Don’t Take Tea Tree Oil for Granted

Practical, inexpensive, and has many uses for your health and around the home — no wonder tea tree oil is hailed as a “jack of all trades” among nature’s herbal oils. Here’s what you need to know about tea tree oil.

What Is Tea Tree Oil?

Tea tree oil (TTO), also called melaleuca oil, is made from the leaves of the tea tree plant (Melaleuca alternifolia), a member of the myrtle tree family, which is native to Australia.

The name was coined by British explorer Lieutenant James Cook in the 1770s, when he saw native Australians brewing tea using the leaves from the tree. Later on, he brewed his own batch of tea, and gave it to his crew to prevent scurvy.1

The tea tree plant is highly prized by primitive Australian communities for its unique healing ability.

Numerous aboriginal communities along the east coast of Australia have a long historical use of tea tree as an antiseptic for skin conditions. They simply crushed the tea tree leaves and applied it to cuts, burns and infections.

It was only in the 1920s, after Arthur Penfold,2 an Australian state government chemist, published a series of papers on tea tree oil’s antiseptic properties that this oil’s benefits became widely known.

Through modern distillation methods, manufacturers are now able to produce tea tree oil with a clear to very pale golden or yellow color, and a fresh, camphor-like scent.3

Uses of Tea Tree Oil

Tea tree oil has been long valued for its antifungal, antibacterial and antiviral properties. In the 1920s, it was used in dentistry and surgery to help clean wounds and prevent infections.4

Surgeons believed that it is more effective than carbolic acid, the commonly used antiseptic at that time.5

Tea tree oil’s has become more popular within the last few years, and it is now added to soaps, shampoos, lotions and other personal care products. Tea tree oil has many uses around the home, too. An article in Mother Nature Network6 lists nine home uses of tea tree oil, including:

Toothbrush cleaner — A drop of tea tree oil can disinfect your toothbrush, which is a breeding ground for mold and bacteria.

Mold treatment — Mix a drop with a cup of water, spray on moldy areas and then wipe clean. For an all-natural disinfectant, you can also sprinkle a few drops of tea tree oil along with baking soda on your bathroom or kitchen surfaces.

Natural pest control — The strong smell of tea tree oil naturally repels ants and other insects. I recommend making a natural insect repellent by mixing a few drops of tea tree oil with coconut oil.

Laundry freshener — Adding a few drops of this oil during the wash cycle will make your laundry smell crisper and kill organisms lurking in your washer.

Composition of Tea Tree Oil

There are over 100 components in tea tree oil, but it is mostly made up of terpene hydrocarbons: monoterpenes, sesquiterpenes and their alcohols.7 Light, heat, exposure to air and moisture can affect TTO’s stability, so make sure to place it in an airtight container and store it in a dark, cool and dry place.

Benefits of Tea Tree Oil

Tea tree oil has gained a reputation for being an all-around remedy, from removing makeup8 to treating warts.9 Numerous studies have been conducted to prove the potential benefits of tea tree oil for health ailments, such as:

Acne — A comparative study published in the Medical Journal of Australia10 found that TTO and benzoyl peroxide both had a significant effect in ameliorating patients’ acne. Although the onset of action in tea tree oil was slower, it caused fewer side effects than benzoyl peroxide.

Fungal infections — A study published in the journal Tropical Medicine and International Health found that treating toenail onychomycosis with 2 percent butenafine and 5 percent TTO in cream cured 80 percent of patients.

Bacterial infections — A 2004 study11 funded by the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM) found that TTO may be used as an adjunctive treatment for wounds, and may even help treat severe infections like methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA).

However, large, well-designed clinical trials are lacking, and the jury is still out on whether tea tree oil really has this potential.

Smaller-scale clinical studies on tea tree oil revealed TTO’s potential for helping treat athlete’s foot, dandruff, lice, gingivitis and genital infections.

In aromatherapy, tea tree oil is said to be helpful in alleviating chest and head congestion, stuffy nose12 and other symptoms of colds and flu, especially when used in steam inhalation.

Steam inhalation clears the congested nasal passages and kills bacteria.

Adding an antiviral essential oil like TTO makes it that much more effective. Just add a few drops to a steaming bowl of hot (purified) water, cover your head with a towel and breathe in the vapors for five to 10 minutes. Adding a few drops of tea tree oil to your bathwater may also help stop a cold from developing.13

How to Make Tea Tree Oil

Large-scale tea tree oil manufacturers use steam distillation to extract the product.14 But if you have fresh tea tree leaves on hand, you can easily make this oil. Here’s a step-by-step process from

Put the leaves in a pot and cover with water. Place a vegetable steamer in the pot over the top of the leaves and water.

Put a measuring cup inside the steamer.

Place the lid on the pot upside down, so that the handle nub in the center is pointing toward the measuring cup.

Boil the water to steam the leaves. The water will condense and evaporate, and the condensation will slide toward the handle and into the measuring cup.

Put about four ice cubes on top of the upside down pot lid to hasten the steam condensation.

Turn off the heat once all the ice has melted.

Take off the lid and pour the ice cube water into the sink, and then remove the glass measuring cup.

Pour the measuring cup contents into a separating funnel, but make sure the stopcock at the bottom of the funnel is closed. Close the top of the funnel and shake vigorously.

Invert the funnel and then open to release the pressure. The oil will float to the top of the water, effectively separating the two substances.

Put a glass bottle beneath the stopcock and release the water. Pour the oil into a tinted glass bottle.

Repeat the process up to three more times to pull more oil from the leaves.

How Does Tea Tree Oil Work?

The chemicals in tea tree oil may help kill bacteria and fungus and reduce allergic skin reactions. Experts believe the most beneficial component of tea tree oil is its high terpene content. According to Dr. Aurora DeJuliis, a dermatologist and aesthetician based in New Jersey, terpenes are a type of volatile oil that has been shown to destroy bacteria.16

However, I advise you to use tea tree oil with caution — it’s meant to be used topically. Some mouthwash or toothpaste products contain tea tree oil but are generally safe, as they are not swallowed.

Using tea tree oil at full strength can cause skin irritation, which is why it is often diluted with other natural ingredients, like raw honey or coconut oil. Different treatment options also call for different percentages of tea tree oil. For example, acne treatments only require 5 to 15 percent TTO. For fungal infections, 70 to 100 percent TTO is used.17

Is Tea Tree Oil Safe?

The answer is yes, as long as it is applied topically in appropriate doses and NOT swallowed. This oil may irritate your skin, especially if used for the first time. I recommend starting with low concentrations until you figure out your tolerance.18 It’s also a good idea to determine if you have an allergy to tea tree oil before using it. Apply a small amount to your inner arm to see if any reaction occurs.19

The NCCAM recommends avoiding oxidized oil, which has been exposed to air, because it may trigger allergies more than fresh tea tree oil.20 Avoid using undiluted tea tree oil to avoid irritation as well. Instead, use it in gel, cream or lotion form. Look for an all-natural topical product that incorporates tea tree oil in safe quantities.

Risks of Tea Tree Oil

Tea tree oil contains varying amounts of 1,8–cineole,21 a skin irritant that may cause allergic reactions in some individuals. The rashes are usually mild and itchy, but may also lead to blistering. Serious allergic reactions may also occur. DO NOT swallow or ingest tea tree oil. It may cause severe reactions, such as rashes, blood cell abnormalities, diarrhea, stomachache, nausea, vomiting, drowsiness, hallucinations and ataxia (loss of muscle control in the arms and legs).22

Tea tree oil may also be toxic to pets if ingested. Veterinary toxicologists found that large amounts of undiluted tea tree oil applied to the skin of cats and dogs caused a hypersensitivity (allergic) reaction.23 If you are allergic to eucalyptol, use TTO with caution, as many formulas are mixed with eucalyptol.24

Treating Pain Without Drugs

By Dr. Mercola

A new federal report revealed that the majority of U.S. adults (more than 54 percent) had some type of musculoskeletal pain disorder such as back, joint or neck pain in 2012 (the latest year for which statistics are available).1

Its prevalence is indicative of the significant price Americans pay for pain — it’s a leading cause of disability and major contributor to health care expenses and disability compensation.

Also revealing, people suffering from pain were significantly more likely to have used a complementary health approach compared to people without pain — nearly 42 percent versus 24 percent, respectively.

The reason wasn’t addressed by the study, but time and again, conventional medicine fails to relieve many people’s pain.

Congressional testimony from the American Society of Interventional Pain Physicians (ASIPP) stated that Americans consume 80 percent of the pain pills in the world,2 and in a survey of more than 2,000 pain patients in the U.S., most said they were taking a dangerously addictive opioid pain medication.3

Research suggests, however, that these drugs work for only about three months, after which changes in your brain may lead to increased feelings of pain along with added emotional upset, including feelings of hopelessness and desperation.4

Many pain sufferers have tried virtually every treatment that conventional medicine has to offer — medications, injections, surgery and more — only to find that their pain hasn’t gotten better and they may be struggling with treatment-induced side effects as well (one of the worst of which is opioid addiction).

