Summer may be a long way off, but it’s never too early to start thinking about protecting your skin. For most people, this means covering themselves in sunscreen, which corporate marketing campaigns encourage at every turn. Yet, while we do indeed need protection to prevent sunburns, blocking out the sun entirely is not ideal. Rich in vitamin D, it offers a number of other health benefits, including, oddly enough, cancer prevention. We’ve been made to fear the sun, and, as a result, adults and children are choosing to drench themselves in a bath of toxic, hormone-disrupting chemicals.
Science has long shown that what we put on our skin ends up in our bodies, and quickly. Multiple studies from across the world have examined sunscreen in particular, evaluating its ingredients and how it penetrates and absorbs into the skin after application. One study, conducted at the Faculty of Pharmacy at the University of Manitoba, Canada, sought to develop a method for quantifying common sunscreen agents. Results demonstrated a significant penetration of all sunscreen agents into the skin, meaning all of these chemicals are entering multiple tissues within the body. (source)
Conversely, a study published in Environmental Health Perspectives showed a significant drop in hormone-disrupting chemicals that are commonly found in personal care products after participants switched to ‘cleaner’ products. These chemicals include oxybenzone, triclosan, parabens, phthalates, and more. You can read more about that and access the study here. All of these ingredients are found within most poplar sunscreens.
So, the next question becomes, are the ingredients used to make sunscreen, which are entering into our bloodstream, something to be concerned about? The science given to us by the corporations who profit from the sale of sunscreen says no, but I think by now we have established how trustworthy such corporately-funded ‘science’ is. It wasn’t long ago that Johnson & Johnson, for example, was found guilty of knowingly putting a cancer-causing baby powder on the market. You can read more about that here.
This is precisely why we wanted to bring attention to an article published by the Huffington Post titled “Excuse Me While I Lather My Child In This Toxic Death Cream.” In it, mother Sarah Kallies shares how exhausted she feels trying to navigate today’s world and do the best for her children when everything, everywhere, seems to be killing us. For every purchase she makes for her children, there is science telling her it’s great on the one hand and toxic on the other, and so she highlights how confusing the consumer marketplace has become. We are dished a wealth of information that differs from source to source, on a variety of different topics, making it difficult to make even the simplest of choices without second-guessing ourselves.
Yet we know the various chemicals found within sunscreens are toxic, and we know that our skin absorbs whatever we put onto it. Below are a few examples of these chemicals:
This could in fact be the most troublesome ingredient found in the majority of popular sunscreens. Used because it effectively absorbs ultraviolet light, it’s also believed to cause hormone disruption and cell damage, which could promote cancer.
According to the Environmental Working Group:
Commonly used in sunscreens, the chemical oxybenzone penetrates the skin, gets into the bloodstream and acts like estrogen in the body. It can trigger allergic reactions. Data are preliminary, but studies have found a link between higher concentrations of oxybenzone and health harms. One study has linked oxybenzone to endometriosis in older women; another found that women with higher levels of oxybenzone during pregnancy had lower birth weight daughters. (source)
There are many other studies out there on this chemical. For example, one study done by the Department of Clinical and Experimental Endocrinology at the University of Gottingen in Germany observed regulatory effects on receptor expression for oxybenzone that indicate endocrine (hormone) disruption.
A study out of the Institute of Pharmacology and Toxicology from the University of Zurich determined that oxybenzone may also mimic the effects of estrogen in the body and promote the growth of cancer cells.
Prompted by multiple studies, a study out of the Queensland Cancer Fund Laboratories at the Queensland Institute of Medical Research in Australia recognized the significance of systemic absorption of sunscreens. Researchers discovered that oxybenzone inhibited cell growth and DNA synthesis and retarded cycle progression in the first of the four phases of the cell cycle. They determined that sunscreen causes mitochondrial stress and changes in drug uptake in certain cell lines.
A study published in the Journal of Health Science by the National Institute of Health Sciences in Japan examined UV stabilizers used in food packages as plastic additives. They found that some UV stabilizers in sunscreen products have estrogenicity in an MCF-7 breast cancer cell assay as well as an immature rat uterotrophic assay. They tested a total of 11 UV stabilizers. 20 kinds of benzophenones were tested using the same assay to demonstrate their estrogenic activity.
