Friday, September 18, 2009

More Lies about Swine Flu

(NaturalNews) The mainstream media is engaged in what we Americans call "bald faced lies" about swine flu. It seems to be true with this issue more than any other, and it became apparent to me recently when a colleague of mine -- a nationally-syndicated newspaper columnist -- told me their column on natural defenses for swine flu was rejected by newspapers all across the country. Many newspapers refused to run the column and, instead, ran an ad for "free vaccine clinics" in the same space.

The media, it seems, is so deeply in bed with the culture of vaccinations that they will do almost anything to keep the public misinformed. And that includes lying about swine flu vaccines.

There are ten key lies that continue to be told by the mainstream media (MSM) about swine flu and swine flu vaccines.

Lie #1 - There are no adjuvants used in the vaccines

I was recently being interviewed by a major U.S. news network when the reporter interviewing me came up with this humdinger: There are no adjuvants being used in the swine flu vaccines, he said!

I assured him that adjuvants were, indeed, a crucial part of the vaccine recipe, and they were being widely used by drug companies to "stretch" the vaccine supply. It's no secret. But he insisted he had been directly told by a drug company rep that no adjuvants were being used at all. And he believed them! So everything being published by this large news network about swine flu vaccines now assumes there are no adjuvants in the vaccines at all.

Lie #2 - The swine flu is more dangerous than seasonal flu

This lie is finally starting to unravel. I admit that in the early days of this pandemic, even I was concerned this could be a global killer. But after observing the very mild impact the virus was having on people in the real world, it became obvious that this was a mild flu, no more dangerous than a seasonal flu.

The MSM, however, continues to promote H1N1 swine flu as being super dangerous, driving fear into the minds of people and encouraging them to rush out and get a vaccine shot for a flu that's really no more likely to kill them than the regular winter sniffles. Sure, the virus could still mutate into something far worse, but if it does that, the current vaccine could be rendered obsolete anyway!

Lie #3 - Vaccines protect you from swine flu

This is the biggest lie of all, and the media pushes it hard. Getting a vaccine, they insist, will protect you from the swine flu. But it's just flat-out false. Even if the vaccine produces antibodies, that's not the same thing as real-world immunity from a live virus, especially if the virus mutates (as they often do).

As I pointed out in a recent article, statistically speaking the average American is 40 times more likely to be struck by lightning than to have their life saved by a swine flu vaccine. (

Lie #4 - Vaccines are safe

And how would any journalists actually know this? None of the vaccines have been subjected to real-world testing for any meaningful duration. The "safety" of these vaccines is nothing more than wishful thinking.

The MSM also doesn't want you to know what's in the vaccines. Some vaccines are made from viral fragments grown in diseased African monkeys. If that sounds incredible, read the true story here:

Lie #5 - The vaccine isn't mandatory

You hear this lie all the time: The swine flu vaccine shot is voluntary, they say. But it's not true if you're an employee at a place where vaccines are being mandated. Millions of Americans are now being told by their employers that if they don't get vaccine shots, they will be effectively fired from their jobs. It's especially true with health care workers, day care employees and school teachers.

Lie #6 - Getting a vaccine shot is a good bet on your health

In reality, a vaccine shot is far more likely to harm you than help you. According to one viral expert, the actual mortality rate of the swine flu virus is estimated to be as low as .007 percent ( That means H1N1 swine flu kills less than one person in 100,000. Even if the vaccine works, let's say, 10 percent of the time, you'd have to vaccine one million people to prevent one death from swine flu.

And in vaccinating one million people, you would inevitably harm or kill several people, simply from the vaccine side effects! Your net risk of death is increased by getting a swine flu vaccine.

Lie #7 - The vaccine isn't made with "attenuated live virus"

When the swine flu vaccines were first being announced several months ago, they were described as being made with "attenuated live virus." This was directly mentioned in CDC documents, among other places.

This term apparently freaked out the American news consumer, and it has since been all but erased from any discussion about vaccines. Now, journalists will actually argue with you and insist the vaccines contain no attenuated live viruses whatsoever.

Except they're wrong. The vaccines are, indeed, made with "attenuated live viruses." That's how you make a vaccine: You take live viruses, then you weaken them ("attenuate") and inject them into people.