At that point (and for many far sooner), it’s only natural that you would begin to seek other options, which brings many people to holistic, complementary or “alternative” health care options for relief.

Science-Backed Natural Pain Relief Options

A recent study published in Mayo Clinic Proceedings evaluated several complementary approaches for pain relief.5 The options that follow have been scientifically proven to help with relief, according to the report.


One of the most common uses for acupuncture is in treating chronic pain. One analysis of the most robust studies available concluded that acupuncture has a clear effect in reducing chronic pain, more so than standard pain treatment.6

Study participants receiving acupuncture reported an average 50 percent reduction in pain, compared to a 28 percent pain reduction for standard pain treatment without acupuncture. It’s likely that acupuncture works via a variety of mechanisms.

In 2010, for instance, it was found that acupuncture activates pain-suppressing receptors and increases the concentration of the neurotransmitter adenosine in local tissues7 (adenosine slows down your brain’s activity and induces sleepiness).

Massage Therapy

A systematic review and meta-analysis, published in the journal Pain Medicine, included 60 high-quality and seven low-quality studies that looked into the use of massage for various types of pain, including muscle and bone pain, headaches, deep internal pain, fibromyalgia pain and spinal cord pain.8

The review revealed that massage therapy relieves pain better than getting no treatment at all.

Relaxation Techniques

Breathing exercises, guided imagery, meditation and other relaxation techniques may provide relief, especially from pain from tension headaches and migraines.

Research by an associate professor at Harvard Medical School, Dr. Herbert Benson, found that people who practice relaxation methods such as yoga and meditation long-term have more disease-fighting genes switched “on” and active, including genes that protect against pain and rheumatoid arthritis.9


Among people who had experienced back pain, those who exercised had a 25 percent to 40 percent lower risk of having another episode within a year than those who did no exercise.10

Strength exercises, aerobics, flexibility training and stretching were all beneficial in lowering the risk of back pain.

Motor control exercises (MCE), which help to improve coordination of muscles that support your spine,11 may also help. One systematic review found MCE led to reductions in pain and disability and improvements in perceived quality of life compared with minimal intervention.12

Yoga, which is particularly useful for promoting flexibility and core muscles, has also been proven to be beneficial if you suffer from back pain.

People suffering from low back pain who took one yoga class a week had greater improvements in function than those receiving medicine or physical therapy.13 The Yoga Journal has an online page demonstrating specific poses that may be helpful.14

Medical Marijuana

There are cannabinoid receptors in your brain, lungs, liver, kidneys, immune system and more. Both the therapeutic and psychoactive properties of marijuana occur when a cannabinoid activates a cannabinoid receptor.

Research is still ongoing on just how extensive their impact is on our health, but to date it’s known that cannabinoid receptors play an important role in many body processes, including metabolic regulation, cravings, pain, anxiety, bone growth and immune function.15

Some of the strongest research to date is focused on marijuana for pain relief. In one study, just three puffs of marijuana a day for five days helped those with chronic nerve pain to relieve pain and sleep better.16

Also revealing, in states where medical marijuana is legal, overdose deaths from opioids like morphine, oxycodone and heroin decreased by an average of 20 percent after one year, 25 percent after two years and 33 percent by years five and six.17

Turmeric for Pain Relief

Turmeric was once most known for being a flavorful and colorful addition to curry, but in the scientific world, turmeric has earned a reputation for being a multi-faceted healer. Turmeric contains curcumin, which has notable anti-inflammatory properties.

It can inhibit both the activity and the synthesis of cyclooxygenase-2 (COX2) and 5-lipooxygenase (5-LOX), as well as other enzymes that have been implicated in inflammation.

A 2006 study found that a turmeric extract composed of curcuminoids (curcumin is the most investigated curcuminoid) blocked inflammatory pathways, effectively preventing the launch of a protein that triggers swelling and pain.18

Turmeric has been found to significantly improve post-operative pain and fatigue,19 and in a study of osteoarthritis patients, those who added only 200 milligrams (mg) of curcumin a day to their treatment plan had reduced pain and increased mobility.

Time magazine even published the story of one doctor who marveled at one of his older hip patient’s lack of pain and remarkably swift recovery from surgery. The patient took turmeric regularly, and the results so impressed the physician that he began taking the supplement himself.20

Essential Oils for Pain Relief

Essential oils are concentrated, aromatic plant extracts that have been used for thousands of years for emotional, cosmetic, medical and even spiritual purposes. One of their most popular uses is also for relief of chronic and acute pain.

There are a number of ways to use essential oils, including via aromatherapy. Lavender aromatherapy, for instance, has been shown to lessen pain following needle insertion21 while green apple scent significantly relieves migraine pain. Other essential oils noted for pain relief, including relief from joint pain, include:22











Indian frankincense or boswellin has even been found to significantly reduce inflammation in animal studies. It is actually one of my personal favorites, as I have seen it work well as a natural painkiller for many of my former rheumatoid arthritis (RA) patients. Other essential oils that may be particularly beneficial for relieving RA pain and inflammation include:23

  • Peppermint
  • Orange
  • Ginger
  • Myrrh
  • Turmeric

For relief of chronic muscular pain or joint aches, try mixing 15 to 60 drops of your chosen essential oil with 1 ounce of carrier oil, then massaging it into the painful area.

You can also mix three drops of thyme oil with 2 teaspoons of sesame oil to use as massage oil and apply on your abdominal area to relieve pain. This may also be used as a massage oil to treat other types of pain, including insect and animal bites and stings. You can also use essential oils in the bathtub to relieve pain. Add two to 12 drops (depending on essential oil) into a teaspoon of honey, whole milk, vegetable oil or other dispersing agent then add to the bath once you are in the tub.

Homeopathy Also Found to Be Effective for Low Back Pain

Homeopathic solutions contain miniscule doses of plants, minerals, animal products or other compounds that cause symptoms similar to what you are already experiencing. The remedies have been diluted many times over, and the idea is that the substance will stimulate your body’s own healing powers.

One study of 129 people with chronic low back pain found traditional homeopathic treatment was effective for treating low back pain, leading to improvements in health-related quality of life and decreases in the use of conventional treatment and health care services.

The number of patients using drugs to treat their back pain was cut in half after homeopathic treatments.24 It’s best to work with an experienced homeopath to guide you in treatment for pain relief, however some common homeopathic remedies for back pain include:25

Aesculus, for dull pain with muscle weakness

Arnica Montana, for pain as a result of trauma

Gnaphalium, for sciatica that alternates with numbness

Lycopodium, for burning pain, especially with gas or bloating

Colocynthis, for weakness and cramping in the small of the back

Rhus toxicodendron, for stiffness and pain in the small of the back

Finding the Right Balance Between Relief and Healing

If you’re in severe pain or struggling with chronic pain, it can quickly sideline your life. You’ll need relief fast in order to function, which is why I recommend seeking the help of a pain specialist who is familiar with alternative treatments.

A knowledgeable practitioner can help you to both relieve pain in the short term while also facilitating healing by identifying the underlying causes of your pain. It’s important to understand that medications are not the only option for pain relief, nor are they frequently the best such option.

When used cautiously and correctly, prescription pain relievers do have their place in medicine, but they became dangerous when used long term. For many people, lasting relief comes not from one modality but several, and it often includes making dietary changes as well.

It may take a process of trial and error for you to find what combination works for you — but please stay hopeful. You can break free from chronic pain and, ultimately, many people find they don’t need drugs to do it.

Top Environmental Risk Factors for Dementia Identified

By Dr. Mercola

“Dementia” is an umbrella term covering an array of neurological diseases and conditions that develop when neurons in your brain die or cease to function normally. The death or malfunction of neurons causes changes in memory, behavior and ability to think.

Alzheimer’s disease, which is the most serious form of dementia, eventually leads to the inability to carry out even the most basic of bodily functions, such as swallowing or walking. Alzheimer’s is ultimately fatal, as conventional treatment options are few and limited in effectiveness.

Disturbingly, Alzheimer’s has reached epidemic proportions, currently affecting an estimated 5.4 million Americans.1 In the next 20 years it is projected that Alzheimer’s will affect 1 in 4 Americans, rivaling the current prevalence of obesity and diabetes and by 2050, Alzheimer’s diagnoses are projected to triple.2,3

Already, more than half a million Americans die from the disease each year, making it the third leading cause of death in the U.S., right behind heart disease and cancer.4,5 Considering there’s no known cure and so few treatments, prevention is key.

Top Environmental Risk Factors Identified

As with autism, it’s quite reasonable to suspect that a variety of factors are at play, collectively contributing to the rapid rise in Alzheimer’s prevalence.

Experts at the Edinburgh University’s Alzheimer Scotland Dementia Research Centre have now compiled a list of top environmental risk factors thought to be contributing to the epidemic.6,7,8 As reported by BBC News:9

“Dementia is known to be associated with lifestyle factors such as high blood pressure in mid-life, smoking, diabetes, obesity, depression and low educational attainment, as well as genetic factors.