The list goes on and on.
Retinyl Palmitate (Vitamin A palmitate)
A study conducted by U.S. government scientists suggests that retinyl palmitate, a form of vitamin A, may speed the development of skin tumors and lesions when applied to the skin in the presence of sunlight (NTP 2012). “Retinyl palmitate was selected by the Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition for photo- toxicity and photocarcinogenicity testing based on the increasingly widespread use of this compound in cosmetic retail products for use on sun-exposed skin,” reads an October 2000 report by the National Toxicology Program.
As Dr. Joseph Merocla explains, this suggests that sunscreen products could actually increase the speed at which malignant cells develop and spread skin cancer, because they contain vitamin A and its derivates, retinol, and retinyl palmitate.
Fragrance refers to a host of harmful hormone-disrupting chemicals mentioned earlier, like parabens, phthalates, and synthetic musks.
Sun Exposure Can Protect You From Cancer
The sun isn’t as bad as it’s marketed to be, however. Corporations are concerned with profit, not people, and telling us that sun exposure can actually protect against cancer isn’t going to get us to buy sunscreen. Yet several studies have made this connection, confirming that the appropriate amount of sun exposure can actually protect us against skin cancer.
As many of you probably already know, humans require sunlight exposure for vitamin D. Sunburns are indeed a concern, and there are many studies that link sunburns to melanoma, but due to a wide range of factors, such as cultural changes and marketing campaigns, our skin has become less resistant to sun exposure. If you spend a large portion of your time in the sun, your skin adapts to build a natural immunity. We are naturally built to receive sunlight, and we have gone backwards in this regard. There are alternative ways to protect yourself from sunburns. You can buy natural sunscreens without harmful chemicals. Questioning big name advertisements is crucial to our health in these times of information awareness.
Only 10% of all cancer cases are attributed to all forms of radiation, and UV is a very small part of that. When we think of skin cancer we automatically want to blame the sun, but what about other causes of skin cancer that are out there? Arsenic, found in a number of things we ingest or work around, pesticides, and leather preservatives are all causes for concern.
Sunscreens are a huge contributor to toxins in the body, being absorbed within seconds of application. Is it not important to know what you are putting into your body? We now live in a culture where we fear the sun, which is ironic considering it has created all life on Earth. It’s important to remember that fear eventually manifests as reality. The sun has many health benefits, so using natural products will ensure that you receive these benefits while keeping your skin safe.
When shopping for sunscreens, be sure to read the labels and avoid buying sunscreens containing toxic chemicals. They may be tough to find, but a trip to a natural health store can often do the trick. Look for sunscreens that contain zinc and titanium minerals as opposed to the active ingredients listed above. Remember, the best sun protection is shade and clothing. It is not necessary to wear sunscreen every time you are out in the sun. Sunscreen does NOT allow the body to absorb any vitamin D from sunlight. So if you plan on being outside for a short period of time, skip the sunscreen and feed your body the vitamin D that will keep it healthy.
Coconut oil has been shown to provide an SPF of about 8 when it comes to sun protection. This means that, although it’s protection isn’t very high, it can help. If you were to apply it often, it would not only offer sun protection, but it would also hydrate the skin, making it less susceptible to burning. You may also want to try combining natural sunscreens with coconut oil for protection. To do this, at the beginning of your long day out in the sun, use natural sunscreen, and after a few hours, try applying coconut oil to supplement the natural sunscreen and hydrate the skin.
Have you tried using coconut oil as sunscreen before? Or do you use other natural products? Share your results with the community!
Here’s a short, informative video with some more information and additional options.
Some Doctors Claim Babies Should Share Their Mother’s Bed Until The Age Of 3
- The Facts:
A study involving 16 infants monitored the babies while they slept in their mother's bed. It's not the only study examining the benefits of close contact between mother and child shortly after birth.
- Reflect On:
How much of what we do today in a conventional way, especially with regards to childbirth, is the best way to do it?
When it comes to parenting, everyone seems to have an opinion, and rightfully so, especially if you are yourself a parent. But what about controversial topics? Is there a right or wrong way to raise your children? Are there certain things that you should or should not be doing? Of course, some things are more important than others. But new advice given by a paediatrician suggests children should sleep in bed with their mothers until they reach the age of three.
