Sugar, primarily in the form of high fructose corn syrup (HFCS), is the largest source of calories in the United States today. While its mass appeal is vastly rooted in cultures worldwide, its health impacts are severe and often overlooked by the majority.
In his book The Sugar Fix, Dr. Richard Johnson reveals that about 50% of Americans consume as much as half a pound, more than 225 grams, of sugar per day. This statistic is the furthest thing from sweet.
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While it’s no secret that sugar is a major player in the obesity, heart disease, and type II diabetes epidemics, most would be shocked to discover that sugar literally makes you dumber as well.
From Our Gut to Our Brain
In his article “Eating Sugar Makes You Stupid,” Dr. Mercola discusses a number of studies pointing to the degenerative effects of sugar on the brain.
One of these studies, published in the journal Neuroscience, showed how a high-sugar diet led to changes in gut bacteria in mice that in turn caused a significant loss of cognitive flexibility, which is a measure of your brain’s ability to adapt to changing situations.
“After four weeks of consuming excess amounts of sugar, the mice performed poorly on a variety of tests related to mental and physical function when compared to mice fed a normal diet,” Mercola wrote.
Kathy Magnusson, a professor in the OSU College of Veterinary Medicine and principal investigator with the Linus Pauling Institute, said in an Oregon State University news release:
It’s increasingly clear that our gut bacteria, or microbiota, can communicate with the human brain… Bacteria can release compounds that act as neurotransmitters, stimulate sensory nerves or the immune system, and affect a wide range of biological functions…
We’re not sure just what messages are being sent, but we are tracking down the pathways and the effects.
The findings from the study only further substantiate the growing list of evidence showing the cognitive defects of sugar consumption.
Insulin Resistance and the Brain
In 2012, a team of researchers examined the effects of HFCS on rats’ brains, soon to discover that rats who had been fed a diet high in HFCS faced cognitive impairment and struggled to remember their way out of mazes.
“Their brain cells had trouble signaling each other, disrupting the rats’ ability to think clearly and recall the route they’d learned six weeks earlier,” Mercola wrote.
Furthermore, the fructose-fed rats showed signs of resistance to insulin, a hormone that controls your blood sugar and synaptic function in the brain. Because insulin is able to pass through the blood-brain barrier, it can trigger neurological processes important for learning and memory.
“Consuming large amounts of fructose may block insulin’s ability to regulate how your brain cells store and use sugar for the energy needed to fuel thoughts and emotions.”
What Happened When Rats Were Fed Omega-3 Fats With Sugar
In the same study, a second group of rats was given Omega-3 fats in the form of flaxseed oil and DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) in addition to the high-fructose diet. After six weeks, this group of rats was able to navigate the maze better and faster than the rats in the non-DHA group.
The researchers concluded that DHA is protective against fructose’s harmful effects on your brain.
DHA is essential for synaptic function — it helps your brain cells transmit signals to one another, which is the mechanism that makes learning and memory possible.
Unfortunately, your body can’t produce all the DHA it needs, so it must be incorporated into your diet through wild-caught seafood or a supplement like krill oil. Many Americans are seriously deficient in Omega-3 fats, which means they may be especially vulnerable to the harmful effects of excess fructose.
Elevated Blood Sugar Levels Can Be Linked to Memory Loss
Mercola also stresses that even if you don’t have type 2 diabetes or pre-diabetes suggestive of insulin resistance, higher blood sugar levels appear to have a negative influence on cognition regardless.
One study found that those with higher blood sugar levels scored lower on memory tests.
For each 7-mmol/mol increase in HbA1c (a measure of blood glucose), participants recalled two fewer words on memory tests. Those with higher blood sugar levels also had lower volume of the hippocampus, a brain region linked to memory.
How Insulin Sensitivity Relates to the Development of Dementia
Consumption of any grain, sugar, or starch leads to a rise in blood sugar. To help regulate your blood sugar levels, your pancreas secretes insulin into the bloodstream, which lowers glucose levels.
However, the downside to insulin is that it converts sugar into fat, which in turn can lead to weight gain over time.
If elevated blood sugar levels become your norm, your body eventually requires more and more insulin to be released in order to get the job done. This is when you’ve become insulin resistant, the precursor to type II diabetes.