But the Edinburgh researchers said a third of dementia risk was unexplained, and they want to determine whether other issues are at play, including the environment.”

Not surprisingly (if you’ve been paying attention to the research), vitamin D deficiency, air pollution and occupational pesticide exposure top this list. Living close to power lines also has “limited yet robust” evidence suggesting it may influence your susceptibility to dementia.

All Forms of Air Pollution Raise Your Dementia Risk

The risk factor with the most robust body of research behind it is air pollution. In fact, they couldn’t find a single study that didn’t show a link between exposure to air pollution and dementia. Particulate matter, nitric oxides, ozone and carbon monoxide have all been linked to an increased risk.

Aside from raising your risk for dementia, a recent World Health Organization (WHO) report10 on environmentally related deaths claim that 1 in 4 deaths worldwide are now related to living and working in a toxic environment — with air pollution being the greatest contributor to this risk. As noted by WHO Director-General, Dr. Margaret Chan:

“A healthy environment underpins a healthy population. If countries do not take actions to make environments where people live and work healthy, millions will continue to become ill and die too young.”

During the World Health Assembly, held in May 2016, WHO vowed it “will propose a roadmap to increase the global response by the health sector to reduce the effects of air pollution.”

Pollution, Diabetes and Dementia

American researchers have also warned that exposure to air pollution for as little as one or two months may be enough to increase your risk of diabetes — especially if you’re obese.11

Diabetes, in turn, is a significant risk factor for Alzheimer’s, doubling your chances of contracting this devastating form of dementia. Alzheimer’s was even tentatively referred to as type 3 diabetes at one time.

Recent research has also confirmed that the greater an individual’s insulin resistance, the less sugar they have in key parts of their brain, and these areas typically correspond to the areas affected by Alzheimer’s.12,13

Needless to say, the most significant contributor to insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes is not pollution but rather your diet. More specifically, eating a diet that is excessively high in net carbohydrates (total carbs minus fiber) and too low in healthy fats, which I will discuss further below, can contribute to insulin resistance.

Sensible Sun Exposure Is Important for Brain Health

The Scottish Dementia Research Centre also noted there’s a very clear link between vitamin D deficiency and dementia. Indeed, studies have shown vitamin D plays a critical role in brain health, immune function, gene expression and inflammation — all of which influence Alzheimer’s.

In a 2014 study,14 considered to be the most robust study of its kind at the time, those who were severely deficient in vitamin D had a 125 percent higher risk of developing some form of dementia compared to those with normal levels. According to the authors:

“Our results confirm that vitamin D deficiency is associated with a substantially increased risk of all-cause dementia and Alzheimer disease. This adds to the ongoing debate about the role of vitamin D in nonskeletal conditions.”

The findings also suggest there’s a threshold level of circulating vitamin D, below which your risk for dementia increases. This threshold was found to be right around 20 nanograms per milliliter (ng/ml) or 50 nanomoles per liter (nmol/L). Please recognize that higher levels are associated with better brain health.

Based on a broader view of the available science, 20 ng/ml is still far too low, as the bulk of the research suggests a healthy range is between 40 to 60 ng/ml, certainly no lower than 40 ng/ml. Sadly, a vast majority of people are severely deficient, in large part because they’ve been fooled into fearing sun exposure.

Researchers have previously estimated that half of the general population is at risk of vitamin D deficiency or insufficiency. Among seniors, that estimate reaches as high as 95 percent. This suggests vitamin D may be a very important factor for successful prevention among the general population.

A wide variety of brain tissue contains vitamin D receptors, and when they’re activated by vitamin D, it facilitates nerve growth in your brain.

Researchers also believe that optimal vitamin D levels boost levels of important brain chemicals, and protect brain cells by increasing the effectiveness of glial cells in nursing damaged neurons back to health.

Vitamin D may also exert some of its beneficial effects on your brain through its anti-inflammatory and immune-boosting properties, which are well established.

Heart and Brain Health Are Closely Linked

It may be helpful to remember that Alzheimer’s shares many risk factors with heart disease.15 This includes smoking, alcohol use, diabetes, high fasting blood sugar levels, insulin resistance and obesity.16

Arterial stiffness (atherosclerosis) is associated with a hallmark process of Alzheimer’s, namely the buildup of beta-amyloid plaque in your brain.

The American Heart Association (AHA) also warns there’s a strong association between hypertension and brain diseases such as vascular cognitive impairment (loss of brain function caused by impaired blood flow to your brain) and dementia.17

In one clinical trial, test subjects who consumed high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS) developed higher risk factors for cardiovascular disease in just two weeks, demonstrating just how influential your diet can be on your heart and brain health in the long term.

Such findings dovetail nicely with the conclusions reached by neurologist Dr. David Perlmutter, author of “Grain Brain,” and “Brain Maker,” who has concluded that anything that promotes insulin resistance will ultimately also raise your risk of Alzheimer’s.

Exercise Is Important for Alzheimer’s Prevention

The good news is that lifestyle choices such as diet, exercise and sleep can have a significant impact on your risk. As previously noted by Dr. Richard Lipton of the Albert Einstein College of Medicine — where they study healthy aging — lifestyle changes “look more promising than the drug studies so far” when it comes to addressing neurodegenerative disorders such as Alzheimer’s.18

Exercise, for example, has been shown to protect your brain from Alzheimer’s and other dementias, and also improves quality of life if you’ve already been diagnosed.19 In one study,20 patients diagnosed with mild to moderate Alzheimer’s who participated in a four-month-long supervised exercise program had significantly fewer neuropsychiatric symptoms associated with the disease (especially mental speed and attention) than the non-exercising control group.

Other studies21 have shown that aerobic exercise helps reduce tau levels in the brain. (Brain lesions known as tau tangles form when the protein tau collapses into twisted strands that ends up killing your brain cells.) According to co-author Laura Baker:

“These findings are important because they strongly suggest a potent lifestyle intervention such as aerobic exercise can impact Alzheimer’s-related changes in the brain. No currently approved medication can rival these effects.”

Cognitive function and memory22 can also be improved through regular exercise, and this effect is in part related to the effect exercise has on neurogenesis and the regrowth of brain cells. By targeting a gene pathway called brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), exercise actually promotes brain cell growth and connectivity.

In one year-long study, elderly individuals who exercised grew and expanded their brain’s memory center by as much as 2 percent per year, where typically that center shrinks with age. It’s also been suggested that exercise can trigger a change in the way the amyloid precursor protein is metabolized,23 thus slowing the onset and progression of Alzheimer’s.

Exercise also increases levels of the protein PGC-1alpha. Research24 has shown that people with Alzheimer’s have less of this protein in their brains, and that cells that contain more of the protein produce less of the toxic amyloid protein associated with Alzheimer’s.

Eating for Brain Health

Reducing your net carbs and increasing healthy fat consumption are another important part of the equation, and my optimized nutrition plan can set you on the right path in that regard.

Research25 from the Mayo Clinic reveals that diets rich in carbohydrates are associated with an 89 percent increased risk for dementia while high-fat diets are associated with a 44 percent reduced risk. Perlmutter places most of his patients on a ketogenic, high-fat and low-net-carb diet that is gluten-free, along with prescribed exercise.

One of the easiest ways to optimize your diet is to make sure you’re only eating real food. Avoid processed foods of all kinds, as they contain a number of ingredients harmful to your brain, including refined sugar, processed fructose, grains (particularly gluten), genetically engineered (GE) ingredients and pesticides like glyphosate (an herbicide thought to be worse than DDT, which has already been linked to Alzheimer’s). Opting for organic produce will help you avoid toxic pesticides.

Also choose organic grass-fed meats and animal products, as animals raised in concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs) are routinely fed GE grains contaminated with pesticides, along with a variety of drugs. Some researchers have even suggested Alzheimer’s may be a slow-acting form of mad cow disease, acquired by eating contaminated meats. It’s a rather compelling theory, considering mad cow disease originated in the CAFO system, where herbivores are forced to eat animal parts.

To Protect Your Heart and Brain, Trade Sugar for Healthy Fats, and Other Helpful Tips

Ideally, keep your added sugar levels to a minimum and your total fructose below 25 grams per day, or as low as 15 grams per day if you already have insulin/leptin resistance or any related disorders.

Healthy fats to add to your diet include avocados, butter made from raw, grass-fed organic milk, organic pastured egg yolks, MCT oil, coconuts and coconut oil (coconut oil, and to an even greater degree MCT oil, show particular promise against Alzheimer’s) and raw nuts such as pecans and macadamia, both of which have a near-ideal ratio of protein and healthy fats.

