- The Facts:
A study British Journal of Nutrition emphasizes how calcium supplements are linked with vascular pathologies associated with cardiovascular and how they may also be associated with the occurrence of brain lesions.
- Reflect On:
Are calcium supplements necessary? Calcium is found in a wide variety of foods, even for those who are lactose intolerant, there should be no problem getting your daily dose of calcium without supplements.
This article written by Written by Sayer Ji, founder of Greenmedinfo.com, posted here with permission.
Most calcium supplements are just plain bad news. The idea of taking calcium in pill or tablet form to “keep the bones strong” just doesn’t make that much sense given, first, that we are designed to get our calcium from food. Second, our bone is a living tissue, which requires vitamin C, amino acids, magnesium, silica, vitamins D and K, etc., not to mention regular physical activity, just as much as it does calcium. Taking calcium to the exclusion of these other critical factors doesn’t make sense; nor does it make sense to look at osteoporosis or osteopenia (a misleading term) as a deficiency of calcium supplements!
As we have reported on extensively in the past, not only is consuming limestone, bone, and the shells of oysters and eggs not a good idea because the calcium can deposit in our soft tissues leading to heart attacks and strokes, but even the goal of maintaining bones as dense as a 25-year old late into life (known as the T-score) is fraught with danger, including a far higher breast cancer risk for those with the highest bone density. Instead of pathologizing aging, and focusing on making the bone denser by any means necessary, the focus should be on bone quality and agility and bodily self-awareness late into life, which helps the elderly prevent the falls that lead to fracture in the first place. In other words, simply having a gait or vision disorder can be at least as an important factor in fracture risk as bone mineral density.
The problem with poor quality, inorganic, calcium supplements, however, does not stop with their contribution to cardiovascular disease risk. A combination of factors including low magnesium, vitamin K2 and the presence of fluoride in the water and diet can lead to pineal gland calcification, as well as the calcification of other brain structures, which recently has been hypothesized to be a contributing factor in the pathogenesis of Alzheimer’s disease.
A truly provocative study on this topic published in the British Journal of Nutrition somehow slipped through the cracks, because it did not receive mainstream medical reporting at the time of its release. Titled, “Elevated brain lesion volumes in older adults who use calcium supplements: a cross-sectional clinical observational study,” the study looked at the possibility that since calcium supplements have now been linked in multiple studies with vascular pathologies associated with cardiovascular disease they may also be associated with the occurrence of brain lesions (known on MRI scans as hyperintensities) in older adults. These brain lesions, visible as brighter spots in MRI scans, are known to be caused by lack of blood flow (ischemia) and subsequent neurological damage.
According to the study,
Brain lesions,also known as hyperintensities, are areas of damage observed on brain MRI (See Above). These lesions are common in older adults and increase the risk of devastating health outcomes, including depression, cognitive decline, dementia, stroke, physical disability, hip fracture and death. Postmortem studies have determined that these lesions form primarily due to ischemia, especially larger lesions (.3mm) and lesions found in depressed individuals.
The observational study enrolled 227 older adults (60 years above) and assessed food and supplemental calcium intakes. Participants with supplemental calcium use above zero were categorized as supplement users. Lesion volumes were assessed with MRI scans.
Key findings were:
Greater lesion volumes were found among calcium supplement users than non-users.
The influence of calcium supplements was of a magnitude similar to that of the influence of high blood pressure (hypertension), “a well-established risk factor for lesions.”
The study found that the amount of calcium used was not associated with lesion volume and that “even low-dose supplements, by older adults, may be associated with greater lesion volumes.”
Even after controlling for food calcium intake, age, sex, race, years of education, energy intake, depression and hypertension, the association between calcium supplement and lesions volumes held strong.