As you overindulge on sugar and grains, your brain becomes overwhelmed by the consistently high levels of insulin and eventually shuts down its insulin signalling, leading to impairments in your thinking and memory abilities and eventually causing permanent brain damage, among other health issues.
In early 2005, researchers tentatively dubbed Alzheimer’s disease as “type 3 diabetes” after recognizing that in addition to your pancreas, your brain also produces insulin, and this brain insulin is necessary for brain cell survival.
Studies have found that people with lower levels of insulin and insulin receptors in their brain often have Alzheimer’s disease.
Neurologist Dr. David Perlmutter insists that, for this very reason, strictly limiting your consumption of sugar and non-vegetable carbs is one of the most important steps you can take toward prevent Alzheimer’s disease. He cites research from the Mayo Clinic which found that diets rich in carbohydrates are associated with an 89% increased risk for dementia.
Destroying the Gut Destroys the Brain
Your gut, which is teeming with microbial life, also communicates with your brain, via what’s known as the “gut-brain axis.” Embedded in the wall of your gut is your enteric nervous system (ENS), which works both independently of and in conjunction with the brain in your head.
This communication between your “two brains” runs both ways and is the pathway by which foods affect your mood. It’s why anxiety can make you stick to your stomach, for example. However, this gut-brain connection is about far more than just comfort food or butterflies in your stomach. According to Scientific American, “The gut-brain axis seems to be bidirectional—the brain acts on gastrointestinal and immune functions that help to shape the gut’s microbial makeup, and gut microbes make neuroactive compounds, including neurotransmitters and metabolites that also act on the brain.”
Therefore, improving your gut microbiome inherently improves your brain function.
Obviously keeping your sugar levels below 25 grams per day is ideal in decreasing your chances of dementia or other cognitive defects. For diabetics, pre-diabetics, people who are overweight, or people with high cholesterol or high blood pressure, Dr. Mercola recommends keeping sugar intake to below 15 grams per day.
Consuming naturally fermented foods will also help correct gut microbiome, which in turns help regulate your nervous system and overall health. Naturally fermented foods include sauerkraut, miso, tempeh, and kefir.
Lastly, taking a daily probioitic is also a surefire way to correct gut bacteria levels more efficiently than through food.
What are your thoughts on the gut-brain connection? Share your thoughts with us in the comment section below!
Norway Investigates 29 Deaths in Elderly Patients After Pfizer Covid-19 Vaccination
- The Facts:
Norway has registered a total of 29 deaths among people over the age of 75 who’ve had their first Covid-19 vaccination shot, raising questions over which groups to target in national inoculation programs.
- Reflect On:
Should freedom of choice always remain here? Should governments and private institutions not be allowed to mandate this vaccine in order to have access to certain rights and freedoms?
What Happened: 29 patients who were quite old and frail have died following their first dose of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccination. As a result, Norwegian officials have since adjusted their advice on who should get the COVID-19 vaccine.
This doesn’t come as a surprise to many given the fact that the clinical trials were conducted with people who are healthy. Older and sick people with co-morbidities were not used in the trials, and people with severe allergies and other diseases that can make one more susceptible to vaccine injury were not used either. It can be confusing given the fact that vaccination is being encouraged for the elderly in nursing homes and those who are more vulnerable to COVID-19.
Steinar Madsen, medical director of the Norwegian Medicines Agency (NOMA), told the British Medical Journal (BMJ) that “There is no certain connection between these deaths and the vaccine.”
On the 15th of January it was 23 deaths, Bloomberg is now reporting that a total of 29 deaths among people over the age of 75 who’ve had their first COVID-19 shot. They point out that “Until Friday, Pfizer/BioNTech was the only vaccine available in Norway”, stating that the Norwegian Medicines Agency told them that as a result “all deaths are thus linked to this vaccine.”
“There are 13 deaths that have been assessed, and we are aware of another 16 deaths that are currently being assessed,” the agency said. All the reported deaths related to “elderly people with serious basic disorders,” it said. “Most people have experienced the expected side effects of the vaccine, such as nausea and vomiting, fever, local reactions at the injection site, and worsening of their underlying condition.”