Dr. Nils Bergman, from the University of Cape Town, South Africa, argues that for optimal development, healthy newborns should sleep on their mother’s chest for at least their first few weeks. After that, he believes they should stay in bed with mom and dad until they are three or even four years old.
Because there has been a lot of fear propaganda created around the risk of cot death — the notion that a parent might roll over and suffocate their child — co-sleeping is generally not advised, and in fact, a recently published British study found that almost two-thirds of the cases of SIDS occurred when the bed was being shared.
But, according to Dr.Bergman, “When babies are smothered and suffer cot deaths, it is not because their mother is present. It is because of other things: toxic fumes, cigarettes, alcohol, big pillows and dangerous toys.”
A study involving 16 infants monitored the babies while they slept in their mother’s bed. It found that the baby’s heart was under three times as much stress when he or she slept alone. While sleeping in a cot, they had a more disrupted sleep and their brains were less likely to cycle and transition between the two types of sleep, called active and quiet.
In the cots, only 6 of the 16 babies had any quiet sleep at all, and their sleep quality was much worse.
Dr. Bergman continued to explain how changes to the brain that are brought on by stress hormones can actually make it more difficult to form relationships and close bonds later in life.
Another study published in the journal Biological Psychiatry monitored results from 73 premature infants receiving Kangaroo Care, or skin-to-skin contact with their mothers, and another three premature infants received standard incubator care. The subjects of the study were monitored over a 10-year period, and the results were as follows:
KC increased autonomic functioning (respiratory sinus arrhythmia, RSA) and maternal attachment behavior in the postpartum period, reduced maternal anxiety, and enhanced child cognitive development and executive functions from 6 months to 10 years. By 10 years of age, children receiving KC showed attenuated stress response, improved RSA, organized sleep, and better cognitive control. RSA and maternal behavior were dynamically interrelated over time, leading to improved physiology, executive functions, and mother–child reciprocity at 10 years.
The National Childbirth Trust supports bed sharing provided the parents have not been drinking, smoking, or using drugs, or if they are obese, chronically ill, or suffer from chronic exhaustion, all of which could cause them to roll over onto the baby or otherwise impact their health.
Overall, it’s a very controversial issue. Many swear by bed sharing, and it certainly used to be standard practice before cribs became so common and affordable. There are many upsides to this, but it is also important to be aware of and consider the potential dangers.
We all know babies need to be snuggled and cuddled and given love; they need to feel safe and secure, and how could they possibly feel this all alone in another room in a crib? When you actually think about it, it seems pretty backwards.
Every parent is just doing what they feel is best for their baby, but the opinions of others tend to get in the way. We’ve all heard those comments like, Oh you shouldn’t pick up that baby, you need to let them cry, they are going to have attachment issues, how are they going to develop their independence? Well, they are babies; they can’t care for themselves and they need to be taken care of. It is a natural urge for the mother to take care of her child.
What are your thoughts on this? Did you co-sleep with your child? Did you ever feel it was unsafe? Do you prefer your child to sleep in a crib? Let us know!
Yale Study Reveals 1 in 3 Drugs Have Safety Issues Even After FDA Approval
- The Facts:
A study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association conducted by a team of researchers from Yale University discovered that nearly one in three drugs that the that the FDA tests and approves ends up having safety issues.
- Reflect On:
Are prescription drugs as safe as they're marketed to be?
In 2014, Harvard University stated that prescription drugs are the 4th leading cause of death, yet pharmaceutical companies continue to hide behind their profits and promote their products as safe. Doctors and even their patients are willing to turn a blind eye to many of the adverse side effects of drugs, opting for the “bandaid” effect they provide instead of seeking alternative treatments and preventative methods.
A study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association and conducted by a team of researchers from Yale University studied the effectiveness of the FDA’s drug approval process. The team discovered that nearly one in three drugs that the FDA tests and approves ends up having safety issues.
Research Finds Serious Issues With FDA Drug Approval Process
In order to establish whether or not pharmaceutical drugs are safe for consumers, the FDA implements drug testing and clinical trials. These trials typically test fewer than 1,000 patients over a short timeframe, usually around six months or less. The Yale researchers suggested that safety issues could only truly be detected if more patients were studied over a longer period of time, speaking to the ineffectiveness of the FDA’s testing.
