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aloe-vera

One of the greatest advantages that natural medicine has over allopathic medicine is that it offers remedies with a wide range of simultaneous benefits and applications.

Healing plants are a great example of natural remedies. They are able to heal many problems at once simply by bringing the entire body into balance. While medical science has certainly produced its fair share of marvels, it’s important to remember that our synthetic laboratory creations are still woefully simplistic when compared to the perfected creations that Nature has evolved over billions of years.

One such creation is aloe vera, a succulent in the lily family that’s making serious waves in the medical research community. It’s a healing powerhouse with the ability to treat over fifty different conditions at last count, and with no side effects to speak of.

An ancient remedy with countless applications

Aloe vera has been prized for thousands of years as a panacea, and modern medicine has only just begun to put it to use. It’s absolutely packed with nutrients (including vitamins A, B, C, E, folic acid, beta-carotene, and over sixty others), and is a powerful natural anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, antiviral, antifungal, antioxidant, and more. Just take a look at this small sampling of aloe vera’s whole-body-healing capabilities…

Full-spectrum skin healing
Aloe vera made its original splash as an ingredient in a variety of skin care products, and for good reason. It’s incredibly moisturizing, and has also been shown to be incredibly beneficial for conditions like acne and psoriasis.

Conventional skin remedies are terrible at offering the full-spectrum healing that aloe vera provides. Acne solutions often just dry out the skin (a problem in its own right), which can trigger the skin inflammation that underlies psoriasis and related problems; psoriasis remedies often suppress the immune system in order to target inflammation, which inevitably creates more problems than it solves.

Aloe vera, on the other hand, is able to target many skin conditions simultaneously by cleansing toxins, minimizing inflammation, and moisturizing and rejunvenating the skin in the process. And contrary to the stigma about natural remedies, it really works: one team of researchers conducted a study in which it cured 83.3% of participants suffering from psoriasis in just four weeks.[1]

One study also demonstrated that aloe vera can reverse skin aging and reduce wrinkles by increasing collagen production (both high doses (3,600 mg per day) and lower doses (1,200 mg per day) were shown to have a beneficial effect).[2]

It even works epigenetically by “switching off” the gene that underlies collagen dysfunction in the skin.

Diseases of inflammation
Because aloe vera is so potently anti-inflammatory, its skin benefits are just the tip of the iceberg. As we’ve discussed before, inflammation is often called “the root of all disease,” so anything that minimizes systemic inflammation is bound to be a remarkably effective prevention and treatment for a huge variety of health problems.

The list of inflammatory conditions for which aloe vera could benefit is thus virtually endless, but researchers have honed in on a few in particular. They’ve found that it works wonders for osteoarthritis, both on its own and when used in conjunction with conventional painkillers.[3]

This same study mentions that aloe vera circumvents the stomach irritation often associated with the use of anti-inflammatory drugs, and other studies demonstrate that it can clear ulcerative colitis and other inflammatory bowel conditions in as few as four weeks.[4]

Detoxification
As mentioned above, aloe vera is also a potent antioxidant. By scavenging damaging free radicals and thereby reducing oxidative stress, it significantly reduces the body’s toxin load and supercharges its detoxifying ability.

These are the properties that set apart truly healing plants from ineffective remedies: nutrient density, anti-inflammatory action, and antioxidant activity. When these factors combine to balance and detox the whole body, your natural “self-healing” systems are activated.

And if recent aloe vera research is any indication, the results of this process are nothing less than amazing. Researchers have found that aloe vera can prevent and reverse DNA damage,[5] fluoride toxicity,[6] radiation poisoning,[7] petroleum toxicity, and more.

And that’s just the toxic substances on which research has specifically focused—chances are that, by lowering oxidative stress and inflammation, aloe vera empowers the body to detoxify any toxin that stands in the way of radiant health.

Getting started with Aloe Vera

You kind of can’t go wrong when it comes to taking aloe vera—just know that the studies cited above all reported positive cumulative effects when the plant was taken every day. Aloe vera is easily purchased in topical or oral forms in most health food stores and pharmacies.