Madsen also told the BMJ that,
There is a possibility that these common adverse reactions, that are not dangerous in fitter, younger patients and are not unusual with vaccines, may aggravate underlying disease in the elderly. We are not alarmed or worried about this, because these are very rare occurrences and they occurred in very frail patients with very serious disease. We are not asking for doctors to continue with vaccination, but to carry out extra evaluation of very sick people whose underlying condition might be aggravated by it. This evaluation includes discussing the risks and benefits of vaccination with the patient and their families to decide whether or not vaccination is the best course.
The BMJ article goes on to point out that the Paul Ehrlich Institute in Germany is also investigating 10 deaths shortly after COVID-19 vaccination, and closes with the following information:
In a statement, Pfizer said, “Pfizer and BioNTech are aware of reported deaths following administration of BNT162b2. We are working with NOMA to gather all the relevant information.
“Norwegian authorities have prioritised the immunisation of residents in nursing homes, most of whom are very elderly with underlying medical conditions and some of whom are terminally ill. NOMA confirm the number of incidents so far is not alarming, and in line with expectations. All reported deaths will be thoroughly evaluated by NOMA to determine if these incidents are related to the vaccine. The Norwegian government will also consider adjusting their vaccination instructions to take the patients’ health into more consideration.
“Our immediate thoughts are with the bereaved families.”
Vaccine Hesitancy is Growing Among Healthcare Workers: Vaccine hesitancy is growing all over the globe, one of the latest examples comes from Riverside County, California. It has a population of approximately 2.4 million, and about 50 percent of healthcare workers in the county are refusing to take the COVID-19 vaccine despite the fact that they have top priority and access to it. At Providence Holy Cross Medical Center in Mission Hills, one in five frontline nurses and doctors have declined the shot. Roughly 20% to 40% of L.A. County’s frontline workers who were offered the vaccine did the same, according to county public health officials. You can read more about that story here.
Vaccine hesitancy among physicians and academics is nothing new. To illustrate this I often point to a conference held at the end of 2019 put on by the World Health Organization (WHO). At the conference, Dr. Heidi Larson a Professor of Anthropology and the Risk and Decision Scientist Director at the Vaccine Confidence Project Emphasized this point, having stated,
The other thing that’s a trend, and an issue, is not just confidence in providers but confidence of health care providers. We have a very wobbly health professional frontline that is starting to question vaccines and the safety of vaccines. That’s a huge problem, because to this day any study I’ve seen…still, the most trusted person on any study I’ve seen globally is the health care provider.
A study published in the journal EbioMedicine as far back as 2013 outlines this point, among many others.
Pfizer’s Questionable History: Losing faith in “big pharma” does not come without good reason. For example, in 2010 Robert G. Evans, PhD, Centre for Health Services and Policy Research Emeritus Professor, Vancouver School of Economics, UBC, published a paper that’s accessible in PubMed titled “Tough on Crime? Pfizer and the CIHR.”
In it, he outlines the fact that,
Pfizer has been a “habitual offender,” persistently engaging in illegal and corrupt marketing practices, bribing physicians and suppressing adverse trial results. Since 2002 the company and its subsidiaries have been assessed $3 billion in criminal convictions, civil penalties and jury awards. The 2.3-billion settlement…set a new record for both criminal fines and total penalties. A link with Pfizer might well advance the commercialization of Canadian research.
Suppressing clinical trial results is something I’ve come across multiple times with several different medicines. Five years ago I wrote about how big pharma did not share adverse reactions people had and harmful results from their clinical trials for commonly used antidepressant drugs.
Even scientists from within federal these health regulatory agencies have been sounding the alarm. For example, a few years ago more than a dozen scientists from within the CDC put out an anonymous public statement detailing the influence corporations have on government policies. They were referred to as the Spider Papers.
The Takeaway: Given the fact that everything is not black and white, especially when it comes to vaccine safety, do we really want to give government health agencies and/or private institutions the right to enforce mandatory vaccination requirements when their efficacy have been called into question? Should people have the freedom of choice? It’s a subject that has many people polarized in their beliefs, but at the end of the day the sharing of information, opinion and evidence should not be shut down, discouraged, ridiculed or censored.
