Our food today is sprayed with herbicides and genetically modified to withstand all manner of “problems”. What they do not tell us is that this makes the nutritional value of food drop and makes the weeds surrounding these foods resistant to the chemicals used to kill them. How many times have we heard the term “superbug” or some deviation to explain things that have become resistant to known ways of dealing with them?
The first report was recently issued on ambient levels of glyphosate and its major degradation product, aminomethylphosphonic acid (AMPA), in air and rain. Glyphosate is the most widely used herbicide in the world.
The chemical exposure in our environment is a pervasive threat, and the report of the herbicide glyphosate being detected in 60 to100 percent of air and rain samples is a perfect illustration of this sad truth. Evidence now clearly shows that glyphosate is devastating crops, animal and human health around the world, even when the exposure is restricted to residues leftover in the soil. Clearly, its presence in air and rain water can only add to its destructive force.
Genetically engineered crops have vastly increased the use of glyphosate, the active ingredient in Monsanto’s nonselective broad-spectrum herbicide Roundup, and this product alone is now wreaking unimaginable havoc in our environment. According to Jeffrey Smith with the Institute for Responsible Technology, by 2004 farmers used an estimated 86 percent more herbicides on GM soy fields compared to non-GM fields.
So-called “Roundup Ready” soybean, cotton and corn crops became exceedingly popular because it allows farmers to spray Monsanto’s Roundup herbicide directly onto their fields without harming the crops. Ordinarily, if you were to spray Roundup, or any other glyphosate-based herbicide, onto a plant, it would rapidly die.
Since the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) stopped updating its pesticide use database in 2008, it’s becoming increasingly difficult to estimate how much glyphosate is actually used in the US, but the following 2006-2007 market usage estimates were reported by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) earlier this year:
* Agricultural market used 180 to 185 million pounds of glyphosate
* Home and garden market: 5 to 8 million pounds
* Industry, commerce and government: 13 to 15 million pounds
Ambient Levels of Glyphosate in Air and Rain
The results of the first report on the ambient levels of glyphosate and AMPA in air and rain water were published in the journal Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry in March. The samples were collected during two growing seasons in Mississippi and Iowa. Glyphosate was detected in 60 to 100 percent of all air and rain samples. The following concentration ranges of glyphosate were found:
* Air: 0.01 to 9.1 ng/m
* Rain: 0.1 to 2.5 µg/L
According to the authors:
“It is not known what percentage of the applied glyphosate is introduced into the air, but it was estimated that up to 0.7 percent of application is removed from the air in rainfall. Glyphosate is efficiently removed from the air; it is estimated that an average of 97 percent of the glyphosate in the air is removed by a weekly rainfall ≥ 30 mm.”
The Environmental Dangers of Glyphosate
A couple of years ago, a French court found Monsanto guilty of falsely advertising its herbicide as “biodegradable,” “environmentally friendly” and claiming it “left the soils clean.” The truth is that Roundup is anything BUT environmentally friendly. Monsanto’s own tests showed that only two percent of the herbicide broke down after 28 days, which means it readily persists in the environment!
Glyphosate is the most commonly reported cause of pesticide illness among landscape maintenance workers in California, and researchers have now linked it to Sudden Death Syndrome (SDS), a serious plant disease, in many fields around the world. Numerous studies have also shown that glyphosate is contributing not only to the huge increase in SDS, but also to the outbreak of some 40 different plant and crop diseases! It weakens plants and promotes disease in a number of ways, including:
* Acting as a chelator of vital nutrients, depriving plants of the nutrients necessary for healthy plant function
* Destroying beneficial soil organisms that suppress disease-causing organisms and help plants absorb nutrients
* Interfering with photosynthesis, reducing water use efficiency, shortening root systems and causing plants to release sugars, which changes soil pH
* Stunting and weakening plant growth
The herbicide doesn’t destroy plants directly; instead, it creates a unique “perfect storm” of conditions that activates disease-causing organisms in the soil, while at the same time wiping out plant defenses against those diseases. So the glyphosate not only weakens plants, it actually changes the makeup of the soil and boosts the number of disease-causing organisms, which is becoming a deadly recipe for crops around the globe… A report from 1998 by the Environmental Monitoring & Pest Management Department of Pesticide Regulation on the environmental fate of glyphosate states that:
“Aerial drift of the herbicide will cause injury to non-target plants… Minute quantities of mist, drip, drift or splash of glyphosate onto non-target vegetation can cause severe damage or destruction to the plants or other areas on which treatment was not intended.”
So, what exactly is being done to vegetation everywhere, now that both air and rain is clearly contaminated with glyphosate?
Potential Health Hazards of Glyphosate
Usually, whatever toxins lurk in the environment has a tendency to find its way into animals’ bellies and onto your dinner plate, and this holds true for glyphosate as well. Some of the fungi promoted by glyphosate produce dangerous toxins that can end up in the food supply. Some of these have been linked to human toxicosis in Eastern Europe, esophageal cancer in southern Africa and parts of China, joint diseases in Asia and southern Africa, and a blood disorder in Russia.
* Glyphosate is suspected of causing genetic damage, infertility and cancer.