The plant is also very easy to grow (it’s a succulent, so it doesn’t even need to be watered very often), and it makes a beautiful addition to any home. If you grow your own aloe vera, you can harvest the “arms” of the plant yourself and squeeze out the fresh juice whenever you need it (they can also be juiced or added to smoothies).

Aloe-Herb-Cleanser-Hi-Res (1)Aloe Vera for Your Skin

If you are looking for the easiest way to use aloe vera on your face for younger looking skin you need to try this Aloe-Herb Cleanser from Annmarie Skin Care. The aloe vera in this cleanser not only soothes your skin, but also helps synergize the ingredients in the formula. The complete relationship between herbs, oils and aloe enhances the benefits of this cleanser, leaving your face clear and smooth.

>> Click Here to Learn More

 

 

 

 


References

[1] http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8765459

[2] http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20548848

[3] http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20679979

[4] http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15043514

[5] http://www.idosi.org/wasj/wasj24(7)13/8.pdf

[6] http://www.omicsonline.org/open-access/effect-of-aloe-vera-whole-leaf-extract-on-fluoride-induced-pathomorphological-changes-in-soft-tissues-in-growing-rats-2157-7579-1000S13-003.php?aid=61638

[7] http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3728063/

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As of mid-October 2017, forest fires continue to rage across Northern California. Property damage has already topped $3 billion, and the property analytics firm CoreLogic reports that costs could skyrocket to $65 billion before the fires are fully contained.[1] The fires have claimed 42 lives, and have displaced tens of thousands from their homes.

Those who have safely evacuated, or whose homes are at a safe distance from the blaze, still have cause for worry—air pollution. Air quality health warnings are in effect across the entire state, and those within range would do well to heed them.

Furthermore, these fires are a tragic reminder that air pollution is a constant reality in industrial society. A meta-analysis published in the journal Lancet found a strong connection between air pollution and cardiovascular dysfunction, the number one killer in the United States[2]—and that’s just one way in which air pollution adversely affects us each and every day. Whether or not you’re directly affected by the California fires, detoxing from air pollution is an important aspect of maintaining optimal health.

Before we dive into specific detoxification practices, though, let’s look more closely at why air pollution (whether it’s generated by forest fires or the normal workings of society) can be so bad for your health.

The dirty truth about air pollution

When we think of air pollution, we usually think of the toxic exhaust of industry and transportation (i.e. carbon monoxide, ozone, and the like). While these gases certain can have an impact on our health (and they’re certainly having an impact on the environment, via global warming), airborne particulate matter is even more of a problem.

Particulate matter is an obvious danger posed by forest fires, which carry fragments of biological material (as well as whatever other materials the fire burns through). This kind of air pollution is ever-present even without forest fires, though: heavy metals, industrial pollutants, and myriad other toxins all routinely make their way into the air we breathe.

Studies have shown that these toxic particulates can cause all sorts of serious health issues, including systemic inflammation (the root of nearly every health problem), DNA damage, respiratory issues, and numerous heart problems (including atherosclerotic lesions and cardiac hypoxia).[3]

Luckily, you do not have to be a victim of the air that you breathe. Being vigilant about including detoxification practices in your life can minimize oxidative stress and protect you from the health effects of airborne toxins.

Best detox practices

We’ve written a lot about detoxification practices in past articles—after all, they’re pivotally important for preserving your health in today’s polluted world. Unless you live far away from any vestige of industrial civilization, you’re undoubtedly contending with its byproducts. Here’s just a few of the top tools and practices that will help you keep toxins at bay.

Cruciferous vegetables. We’ve said it once, and we’ll say it again: cruciferous veggies like kale, broccoli, spinach, arugula, and Brussel sprouts are absolute health powerhouses. Sulfurophane (a compound present in all crucifers) is the most powerful inducer of phase II enzymes ever discovered (these enzymes are pivotal to detoxification). One study conducted in a dangerously polluted region of China found that broccoli sprouts can directly “enhance the detoxification of some airborne pollutants.”[4]

Turmeric is well-known for its profound antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, both of which are key aspects of preventing the damage caused by air pollution. Studies have also shown that curcumin (one of the active constituents in turmeric) prevents the depletion of glutathione, the body’s “master antioxidant” that oversees detoxification processes.[5] Just make sure you’re using a highly bioavailable version of turmeric—like this one, which also contains ginger and vegan omega-3 fatty acids, both of which have their own strongly detoxifying properties.