Avoid all trans fats or hydrogenated fats that have been modified in such a way to extend their longevity on the grocery store shelf. This includes margarine, vegetable oils and various butter-like spreads. It’s also advisable to:

  • Avoid gluten. Research shows that your blood-brain barrier is negatively affected by gluten. Gluten also makes your gut more permeable, which allows proteins to get into your bloodstream where they sensitize your immune system and promote inflammation and autoimmunity, both of which play a role in the development of Alzheimer’s.
  • Optimize your gut health by avoiding processed foods, antibiotics and antibacterial products, fluoridated and chlorinated water and by regularly eating traditionally fermented and cultured foods, along with a high-quality probiotic if needed.
  • Optimize your vitamin D. This is ideally done through sensible sun exposure, but as a last resort, vitamin D3 supplements are better than nothing. Just make sure you also increase your intake of vitamin K2 if you take an oral vitamin D supplement. As for dosage, the “right” dose is one that will keep your blood level between 40 and 60 ng/ml.
  • Improve your magnesium levels. Not only does magnesium work in tandem with vitamin D and K2, preliminary research also suggests higher levels of magnesium in the brain help decrease Alzheimer symptoms. Magnesium threonate is one of the few magnesium supplements that appears to be able to actually cross the blood brain barrier, making it my first choice.
  • Increase your intake of animal-based omega-3. I prefer krill oil to fish oil here, as krill oil also contains astaxanthin, which appears to be particularly beneficial for brain health.

Other Alzheimer’s Prevention Strategies

Besides exercise and the key dietary instructions just mentioned, the following suggestions may also be helpful for the prevention of Alzheimer’s disease:


Ketones are mobilized when you replace nonfiber carbs with healthy fats. Intermittent fasting is a powerful tool to jumpstart your body into remembering how to burn fat and repair the insulin/leptin resistance that is a primary contributing factor for Alzheimer’s.

A folate-rich diet

Vegetables are your best form of folate, and you’d be wise to eat plenty of fresh raw veggies every day. Avoid supplements like folic acid, which is the inferior synthetic version of folate.

If you enjoy black coffee, keep the habit

While I would not encourage you to drink coffee if you’re not already a coffee drinker, if you enjoy it, there’s good news. Caffeine triggers the release of BDNF that activates brain stem cells to convert into new neurons, thereby improving your brain health.

In one study, people with mild cognitive impairment whose blood levels of caffeine were higher (due to coffee consumption) were less likely to progress to full-blown dementia compared to those who did not drink coffee.26 In another study, older women whose coffee consumption was above average had a lower risk of dementia.27

Just make sure your coffee is organic, as coffee tends to be heavily sprayed with pesticides. For more details on making your coffee habit as healthy as possible, please see my previous article, “Black Coffee in the Morning May Provide Valuable Health Benefits.”

Avoid and eliminate mercury from your body

Dental amalgam fillings, which are 50 percent mercury by weight, are one of the major sources of heavy metal toxicity. However, you really should be healthy prior to having them removed. Once you have adjusted to following the diet described in my optimized nutrition plan, you can follow the mercury detox protocol and then find a biological dentist to have your amalgams removed.

Avoid and eliminate aluminum from your body

Sources of aluminum include antiperspirants, non-stick cookware and vaccine adjuvants, just to mention some of the most common ones. For tips on how to detox aluminum, please see my article, “First Case Study to Show Direct Link between Alzheimer’s and Aluminum Toxicity.”

Avoid flu vaccinations

Most flu vaccines contain both mercury and aluminum.

Avoid statins and anticholinergic drugs

Drugs that block acetylcholine, a nervous system neurotransmitter, have been shown to increase your risk of dementia. These drugs include certain nighttime pain relievers, antihistamines, sleep aids, certain antidepressants, medications to control incontinence and certain narcotic pain relievers.

Statin drugs are particularly problematic because they suppress the synthesis of cholesterol, deplete your brain of coenzyme Q10, vitamin K2 and neurotransmitter precursors, and prevent adequate delivery of essential fatty acids and fat-soluble antioxidants to your brain by inhibiting the production of the indispensable carrier biomolecule known as low-density lipoprotein (LDL).

Get plenty of restorative sleep

Sleep is necessary for maintaining metabolic homeostasis in your brain. Wakefulness is associated with mitochondrial stress; without sufficient sleep, neuron degeneration sets in. While sleep problems are common in Alzheimer’s patients, poor sleep may also be contributing to the disease by driving the buildup of amyloid plaques in your brain.

While you sleep, your brain flushes out waste materials, and if you don’t sleep well, this natural detoxification and clean-out process will be severely hampered.

Challenge your mind daily

Mental stimulation, especially learning something new, such as learning to play an instrument or a new language, is associated with a decreased risk of Alzheimer’s. Researchers suspect that mental challenge helps to build up your brain, making it less susceptible to the lesions associated with Alzheimer’s disease.

3 Mineral Waters That Can Remove Aluminum from the Brain

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by PAUL FASSA There has been a dramatic increase in neurological diseases linked to aluminum toxicity. The blood brain barrier doesn’t stop aluminum’s intrusion into our gray matter. Aluminum accumulates and remains in tissue that doesn’t have a rapid cellular turnover. Apoptosis is the natural cell death and replacement process that occurs throughout the body, […]

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How Soda Companies Influence Policy Through Ties With Public Health Organizations

By Dr. Mercola

Sweetened beverages have been identified as a major contributor to the obesity and diabetes epidemics around the world, and in light of the scientific evidence, many public health organizations are now starting to take a stand against added sugars.

Big Soda recognizes the power behind recommendations from the American Heart Association (AHA), the American Diabetes Association (ADA), the World Health Organization (WHO) and others.

And they’ve been surreptitiously donating millions of dollars to public health organizations with the intent of influencing their recommendations.

Hacked emails also reveal just how far up the ladder of power the soda industry is able to reach in the U.S. As it turns out, their influence goes to the very top of the political hierarchy.

Soda — A Major Contributor to Declining Public Health

One 12-ounce can of regular soda has about 33 grams of sugar (8 1/4 teaspoons) and 36 grams of net carbohydrates. This is far more sugar than your body can safely handle, and since most people guzzle soda as a primary beverage rather than water, it’s no surprise that obesity has become such a health crisis of epic proportions.

Over the past decades, the number of sodas and amount of added sugar Americans consume have risen precipitously, contributing to the obesity epidemic1,2 that now costs the U.S. health care system $1 trillion each year.3

In my view, sugar (particularly processed fructose) is one of the most damaging calories that you can eat, and it’s abundant in most processed foods, including baby formula!

Considering the facts that sugar is as addictive as cocaine4 and has downright toxic effects on your body when consumed in excess,5 it’s no wonder so many children are now struggling with obesity and related diseases, including type 2 diabetes and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). What else could you possibly expect when you’re fed mostly sugar from day one?

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Reducing the number of sugary drinks and the amount of junk food you eat in a day may help to reduce your potential risk for metabolic disease, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, stroke and obesity. However, the sugar and soda industries are far more concerned with their bottom line than they are with your health.

Nearly Six Decades of Scientific Corruption Unearthed

For decades, the links between sugar and poor health outcomes have been buried, and nutritional science has been misdirected on purpose — to shield industry interests, without regard for public health.

For example, according to an historical analysis6 of internal industry documents, the link between sugar and coronary heart disease emerged in the 1950s but was buried by the sugar industry, which launched its own research aimed at shifting the blame toward dietary fats. As noted by the authors:

“Early warning signals of the coronary heart disease (CHD) risk of sugar (sucrose) emerged in the 1950s.

We examined Sugar Research Foundation (SRF) internal documents, historical reports and statements relevant to early debates about the dietary causes of CHD and assembled findings chronologically into a narrative case study …

[O]ur findings suggest the industry sponsored a research program in the 1960s and 1970s that successfully cast doubt about the hazards of sucrose while promoting fat as the dietary culprit in CHD.

Policymaking committees should consider giving less weight to food industry–funded studies and include mechanistic and animal studies as well as studies appraising the effect of added sugars on multiple CHD biomarkers and disease development.”

Last year, Coca-Cola Company was also outed for secretly funding and supporting the Global Energy Balance Network, a nonprofit front group that promoted exercise as the solution to obesity while significantly downplaying the role of diet and sugary beverages in the weight loss equation.7

WHO Recommends Taxing Sugary Drinks to Stem Global Obesity Epidemic

WHO now recognizes obesity as a worldwide epidemic. It also recognizes the contribution of sugary beverages toward the growth of this problem. Across the world:8,9

  • More than 39 percent of adults are overweight
  • 11 percent of men and 15 percent of women are obese
  • 42 million children under the age of 5 are either overweight or obese10 (an increase of 11 million in the past 15 years)
  • Diabetes rates have risen by 400 percent, from 108 million in 1980 to 422 million in 2014, resulting in 1.5 million deaths in 2012 alone
  • Research suggests sugary beverages alone are to blame for about 183,000 deaths worldwide each year, including 133,000 diabetes deaths and 44,000 heart disease deaths

In an effort to stem the sale of soda and other sugar laden drinks, WHO is now urging countries to impose a tax on these beverages.11 The tax is intended to raise the price of sugary beverages by 20 percent, and hopefully curtail sales by as much.