In a day and age where more people are starting to see our planet in a completely different light, one which has more and more questioning the human experience and why we live the way we do it seems the ‘crack down’ on free thought gets tighter and tighter. Do we really want to live in a world where we lose the right to choose what we do with our own body, or one where certain rights and freedoms are taken away if we don’t comply? The next question is, what do we do about it? Those who are in a position to enforce these measures must, it seems, have a shift in consciousness and refuse to implement them. There doesn’t seem to be a clear cut answer, but there is no doubt that we are currently going through that possible process, we are living in it.
Psycho-Acoustic Medicine: Science Behind Sound Healing For Serotonin Production
- The Facts:
A number of studies and experiments have shown that sound can be used as medicine for various ailments and diseases.
- Reflect On:
Is our modern day medical industry truly interested in the health and well-being of people, or do profit and control take more priority?
Mental illness has reached an all time high in the world, and yet the modern day medicines to relieve symptoms have gained controversy. This is, in part, why people have dug up the past to better understand alternative ways of healing.
Sound, for instance, has been a tool for promoting the physical and emotional health of the body for as long as history can account for, deeply rooted in ancient cultures and civilizations. The ancient Egyptians used vowel sound chants in healing because they believed vowels were sacred. Tibetan monks take advantage of singing bowls, which they believe to be “a symbol of the unknowable” whose “vibrations have been described as the sound of the universe manifesting.”
“Our various states of consciousness are directly connected to the ever-changing electrical, chemical, and architectural environment of the brain. Daily habits of behavior and thought processes have the ability to alter the architecture of brain structure and connectivity, as well as, the neurochemical and electrical neural oscillations of your mind.”
Psychoacoustics is the scientific study of the perception of sound, and it has fueled researchers paths to better understand how it can be used as medicine. For instance, in 1973, Dr. Gerald Oster, a medical doctor and biophysicist, proved, in his research paper, “Auditory Beats in the Brain,” how sound affects the how the brain absorbs new information, controls mood, sleep patterns, healing responses, and more, and how quickly. Thus, specific frequencies of sound and music can be used to generate neurotransmitters such as serotonin.
To understand the fundamentals of sound in healing, we must first understand our brain waves. The nucleus of our thoughts, emotions, and behaviors, is the communication between neurons. Brain waves are generated by way of electrical pulses working in unison from masses of neurons interacting with one another. Brain waves are divided into five different bandwidths that are thought to form a spectrum of human consciousness.
The slowest of the waves are delta waves (.5 to 3 Hz), which are the slowest brain waves and occur mostly during our deepest state of sleep. The fastest of the waves are gamma waves (25 to 100 Hz), which are associated with higher states of conscious perception. Alpha waves (8 to 12 Hz) occur when the brain is daydreaming or consciously practicing mindfulness or meditation.
According to Dr. Suzanne Evans Morris, Ph.D., a speech-language pathologist:
Research shows that different frequencies presented to each ear through stereo headphones… create a difference tone (or binaural beat) as the brain puts together the two tones it actually hears. Through EEG monitoring the difference tone is identified by a change in the electrical pattern produced by the brain. For example, frequencies of 200 Hz and 210 Hz produce a binaural beat frequency of 10 Hz (The difference in 210 Hz and 200 Hz is 10 Hz). Monitoring of the brain’s electricity (EEG) shows that the brain produces increased 10 Hz activity with equal frequency and amplitude of the wave form in both hemispheres of the brain (left and right hemisphere).
It is thought that different brain wave patterns are connected to the production in the brain of certain neurochemicals linked with relaxation and stress release, as well as better learning and creativity, memory, and more. Such neurochemicals include beta-endorphins, growth factors, gut peptides, acetylcholine, vasopressin, and serotonin.
As far as we can tell, each brain center generates impulses at a specific frequency based on the predominant neurotransmitter it secretes. In other words, the brain’s internal communication system—its language, is based on frequency… Presumably, when we send in waves of electrical energy at, say, 10 Hz, certain cells in the lower brain stem will respond because they normally fire within that frequency range.
Additional research upholds the beliefs of mind-body medicine in this sense, stating that brainwaves being in the Alpha state, 8 to 14 Hz, permits a vibration allowing for more serotonin to be created.
It’s important for us to come to terms with the fact that there is science behind age-old medicinal practices that do not require putting unknown substances in our bodies to alleviate issues like stress, depression, anxiety, and more.
But even more intriguing is to think something as simple as sound, as music, which we have come to treat as utterly pleasurable entertainment, has not only been used to promote healing and well-being, but has proven to work through research as well.