To identify how to effectively determine any safety issues with pharmaceutical drugs, the Yale researchers studied data on new drugs approved between 2001 and 2010, with follow up through 2017. Their findings proved that approximately 32% of new drugs approved by the FDA had notable safety issues.
A shocking 71 of the 222 drugs approved within this timeframe were withdrawn, had a “black box” warning regarding the side effects, or required a safety announcement to the public about newfound risks. This begs the question: Why are these drugs being approved in the first place if they warrant so many safety concerns?
“That is very rarely a drug withdrawal, but more commonly a black box warning, or drug safety communication issued by the FDA to let physicians and patients know that new safety information has been determined,” explained Associate Professor of Medicine and Public Health Dr. Joseph Ross, who led the research team.
The researchers also specified characteristics of pharmaceuticals that were more likely to pose a higher risk of safety issues to patients, including biologic therapies and drugs that were approved through the FDA’s accelerated approval pathway. The accelerated approval process often uses surrogate endpoints, which means that the researchers measured a factor other than survival, such as tumour size, to figure out whether the drugs should be approved.
“This [finding on surrogate endpoints] has the greatest relationship to policy today,” Ross further elaborated. “In the 21st Century Cures Act, there’s a push to have the FDA move to further support the use of surrogate markers … [but] they’re more likely to have concerns in the post-market setting.”
“While the administration pushes for less regulation and faster approvals, those decisions have consequences,” Ross stated. The Yale team’s previous studies exposed that the FDA approval process for drugs is much faster than that of other government organizations in Europe, which is interesting given the nature of the business in both countries. Prices of drugs are far higher in America than they are abroad, and Americans take a lot more drugs, meaning U.S. pharmaceutical companies make a lot more money.
The timing of this study is interesting too, as the FDA has been facing increased pressure lately to quicken the drug approval process. “It shows that there is the potential for compromising patient safety when drug evaluation is persistently sped up,” said Ross. “At the very least, the study should inform ongoing debate about premarket drug evaluation,” the researchers concluded.
Dr. Caleb Alexander, co-director of the Johns Hopkins Center for Drug Safety and Effectiveness, weighed in on the study, commending the researchers for their work. “It’s important to keep in mind that the post-approval safety issues cover the spectrum from relatively minor to serious,” Alexander said.
“A good next step would be to dig into the extremely serious safety problems, determine whether the FDA could have flagged them sooner and how they might have been missed,” he continued.
“All too often, patients and clinicians mistakenly view FDA approval as [an] indication that a product is fully safe and effective,” Alexander explained. “Nothing could be further from the truth. We learn tremendous amounts about a product only once it’s on the market and only after use among a broad population.”
Dr. Alexander makes a great point: Just because a drug is approved by the FDA, doesn’t mean it’s safe. In an ideal world, FDA approval would mean that the drug is entirely safe to use, but the reality is that the testing is not extensive enough to even determine the safety of the drug, let alone guarantee it.
Far too often, people place their doctors and health care practitioners on pedestals and fail to conduct their own research. Though I am not qualified to professionally advise anyone on their health, I certainly do not trust everything that my doctor recommends, which is largely because no doctor knows everything there is to know about health. It’s up to you to figure out your own health, not your doctor.
Though doctors can provide wonderful advice and can help immensely when diagnosing and treating illnesses, they can also drastically hinder your health. However, that’s not necessarily their fault, it’s often yours. The onus is on you to conduct your own research, get multiple professional opinions if need be, and ensure you are making informed decisions.
Further Proof of Misconduct at the FDA
In journalism, embargo refers to a “back-room deal” in which journalists and their sources agree not to publish an article prior to a specific date or time. The FDA goes one step further by implementing a “closely held embargo,” which gifts the organization complete control over all new FDA information privy to exposure for the American public.
The FDA’s use of the “close embargo” reveals that the institution likely wants to prevent reporters from leaking information. The biggest concern seems to be that, when officials begin giving the go-ahead for this special access, it makes it much easier for the agency to prevent stories they don’t like from being exposed.