Lie #8 - Wash, wash, wash your hands (to avoid exposure)

This idea of washing your hands a hundred times a day is all based on the assumption that you can avoid exposure to the swine flu virus. But that's impractical. The virus is now so widespread that virtually everyone is certain to be exposed to it through the air if not other means. This whole idea of avoiding exposure to the swine flu virus is nonsense. The conversation should shift to ways to survive exposure via a healthy immune system.

Of course, hand washing is a very good idea in a hospital setting. Recent news reveals that doctors are too busy to wash their own hands, resulting in the rampant spread of superbugs throughout most large hospitals in first world nations.

Lie #9 - Children are more vulnerable to swine flu than adults

This is just a flat-out lie, but it makes for good vaccine sales. Vaccines are right now being targeted primarily to schoolchildren.

But the truth is that swine flu is extremely mild in children. "It's mildest in kids," says Dr Marc Lipsitch of Harvard University. "That's one of the really good pieces of news in this pandemic." Reuters actually had the guts to report this story, but most of the larger media outlets are still reporting that children are the most vulnerable.

Lie #10 - There is nothing else you can do beyond a vaccine and Tamiflu

This is where the media lies by omission. The mainstream media absolutely refuses to print just about any story that talks about using vitamin D, anti-viral herbs or natural remedies to protect yourself from swine flu. In the MSM, there are two options and only two: Vaccines and Tamiflu. That's it. No other options exist in their fictional reality.

Why is the mainstream media so afraid to print the truth these days? Why can't reporting on swine flu see the light of day... literally, with a mention of sunlight and vitamin D? Apparently, Big Pharma has such a tight grip on mainstream newspapers that no true story on swine flu can ever make it past the editor's desk.

Posted via email from naturalwellness's posterous

Friday, September 11, 2009

Best Way to Aid Digestion

Probiotics Protect You from Gut Parasites
Posted by: Dr. Mercola
September 10 2009

probiotics, gut, bellyThe gut health boosting effects of probiotics may also extend to preventing and eradicating parasitic infections.

Scientists studying Toxoplasma gondii, the parasite responsible for toxoplasmosis, found that bacteria present in the human gut help stimulate the body's defense mechanisms.

Probiotics may occupy space in the intestine and thus reduce or prevent potentially pathogenic bacteria attaching to the intestinal wall.


Dr. Mercola''s Comments Dr. Mercola's Comments:

Eighty percent of your immune system is located in your digestive system, which is one reason why keeping your gut balanced with plenty of beneficial bacteria is so important.

Not only can probiotics modulate immune responses via your gut‘s mucosal immune system, but researchers from the University of Texas Southwestern found that because they occupy space in your intestine, they may therefore reduce or prevent disease-causing bacteria and parasites from attaching to your intestinal wall.

Signs You May Have Intestinal Parasites

Parasitic infections are responsible for millions of deaths worldwide every year. Malaria is one of the most well-known, killing about 1 million people a year, many of them young children in sub-Saharan Africa.

Further, the neglected tropical diseases (NTDs), which include parasitic diseases like lymphatic filariasis, onchocerciasis and Guinea worm, kill about 500,000 people each year, primarily in rural areas of low-income countries.

Even in developed countries, however, parasites can contribute to disease like irritable bowel syndrome and other digestive issues, and possibly even cancer.

Not all parasites cause symptoms or are harmful for that matter, but some do -- and are. Signs that you’ve been infected with a potentially dangerous intestinal parasite are varied but can include:

  • Subcutaneous nodules

  • Eye inflammation (conjunctivitis and retinitis)

  • Blindness

  • Dysentery

  • Hives (urticaria)

  • Diarrhea

  • Coughing or wheezing

  • Enlargement of liver and spleen (hepatosplenomegaly)

  • Fever

  • Abdominal pain

What You Should Know About Toxoplasmosis

The parasite used in the above study, toxoplasma gondii, is the parasite responsible for toxoplasmosis and one of the most common parasites in the world. It’s typically spread by eating or handling contaminated undercooked meat, fruits and vegetables, drinking contaminated water, or by coming into contact with contaminated cat feces.

In most healthy people toxoplasmosis infection is asymptomatic, causing no symptoms because your immune system keeps the parasite from causing illness. In fact, in the United States it’s estimated that 23 percent of the population has been infected with toxoplasma, and according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention up to 95 percent of some populations around the world have been infected.