* It is also acutely toxic to fish and birds and can kill beneficial insects and soil organisms that maintain ecological balance.
* Laboratory studies have identified adverse effects of glyphosate-containing products in all standard categories of toxicological testing. In one animal study, rats given 1,000 mg/kg of glyphosate resulted in a 50 percent mortality rate, and skeletal alterations were observed in over 57 percent of fetuses!
* The surfactant ingredient in Roundup is more acutely toxic than glyphosate itself, and the combination of the two is even more toxic.
A recent report from Earth Open Source has also revealed that Roundup herbicide not only causes birth defects, but that industry regulators have known this for years and did nothing about it. After reviewing industry studies and regulatory documents used to approve Roundup, they noted:
* Industry (including Monsanto) has known since the 1980s that glyphosate causes malformations in experimental animals at high doses
* Industry has known since 1993 that these effects could also occur at lower and mid doses
* The German government has known since at least 1998 that glyphosate causes malformations
* The EU Commission’s expert scientific review panel knew in 1999 — and the EU Commission has known since 2002 – that glyphosate causes malformations
What Do We Know about AMPA?
Aminomethylphosphonic acid (AMPA) is a byproduct of the degradation of glyphosate, and no one seems to know what the full environmental- and health impacts might be from this synthetic metabolite. However, according to a 2008 study in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, AMPA is phytotoxic to plant species, although it’s less active than glyphosate. And the British Pesticide Properties Database (PPDB) lists it as being moderately toxic to fish, aquatic invertebrates and algae, and cites “probable liver and kidney toxicant” as a known human health issue. Aside from those few nuggets, toxicology and safety data is glaringly absent.
This could spell trouble, depending on what the truth is about the health impact of this metabolite, as a previous report by the US Geological Survey, issued in 2007, found that AMPA was detected more frequently than glyphosate, and occurred at similar or higher concentrations than the parent compound.
Genetically Modified Crops May Contain Toxic Roundup Residues
It’s widely known that genetically modified (GM) Roundup Ready crops contain Roundup residues, and a 2009 study demonstrated just how toxic these residues may be to your health… Even when researchers tested formulations of Roundup that were highly diluted (up to 100,000 times or more) on human cells, the cells died within 24 hours!
They also found damage to cell membranes and DNA, along with an inhibition of cell respiration. Further, the researchers discovered that the mixture of components used as Roundup adjuvants actually amplified the action of the glyphosate. The researchers wrote:
“This work clearly confirms that the adjuvants in Roundup formulations are not inert. Moreover, the proprietary mixtures available on the market could cause cell damage and even death around residual levels to be expected, especially in food and feed derived from Roundup formulation-treated crops.”
Although Roundup isn’t used exclusively on genetically modified (GM) crops, these crops are some of the most prevalent in the US diet. So to drastically reduce your exposure, avoiding GM foods would be an obvious starting point.
How Do You Know if You’re Eating GM Foods?
According to the latest US Department of Agriculture (USDA) statistics, about 88 percent of all corn, 90 percent of all canola, and 94 percent all soy grown in the United States is genetically modified in one way or another (not all are the Roundup Ready variety), which means that virtually every processed food you encounter at your local supermarket that does not bear the “USDA Organic” label will contain one or more GM components.
Therefore, if you want to avoid GM foods (which have a variety of inherent health dangers over and above the hazards of Roundup residues), you’ll want to, first and foremost, avoid most processed foods, unless it’s labeled USDA 100% Organic. You can also avoid GM foods that are not found in processed foods, if you know what to look for. There are currently eight genetically modified food crops on the market:
- Sugar from sugar beets
- Hawaiian papaya
- Cottonseed (used in vegetable cooking oils)
- Some varieties of zucchini
- Canola (canola oil)
- Crookneck squash
More Tips on How to Decrease Your Exposure to Glyphosate
The potential health ramifications of these world-wide experiments with our food supply, using genetic engineering and vast amounts of toxic chemicals, are frightening to say the least. If you care about the health and future of your family, it is strongly urge that to refuse to participate in this destructive trend.
In your own home, you can:
- Avoid using glyphosate-containing weed killers on your lawn and garden, and
- Buy organic foods to avoid both genetically modified crops and agricultural chemicals like glyphosate
The True Food Shopping Guide is a great tool for helping you determine which food brands and products contain GM ingredients. It lists 20 different food categories that include everything from baby food to chocolate.
The simplest way to avoid GM foods however is to buy whole, certified organic foods. By definition, foods that are certified organic must be free from all GM organisms, produced without artificial pesticides and fertilizers and from an animal reared without the routine use of antibiotics, growth promoters or other drugs. Additionally, grass-fed beef will not have been fed GM corn feed.
Cancer rates are projected to increase by 45% in the United Kingdom in the next 20 years? Why, with all our technology and medicine, is cancer over taking heart attack as the number 1 killer? Why, with all the money spent on cancer “research” and charities, is the medical community no closer to a cure?
Prevention should be the focus of medicine, yet more and more the focus is on drugs, surgery or poison. These “treatments” have been around for decades with more and more proof they do not work. As a society, we cannot sustain the cost of these “treatments” and the result of the harmful and debilitating side effects.