Cinnamon. We’ve written about the benefits of cinnamon before—it can naturally regulate blood sugar levels, ward off disease, and clear the body of oxidative stress. This same properties also make it a potent protector against airborne toxins. Cinnamaldehyde, a flavonoid in cinnamon, helps to “switch on” a whole collection of genes implicated in the body’s antioxidant and detoxification functions, according to researchers.[6]

Cold water immersion. As we discussed in a previous article, cold showers and cold plunges can dramatically transform your health. While they take some getting used to, the benefits are well worth it. In addition to radically boosting the immune system, aiding toxin elimination, and improving other detoxification functions, daily cold water immersion can also enhance energy, performance, and even mood.

Liposomal glutathione. Maintaining high levels of endogenous glutathione is essential to keeping your body’s detox engines running. While oral supplementation didn’t used to be a viable way to increase glutathione levels in the body, cutting-edge formulation methods have finally made it possible. While the diet and lifestyle recommendations above are always the best place to start, combining them with direct glutathione supplementation is one of the most powerful ways you can supercharge your body’s detoxifying and self-healing capacities. We highly recommend this liposomal glutathione offered by KorFactor.

 


References

[1] http://money.cnn.com/2017/10/11/news/economy/california-wildfire-cost-estimate/index.html

[2] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23849322

[3] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25454230

[4] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4125483/

[5] https://bmcresnotes.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s13104-017-2409-z

[6] https://www.hindawi.com/journals/nri/2012/878030/

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Alzheimer’s disease is an enormous health issue—and its prevalence continues to increase. It now claims more than half a million American lives every year, making it the third leading cause of death, behind cancer and heart disease.[1]

Like cancer, heart disease, and other top killers, the etiology and mechanisms of Alzheimer’s are extremely complicated. But there’s something else that all of these serious conditions have in common: their development is strongly linked with lifestyle and environmental factors (more so than genetic factors, according to many experts).

Let’s take a look at some of the latest research on why Alzheimer’s has become an epidemic, and even more importantly, how we can stop it.

The complex story behind amyloid plaque buildup

Researchers have long held that the buildup of amyloid beta plaque in the brain is one of primary factors involved in the development of Alzheimer’s. “Amyloid beta” is a fancy name for a peptide group of amino acids that have formed a protein with particularly affinity for nerve cells in the brain—unfortunately, amyloid plaques are toxic to these nerves, and can also catalyze the formation of other harmful proteins (such as the tau protein).[2]

The tau protein is the latest star of the show, with many experts jumping ship from the amyloid beta hypothesis in favor of this newly researched “cause” of Alzheimer’s. This is because Alzheimer’s drugs aren’t working, despite being developed with amyloid beta plaque as their target—some say this failure to allay symptoms must refute the causal connection between amyloid plaques and cognitive decline.[3]

But it’s not that simple.

Dr. Dale Bredesen, director of neurodegenerative disease research at the UCLA School of Medicine, believes that conventional medicine is viewing the problem from the wrong perspective. He theorizes that amyloid plaques are not an isolated cause; rather, they’re a symptom of a deeper issue in the body (one which is probably the “cause” of both amyloid plaques and the symptoms of Alzheimer’s).

Amyloid plaques are not an invading pathogen, but instead a defense mechanism engineered by the body (much like oxidative stress and inflammatory response, both of which can also wreak havoc if the underlying issues are not dealt with). It stands to reason, then, that pharmaceuticals that target only these plaques (and not their underlying risk factors) are bound to fail.

The situation is akin to treating arthritis with NSAIDs and other painkillers—temporarily turning off pain receptors does nothing to heal the underlying arthritic condition. And in the case of Alzheimer’s, targeting amyloid plaque may be even more dangerous, because the plaque is your body’s defense against some systemic imbalance. Unless that imbalance is addressed, the condition may continue to worsen, with or without plaque buildup.