When symptoms do occur they may include swollen glands, fatigue, muscle pain, fever, sore throat and a rash. In pregnant women, toxoplasmosis that is newly acquired can cause miscarriage, premature births, and severe illness and blindness in newborns.

Because of this, pregnant women (and those with compromised immune systems) should take extra precautions and avoid coming into contact with cat feces, cat litter or potentially contaminated food, soil or water.

It should be noted, however, that if you have been exposed to the parasite in the past (even if you had no symptoms) this will provide immunity so you can’t become infected again.

If you suspect you’re infected with toxoplasma or any other parasite, seek the help of a knowledgeable natural health care practitioner, and in the meantime eating raw garlic (smashing the cloves first to activate their beneficial properties) and raw pumpkin seeds will help you to get rid of them.

Taking probiotics is also a proactive step that may help your body to fight any disease-causing parasites your body comes into contact with.

As a side note, if you are a pregnant woman or a woman who may become pregnant soon, you should take a high-quality probiotic regularly not only because of its potential to fight parasites but for the many other benefits it offers during pregnancy as well.

Why Probiotics are One of the Few Supplements I Recommend

Although I do not recommend taking supplements on a regular basis, a high-quality probiotic is one of my exceptions. In fact, it’s the one supplement recommended to all new patients in my clinic.

This is because the nutritional root of so many health concerns are related to an imbalance of intestinal bacteria (the optimal balance is about 85 percent “good bacteria” and 15 percent “bad”).

A large part of the influence of the "bad" bacteria (and parasites) is on your intestinal lining (mucousal barrier) that is over 300 square meters, or about the size of a tennis court. Simply stated, friendly bacteria compete with the bad guys for room and board, but since beneficial bacteria are more at home there, they win most of the battles for nutrition and attachment sites within your colon.

The good bacteria tell your body how much nutrition they need and your body responds by supplying just that much and no more -- so that any excess bad bacteria are starved out. The helpful bacteria also produce a substance that kills harmful microbes.

Proper food choices will help shift the bacteria in the direction of the good guys, particularly if you avoid eating a lot of sugar and grains and eat plenty of fermented foods (which supply beneficial bacteria naturally).

But, just like your lawn, sometimes you may need to "reseed" areas that have become barren for whatever reason.

Normally, you don’t need to take probiotics forever, but I have found them to be incredibly helpful at certain times, such as when you stray from your healthy diet and consume excess grains or sugar, or if you have to take antibiotics.

I also take them when traveling to foreign countries or when eating at suspicious restaurants, and I’ve found that using a high-quality probiotic every 30-60 days will typically help maintain a well-functioning digestive system.

Related Links:
  Probiotics Protect Top Athletes

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Red Yeast Rice

Dr. Mercola is an excellent source for honest nutritional and health advice. This article clearly states what so many others won't. Natural remedies sometimes don't help us as we thought.

Why You Should Avoid Red Rice Yeast
Posted by: Dr. Mercola
September 10 2009

red yeast rice, red rice yeast, cholesterol, statins, cholesterol lowering drugsBy Dr. Mercola

Red yeast rice, a mainstay of Chinese medicine since ancient times, is emerging in drug stores and vitamin shops as a natural tool to lower cholesterol. The substance is actually derived from a fungus that grows on rice and is eaten as a dietary staple in certain Asian countries.

As its popularity grows, I wanted to share some important information, and a warning of sorts, about red yeast rice.

Even though it is natural, red yeast rice is not a panacea or miracle cure for those of you looking to lower your cholesterol. In fact, using it is an approach I would recommend avoiding.

What’s All the Hype about Red Yeast Rice?

Red yeast rice is sold over-the-counter and is often promoted as an alternative to cholesterol-lowering statin drugs, especially for those who stop taking the drugs due to side effects, like unbearable muscle pain.

In one recent study, researchers studied 62 people with high cholesterol, half of whom were given red yeast rice twice a day for six months while the other half received a placebo. The people taking red yeast rice also had weekly meetings for three months during which they learned about how to incorporate healthy nutrition, exercise and stress management into their lives.

