties. According to a study published in the British Diabetic Association journal, it may also be a healthier alternative for sugar in diabetics.
  • Coconut oil — This kind of oil is used as both a food and alternative medicine that does not have harmful effects when consumed. It is a healthier alternative for omega-6 vegetable oils that may help reduce cholesterol through its polyphenol components.
  • Balsamic vinegar — It is a known ingredient in salad dressings and marinades that may help reduce the risk of chronic diseases through its antioxidant properties. It may also help protect your gastrointestinal tract against fat oxidation that causes cell damage.

Black garlic, together with the ingredients mentioned, makes a healthy and flavorful sauce that goes well with steamed vegetables, organic pasture-raised chicken fillets and grass fed beef. As it gains more attention in the culinary scene, this recipe can help you take advantage of what black garlic has to offer, as you create a sauce to enhance your preferred dish. To know more about black garlic, read “Black Garlic and Sprouted Garlic Have Enhanced Health Benefits.”

 

2019 Vaccine Awareness Week Update

 

Barbara Loe Fisher, cofounder and president of the National Vaccine Information Center (NVIC), a nonprofit educational charity, has been a tireless human rights advocate for vaccine safety and informed consent for over 35 years.

In this interview, we discuss measles outbreaks and how the ever-intensifying pressure by the forced vaccination lobby in 2019 to eliminate vaccine exemptions, not only in California but in many other states as well, is affecting the public conversation about vaccination and informed consent rights.

"It's been an unprecedented year in this country," she says. "The assault on vaccine exemptions has covered the whole country. The NVIC has monitored more than 500 vaccine-related bills that have been introduced in the states this year.

We have actively reported on and issued action alerts, in many cases, on more than 200 vaccine-related bills. What has happened this year as a result of the World Health Organization declaring that vaccine hesitancy is one of the top 10 global threats to health in this world, [it] was immediately followed by — and I don't think coincidentally — reports of outbreaks of measles, just like in 2015."

Fear Mongering Eliminated Personal Belief Exemptions

As Fisher notes, it was déjà vu all over again. In 2015, there was an outbreak of measles at Disneyland in California. The same thing that happened in 2015 happened again this year.

After the World Health Organization (WHO) declared "vaccine hesitancy" as one of the top 10 global threats to public health in January 2019,1 there were highly publicized reports of measles outbreaks in Washington, California and New York and children attending school with vaccine exemptions became the scapegoats.2

Just like in 2015, in 2019 the fear mongering about measles outbreaks was turned into a national media campaign to blame parents whose children were attending day care and school with vaccine exemptions, despite the fact that nationally only 2% of children in the U.S. attend public or private schools with vaccine exemptions for any reason — medical, religious, philosophical or conscience.3

In 2015, the same kind of exaggerated media hype stampeded the California legislature into removing the personal belief vaccine exemption, which included religious and philosophical beliefs.4

This year, the fear mongering resulted in the elimination of the religious and conscience exemption in Maine and the religious belief exemption in New York.5 In Washington state, the conscience exemption for measles, mumps, rubella (MMR) vaccine was eliminated.

In California, the legislature passed a bill that essentially eliminates the medical exemption by legally prohibiting doctors from granting a child a medical exemption unless it strictly conforms to narrow vaccine contraindications approved by the CDC Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP). 

Widespread Assault on Informed Consent to Vaccination Rights

So far in 2019, 18 states have proposed to eliminate or restrict vaccine exemptions, but only Maine and New York actually went through with it, and Washington state only restricted the conscience exemption for MMR vaccine, leaving the religious, conscience and medical exemptions in place for all other vaccines mandated for school attendance.

The good news is that vaccine exemptions were successfully protected in 15 other states where bills have been introduced to restrict or remove vaccine exemptions.

"Parents and enlightened health care professionals stood up this year, contacted their legislators [like] we have asked them to do for 10 years now, and showed up by the thousands at public hearings on these bills.

We were able to stop bad bills in Alabama, Arizona, Colorado, Connecticut, Iowa, Illinois, Minnesota, Missouri, Vermont, Washington, Oregon and Texas. We were able to hold the line on some of these vaccine bills, especially to take away exemptions," Fisher says.

The NVIC Advocacy Portal — an online communications and advocacy network created 10 years ago — was a major catalyst for that success.6 Registration is free, and puts you in direct electronic contact with your own state and federal legislators.

You also receive action alerts with talking points via email when bills are moving in your state so you can take action to support good vaccine bills that protect your right to make voluntary vaccine decisions for yourself and your children, or to oppose bills that take that right away from you.

How to Stay in the Know

"What we've done is made it easy for you to become a vaccine choice activist," Fisher says. And, the strategy is clearly working. So, if you've not yet signed up, please take a moment to register to be a user of the NVIC Advocacy Portal today.

"We encourage everyone to sign up because what is happening in this country is, like I said, unprecedented," Fisher says. "It's going to be worse next year. There are three states — New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin — that still have bills pending to take away vaccine exemptions.

Already, two states — Florida and Massachusetts — have prefiled bills for 2020 to take away religious exemptions. Florida [also wants to] restrict the medical exemption to only CDC contraindications. They're going to create a medical board that's going to review all medical exemptions.

We're predicting that Colorado, Michigan, New Jersey, Ohio, Oregon and Wisconsin are going to be particularly vulnerable in 2020. There are bills pending in D.C. and New Jersey [and] we expect more to be introduced next year that will allow minor children to give consent to vaccination without their parents' knowledge or consent.

The pattern we're seeing is that there is a move in this country to eliminate all vaccine exemptions, effectively, because the medical [exemption] has become so restrictive, it's almost a nonexemption …

Signing up for the NVIC Advocacy Portal really empowers you to be part of the process in protecting your informed consent rights when it comes to vaccination."

sign up

>>>>> Click Here <<<<<

Vaccinated Can Still Get Infected With, Transmit Disease

The main reason mandatory vaccination proponents give for removing all personal belief exemptions and severely restricting the medical vaccine exemption is that unvaccinated children (and adults) pose a threat to herd immunity, also described by public health officials as "community immunity."

The concept of herd immunity is based on the idea that if a large enough percentage of individuals in a population are immune to being infected with and transmitting a viral or bacterial disease, they serve as a barrier to protect individuals who are not immune.

The theory of vaccine-acquired herd immunity maintains that if a certain percentage of individuals in a population are vaccinated, a viral or bacterial disease will not be transmitted in the population and make vaccinated or unvaccinated people sick.

Estimates made by public health officials for how high the vaccination rate must be in a population in order to prevent infection and transmission of measles, mumps, pertussis or other diseases varies, depending upon the microbe causing the disease.

For measles virus, current estimates range from 93% to 95%.7 Nationally, more than 94% of school children in the U.S. have received two doses of MMR vaccine and, in some states, the MMR vaccination rate is over 98%,8 yet measles outbreaks still occur. According to the vaccine-acquired herd immunity theory, this should not happen. As noted by Fisher:

"One of the biggest myths out there is that when you get vaccinated, you are guaranteed to not get the disease for which you've been vaccinated against. What people don't understand is you can get vaccinated and be infected subclinically. That means you have no symptoms or very few symptoms.9,10,11

But you can still transmit that infection to other people. When you have subclinical infections or atypically presenting infections in vaccinated people, those people are not being diagnosed and reported.

Who is being diagnosed and reported? The people who are fully expressing the symptoms. Many times, those are unvaccinated people. They're fully expressing, where the vaccinated are atypically or subclinically presenting. They're never diagnosed and reported.12

So, it looks as if all of the disease is occurring in unvaccinated people. It's not. With pertussis, the medical literature is clear that both the whole-cell DPT vaccine and acellular vaccine do not always block infection. You have subclinical infections and transmissions.13,14

The same with measles vaccine, mumps vaccine and influenza vaccine … 15,16,17 What's happening is people think that only unvaccinated people are actually spreading disease, when that is not true."

What's more, measles outbreaks occurred not just in the U.S. this year, but around the world.18 Unfortunately, there's no data showing the prevalence of how many vaccinated people are being asymptomatically infected with and transmitting the wild-type measles virus in the U.S. or other countries.19,20 If such surveillance is in fact being done, health authorities are not talking about it.

"There's no public acknowledgment that they're doing it. I'd like them to answer the question, 'How many people in this country are getting subclinically infected and are transmitting after being vaccinated?' That's a big question that should be answered," Fisher says.

Can You Trust the Vaccine Rule Makers?

Certainly, the technology exists to provide an answer to that question. But chances are the answer likely would conflict with current national vaccine policy and the endgame of maximizing vaccine manufacturers' profits by aggressively promoting a 100% vaccination rate with all government recommended vaccines, so it's not a priority.

This is part and parcel of the problem, as many of the most basic questions about vaccine safety and effectiveness simply are not addressed with high quality scientific research and data collection.

"There needs to be more transparency with regard to a lot of things with vaccine science policy and law," Fisher says. "There is not enough transparency on the part of the government, which develops vaccines in partnership with the drug companies, that licenses vaccines and that makes national policy for vaccines.

As I mentioned, they're trying to codify into state law the recommendations by the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) at the CDC.21 That's an appointed body by the CDC.22

They're trying to make that body a de facto lawmaking body in this country. They're unelected people who were appointed by the CDC. Why should a handful of people be allowed to effectively be lawmakers?"

What's more, individuals appointed to federal vaccine advisory committees can be given conflict of interest waivers.

So, sitting on these vaccine policymaking committees there are individuals who may have gotten grants from the CDC or another federal agency involved in vaccine development, regulation, policymaking or promotion, or may have financial relationships with drug companies selling vaccines, like being paid to conduct clinical trials, and they are voting on whether a new vaccine should be licensed or recommended for universal use by everyone.23

"A lot of people who are considered vaccine experts definitely have financial relationships with the government, in terms of government grants and also the manufacturers for testing or running clinical trials or otherwise being involved with the vaccine manufacturers.

These public-private partnerships between the federal health agencies and the pharmaceutical companies that have been allowed by Congress to develop over the last 30 years are very problematic.24

Because if you have a business partnership with someone and you're supposed to be regulating that industry, like the FDA is supposed to be regulating these companies, how are you going to regulate your business partner? You're not."

Freedom of Choice Does Not Infringe on Pro-Vaccine Beliefs

The massive collusion between the pharmaceutical industry and federal regulatory agencies that are supposed to monitor and regulate them is really at the core of the problem, as these unholy alliances end up putting profits before safety.

There is a revolving door between people who work for U.S. federal health agencies and then go to work for the pharmaceutical industry and the other way around.25,26 This means that Big Pharma, which over the past decade has spent $2.5 billion lobbying the federal government, is having a tremendous influence on vaccine regulation, policymaking and law.27

In recent times, we've seen vicious public attacks against anyone who questions vaccine safety, policy and law, or vaccine science. There have been extreme calls for public shaming, identification, criminal prosecution, quarantine and imprisonment, and demonization of those criticizing vaccine safety and refusing to get government recommended vaccines.

A doctor developing vaccines who lobbies for "no exceptions" forced vaccination laws has referred to parents of vaccine injured children as a "hate group," and one prominent newspaper suggested vaccine critics should be physically harmed.28,29,30,31

Most providers of vaccine information on the internet are also now being censored by Google, effectively preventing people from finding what could be life-saving information.32

As a result of that suppression, it's incumbent upon you, if you know the truth, to protect the future of our country by fighting for freedom of choice and freedom of information gathering. As noted by Fisher:

"These attacks on freedom of speech, the right to dissent, the right to criticize government and ask them to do a better job in protecting the public's health is symptomatic of the close financial partnerships between the pharmaceutical industry, the government and the medical trade …

I think even people — especially people who want to use vaccines — who want to follow the CDC's vaccine schedule need to understand that the work we're doing is actually helping to protect them as well, because what we're advocating for is proper licensing standards at the FDA and wise vaccine policy-making at the CDC.

We defend your right to be able to make vaccine choices and use a few vaccines, all the vaccines or no vaccines. It's your right and responsibility to make that decision. If your freedom is taken away from you and you can't make that decision anymore, what you need to understand is that there are many more vaccines coming."33

The Lies Spun About Measles

Fisher has written an excellent and in-depth commentary on the history of measles, "What's Going on With Measles? The Science and Politics of Eradicating Measles," published May 25, 2019.34 If you're worried about measles, it's highly recommended reading. Fisher explains:

"I grew up in the '50s and '60s. I had measles, mumps, rubella, chicken pox, and so did all of my friends and my family. There wasn't the fear of these childhood diseases that there is today … In the early 1960s, you had very influential, powerful public health officials and physicians in this country acknowledging that measles was really a moderate illness.

It did not cause widespread injury and death. They didn't just say it once. They said it multiple times, including before they decided to bring out the first measles vaccine. This is in the literature. It is contemporary descriptions in the '50s and '60s of what measles was like.

How did we go from that description to what we have today, which characterizes measles as one of the biggest threats to humanity? It's irresponsible. When public health officials and doctors don't tell the truth, people eventually find out [about it].

And then what happens? They lose trust in what doctors and public health officials say. Well, they should because they've been lied to. I know from personal experience. I came from a medical family. I trusted doctors and science. I believed what I was told. I didn't question vaccines. My son had a reaction to his fourth DPT shot. I was shocked that I hadn't been told the truth.