The study details were summarized as follows:
In the present cross-sectional clinical observational study, the association between Ca-containing dietary supplement use and lesion volumes was investigated in a sample of 227 older adults (60 years and above). Food and supplemental Ca intakes were assessed with the Block 1998 FFQ; participants with supplemental Ca intake above zero were categorised as supplement users. Lesion volumes were determined from cranial MRI (1.5 tesla) scans using a semi-automated technique; volumes were log-transformed because they were non-normal. ANCOVA models revealed that supplement users had greater lesion volumes than non-users, even after controlling for food Ca intake, age, sex, race, years of education, energy intake, depression and hypertension (Ca supplement use: β = 0.34, SE 0.10, F(1,217)= 10.98, P= 0.0011). The influence of supplemental Ca use on lesion volume was of a magnitude similar to that of the influence of hypertension, a well-established risk factor for lesions. Among the supplement users, the amount of supplemental Ca was not associated with lesion volume (β = – 0.000035, SE 0.00 015, F(1,139)= 0.06, P= 0.81).The present study demonstrates that the use of Ca-containing dietary supplements, even low-dose supplements, by older adults may be associated with greater lesion volumes. Evaluation of randomised controlled trials is warranted to determine whether this relationship is a causal one.
What is the mechanism beneath this association?
The researchers discussed the already established link between calcium supplementation and increased ischemic stroke risk, indicating that calcium supplementation may contribute to calcium deposits in the vasculature (i.e. arterial calcification), mainly in the fatty deposits (atheromas) that contribute to blocking the opening (lumen) of the blood vessels. They state that this process can lead to lack of blood flow and subsequent oxygen deprivation (ischemia), ultimately leading to the development of brain lesions. Another mechanism by which excess calcium may have a direct neurotoxic effect on the brain is the influx of excess calcium into brain cells, which lead to cell death. This possibility is greatly increased if the blood-brain barrier is compromised.
The researchers also highlighted the importance of the finding that calcium supplementation may have as significant a deleterious effect on brain lesions as high blood pressure (hypertension):
If this finding is confirmed in longitudinal studies, it could have important health implications – because it is obviously much easier to cease Ca supplement use than to medically manage hypertension.”
In other words, hypertension is often caused by toxic antihypertensive drugs that may actually increase the risk of cardiac mortality. Why not remove one of the modifiable causes: calcium supplementation, which would strike to one of the root causes of the problem and resolve it.
The researchers concluded their study as follows:
“The use of Ca [calcium] -containing dietary supplements by older adults was found to be associated with greater brain lesion volumes, even after controlling for the usual amount of dietary Ca intake. Interestingly, neither the amount of supplemental Ca nor the duration of supplemental Ca use was associated with lesion volume. These findings indicate that adverse biochemical effects of supplemental Ca use may exist in older adults, regardless of the dose.”
This is not the first study to point out this link. Another study, published in 2009 in the journal Medical Hypothesis links Alzheimer’s disease to brain calcification of structures such as the pineal gland. Learn more by reading, “A Radically New Understanding of Alzheimer’s Disease Causes and Cures.”
So, what do we do instead of taking calcium supplements?
First, consider why you think you need calcium supplements. Is it because of the dairy industry promoting for decades the concept that we need calcium (from milk)? Or, is it because your doctor is throwing around terms like osteopenia and osteoporosis carelessly, without explaining to you that the present day bone mineral density (BMD) reference ranges assume that aging is a disease and even if you are 60 or 100 for that matter you are still supposed to have the BMD of a 25-year old young woman; an absurd and dangerous idea. Please read the expose, “Osteoporosis Myth: The Dangers of High Bone Mineral Density,” in order to understand how millions of healthy women were made to believe that aging is a disease, with worse health outcomes as a result of overdiagnosis and overtreatment.
Now, when it comes to calcium, focus on food sources. The site NutritionData.com lists about 1,000 of the highest calcium-containing foods, categorized by food group: Foods highest in Calcium. Consider that kale, for instance, has higher concentrations of calcium (and far higher magnesium and silica) than milk when compared milligram per milligram. Also, remember that the accelerated bone loss that occurs later in life in women, is triggered by hormonal changes associated with the exhaustion of the ovarian reserve. Nature, however, provides ‘back up’ support for the ovaries in the form of pomegranate. Other hormone-modulating foods include the fermented soy food miso, prunes, and even vitamin C, which has recently been found to regenerate steroid hormones.