In response to the WHO report, the International Council of Beverages Associations (ICBA) called taxing sugary drinks “discriminatory,” adding that the notion that taxing such beverages might improve public health has never been proven.12

However, in Mexico, where a 10 percent tax on sugary beverages was enacted as of January 1, 2014, sales of such beverages shrunk by 12 percent in one year.13

Berkley, California, passed the first soda tax in the U.S. in 2014, and consumption in some neighborhoods dropped by as much as 21 percent in less than two years.14,15 Meanwhile, San Francisco, where the soda tax was defeated in the ballots, saw a 4 percent increase in soda consumption in that same span of time.16

Big Soda Receives Subsidies to Further Reach Into Developing Nations

Although obesity rates began rising in rich countries several decades ago, the number of obese people in middle income countries is now following suit, thanks to the infiltration of processed foods and sodas. To offset declining sales in richer nations where people are slowly getting savvier about the dangers of soda, companies like Coca-Cola and Pepsi have shifted their focus to developing countries.

For example, Coca-Cola’s projected investment in Mexico between 2010 and 2020 is $12.4 billion. During that same time frame, they’re also investing $17 billion to further soda sales on the African continent. Crazy as it may seem, Coca-Cola is even receiving subsidies to facilitate its reach into Africa and Asia!17

No wonder Coca-Cola is so worried about a global soda tax. It might jinx the company’s efforts to get a firm hold in these new markets, not to mention the dampening effect it will have on already established markets like the U.S. and Europe.

How Coca-Cola and Pepsi Undermine Public Health Measures

Not surprisingly, since a tax levied against their product would reduce sales — and significantly so if countries around the world adopt the tax strategy — Big Soda and the American Beverage Association are fighting tooth and nail to prevent such a measure.

Working on a two-pronged approach to protect profits, soda companies are also trying to influence and manipulate public perception of their product. What’s truly disturbing is the level of political support these companies are receiving. To counteract this undue influence, it is imperative that people understand who the players are, and the rules of their playbook.

For starters, public health researchers warn that the beverage industry has created very deep financial ties to the public health community over the past five years, and that this was strategically done to silence critics and gain allies in the fight against regulations.18,19,20,21

A recent study looking into the sponsorship activities of soda companies suggests the reason for soda companies’ philanthropic interest in health organizations has little to do with actually supporting measures that would improve public health, and everything to do with influencing such organizations to further the industry’s own agenda:22

“From 2011 to 2015, the Coca-Cola Company and PepsiCo were found to sponsor a total of 96 national health organizations, including many medical and public health institutions whose specific missions include fighting the obesity epidemic. During the study period, these two soda companies lobbied against 29 public health bills intended to reduce soda consumption or improve nutrition …

These companies lobbied against public health intervention in 97 percent of cases, calling into question a sincere commitment to improving the public’s health. By accepting funding from these companies, health organizations are inadvertently participating in their marketing plans.”

What Do Coca-Cola and Pepsi Really Stand For?

According to study co-author Daniel Aaron, a student at Boston University’s medical school, there can be little doubt that Coca-Cola Company and PepsiCo are purposely trying to undermine public health measures in order to protect profits.

“We wanted to look at what these companies really stand for. And it looks like they are not helping public health at all — in fact they’re opposing it almost across the board, which calls these sponsorships into question,” Aaron told The New York Times.23

Many Health Organizations Compromise Public Health to Satisfy Sponsors

Indeed, the researchers discovered a number of instances where influential public health organizations either turned against a soda tax initiative or remained silent on the matter after receiving an industry donation. Here are just a few examples:

Save the Children, a nonprofit group that provides health education programs for children, had previously supported soda tax campaigns in several states but suddenly stopped in 2010 after receiving a $5 million grant from Pepsi.

In 2012, when New York proposed a ban on supersized sodas, the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics cited “conflicting research” as the reason for not supporting the measure. That same year, the Academy had received $525,000 from Coca-Cola. The following year, Coke gave them another $350,000.

As recently as this month, dietitians listed as having received consulting fees from Coca-Cola participated in a Twitter campaign aimed at defeating the proposed soda tax in Oakland, California.24

The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), the mission of which is to fight for equality for minorities, made the surprising decision to oppose soda tax initiatives even though black and Hispanic communities have disproportionally high rates of obesity and related health problems.

The Hispanic Federation has also chosen not to support soda tax initiatives. The reason for their lenience becomes clearer in light of the fact that both of these organizations have received large donations from Coca-Cola. NAACP received more than $1 million between 2010 and 2015, and the Hispanic Federation received $600,000 between 2012 and 2015.

Sponsorship Is a Potent Marketing Tool

While many companies try to downplay the influence their sponsorships may have on any given organization, let’s be clear. Sponsorship is considered a marketing tool by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), and marketing by private corporations has one primary end goal, and that is to increase profits. As noted by Aaron:25

“I want people to know that a lot of important health organizations shaping health in the United States are receiving money from Coca-Cola and Pepsi. That money, while it may seem beneficent, is more geared toward marketing. I want people to understand how problematic that is. Health organizations are becoming a marketing tool.”

PepsiCo Reneges on Its Hard-Won Soda Brand Image

To avert some of the criticism, PepsiCo is trying a different tack, telling CBS News:26

“What is completely lost, or conveniently ignored, in this study is the fact that PepsiCo is incorrectly painted as a ‘soda company,’ when only a quarter of our global revenue comes from carbonated soft drinks. As one of the largest food and beverage companies in the world, we provide consumers around the world with delicious, affordable, convenient and complementary foods and beverages from healthy eats to treats.

We believe that obesity is a complex, multifaceted issue and that our company has an important role to play in addressing it — which includes engaging with public health organizations and responding to consumers’ demand for healthier products.”

The problem with this “defense” is that whether we’re talking about sweetened beverages or the grain-based processed foods and snacks Pepsi sells,27 they all (with few if any exceptions) contribute to obesity, including zero-and low-calorie beverages and snacks. In fact, research has clearly established that artificial sweeteners contribute to weight gain and worsen diabetes to a greater degree than regular sugar.28,29

It is the industry’s OWN research that claims processed foods, sweetened beverages and artificial sweeteners are benign. Moreover, it’s disingenuous at best to claim that the brand known as Pepsi should not be “painted as a soda company.” It’s one of the most widely recognizable soda brands in the world, and they’ve spent vast amounts of money to create that brand awareness.

Scientist Loyal to Coca-Cola Hired by Disney to Research Its Kids’ Meals

Walt Disney World recently tried to copy the sugar and soda industries’ template but ended up running for cover when, last year, the Global Energy Balance Network was outed as a Coca-Cola funded front group aimed at deceiving the public about nutrition.

As it turns out, Disney had hired James Hill, Ph.D., a professor at the University of Colorado medical school and the president of the Global Energy Balance Network, to conduct a study of children’s meals served at Disney World.30 As reported by STAT News back in April:31

“The Walt Disney Company urged an academic journal to withdraw a nutritional study of children’s meals at Disney World last fall — a study it had funded — amid a public backlash over corporate involvement in scientific research … Disney … feared being publicly associated with one of its main authors, James Hill[,PH.D.] … [whose] work last summer drew an outcry among scientists who felt his project, funded by Coca-Cola, played down the impact of sugary drinks in obesity …

Emails obtained by STAT show that Disney asked Hill and a coauthor to withdraw the meal study — a step that many researchers would consider a breach of ethics. In one email, Hill told Disney an editor at the journal had advised him that ‘we risk some real negative PR if anyone found out that Disney was even trying to influence publication.’

The company relented, but was later offered an opportunity by the authors to tailor the press release about the study’s findings. That, too, was unusual. The emails … open a rare window on the back-and-forth between researchers and a corporate sponsor. They also mark what experts described as an unusual degree of corporate involvement in an academic study.

‘The authors should follow the science, and Disney should not be influencing either how they do the study, how they report the study, or whether they report the study,’ said George Annas, a Boston University professor of law and medicine …”

Coca-Cola’s Intimate Ties to Hillary Clinton

DC Leaks recently disseminated a hoard of hacked correspondence, and in that midst is evidence showing just how intimate of a relationship Coca-Cola has with presidential candidate Hillary Clinton’s camp. As reported by Politico,32 earlier this year Clinton endorsed Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney’s proposal for a soda tax to help pay for universal preschool. Her public endorsement sent Coca-Cola into damage control mode, and for that, they turned to two key Clinton representatives:

“Coca-Cola executive Clyde Tuggle emailed to two Clinton associates, Capricia Marshall and Sara Latham … writing: ‘Really??? After all we have done. I hope this has been falsely reported’ … The ensuing email correspondence between Coca-Cola officials and campaign insiders reveals the deep connections the soda giant enjoys in Hillary-land at multiple levels, which the company leaned on to urge Clinton to walk back her support for soda taxes last April.”

As noted by The Russels:33 “If there is any doubt that Coca-Cola’s generous donations come with strings attached, Tuggle’s email should erase all doubt. When Coke opens its coffers, it expects reciprocity.” At the end of the day, Coca-Cola’s insiders staved off yet another threat, assuring the company that taxing soda was not actually part of Clinton’s policy agenda, and that she would not pursue the matter any further. Indeed, ever since then, Clinton has stayed mum on the issue of soda taxes.