What if there was a way to give your body what it needed to fight disease and lessen your cancer risk? This is an article by Dr. Mercola explaining the cancer situation we face today. It is a lengthy article and gives a lot of detail, but it is a great way to educate yourself on being healthier without drugs.
- Cancer prevention strategies that need to become mainstream include: optimizing your vitamin D levels, normalizing your insulin levels, and exercise. Research shows you can likely cut your cancer-risk in half simply by optimizing your vitamin D levels with sun exposure. And if you are being treated for cancer it is likely that higher blood levels—probably around 70-100 ng/ml—would be beneficial
- Cancer rates are projected to rise by 45 percent in the UK over the next 20 years due to population growth and an ageing population.
- Global cost of cancer is estimated at $286 billion annually in medical expenses and lost productivity. According to a new report from a panel of 37 experts, the rate of increase in expenditure on cancer within health-care systems is unsustainable.
- Ignoring the fact that cancer is likely a man-made disease caused primarily by toxic overload is at the heart of our rising cancer rates, yet most of the cancer research is directed towards expensive drugs that target late stages of the disease and greatly enrich the drug companies but simply do not prevent cancer.
- Overlooked contributing factors to cancer include: chemical exposures, pharmaceutical drugs, processed and artificial foods, EMF and dirty electricity, radiation exposure, obesity, stress, poor sleeping habits, and lack of sunshine exposure.
Research in the UK suggests that the number of new cancer cases could rise 45 percent by 2030. Cancer Research UK, which funded the study, says that the National Health Service must act immediately to avoid being “overwhelmed”.
The research looked at 23 different types of cancer, and found an expected cancer increase of 55 percent for men and 35 percent for women.
BBC News reports:
“The rate of breast cancer is projected to fall by 7 percent. The authors attribute this to a recent reduction in the use of hormone replacement therapy, which is a risk factor for the disease. However the rates of malignant melanoma and kidney cancer are forecast to rise sharply in men and women.”
The primary reason for the rise in cancer cases is attributed to population growth in the UK and an increased aging population. Interestingly, while paying lip service to the necessity to create stronger initiatives for smoking, drinking, and obesity reduction. England’s Department of Health is planning to invest more than £750 million over the next four years to promote earlier cancer diagnosis and “better access to the latest treatments.”
So in essence, they’re going to throw millions of pounds into an already broken system—the Cut, Poison, Burn paradigm—that does nothing to actually prevent cancer…No wonder cancer rates are projected to rise by 45 percent in the UK over the next 20 years!
New Study—Cost of Cancer Rapidly Becoming Unsustainable
Cancer now surpasses heart disease as the number one killer of Americans between the ages of 45 to 74. The odds are quite high that you or someone you know has cancer, is dying or has already died from it.
While life cannot be measured in dollars and cents, the financial burden of cancer is truly staggering. Currently, 12 million people worldwide are diagnosed with cancer each year, costing $286 billion annually in medical costs and lost productivity. By 2030, that number could increase to 22 million people each year, with a similar rise in costs.
According to a new report from a panel of 37 experts, the cost of cancer is rapidly becoming unsustainable in many developed countries. The report was published in the journal Lancet Oncology in September, and was covered in Time Magazine that same month.
According to the authors of the report:
“The burden of cancer is growing rapidly… This is not simply due to an increase in absolute numbers or need for optimized treatments, rather it relates to the unsustainable rate of increase in expenditure on cancer within health-care systems.
What are the drivers and solutions to the so-called cancer-cost curve in developed countries? How are we going to afford to deliver high-quality and equitable care? In this Commission and the linked Comments, expert opinion from health-care professionals, policy makers, and cancer survivors has been gathered to address the barriers and solutions to delivering affordable cancer-care in high-income countries.”
The report wisely questions the value of expensive new therapies that prolong patients’ lives by mere months. Some cancer drugs, such as Avastin, for example, can cost upwards of $100,000 per year. At that price, even with insurance coverage, your co-payments can easily run as high as $20,000 a year.
This despite the fact that studies show the drug prolongs life by just a few months at best, and more recent studies have suggested the drug might be less effective against cancer than the FDA believed when it was approved. It also has potentially lethal side effects that might speed up your ultimate demise.
When the Treatment is worse than the Disease…
Perhaps more importantly, most conventional cancer treatments tend to add insult to injury by doing more harm than good — a fact that has been largely swept under the rug by the medical industry.
Meanwhile, the real culprits—the underlying causes—are completely ignored, and that is the root of the problem. The cancer industry has become a massive for-profit business that is doing everything in its power to maintain the status quo.
It is, quite simply, not interested in truly reducing cancer rates; it’s interested in treating cancer. From that perspective, the more cancer cases the better…
Getting to the Root of the Problem
Ignoring the fact that cancer is for the most part a disease triggered primarily by exposure to industrial toxins, the now well-trod path of the Cut-Poison-Burn model is taking us ever further AWAY from the solution.