For a far more extensive research resource on bone health, you can view our page dedicated to the topic here: Bone Health.
*This work is reproduced and distributed with permission of GreenMedInfo LLC. Want to learn more from GreenMedInfo? Sign up for the newsletter here: http://www.greenmedinfo.com/greenmed/newsletter.
What Can Happen To Your Body When You Ingest Okra
- The Facts:
Multiple studies show that Okra can have some amazing benefits.
- Reflect On:
Reflect on the western diet, and the fact that multiple diseases continue to be on the rise exponentially while the medical industry pays no attention to nutrition.
“Humans live on one-quarter of what they eat; on the other three-quarters lives their doctor.”
— Egyptian pyramid inscription, 3800 B.C
Abelmoschus esculentus, or Hibiscus esculentus, also known as Okra, is a widely used vegetable all over the world. While some people dislike it because of its ‘slimy’ texture, this vegetable is loaded with a number of health benefits that make it worth including in your diet.
Okra originated in Egypt, and people have been growing it since the 12th century. It can be consumed in a variety of different ways, such as stewed, fried, or even fermented, and is usually served with other vegetables and rice or put into soups.
The Many Health Benefits of Okra
According to a study published in 2005 in the Jilin Medical Journal, okra showed positive effects on nephropathy, or kidney disease. For the study, participants were put into two different groups — one was treated with okra, and the other was treated with traditional medical therapy. The study lasted six months, and while there were no changes among the group who used traditional therapy, those who took their treatment with the okra saw a reduction in uric acid and urine protein. (source)
A study published in the Saudi Pharmaceutical Journal outlined okra’s ability to protect against liver disease. Because of its strong antioxidant activities, okra was found to protect against chemically induced liver damage. The study also found okra to have strong antioxidant and hepaprotective properties, comparable to milk thistle or silymarin. (source)
A study published in the Journal of Pharmacy & Bioallied Sciences found that okra extracts could protect against diabetes. When rats with diabetes were given okra, they saw a decrease in their blood sugar levels and a normalization of their lipid profile levels. Multiple in vitro and in vivo studies have found okra to be a major blood glucose-lowering food. It contains large amounts of soluble dietary fibre, which is why it has been used traditionally as an alternative treatment for diabetes.
Okra has also demonstrated its ability to fight cancer, having shown action against breast cancer cells, but only in preliminary lab studies. Researchers have discovered that a newly discovered lectin (a type of protein that can bind to cell membranes) in okra, Abelmoschus esculentus (AEL), actually induces cell death in human breast cancer cells, in vitro by 72%.
Research has also shown okra to effectively fight depression. Although some fruits and vegetables have been shown to have various effects on mood, including the ability to elevate mood (flavonoids and quercertin), Okra had not made the list until recently, thanks to researchers from Mazandaran University of Medical Science. Their results showed that okra seed extracts acted as as strong agent for elevating mood, in some cases performing just as well as common antidepressants. Apparently, the positive mood effect of okra can be attributed to its high total phenol and flavonoid content. (source)(source)
When I come across scientifically validated information that sheds light on the knowledge of our ancestors and ancients, I am never surprised. This is commonly seen with quantum physics, astronomy, health, and spirituality, where our modern day measurements of ‘truth’ correlate with teachings of our ancient world.
It’s good to see science shed light on the healing properties found within nature, as it’s a branch of knowledge we have neglected for many years now. Chemical based health, and our reliance on pharmaceutical grade medicine, has completely taken over, which is perhaps one reason why chronic illness and disease continue to rise.
“Let food by thy medicine, and medicine be thy food.”
Institutional Inertia: Is Enough Being Done to Protect Children from Aluminum Toxicity?
Aluminum is the most abundant metal in the Earth’s crust. For most of human history, aluminum was not bioavailable; however, it became so in the late 1880s when chemists developed and patented the smelting process that helped turned the metal into the fixture of modern life—and the omnipresent “ecotoxin”—that it is today. Roughly 130 years later, it is no exaggeration to say that aluminum has become an active (albeit unhelpful) “participant in human evolution.”