If your mental health is of concern, try listening to a binaural beat to generate alpha waves between 8 and 14 Hz to produce more serotonin. Another option is to take advantage of music that promotes a relaxed alpha state in the brain such as classical music.
Related CE Article: Research Shows We Can Heal With Vibration, Frequency & Sound
Study: Short Break From Cosmetics Causes “Significant Drop of Hormone Disrupting Chemicals”
- The Facts:
A study led by researchers at UC Berkeley and Clinica de Salud del Valle de Salinas demonstrates how even a short break from certain kinds of makeup, shampoos and lotions leads to a large drop in levels of hormone-disrupting chemicals in the body.
- Reflect On:
Why is this industry so poorly regulated?
A study led by researchers at UC Berkeley and Clinica de Salud del Valle Salinas has demonstrated how taking even a short break from various cosmetics, shampoos, and other personal care products can lead to a substantial drop in the levels of hormone-disrupting chemicals present within the body.
The results from the study were published in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives. Researchers gave 100 Latina teenagers various personal care products that were labeled to be free of common chemicals including phthalates, parabens, triclosan, and oxybenzone. These chemicals are used regularly in almost all conventional personal care products such as cosmetics, soap, sunscreen, shampoo, conditioner, and other hair products, and animal studies have shown that they directly interfere with the body’s endocrine system.
“Because women are the primary consumers of many personal care products, they may be disproportionately exposed to these chemicals,” said study lead author Kim Harley, associate director of the UC Berkeley Center for Environmental Research and Children’s Health. “Teen girls may be at particular risk since it’s a time of rapid reproductive development, and research has suggested that they use more personal care products per day than the average adult woman.”
After just a three-day trial with the girls using only the lower-chemical products, urine samples showed a significant drop in the level of chemicals in the body. Methyl and propyl parabens, commonly used as preservatives in cosmetics, dropped 44% and 45%, respectively, metabolites of diethyl phthalate, used often in perfumes, dropped by 27%, and both triclosan and benzophenone-3 fell 36%. The authors of the study were surprised to see an increase in two lesser common parabens, but, being minor, could easily have been caused by accidental contamination or a substitute not listed on the labels.
Co-director of the study Kimberly Parra explains why having local youths participate in the study was of particular importance:
The results of the study are particularly interesting on a scientific level, but the fact that high school students led the study set a new path to engaging youth to learn about science and how it can be used to improve the health of their communities. After learning of the results, the youth took it upon themselves to educate friends and community members, and presented their cause to legislatures in Sacramento.
Included in the CHAMACOS Youth Council were 12 local high school students who helped design and implement the study. One of the teen researchers, Maritza Cárdenas, is now a UC Berkeley undergraduate majoring in molecular and cell biology.
“One of the goals of our study was to create awareness among the participants of the chemicals found in everyday products, to help make people more conscious about what they’re using,” said Cárdenas. “Seeing the drop in chemical levels after just three days shows that simple actions can be taken, such as choosing products with fewer chemicals, and make a difference.”
The researchers noted that cosmetics and personal care products are not well-regulated in this country, and that getting data about health effects from exposure, particularly long-term ones, is difficult. But they say there is growing evidence linking endocrine-disrupting chemicals to neurobehavioral problems, obesity and cancer cell growth.
What Can You Do?
Well, you can be sure to check the labels on any products you purchase. Most personal care products contain a list of ingredients, but unfortunately many cosmetics do not. If you use a particular brand that you really love you can try contacting the manufacturer directly and asking them for an ingredient list.
You can also opt for more natural and organic products, but be sure to keep in mind that in the industry of personal care products, the words “natural” and “organic” are often meaningless. A safe bet would be to buy these products from a health food store and be sure to read the ingredients or ask the sales clerk. Generally, when products do not contain specific chemicals, the manufacturers are happy to label them as such.
The less demand for these chemically-laden products there is, the less these chemicals will be used. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: VOTE WITH YOUR DOLLAR! We have the power to create the type of world we want. Be the change.
Check out The Story Of Cosmetics below!
Norway Investigates 29 Deaths in Elderly Patients After Pfizer Covid-19 Vaccination
What Happened: 29 patients who were quite old and frail have died following their first dose of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccination....
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