The pharmaceutical researchers would like you to believe they’re doing everything they can to come up with a solution. Yet most of the cancer research is directed towards expensive drugs that target late stages of the disease and greatly enrich the drug companies but simply do not prevent cancer.
Clearly they’re not digging close enough to the root of the problem, because if they did, they’d touch on some of the lifestyle issues I’ll review below.
If ever there was an area in which an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure it is cancer. I firmly believe that if you’re able to work your way up to the advanced health plan, that you will virtually eliminate the risk of most cancers.
From my perspective, you ignore lifestyle factors at your own peril, as environmental- and lifestyle factors are increasingly being pinpointed as the primary culprits fueling our cancer epidemic.
An exhaustive list of contributing factors would be exceedingly long, but some of the more obvious ones are listed below.
- Pesticide- and other chemical exposures
- Processed and artificial foods (plus the chemicals in the packaging)
- Wireless technologies, dirty electricity, and medical diagnostic radiation exposure
- Pharmaceutical drugs
- Obesity, stress, and poor sleeping habits
- Lack of sunshine exposure and use of sunscreens
In the last 30 years the global cancer burden has doubled, and as predicted in the featured study, we’re looking at further dramatic increases—unless people begin to take cancer prevention seriously.
We believe we can turn this trend around, but to do so the medical community must stop overlooking the methods that can actually have a very real and significant impact.
Three cancer advancements in particular merit special mention, and it will be summarize as below. These advancements have not yet been accepted by conventional medicine, and they must be.
Vitamin D Plays a Crucial Role in Cancer Development
There’s overwhelming evidence indicating that vitamin D deficiency plays a crucial role in cancer development. Research has identified a number of vitamin D’s protective mechanisms against cancer, including:
- Regulating genetic expression
- Increasing the self-destruction of mutated cells (which, if allowed to replicate, could lead to cancer)
- Reducing the spread and reproduction of cancer cells
- Causing cells to become differentiated (cancer cells often lack differentiation)
- Reducing the growth of new blood vessels from pre-existing ones, which is a step in the transition of dormant tumors turning cancerous
Researchers within this field have estimated that about 30 percent of cancer deaths could be prevented annually simply by optimizing the vitamin D levels in the general population.
On a personal level, you can decrease your risk of cancer by MORE THAN HALF simply by optimizing your vitamin D levels with sun exposure. And if you are being treated for cancer it is likely that higher blood levels—probably around 70-100 ng/ml—would be beneficial.
If the notion that sun exposure actually prevents cancer is still new to you, I highly recommend you watch my one-hour vitamin D lecture to clear up any confusion; Dr. Michael Holick is one of the major vitamin D experts out there. In this video, he discusses vitamin D relating to bone and muscle health and the prevention of autoimmune and chronic diseases.
It’s important to understand that the risk of skin cancer from the sun comes only from excessive exposure. Meanwhile, countless people around the world have an increased risk of cancer because their vitamin D levels are too low due to utter lack of sun exposure.
Why We Need to Re-Embrace Sun Exposure
I strongly recommend optimizing your vitamin D levels with appropriate amounts of sun exposure because when your skin is exposed to the sun, in addition to creating vitamin D3 it also synthesizes high amounts of vitamin D sulfate and cholesterol sulfate—both of which are very important for heart- and cardiovascular health.
In fact, research by Dr. Stephanie Seneff suggests that heart disease may be a symptom of cholesterol sulfate deficiency, and healthy cholesterol and sulfur levels are both highly dependent on your vitamin D levels…
Vitamin D sulfate is a water soluble form of sulfur that can travel freely in your blood stream, making it readily available, while oral vitamin D3 is unsulfated, and therefore needs LDL (the so-called “bad” cholesterol) as a vehicle of transport.
Dr. Seneff’s suspicion is that the simple oral non-sulfated form of vitamin D may not provide as much of the same heart-healthy benefits as the vitamin D created in your skin from sun exposure, because it cannot be converted to vitamin D sulfate, and therefore will not improve your sulfur status.
Furthermore, sulfur deficiency also promotes obesity and related health problems like diabetes, so all in all, the importance of getting regular sun exposure simply cannot be overstated.
If you can’t get enough sun exposure during certain parts of the year, I advise using a safe tanning bed to allow your body to produce vitamin D naturally. Safe tanning beds have electronic ballasts and produce less UVA than sunshine.
A third option is taking a high-quality vitamin D supplement. According to the most recent findings by Carole Baggerly, founder of GrassrootsHealth, her research of nearly 10,000 people shows the ideal adult dose appears to be 8,000 IU’s a day to get most into the healthy range. Just remember to get your vitamin D levels tested regularly if you take an oral supplement.
Your Insulin Levels have a Direct Bearing on Your Cancer Risk
The second cancer prevention strategy that everyone needs to be aware of is the importance of normalizing your insulin levels. Aside from optimizing your vitamin D levels, normalizing your insulin levels is one of the most powerful physical actions you can take to lower your risk of cancer.
Unfortunately, very few oncologists appreciate or apply this knowledge today. The Cancer Centers of America is one of the few exceptions, where strict dietary measures are included in their cancer treatment program.
High levels of insulin can cause major damage to your body. The most recognized of these is diabetes, but cancer is another common side effect. The good news is that controlling your insulin levels is relatively straightforward:
- First and foremost, limit your intake of processed foods, grains and sugars/fructose as much as possible, and
- Exercise regularly especially Peak Fitness exercises
Exercise is Slowly Becoming More Recognized for its Cancer Prevention Potential
While exercise might not be at the top of most people’s lists of cancer prevention or treatment strategies, there is actually compelling evidence suggesting that exercise can indeed slash your cancer risk and improve recovery.
For example, physically active adults experience about half the incidence of colon cancer as their sedentary counterparts, and women who exercise regularly can reduce their breast cancer risk by 20 to 30 percent compared to those who are inactive.
Furthermore, Harvard Medical School researchers found that breast cancer patients who exercise moderately — 3-5 hours a week — reduce their odds of dying by about half as compared to sedentary women. In fact, any amount of weekly exercise increased a patient’s odds of surviving breast cancer.
One of the primary ways exercise lowers your cancer risk is by reducing elevated insulin levels, which creates a low sugar environment that discourages the growth and spread of cancer cells. Additionally, exercise improves the circulation of immune cells in your blood, which is your first line of defense against all disease, including cancer.
The trick though understands how to use exercise as a precise tool. It can be helpful to view exercise like a drug that needs to be carefully prescribed to achieve its maximum benefit.
You’ll want to include a large variety of techniques in your exercise routine, such as:
High-intensity, burst-type exercise, such as Peak 8. (Peak 8 are exercises performed three times a week, in which you raise your heart rate up to your anaerobic threshold for 20 to 30 seconds, and then you recover for 90 seconds)
- Strength training
- Core-building activities
- Other Cancer-Prevention Strategies
Please understand that you can do a lot, right now, to significantly decrease your cancer risk. Even the conservative American Cancer Society states that one-third of cancer deaths are linked to poor diet, physical inactivity, and carrying excess weight.
So, making the following healthy lifestyle changes can go a very long way toward ending the failure-streak and becoming one less statistic in this war against cancer:
Focus on fresh, whole organic foods, forgoing as many processed foods as possible. Aim to consume at least one-third of your food raw. Only 25 percent of people eat enough vegetables, so by all means eat as many vegetables as you are comfortable with. Cruciferous vegetables in particular have been identified as having potent anti-cancer properties.
When eating meat, make sure it’s grass-fed. Avoid CAFO beef and ALL processed meats, which have been clearly linked to increased cancer risk.
- Get appropriate amounts of animal-based omega-3 fats.
- Have a tool to permanently erase the neurological short-circuiting that can activate cancer genes. Even the CDC states that 85 percent of disease is caused by emotions. It is likely that this factor may be more important than all the other physical ones listed here, so make sure this is addressed. My particular favourite tool for this purpose, as you may know, is the Emotional Freedom Technique.
- Maintain an ideal body weight. For my top 10 guidelines for normalizing your weight, please see this previous article.
- Get enough high-quality sleep.
- Reduce your exposure to environmental toxins like pesticides, household chemical cleaners, conventional personal care products, synthetic air fresheners and air pollution.
- Reduce your use of cell phones and other wireless technologies, and implement as many safety strategies as possible if/when you cannot avoid their use.
- Boil, poach or steam your foods, rather than frying or charbroiling them.
Iron is an abundant metal in the earth. Most living things need iron to survive. It is needed in many proteins and enzymes in the human body. Iron is an essential ingredient in the proteins that carry blood through the body and in cell development. Almost two-thirds of iron in the body is found in hemoglobin, the protein in red blood cells that carries oxygen to tissues. If you don’t have enough iron, your body can’t make enough healthy oxygen-carrying red blood cells. A lack of red blood cells is called iron deficiency anaemia.
Smaller amounts of iron are found in myoglobin, a protein that helps supply oxygen to muscle, and in enzymes that assist biochemical reactions. Iron is also found in proteins that store iron for future needs and that transport iron in blood. Iron stores are regulated by intestinal iron absorption.
When you don’t have enough iron, not enough oxygen can get to your cells. When that happens we get tired, fatigued and decreased immunity which affects how we go about our daily tasks. Other symptoms include decreased attention span, irritability, decreased immune function leading to more frequent illness, swollen and red tongue, poor performance at work or school, and delayed or impaired cognitive development in infants and young children.
There is such a thing as getting too much iron which can cause death by heart or liver failure. It increases the risk for liver disease (cirrhosis, cancer), heart attack or heart failure, diabetes mellitus, osteoarthritis, osteoporosis, metabolic syndrome, hypothyroidism, hypogonadism, numerous symptoms and in some cases premature death. Iron mismanagement resulting in overload can accelerate such neurodegenerative diseases as Alzheimer’s, early-onset Parkinson’s, Huntington’s, epilepsy and multiple sclerosis.
Iron Deficiency Symptoms
People often don’t know they have anemia until they have signs or symptoms — they appear pale or ‘sallow,’ are fatigued, or have difficulty exercising. If you’re low in iron, you may also:
- Feel short of breath
- Have a fast heartbeat
- Have cold hands and feet
- Crave strange substances such as dirt or clay
- Have brittle and spoon shaped nails or hair loss
- Sores at the corner of the mouth
- A sore tongue – glossitis (an inflamed tongue)
- Severe iron deficiency can cause difficulty in swallowing
- feeling tired and weak
- decreased work and school performance
- slow cognitive and social development during childhood
- difficulty maintaining body temperature
- decreased immune function, which increases susceptibility to infection
If you’re tired and dragging, see your doctor. It’s fairly easy to detect and diagnose the different stages of iron deficiency with a simple blood test. Women who are pregnant and people with a gastrointestinal disorder such as Crohn’s, ulcerative colitis, or celiac disease should have their iron tested on a regular basis.
You might need more iron, either from dietary sources or from an iron supplement:
- pregnant and/or breastfeeding women
- preterm and low birth weight infants
- older infants and toddlers
- teenage girls
- women of childbearing age, especially those with heavy menstrual losses
- people with renal failure, especially those undergoing routine dialysis which can remove iron from the body
- people with gastrointestinal disorders who do not absorb iron normally (such as celiac disease, Crohn’s disease, or ulcerative colitis)
- Have an ulcer, which can cause blood loss
- Take too many antacids, which can prevent your body from absorbing iron
- Have had weight loss (bariatric) surgery
- Work out a lot (intense exercise can destroy red blood cells)
If you are a vegetarian or vegan, you may also need to take an iron supplement, because the body doesn’t absorb the type of iron found in plants as well as it absorbs the iron from meat. Meat-derived iron, known as heme iron, is more easily absorbed by the body. Plant-derived iron, known as non-heme iron, is not as well absorbed and requires vitamin C (or meat) to improve absorption. In addition, absorption is diminished by calcium (dairy products), fiber, tea, and coffee. If you are a vegetarian or vegan, be sure to consume iron-rich foods with vitamin C rich foods such as citrus fruits and juices, tomatoes, strawberries, broccoli, kiwi, melons, red and green sweet peppers, and dark green vegetables whenever possible.
How Much Iron Do You Need?
How much iron you need each day depends on your age, gender, and overall health.
Infants and toddlers need more iron than adults, in general, because their bodies are growing so quickly. In childhood, boys and girls need the same amount of iron — 10 milligrams daily from ages 4 to 8, and 8 mg daily from ages 9 to 13.
Starting at adolescence, a woman’s daily iron needs increase. Women need more iron because they lose blood each month during their period. That’s why women from ages 19 to 50 need to get 18 mg of iron each day, while men the same age can get away with just 8 mg.
After menopause, a woman’s iron needs drop as her menstrual cycle ends. After a woman begins menopause, both men and women need the same amount of iron — 8 mg each day.
Can Iron Supplements Cause Side Effects?
Iron supplements can cause side effects, usually stomach upset such as nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, dark stools, or constipation. Pregnant women are especially susceptible to constipation. Adding extra fiber to your diet can help relieve this symptom. A stool softener may also make you feel better.
Starting with a low dose of iron and then gradually increasing the dose to the daily recommended amount may help minimize side effects. If your iron supplements are bothering your stomach, your doctor can adjust the dose or form of iron you use. You can also try taking the supplements with food.
Unlike some supplements, when the subject is iron, more is definitely not better. Adults shouldn’t take any more than 45 mg of iron a day unless they are being treated with iron under close medical supervision.
For children, iron overdose can be especially toxic. Iron supplements have killed young children because their needs for iron compared to an adult’s are relatively low. If you take iron supplements, it is very important to keep them in a high, locked cabinet, far out of your children’s reach. Symptoms of iron poisoning include severe vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, dehydration, and bloody stool in children.
It’s difficult for adults to overdose on iron just from food and supplements, because an adult body has systems in place to regulate the amount of iron it absorbs. However, people with the inherited condition hemochromatosis have trouble regulating their iron absorption.
Although most people only absorb about 10% of the iron they consume, people with hemochromatosis absorb up to 30%. As a result, the iron in their body can build up to dangerous levels. That excess iron can deposit in organs such as the liver, heart, and pancreas, which can lead to conditions like cirrhosis, heart failure, and diabetes. For that reason, people with hemochromatosis should not take iron supplements.
Taking an Iron Supplement
If your iron is low, eating a diet that is high in iron-rich foods such as fortified cereals, red meat, dried fruit, and beans may not be enough to give you what you need. Your doctor might recommend that you take an iron supplement. When you take an iron supplement make sure you are getting Vitamin C to help your body absorb the iron.
Prenatal vitamins usually include iron, but not all prenatal vitamins contain the recommended amount. Check with your doctor before taking any supplement. While you are taking iron supplements, your doctor should test your blood to see if your iron levels have improved.
Fibromyalgia has been referred to as fibromyalgia syndrome, fibro myositis, and fibrositis. It is a recently named syndrome that affects 3% to 5% of the general population. It occurs in people of all ages and consists of several different and debilitating symptoms that affect a persons’ physical, mental, and social life. Men are affected but more women are diagnosed. Those with severe symptoms find it difficult or impossible to do even the most basic everyday tasks and up to ¼ of those diagnosed are work disabled. The first drug treatment for fibromyalgia was approved in 2007 and more is being learned every day.
Symptoms for fibromyalgia include deep excruciating pain all over the body especially in the muscles, insomnia, sleeplessness and sleep disorders, fatigue, brain fog, memory and concentration problems, irritable bowel syndrome, abnormal pain processing, headaches and migraines, jaw pain, nerve pain and weakness, depression, and anxiety. People also experience tender spots and muscle knots which radiate pain and can severely restrict movement.
To diagnose fibromyalgia can be a tricky since the patient looks healthy and tests came back normal. Diagnosis has also been controversial because there is no one thing that points to, nor is there one test that can be performed to come to a simple diagnosis of fibromyalgia.
It was once thought that the symptoms associated with fibromyalgia were all in the person’s head and was not fully accepted as a diagnosis until the 1990’s. Some symptoms can be very similar to other syndromes and diseases so doctors will use a process of eliminating other causes and following certain diagnostic criteria established by the American College of Rheumatology (ACR) in 1990. This criteria includes a history of widespread pain in all four quadrants of the body, meaning above and below your waist and on both sides of your body, for a minimum of 3 months and pain in 11 out of the 18 specially chosen tender points when a specific amount of pressure is applied.
There is no specific known cause although some theories indicate physical and emotional trauma in childhood, stress, disruption of normal dopamine-related neurotransmission, abnormal serotonin metabolism, abnormal levels of tryptophan and a protein involved in transmitting pain signals from the nerves to the brain called substance P, deficiencies in growth hormone secretion, vitamin deficiencies such as B and D, and genetic predisposition among others.
Relief from fibromyalgia comes from treating the symptoms individually rather than the syndrome as a whole. Some drugs are helpful in relieving symptoms but lose their effectiveness over time and have uncomfortable or dangerous side effects. The best way to get relief is by combining the many options out there such as dietary changes, pain medications, high-quality nutritional supplements, massage therapy, acupuncture, yoga, exercise, stretching, counseling, support groups, and for a time if necessary the dangerous ones, anti-depressants and sleep drugs.
The best and most fundamental way to find relief is through nutrition. There is documented evidence and scientific proof that nutrition is the way to heal our bodies. The problem is pharmaceutical companies and government make big money off all these drugs that come with a laundry list of side effects worse than the malady they mask.
Fibromyalgia and diet go hand-in-hand. The first thing to do is to stay away from processed foods and food preservatives, caffeine, coffee, caffeinated tea, soda, a lot of red meat (your body needs some), chocolate/cocoa, alcohol, fried foods, white flour, sugar, gluten, wheat, yeast, high fat dairy products, salt, nutra-sweet and saccharine, and smoking.
The next thing to do is add nutrition; take into account the food you eat along with supplements. Eat 5 to 6 smaller meals through the day that include more raw and steamed vegetables, fatty fish and seafood (be careful of contaminants), yogurt, soups, beans, legumes, simple proteins like chicken, fresh garlic, and nuts such as almonds. Drink lots of water and get a juicer to make your own fresh juice. Reduce your fat intake but do not go to the extreme with a diet too low in fat; fat is needed for muscles to work properly and provides energy.
Nutritional supplements are important because they provide your body with specific nutrients too difficult to get through diet alone especially when you are deficient to begin with. Because there are so many parts of the body affected by fibromyalgia, there are many different supplements that your body will benefit form. Here is a list of important supplements that could help control symptoms of fibromyalgia.
A vitamin/mineral supplement is important to start with. For immune support antioxidants are essential; up to 10,000 mg daily of vitamin C, 400 IU to 800 IU daily of vitamin E (if you have high blood pressure, limit E to 400 IU daily or if you are taking a blood thinner consult your doctor before supplementing with E), 200 micrograms selenium, some suggest up to 5,000 IU to 10,000 IU daily of beta-carotene daily (if you are pregnant or have liver disease ask your doctor before taking a lot of beta-carotene which is pre-vitamin A), quercetin, and grape seed extracts such as those in VIVIX, to start with.
For improved muscle and nerve function, as well as relaxation and to control anxiety and pain, just 500 mg of magnesium inhibits nerve receptors linked to the trigger point pain and regulates the release of neuro-hormones, which relieves muscle tension and spasms, as well as restlessness, tics and twitches (if you have heart or kidney problems double check with your doctor what amount of magnesium you should supplement with, if any).
In today’s world, we are almost all of us magnesium deficient because of the way industrial farming has stripped our soil of nutrients including and most importantly magnesium. One of the best ways to alleviate this deficiency without supplements is: 2 Cups Epsom Salts, 1 Cup baking soda in a hot bathtub. The Epsom salts deliver magnesium to the body while the baking soda is used to neutralize the chemicals in the water if you don’t have filtered water throughout the house. You can even put in a few drops of lavender oil for relaxation. This will help get magnesium into the system as well as detoxify the body. Make sure to rinse off in a luke-warn shower while draining the tub. Relax afterward and drink water that is not too cold.
For energy, mood management and nerve function B complex helps bring oxygen to cells, works closely with folic acid to make red blood cells, improve energy, and prevent anemia, memory loss, nerve damage, muscle weakness, and fatigue. Folic acid is usually deficient in fibromyalgia patients, this leads to depression and makes Prozac treatment less effective; which is a common antidepressant given to fibromyalgia patients. Coenzyme Q10 helps deliver oxygen to cells. To help with joint aches, anti-inflammatory, and pain alfalfa, EPA, omega 3 fatty acids, antioxidants, and quercetin. As well as fiber, protein, zinc, pro and pre-biotics, GLA essential fatty acid, calcium, vitamin D, bioflavonoids, and lecithin for cognitive function.
Eat small nutritious meals, take supplements, allow yourself many breaks, stretch often, apply hot and/or cold packs, do relaxation exercises, massage therapy, seek out a group who knows what you’re going through. While there is no single cure or treatment for fibromyalgia, treatment of the symptoms can go a long way in finding relief. Not too long ago fibromyalgia was thought of as something in people’s heads, now there is a path to treatment. More studies are being done and soon maybe a single cause can be found and treated.
So, you want to eat organic but don’t know how? There are some tips you can live by to bring healthy food to you and your family. One thing to think about is the outside of the fruit or veggie. If it has a thicker peel, like a banana, the pesticides used won’t get into the fruit. Where strawberries or spinach is concerned there is no protective “shell” so the pesticides used have no barriers and will attach to the fruit or veggie.
What does organic mean? Well, for the most part organic farmers don’t use chemical pesticides, only certain types of sustainable and earth friendly bug control. There is more to it, but that is the basic difference between organic and conventional foods.
If you have a limited budget, like we do, going for organic fruits and veggies can be a hang up. Honestly, it would be better if we knew what we should buy organic and what doesn’t need to be. Certain veggies and fruits have characteristics that make them less likely to need pesticide use or what is used doesn’t stick to the plant.
For the fruit and veggies you do have to buy that are not organic you can wash off any pesticide residue with white vinegar. Just fill your sink with water and add at least one cup of vinegar, let soak for 15 minutes, rinse and continue with your meal prep. Don’t worry about the vinegar, it won’t change the flavor of your food but it will take care of the pesticides.
With the information the Environmental Working Group put out, the Institute for Integrative Nutrition put together a list of most pesticide laden foods and the cleanest non-organic foods. You can use this list to save money by buying only the organic foods you should buy and purchasing conventional produce for the cheaper price. Also, buying in bulk and planning your meals will go a long way in keeping food costs down.
Here is the list:
There are some things you can do to help yourself, your family and your community stays healthy, thrive and leave this planet in How to Live a More Sustainable Life better shape than we found it. Buying local products, shopping at your local farmer’s market, choosing sustainable farming foods and restaurants that use local ingredients are great ways to make a difference.
We can start at the bottom, with us consumers, who by our choices can drive the market and force the big conglomerates to change their ways and make our food and our planet better. It all starts with us and our choices. Here are 10 easy ways that you can live a more sustainable lifestyle and tips on how to begin.
1. Buy local products when possible, otherwise, buy organic and fair-trade products. Ask your grocer or favorite restaurant what local food they carry and try to influence their purchasing decisions. You will support your local economy and small farmers, reduce your exposure to harmful pesticides, improve the taste and quality of your food, and protect the environment from fertilizer and pesticide run-offs.
2. Shop at your local farmers market, join the Community Supported Agriculture and get weekly deliveries of the season’s harvest and by buy from local grocers and co-ops committed to stocking local foods.
3. Support restaurants and food vendors that buy locally produced food. When at a restaurant, ask your waiter where the meat and fish comes from. Eventually, as more and more customers ask the same question, they’ll get the message!
4. Avoid GMOs (Genetically Modified Organisms) LIKE THE PLAGUE! When buying processed food (anything packaged) buy organic to avoid GMO. Since almost all the soy, corn, and canola in the US is genetically modified, over 70% of all processed food contain GMOs from by-products of these grains.
5. COOK, CAN, DRY & FREEZE! Our culture has forgotten some of the most basic joys of cooking. Not only is cooking at home better for you and more economical, but it’s an invaluable skill to pass on to your children.
6. Drink plenty of water, but avoid bottled water when you can. Water bottles pollute the environment and bottled water is often mere tap water. Plastic is harmful to your health and to the environment. Buy a reusable water bottle and invest in a good water filter.
7. Grow a garden, visit a farm, volunteer in your community garden, teach a child how to garden. GET DIRTY! Have fun!
8. Volunteer and/or financially support an organization dedicated to promoting a sustainable food system. Stay informed by joining the mailing list of the advocacy groups you trust.
9. Get involved in your community! Influence what your child eats by engaging the school board, effect city policies by learning about zoning and attending city council meetings, learn about the federal policies that affect your food choice and let your congress person know what you think.
10. SHARE your passion! Talk to your friends and family about why our food choice matters.
Choosing to look into what food your family eats and purchasing the best you can is the key to health. Whatever you can do for yourself and your family is worth the extra effort.