After six months, the researchers found[1]:

  • LDL (bad) cholesterol levels decreased by an average of 35 mg/dL in those taking red yeast rice, compared with 15 mg/dL in the placebo group

  • Total cholesterol levels improved more in the red yeast rice group than the placebo group

Although the researchers acknowledged that the study was small and of short duration, they concluded that red yeast rice, coupled with lifestyle changes, could decrease LDL cholesterol without increasing pain levels or liver or muscle enzyme levels (as often happens in people taking statin drugs). They recommended the yeast rice as a valid treatment option for people who cannot tolerate statin drugs.

A separate study, this one of 5,000 people who have suffered a heart attack, also found favorable results. Those who took an extract of red yeast rice for five years reduced their risk of repeat heart attacks by 45 percent. It also lowered their chances of having a heart procedure such as bypass surgery or angioplasty, and even appeared to reduce their risk of cancer by as much as two-thirds.[2]

So why, then, do I NOT recommend you take this "natural" supplement if you have high cholesterol?

The answer is two-fold and may surprise you:

  1. Red yeast rice is a statin drug -- with all the same side effects

  2. Cholesterol is not your enemy

Red Yeast Rice is a Statin Drug

The "active" compounds in red yeast rice are known as monacolins, and are substances known to inhibit cholesterol synthesis. One type of monacolin, "monacolin K," is also known as mevinolin or lovastatin.[3]

Lovastatin, as you might now recognize, is the first statin drug to be approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, and it goes by the brand names of Mevacor and Altocor. So if you’re taking red yeast rice in the hopes of avoiding a statin drug -- surprise!

They’re essentially the same drug.

And if you are concerned about your cholesterol levels, taking a drug, even a "natural" drug like red yeast rice, should be your absolute last resort. And when I say last resort, I’m saying the odds are very high, greater than 1000 to 1, that you don’t need drugs to lower your cholesterol.

To put it another way, among the more than 20,000 patients who have come to my clinic, only four or five of them truly needed these drugs, as they had genetic challenges that required it.

Why Statin Drugs -- Including Red Yeast Rice -- Should be Avoided

Count yourself lucky that you probably do NOT need to take cholesterol-lowering medications of any kind, because these are some nasty little pills.

Statin drugs work by inhibiting an enzyme in your liver that’s needed to manufacture cholesterol. What is so concerning about this is that when you go tinkering around with the delicate workings of your body, you risk throwing everything off kilter.

For starters, statin drugs deplete your body of Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10), which is beneficial to heart health and muscle function.

CoQ10 is a cofactor (co-enzyme) that is essential for a system of enzymes that create ATP molecules, which are needed for cellular energy production.

Organs, such as your heart, which have higher energy requirements therefore also need more CoQ10 to function properly.

Statins deplete your body of CoQ10, which can have devastating results. And because doctors rarely inform people of this risk and advise them to take a CoQ10 supplement, as your body gets more and more depleted, it can lead to fatigue, followed by muscle weakness and soreness, and eventually heart failure.

Congestive heart failure is in fact a very common health risk of statin drugs, and a major reason to avoid them.

Muscle pain and weakness, a condition called rhabdomyolysis, is the most common side effect of statin drugs, which is thought to occur because statins activate the gene atrogin-1 gene, which plays a key role in muscle atrophy.[4]

It’s important to remember that your heart is also a major muscle and can be affected in the same manner as the other muscles in your body.

By the way, muscle pain and weakness may be an indication that your body tissues are actually breaking down -- a condition that can cause kidney damage.

Statin drugs have also been linked to:

  • An increased risk of polyneuropathy (nerve damage that causes pain in the hands and feet and trouble walking)

  • Dizziness

  • Cognitive impairment, including memory loss[5]

  • A potential increased risk of cancer[6]

  • Decreased function of your immune system[7]

  • Depression

  • Liver problems, including a potential increase in liver enzymes (so people taking statins must be regularly monitored for normal liver function)

And a possible association was even found between statins and an increased risk of Lou Gehrig's disease.[8]

Exposing yourself to these potentially serious risks by taking statin drugs becomes even more unacceptable when you understand the truth about cholesterol -- that it is actually your friend, not your enemy.

Why You Need Cholesterol

In the United States, the idea that cholesterol is evil is very much ingrained in most people’s minds. But this is a very harmful myth that needs to be put to rest right now.

Cholesterol is a soft, waxy substance found not only in your bloodstream but also in every cell in your body, where it helps to produce cell membranes, hormones, vitamin D and bile acids that help you to digest fat. Cholesterol also helps in the formation of memories and is vital for your neurological function.