For more than a decade, the FDA has shown a pattern of burying the details of misconduct. As a result, nobody ever finds out which data is bogus, which experiments are tainted, and which drugs might be on the market under false pretenses. The FDA has repeatedly hidden evidence of scientific fraud not just from the public, but also from its most trusted scientific advisers, even as they were deciding whether or not a new drug should be allowed on the market. Even a congressional panel investigating a case of fraud regarding a dangerous drug couldn’t get forthright answers. For an agency devoted to protecting the public from bogus medical science, the FDA seems to be spending an awful lot of effort protecting the perpetrators of bogus science from the public.
You can read more about that in the following CE article:
The FDA also works hand-in-hand with pharmaceutical companies, which you can read about in the following CE article:
To make matters worse, pharmaceutical companies also hold close ties to doctors, which you can learn about here:
To be clear, 128,000 people die every year in the U.S. from drugs prescribed to them, which is being done under the approval of the FDA and doctors. The reality is, drug companies make a lot of money from selling prescriptions, and so do those involved with them, including doctors.
At the end of the day, the medical industry is a booming business, one that thrives off sick people. These companies actually benefit when their drugs cause adverse effects, because they then have additional reasons to sell you even more drugs. The system is designed to help you in one way, and then disadvantage you in another. In essence, they want you healthy, but not too healthy, and until we educate ourselves and take control of our health, we will continue to perpetuate this cycle.
Intermittent Fasting Is Great, But Alternate-Day Fasting Is Having A Big Impact On My Body
- The Facts:
I started alternate day fasting a few months ago. I've lost a healthy chunk of fat from my body and my weight has stabilized. Fasting is a great way to boost your health and help your body utilize its fat stores.
- Reflect On:
The science of fasting is very interesting, and it shows that fasting can be used as a therapeutic intervention for multiple diseases and/or to simply be healthier. Is it ignored by medicine because it doesn't generate a profit?
Several years ago I remember coming across an old study from 2013 about caloric restriction, emphasizing how it extends life span and prevents as well as helps to reverse several age-related diseases in a variety of species. This was very intriguing to me, especially given the fact that humans have been bombarded with the idea that we need to eat at least three meals a day, plus snacks in order to be healthy and fit. Fast forward to today, and fasting has become quite popular, and this is thanks to a wealth of research that’s emerged showing that not only caloric restriction, but fasting, has a number of health benefits.
Fasting has been shown to extend life, protect against neurodegenerative and age-related diseases, ‘starve’ certain cancer cells, reverse and manage type two diabetes, trigger new stem cell generation and help people lose weight. If done for a long enough time, although we don’t quite know exactly how long, fasting also actives autophagy, the body’s self-cleaning system, which allows the cell to get rid of old cell machinery, breaking them down into smaller parts to be reused by the cell. Fasting stimulates the production of ketone bodies in the blood, which have also been shown to have a number of benefits and is one of many mechanisms by which fasting benefits the body.
Fasting Is Beneficial
When you eat food, that food is converted into glycogen which your body then burns. When you fast, your body uses up stored fat for energy after its glycogen reserves are depleted, and the process of the body switching from burning glucose to efficiently burning fat is something that seems to have been built into our biology, meaning we are designed to go short, or even prolonged periods of time without any food, and that this ‘stress’ on the body actually benefits us in many ways.
There is absolutely no evidence that, for the average person, fasting can be dangerous. In fact, all evidence points to the opposite. If you’re on prescription medication, or experience other medical problems, then there are obviously exceptions. But it’s quite clear that the human body was designed to go long periods of time without food, and that it’s completely natural.
If you want to learn more about the science of fasting, there is plenty of research out there. Sifting through scholarly articles on the subject will yield many interesting results. You can find a number of lectures on Youtube as well. The main takeaway for me after studying fasting and its mechanisms for fifteen years now is that it’s an extremely healthy and safe practice with a number of health benefits, and I wanted to share my current experience instead of simply diving deep into the science of it all.
My Alternate-Day Fasting Experience
I have found that the research directly correlates with my experience of fasting on a regular basis, and it’s something I’ve been doing for fifteen years. I have done a lot of prolonged fasts in my life, weekly fasts, as well as many periods of intermittent fasting where I condense my eating period to a time of 5-8 hours. But only within the past few months have I tried alternate-day fasting, and so far it’s the fasting method that’s been the most successful for me. Everybody is different, and at the end of the day you just have to find what works for you.