The scientist citing aluminum’s outsized biological influence—Professor Chris Exley of the United Kingdom’s Keele University—is one of the world’s foremost aluminum experts. He points out that because aluminum exposure is largely insidious, complacency about aluminum’s effects persists despite the nearly universal body burden that human beings now carry. While the metal’s effects appear to be “invariably deleterious,” variables such as age and gender also shape vulnerability. Infants in their first year of life are particularly susceptible to aluminum bioaccumulation, raising concerns about the high levels of absorbable aluminum reported in infant formula and in the parenteral (intravenous) nutrition solutions given to premature babies. Suggesting that these reports represent the “tip of an iceberg,” one group of researchers cautions that not only does aluminum constitute a “significant component of newborns’ exposure to xenobiotics and contaminants,” but the consequences of aluminum overload in the perinatal period can have pathological consequences that persist into adulthood.
Two routes of early exposure
Studies documenting aluminum contamination of infant formula date as far back as the mid-1980s, and many have recommended doing something about it. Yet, a quarter of a century later, when Professor Exley and a coauthor examined the aluminum content of fifteen leading brands of formula, they found that 2010 levels remained virtually unchanged—and were about 10 to 40 times higher than the amount of aluminum in human breast milk. Depending on the brand, the aluminum content ranged from 200 to 700 micrograms per liter of formula—the equivalent of up to 600 micrograms ingested per day based on standard formula intake. At these levels, a healthy six-month-old boy weighing 7.9 kilograms would take in almost 80 micrograms of aluminum per kilogram per day (μg/kg/day), far in excess of the maximum daily dose of 4 to 5 μg/kg/day recommended by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the prevention of “accumulation and toxicity.”
One out of every 10 U.S. infants is born preterm, and the preterm birth rate has risen every year since 2015. These premature babies face a particularly elevated risk of “systemic aluminum intoxication.” Due to the immaturity of their gastrointestinal (GI) system, it is common practice to administer nutrients parenterally, sometimes for weeks on end. However, parenteral nutrition (PN) solutions exhibit the same “unresolved” (and decades-old) aluminum toxicity problems as infant formula. One study reported that keeping within the FDA’s recommended aluminum limit of no more than 5 μg/kg/day would only be “feasible” in PN patients weighing 50 or more kilos—and most preterm infants weigh well under three kilograms at birth. Even worse, after premature infants leave the hospital, they often transition to a diet of aluminum-containing formula.
Infants—including preemies—are more vulnerable to aluminum toxicity than adults for several reasons. First, infants have a blood-brain barrier that is highly susceptible to disruption by drugs and toxins. Second, infants lack adequate GI protection, and oral ingestion of aluminum worsens the problem by damaging gut homeostasis (to the point that researchers consider it a risk factor for various inflammatory bowel diseases). Third, whereas the kidney is the organ that the body relies on to excrete aluminum (both ingested and intravenous), the neonate’s kidney is “functionally immature,” making aluminum accumulation “inevitable.” Even in adults with normal kidney function, studies show that only 30% to 60% of the PN aluminum load gets excreted, resulting in build-up of aluminum in the bones and tissues (notably the brain, liver and kidney).
Inertia and its consequences
Taking stock of manufacturer inertia with regard to infant formula’s aluminum content, Professor Exley speculated in 2010 that manufacturers either are failing to monitor their products’ aluminum content or “are not concerned at these levels of contamination.” In either case, he notes, manufacturers have little excuse for their inaction: “Manufacturers of infant formulas have been made fully aware of the potentially compounded issue of both the contamination by aluminium and the heightened vulnerability, from the point of view of a newborn’s developing physiology, of infants fed such formulas.”
Early exposure to high levels of aluminum can have varied harmful effects, increasing children’s longer-term disease susceptibility as well as contributing to conditions such as uremia (a type of kidney disease), bone disorders and neurologic disorders, among others. A study that followed preterm infants for 15 years into adolescence found that the teens who had been exposed to parenteral aluminum had reduced bone mass in the lumbar spine and hips—risk factors for later hip fractures and osteoporosis.