An integrative brain-healing program

Following this line of thought, Dr. Bredesen advocates an integrative treatment protocol instead of a “monotherapeutic approach” (i.e. using an Alzheimer’s drug to target one marker of the disease, such as amyloid plaques). His approach simultaneously works on reducing plaque buildup while addressing the underlying factors that induced the body to develop plaque in the first place.

And here’s the good news: his program is working wonders. He has demonstrated that this multi-pronged therapeutic method is capable of reversing cognitive decline—something long deemed impossible by the mainstream Alzheimer’s research community. For example, one man who had a 20th percentile hippocampal volume before starting Dr. Bredesen’s program had increased it to the 75th percentile in one year (meaning that he literally increased the size of his hippocampus).[4]

The only downside to this treatment method is that it’s a complex, multi-variable protocol that requires commitment and vigilance on the part of the patient and caretakers. But then again, we already knew that miracle pills are a pipe dream, right?

Luckily, reversing cognitive decline is dependent upon optimizing many aspects of your health with which (if you’ve read many of our previous articles) you’ll already be familiar.

As usual, inflammation and oxidative stress play a prominent role in the development of Alzheimer’s. Both are runaway bodily defense mechanisms triggered by chronic toxicity, and both can in turn lead to mitochondrial dysfunction and other precursors to cognitive decline.

Thus, any successful brain-healing protocol begins with lifestyle practices for reducing inflammation, oxidative stress, and other symptoms of underlying toxicity. Here’s how to get started…

  • Pack your diet full of antioxidant-rich, anti-inflammatory foods like turmeric, raw cacao, dark berries and leafy greens. Get rid of the processed foods, processed sugar, unhealthy fats (trans and polyunsaturated), and GMO foods.
  • Get your nutrient levels tested and use supplementation to take care of any deficiencies you may have. Vitamin D, vitamin B12, zinc, copper, and glutathione are especially important for preventing or reserving cognitive decline.
  • Supercharge your body’s detoxification mechanisms with frequent exercise, cold showers, infrared sauna sessions, and intermittent fasting. Combine these practices with liposomal glutathione supplementation for even greater success.
  • Minimize your exposure to environmental and household toxins, EMF-producing devices, and other toxin sources of modern living.

 


References

[1] http://www.alz.org/downloads/facts_figures_2013.pdf

[2] http://www.alz.org/downloads/facts_figures_2013.pdf

[3] http://bjp.rcpsych.org/content/208/1/1

[4] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4712873/

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sauna_hallenbad02

Saunas have long been valued around the world for the deeply healing and relaxing experience that they offer.

They exemplify the perfect intersection of mindfulness, relaxation, positive social interaction, and active healing. In Finland (where the practice originated), sitting in a sauna is even approached as a sacred activity deserving of reverence.

You’ve probably already experienced the blissful rejuvenation that a good sauna experience provides. If not, you’re missing out!

They’re great for more than just relaxation, though. When integrated into a healthy lifestyle, sauna usage can be powerfully healing for both the body and mind.

Isn’t it wonderful when things that feel good are also good for us?

Here’s some reasons this feel-good activity should be a part of your life…

They’ll teach you to let go

We might as well start with the most obvious benefit of sauna use.

In today’s hectic world, the value of any activity that allows us to unwind, let go, and reset shouldn’t be underestimated.

A sauna session is a great way to step away from our busy schedules and consciously direct our attention toward our health and wellness. Stress-tightened muscles and racing thoughts are no match for a nice, hot sauna sit!

And stress relief is not something to be taken lightly. Stress has been linked to every leading cause of death, and it’s estimated that 90% of all doctor visits are due to stress-related issues.[1]

Through the simple action of setting aside time for a sauna session, you can begin to accustom yourself to prioritizing activities that minimize your level of stress.

They’ll take your detoxing to the next level

It’s nearly impossible to stay vibrantly healthy without regular detoxification practices. Every part of our daily living environment is rife with toxins—and thus, so is your body, unless you take the time to clean it out.

Saunas are an incredibly powerful detox accelerator. Anyone who’s ever used them knows how much they make you sweat—and sweating just happens to be one of the major ways in which the body excretes toxins.