When I did this research on the history of measles and measles vaccine, I was blown away again by the fact that there was no transparency now about the real facts about this disease and the real facts about the risks associated with the vaccines, and also the effectiveness.

They knew from the very beginning, with the first killed and live virus measles vaccines, that the measles vaccines were not always blocking infection and that you could get atypical measles or have no symptoms and still transmit. They knew this …

They are only digging the hole deeper for people to not trust what they say. All along the way, they kept moving the goalpost in terms of how many people would have to be vaccinated in order for there to be herd immunity."

How Unvaccinated Individuals Strengthen Herd Immunity

Originally, the idea was to eliminate the measles virus entirely. Yet the concept of herd immunity has always involved a combination of temporary vaccine-acquired immunity and naturally acquired immunity.

When you're vaccinated, you can get asymptomatically boosted by coming in contact with the wild-type virus via people who are actively infected, and this is actually the best type of booster. But as noted by Fisher, we've chosen instead to manipulate the immune system of our children in an atypical way, through the administration of vaccines and vaccine booster shots, doing everything possible to prevent natural infection.

Can we honestly say that it has resulted in better public health? "I would argue it has not," Fisher says. By virtually eliminating the longer-lasting natural immunity offered by natural infection with wild-type measles virus, we now have a population that is more vulnerable to infection — not less. Fisher explains:

"What the medical literature shows is that baby boomers and the generation before us acquired natural immunity, which is qualitatively superior. It's longer lasting than vaccine-acquired immunity. We have been helping what looks like vaccine-acquired herd immunity.

We never were vaccinated, but we are contributing to the concept of what looks like vaccine-acquired herd immunity. When we die, you won't have that barrier anymore. They know that.35,36

Vaccine-acquired immunity is not the same as naturally acquired immunity. That has been the problem from the very beginning with the creation of these vaccines. They have never understood how to make vaccines mimic naturally acquired immunity exactly.37

I think the most shocking part, whenever I go into the medical literature, is understanding how much they do not know about the functioning of the immune system, about how infections confer immunity and how vaccines stimulate artificial immunity."38

Vaccine Makers Have No Liability

The vaccine industry is a significant profit center, making tens of billions of dollars each year — certainly enough incentive to continue the suppression of critics. But the real driver is the fact that in the U.S. today, vaccine makers have no financial liability for the harm caused by their products.

In any business, you have to balance financial threats and opportunities. In the case of vaccines, virtually all threats to the business have already been eliminated — with the exception of open public discussion about potential risks and failures of the product as well as the ability of the consumer to refuse to buy and use the product.

Financially, the federal government recommends and state governments mandate use of vaccines and, as of 2011 when the U.S. Supreme Court majority ruled that FDA licensed vaccines are "unavoidably unsafe," giant pharmaceutical companies marketing mandated vaccines in the U.S. have faced no risk whatsoever when their products cause injury or death.

"When the National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act of 1986 was passed … the companies still had liability," Fisher says. "They had liability for design defect, [meaning] failure to make a vaccine safer. Also, the doctors had liability in 1986. Companies and doctors could be liable in civil court.

People could also choose to go to the Vaccine Injury Compensation Program (VCIP) run by the federal government. We also got safety provisions in that law — the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS) system, the vaccine information statements, the duty to write down vaccine names and manufacturers' names and lot numbers in the medical record.

There were a lot of things that happened in that law, not the least of which was government acknowledgment that vaccines can injure and kill. But what happened after that law was passed?

In 1987, the medical trade associations very quietly, without us knowing about it, got an amendment attached to a budget bill. At the end of 1987, they gave the doctors liability protection.

Then, over the succeeding decades, Congress looked the other way while federal agencies and rulemaking authorities gutted that law — gutted the compensation provisions, gutted the safety provisions — and Congress itself added amendments at the behest of the [vaccine] companies and the medical trade associations.39

This law that is in place today isn't recognizable to the law that we worked on in the 1980s. It's been a huge betrayal of the public trust. It's a lesson learned. It's very difficult to get justice or to get a fair law over the long term when you're dealing with politicians who get great sums of money from the pharmaceutical industry."40

Do You Agree Your Child Is Expendable for the Greater Good?

As noted by Fisher, protecting civil liberties, freedom of thought, speech, conscience and religious belief are foundational to the founding and government of the United States. These are fundamental human rights that we must protect.

"I do believe that if people will wake up and stop being apathetic and will get involved in the legislative process and elect people of integrity who will not be bought out, we can turn this around..." Fisher says.

"I think we can have a revolution, but have it be a renewal, a rebirth of this country by good people because I do believe that most people are good and that most people want to help other people; they don't want injustice or cruelty. They want compassionate laws, not like the kind we're seeing with vaccines, which are not compassionate.

The [vaccine] laws we're seeing are based on a utilitarian rationale, which is immoral … That is that some people can be sacrificed for the rest. That a minority of people can be sacrificed for the majority ... Once you decide some people are expendable, the question becomes, 'How many are expendable for the greater good?' …

When you devalue the health of the individual, you, by extension, eventually devalue public health. This is what is being lost. We all are valuable. All of our lives are valuable and to be respected and to be protected. Not just, what the government says, 'some people.'

I look at this whole issue of how we're all supposed to get vaccinated to protect the immunocompromised who are undergoing chemotherapy or recently have had an organ transplant. But what about the people who can't get through the process of vaccination without being injured or dying?

Why are their lives less important that the lives of people going through chemotherapy or having an organ transplant? This is why the narrowing of these vaccine exemptions and the elimination of the vaccine exemptions is so dangerous for people who can't get through the process of vaccination without being harmed. There are many more of those people than people realize."

Some Good News as We Move Forward

The once-open internet is now anything but, thanks to Google becoming an unassailable monopoly aligned with the drug and chemical industries, both of which are major revenue sources. As a result, educational platforms are being censored and eliminated. But there's hope.

I recently met with about 500 other individuals in San Diego for a gathering to discuss the future of the internet, and there's now a plan in place for the creation of an alternative platform for uncensored health information. Between us, we have connections with hundreds of thousands, maybe upwards of half a million to a million health care clinicians who are sensitive to the censorship issue.

They in turn have connections with thousands of patients in their practice. Together, I have no doubt we will be able to drive people to this new search engine. I'm quite certain it will spread like wildfire. This platform will be every bit as viable and every bit as known throughout the United States and the world as Google, Facebook, Amazon and Wikipedia.

People will know that if you want the truth about health — we're not going to focus on anything else — this is the place. Because conventional media, the internet through Google, Facebook, YouTube and all the rest are going to be under strict control.

Support NVIC Today!

Ten years ago, I listened to an audiotape of a vaccine conference where Barbara Loe Fisher was speaking. Her dedication and passion inspired me to get involved and to support the NVIC on an ongoing basis. As a Health Liberty partner, the issues facing NVIC are highlighted for an entire week each year, during which we ask for your support.

We hope you'll help us fight this tyranny because, clearly, the tip of the spear of the oppression of vaccine information is aimed at the NVIC and others who are trying to present the truth and are concerned about vaccine safety.

During this Vaccine Awareness Week, I will match your donation to the NVIC dollar for dollar, to help this invaluable organization receive the funds they need to continue this important public service work.

Donate today

>>>>> Click Here <<<<<

When I first reached out to her a decade ago, the organization was nearly at the point of having to shut down. Thanks to your combined support, the NVIC has been able to stay afloat all these years.

"That's true," Fisher says. "You made a very big difference at a critical point in our history. I will always be grateful to the many followers you have who have supported NVIC and our mission. It's made all the difference.

I know that a lot of people count on NVIC because we've been here for 37 years. We've never wavered in our message. Our message has always been about preventing vaccine injuries and deaths and defending informed consent, and I look forward to another 30 years of working with you."

An Introduction to Endometriosis

 

Endometriosis is a gynecological condition that affects between 2% and 10% of American women ages 25 to 40.1 The Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development estimates that in the U.S., ­more than 5 million women are struggling with endometriosis.2

Even well-known personalities develop this condition. Top Chef host Padma Lakshmi, actress Whoopi Goldberg, author Meg Cabot, personal trainer Jillian Michaels and country singer Dolly Parton all have shared the problems they’ve had with endometriosis.3

Fast Facts About Endometriosis

Endometriosis mainly involves the endometrium, or the tissue that lines the uterus.4 When you have endometriosis, this means that tissue that appears similar and acts like endometrium develops outside your uterus. The tissue will still thicken, separate and bleed during your monthly period, but it can cause intense pain since it’s not in its usual place and doesn’t have any passageway to be released from the body.5

Johns Hopkins Medicine notes that endometriosis can affect the ovaries, fallopian tubes and the ligaments that support the uterus. The outer surface of the uterus, the space between the uterus and rectum and the space between the uterus and bladder may also be affected, along with the lining of the pelvic cavity.6

While a definite cause of endometriosis has not been established, there are factors that have been linked to this condition. They include retrograde menstruation (wherein menstrual blood with endometrial cells that are meant to be released moves backward to the fallopian tubes and into the pelvis7), immune system problems, embryonic cell growth, hormones, genetics and the environment.8,9

Infertility among women is one of the main complications that can arise from endometriosis.10 According to a 2010 Journal of Assisted Reproduction and Genetics study, 25% to 50% of infertile women suffer from this condition, while 30% to 50% of women diagnosed with endometriosis are infertile.11

Women with endometriosis may also have a higher risk for adhesions — these are sticky portions of endometriosis tissue that can cause some organs to adhere to each other. Painful, fluid-filled ovarian cysts may also develop.12

Don’t Let Endometriosis Get in the Way of Your Life

While endometriosis has been touted as a painful condition that women often struggle with, there are natural methods available that may help with pain relief. Even though endometriosis may not be completely prevented,13 there are modifications that you can implement to your lifestyle that may lower your chances of having this condition.

These resource pages provide helpful information you need to raise your awareness about endometriosis: what it is, the different stages that can affect you and potential treatment and remedies that you can use to your advantage.

MORE ABOUT ENDOMETRIOSIS

Endometriosis: Introduction

What Is Endometriosis?

Endometriosis Symptoms

Endometriosis Causes

Is Endometriosis Hereditary?

Endometriosis Stages

Endometriosis Treatment

Endometriosis in Pregnancy

Endometriosis vs Adenomyosis

Endometriosis Prevention

Endometriosis Diet

Next >

What Is Endometriosis?

Can Strategic Sound Deter Loitering?

 

Noise probably doesn’t pop into your head as being a major public deterrent — unless you happen to live in an area with an excess of it. Noise pollution can cause problems with well-being and physical health, so it’s not a stretch to understand how noise could be used strategically for crowd control and even as a weapon.

One controversial example is a device known as the “Mosquito,” which is being used as a tool to deter loitering in city parks and playgrounds. Although the device emits a high-pitched ringing noise, it can only be heard by the target audience — teens and young adults that city officials hope to keep out of certain areas after dark.

How Noise Is Being Used as a Youth Repellant

Philadelphia is one U.S. city that’s installed the Mosquito, a small speaker-like device, in 30 parks and recreation centers.1 Their purpose is to deter youth from hanging around the areas at night by emitting an unpleasant, high-pitched noise.

According to their parent company, Moving Sound Technologies (MST), the sound is similar to the buzzing of a mosquito and, when set to 17KHz, can only be heard by people between the ages of 13 and 25 years.2

This is because as people age, they typically have a harder time hearing high-pitched frequencies. Generally, adults hear sounds in the 0.02 to 16KHz range (sound is measured in hertz (Hz), with one KHz being equal to 1,000 Hz),3 but it’s not a perfect science.

Data are scarce on whether the devices work to reduce loitering or vandalism, but anecdotal reports on MST’s website suggest the relatively innocuous devices are leading to fewer incidents in areas such as condominium stairwells.4 In Philadelphia, the noise makers operate only from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. and work in concert with other antivandalism tools, including security cameras, security staff and fences.5

Is Targeting Teens With Noise Ethical?

Part of the controversy over the Mosquito stems from the fact that some people living around the parks where it’s being used say they can hear the ringing. Mary Kate Riecks, who is 27 years old — outside of the device’s targeted age range — told NPR that she can hear the noise from a Mosquito a few blocks away:6

"It almost is more like a feeling than a sound. It's kind of in the back of your head … At least for me, it gives me a headache if I'm near it for too long. So I usually skip around this block or walk very quickly down it."

There is also concern that young children, including those unable to express their discomfort, can hear the noise, and the National Youth Rights Association suggested the devices are a form of age discrimination. The city of Washington, D.C., which had installed the devices in the Gallery Place Metro station in 2010, removed them due to discrimination concerns.7

The United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child also suggested the Mosquito and similar devices may violate children’s rights. They’ve since been banned in certain public spaces in several England counties.8 Even in Philadelphia, their use is controversial. City Council member Helen Gym called them “sonic weapons,” stating, as reported by NPR:9

"In a city that is trying to address gun violence and safe spaces for young people, how dare we come up with ideas that are funded by taxpayer dollars to turn young people away from the very places that were created for them?"

Also at issue is whether the sounds could produce harmful effects, although MST says no long-term side effects occur.