Other routes of exposure
Infant formula and PN are not babies’ only routes of exposure to high levels of aluminum. Studies point to possible toxic effects for the embryo and fetus (including effects on fetal metabolism) resulting from maternal use of antacids and other aluminum-containing pharmaceutical products. Moreover, common components of a pregnant woman’s diet (such as the citric acid found in fruit) increase absorption of the aluminum in these products.
Aluminum adjuvants in vaccines are another significant source of early exposure. Young children receive multiple aluminum-containing vaccines in their first three years, and more as adolescents. A two-month-old infant may receive up to 1,225 micrograms of aluminum from the vaccines administered at a single well-baby visit and a cumulative 4,925 micrograms by 18 months of age. Regulators have never properly assessed these astronomical levels of aluminum for safety. Co-exposure to aluminum and mercury (still present in influenza vaccines) makes matters synergistically worse.
Injection as the route of exposure is another important consideration. Toxicologists note that “Depending on the type and route of exposure,” aluminum clearance may have multiple half-lives estimated in hours, days—or years. Evidence indicates that the body does not easily eliminate vaccine forms of aluminum, which can make their way into the brain; in fact, manufacturers have expressly designed the aluminum used in vaccines to provide “long-lasting cellular exposure.”
In 2018, Exley published another groundbreaking study that confirmed the presence of consistently high levels of aluminum in the brains of individuals who had been diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Other studies have linked aluminum to autism severity. In a recent letter published in the Journal of Trace Elements in Medicine and Biology by an independent scientist, the writer describes three converging lines of evidence supporting a link between aluminum adjuvants (Al-adjuvants) and ASD: ecological correlations of vaccination and aluminum adjuvants; experiments in mice; and the discovery of aluminum in ASD brains. He concludes:
While there may certainly be not enough “hard data” evidence to claim that Al-adjuvants in vaccines are responsible for ASD, there is even less evidence supporting the opposite conclusion that Al-adjuvants are completely safe to use without any long-term downfall.
Thus far, regulators and manufacturers—whether of infant formula, PN solutions, vaccines or other aluminum-containing products—have been largely tone-deaf to the crescendo of studies pointing to aluminum toxicity in the very young (or, for that matter, in individuals across the life span). Among those sounding the alarm, many have taken pains to distance themselves from conceding the potential risks of aluminum adjuvants, cavalierly dismissing the aluminum in vaccines as a “relatively small amount.” Even without accounting for adjuvant risks, though, aluminum experts recognize the importance of banishing complacency. Reducing “aluminum-related human pathology, not only in neonates but even in children and adults,” they admit, is also likely to contribute to “the prevention of the epidemic increase of neurodegenerative diseases of elderly people.”
50 Things You Could Be Doing Instead Of Staring At A Screen
- The Facts:
The average adult spends as much as 12 hours a day in front of a screen while at home.
- Reflect On:
How much of our screen time is providing value to our lives? Is our screen time benefiting us or taking time away from doing what we love and spending real, quality time connecting with friends and family?
There is no doubt about it, screens have become a central part of many of our lives. From the moment we wake up and turn off our alarms and do a quick check of Facebook, Instagram and/or Twitter notifications, email, and other apps — screens have the capacity to suck us in, right from the start of the day. The act of checking our screens has become so common nowadays that many of us spend the majority of our waking lives staring at various screens including smartphones, tablets, and computers.
There are some people who argue that before smartphones and tablets, it was the television set, and before that, the radio, and before that, the newspaper. However, we can’t ignore the fact that it is currently an epidemic, as many people (myself included at times) are so sucked into this virtual reality, they do not realize that it is a potentially harmful addiction.