As Ron Rosedale, MD, who is widely considered to be the leading anti-aging doctor in the United States, points out[9]:

"First and foremost, cholesterol is a vital component of every cell membrane on Earth. In other words, there is no life on Earth that can live without cholesterol. That will automatically tell you that, in of itself, it cannot be evil. In fact it is one of our best friends.

We would not be here without it. No wonder lowering cholesterol too much increases one's risk of dying. Cholesterol also is a precursor to all of the steroid hormones. You cannot make estrogen, testosterone, cortisone, and a host of other vital hormones without cholesterol."

Other "evidence" that cholesterol is good for you?

Consider the role of "good" HDL cholesterol. Essentially, HDL takes cholesterol from your body’s tissues and arteries, and brings it back to your liver, where most of your cholesterol is produced. If the purpose of this was to eliminate cholesterol from your body, it would make sense that the cholesterol would be shuttled back to your kidneys or intestines so your body could remove it.

Instead, it goes back to your liver.


Because your liver is going to reuse it.

"It is taking it back to your liver so that your liver can recycle it; put it back into other particles to be taken to tissues and cells that need it," Dr. Rosedale says. "Your body is trying to make and conserve the cholesterol for the precise reason that it is so important, indeed vital, for health."

Do You Really Have "High" Cholesterol?

Sally Fallon, the president of the Weston A. Price Foundation, and Mary Enig, Ph.D, an expert in lipid biochemistry, have gone so far as to call high cholesterol "an invented disease, a ‘problem’ that emerged when health professionals learned how to measure cholesterol levels in the blood."[10]

And this explanation is spot on.

If you have increased levels of cholesterol, it is at least in part because of increased inflammation in your body. The cholesterol is there to do a job: help your body heal and repair.

Conventional medicine misses the boat entirely when they recommend that lowering cholesterol is the way to reduce your risk of heart attacks, because what is actually needed is to address whatever is causing your body damage -- and leading to increased inflammation and then increased cholesterol.

Further, there is absolutely NO evidence to show that lowering your LDL cholesterol to 100 or below is good for you, but what do you think the American Heart Association STILL recommends?

Lowering your LDL cholesterol levels to less than 100.[11]

And to make matters worse, the standard recommendation to get to that level almost always includes cholesterol-lowering drugs.

The Risks of Lowering Your Cholesterol Too Much

The common mindset in much of the developed world is that lowering your total blood cholesterol below 200 mg/dL is a key to good heart health. In reality, lowering your cholesterol does nothing to address any underlying problems … and lowering it too much can seriously devastate your health.

One large study conduced by Dutch researchers found that men with chronically low cholesterol levels showed a consistently higher risk of having depressive symptoms.[12] This may be because cholesterol affects the metabolism of serotonin, a substance involved in the regulation of your mood.

On a similar note, Canadian researchers found that those in the lowest quarter of total cholesterol concentration had more than six times the risk of committing suicide as did those in the highest quarter.[13]

Dozens of studies also support a connection between low or lowered cholesterol levels and violent behavior, through this same pathway: lowered cholesterol levels may lead to lowered brain serotonin activity, which may, in turn, lead to increased violence and aggression.[14]

And one meta-analysis of over 41,000 patient records found that people who take statin drugs to lower their cholesterol as much as possible may have a higher risk of cancer,[15] while other studies have linked low cholesterol to Parkinson’s disease.

What cholesterol level is too low?

Brace yourself.

Probably any level much under 150, an optimum would be more like 200.

So how do you know if your cholesterol really is too high?

How to Find Out What Your Cholesterol Levels Really Mean

Personally, I believe anything above 330 is likely too high. But another powerful way to determine if you’re at risk from abnormal cholesterol metabolism is to check your ratio of HDL, or "good" cholesterol, and your total cholesterol.

Your HDL percentage is a very potent heart disease risk factor.

Simply divide your HDL level by your cholesterol. That percentage should ideally be above 25 percent. Typically, the higher the better, as there are no known side effects of having too high good cholesterol.

If your ratio falls below 15-20 percent you are at high risk, and below 10 percent, it’s a significant indicator of risk for heart disease.

You can also do the same thing with your triglycerides and HDL ratio. That percentage should be below 2.