“The Mosquito has been tested by various US, Canada, United Kingdom and European Union government agencies, environmental groups and human rights groups and has been found to be completely safe — there is no risk of long-term hearing damage from The Mosquito,” according to MST, which notes the devices are designed to run at 5 decibels above background noise levels.10

As for their potential to interfere with human rights, Simon Morris, director of Compound Security, defended their use, telling CNN:11

"We're all parents as well … The Mosquito was born out of our children suffering because they were attacked or assaulted at local shops by older kids. We've never had the intention of curbing anybody's rights. People have the freedom to walk away from the sound and the sound is highly targeted into a very small area."

Music Used as Control Tools

Aside from the high-frequency noise being emitted by the Mosquito, other devices emit sounds in the form of music, also as a tool for control. In West Palm Beach, Florida, songs including “Baby Shark” are played from loudspeakers to deter homeless people from sleeping near an event center.12

Classical music is also used as a crime deterrent. In London, when music was played in tube stations, it’s said that robbery rates dropped by 33%, while verbal and physical abuse incidents also declined.13 In Germany, atonal music, which lacks harmony and can sound like random noise, was going to be played in train stations to deter loitering, but the idea was abandoned following widespread public criticism.14

Ultrasonic sounds, with frequencies of 20 kHz or more, also exist,15 and sonic attacks have been rumored to have occurred.16 This frequency is higher than most adults can hear, but it’s thought that some people may be sensitive to adverse effects from exposure, including headaches, nausea and tinnitus, or ringing in the ears.17 Tim Leighton, a professor of ultrasonics at University of Southampton, told CNN:18

"In the 1940s people started complaining about ultrasonic sickness, with symptoms like headache, excessive fatigue (and) irritability. The first legal case was in 1948 … A high frequency above 20 kilohertz, if you can hear it, will affect you for sure.

It can affect your concentration, your ability to do tasks, give you headaches (and) make you uncomfortable. We haven't been allowed, under our ethical guidelines, to look for stronger effects. It's almost likely that stronger signals will lead to a temporary, perhaps even permanent loss of hearing. But we can't test for that because it would be unethical for us to expose people to that."

How Noise Pollution Affects Your Health

Noise pollution, which is defined as “unwanted or disturbing sound,” affects millions of people, leading to adverse health effects. Noise-induced hearing loss is one of the most obvious effects that can occur from exposure to persistent or loud noise, but other unexpected health effects also occur, including:19

  • High blood pressure
  • Stress and related illnesses
  • Speech interference
  • Sleep disruption
  • Lost productivity

Further, according to research published in Environmental Health Perspectives, long-term exposure to traffic noise may account for approximately 3% of coronary heart disease deaths (or about 210,000 deaths) in Europe each year.20 How, exactly, does noise harm your heart?

One of the key ways is by elevating stress hormones such as cortisol, adrenaline and noradrenaline, which, over time, can lead to high blood pressure, stroke and heart failure. One review of research showed that “arousal associated with nighttime noise exposure increased blood and saliva concentrations of these hormones even during sleep.”21

Deepak Prasher, a professor of audiology at University College in London and a member of the WHO Noise Environmental Burden on Disease working group, states:22

“Many people become habituated to noise over time… The biological effects are imperceptible, so that even as you become accustomed to the noise, adverse physiological changes are nevertheless taking place, with potentially serious consequences to human health … Taken together, recent epidemiologic data show us that noise is a major stressor that can influence health through the endocrine, immune, and cardiovascular systems.”

The impact can be significant. Among women who judge themselves to be sensitive to noise, chronic noise exposure increased the risk of cardiovascular mortality significantly.23

Using Noise for Good

Noise can be used to promote your health, just as it can be used against it. One example of positive noise is pink noise, which contains frequencies from 20 Hz to 20,000 Hz, just like white noise, but the lower frequencies are louder and more powerful than the higher frequencies (white noise, in contrast, has equal power in all of its frequencies).24

Research published in Frontiers in Human Neuroscience revealed that listening to pink noise could improve sleep and memory among 60- to 84-year-olds, a population that tends to have reduced slow wave sleep, or deep sleep, compared to younger individuals.25 While spending the night in a sleep lab, participants listened to pink noise one night and no noise the next.

Notably, the pink noise was played in bursts to match the timing of participants’ slow wave sleep. Not only did the pink noise enhance slow wave sleep, it also was linked to better scores on memory tests.

The participants scored about three times better on memory tests the morning after listening to pink noise in their sleep.26 Pink noise, for reference, is a gentle sound similar to that of rushing water or wind blowing through leaves on a tree.

How to Protect Yourself From Nuisance Noise

The upside to devices like the Mosquito is that you should (in theory at least) be able to avoid them by moving away from their targeted locale. If you live in a very noisy area, such as near a highway or airport, you may want to consider moving.

If that’s not an option, consider adding acoustical tile to your ceiling and walls to buffer the noise. Double-paneled windows and insulation can also help. At the very least, you can sound-treat your home by adding heavy curtains to your windows and rugs to your floors, and by sealing air leaks.

If noise is an issue only occasionally, sound-blocking headphones can eliminate such disturbances. You can also add beneficial noise to your home. Pink noise CDs are available, or you can also simply turn on a fan in your bedroom to block out noise disturbances and instead take advantage of this beneficial type of noise.

Chlorophyll: How to Get This Valuable Nutrient From Foods

 

Photosynthesis is the process wherein green plants or vegetables absorb light from the sun and transform it, along with minerals, water and carbon dioxide, into food to help them grow. It goes without saying that this is important not just to plants, but to humans and animals well. Oxygen, the chemical element that living organisms require to breathe, is a byproduct of this food-making process.1

At the heart of photosynthesis is chlorophyll, a pigment that absorbs blue and some red portions of the electromagnetic spectrum that causes it to become green. This also results in plants getting their distinctive color.2 As chlorophyll absorbs the light, it creates carbohydrates that serve as the plant's nourishment.3

An interesting thing about chlorophyll is that it possesses potential health benefits that people can obtain when they consume vegetables. According to a study published in 2016, chlorophyll possesses antioxidant properties that may help promote longevity.4 With this in mind, no doubt most people may benefit from the chlorophyll that comes from vegetables, and luckily, there are plenty of choices that you can enjoy.

The Best Natural Sources of Chlorophyll You Should Munch On

You may not know it, but the green vegetables you eat have some chlorophyll in them, so you can gain chlorophyll's potential benefits if you eat these vegetables regularly. That being said, some sources contain more chlorophyll than others. If you want to maximize this nutrient, I suggest consuming the following:5

  • Spinach
  • Asparagus
  • Beet greens
  • Green bell peppers
  • Bok choy
  • Broccoli
  • Brussels sprouts
  • Green cabbage
  • Celery
  • Collard greens
  • Cucumbers
  • Kale
  • Swiss chard
  • Romaine lettuce

Not only do these vegetables contain generous amounts of chlorophyll, they are also rich in other nutrients that may help optimize your health further. Broccoli, for example, contains isothiocyanates that may help lower your risk of certain cancers, cardiovascular disease and osteoporosis.6

However, some people may not be able to enjoy vegetables due to the risk of developing allergic reactions. This condition is known as oral allergy syndrome (OAS), and is sometimes called pollen-food syndrome. It occurs whenever you consume certain fruits, vegetables and nuts with distinctive proteins that cause swelling in the mouth, windpipe and back of the throat.7

Studies That Examine Chlorophyll's Potential Health Benefits

Chlorophyll has been extensively studied for its effect on human health for years, and it has been found to be potentially helpful in certain situations. By consuming vegetables high in chlorophyll, you may obtain the following benefits:

Lower your risk of cancer — Chlorophyll may help lower your risk of cancer by inducing apoptosis, according to a research published in Nutrition Research.8 In one documented study, the pigment has been found to help specifically with colon cancer.9

Manage arthritis — Evidence has shown that chlorophyll has anti-inflammatory properties that may benefit people affected with chronic inflammation. In the journal Inflammation, researchers discovered that chlorophyll helped inhibit TNF-α (tumor necrosis factor-alpha) in mice.10

TNF-α is a pro-inflammatory cytokine "produced by macrophages/monocytes during acute inflammation and is responsible for a diverse range of signaling events within cells, leading to necrosis or apoptosis."11

Fight free radicals — According to the Journal of Food Science, dietary chlorophyll contains antioxidant and antimutagenic properties that may benefit your health by fighting free radicals throughout your body.12

Promote longevity — Consuming chlorophyll may help slow down aging and rejuvenate your cells, according to a study published in Peer-Reviewed & Open Access. Researchers found that feeding chlorophyll to nematodes from the Caenorhabditis elegans species helped increase their lifespan by increasing resistance to oxidative stress.13

Kill pathogenic yeast — Oral thrush, a mouth disease caused by the yeast strain Candida albicans, may be treated by consuming chlorophyll, according to a study conducted by the South Brazilian Dentistry Journal.14

Manage your weight — Chlorophyll may help manage your weight and prevent overeating by helping control your hunger and food cravings. In one study, researchers fed 20 moderately overweight women meals that contained chlorophyll. Results indicate that the procedure was able to help suppress test subjects' hunger by intensifying signals of satiety.15

Reduce body odor — If you've been experiencing fishy body odor lately (trimethylaminuria), you may benefit from chlorophyll. It may help eliminate bad odor by reducing the amount of thrimethylamines excreted by your body.16 In a study that involved 62 geriatric nursing home patients, chlorophyll was found to be helpful in this regard, and even helped ease chronic constipation as a positive side effect.17

Side Effects of Chlorophyll Supplements Can Be Uncomfortable

Chlorophyll supplements are generally considered safe, according to a 2014 study published in the Journal of Dietary Supplements. However, side effects have been reported, such as:18

  • Urine changes — Your urine may turn green.
  • Skin reactions — Photosensitive rashes may appear after taking chlorophyll supplements.
  • Gastrointestinal issues — There's a possibility to develop diarrhea.

Very little research exists about the effects of chlorophyll on children and pregnant or breastfeeding women. In light of this information, I do not recommend giving chlorophyll supplements to young children or taking them while you're pregnant. Similarly, not much is known about the interactions of chlorophyll with other drugs.19

In any case, if you do happen to develop any of the side effects mentioned above, consult with your doctor immediately.

Instead of Supplements, Opt for Green Veggies First

It's no secret that vegetables are good for everyone's health due to their mixture of vitamins, minerals, fiber and antioxidants. Furthermore, they contain chlorophyll that may help optimize your health further.

If you're consuming a diverse selection of vegetables on a regular basis, you're already doing a great job eating a healthy diet. Your body is taking in all their nutrients and synthesizing them to help you maintain optimal health and enjoy your life. For those who are not eating enough vegetables, I urge you to increase your consumption to help lower the risk of health problems.

However, there are certain situations that may prevent you from enjoying vegetables, such as if you have allergies to these foods.20 If this is the case, a chlorophyll supplement may work in your favor.

Frequently Asked Questions About Chlorophyll

Q: What does chlorophyll do?

A: Chlorophyll is a green pigment found in plants that facilitates photosynthesis by absorbing sunlight.21 Its potential therapeutic benefits include protection from bad breath, among other things.22

Q: Do fungi have chlorophyll?

A: No, fungi do not have their own chlorophyll because they are not plants and do not undergo photosynthesis. Fungi take food from their immediate surroundings, while plants can make their own food through photosynthesis.23

Q: What does chlorophyll do in photosynthesis?

A: Chlorophyll is a molecule that absorbs sunlight and uses that energy to synthesize carbon dioxide and water to create food for plants. This entire process is known as photosynthesis.24

Q: Where in the chloroplast is chlorophyll found?

A: Chloroplasts are the tiny energy factories found inside plant cells. Inside them is chlorophyll.25

Claire – The Documentary of Claire Wineland

 

There was a movie called “Five Feet Apart” that reminded me of the courageous and inspirational story of Claire Wineland. Honestly, the documentary above is much better than the movie, but it reminded me of Wineland’s story.

It’s an exceptionally potent reminder of how we need to live life to the fullest, even though we might die tomorrow. I really don’t know of any better example of that than Wineland.

So, trust me on this one. This film is only 40 minutes long. Promise me that you will schedule some time to watch in its entirety and tell me if it doesn’t change your perspective on life. If it doesn’t, I would be interested to know and will review the comment section.

Claire Wineland, Inspirational Speaker Extraordinaire

Wineland was an inspirational speaker and YouTube sensation who sadly died September 2, 2018, not from cystic fibrosis, which she was born with, but from a stroke following an otherwise successful lung transplant that would have extended her life another five years if successful.1 She was 21.

At age 13, Wineland founded the Claire’s Place Foundation2 to help families with children who, like herself, struggle with cystic fibrosis — a progressive and terminal genetic disease that causes an overproduction and buildup of thick, sticky mucus in the lungs and other organs.

The disease requires daily breathing treatment for up to five hours a day, and children with cystic fibrosis typically end up spending a lot of time in the hospital due to respiratory distress and chronic infections. Wineland is said to have spent about a quarter of her life in the hospital.

In 2016, she received the World of Children Youth Award3 for her foundation’s support of children with CF and their families. At the age of 19, Wineland launched CF University, an online resource for children where they can learn more about their disease.

Mere days before her surgery and untimely death, Wineland gave thanks to the thousands of people who donated nearly $268,000 to her Go Fund Me campaign to pay for the surgery that she and her family otherwise could not afford.4

The transplant surgery took nine hours, and went well. However, shortly afterward, she suffered a massive stroke on the right side of her brain. She was placed in a medically induced coma, from which she never emerged.

A Life of Purpose

In 2016, Wineland appeared in an episode of “My Last Days,” (above) a limited CW docuseries hosted by Justin Baldoni, featuring people living with terminal illness.5

“My name is Claire Wineland. I’m 18 years old,” she says. “I’m living with something called cystic fibrosis. Doctors say I have around a year left to live, but that doesn’t really matter to me because death is inevitable. But living a life that we are proud of, that is something we can actually control.”

According to Wineland’s father, she’d always been a positive little girl, but something happened when, at the age of 13, she went into lung failure and slipped into a coma for 17 days. When she emerged, she had a new level of acceptance about her, and an attitude of wanting to enjoy life as much as she could, all while knowing her days were numbered.

“The only thing you’re told when you have an illness is, ‘Oh, I’m so sorry … Your life must be horrible.’ Those exact words, over and over and over again. That gets so cemented into your consciousness. What kind of weird belief is that?” Wineland says.

“Most 18-year-olds do not have to deal with what I have to deal with specifically, no. But everyone has to deal with their own pain. The absolute truth is that I don’t think the pain I’ve been through is any more severe than the pain any other individual has been through. It might be more physical, but I’ve also had the incredible gift of having people who genuinely love me giving me so much mental stability and strength.

We have to realize that we are part of something bigger. What happens in our world, what happens in our society, is very literally a part of us because we’re so influenced by it, and it is so influenced by us … We can’t put ourselves in a bubble. We can’t detach from the world that we live in.”

Blessed With Life

Wineland’s mother is convinced her daughter came into the world with a mission to share the message of “what it’s like to be blessed with life.” “I think she felt, knowing she had a shorter life, she wanted to do more with it,” she says. I couldn’t agree more.

“I’ve always loved the idea of bringing life into places where people think life doesn’t really exist,” Wineland says of her idea to start posting videos of her hospital stays on YouTube. “Some of my favorite moments of my entire life were when I was in the hospital.” For Wineland, the hospital was a wonderful, cheerful place of healing and friendship. “My Last Days” does an excellent job of showing that.

But in addition to sharing her life on YouTube, Wineland had bigger goals: Public speaking. She says she was always drawn to public speaking and from an early age, she would stand up and give “very long monologues” during family gatherings.

During the filming of “My Last Days,” Baldoni surprised Wineland with an unusual gift: Private lessons by speech coach Richard Green, who agreed to help her polish her public speaking skills and craft a speech. Green tells Wineland he believes she’s “destined to impact and change the world.”

“Great public speaking is nothing more than having a conversation from your heart — something you do all the time,” Green tells her. “Number two, [speaking] about something you’re authentically passionate about, in order to help another person, help a group of people or help the world … That’s how you’ve lived your life and you’re not afraid of it.”

Wineland’s Message

When asked by Green what she would want her audience to get from her speech, she says, “I’d want them to have a moment of clarity. Realizing they actually have power in their happiness and in the way their life goes.” She ended up giving that speech at the Life Is Beautiful Music and Arts festival in Las Vegas, September 2015.6

“I can stand up here and tell you I am genuinely proud of my life,” she said during that speech. “I am so proud to be alive. I’m not saying that I don’t feel pain … sadness and suffering and loneliness, because that’s what it means to be a human being. I’m saying that pain, that loneliness and that sadness is beautiful …

We live in a society that benefits off of us continuously looking for happiness, for dreams and goals ‘out there.’ If we say ‘no, we’re not going to go looking out there for happiness; we’re alive and that is all we need,’ then we are beating the system! And we’re living lives we can be proud of. We’re living lives that make us happy.”

Wineland’s mother says:

“I think people see in her this light, that she was born with. Claire Lucia means ‘clear light,’ and I really think that embodies who she is. She’s very real, and I think some of these great things that are happening are because she relates to people on a different level … I think the biggest thing she’s taught me is ‘stay in the moment’ … Right this second is great; right this second is beautiful.”

‘CLAIRE’ the Documentary

Wineland’s life was nothing if not impactful, and even though she’s gone, her impact is bound to continue. Proceeds from “CLAIRE,” made by Oscar-winning documentary filmmaker Nicholas Reed,7 and produced by YouTube Originals,8,9,10 will go to Claire’s Place Foundation. According to The Wrap,11 Reed worked with Wineland for the last 18 months of her life. In a statement, Reed said:12

“When I met Claire, I was totally blown away. All my partners instantly said ‘she is the most amazing young person we have ever met, we have to do a film on her.’ And wow, with each meeting we were humbled more and more by her story.

We are honored to have worked with Claire and with the blessing of her family on this official documentary that encapsulates the true nature of Claire and her courageous battle to help dignify people who are sick.”  

You can support Wineland’s legacy by making a donation directly to Claire’s Place Foundation. Last but certainly not least, you can honor her gift by living your own life with gratitude and purpose. 

Optimism and having a sense of purpose in life has actually been scientifically shown to have direct benefits on health and is associated with increased life expectancy. Wineland was herself a testament to this, as she never expected to make it past her teens.

As explained by Wineland, your purpose is really all about what you believe you can give; how you can make a difference. So often, people get stuck in the limiting mentality of “I’m just one person, how could I possibly make a difference?” Well, you can. You might not be able to help everyone, but you can help some.

What are you enthusiastic about? What revs your internal engine? What comes really naturally to you? What do you enjoy doing most? Exploring your answers to these questions can help you discover your purpose, if you feel you haven’t found it yet.

Cultivate an Attitude of Gratitude

Wineland’s message also stresses the importance of cultivating an attitude of gratitude. In her speech at the Life Is Beautiful Music and Arts festival, she said:

You’re never going to be happy with what you get unless you’re happy with what you have. And that’s what you have to do with your life. You have to look at all of it; all the pain, all the loneliness, all the beauty, all the friendship, the family, the sickness and the health — you have to lay it all in front of you and say, ‘Okay, this is what I have. It’s all wonderful. What can I make with it?”

Aside from augmenting happiness and life satisfaction, gratitude actually produces measurable effects on a number of bodily systems, including beneficial effects on mood and pleasure-related neurotransmitters, reproductive and social bonding hormones, cognition, blood pressure and more.

Importantly, it lowers the stress hormone cortisol and inflammatory cytokines, which are often elevated if you have chronic disease. Health benefits associated with gratitude include:13,14,15,16

A greater sense of pleasure, as gratitude stimulates your hypothalamus (a brain area involved in the regulation of stress) and your ventral tegmental area (part of your brain’s “reward circuitry,” an area that produces pleasurable feelings)17

Improved sleep18 (especially if your mind has a tendency to go into overdrive with negative thoughts and worries at bedtime)

A higher likelihood of engaging in other healthy activities and self-care such as exercise

Higher relationship satisfaction

Improved work performance (in one study, managers who expressed gratitude saw a 50 percent increase in the employees’ performance)

Reduced stress and emotional distress, in part by improving emotional resiliency

Enhanced well-being and improved mental health by triggering the release of antidepressant and mood-regulating chemicals such as serotonin, dopamine, norepinephrine and oxytocin, while inhibiting cortisol

Improved heart health,19 reducing the likelihood of sudden death in patients with congestive heart failure and coronary artery disease

Reduced inflammation and pain

Improved immune function

If you’re not yet in the habit of taking note of what you’re grateful for, see “Gratitude makes you healthier, happier and more popular” for a dozen practical strategies to help build and strengthen your gratitude muscle.

What Can a Snake Plant Do for You?

 

Have you ever noticed that when you walk into the home of someone who keeps a lot of plants, you feel just a little bit calmer? Researchers1 who evaluated the effects of indoor plants on 24 young male adults found active interaction with plants reduced their physiological and psychological stress. Participants were left feeling comfortable and soothed.

Research has also demonstrated that university students taught in classrooms where tropical plants were present gave higher ratings to both the course and the instructor.2 One group is so convinced of the power of plants to reduce stress that they've made it a mission to bring plants into every classroom.3

Plants may sharpen your attention capacity,4 reduce sick leave and improve productivity.5 They may also speed recovery from surgery.6 In a study from the University of Exeter, researchers found adding greenery to an otherwise austere office could increase productivity by 15%.7

While each of these benefits improves your overall health, you'll also likely benefit from the specific improvements that snake plants make in reducing indoor air pollution.8

Indoor Air Pollution Is Dangerous to Your Health

Many are aware that outdoor air pollution carries dangerous risks. Some of the more common pollutants include particulate matter, nitrogen dioxide, carbon monoxide,9 formaldehyde and volatile organic compounds10 such as benzene.11 The American Lung Association says these common pollutants trigger asthma episodes and shape how children's lungs develop.

The World Health Organization says air pollution is a major environmental risk to health. In 2016, WHO found that outdoor pollution caused 4.2 million premature deaths around the world.12 While dangerous, indoor air quality can be just as destructive. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, some pollutants are two to five times higher indoors.13

Those who are most vulnerable are the young, old and those who are suffering from cardiovascular or respiratory disease. In the past decades, concentrations of some pollutants have risen as buildings have become more energy efficient. Some buildings also lack sufficient mechanical ventilation and use a rising number of synthetic building materials.14

The concentration of indoor pollutants rises when man-made chemicals and other substances are released in or near your home. A number of common sources, such as household cleaning products, building materials, pesticides, air fresheners and space heaters are responsible.15

These pollutants have both short- and long-term health effects. Short-term exposure16 may increase your risk for allergy reactions including worsening asthma, headaches, fatigue and dizziness. Long-term health conditions may include acute lung infections, chronic obstructive lung disease, lung cancer,17 high blood pressure and diabetes.18

Add Oxygen to Your Environment With Snake Plants

In this short TED talk environmental activist Kamal Meattle, CEO of Paharpur Business Centre in New Delhi,19 spoke about how he successfully improved the indoor air quality in his business using three plants, of which a snake plant was one. He had a bad reaction to the air pollution in New Delhi and was told his lung damage was killing him.

After learning about a NASA20 study in which several plants were analyzed for their ability to remove toxins and add oxygen, he added three common green plants to his building and realized significant results. He used areca palm (Chrysalidocarpus lutescens), snake plant or mother-in-law's tongue (Sansevieria trifasciata) and money plant (Epipremnum aureum).

Meattle conducted his studies in his 20-year-old, 50,000 square-foot building with 1,200 plants for 300 occupants. There was a 42% probability the occupants' blood oxygen level would rise by 1% when they stayed indoors for 10 hours,21 a significant feat in New Delhi that ranks as the world's most polluted city.22

According to Meattle, the Indian government compared the health conditions of occupants in his buildings to those in other buildings and found there was a reduced incidence of eye irritation by 52%. Respiratory symptoms were reduced by 34%, headaches were lowered 24% and lung impairment went down by 12%.23

The snake plant converts CO2 into oxygen during the night hours, which has earned the plant the nickname the "bedroom plant". To supply enough oxygen in his building Meattle found they needed six to eight waist-high plants for each person.24

A common byproduct of respiration is carbon dioxide. Indoor levels that rise may increase the chance that those living and working in confined spaces will suffer from declining performance and learning. Rising levels of CO2 also directly affect cognitive skills and productivity.25

Snake Plants Help Reduce Indoor Air Pollution

In one study published by the International Conference on Chemical, Metallurgy and Materials Science Engineering, researchers evaluated the ability of a snake plant to absorb carbon dioxide in the office. They found that in an office with 360 M3 airspace and three staff people where four snake plants were used, the snake plants absorbed 22.93% of the carbon dioxide.26

In addition to adding oxygen and removing CO2 in the environment, NASA also demonstrated the ability the snake plant has to reduce the levels of trichlorethylene, benzene and formaldehyde.27 When the plant leaf surface area was 2,871 square cm, the plant removed 31,294 mcg of formaldehyde and 28,710 mcg of benzene. A plant with 3,474 square cm of surface area removed 9,727 mcg of trichloroethylene.28

Trichloroethylene is a nonflammable liquid used as a solvent to remove grease. However, it's also found in paint removers, spot removers and adhesives. Although not found naturally in the environment, the snake plant is able to remove trichloroethylene from the air. It's classified as a volatile organic compound and is carcinogenic to humans with a higher evidence for kidney cancer.29

Benzene is among the top 20 chemicals commonly used and is found in plastics, synthetic fibers and resins. Manufacturers also use benzene to produce rubber, detergents, pesticides and drugs. It's classified as a hydrocarbon and is considered a volatile organic compound. This known human carcinogen commonly affects the blood, immune system and nervous system.30

At room temperature, formaldehyde is a colorless gas with a distinct smell. It's classified by the EPA as a "probable" carcinogen, but the International Agency for Research on Cancer classifies it as carcinogenic to humans. It is a volatile organic compound that affects your skin, digestive tract, immune system and respiratory system. It's found in the production of food, paper, antiseptics, cosmetics and resins.31

Each of the substances the snake plant is known to affect in your indoor environment are dangerous to your health. However, as Meattle commented in his video, the addition of plant life to your home can create a healthy environment for you and your family without much effort.

