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Tue, 24 Apr 2018
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Health & Wellness


An invisible form of oppression: Our food system

Junk food
On April 4, 2018, the 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr.'s death, I was honored to be asked to speak at Riverside Church in Harlem, the church where 51 years ago to the day MLK Jr. spoke out about the injustice of the Vietnam War. From that same pulpit, I gave a talk about the role of our food system and the food industry in deliberately subverting public health and targeting the poor and minorities. The day was focused on MLK Jr's fight for civil rights and social justice for the minorities and poor. The harm of the food system, however, affects all of us. This is the transcript of the speech I gave on that auspicious night.

As a doctor, I took an oath to do no harm. Today, I stand here because there is harm being done to millions and I must speak out. We know all too well the visible forms of racism in our society. We know the inequities in income and opportunity. We know the brutal violence and discrimination of the police. We know the shooting of black children. We know the name of Tamir Rice. We know the name of unarmed black men shot in the back. We know the name of Stephon Clark.

But we don't know the names of millions of African Americans killed every year by an invisible form of racism, a silent and insidious injustice.

Comment: More from Dr. Mark Hyman:

Cell Phone

New study reproduces government findings — Cellphones strongly linked to cancer

In 2011 the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) classified cellphones as a Group 2B "possible carcinogen,"1 and the evidence supporting the theory that electromagnetic field (EMF) radiation from cellphones can trigger abnormal cell growth and cancer2,3 just keeps growing and getting stronger.

In February, the findings of two government-funded animal studies4 were published. Curiously enough, the published interpretation of this $25 million research (conducted by the National Toxicology Program (NTP), an interagency research program currently under the auspices of the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences) significantly downplays the actual findings of the studies.

Comment: See also:


Can Chronic Gut Dysbiosis And Bacterial Overgrowth be Protective in Some Cases?

Small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO) is a condition which falls under the umbrella of "gut dysbiosis". As the name implies, it is characterised by an overgrowth of microflora in the small intestine. The typical symptoms include bloating, abdominal pain, excessive foul flatulence, burping, IBS, constipation, diarrhoea, halitosis, acne, etc. The bacteria which colonise this portion of the digestive tract are able to metabolise fermentable fibres to yield significant quantities of gas as a byproduct of metabolism.1 The two predominant gases are hydrogen and methane. The diagnosis of SIBO is based on a test which involves the consumption of a sugar-based solution and then a measurement of the contents of the breath.

Elevated levels of either hydrogen or methane gas indicates that there is an overgrowth of bacteria, and is used as evidence to support the adoption of a protocol designed to kill off the bacteria. Protocols typically involve prokinetic agents, digestive enzymes, biofilm disruptors, antimicrobial botanical herbs, antibiotics like rifaximin, and perhaps probiotics as well. Aside from being prescribed a wide array of supplements, people are often told to adopt a low FODMAPs diet or a more restrictive GAPS-type protocol to "starve the bacteria", minimise symptoms and support gut barrier integrity.

Arrow Down

Statins and Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) - More reasons to avoid them

'Primum non Noncere' - first do no harm.

Over a decade ago, in 2007, I was sent a link to a World Health Organisation study which reported the following:
'The WHO Foundation Collaborating Centre for International Drug Monitoring (Uppsala Monitoring Centre [UMC]) has received many individual case safety reports (ICSRs) associating HMG-CoA reductase inhibitor drug (statin) use with the occurrence of muscle damage, including rhabdomyolysis, and also peripheral neuropathy. A new signal has now appeared of disproportionally high reporting of upper motor neurone lesions.' 1
This reported has niggled at the back of my mind for a long time. There are few conditions that can match 'upper motor neurone disease/amyotrophic later sclerosis' for sheer bloody awfulness. Here I quote from Wikipedia:
'Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), also known as motor neurone disease (MND), and Lou Gehrig's disease, is a specific disease which causes the death of neurons controlling voluntary muscles. Some also use the term motor neurone disease for a group of conditions of which ALS is the most common. ALS is characterized by stiff muscles, muscle twitching, and gradually worsening weakness due to muscles decreasing in size. This results in difficulty speaking, swallowing, and eventually breathing.