Keep in mind, however, that these are still simply guidelines, and there’s a lot more that goes into your risk of heart disease than any one of these numbers.

Do You Want to Safely and Effectively Optimize Your Cholesterol Levels?

First, please realize that simply lowering your dietary cholesterol intake is not an effective primary strategy.


Because 75 percent of your cholesterol is produced by your liver, which is influenced by your insulin levels. Therefore, if you optimize your insulin levels, you will also regulate your cholesterol levels.

One of the most powerful ways you can do that is by exercising, and paying attention to the foods you eat. Foods that increase your insulin levels will also contribute to high cholesterol by making your liver produce more of it.

With that in mind, here are my primary recommendations for safely regulating your cholesterol levels:

  1. Get the right amount of exercise. When you exercise you increase your circulation and the blood flow throughout your body. The components of your immune system are also better circulated, which means your immune system has a better chance of fighting an illness before it has the opportunity to spread.

  2. Make sure you’re getting plenty of high-quality, animal-based omega3-fats, such as those from krill oil.

  3. Reduce, with the plan of eliminating, grains and sugars in your daily diet.

  4. Eat the right foods for your nutritional type.

  5. Eat a good portion of your food raw.

  6. Eat healthy, preferably raw, fats that correspond to your nutritional type. This includes:

    • Olive oil

    • Coconut and coconut oil

    • Organic raw dairy products (including butter, cream, sour cream, cheese, etc.)

    • Avocados

    • Raw nuts

    • Seeds

    • Eggs (lightly cooked with yolks intact or raw)

    • Organic, grass-fed meats

  7. Avoid smoking and drinking alcohol excessively.

  8. Address your emotional challenges. I particularly love Meridian Tapping Techniques (MTT) for stress management.

As you’ll notice, these recommendations are all lifestyle-based, meaning that with a few key changes to your diet, activity level and emotional health your cholesterol levels will naturally optimize -- without the need for statin drugs or supplements like red yeast rice.

[1] Annals of Internal Medicine 2009 Jun 16;150(12):830-9, W147-9.

[2] American Journal of Cardiology 2008 Jun 15;101(12):1689-93.

[3] "Red Yeast Rice (Monascus Purpureus)" (Accessed July 2, 2009)

[4] The Journal of Clinical Investigation December 2007; 117(12):3940-51

[5] Sudden Memory Loss Linked to Cholesterol Drugs (Accessed July 2, 2009)

[6] Nature Medicine September, 2000;6:965-966, 1004-1010.

[7] Nature Medicine, December, 2000; 6: 1311-1312, 1399-1402

[8] Edwards, I. Ralph; Star, Kristina; Kiuru, Anne, "Statins, Neuromuscular Degenerative Disease and an Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis-Like Syndrome," Drug Safety, Volume 30, Number 6, 2007, pp. 515-525(11)

[9], Cholesterol is NOT the Cause of Heart Disease, Ron Rosedale May 28, 2005 (Accessed July 3, 2009)

[10] Fallon, S. and Mary Enig. "Dangers of Statin Drugs: What You Haven’t Been Told About Popular Cholesterol-Lowering Medicines," The Weston A. Price Foundation (Accessed July 3, 2009)

[11] American Heart Association, "What Your Cholesterol Level Means," accessed May 22, 2008 (Accessed July 3, 2009)

[12] Psychosomatic Medicine 2000;62.

[13] Epidemiology 2001 Mar;12:168-72

[14] Annals of Internal Medicine (1998;128(6):478-487), The Journal of the American Medical Association (1997;278:313-321)

[15] Journal of the American College of Cardiology July 31, 2007; 50:409-418


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Thursday, September 10, 2009

Positive Effects of Family Dining

Family meals have numerous benefits

URBANA, Ill. (UPI) -- Family mealtimes are a way to improve nutrition and reduce stress in families, and parents should set time for regular family meals, a U.S. researcher advises.

"There are few things parents can do that are as effective in protecting their families as taking 18 to 20 minutes to eat together and talk with each other three to five times a week," Barbara H. Fiese of the University of Illinois says in a statement.

Fiese says research indicates the following benefits of family mealtimes:

-- Teens who eat five or more meals a week with their families are less likely to smoke cigarettes and marijuana and abuse alcohol.

-- Children who take part in regular family mealtimes have greater vocabulary growth and higher academic achievement.