Some believe that this type of technology is just a natural part of human evolution and that in may ways it benefits our lives. To a degree, this is true, as there are many amazing perks of technology and it absolutely can be used to benefit our lives — being able to access any information we are seeking, learning a new language, instrument, or practically anything we want, attending online courses, webinars or education programs, connecting with loved ones that are far way. But really think about your screen time and how it’s spent. Is it benefiting your life in any way? Or is it a compulsive habit? Whenever you have a spare moment–waiting in line, in an elevator, whenever you feel that you are bored–is that when you reach for your phone? Are you mindlessly scrolling through your Newsfeed, photofeed or Twitter feed? Potentially comparing your life to others, getting lost looking at the pictures from people you hardly know? Obsessing over celebrities and “influencers” that actually provide no value to your life? Sometimes we might have the T.V. on, watching a show, whilst at the same time mindlessly scrolling through our feeds. This is a double screen-time wham-o! Essentially getting lost in whatever is available to take you away from yourself and basically inhibit your ability to give love, care and attention to yourself.
We Are Wasting Valuable Time
Many of us, again often including myself, have dealt with a deep dissatisfaction with our lives — maybe we are not happy with our careers or our relationships, or perhaps we lack purpose, passion and drive. Yet, instead of doing something that could benefit ourselves, we instead choose to escape those feelings. We reach for our screens in a desperate attempt to get our next “fix,” our dopamine hit that gives us temporary relief from our dissatisfaction with our lives. This IS an addiction and it is important to be aware of that. What would happen if instead, we leaned into our feelings of discomfort and spent time in deep reflection about what is working in our lives and what’s not?
Using Tech To Help Moderate Our Use Of Tech
A great tool for me has been an app called “Moment” that basically tracks your screen time and how much time has been spent on each app. Without consciously trying to change your screen time habits, I challenge you to download this app and check out your screen time at the end of each day. Much like I was, you may be surprised to learn how much time you might be completely throwing away on social media.
After all, “Lost time is never found again.”
If you’re like me, you may be thinking, “Well, what the heck else am I supposed to be doing?” And you may still enjoy spending some time on social media, but as with pretty much everything else in life, moderation is key! You may want to try setting a daily limit for screen time for yourself and sticking to it. If you can’t, then you know you may have a problem worth exploring.
50 Things You Can Do Instead Of Staring At A Screen
Below I have provided a list of 50 things you could be doing instead of scrolling or staring at a screen. While some of these are going to seem extremely obvious, you may not always think of them when you are sucked into the glowing light of a screen. This is meant to be a quick reference, it may be even beneficial to print this list off or copy it onto a physical piece of paper so that you ironically don’t need a screen to view it.
- Read a book
- Read a magazine
- Go for a walk
- Go for a hike
- Clean out your closet
- Write in your journal
- Play an instrument
- Play with your pet
- Practice a new language
- Listen to a podcast
- Draw a picture
- Paint a picture
- Literally sit and do nothing
- Do yoga
- Go to the gym
- Workout from home
- Call up a friend (use headphones or speakerphone to chat)
- Write a letter you intend to send
- Write a letter you don’t intend to send
- Plan out tasks you intend to accomplish within the next week
- Bake something
- Cook something
- Meet a friend for tea
- Play a board game or cards
- Go swimming
- Do a massage exchange with a friend
- Redecorate your home
- Give yourself an opportunity to really feel your feelings
- Notice the urge to reach for your phone
- Practice grounding
- Volunteer your time
- Go to a comedy show
- Listen to music
- Write a list of 10 things you are grateful for
- Go to the library
- Try something new
- Sit in quiet reflection
- Study something that sparks your interest using books
- Get clear on your vision for the next 5 years of your life
- Go to a Meetup group
- Dance around your living room
- Practice eye-gazing with yourself in the mirror, or with someone else
- Clean out your fridge
- Take a cold shower
- Have a bath
- Downsize your belongings
- Repair something that is broken
Bonus* Make a list of things that you’ve always wanted to do, but felt like you haven’t had the time.
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What Can Happen To Your Body When You Ingest Okra
“Humans live on one-quarter of what they eat; on the other three-quarters lives their doctor.” — Egyptian pyramid inscription, 3800...