The cause is not known in 90% to 95% of cases. The remaining 5-10% of cases are inherited from a person's parents. About half of these genetic cases are due to one of two specific genes. The underlying mechanism involves damage to both upper and lower motor neurons. The diagnosis is based on a person's signs and symptoms, with testing done to rule out other potential causes.

No cure for ALS is known. A medication called riluzole may extend life by about two to three months. Non-invasive ventilation may result in both improved quality and length of life. The disease can affect people of any age, but usually starts around the age of 60 and in inherited cases around the age of 50. The average survival from onset to death is two to four years. About 10% survive longer than 10 years. Most die from respiratory failure. In much of the world, rates of ALS are unknown. In Europe and the United States the disease affects about two to three people per 100,000 per year.'
With ALS, your brain remains unaffected, whilst your body dies around you. People suffering ALS are often the ones you see in front of the High Court asking for a change in the law, so that they can be assisted to die, rather than suffocating to death. Thus far, in the UK, the courts have remained impervious to basic, caring, humanity. [You may infer what my views are on this matter].

Now, I have known for many years that statins are likely to cause damage to nerve cells. Probably through a direct effect on inhibiting cholesterol synthesis. Synapses are made, primarily, of cholesterol. Cholesterol is required to maintain the health of the myelin sheath, that surrounds and protects neurones. Glial cells in the brain, sustain the myelin sheath by synthesizing their own cholesterol and transferring it across to neurones, and suchlike.


Severe bleeding caused by synthetic weed outbreak has spread beyond Illinois

synthetic marijuana
© Kelley McCall (AP)
Maryland health officials reported that at least one person has come down with serious, uncontrollable bleeding after taking synthetic pot.
A frightening outbreak of uncontrollable bleeding linked to inhaling synthetic weed products seems to have spread beyond the borders of Illinois. On Thursday, Maryland health officials reported that at least one person in the state has come down with similar symptoms, the first case reported there.

The anonymous Maryland patient was rushed to the emergency room on April 3, having developed unexplained bruising and bleeding from different parts of their body soon after taking a synthetic pot product. The person was later hospitalized.

Health officials are now calling the condition "synthetic cannabinoid-associated coagulopathy."

Comment: Anyone who would opt for a synthetic version of marijuana must already be high.



Psychiatric meds withdrawal: Many people trying to quit antidepressants discover they can't

Victoria Toline zoloft withdrawal
© Ruth Fremson/The New York Times
Victoria Toline needed nine months to taper off Zoloft. “I had to drop out of school,” she said. “My life’s been on hold.”
Victoria Toline would hunch over the kitchen table, steady her hands and draw a bead of liquid from a vial with a small dropper. It was a delicate operation that had become a daily routine - extracting ever tinier doses of the antidepressant she had taken for three years, on and off, and was desperately trying to quit.

"Basically that's all I have been doing - dealing with the dizziness, the confusion, the fatigue, all the symptoms of withdrawal," said Ms. Toline, 27, of Tacoma, Wash. It took nine months to wean herself from the drug, Zoloft, by taking increasingly smaller doses.

"I couldn't finish my college degree," she said. "Only now am I feeling well enough to try to re-enter society and go back to work."

Comment: The fact that so little is known about the withdrawal symptoms of psychiatric medications, and the fact that people going through them aren't taken seriously, is criminal. While in some cases the drugs are necessary (although no-doubt over-prescribed), no one should be put on these medications without being told the severe difficulty they may experience coming off of them.

See also:

Life Preserver

New research shows meditation and relaxation training can reduce hypertension potentially better than pharmaceuticals

meditation, visualization
Decades of research continue to unravel the relaxation response--the physiological and psychological opposite of the well-known fight-or-flight stress response that can be achieved through relaxation techniques like yoga or mediation--can reduce blood pressure in people with hypertension.