-- Frequently shared mealtimes protect against obesity in children and eating disorders in preteens and adolescents.

-- For young children, family mealtimes mean fewer behavior problems.

-- Teens who dine regularly with their families tend to eat more fruits and vegetables.

-- Meals prepared at home tend to be lower in calories and fat than restaurant food.

The report appears in the Social Policy Report.

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Friday, September 4, 2009

How Toxic Air May Lower Your Child's Intelligence

(NaturalNews) Planning on starting a family? Determined to provide the healthiest environment possible for your kids? If you live in an urban environment, you might want to look for a new place to live with cleaner air. City pollution has long been known to contribute to high blood pressure (, eye irritation, heart problems ( and asthma. But now scientists have found that a mother's exposure to chemicals called polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) widely found in urban air can adversely affect a child's intelligence level. Bottom line: bad air is bad for kids' developing brains and could also be contributing to the dumbing down of Americans.

PAHs are released into the air from the burning of coal and tobacco. In cities, the main source of PAHs is motor vehicles that run on diesel, oil and gas. The new study, funded by the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS), the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and several private foundations, found that youngsters exposed to high levels of PAHs in New York City had full scale and verbal IQ scores that were 4.31 and 4.67 points lower than children with less exposure to these chemicals.

A difference in four or more points on these intelligence tests is believed to make a significant difference on how well kids perform in school and how high they score on standardized tests, the researchers noted in a statement to the media. "The decrease in full-scale IQ score among the more exposed children is similar to that seen with low-level lead exposure," lead author Dr. Frederica P. Perera, professor at Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health and director of the Columbia Center for Children's Environmental Health, stated.

The study, conducted by Dr. Perera and other scientists from the Columbia University Center for Children's Environmental Health, included children whose moms were non-smoking black and Dominican-American women between the ages of 18 and 35 living in Washington Heights, Harlem or the South Bronx in New York. The children were followed from the time they were in the womb to age five. In order for the researchers to measure pre-natal exposure to PAHs, the mothers wore personal air monitors during pregnancy and they also filled out questionnaires about their environment.

Study participants who were exposed to air pollution levels below average were designated as having low exposure, while those exposed to pollution levels higher than the median were identified as high exposure. Specifically, high PAH levels were defined as above the median of 2.26 nanograms per cubic meter (ng/m3). The researchers took into consideration other factors that could impair intelligence such as second-hand smoke exposure, lead in the environment, the mother's education and the quality of the home caretaking environment.

Then, when they were five years old, 249 of the children in the study were given the Wechsler Preschool and Primary Scale of the Intelligence test, which provides verbal, performance and full-scale IQ scores. "This research clearly shows that environmental PAHs at levels encountered in an urban setting can adversely affect a child's IQ," said Dr. Linda Birnbaum, director of NIEHS. "This is the first study to report an association between PAH exposure and IQ, and it should serve as a warning bell to us all. We need to do more to prevent environmental exposures from harming our children."

In addition to avoiding living in polluted cities if at all possible, there are other strategies parents can turn to in order to protect and even boost the brain power of their children. For example, as reported in NaturalNews, breastfeeding babies ( raises IQ levels and fish oil ( has been shown to improve intelligence levels of teens. Another smart idea: avoid exposing your offspring to neurotoxic chemicals such as fluoride (fluoride

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Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Food, Inc.

In Food, Inc., filmmaker Robert Kenner lifts the veil on our nation's food industry, exposing the highly mechanized underbelly that has been hidden from the American consumer with the consent of our government's regulatory agencies, USDA and FDA. Our nation's food supply is now controlled by a handful of corporations that often put profit ahead of consumer health, the livelihood of the American farmer, the safety of workers and our own environment. We have bigger-breasted chickens, the perfect pork chop, herbicide-resistant soybean seeds, even tomatoes that won't go bad, but we also have new strains of E. coli—the harmful bacteria that causes illness for an estimated 73,000 Americans annually. We are riddled with widespread obesity, particularly among children, and an epidemic level of diabetes among adults.

Featuring interviews with such experts as Eric Schlosser (Fast Food Nation), Michael Pollan (The Omnivore's Dilemma, In Defense of Food: An Eater's Manifesto) along with forward thinking social entrepreneurs like Stonyfield's Gary Hirshberg and Polyface Farms' Joel Salatin, Food, Inc. reveals surprising—and often shocking truths—about what we eat, how it's produced, who we have become as a nation and where we are going from here.