Taking Care of Your Snake Plant at Home

The snake plant might be one of the easiest, low maintenance houseplants to keep as it may thrive in full sun or full shade. It's drought-resistant and also does well when you water it consistently. The plant is found in most nurseries and one may be propagated from another. It's a hardy plant with stiff upright leaves that range in height from 1 foot to 8 feet.32

Although most are called mother-in-law's tongue, that variety typically has a yellow border along the leaves. The plant is a member of the Asparagacea family, which includes asparagus. It's native to West Africa and also goes under the names viper's bowstring hemp and St. George's sword.33

It is an ideal plant for containers around your home, but thrives outside in Hardiness Zones 9 to 11. The snake plant may adapt to full sun conditions and will survive in the shade but it prefers indirect, steady light.34 When potting, use well-draining potting soil, avoiding those low in peat because they don't drain well. Soil intended for cactus is a good choice.

Don't allow the roots to sit in water as it increases the risk of root rot and fungus.35 The soil should dry between watering and during the winter months it should be watered less frequently. Protect your plants from drafts and keep it away from the air conditioner and heating vent.

The plant does not need any pruning36 but may require repotting each year as it grows rapidly. When repotting, always use fresh soil.37 The snake plant makes a beautiful addition to your home but is also toxic to small children and pets.

Keep the plant out of reach and if you see signs of toxicity, such as excessive salivation, nausea or diarrhea, seek medical attention for your child or pet.38 The plant sometimes triggers allergic contact dermatitis but it's usually only toxic when ingested.39

Snake Plant Varieties Offer Unique Decorating Options

The plant comes in a number of different varieties, heights and sizes. Although it improves your indoor air quality, snake plants also add a unique flavor to your decorating. Since the plant is so versatile you can choose to decorate your patio during the summer and bring it in during the winter. If you do choose this option, be sure to slowly harden the plant in the spring before it's left out day and night. Varieties of snake plants include:

  • Sansevieria trifasciata Black Gold — This cultivar has leaves growing relatively straight with light yellow to gold edges and dark green centers.40
  • Sansevieria trifasciata Futura Robusta — This is the shortest of the snake plants with silvery green leaves.41
  • Sansevieria trifasciata Cylindrica — This unique variety has round shaped stiff leaves that may reach several feet in height. The leaves resemble bamboo42 and arch outward from the center.43
  • Sansevieria trifasciata Twist — This variety grows to about 14 inches, making it perfect on a table or as a hanging plant. The leaves are twisted and striped horizontally with yellow edges.44
  • Sansevieria trifasciata Whitney — This dwarf variety has dark green centers bordered by silver green edges.45

Snake Plant Propagation

One way to have increase the number of snake plants in your home is to propagate them. The plants are popular and easy to grow, so you may have a few friends with varieties you don't already own. There are four different ways to propagate your snake plant.46

Anytime one gets too big for the pot, you can either choose to repot it in something larger or split it and divide the plant. Remove the plant and use a knife to cut the roots and separate the stalks. Once it's repotted and the roots covered with soil, mist the plant with water.

Another option is to pull out the young shoots, or rhizomes, which are often found below the soil when you're repotting. Pull the shoots apart by the roots. You can plant each one individually in a separate pot or you can plant several of the largest ones together in a large pot.

You can also propagate the plants by taking a cutting of a leaf close to the base. The cutting can either be placed in a fresh pot of soil or in a vase with water. If you choose water, change it every few days and then once the roots begin to develop, pot in some fresh soil.47

What Can a Snake Plant Do for You?

 

Have you ever noticed that when you walk into the home of someone who keeps a lot of plants, you feel just a little bit calmer? Researchers1 who evaluated the effects of indoor plants on 24 young male adults found active interaction with plants reduced their physiological and psychological stress. Participants were left feeling comfortable and soothed.

Research has also demonstrated that university students taught in classrooms where tropical plants were present gave higher ratings to both the course and the instructor.2 One group is so convinced of the power of plants to reduce stress that they've made it a mission to bring plants into every classroom.3

Plants may sharpen your attention capacity,4 reduce sick leave and improve productivity.5 They may also speed recovery from surgery.6 In a study from the University of Exeter, researchers found adding greenery to an otherwise austere office could increase productivity by 15%.7

While each of these benefits improves your overall health, you'll also likely benefit from the specific improvements that snake plants make in reducing indoor air pollution.8

Indoor Air Pollution Is Dangerous to Your Health

Many are aware that outdoor air pollution carries dangerous risks. Some of the more common pollutants include particulate matter, nitrogen dioxide, carbon monoxide,9 formaldehyde and volatile organic compounds10 such as benzene.11 The American Lung Association says these common pollutants trigger asthma episodes and shape how children's lungs develop.

The World Health Organization says air pollution is a major environmental risk to health. In 2016, WHO found that outdoor pollution caused 4.2 million premature deaths around the world.12 While dangerous, indoor air quality can be just as destructive. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, some pollutants are two to five times higher indoors.13

Those who are most vulnerable are the young, old and those who are suffering from cardiovascular or respiratory disease. In the past decades, concentrations of some pollutants have risen as buildings have become more energy efficient. Some buildings also lack sufficient mechanical ventilation and use a rising number of synthetic building materials.14

The concentration of indoor pollutants rises when man-made chemicals and other substances are released in or near your home. A number of common sources, such as household cleaning products, building materials, pesticides, air fresheners and space heaters are responsible.15

These pollutants have both short- and long-term health effects. Short-term exposure16 may increase your risk for allergy reactions including worsening asthma, headaches, fatigue and dizziness. Long-term health conditions may include acute lung infections, chronic obstructive lung disease, lung cancer,17 high blood pressure and diabetes.18

Add Oxygen to Your Environment With Snake Plants

In this short TED talk environmental activist Kamal Meattle, CEO of Paharpur Business Centre in New Delhi,19 spoke about how he successfully improved the indoor air quality in his business using three plants, of which a snake plant was one. He had a bad reaction to the air pollution in New Delhi and was told his lung damage was killing him.

After learning about a NASA20 study in which several plants were analyzed for their ability to remove toxins and add oxygen, he added three common green plants to his building and realized significant results. He used areca palm (Chrysalidocarpus lutescens), snake plant or mother-in-law's tongue (Sansevieria trifasciata) and money plant (Epipremnum aureum).

Meattle conducted his studies in his 20-year-old, 50,000 square-foot building with 1,200 plants for 300 occupants. There was a 42% probability the occupants' blood oxygen level would rise by 1% when they stayed indoors for 10 hours,21 a significant feat in New Delhi that ranks as the world's most polluted city.22

According to Meattle, the Indian government compared the health conditions of occupants in his buildings to those in other buildings and found there was a reduced incidence of eye irritation by 52%. Respiratory symptoms were reduced by 34%, headaches were lowered 24% and lung impairment went down by 12%.23

The snake plant converts CO2 into oxygen during the night hours, which has earned the plant the nickname the "bedroom plant". To supply enough oxygen in his building Meattle found they needed six to eight waist-high plants for each person.24

A common byproduct of respiration is carbon dioxide. Indoor levels that rise may increase the chance that those living and working in confined spaces will suffer from declining performance and learning. Rising levels of CO2 also directly affect cognitive skills and productivity.25

Snake Plants Help Reduce Indoor Air Pollution

In one study published by the International Conference on Chemical, Metallurgy and Materials Science Engineering, researchers evaluated the ability of a snake plant to absorb carbon dioxide in the office. They found that in an office with 360 M3 airspace and three staff people where four snake plants were used, the snake plants absorbed 22.93% of the carbon dioxide.26

In addition to adding oxygen and removing CO2 in the environment, NASA also demonstrated the ability the snake plant has to reduce the levels of trichlorethylene, benzene and formaldehyde.27 When the plant leaf surface area was 2,871 square cm, the plant removed 31,294 mcg of formaldehyde and 28,710 mcg of benzene. A plant with 3,474 square cm of surface area removed 9,727 mcg of trichloroethylene.28

Trichloroethylene is a nonflammable liquid used as a solvent to remove grease. However, it's also found in paint removers, spot removers and adhesives. Although not found naturally in the environment, the snake plant is able to remove trichloroethylene from the air. It's classified as a volatile organic compound and is carcinogenic to humans with a higher evidence for kidney cancer.29

Benzene is among the top 20 chemicals commonly used and is found in plastics, synthetic fibers and resins. Manufacturers also use benzene to produce rubber, detergents, pesticides and drugs. It's classified as a hydrocarbon and is considered a volatile organic compound. This known human carcinogen commonly affects the blood, immune system and nervous system.30

At room temperature, formaldehyde is a colorless gas with a distinct smell. It's classified by the EPA as a "probable" carcinogen, but the International Agency for Research on Cancer classifies it as carcinogenic to humans. It is a volatile organic compound that affects your skin, digestive tract, immune system and respiratory system. It's found in the production of food, paper, antiseptics, cosmetics and resins.31

Each of the substances the snake plant is known to affect in your indoor environment are dangerous to your health. However, as Meattle commented in his video, the addition of plant life to your home can create a healthy environment for you and your family without much effort.

Taking Care of Your Snake Plant at Home

The snake plant might be one of the easiest, low maintenance houseplants to keep as it may thrive in full sun or full shade. It's drought-resistant and also does well when you water it consistently. The plant is found in most nurseries and one may be propagated from another. It's a hardy plant with stiff upright leaves that range in height from 1 foot to 8 feet.32

Although most are called mother-in-law's tongue, that variety typically has a yellow border along the leaves. The plant is a member of the Asparagacea family, which includes asparagus. It's native to West Africa and also goes under the names viper's bowstring hemp and St. George's sword.33

It is an ideal plant for containers around your home, but thrives outside in Hardiness Zones 9 to 11. The snake plant may adapt to full sun conditions and will survive in the shade but it prefers indirect, steady light.34 When potting, use well-draining potting soil, avoiding those low in peat because they don't drain well. Soil intended for cactus is a good choice.

Don't allow the roots to sit in water as it increases the risk of root rot and fungus.35 The soil should dry between watering and during the winter months it should be watered less frequently. Protect your plants from drafts and keep it away from the air conditioner and heating vent.

The plant does not need any pruning36 but may require repotting each year as it grows rapidly. When repotting, always use fresh soil.37 The snake plant makes a beautiful addition to your home but is also toxic to small children and pets.

Keep the plant out of reach and if you see signs of toxicity, such as excessive salivation, nausea or diarrhea, seek medical attention for your child or pet.38 The plant sometimes triggers allergic contact dermatitis but it's usually only toxic when ingested.39

Varieties Offer Unique Decorating Options

The plant comes in a number of different varieties, heights and sizes. Although it improves your indoor air quality, snake plants also add a unique flavor to your decorating. Since the plant is so versatile you can choose to decorate your patio during the summer and bring it in during the winter. If you do choose this option, be sure to slowly harden the plant in the spring before it's left out day and night. Varieties of snake plants include:

  • Sansevieria trifasciata Black Gold — This cultivar has leaves growing relatively straight with light yellow to gold edges and dark green centers.40
  • Sansevieria trifasciata Futura Robusta — This is the shortest of the snake plants with silvery green leaves.41
  • Sansevieria trifasciata Cylindrica — This unique variety has round shaped stiff leaves that may reach several feet in height. The leaves resemble bamboo42 and arch outward from the center.43
  • Sansevieria trifasciata Twist — This variety grows to about 14 inches, making it perfect on a table or as a hanging plant. The leaves are twisted and striped horizontally with yellow edges.44
  • Sansevieria trifasciata Whitney — This dwarf variety has dark green centers bordered by silver green edges.45

Propagate Your Plants for Greater Results

One way to have increase the number of snake plants in your home is to propagate them. The plants are popular and easy to grow, so you may have a few friends with varieties you don't already own. There are four different ways to propagate your snake plant.46

Anytime one gets too big for the pot, you can either choose to repot it in something larger or split it and divide the plant. Remove the plant and use a knife to cut the roots and separate the stalks. Once it's repotted and the roots covered with soil, mist the plant with water.

Another option is to pull out the young shoots, or rhizomes, which are often found below the soil when you're repotting. Pull the shoots apart by the roots. You can plant each one individually in a separate pot or you can plant several of the largest ones together in a large pot.

You can also propagate the plants by taking a cutting of a leaf close to the base. The cutting can either be placed in a fresh pot of soil or in a vase with water. If you choose water, change it every few days and then once the roots begin to develop, pot in some fresh soil.47

How to Grow Dahlia Flowers

 

The dahlia plant produces flowers in a range of colors, shapes and sizes.1 The flowers are often loved by gardeners as they have one of the longest blooming periods compared to other plants.2 Dahlias will start blooming in June and many continue to flower until the first frost.

The dahlia plant is native to the high plains of Mexico. Some species have also been propagated in Guatemala, Honduras and Costa Rica.3 The dahlia has been grown in Europe since arriving at the botanical gardens of Madrid during the 18th century. The original flowers had an open center but it wasn't long before gardeners found they could hybridize the plant and change both form and color.

You can find dahlia plants in the form of water lilies, peonies, chrysanthemums and anemone.4 They're grown as flat broad petals, rolled pointed petals or globular flowers. The flowers may be the size of a dinnerplate or a small pom pom.5 In other words, no matter your preference for shape and form, there's likely a dahlia plant to suit your taste.

The plants are often grown as ornamental flowers and belong to the aster family,6 which also includes zinnias, safflower, ragweed and dandelions.7 The dahlia is the national flower of Mexico.

Familiar with cultivating the plant, the Aztecs were the first to discover a dahlia tree known to grow approximately 20 feet high with a hollow interior.8 They were able to use the flowers for water. When the Spaniards conquered the Aztecs, they brought seeds back to Spain, where they were cultivated.

Planting dahlias in your garden offers you some of the most spectacular views throughout the summer. According to The American Dahlia Society,9 there are now 42 recognizable species and several more subspecies. Growing dahlias is easy and they often yield beautiful blooms beginning in the middle of summer. This can go on well into the fall months.

The Fundamentals of Growing Dahlias

Learning how to grow dahlias requires a few steps before you plant. It's important to choose the right type and size for your garden. Large plants can grow as high as 5 feet tall10 with flowers of up to 1 foot in diameter. Their height and blooms look best at the back of a perennial border. The larger plants require some staking to support the stems during wind and rain.11

Medium dahlias grow up to 2 feet in height and can be grown in containers. The smaller ones reach 20 inches and remain fairly compact, which makes them a perfect addition for a window box, container or the edge of a border.12

Each dahlia grows from a tuber and can be found at most nurseries and garden centers.13 If you're interested in a plant not commonly found in the garden center, nearly every local dahlia society has events where guests are welcome. The benefit to purchasing tubers or plants from a club is the ability to speak to experts who can answer your questions and help you through your first season.

The dahlia is a perennial plant in USDA Hardiness Zones 8 to 11. In cooler areas, gardeners may plant the tubers and either allow them to die at the end of the year or dig them up and store them for winter.14 When choosing your tubers, avoid those that look wrinkled and instead choose the ones that have a little bit of green growth or buds.15

Consider Soil, Water and Sun in Growing Dahlias

Dahlias appreciate well-drained, rich soil with a neutral pH near 6.5.16 If your soil is clay or heavier, consider enriching it with plenty of organic matter, even when planting in containers or window boxes. You may also add sand, aged manure or peat moss for better drainage and to keep the texture loose.17

Bone meal may be added as you plant the tuber, but if you have animals in the yard that are attracted to bone meal, they may dig up your tubers!18 In containers, use two parts garden soil with one part potting soil,19 which helps with moisture retention as potting soil dries quickly.20 Dahlias grow from tubers that form at the base of the stem in the fall.21

In addition to rich soil, your growing dahlias will do best when regularly watered.22 Although the plants appreciate a drip irrigation system, if you’re hand watering, water at the base of the plants to keep the foliage dry and reduce the risk of fungal growth.

Select a site in full sun as your plants will produce more blooms when they have up to eight hours of direct sunlight.23 In a less sunny location the plants will grow taller but have fewer blooms.24 Look for a location protected from the wind as the larger plants may take a beating during inclement weather.25

Planting and Caring for Your Dahlias

Your dahlias will do best in plain garden soil without using potting soil mixes. Weed killer can burn your tubers before they sprout and cause them not to grow at all.26 If you're planting in a container, it should be no smaller than 12 inches by 12 inches for each one you plant. The larger dahlias could be grown in a pot the size of a whiskey barrel. Do not use prefertilized potting mix because it may burn the tubers.27

If you're planting directly in the garden, the soil should be at least 60 degrees Fahrenheit.28 If you live in cooler climates, you can start your plants indoors four to six weeks before you expect the last frost. Start them in containers with the same proportion of garden soil to potting soil.

Whether planting in a container or in the ground, be sure the soil is loosened at least 1 foot deep. As you plant the tubers, keep the stems or sprouts upright and position the top of the tuber no more than 2 inches below the surface.29 They should be 18 to 24 inches apart.30 If the soil is dry, water it sparingly but do not soak it.

Most outdoor areas have enough rain in the spring to meet the water needs until your dahlia plant is fully established. Be careful because overwatering can cause rot.31 If you add mulch to the base of the plants it helps retain moisture and keep the soil cool.32

Experts disagree on the amount of fertilizer dahlias require. Most recommend using a low if you choose to use any at all. It’s also commonly suggested to be careful not to overfertilize because this can make the plant develop weak tubers at the end of the season and have smaller blooms as well as fewer blooms.33 The American Dahlia Association34 believes the best strategy is to test the soil to determine the specific needs.

As you discover some of the tricks on how to grow dahlias, you’ll find the plants do well when you spend a bit of time through the summer months deadheading and pinching them back.35 Cut the flowers back to the main stem to stimulate the growth of longer stems. The longer stems are better for cutting and displaying in your home.

If you're intent on producing large show blooms, you'll want to remove the outer two buds of the three that develop. Although this reduces the number of blooms, the ones that develop will be larger.36

Cutting or pinching the plants may help promote a shorter, bushier plant, according to Swan Island Dahlias.37 You can accomplish this by either pinching off or cutting the center shoot slightly higher than the third set of leaves. Also, if you expect any plants to reach 3 feet or higher, staked them to support the stems and flowers.38

How to Overwinter Dahlias in Cold Climates

The type of weather your dahlia withstands depends on the cultivar, but most are grown as perennials in hardiness zones 8 to 11.39 Although they originated in Mexico and Central America, hot climates can be challenging for current cultivars because they need additional water.40

As the winter season approaches, you may need to make some accommodations so they overwinter successfully. Outside of hardiness zones 8 to 11, dahlias are grown as annuals. After the first fall frost blackens the greenery, cut each plant down to 4 inches above the soil. Carefully dig around the plants and pull up tubers without damaging them.41

Keep them out of direct sunlight and in a frost-free area to dry for a few days. Once the tubers have dried, carefully remove any excess soil and keep about 2 inches of the stem.42 Store the tubers in a ventilated box or in a basket filled with sand, peat moss or vermiculite that is slightly moist.

Place the container in a cool, dry area where temperatures stay above 45 but not more than 55 degrees F. Check them from time to time to make sure they’re not rotting or drying out. If they start to shrivel, mist them with water. If you find rot, trim that portion so it doesn't spread.43

In spring, separate the healthy areas from the parent and plant as described above. Each tuber you use must have at least one piece of crown attached to it or an eye; otherwise it won’t develop. The eye looks like a little pink bump at the base of the stem.44

If you live in zones 8 to 11, the tubers can be left in the ground to overwinter, covered with a deep layer of dry mulch after cutting the stems 2 inches above the ground.45

Keep the Pests Away from Your Dahlia Flowers

Deer don’t particularly care for dahlias, so there’s a good chance they’ll leave your flowers alone.46 Dahlias are prone to fungal diseases, though, so keep the greenery as dry as possible when watering and the plants well-spaced for good air circulation to reduce the potential for fungal growth.47

When it comes to bugs, the biggest pests are slugs when the plants are young and tender.48 You can get rid of them naturally by setting up a beer trap.49 Bury a shallow container until the rim is at ground height. Put about an inch of beer at the bottom. The slugs are attracted to the liquid and will drown when they fall in. Clean it out every morning.

If you drink coffee, use coffee grounds to deter slugs and feed your plants as they decompose.50 You can mix egg shells with the coffee grounds as well.

Spider mites are another pest that can attack your dahlia plants. These are not true insects but, rather, relatives of spiders and scorpions. They live in colonies on the undersides of leaves and are more common in places that are hot and dry.51

Address this problem by pruning the leaves or stems of infected parts of the plants and washing the tops and bottoms of the leaves with a strong stream of water.52 Do this in the morning to allow the foliage to dry out during the day and reduce the chance for fungal growth. Another option is to bring in natural predators such as ladybugs and lacewings.

Aphids are another bug that ladybugs like. Aphids can also be dislodged from the plant with a strong stream of water. Cut infected parts away and discard them. If pruned parts are infested with insects or mold, don’t put them in your compost pile.53

Long-Lasting, Cut Dahlias Brighten Your Home

Dahlia plant blooms look beautiful in both your garden and in your home or office. They make wonderful cut flowers, and the more you cut, the more blooms the plant produces.54 The best time to cut your flowers is early in the morning, placing them directly into a bucket of cool water.

Remove the bottom leaves from the stems so they don't rot in the water or take up any nutrients from the plant. Be sure to place the stems in a vase. Put the vase in a cool spot away from direct sunlight and change the water every day. If you take care of your flowers this way, the blooms should last a week or a little longer.55

To preserve your flowers, consider drying them.56 Dahlias, zinnias and marigolds with thick heads or delicate blooms respond best to a drying agent such as borax or rice. Spread the drying agent in an airtight container — preferably glass — about an inch deep. Don’t use wood or cardboard because they draw moisture.

Remove most of the foliage and place the blooms on the top. Next, cover the blooms with more drying agent and seal the container. Put it in a cool, dark place for about a week. Gently remove the agent and the dried flowers and spray them with a fixative from a craft store or hairspray.57

Top Nine Tips for Coping With Social Anxiety

 

Social anxiety disorder, formerly known as social phobia, affects 7.1% of U.S. adults in any given year, while an estimated 12.1% of U.S. adults will experience the disorder at some point during their lives.1 People with social anxiety disorder feel intense fear and anxiety in social situations, such that they may try to avoid such situations altogether.

With social anxiety disorder, there is an overriding fear of being negatively judged or rejected by others when in public. People with the condition may worry that others will notice their anxiety, leading to embarrassment and sometimes debilitating panic attacks.

In addition to blushing, shaking hands or stumbling over words, people with social anxiety disorder may experience rapid heart rate, nausea and sweating when in social or performance situations.2

The fear of being judged by others can be so powerful that it can cost those affected job opportunities, friendships and romantic relationships. The condition can range from mild to severe, with an estimated 29.9% of adults with social anxiety disorder having serious impairment while 38.8% have moderate impairment and 31.3% mild impairment.3

There are, however, strategies that can help people with social anxiety to cope and regain control of their lives without having to struggle through debilitating fear.

Social Anxiety Disorder Is Different From Shyness

It's commonly assumed that social anxiety is a form of extreme shyness, but there are distinct differences. While people who are shy may be more likely to suffer from social anxiety,4 shyness is considered to be a "normal" personality trait, which isn't associated with the significant fear felt by those with social anxiety.

Those with social anxiety experience more distress and disruptions to their daily life than people who are simply shy.5 While those with the disorder typically know their fears are irrational, they may feel powerless against the anxiety. The Social Anxiety Association explained:6

"People with social anxiety are many times seen by others as being shy, quiet, backward, withdrawn, inhibited, unfriendly, nervous, aloof, and disinterested. Paradoxically, people with social anxiety want to make friends, be included in groups, and be involved and engaged in social interactions.

But having social anxiety prevents people from being able to do the things they want to do. Although people with social anxiety want to be friendly, open, and sociable, it is fear (anxiety) that holds them back."

Different triggers may cause symptoms of social anxiety to flare up in different people. The most common symptom is a feeling of intense anxiety or fear, which may be accompanied by trembling, dry mouth, racing heart, muscle twitches and nervousness. Triggering symptoms may include:7

Meeting new people

Being teased or criticized

Being the center of attention

Making phone calls, writing or even swallowing in public

Being watched or observed

Having to speak in public

Meeting someone in an authority position

Making eye contact with others

Nine Top Tips for Coping With Social Anxiety

If you're struggling with social anxiety, taking steps to cope can be life-changing, but many people avoid seeking help. According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, "Despite the availability of effective treatments, fewer than 5% of people with social anxiety disorder seek treatment in the year following initial onset and more than a third of people report symptoms for 10 or more years before seeking help."8

If your symptoms are debilitating, professional help is recommended. For mild or moderate cases, however, as well as to support treatment in severe cases, the following strategies can help.

1. Take Opportunities for Social Mishaps — Social mishap exposure practice is a technique that puts you in the very situations you fear most — such as singing in a public place — in order to help reinforce the notion that nothing catastrophic will happen as a result.

You may need to seek the support of a professional to work through this, but the idea is that "patients are forced to re-evaluate the perceived threat of a social situation after experiencing that social mishaps do not lead to the feared long-lasting, irreversible and negative consequences."9

There is evidence that avoiding social interactions may make social anxiety worse. Similarly, this can lead to other problems, like smartphone addiction, which is associated with social anxiety.10 "Hiding" behind a cellphone is likely to make mental health worse, whereas social mishap exposure is intended to help desensitize those affected, making social experiences easier to handle. As explained in Cognitive and Behavioral Practice:11

"An important reason why SAD [social anxiety disorder] is maintained in the presence of repeated exposure to social cues is because individuals with SAD engage in a variety of avoidance and safety behaviors to reduce the risk of rejection.

These avoidance tendencies, in turn, prevent patients from critically evaluating their feared outcomes and other catastrophic beliefs, leading to the maintenance and further exacerbation of the problem.

Social mishap exposures directly target the patients' exaggerated social cost by helping patients confront and experience the actual consequences of such mishaps without using any avoidance strategies."

2. Turn Negative Thoughts Into Positive Ones

A simple example of a positive coping strategy is the "yes, but" technique. You may think, "Yes, I'm going to be speaking at a meeting tomorrow, but I am well prepared and will be successful."12 The positive affirmation helps to balance the negative thoughts and may help calm your mind.

Energy psychology tools such as the Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT), demonstrated in the video above, can help you reduce your stress by correcting the bioelectrical short-circuiting that can happen when anxiety becomes chronic.