I’ve always put on weight quite easily, and have had no problem storing food. Perhaps it’s genetics, my family has a strong and long history of type two diabetes, hinting to the idea that insulin levels in my family can remain high, thus making it impossible to access my fat stores. Obviously, fasting drops your insulin levels, allowing your body to access and burn its fat reserves which, again, has been shown to have a tremendous amounts of benefits.
Alternate-day fasting has given me something consistent to go with when it comes to maintaining and stabilizing my weight. For me, intermittent fasting just wasn’t doing it, I found I could not eat what I enjoy without packing on extra fat and slowly increasing my weight. I also did many prolonged fasts, which helped me drop my extra fat, but then I’d put it back on. This was true for me even whilst eating a healthy, whole grain fully plant-based diet.
With alternate-day fasting, I do not gain weight, and my energy levels have increased to the point where I am now working out at the end of every fast. I’ve never experienced so much energy an I’ve never felt so alert. I had a glimpse of it with intermittent fasting, but the period without food just wasn’t long enough for me, I feel, to really tap into the benefits of fasting.
So what does alternate-day fasting look like? It’s when you eat one day, and then fast the next. Simple.
So, for example, what I do is I will eat on a Monday, and then have my last meal in the evening. Then, I wait until Wednesday morning to eat again. So, I am doing 36-40 hour fasts, quite often. What recommended alternate-day fasting looks like is eating on Monday, and then not eating until 24 hours after, or Tuesday night. Or, eating on Monday, and then restricting your calorie intake the next day to only 500 calories., and then repeat throughout the week.
I’ve been fasting for a quite a long time, so my body is quite fat adapted. It’s not difficult for me to fast and when I do I do not feel hungry at all, which means my body has adapted itself to ‘consuming’ it’s stored energy. I am at the point where alternate-day fasting for me usually means not eating for at least 40 hours and after a workout, and every now and then I will extend my fast to 72 or more hours and throw in a workout at the end those fasts as well. The food I eat during my eating periods is, again, a whole foods plant-based diet.
Related CE Article going into more detail: What Working Out In A Fasted State (Not Eating) Does To Your Muscles
That’s how I do it, and doing it this way I dropped nearly 20 pounds before eventually stabilizing my weight. I usually do alternate-day fasting, but every now and then I will eat two days in a row here and there. So I am not extremely strict on myself, but then again, my fasting periods are longer and I believe it’s easier for me simply because I am well adapted to the practice, and my body type and perhaps my genetics helps me have an easier time with it.
If you’re looking to shed some fat from your body, it’s something I recommend you try, it’s great because it forces you to enter into a fat period for a longer state than intermittent fasting, and allows you to utilize more of your fat reserves.
You can look at alternate-day fasting as an ‘extreme’ form of fasting, although there is nothing extreme about it and it’s completely safe. If you’re someone who has never fasted before, I recommend you start off with intermittent fasting, as fasting alone for someone who has never practiced it can be quite difficult at first until your body gets used to it.
If you’re looking for some great resources on this topic beyond simply reading and searching for scholarly peer-reviewed publications on the subject via online journal databases (there are lots), you can visit Dr. Jason Fung’s website blog here. There are a lot of great informative articles on the subject there.
Another great resource is Krista Varady, PhD, a Professor of Nutrition at the University of Illinois, Chicago. Her research focuses on the efficacy of intermittent fasting for weight loss, weight maintenance, and cardio-protection in obese adults. Her work is funded by the NIH, American Heart Association, International Life Sciences Institute, and the University of Illinois. She has published over 70 publications on this topic, and is also the author of a book for the general public, entitled the “Every Other Day Diet”.
Her “book for the general public,” The Every-Other-Day Diet: The Diet That Lets You Eat All You Want (Half the Time) and Keep the Weight Off is a great place to start.
Update: Court Prepares To Unseal Documents Pertaining To Jeffrey Epstein’s Child Sex Ring
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8 Year-Old Mexican Girl Invents A Solar Water Heater & Wins Nuclear Science Prize
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