Watch the Trailer HERE

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Tuesday, September 1, 2009

The Benefits of Omega 3 fatty acids.

Your Health: Omega-3 Fatty Acids May Help Prevent Vision Loss With Age

Eating a diet rich in omega-3 fatty acids from fish and nuts is a great way to improve your overall health. New research suggests that it might also help protect your eyesight as you grow older.

The results of a study published in the August 2009 issue of the American Journal of Pathology showed that boosting omega-3 intake can slow the progression of age-related macular degeneration, the leading cause of severe vision loss among older Americans.

The results of this research are supported by earlier findings. An analysis of nine separate studies involving a total of nearly 90,000 subjects showed that high dietary intake of omega-3 fatty acids was associated with a 38 percent reduction in the risk of developing advanced AMD.

AMD is a devastating disease in which affected individuals slowly lose their central vision, making reading, driving, and recognizing faces virtually impossible. It occurs when the macula, a structure in the retina of the eye, deteriorates over time.

Omega-3 fatty acids are important structural components of the retina. Because the outer layers of the retina continually shed and rebuild, a steady supply of omega-3 from the diet is necessary to ensure the integrity and proper function of the eye.

In addition to providing the necessary building blocks to make repairs to aging eyes, diets rich in omega-3 fatty acids may slow the deterioration of the macula by reducing tissue damage caused by oxidation and inflammation, and by enhancing blood flow to the eye.

Omega-3 fatty acids aren't manufactured by the human body, so they must be obtained from foods in the diet. Good sources include olive oil and fatty fish such as salmon, tuna, and mackerel.

Almonds, pecans, and other tree nuts are rich in omega-3 fatty acids. Following a study of nearly 2,500 adults, researchers at the University of Sydney in Australia reported that men and women who ate one to two servings of nuts each week enjoyed a 35 percent lower risk of AMD compared to those who ate nuts less often.

While you're adding good fats to your diet, it's important to steer clear of the bad ones. Diets rich in trans fats, found in many baked goods and processed foods, have been linked to an increased risk of AMD.

An adequate intake of vitamins and minerals is critical for maintaining healthy eyes. Regular consumption of two antioxidant plant compounds, known as lutein and zeaxanthin, has been shown to have protective effects against AMD.

Lutein and zeaxanthin are found together in a number of fruits and vegetables, including broccoli, peas, corn, and tangerines. Green, leafy vegetables, such as spinach and kale, are believed to be the best dietary sources of the antioxidant compounds.

If your diet isn't what it should be, a nutritional supplement might be beneficial. The Age-Related Eye Disease Study, sponsored by the National Eye Institute demonstrated that daily supplementation with vitamins C and E, beta carotene, and the minerals zinc and copper dramatically reduced the risk of vision loss associated with AMD.

When it comes to protecting your vision, abstaining from smoking cigarettes is especially important. According to the results of a study published in the British Journal of Ophthalmology, regularly smoking a pack or more daily for 40 years nearly triples the risk of AMD.

Even if you don't smoke, your risk of developing AMD is likely to be doubled if you live with someone who does. Fortunately, it's never too late to quit -- the risks related to active and passive smoking tend to diminish with time.

Getting plenty of exercise is another important strategy for maintaining the health of your eyes and the quality of your vision. In a recent study conducted by the U.S. Department of Energy, researchers found that vigorous exercise reduced the likelihood of developing AMD by up to 70 percent.

Because there are very few treatment options for people suffering from advanced AMD, early diagnosis of the disease is especially important. If you're older than 40, you should have an eye exam every two to four years.

For folks over the age of 65, it's a good idea to have an eye exam annually or at least every other year. Individuals with a family history of AMD should have their eyes checked more frequently.

Eating a wholesome, nutritious diet and getting plenty of exercise will go a long way toward preserving your vision as you age. As a bonus, these same actions can help improve your overall health, and they might even extend your life.


Rallie McAllister is a board-certified family physician, speaker, and the author of several books, including "Fitness and Healthy Lunchbox: The Working Mom's Guide to Keeping You and Your Kids Trim." Her website is To find out more about Rallie McAllister, M.D., and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at

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