Health & Wellness


Avoiding the sun is deadlier than basking in it

There a good chance you've adopted at least some of the messages from the media regarding sunscreen and avoiding the sun. But even though a vast body of evidence correlates sun exposure to skin cancer, it's not the cause.

What is lacking in every scientific study ever linking sun exposure to cancer is any evidence that sunlight is actually the cause or that it may shorten our lives. Ask a dermatologist about the evidence that sunshine raises your risk of dying and there will be an embarrassing silence. After a century of so many reports sunshine and skin cancer, there is not one that has conclusively proven that the sun is the culprit. In fact, there is increasing evidence that keeping out of the sun may be killing you -- and in more ways than you think.

Even the most ardent sun-phobes acknowledge that sunlight has health benefits, but these have largely been put down to Vitamin D. People with the highest vitamin D levels tend to be healthier. They are less likely to have high blood pressure, diabetes, strokes or heart attacks -- in fact, they are less likely to die prematurely of any cause. In the absence of Vitamin D from sunlight, disease increases more than 1000 percent.

Comment: For more on vitamin D and sun exposure check out this episode of the Health and Wellness Show.


Who is looking out for the health of America's Children? House Chemical Bill favors industry over families

Washington - The bill passed by the House of Representatives today to update the Toxic Substances Control Act of 1976 falls short of what's necessary to ensure that everyday chemicals are safe, EWG said.

Ken Cook, EWG's president and cofounder, said:
American citizens expect chemicals in commerce to be safe, but they know that, far too often, this is not the case. Congress has neglected the problem of dangerous chemicals in consumer products for decades, to the great benefit of chemical industry profits. American families have waited far too long for a strong regulatory program that aggressively protects their children's health and safety from toxic chemicals. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, at least 1000 toxic chemicals deserve immediate attention. And we need assurance that the most dangerous chemicals will be regulated or banned in a timely manner. We commend the House for its focus on the need to overhaul chemical policy, but this piece of legislation will not do the job. It tips much too far in favor of an industry in serious need of regulation.

Comment: More than 80,000 synthetic chemicals are used in the U.S. - only 200 have been tested under the Toxic Substances Control Act of 1976. None of these toxic synthetic chemicals are regulated on the basis of their potential to affect infant and child development. What does that say about who's looking out for the health of America's children? Ken Cook is correct in his statement; "Congress has neglected the problem of dangerous chemicals in consumer products for decades, to the great benefit of chemical industry profits."


Study: Cognitive impairment risk from diabetes exists in both US and Chinese adults

Although diabetes is a risk factor for cognitive decline and dementia in the U.S., scientists have been unsure if such memory deficits occur in other cultures.

In a new study, scientists from Mayo Clinic and Huashan Hospital in Shanghai explored the association between diabetes and cognitive impairment to find out if the relationship varies in different populations. They found that American and Chinese adults with Type II diabetes are at similar risk for memory impairment.

Study participants had not been diagnosed with memory-related diseases, such as vascular dementia or Alzheimer's dementia.

For the study, the researchers evaluated data from two large, ongoing, population-based studies: the Shanghai Aging Study (SAS) and the Mayo Clinic Study of Aging (MCSA). Both use similar designs and methodologies.

Comment: A ketogenic diet has been shown to be efficacious in the treatment of diabetes, in some cases enabling patients to reduce their anti-diabetic medications. The diet has also been shown to improve memory in adults with cognitive impairment.


Lemongrass essential oil: A useful addition to your first aid kit

Anyone who has used essential oils for a period of time will find that they reach for the same tried and true oils over and over again. In my case, there are the go-to standards lavender, peppermint, rosemary and frankincense; but, in addition, there is lemongrass.

Three years ago, I thought lemongrass was an herbal plant used in tea and in Asian cuisine. While I still enjoy a soothing cup of lemongrass and ginger tea, these days lemongrass essential oil serves an important role in my first aid kit as well.

The lemongrass genus has over fifty different species worldwide, but only some of the species are suitable for utilization as essential oil. The two most commonly used in essential oils are are Cymbopogan citratus and Cymbopogan flexuosus.

Historically, lemongrass has been used to treat fevers, inflammation and indigestion as well as a sedative. These days, it is used for an armload of other ailments as well as for purification and odor control. Today I share 23 uses for lemongrass essential oil that will set you on a path of wellness.



Plants before pills

Ayurvedic practitioner Sebastian Pole of Pukka Herbs looks at the role of plants in the history of medicine and why reconnecting with natural food is essential to our health. With the explosion of system-wide health disorders, its time to take a more holistic approach to wellbeing.

We live in a time where the dominant mechanistic worldview of the last few centuries is becoming increasingly exposed as an inadequate interpretation of the interdependent nature of life. But because this ideology has dominated our ideas of how we should grow our food, rear our animals, raise our children, heal our society and look after our planet, we have largely forgotten quite how important the web of life is. Plants take a lead role in this mysterious play of life, providing, in one way or another, most of our clothes, our shelter, our food and our medicine. It's worth reflecting on this mutually beneficial plant-human bond, and on how re-engaging with the web of life may improve all our futures.