Research confirms EFT can be a powerful intervention for stress and anxiety,13 in part because it specifically targets your amygdala and hippocampus, which are the parts of your brain that help you decide whether or not something is a threat.14

EFT has also been shown to lower cortisol levels, which are elevated when you're stressed or anxious, while improving symptoms of psychological distress, including anxiety and depression.15

3. Avoid Alcohol — It may be tempting to ease anxiousness with alcohol, but drinking heavily will have the opposite effect, lowering mood and increasing anxiety throughout the next morning.16 Further, excessive alcohol use is common among people with social anxiety,17 so it's best to avoid this negative coping strategy in favor of the other positive options listed here.

4. Engage in Acts of Kindness — Engaging in acts of kindness, such as doing a roommate's dishes, was found to reduce the desire to avoid social situations in students with high levels of social anxiety.18,19

In a news release, study author Jennifer Trew explained, "Acts of kindness may help to counter negative social expectations by promoting more positive perceptions and expectations of a person's social environment. It helps to reduce their levels of social anxiety and, in turn, makes them less likely to want to avoid social situations."20

5. Protect Yourself From EMFs — Due to the pioneering work of Martin Pall, Professor Emeritus of biochemistry and basic medical sciences at Washington State University,21 we know that voltage gated calcium channels are over 7 million times more sensitive to microwave radiation than the charged particles inside and outside our cells. This means that the safety standards for this exposure are off by a factor of 7 million.

When EMFs hit your voltage gated calcium channels, nearly 1 million calcium ions per second are released into the cell, which then causes the cell to release excessive nitric oxide that then combines with superoxide to form peroxynitrate, which then forms the dangerous hydroxyl free radical that causes massive mitochondrial dysfunction.

The tissues that have the greatest density of voltage gated calcium channels are your nerves and tissues, like the pacemaker in your heart and your brain. When the channels in the brain are activated, it causes a major disruption in neurotransmitter and hormonal balance that can increase the risk for anxiety. You can learn how to reduce your EMF exposure here.

6. Use Healthy Breathing Techniques

According to Konstantin Buteyko, founder of the Buteyko Breathing Method, anxiety is triggered by an imbalance between gases in your body, specifically the ratio between carbon dioxide and oxygen. In the video above, Buteyko breathing coach Robert Litman explains how your breathing affects the ratio of these gases and demonstrates how you can literally breathe your way into a calmer state of mind.

A Buteyko breathing exercise that can help quell anxiety is also summarized below. This sequence helps retain and gently accumulate CO2, leading to calmer breathing and reduced anxiety. In other words, the urge to breathe will decline as you go into a more relaxed state.

  • Take a small breath into your nose, a small breath out; hold your nose for five seconds in order to hold your breath, and then release to resume breathing.
  • Breathe normally for 10 seconds.
  • Repeat the sequence several more times: small breath in through your nose, small breath out; hold your breath for five seconds, then let go and breathe normally for 10 seconds.

7. Eat Fermented Foods — Fermented foods have been shown to curb social anxiety disorder in young adults, likely by helping to optimize the gut microbiome.22 Good bacteria, or probiotics, have also been shown to help normalize anxiety-like behavior in mice with infectious colitis.23 Along these lines, clean up your diet to help stabilize your mood by eating more of these anxiety-busting foods.

8. Try Lavender Aromatherapy — Aromatherapy is a simple, DIY tool you can use to help calm your nerves. In one study, 100 patients admitted to a medical center for ambulatory surgery were given either lavender aromatherapy (inhaled) or standard nursing care (the control group) while in the preoperative waiting room.

Their levels of anxiety were recorded upon arrival to the waiting area and again upon departure. Those who received the aromatherapy had a greater reduction in anxiety compared to the control group.24

Research published in Phytomedicine also found that an orally administered lavender oil preparation was as effective as the drug Lorazepam for the treatment of generalized anxiety disorder.25

9. Consider Ashwagandha — Ashwagandha is a powerful adaptogenic herb that helps your body manage and adapt to stress. In a 2009 study, patients diagnosed with moderate to severe anxiety lasting longer than six weeks who were treated with 300 milligrams of ashwagandha root for three months reported "significantly decreased" symptoms compared to those undergoing standard psychotherapy.26

Be Wary of Drugs for Treating Anxiety

Antidepressant therapy with selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) is sometimes recommended for anxiety disorders based on the "chemical imbalance" theory that anxiety disorders (and depression) may be due to low serotonin levels. Yet, research suggests people with social anxiety disorder may actually have increased serotonin synthesis,27 making treatment with SSRIs highly questionable.

Other commonly prescribed drugs for anxiety include benzodiazepine drugs like Ativan, Xanax and Valium. They exert a calming effect by boosting the action of a neurotransmitter called gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) in the same way as opioids (heroin) and cannabinoids (cannabis) do.

This in turn activates the gratification hormone, dopamine, in your brain. Since the identical brain "reward pathways" are used by both types of drugs, they can be addictive.

If you're struggling with social anxiety, you have nothing to lose, and everything to gain, by applying lifestyle modifications before trying medication, and you may find that these strategies help lessen your anxiety naturally, helping you to embrace life once again.

As mentioned, if your anxiety is so severe that it's interfering with your daily life, speak with a holistic health care provider who can help you develop a comprehensive treatment plan.

The Chemical Imbalance Myth and Antidepressant Harm

 

In the U.S., an estimated 17.3 million American adults (7.1% of the adult population), experienced at least one major depressive episode in 2017.1 The highest rates are reported among those aged between 18 and 25.2 However, not only is there evidence that depression is vastly overdiagnosed, but there's also evidence showing it's routinely mistreated.

With regard to overdiagnosis, one 2013 study3 found only 38.4% of participants with clinician-identified depression actually met the DSM-4 criteria for a major depressive episode, and only 14.3% of seniors 65 and older met the criteria.

As for treatment, the vast majority are prescribed antidepressant drugs, despite the fact there's virtually no evidence to suggest they provide meaningful help, and plenty of evidence showing the harms are greater than patients are being told.

According to a 2017 study,4 1 in 6 Americans between the ages of 18 and 85 were on psychiatric drugs, most of them antidepressants, and 84.3% reported long-term use (three years or more). Out of 242 million U.S. adults, 12% were found to have filled one or more prescriptions for an antidepressant, specifically, in 2013.

According to data5 presented by a watchdog group, hundreds of thousands of toddlers are also being medicated with powerful psychiatric drugs, raising serious ethical questions, along with questions about the future mental and physical health of these children.

Recent studies are also shedding much needed light on the addictive nature of many antidepressants, and demonstrate that the benefits of these drugs have been overblown while their side effects — including suicidal ideation — and have been downplayed and ignored for decades, placing patients at unnecessary risk.

The Chemical Imbalance Myth

One researcher responsible for raising awareness about these important mental health issues is professor Peter C. Gøtzsche, a Danish physician-researcher and outspoken critic of the drug industry (as his book, "Deadly Medicines and Organized Crime: How Big Pharma Has Corrupted Healthcare,"6 suggests).

Gøtzsche helped found the Cochrane Collaboration in 1993 and later launched the Nordic Cochrane Centre. In 2018, he was expelled by the Cochrane governing board following the publication of a scathing critique of a Cochrane review of the HPV vaccine, in which he and his coauthors pointed out several methodological flaws and conflicts of interest.

Over the past several years, Gøtzsche has published a number of scientific papers on antidepressants and media articles and a book discussing the findings. In a June 28, 2019 article,7 Gøtzsche addresses "the harmful myth" about chemical imbalances — a debunked hypothesis that continues to drive the use of antidepressants to this day. He writes, in part:8

"Psychiatrists routinely tell their patients that they are ill because they have a chemical imbalance in the brain and they will receive a drug that fixes this …

Last summer, one of my researchers and I collected information about depression from 39 popular websites in 10 countries, and we found that 29 (74%) websites attributed depression to a chemical imbalance or claimed that antidepressants could fix or correct that imbalance …

It has never been possible to show that common mental disorders start with a chemical imbalance in the brain. The studies that have claimed this are all unreliable.9

A difference in dopamine levels, for example, between patients with schizophrenia and healthy people cannot tell us anything about what started the psychosis … [I]f a lion attacks us, we get terribly frightened and produce stress hormones, but this does not prove that it was the stress hormones that made us scared.

People with psychoses have often suffered traumatic experiences in the past, so we should see these traumas as contributing causal factors and not reduce suffering to some biochemical imbalance that, if it exists at all, is more likely to be the result of the psychosis rather than its cause.10

The myth about chemical imbalance is very harmful. It makes people believe there is something seriously wrong with them, and sometimes they are even told that it is hereditary.

The result of this is that patients continue to take harmful drugs, year after year, perhaps even for the entirety of their lives. They fear what would happen if they stopped, particularly when the psychiatrists have told them that their situation is like patients with diabetes needing insulin." 

Real Cause of Depression Is Typically Ignored

According to Gøtzsche, there is no known mental health issue that is caused by an imbalance of brain chemicals. In many cases, the true cause is unknown, but "very often, it is a response to unhealthy living conditions," he writes.11

He also cites the book,12 "Anxiety — The Inside Story: How Biological Psychiatry Got It Wrong," written by Dr. Niall McLaren, in which the author shows that anxiety is a major factor in and trigger of most psychiatric disorders.

"A psychiatrist I respect highly, who only uses psychiatric drugs in rare cases … has said that most people are depressed because they live depressing lives," Gøtzsche writes.

"No drug can help them live better lives. It has never been shown in placebo-controlled trials that a psychiatric drug can improve people's lives — e.g., help them return to work, improve their social relationships or performance at school, or prevent crime and delinquency. The drugs worsen people's lives, at least in the long run.13"

Gøtzsche rightfully points out that antipsychotic drugs create chemical imbalances; they don't fix them. As a group, they're also somewhat misnamed, as they do not address psychotic states. Rather, they are tranquilizers, rendering the patient passive. However, calming the patient down does not actually help them heal the underlying trauma that, in many cases, is what triggered the psychosis in the first place.

As noted in one 2012 meta-analysis14 of studies looking at childhood trauma — including sexual abuse, physical abuse, emotional/psychological abuse, neglect, parental death and bullying — and subsequent risk of psychosis:

"There were significant associations between adversity and psychosis across all research designs … Patients with psychosis were 2.72 times more likely to have been exposed to childhood adversity than controls … The estimated population attributable risk was 33% (16%-47%). These findings indicate that childhood adversity is strongly associated with increased risk for psychosis."

Economy of Influence in Psychiatry

A related article,15 written by investigative journalist Robert Whitaker in 2017, addresses the "economy of influence" driving the use of antidepressant drugs in psychiatric treatment — and the "social injury" that results. As noted by Whitaker, mental disorders were initially categorized according to a disease model in 1980 by the American Psychiatric Association.

"We're all familiar with the second 'economy of influence' that has exerted a corrupting influence on psychiatry — pharmaceutical money — but I believe the guild influence is really the bigger problem," he writes.

Whitaker details the corruption within the APA in his book "Psychiatry Under the Influence," one facet of which is "the false story told to the public about drugs that fixed chemical imbalances in the brain." Other forms of corrupt behavior include:

  • The biased designs of clinical trials to achieve a predetermined result
  • Spinning results to support preconceived conclusions
  • Hiding poor long-term outcomes
  • Expanding diagnostic categories for the purpose of commercial gain
  • Creating clinical trial guidelines that promote drug use

In his article, Whitaker goes on to dissect a 2017 review16 published in the American Journal of Psychiatry, which Whitaker claims "defends the profession's current protocols for prescribing antipsychotics, which includes their regular long-term use."

As Whitaker points out, there's ample evidence showing antipsychotic drugs worsen outcomes over the long term in those diagnosed with psychotic disorders such as schizophrenia.

The review in question, led by Dr. Jeffrey A. Lieberman, was aimed at answering persistent questions raised by the mounting of such evidence. Alas, their conclusions dismissed concerns that the current drug paradigm might be doing more harm than good.

"In a subsequent press release and a video for a Medscape commentary, Lieberman has touted it as proving that antipsychotics provide a great benefit, psychiatry's protocols are just fine, and that the critics are 'nefarious' individuals intent on doing harm," Whitaker writes.17

The Scientific Bias of Psychiatric Treatment

Five of the eight researchers listed on the review have financial ties to drug companies, three are speakers for multiple drug companies and all eight are psychiatrists, "and thus there is a 'guild' interest present in this review, given that they are investigating whether one of their treatments is harmful over the long-term," Whitaker notes.18

Not surprisingly, the review ignored studies showing negative effects, including studies showing antipsychotics have a detrimental effect on brain volume. What's more, while withdrawal studies support the use of antipsychotics as maintenance therapy over the long term, these studies do not address how the drugs affect patients' long-term health.

"They simply reveal that once a person has stabilized on the medication, going abruptly off the drug is likely to lead to relapse," Whitaker writes.19 "The focus on long-term outcomes, at least as presented by critics, provides evidence that psychiatry should adopt a selective-use protocol.

If first-episode patients are not immediately put on antipsychotics, there is a significant percentage that will recover, and this 'spontaneous recovery' puts them onto a good long-term course. As for patients treated with the medications, the goal would be to minimize long-term use, as there is evidence that antipsychotics, on the whole, worsen long-term outcomes."

Vast Majority of Psychotic Patients Are Harmed, Not Helped

In his deconstruction of Lieberman's review, Whitaker details how biased thinking influenced the review's conclusions. It's a rather long article, but well worth reading through if you want to understand how a scientific review can be skewed to accord with a preconceived view.