Coke and Clinton Are Longtime Bedfellows

I recently wrote about how first lady Michelle Obama’s organic food campaign was undermined and turned into an anti-obesity campaign focused on exercise with little attention given to diet, and here we find evidence suggesting the junk food industry is directing Clinton in a very similar manner.

Granted, Clinton has a long history with Coca-Cola, with the Clinton Foundation having received upwards of $10 million from the company. Coca-Cola marketing executive Wendy Clark also took a four-month sabbatical from her corporate position to aid Mrs. Clinton’s campaign.

What the leaked emails reveal, however, are the undisclosed ties and behind-the-scenes coordination occurring between the two parties. Correspondence leaked by Wikileaks also shows Coca-Cola chairman and CEO Muhtar Kent was even on her list as a potential running mate. Just imagine the influence the sugar and soda industries would have with a Coca-Cola CEO as Vice President of the U.S.! As reported by Newsweek:34

“[T]his round of leaked emails from campaign chairman Podesta contains a lengthy list of ‘first cut’ picks compiled by Podesta and other top Clinton advisers … [A]mong the business leaders considered by the Clinton camp Gates’s wife, Melinda Gates … Mary Barra, CEO of General Motors; Ursula Burns, CEO of Xerox; Muhtar Kent, CEO of Coca-Cola … Howard Schultz, CEO of Starbucks …”

Marshall and Latham

The leaked emails show that Marshall, who holds a high level post in Clinton’s presidential campaign, has also been simultaneously working for Coca-Cola’s communications team, billing them $7,000 per month for “strategic consulting and marketing work.”35

Marshall’s relationship with Mrs. Clinton and the White House goes back a long way. Between 1993 and 1997, she served as Mrs. Clinton’s special assistant, after which she became White House Social Secretary, a post she held until 2001. Marshall has also served as Chief of Protocol at the State Department.

Chief of staff to the chairman of Hillary for America, Sara Latham, also has deep ties to Coke, having worked with the company through her Latham Group firm (which she founded in 2006), until August 2015.

She too has held a variety of high-level political positions through her career, including special assistant to White House chief of staff John Podesta, deputy assistant to the president and deputy director of presidential scheduling. Interestingly, Latham also worked on British Prime Minister Tony Blair’s re-election campaign.36

A third person of interest not mentioned by Politico is Robert C. Fisher. Emails from July 2015 were sent between a long list of Coca-Cola executives and employees — and two “outsiders:” Latham and Fisher.

The emails in question were in reference to a citizen’s petition created by the consumer group U.S. Right to Know (US RTK), asking the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to issue warning letters to Coca-Cola and Pepsi, concluding that the beverages are misbranded because the use of the term “diet” is false and misleading. Latham’s ties to Coke has already been explained, but who is Fisher and why does he matter?

Who Is Robert Fisher?

Fisher is managing director of Hills & Company,37 an international consultant firm established by Carla A. Hills in 1993.38 Four years prior, in 1989, Hills was nominated to be the new U.S. trade representative.

Her nomination was initially criticized as creating a potential conflict of interest for the Bush administration, as her husband, Roderick Hills, was an international trade consultant.39 As noted by Bloomberg in a 1994 article on power couples and the conflicts of interest married couples can create in each other’s careers:40

“Given the potential for conflicts, she promised at her Senate confirmation hearing that the USTR’s general counsel would oversee her husband’s business activities. Roderick also resigned from the bank and boards, and the couple took a big hit when forced to sell a large stock portfolio. ‘The rules were too harsh,’ says Carla Hills.”

While working as a U.S. trade representative, Hills was a lead U.S. negotiator for the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).41 At present, she serves on the international board of J.P. Morgan Chase. Mr. Hill is also a former chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).

This is the power couple Fisher represents as managing director of Hill & Company, and the fact that Fisher is included in these Coca-Cola emails hints at the level of political influence the company has at its disposal.

Emails Reveal Coke Is Fighting Variety of Health Protective Legislation

Emails leaked by Wikileaks also reveal the extent to which Coca-Cola is fighting, or preparing to fight, legislation that protects either human health or the environment. To call it dismaying would be an understatement. As reported by

“A recent leak of Coca-Cola’s executive emails uncovered the February and March 2016 lobbying priorities for Coca-Cola Europe.43 The soda company categorizes its priorities into three buckets: ‘Fight Back,’ ‘Prepare’ or ‘Monitor’ based on a policy’s impact on their sales and its likelihood to pass …

Coke doesn’t deserve public health’s trust. They’re fighting against protecting kids from soda advertising, nutrition labeling, labeling BPA, packaging regulation, restricting plastic usage, soda taxes and paying for the environmental impact of its products. Sounds like an unhealthy agenda.”

Soda Industry Talks Out of Both Sides of Its Mouth

In related news, Scientific American44 recently took aim at the soda industry in an article aptly titled: “If Soda Companies Don’t Want to Be Treated Like Tobacco Companies They Need to Stop Acting Like Them.” In it, the author notes that:

The evidence45 for comparing the two industries keeps coming. Both try to sway public opinion, avoid accountability and muddle the science … [U]nlike other food products, one can’t argue that humans must drink sweetened beverages to maintain health and life.

So comparing them to cigarettes is not much of a stretch, especially when you start to examine the behaviors of the tobacco and soda industries side-by-sideWhile denying the links between obesity, poor health and soda consumption, we have seen an increase in offerings of diet, low-calorie and low-sugar beverages.

Even while decrying their reputation as a significant driver of obesity, soda companies love to tout their work in reducing obesity, specifically by promoting physical activity but also by reducing the number of sugar calories in the American diet. So which is it? If sugary beverages have not been a significant driver of obesity in America, why has the beverage industry been reducing the amount of sugar in its products?”

Soda Politics — What You Don’t Know Will Hurt You

It’s become quite evident that the junk food and beverage industry is just as powerful and nefarious as the pharmaceutical industry when it comes to influencing policy makers. And, should Clinton nab the presidential nomination, we now know what to expect regarding her stance on junk food and sugary beverages.

Marshall and Latham are an integral part of Coca-Cola’s strategic marketing team, and Fisher gives Coke access to powerful political insiders. Hills may have left her post as U.S. trade representative, but chances are she hasn’t lost her old contacts, or their respect.

The take-home message is simple: Beware of industry-funded research, and be mindful of the power of conflicts of interest. The harm that can come from unholy alliances such as those discussed here is very real. Real lives are at stake. The health and future of children hang in the balance.

Sadly, companies whose profits depend on selling health-harming products simply do not care about that. They claim they do, but their actions speak far louder than words. As noted earlier, they donate millions of dollars to health organizations under the guise of supporting health measures and health education, then turn around and spend millions more to undermine legislative efforts to widely implement health-affirming efforts.

The fact of the matter is, talk is cheap, and actions often speak louder than words. In the case of Coca-Cola and PepsiCo, their actions clearly demonstrate that they do not care about children’s health. They don’t care about the fact that their products have created a global health crisis of staggering proportions. Since they refuse to take responsibility or allow measures to curb excess consumption, you simply must take matters firmly into your own hands.

Teach your children about the harms of excess sugar, and be a role model yourself. That may be one of the most powerful interventions at our disposal for the time being. Also recognize that, if you struggle with overweight or obesity, swapping sugary beverages for pure water is perhaps the best first step you can take to regain control over your health.

Soylent Sickness

By Dr. Mercola

Life hacks are designed to be simple and quick solutions to some of life’s complex problems. Sometimes it’s a tip or another way of looking at a problem that makes it easier to address the challenge. In the case of Rob Rhinehart, serial entrepreneur, he decided to hack his food supply.

Having spent $100,000 without success from the $170,000 he and his partners had received from Y Combinator, Rhinehart stopped looking at technological advancements.

He had become fascinated with the idea of reducing his food bill and the time it took to cook and eat. Without any education in nutrition, food preparation or biology, he used the last of the money to start Soylent.1

While his new company has a large fan base, the product will have difficulty living up to the hype based on the nutritional premise behind the product line and the manufacturing foundation of the product.

Although using a meal replacement may allow you slightly increased productivity, eating meals with friends and family has a distinct emotional and psychological benefit to your health.2,3,4

In recent weeks their newest product line, Soylent Bar, has been recalled as consumers are suffering from hours of vomiting, dehydration and diarrhea, some requiring hospitalization. The first health issues were reported September 7, and the company is still struggling to determine the source of the problem.5

Can You Drink Your Daily Nutritional Requirements?

The primary premise behind Soylent is that you can drink your complete nutritional requirements and never have to eat food again. Taking advantage of a large community of people who continually strive to find more hours in their day, Rhinehart hit upon a marketing strategy that launched his company and built a strong fan base.

Other companies have produced liquid nourishment they claim are supplements to your regular food intake, reportedly designed to improve your vitamin intake without compromising taste and quality.

However, manufactured liquid food cannot adequately replace the nutrients and micronutrients your body extracts from organic, whole foods.

Ambronite, a self-proclaimed “supermeal” in a bottle, marketed as a meal replacement drink, has a similar idea about natural food sources. Founded in 2013 and carried in 35 countries,6 co-founder Simo Suoheimo told International Business Times:7

“The main thing with longer space voyages that we’re currently seeing, the trend in this sort of research, is stemming from the fact that we haven’t really solved nutrition science.

We’re still very much in the beginning of understanding what nutrients play a part in human survival and indeed optimizing performance.

The fact is that with the current knowledge it’s really hard to create a complete product with synthetics because we don’t even know yet what we have to include in there. Whereas products based on real actual foods solve this pretty well.”

Soylent Soy Not Soylent Green

In the 1973 science-fiction film “Soylent Green,” an overpopulated futuristic society was reduced to living on wafers, called Soylent Green. Only at the end of the film do consumers learn the wafers have been made of human flesh.

In the early months, Rhinehart was encouraged to change the name of his company, but said he liked the self-deprecating nature of the name. His idea was to poke fun:8 “The general ethos of natural, fresh, organic [and] bright — this is the opposite.”

The early recipes used canola oil for lipids and fats, maltodextrin (another name for sugar) and oat flour for carbohydrates, rice for protein and sucralose (key ingredient in artificial sweetener Splenda) to mask the taste of the vitamins.9

It is outwardly apparent from observing dietary habits that you can survive on less than optimal nutrition. But the resulting poor health, obesity, heart disease, diabetes, cancers and other illnesses make it less than an ideal choice.

Scientists are not yet aware of how your body uses phytochemicals and other nutrients that have not yet been identified. Dr. Walter Willett, Harvard School of Public Health chair of the nutritional department, was quoted in The New Yorker, saying:10

“It’s a little bit presumptuous to think that we actually know everything that goes into an optimally healthy diet. [You can live without plant chemicals.] But you may not live maximally, and you may not have optimal function. We’re concerned about much more than just surviving.”

Proud to Use Genetically Engineered Foods Despite Overwhelming Evidence of Risks

In this documentary you’ll discover some of what happens when we use genetically engineered (GE) foods. Scientists are only beginning to uncover the long-term effects of splicing the genes of one living creature into another.

However, Soylent isn’t convinced by independently funded research and has relied on information from the American Medical Association (AMA), World Health Organization (WHO) and the European Commission, claiming no credible evidence exists that genetically modified (GM) foods are unsafe.11 However, even WHO admits that:12

“Different GM organisms include different genes inserted in different ways. This means that individual GM foods and their safety should be assessed on a case-by-case basis and that it is not possible to make general statements on the safety of all GM foods.”

Then, in 2015, 19 of the 28 countries in the European Commission decided it was in the best interest of their citizens to say “No” to genetically modified organisms (GMOs) within their borders, and all 28 countries require labeling of foods containing GMO products.13 According to Soylent:14

“All of our products use bioengineered algae as a source of lipids and essential omega fatty acids. Produced efficiently in bioreactors, rather than on farmland, these single-celled organisms require far less resources than traditional agriculture.”

Genetic Engineering Is Not Clear Cut

Although many organization claim that “GMO foods are safe,” this statement is far from the truth for two different reasons. In the first place, genetically engineering any plant or animal is not as clear cut as moving one puzzle piece from one plant or animal to another.

This is a laboratory-based technique that has produced unexpected and toxic results when scientists begin tampering with the DNA of living organisms. Manipulating the genetics of a plant or animal is very imprecise.

Pesticide-producing plants designed to increase crop yield, and an inability to adequately predict the long-term effects of GM plants and animals in the food supply chain, only increases your risk of illness and disease.

In one 90-day trial researchers were able to detect organ disruption in the kidneys and livers of laboratory animals that “could be the onset of chronic diseases.”15

The researchers noted that at that time there was no time limit for studying the effects of GMO food on humans and suggested it should be made compulsory to study these effects longer than 90 days, and should include multigenerational studies to assess long-term health and fertility issues.

This is plain common sense, since no one alive today will eat GMOs for mere months unless they’re eating a wholly organic diet from birth until death.

Toxic Chemical Exposure Increases When Total Food Supply Is GMO

Soylent promises their customers that the drinks and bars they sell can meet all your nutritional needs. Some of their customers have taken this to heart and completely eliminated other food sources. This may be a very dangerous choice, as plant-based GMO products are genetically manipulated to withstand powerful pesticides allowing farmers to use higher and higher doses to kill weeds that are becoming resistant to chemical control.16,17 

This means you are exposed to greater amounts of toxic chemicals with the increased number of GMO products you consume. If your total nutrition comes from a product using mostly GMO-based nutrients, then it stands to reason that unless those ingredients are first completely cleansed of pesticide residue and pesticides bred into the plant are removed (which is currently not possible), you are increasing your toxic load with each meal.

Current Bar Recall Is Not the First Problem Soylent Has Experienced

Soylent’s new bars are being recalled due to their causing severe illness, but this isn’t the first problem this company has faced since its inception in 2013. In 2015 they introduced 2.0, their signature drink in a bottle. Whereas before customers mixed a bottle of lipids with powder and water, the 2.0 drink came premixed in a slick white plastic bottle.

Mere weeks after the product’s introduction, shipments were delayed.18 Amid customer complaints, the company admitted that some of their bottles were growing mold on the exterior surfaces. However, images sent to Motherboard clearly show mold growth both on the exterior and interior of their bottles.19

The current problems with the Soylent bar will not disappear quickly. One Reddit user has compiled 58 reports of gastrointestinal distress since September 7.20,21 The original report in Ars Technica listed 33 reported illnesses on October 10, but the list jumped to 58 by October 16. Rosa Labs, manufacturers of the Soylent bars released this statement:22

“After these reports, we have retrieved remaining bars from our consumers and have personally consumed many of the remaining bars without adverse effects. We have also sent them for further microbiological testing and all tests have come back negative. Based on this we remain very confident in the safety of the bars.”

Soylent has theorized the problem results from an intolerance or sensitivity to one of the ingredients in the bars. Although Soylent said the manufacturing facility, Betty Lou’s in McMinnville Oregon, is inspected annually, an online U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) database indicates the last inspection was done in 2014 with a “voluntary action indicated” result.23

Is Artificial Sweetener to Blame?

BuzzFeed quotes sources close to Soylent’s production who believe the gastrointestinal problems may be related to the amount of sucralose in the bar, but the company has no current plans to reduce the amount.24 Each bar contains 30 milligrams (mg) of sucralose, the key ingredient in the artificial sweetener Splenda.25

Despite the company’s interest in laying responsibility for the vomiting and diarrhea at the doorstep of sucralose, Diet Coke and Pepsi One both have 40 mg of sucralose in one can of soda, 10 mg more than a Soylent bar.26

That said, sucralose does come with other health concerns. In 2013, the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) downgraded sucralose from “safe” to “caution” after preliminary findings suggested sucralose consumption caused leukemia in mice.27 The study was finally published in early 2016, demonstrating male mice who consumed sucralose had a greater potential of developing leukemia and malignant tumors in their lifetime than did the female mice.28 The researchers concluded:

“These findings do not support previous data that sucralose is biologically inert. More studies are necessary to show the safety of sucralose, including new and more adequate carcinogenic bioassay on rats. Considering that millions of people are likely exposed, follow-up studies are urgent.”

Lisa Lefferts, senior scientist at CSPI, addressed concerns that in this study mice received doses of sucralose higher than currently recommended by the FDA. She was quoted by saying:29

“[E]ven if you consume less, that doesn’t mean there’s no problem. When something causes cancer at high doses, it generally causes cancer at lower doses, the risk is just smaller.”

Why Hospital Beds Should Have Warning Signs

By Dr. Mercola

What the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is calling a “winnable battle”1 is currently claiming the lives of tens of thousands of Americans every year.

According to the CDC, between 5 and 10 percent of people admitted to the hospital acquire an infection while an inpatient.2 In real numbers this accounts for 1.7 million infections and 99,000 deaths, incurring $20 billion in healthcare costs.

Many believe an antibiotic will cure all infections, but that is rapidly changing. In fact, according to infectious disease experts, the age of antibiotics is drawing to a close. Many bacteria are becoming drug-resistant, increasing the number of deaths from illness that, in the past, rapidly responded to medication.

This in combination with the reduction in development of new antibiotics, as the profit margin is poor, has led to the development of bacteria not just winning some battles, but poised to win the war. Experts have been warning about the upcoming diminished efficiency of antibiotics, and that time is now here.

Bacteria has found a way to resist most of the antibiotics produced, and we’re now facing a time in history during which medical care may revert to the pre-antibiotic age, impacting surgical procedures, giving birth and even simple cuts and scrapes with significant casualties.

Last Hospital Bed Occupant May Predict Your Infection Rate

Whether planned or unplanned, hospital admissions should never be taken lightly as mentioned in a recent study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) Internal Medicine.

Researchers discovered that if the person who occupied your hospital bed before you received antibiotics, you have a greater potential for contracting clostridium difficile (C. diff.), a deadly virus that triggers massive diarrhea and may lead to death.3

The researchers studied more than 100,000 pairs of hospitalized individuals between 2010 and 2015.4 Doctors have known taking antibiotics can directly affect your risk of contracting C. diff., but now have evidence that your risk can be elevated simply by lying in the same bed as someone who received the antibiotics.

Patients had a 22 percent greater risk of developing a C. diff. infection when the previous occupant had received antibiotics. Kevin Brown, Ph.D., an assistant professor and researcher at the University of Toronto School of Public Health, told Reuters:5

“About half of patients in acute care facilities take antibiotics on any given day. That’s a huge portion of patients that could be involved in spreading the infection.”

According to Dr. Marc Siegel, professor of medicine at New York University Langone Medical Center:6

“This underscores the idea that hospitals are not being sanitized enough or they can’t be sanitized enough. There is an increased need for increased sterilization procedures between patients.”

Elderly Are at Greatest Risk

The average amount of time it took the C. diff. infection to appear was six days. And, the researchers discovered that the patients who became infected had typical risk factors, including elderly with decreased protein albumin, past history of antibiotic use and higher levels of waste protein creatinine.7

The researchers did not estimate the risk potential for patients who fit these specific criteria. In the overall population the association was small, and the study was not able to establish a causal relationship.

Siegel warns that this is just another way that the prescription and use of antibiotics should not be viewed as harmless. According to the CDC, nearly 500,000 Americans are infected with C. diff. each year.8 More than 100,000 of these people reside in nursing homes. 

Approximately 29,000 of those die within the first 30 days of the infection. If a patient acquired C. diff in the hospital, 1 of every 5 would experience a recurrence of the infection. According to CDC Director Dr. Tom Frieden:

“C. difficile infections cause immense suffering and death for thousands of Americans each year. These infections can be prevented by improving antibiotic prescribing and by improving infection control in the health care system.”

A study by the CDC found that 1 of every 3 cases occurs in patients over 65 years and 2 of every 3 cases acquired in the hospital happened in people 65 and older.9

Superbug Reporting May Reveal True Scope of Hospital-Acquired Infections

Senator Jerry Hill of California plans to introduce a bill that will require hospitals in his home state to report lethal superbug infections.10 California state officials estimate that between 7,500 and 9,000 people in their state die each year from these hospital-acquired infections.

As the state doesn’t track the infections or deaths from superbugs, they estimate this number based on the annual deaths across the U.S. Unfortunately, while the number of deaths are high, experts believe the estimate may be too low as death certificates do not always accurately record the causative factor in the death of a patient.

The bill Hill plans to introduce will require hospitals to report up to 22 different types of infections.

Although California now reports a handful of infections, it does not report infections with Carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae (CRE), a family of bacteria with high levels of resistance to antibiotics. According to the CDC this is an emergency threat to public health.11

In a related article in the Los Angeles Times, several cases were reported in which patients died from a hospital acquired infection in California. However, the cause of death on the death certificate was not associated with an infection.12

As noted by Dr. Barry Farr, retired former president of the Society for Healthcare Epidemiology of America:13

“We, the community of physicians, had been watching these patients die and trundling them off to the morgue for years. Now we’re in the eighth verse of the same song.”

Hospital-Acquired Infections Are Even More Deadly Than Previously Reported

Since the danger from CRE-related infections is extremely high, the CDC recommends local health officials require reporting, and “if that’s not possible,” health departments should survey for the presence of the superbugs to reduce the potential for transmission.14

Curiously, Los Angeles County stopped requiring hospitals to report infections, despite the indication they were a “high-prevalence region” for the superbug.15

Rampant infections with antibiotic-resistant bacteria cause death when the bacteria spreads to the blood, triggering sepsis and damage that causes organs to fail. The CDC has estimated the number of deaths attributed to sepsis may be as much as 140 percent higher than what is recorded on death certificates.

In a study at the University of Michigan, researchers discovered similar data. If death certificates reflected the symptoms for which patients were being treated, the death toll for infection would actually outnumber heart disease, stroke and cancer.16

As it stands, the leading causes of deaths in hospitals, according to death certificates, are heart disease followed by malignancy (cancer) and cerebrovascular disease (stroke).17 Speaking about CRE infections in 2013 to USA Today, Frieden said:18

“These are nightmare bacteria that present a triple threat. They’re resistant to nearly all antibiotics. They have high mortality rates, killing half of people with serious infections. And they can spread their resistance to other bacteria.”

More evidence from a CDC research report published in 2010 shared frightening survey results from New York City doctors.19

Nearly 49 percent of these physicians had knowingly inaccurately reported the cause of death, 40 percent had been instructed to list something other than the actual cause of death on the death certificate and only 33 percent believed the death certificate reporting system in New York City was accurate.20

Many Hospitals Fail to Follow Proper Cleaning Procedures

Reducing the spread of antibiotic-resistant bacteria begins and ends with stopping the spread of the bacteria from one patient to the next. Family members of a patient whose case was reported in the Los Angeles Times were horrified to watch hospital personnel move from patient to patient without using precautions that would stop the spread of their mother’s CRE infection to others.21

The JAMA study evaluating the likelihood patients would become infected with C. diff if the prior occupant had received antibiotics, also points to a challenge in disinfecting hospital bed decks and mattresses.

Researchers at Xavier University in Cincinnati demonstrated hospital mattresses were also not being cleaned properly.22 They found 84 percent of the hospitals used chemicals tested only on hard surfaces and not mattresses, only 23 percent cleaned the mattress before disinfecting as recommended by both the chemical and mattress companies and 6 percent didn’t rinse the disinfectant, possibly exposing patients to residual chemicals.

Hospital Mattresses and Bed Decks Testing Positive for Colony Growing Bacteria

Other research found hospital mattresses were not cleaned of common bacteria contaminants.23 Over 1,000 cultures were taken from 52 hospital mattresses, both before and after they had been cleaned. Researchers grew over 500 positive cultures, 263 before disinfection and 237 after the mattresses were disinfected.

There was a high prevalence of Staphylococcus aureus, suggesting to the researchers that the disinfectant was not effective and only moved bacteria from one part of the mattress to another.24

Xavier University professionals took part in yet another study demonstrating the ineffective cleaning process for hospital mattresses. Nearly 85 percent of 39 mattresses tested were positive for colony forming bacteria, and nearly 55 percent of the hospital bed decks tested positive.25 Bacteria found included Bacillus, Micrococcus, Staphylococcus and gram-negative rods.

Dr. Edmond Hooker from Xavier University presented these findings at the annual Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology (APIC). During his presentation he said:26

 “The current research fits into the growing body of evidence that the hospital environment is dirty; is not being cleaned well enough; and that this failure to clean the environment is leading to hospital-acquired infections and deaths. Hospitals must stop ignoring the hospital environment as the source of hospital acquired infections.”

Xavier University disclosed they had received a research grant from a private foundation linked to the manufacturer of a washable mattress cover.27 Hooker was lead author in a study that demonstrated these covers provided a cleaner surface to patients than did the disinfectants currently being used on mattresses.28

Strategies That May Save Your Life When You’re Hospitalized

In the video above, Andrew Saul, Ph.D., co-author of the book “Hospitals and Health: Your Orthomolecular Guide to a Shorter Hospital Stay,” discusses the dangers of hospital stays, the type of patient that tends die more frequently and how you can protect your health, or the health of a loved one, in the event you have to be hospitalized.

Contamination of medical scopes is another way in which you may acquire an infection from another patient. If you are scheduled for a colonoscopy or other type of testing using a flexible scope, call the hospital to determine the cleaning solution they use. If the answer is glutaraldehyde (brand name Cidex), find another hospital or clinic — one that uses peracetic acid. This preliminary legwork will significantly decrease your risk of contracting an infection from a contaminated scope.

When staff are in your room, don’t hesitate to remind them to wash their hands before touching you or your equipment, including bed, night stand or other pieces you might handle. Ideally, a personal advocate who can stay with you will help to look after your interests if you are unable to speak for yourself.

It’s important to remember that you have the right to ask your nurses and doctors to practice good preventive care and that you have power within the hospital system. Most hospitals assume you won’t assert your power, so it’s important you know your rights and responsibilities to ensure your hospital stay is safe.

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Source: A Dirty Little Secret: Your “Organic” Strawberries Aren’t Really Organic For more content like this visit

by PAUL FASSA Shock! Certified organic strawberries aren’t so organic after all. Although organic strawberries sell for 50% to 100% more than conventional berries, organic strawberries are fumigated with toxic chemicals, including methyl bromide, at the beginning stages of their life-cycle.   Methyl bromide, is used to sterilize the soil before strawberries are planted. It’s […]

Source: A Dirty Little Secret: Your “Organic” Strawberries Aren’t Really Organic Learn more at – Healthy News and Information.