Comment: Learn more about the benefits of Ayurvedic herbs:


A call for a low-carb diet that embraces fat

© istock
People who avoid carbohydrates and eat more fat, even saturated fat, lose more body fat and have fewer cardiovascular risks than people who follow the low-fat diet that health authorities have favored for decades, a major new study shows.

The findings are unlikely to be the final salvo in what has been a long and often contentious debate about what foods are best to eat for weight loss and overall health. The notion that dietary fat is harmful, particularly saturated fat, arose decades ago from comparisons of disease rates among large national populations.

Comment: Learn more about Low Carb Living with Dr. Stephen Phinney

Arrow Down

Lamb genetically modified with jellyfish sold as meat by Paris butcher

The following article takes the concept of Frankenfood to a whole other level.
© Alamy
A GM lamb (not shown) was sent to an abattoir from the National Institute for Agricultural Research in Paris late last year and somehow ended up on a butcher’s slab.
From the Guardian:
French authorities are looking into how a lamb genetically modified with jellyfish protein was sold as meat to an unknown customer, a judicial source told AFP on Tuesday.

The jellyfish-lamb, called "Rubis", was sent to an abattoir from the National Institute for Agricultural Research in Paris late last year and somehow ended up on a butcher's slab.
"A female lamb born to a sheep that was genetically modified as part of a medical research program was sold to a person in the Parisian region in October 2014," said the National Institute for Agricultural Research in a statement, confirming a story first reported by Le Parisien newspaper.

The case has been taken up by a public health court in Paris, a judicial source told AFP.

Rubis "found itself on a plate! Who ate it? No one knows," exclaimed Le Parisien on Tuesday.

France remains one of the staunchest opponents of GM research, ever since environmental protesters pressured the government into banning GM crops in the 2000s.

The European Union authorised the import and sale of 19 GM crops in April, but is likely to pass legislation allowing individual countries to block their use - in part thanks to demands from France.
Don't worry my fellow Americans, that is France, something like this could never happen here.


WHO decrees active ingredient of herbicide once used in Agent Orange as 'possibly' carcinogenic

© Reuters / Daniel Munoz
The WHO cancer research unit has deemed 2,4-D, the active ingredient of Dow's herbicide - once used in infamous Agent Orange - as 'possibly' causing cancer. The chemical ranked one behind the 'probably carcinogenic' glyphosate in Monsanto's Roundup.

Upon careful review of scientific data regarding 2,4-D, a chemical used for a Dow AgroSciences product, WHO's International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) unit has determined that the weed killer be classified as "possibly carcinogenic to humans."

The verdict, produced by a team of 24 scientists, including he Dow scientific lobby, came after a week-long scientific findings review that took place on June 2-9, which met in Lyon, France.

Comment: The fact that this toxin was only labeled 'possibly carcinogenic' is likely due to considerable pressure brought to bear by the chemical industry. What an abysmal understatement, when the devastating health effects from the use of Agent Orange continue to ravage populations that were exposed to it decades ago.


Psych drugs killing 500,000 seniors every year

Does the long term use of psychiatric drugs cause more harm than good?
Yes, says Professor Peter C. Gotzche. And, he contends, the harm done by psych drugs causes a shocking 500,000 deaths in adults aged 65 and older every year in the Western World.

Professor Gotzche is a professor at the Nordic Cochrane Centre in Denmark, part of the prestigious Cochrane Collaboration. He presented his argument in the 52nd Maudsley Debate at King's College London.[i] The Maudsley Debates take place three times a year at the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology & Neuroscience (IoPPN) of King's College.

How could this information go unnoticed?

Professor Gotzche blames biased drug trials. Almost all randomized trials include patients already taking another psychiatric drug. They are taken off their medication, and after a short "wash-out" period, are randomized to a placebo or the test drug. But the patients going "cold turkey" are dealing with withdrawal symptoms. As a group they make the new drug look good in comparison.

Comment: It is actually much worse:


Herbicide-resistant insects are destroying GMO crops like never before

Bt corn was originally created, or so Monsanto claims, to eradicate a farming nuisance known as rootworm. But as evidence from a GMO corn lab comes in, we are learning how the pests are living the lives in fields planted with GM Bt corn seed.

In 2011, a cornfield planted in Iowa with Bt corn was found to be completely decimated by rootworm. A study, just published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, describes the western corn rootworm's rapid evolution after dining on the engineered crop.

The study's lead author, Aaron Gassmann, states that:
"The widespread planting of crops genetically engineered to produce insecticidal toxins derived from the bacterium Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) places intense selective pressure on pest populations to evolve resistance.

Western corn rootworm is a key pest of maize, and in continuous maize fields it is often managed through planting of Bt maize. During 2009 and 2010, fields were identified in Iowa in which western corn rootworm imposed severe injury to maize producing Bt toxin Cry3Bb1. Subsequent bioassays revealed Cry3Bb1 resistance in these populations.

Here, we report that, during 2011, injury to Bt maize in the field expanded to include mCry3A maize in addition to Cry3Bb1 maize and that laboratory analysis of western corn rootworm from these fields found resistance to Cry3Bb1 and mCry3A and cross-resistance between these toxins.

Resistance to Bt maize has persisted in Iowa, with both the number of Bt fields identified with severe root injury and the ability western corn rootworm populations to survive on Cry3Bb1 maize increasing between 2009 and 2011."

Comment: See also: