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Cholesterol Drugs (Statins) Linked To Diabetes, Brain Damage & Much More

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What’s the deal with Cholesterol? Good, bad, both, myth? Perhaps it is a myth, something that’s been made into a problem so pharmaceutical companies can keep raking in the cash? Statins alone generate billions of dollars a year. The important point to take note of is the fact that Statins, drugs designed to lower ones cholesterol, are one of the biggest drugs prescribed to patients, and one of the biggest earners for pharmaceutical companies, which is concerning.

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Why is it concerning? Because over the years, it’s become more and more difficult for people to trust pharmaceutical companies for several different reasons. Whether it’s about studies that continue to expose the harmful effects of various drugs,  or the chief editors of Major Medical journals like Dr. Richard Horton  (editor in chief of the Lancet )”blowing the whistle,” so to speak, there is large . (1)(2)(3)(4)

Now, a new study recently published in the American Journal of Physiology, states that statins the adverse effects of statins advance the process of aging, and points out that long term use of stats have been associated with several serious adverse health effects including myopathy (skeletal muscle weakness), neurological side effects and an increased risk of diabetes.”

The study outlines the negative effect statins have on mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs), and how they also impaired the expression of DNA repair genes which, the authors believe, proved a “novel explanation for their adverse clinical effects.”

We know that  that the ability of these cells to differentiate isn’t good, and statins reduce that which is why improved plaque stability in patients with cardiovascular disease is seen, but we never hear about the detrimental side effects . These side affects are very worrisome, and for many people, it’s a no brainer why statins are not really worth it.

According the the authors of the study:

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Considering their possible side effects, long-term adherence to statin treatment poses a potential risk, especially among individuals without cardiovascular disease. The primary use of statins should be critically assessed, especially when considering the potential risks associated with statin use. These are, based on our findings, associated with a negative effect of statins on stem cell properties. In this context, the recently published findings of an increased risk of cataract formation with long-term statin therapy might represent a further clinical side effect potentially attributable to the impact of statins on stem cells and their reduced ability to differentiate into mature differentiated cells

The study was also done on cells in a lab, in vitro, not on a living organism (in vivo). More in vivo studies are warranted.

It’s also important to mention that various studies have been conducted associating the consumption of statin drugs with an increased risk of more than 300 serious and life-threatening side effects, including developing cancer, cataracts, diabetes, cognitive impairment, and musculoskeletal disorders. For instance, one study discovered that, over the course of 10 years of statin therapy, women’s risk of getting invasive ductal carcinoma increased by 83 percent, while their risk of getting invasive lobular carcinoma of the breast skyrocketed to 97 percent.

atin drugs are marketed for their ability to decrease the artery disease called atherosclerosis, they may actually stimulate it and cause heart failure.

In 2012 the Food and Drug Administration even put a warning label on statins for their potential to raise blood glucose levels in people at high risk of Type 2 diabetes.

MIT science graduate, and chemist by training, Raymond Francis has much more to say about statins. He is an internationally recognized leader in the field of optimal health maintenance. To hear more of what he has to say, please watch the video below. Alternative sources have been provided that correlate with the claims made by Francis.

 
Other Info On Heart Health/Potential Solutions
Below is a trailer for Forks Over Knives examines the profound claim that most, if not all, of the degenerative diseases that afflict us can be controlled, or even reversed, by rejecting our present menu of animal-based and processed foods. The major storyline in the film traces the personal journeys of a pair of pioneering yet under-appreciated researchers, Dr. T. Colin Campbell and Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn.”
Even if you are not an advocate of a vegetarian or vegan diet, it’s important to note that a very high and alarming percentage of Americans eat hardly any vegetables whatsoever. According to the Wall Street Journal, in 2011, approximately 80% of Americans who ate meat rarely consumed vegetables at all. (source)

“Studies are confirming the health benefits of meat-free eating. Nowadays, plant-based eating is recognized as not only nutritionally sufficient but also as a way to reduce the risk for many chronic illnesses.” – Harvard Medical School (source)

For example, the American Dietetic Association weighed in with a position paper, concluding that “appropriately planned vegetarian diets, including total vegetarian or vegan diets, are healthful, nutritionally adequate, and may provide health benefits in the prevention and treatment of certain diseases.” (Journal of the American Dietetic Association, July 2009) (source)

These diseases include heart disease, cancer, diabetes, and more.

Again, there are literally a multitude of studies showing the benefits of vegetarian and/or vegan diets. If you are still skeptical, a quick little research session will make the matter abundantly clear.

It’s good to see research into vegetarianism and veganism confirm these benefits, whereas in previous years they focused solely on the problems that can arise from potential nutritional deficiencies. That being said, if you are going to make this transition, it is very important to be aware of your body’s requirements and what nutrients you may be giving up. You will have to learn the plant-based sources of these nutrients.

If this is something you are interested in, we encourage you to further your research. If you try it out, you should not feel tired, lacking energy or strength, or feel depressed. In fact, it should be the exact opposite. If something like this happens to you, you are most likely deficient in nutrients, so make sure to adjust your meals accordingly.

The belief that our ancestors exclusively consumed meat is completely false, and a great example of how many can believe a theory, or have a belief system and accept it as absolute fact when there is evidence to the contrary.

The majority of the food eaten by primates is plant-based, not animal, and there is research suggesting that it’s been that way for a long time. Our ancestors were clearly not the meat-eating caveman that they are so often portrayed to be, and even if they did eat meat, that doesn’t mean that we are genetically wired to do the same:

“It’s difficult to comment on ‘the best diet’ for modern humans because there have been and are so many different yet successful diets in our species. Because some hunter-getherer society obtained most of their dietary energy from wild animal fat and protein does not imply that this is the ideal diet for modern humans, nor does it imply that modern humans have genetic adaptations to such diets.”  – Katherine Milton, anthropologist at the University of California, Berkeley (source)

Today, there are a number of papers that’ve been published -in peer-reviewed scientific journals -that have analyzed the diets of a variety of ancient hominin species by looking at their fossilized teeth. These findings have shown that human ancestors ate far more plant material than what was previously suspected.

You an read more about this in depth in a previous I article I wrote here, we’ve also written multiple articles on statin drugs  so feel free to sift through the site, thanks for reading.

Sources:

(1) Bates TR, Connaughton VM, Watts GFNon-adherence to statin therapy: a major challenge for preventive cardiologyExpert Opin Pharmacother 10297329852009CrossRefMedlineWeb of Science Google Scholar

(2) Bouchard MH, Dragomir A, Blais LBerard APilon DPerreault SImpact of adherence to statins on coronary artery disease in primary preventionBr J amounts of evidence to see why “Big Pharma” is a term that’s no longer considered a “conspiracy theory.”

Statins are taken by one in four Americans over the age of 45, predominately to protect themselves against heart attacks and strokes. The funny thing is, however, is that several studies have shown that statins, when used for primary prevention, have little effect on cardiovascular diseaseClin Pharmacol 63: 698708, 2007.CrossRefMedlineWeb of ScienceGoogle Scholar

(3) Perreault SBlais LDragomir ABouchard MHLalonde LLaurier CCollin J Persistence and determinants of statin therapy among middle-aged patients free of cardiovascular disease. Eur J Clin Pharmacol 61: 667674, 2005CrossRefMedlineWeb of ScienceGoogle Scholar

(4) Perreault SBlais L,Lamarre D,Dragomir A,Berbiche D,Lalonde LLaurier C,St-Maurice F,Collin JPersistence and determinants of statin therapy among middle-aged patients for primary and secondary prevention. Br J Clin Pharmacol 59: 564573, 2005.CrossRefMedlineWeb of ScienceGoogle Scholar

 

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Awareness

Brain Scans Reveal Structural Differences In People With “Smart Phone Addiction”

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In Brief

  • The Facts:

    A new study recently published by German researchers from Heidelberg University show differences in brain structure between people with 'smart phone addition' compared to people without it.

  • Reflect On:

    Is your child constantly on their smartphone? Are they addicted?

Children entering into the world today are being birthed into a sea of technology that their parents never grew up with. As a result, we don’t really know the long-term consequences these technologies could have on these generations as they age. Preliminary research, however, is already showing significant cause for concern, and one of the latest examples comes from a study published in the journal Addictive Behaviours via German researchers.

The researchers examined 48 participants using MRI imaging, and 22 of the participants had smartphone addiction (SPA), and 26 of them were non-addicts. The main findings were that individuals with SPA  showed “significant lower” grey matter volume (GMA) in the insula and in certain regions of the temporal cortex compared to the individuals without smartphone addiction, known as the controls. Secondly, right anterior cingulate cortex (ACC) activity was “significantly lower” in individuals with SPA compared to controls. Third, the researchers found associations between the smartphone addiction inventory  (SPAI) scores and GMV as well as  amplitude of low frequency fluctuations (ALFF), converged on the ACC.

The authors wrote that:

The present study provides first evidence for common neural underpinning mechanisms of behavioral addiction in individuals with SPA. This study clearly needs replication as much as extension in larger cohorts, including longitudinal assessments, ecological momentary assessment and task-based functional MRI. Yet, at the same time, this study provides important data and preliminary evidence, suggesting addiction-related differences in neural processes in the context of smartphone use, particularly with respect to the salience network. Given the widespread use and increasing popularity of smartphones, the present study challenges assumptions towards the harmlessness of smartphones, at least in individuals that may be at increased risk for developing addictive behaviors.

It should be concerning that there are actual structural changes in the brain that correlate with smartphone use in individuals who have an addiction compared to the brains of those who don’t.

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The study goes into what each brain region is associated with in regards to behaviour, intelligence, etc.

In China, for example, teenagers are becoming hooked on electronic screens. Whether it be with their phone, computer, or video games, many young people are spending countless hours in front of a screen without bothering to eat or sleep, sometimes even withholding their urge to use the bathroom.

According to a blog report published by the New York Times“many have come to view the real world as fake.” (source)

In China, this phenomenon is actually considered a clinical disorder, and as a result a number of rehabilitation centres have been established where young people addicted to screens are completely isolated from all media. Although the success of these treatment centres is still unknown, it paints a dark picture of the technological age in which we live, and does not seem to bode well for our future.

Studies in China show that people who spend more than 6 hours on the internet for something other than work or study are likely to become addicted. Below is a trailer for the documentary “Web Junkies,” shedding light on this troubling aspect of modern life:

It’s not just China, this type of thing is seen all around the world:

“While Internet addiction is not yet considered a clinical diagnosis here, there’s no question that American youths are plugged in and tuned out of ‘live’ action for many more hours of the day than experts consider healthy for normal development. And it starts early, often with preverbal toddlers handed their parents’ cellphones and tablets to entertain themselves when they should be observing the world around them and interacting with their caregivers.” (source)

As we continue to move forward, this type of addiction and behaviour becomes more disturbing. The power that some multinational corporations have, alongside their clever marketing tactics – basically making whatever product or idea they choose to be desirable to the human mind – is worrisome.  A few years ago, the American Academy of Paediatrics found that the average 8-10 year old spends almost eight hours a day with a variety of different media, and older children/teenagers spend even more, up to 11 hours. (source)

A study conducted by the Massachusetts Aggression Reduction Center, which included over 20,000 children/teens between grades 3 and 12, concluded that approximately 20% of grade 3 students already owned a cell phone. The numbers steadily rose from that point forward to approximately 25% in grade 4, 39% in grade 5, and 83% in middle school. You can read that entire study HERE.

With all of these electronics, it’s important to be aware of the impact of the radiation they give out and their documented harms. To learn more about that and access the science now available, please visit the Environmental Health Trust. It’s a great place to start your research.

The Takeaway

We are in the beginning stages of what could potentially be a big problem. We have yet to see the smartphone generation reach adulthood, therefore we can’t fully measure the potential consequences, but again, numerous studies like this one have already shown great cause for concern and render the idea that smartphones are completely harmless as completely false.

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Awareness

Frankincense Shows The Ability To Alleviate Symptoms Of Anxiety & Depression

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In Brief

  • The Facts:

    Studies have proven the psychoactive effects the scent of frankincense has on the brain, alleviating symptoms of anxiety and depression.

  • Reflect On:

    With all the man-made chemical pharmaceutical drugs out there, perhaps solutions to what ails us are more simple than we may realize.

Gold and frankincense and myrrh… sound familiar? These were the gifts that were allegedly brought by the three kings when Jesus Christ was born. We all know that gold is valuable, but what about the others? Frankincense has long been touted as a magical, mystical medicine and has been regarded as such for millennia within many ancient cultures of the world. The same goes for myrrh, but for the purpose of this article we are going to stick to the medicinal properties of frankincense.

Frankincense starts out as a type of resinous sap that is found inside a special family of trees called Boswellia, which grow almost exclusively in the southern end of the Arabian Peninsula. When it is harvested at specific times of the year, the trees are cut carefully with special knives and the sap seeps out. This special sap is then dried in the sun until it is ready for use. More commonly, frankincense is burned simply as sweet smelling incense, but it has many other uses as well including the following…

Historical Uses Of Frankincense

  • As a part of ritual or religious ceremonies
  • Was used extensively during burial rituals as an embalming material to help mask the odor of the deceased body
  • Smoke from burnt incense can effectively drive away mosquitoes and other pests

Frankincense has also been used medicinally, treating various ailments such as arthritis (it has strong anti-inflammatory properties), gut disorders (like Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis), asthma, and maintenance of oral health.

And perhaps the most intriguing quality for our westernized modern culture is the psychoactive effects of this special resin, as studies have shown that burning frankincense can trigger an effect that can aid and even alleviate symptoms of anxiety and depression.

The Research

One study in particular, conducted by a team of researchers form John Hopkins University and Hebrew University in Jerusalem, explains how burning the resin from the Boswellia plant (frankincense) activates certain previously misunderstood ion channels in the brain in order to alleviate symptoms of anxiety and depression. This might explain why Roman emperor Nero once burned an entire year’s harvest of frankincense at his favorite mistress’ funeral.

“In spite of information stemming from ancient texts, constituents of Bosweilla had not been investigated for psychoactivity,” said Raphael Mechoulam, one of the research study’s co-authors. “We found that incensole acetate, a Boswellia resin constituent, when tested in mice lowers anxiety and causes antidepressive-like behavior. Apparently, most present day worshipers assume that incense burning has only a symbolic meaning.”

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The researchers administered incensole acetate to mice in order to determine its psychoactive effects. This compound they found drastically impacted the parts of the brain that generate emotions and the nerve circuits that have responded positively to current drugs used for depression and anxiety. The incensole that was administered activated a protein called TRPV3, which is connected to the ability to perceive warmth of the skin.

“Perhaps Marx wasn’t too wrong when he called religion the opium of the people: morphine comes from poppies, cannabinoids from marijuana, and LSD from mushrooms; each of these has been used in one or another religious ceremony,” said Gerald Weissmann, M.D., Editor-in-Chief of The FASEB Journal. “Studies of how those psychoactive drugs work have helped us understand modern neurobiology. The discovery of how incensole acetate, purified from frankincense, works on specific targets in the brain should also help us understand diseases of the nervous system. This study also provides a biological explanation for millennia-old spiritual practices that have persisted across time, distance, culture, language, and religion–burning incense really does make you feel warm and tingly all over!”

Can This Work For You?