Details I want to highlight, however, include findings relating to the number needed to treat (NNT) and the percentage of patients harmed by the routine use of antipsychotic drugs as a first-line treatment.

As noted by Whitaker, while placebo-controlled studies reveal the effectiveness of a drug compared to an inert substance, they do not effectively reveal the ratio of benefit versus harm among the patient population. NNT refers to the number of patients that have to take the drug in order to get one positive response.

A meta-analysis cited in Lieberman's review had an NNT of 6, meaning that six patients must take the drug in order for one to benefit from the treatment. The remaining five patients — 83% — are potentially harmed by the treatment. As noted by Whitaker:20

"The point … is this: reviewers seeking to promote their drug treatment as effective will look solely at whether it produces a superior response to placebo. This leads to a one-size-fits-all protocol.

Reviewers that want to assess the benefit-harm effect of the treatment on all patients will look at NNT numbers. In this instance, the NNT calculations argue for selective use of the drugs …"

Antidepressants Are Not Beneficial in the Long Term

While typically not as destructive as antipsychotics, antidepressants also leave a trail of destruction in their wake. A systematic review21 by Gøtzsche published in 2019 found studies assessing harm from selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) fail to provide a clear and accurate picture of the harms, and therefore "cannot be used to investigate persistent harms of antidepressants."

In this review, Gøtzsche and colleagues sought to assess "harms of SSRIs … that persist after end of drug intake." The primary outcomes included mortality, functional outcomes, quality of life and core psychiatric events. In all, 22 papers on 12 SSRI trials were included. Gøtzsche found several distinct problems with these trials. For starters, only two of the 12 trials had a drop-out rate below 20%.

Gøtzsche and his team also note that "Outcome reporting was less thorough during follow-up than for the intervention period and only two trials maintained the blind during follow-up." Importantly, though, all of the 22 papers came to the conclusion that "the drugs were not beneficial in the long term."

Another important finding was that all trials either "reported harms outcomes selectively or did not report any," and "Only two trials reported on any of our primary outcomes (school attendance and number of heavy drinking days)."

Antidepressants Are More Addictive Than Admitted

In a June 4, 2019, article,22 "The Depression Pill Epidemic," Gøtzsche writes that antidepressant drugs:

"… do not have relevant effects on depression; they increase the risk of suicide and violence; and they make it more difficult for patients to live normal lives.23 They should therefore be avoided.

We have been fooled by the drug industry, corrupt doctors on industry payroll, and by our drug regulators.24 Surely, many patients and doctors believe the pills are helpful, but they cannot know this, because people tend to become much better with time even if they are not treated.25

This is why we need placebo-controlled trials to find out what the drugs do to people. Unfortunately, virtually all trials are flawed, exaggerate the benefits of the drugs, and underestimate their harms.26"

Addictive Nature of Antidepressants Skews Results

In his article,27 Gøtzsche reviews several of the strategies used in antidepressant drug trials to exaggerate benefits and underestimate the harms. One little-known truth that helps skew study results in the drug's favor is the fact that antidepressants tend to be far more addictive than officially admitted. He explains how this conveniently hides the skewing of results as follows:28

"Virtually all patients in the trials are already on a drug similar to the one being tested against placebo. Therefore, as the drugs are addictive, some of the patients will get abstinence symptoms … when randomized to placebo …

These abstinence symptoms are very similar to those patients experience when they try to stop benzodiazepines. It is no wonder that new drugs outperform the placebo in patients who have experienced harm as a result of cold turkey effects.

To find out how long patients need to continue taking drugs, so-called maintenance (withdrawal) studies have been carried out, but such studies also are compromised by cold turkey effects. Leading psychiatrists don't understand this, or they pretend they don't.

Most interpret the maintenance studies of depression pills to mean that these drugs are very effective at preventing new episodes of depression and that patients should therefore continue taking the drugs for years or even for life."

Scientific Literature Supports Reality of User Complaints

Over the years, several studies on the dependence and withdrawal reactions associated with SSRIs and other psychiatric drugs have been published, including the following:

In a 2011 paper29 in the journal Addiction, Gøtzsche and his team looked at the difference between dependence and withdrawal reactions by comparing benzodiazepines and SSRIs. Benzodiazepines are known to cause dependence, while SSRIs are said to not be addictive.

Despite such claims, Gøtzsche's team found that "discontinuation symptoms were described with similar terms for benzodiazepines and SSRIs and were very similar for 37 of 42 identified symptoms described as withdrawal reactions," which led them to conclude that:

"Withdrawal reactions to selective serotonin re‐uptake inhibitors appear to be similar to those for benzodiazepines; referring to these reactions as part of a dependence syndrome in the case of benzodiazepines, but not selective serotonin re‐uptake inhibitors, does not seem rational."

Two years later, in 2013, Gøtzsche's team published a paper30 in the International Journal of Risk & Safety in Medicine, in which they analyzed "communications from drug agencies about benzodiazepine and SSRI withdrawal reactions over time."

By searching the websites of drug agencies in Europe, the U.S., UK and Denmark, they found that it took years before drug regulators finally acknowledged the reality of benzodiazepine dependence and SSRI withdrawal reactions and began informing prescribers and patients about these risks.

A significant part of the problem, they found, is that drug agencies rely on spontaneous reporting of adverse effects, which "leads to underestimation and delayed information about the problems."

In conclusion, they state that "Given the experience with the benzodiazepines, we believe the regulatory bodies should have required studies from the manufacturers that could have elucidated the dependence potential of the SSRIs before marketing authorization was granted."

A 2019 paper31 in the Epidemiology and Psychiatric Sciences journal notes "It took almost two decades after the SSRIs entered the market for the first systematic review to be published." It also points out that reviews claiming withdrawal effects to be mild, brief in duration and rare "was at odds with the sparse but growing evidence base."

In reality, "What the scientific literature reveals is in close agreement with the thousands of service user testimonies available online in large forums. It suggests that withdrawal reactions are quite common, that they may last from a few weeks to several months or even longer, and that they are often severe."

Antidepressants Increase Your Risk of Suicide and Violence

In his June 4 article,32 Gøtzsche also stresses the fact that antidepressants can be lethal. In one of his studies,33 published in 2016, he found antidepressants "double the occurrence of events that can lead to suicide and violence in healthy adult volunteers."

Other research34 has shown they "increase aggression in children and adolescents by a factor of 2 to 3 — an important finding considering the many school shootings where the killers were on depression pills," Gøtzsche writes.

In middle-aged women with stress urinary incontinence, the selective serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor (SNRI) duloxetine, which is also used to treat incontinence, has been shown to double the risk of a psychotic episode and increase the risk of violence and suicide four to five times,35 leading the authors to conclude that harms outweighed the benefits.

"I have described the dirty tricks and scientific dishonesty involved when drug companies and leading psychiatrists try convincing us that these drugs protect against suicide and other forms of violence,36" Gøtzsche writes.37 "Even the FDA was forced to give in when it admitted in 2007, at least indirectly, that depression pills can cause suicide and madness at any age.

There is no doubt that the massive use of depression pills is harmful. In all countries where this relationship has been examined, the sharp rise in disability pensions due to psychiatric disorders has coincided with the rise of psychiatric drug usage, and depression pills are those which are used the most by far. This is not what one would expect if the drugs were helpful."

Drugmaker Lied About Paxil's Suicide Risk

In 2017, Wendy Dolin was awarded $3 million by a jury in a lawsuit against GlaxoSmithKline, the maker of Paxil. Dolin's husband committed suicide six days after taking his first dose of a Paxil generic, and evidence brought forth in the case convincingly showed his suicide was the result of the drug, not emotional stress or mental illness.38

The legal team behind that victory, Baum Hedlund Aristei Goldman, is also representing other victims of Paxil-induced violence and death. At the time, attorney R. Brent Wisner said:39

"The Dolin verdict sent a clear message to GSK and other drug manufacturers that hiding data and manipulating science will not be tolerated … If you create a drug and know that it poses serious risks, regardless of whether consumers use the brand name or generic version of that drug, you have a duty to warn."

GSK's own clinical placebo-controlled trials actually revealed subjects on Paxil had nearly nine times the risk of attempting or committing suicide than the placebo group. To gain drug approval, GSK misrepresented this shocking data, falsely reporting a higher number of suicide attempts in the placebo group and deleting some of the suicide attempts in the drug group.

An internal GSK analysis of its suicide data also showed that "patients taking Paxil were nearly seven times more likely to attempt suicide than those on placebo," Baum Hedlund Aristei Goldman reports, adding:40

"Jurors in the Dolin trial also heard from psychiatrist David Healy, one of the world's foremost experts on Paxil and drugs in its class … Healy told the jurors that Paxil and drugs like it can create in some people a state of extreme 'emotional turmoil' and intense inner restlessness known as akathisia …

'People have described it like a state worse than death. Death will be a blessed relief. I want to jump out of my skin,' Dr. Healy said. Healthy volunteer studies have found that akathisia can happen even to people with no psychiatric condition who take the drug …

Another Paxil side effect known to increase the risk of suicide is emotional blunting … apathy or emotional indifference … [E]motional blunting, combined with akathisia, can lead to a mental state in which an individual has thoughts of harming themselves or others, but is 'numbed' to the consequences of their actions. Drugs in the Paxil class can also cause someone to 'go psychotic, become delirious,' Dr. Healy explained."

Hundreds of Thousands of Toddlers on Psychiatric Drugs

Considering the many serious psychological and physical risks associated with psychiatric drugs, it's shocking to learn that hundreds of thousands of American toddlers are on them. In 2014, the Citizens Commission on Human Rights, a mental health watchdog group, highlighted data showing that in 2013:41

  • 274,000 babies aged 1 and younger were given psychiatric drugs — Of these, 249,699 were on anti-anxiety meds like Xanax; 26,406 were on antidepressants such as Prozac or Paxil, 1,422 were on ADHD drugs such as Ritalin and Adderall, and 654 were on antipsychotics such as Risperdal and Zyprexa
  • In the toddler category (2- to 3-year-olds), 318,997 were on anti-anxiety drugs, 46,102 were on antidepressants, 10,000 were prescribed ADHD drugs and 3,760 were on antipsychotics
  • Among children aged 5 and younger, 1,080,168 were on psychiatric drugs

These are shocking figures that challenge logic. How and why are so many children, babies even, on addictive and dangerously mind-altering medications? Considering these statistics are 6 years old, chances are they're even higher today. Just what will happen to all of these youngsters as they grow up? As mentioned in the article:42

"When it comes to the psychiatric drugs used to treat ADHD, these are referred to as 'kiddie cocaine' for a reason. Ritalin (methylphenidate), Adderall (amphetamine) and Concerta are all considered by the federal government as Schedule II drugs — the most addictive.

ADHD drugs also have serious side effects such as agitation, mania, aggressive or hostile behavior, seizures, hallucinations, and even sudden death, according to the National Institutes of Health …

As far as antipsychotics, antianxiety drugs and antidepressants, the FDA and international drug regulatory agencies cite side effects including, but not limited to, psychosis, mania, suicidal ideation, heart attack, stroke, diabetes, and even sudden death."

Children Increasingly Prescribed Psych Drugs Off-Label

Making matters even worse, recent research shows the number of children being prescribed medication off-label is also on the rise. An example offered by StudyFinds.org,43 which reported the findings, is “a doctor recommending antidepressant medication for ADHD symptoms.”

The study,44 published in the journal Pediatrics, looked at trends in off-label drug prescriptions made for children under the age of 18 by office-based physicians between 2006 and 2015. Findings revealed:

“Physicians ordered ≥1 off-label systemic drug at 18.5% of visits, usually (74.6%) because of unapproved conditions. Off-label ordering was most common proportionally in neonates (83%) and in absolute terms among adolescents (322 orders out of 1000 visits).

Off-label ordering was associated with female sex, subspecialists, polypharmacy, and chronic conditions. Rates and reasons for off-label orders varied considerably by age.

Relative and absolute rates of off-label orders rose over time. Among common classes, off-label orders for antihistamines and several psychotropics increased over time …

US office-based physicians have ordered systemic drugs off label for children at increasing rates, most often for unapproved conditions, despite recent efforts to increase evidence and drug approvals for children.”

The researchers were taken aback by the findings, and expressed serious concern over this trend. While legal, many of the drugs prescribed off-label have not been properly tested to ensure safety and efficacy for young children and adolescents.

As noted by senior author Daniel Horton, assistant professor of pediatrics and pediatric rheumatologist at Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, “We don’t always understand how off-label medications will affect children, who don’t always respond to medications as adults do. They may not respond as desired to these drugs and could experience harmful effects.”

Educate Yourself About the Risks

If you, your child, or another family member is on a psychiatric drug, I urge you to educate yourself about the true risks, and to consider switching to safer alternatives. When it comes to children, I cannot fathom a situation in which a toddler would need a psychiatric drug and I find it shocking that there are so many doctors out there that, based on a subjective evaluation, would deem a psychiatric drug necessary.

You can learn more about the diagnosis and treatment of depression and anxiety in the following articles: “How Exercise Treats Depression,” “Alternative Treatments Effective for Depression,” “Anxiety May Be an Inherited Trait” and “Anxiety Overtakes Depression as No. 1 Mental Health Problem.”


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