High blood pressure, or hypertension, is a major risk factor for heart attack and stroke that affects as many as 1 billion people worldwide. A new study led by investigators at Harvard Medical School, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Massachusetts General Hospital and the Benson-Henry Institute for Mind Body Medicine at MGH identified the genes associated with the body's response to relaxation techniques and sheds light on the molecular mechanisms by which these interventions may work to lower blood pressure. The findings are published in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine.

Mindfulness and relaxation based trainings have shown beneficial effects on cardiovascular and inflammatory disorders as a preventative intervention. Research shows they can reduce both systolic and diastolic blood pressure and potentially better than pharmaceuticals.

"Traditionally, hypertension is treated with pharmacologic therapy, but not all patients respond to drug therapy, and many experience treatment-limiting side effects," said co-senior author Randall Zusman, HMS associate professor of medicine and director of the Division of Hypertension at Mass General. "In these patients, alternative strategies are invaluable. In this study, we found that the relaxation response can successfully help reduce blood pressure in hypertensive patients who are not taking medication."

Comment: More alternatives to help control hypertension:


Want more energy? Detoxing from heavy metals can help end exhaustion and chronic fatigue

heavy metals
Detoxification is an important aspect of optimal health, but can be quite confusing, not to mention risky if done incorrectly. Wendy Myers, a functional diagnostic nutritionist, founder of MyersDetox.com and author of "Limitless Energy: How to Detox Toxic Metals to End Exhaustion and Chronic Fatigue," is a treasure trove of information on this topic.

One key component many fail to take into consideration when detoxing is their exposure to non-native electromagnetic fields (EMFs) and microwave radiation from cellphones and Wi-Fi routers. Unless you address these exposures, your detoxification capacity may be impeded. In other words, your body may not be able to excrete heavy metals as efficiently as it would otherwise, due to the interference caused by EMFs.

Comment: More on heavy metal detoxification: More information about chronic fatigue and potential solutions:


Support your adrenals with these powerful adaptogens

adaptogenic herbs
Your body has two adrenal glands located just above each of your kidneys. As part of your endocrine system, your adrenal glands secrete more than 50 hormones, including aldosterone (which helps regulate your blood pressure and blood volume), cortisol and adrenaline, the latter two of which can become overactivated by stress.

Indeed, your hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis is the system responsible for the management of stress. This includes stress from every conceivable source, be it injury or disease, work or relationship problems, lack of sleep or poor diet. Exposure to chronic stress from overwork, chronic inflammation or long-term illness, for example, can result in HPA axis dysfunction, commonly - although perhaps somewhat inaccurately - referred to as "adrenal fatigue" or "adrenal exhaustion."

Adaptogens for Adrenal Support

A more recent hypothesis is that most so-called adrenal fatigue cases are not really due to the adrenal glands' reduced ability to make cortisol. More often than not, the problem can be traced back to dysfunction in the brain signaling portion of the HPA axis, meaning the primary problem is with the hypothalamus and pituitary (the H and the P, and not so much the A, or adrenal portion of the axis).


A brief history of the peanut allergy epidemic

The Peanut Allergy Epidemic
The epidemic of allergy in children was launched in the period between the late 1980s and early 1990s. ER admission records, back-to-back United Kingdom (UK) cohort studies and eyewitness accounts of teachers confronted by the flood of severely allergic children confirm this period of change. This allergy epidemic occurred in specific countries (UK, Australia, Canada, US primarily), involving just children and at the same time. What has the power to do that?

In my book, I traced some of the history of allergy and anaphylaxis-words coined to describe an outcome of having for the first time paired a vaccine with the needle. Thus, doctors became keenly aware of the danger of contaminant proteins in any injected product.

There is ample evidence in the medical literature on the role of vaccination, the toxicity of vaccines and alum adjuvants in creating atopy that one does not need to speculate. Allergists already know.

Comment: The hidden truth about peanuts: From food allergies to farm practices