Sure, this study was conducted using mice, which certainly aren’t the same as humans. However, many religious texts claim that this special resin had uplifting effects on the brain. So, the good thing is that if used appropriately, it really can’t hurt to try. You can typically buy the resin at health food stores and more commonly at stores that sell incense, crystals, sage and those sorts of spiritual ceremonial tools. It can also be found as an essential oil. I like to diffuse it in a diffuser, and sometimes I’ll burn the resin on charcoal pucks as well.

At the very least, you’ll get a nice and pleasant smelling aroma, and at best it can help turn that frown upside down, increase your mood, reduce your anxiety and maybe even put a smile on your face. Perhaps those three wise men were as wise as they’ve been made out to be, and frankincense really is as special as it’s been believed to be for millennia.

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Binge Watching Is Associated With a 12 Percent Increased Risk of Inflammatory-Related Death

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In Brief

  • The Facts:

    An Australian study published in the journal Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise looked at more than 8,900 adults and found that each additional hour of TV viewing was associated with a 12% increased risk of inflammatory-related death.

  • Reflect On:

    How much TV do you watch? How active is your lifestyle?

I’m sure that you hesitated before choosing to read this article, as most of us have been sucked into a binge watching marathon on more than one occasion (myself included). While it may seem like we’re buckling down to give ourselves a break, we may actually be hurting ourselves far more than we realize. Sitting for prolonged periods of time has proven to be harmful to our bodies, especially for adults over 50, and when you match lounging with television, you create a deadly combo.

In an Australian study published in the journal Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, researchers examined more than 8,900 adults and found that each additional hour of TV viewing was associated with a 12% increased risk of inflammatory-related death, and those who spent more than four hours a day watching TV were at an even higher risk. This includes  diabetes, respiratory, cognitive, and kidney diseases. (source)

In general, watching television has proven to negatively impact mental health; it alters your brain, lowers your attention span, and has the potential to make you more aggressive. You don’t need to experience the “trance-like” state television can put us in, but I’m sure you’ve witnessed it before. This trance occurs roughly 30 seconds after you start watching TV. Your brain begins by producing alpha waves, leading to a light hypnotic state that makes the viewer less aware of their environment and more open to subtle messages — aka programming.

In the 1990s. Dr. Teresa Belton, a visiting fellow at the University of East Anglia, studied the effects that television has on the imagination of 10-12 year old children, ultimately concluding that television negatively impacts their development: “The ubiquity and ease of access to television and videos perhaps robs today’s children of the need to pursue their own thoughts and devise their own occupations, distracting them from inner processes and constantly demanding responses to external agendas, and suggests that this may have implications for the development of imaginative capacity.”

And these physical affects are becoming increasingly apparent. Not only does it eventually lead to immobility as you age, but with the risk of creating inflammation in the body, you are susceptible to a host of diseases including kidney disease, diabetes, asthma, Alzheimer’s, and even depression.

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Dr. Megan Grace is the lead investigator at the Baker Heart and Diabetes Institute in Melbourne. Between 1999 and 2000, her team quizzed adult participants about their viewing habits via a questionnaire. Again, this was before we had access to popular streaming websites like Netflix. The participants were separated into three groups based on their TV viewing habits: less than two hours per day, greater than two hours but less than four hours, and more than four hours.

“TV time was associated with increased risk of inflammatory-related mortality. This is consistent with the hypothesis that high TV viewing may be associated with a chronic inflammatory state,” the authors wrote.

They followed up with their participants 12 years later and found, of 909 deaths, 130 were inflammatory-related. Of the inflammatory-related deaths, 21 were from diseases of the respiratory system and 18 of the nervous system, and those who watched between two to four hours of TV a day showed a 54% higher risk of inflammatory-related death. Additionally, people who watched more than four hours of TV a day doubled their risk of dying from an inflammatory disease compared to those who watched two hours.

In addition to cutting down the amount of time you spend sitting in front of the TV and sitting or lying down, you can help combat inflammation with a number of foods like avocados, berries, sweet potato, onions, and watermelon, and herbs like, cloves, ginger, rosemary, and turmeric.

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