Heat also increases vasodilation, which ensures that optimal blood flow flushes toxins out of muscles and tissue. This process is amplified when you interrupt your sauna session with a cold plunge, which causes immediate vasoconstriction and helps push out stagnant toxins.

The beneficial vasodilation caused by sauna use is so pronounced that one study even found that it increased the endurance of distance runners by up to 32%.[2]

There’s even evidence that the specific kind of heat stress induced by sitting in a sauna raises the body’s levels of detoxification enzymes called catalase (CAT) and superoxide dismutase (SOD).[3]

They increase vitality and decrease the likelihood of illness

Of all the magical feats that saunas can work upon your body, this one is perhaps the most surprising: studies demonstrate that a 30-minute, uninterrupted sauna session can raise your levels of human growth hormone (hGH), which many refer to as “the vitality hormone.”[4]

Human growth hormone is absolutely central to the growth of our bodies and brains. Because of its role as a catalyst for muscle growth, athletes and bodybuilders work awfully hard to keep their hGH levels elevated. How ironic, then, that you can do so just by relaxing in a sauna!

The vitality enhancement offered by sauna use extends to your heart and immune system, as well.

The Cardiovascular and Prevention Centre at Quebec’s Université de Montréal discovered that exercise and sauna dramatically improves the symptoms of hypertension for 24 hours following the session,[5] and a study conducted at the Austria’s University of Vienna found that regular sauna bathers have a far lower incidence of the common cold.[6]

While the mechanisms by which saunas exert their healing power are undoubtedly complex, many researchers attribute it to their unique combination of detox enhancement and tendency to build stress resistance.

Think of a sauna session like a homeopathic dose of stress. Over time, your body develops the ability to deal with stressors in a more effective manner—which leads to a stronger heart, a more vital immune system, and enhanced overall health.

As wonderfully health-promoting as sauna use can be, though, there’s one way that you can take its healing potential to whole new level.

Supercharge your sauna experience with far infrared therapy

Far infrared saunas are similar to those that we know and love, with a slight twist: invisible waves of energy known as far infrared waves (FIR) are distributed throughout the enclosure.

These infrared rays are able to penetrate deeply into all layers of the body, thus deepening the already impressive detoxification, relaxation, and healing that comes along with sauna use.

If this all sounds like some scary new technology, don’t worry: far infrared therapy is an ancient practice. Modern science has shown that our hands, our bodies, and the sun emit FIR rays at all times. This is why “palm healing” and “the laying on of hands” have been such widely used healing techniques for thousands of years.

Numerous studies have demonstrated that far infrared saunas have numerous remarkable healing abilities.[7] Among other things, they’ve been shown to…

Facilitate weight loss by increasing blood flow and stimulating metabolism.

Ameliorate chronic fatigue by relieving stress, decreasing inflammation, and ridding the body of toxins.

Clear skin conditions by cleaning the liver and kidneys, thus relieving the body of its toxin-processing burden.

Boost the immune system by increasing the number of white blood cells and killer T-cells.

Far infrared saunas are now available for installation in your own home (and they’re more affordable than you might expect), and the trend is catching on at many spas and health centers too.

Far infrared or not, just make an effort to become a more regular sauna bather (if you’re not already)…your body and mind will thank you.

 


References

[1] http://www.drweil.com/drw/u/ART00694/Stress.html

[2] http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16877041

[3] http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24304490

[4] http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/999213

[5] http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22863164

[6] http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/2248758

[7] http://www.globalhealingcenter.com/natural-health/health-benefits-of-far-infrared-therapy/

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pineal-gland

The importance of the pineal gland has been acknowledged for many millennia. For nearly every ancient civilization throughout the world, it occupied a prominent position not only in their systems of anatomy and medicine, but also their systems of philosophy, cosmology, and spirituality.

While Western science looks upon this vital gland as simply another part of the endocrine system (albeit an important part), the ancient Egyptians, Chaldeans, Indians, and Chinese all regarded it as a point of immense spiritual importance within the body.

In many cases, it was referred to as the third eye (a term that modern spirituality has inherited). According to many spiritual lineages, the third eye is the interface between the physical and the spiritual worlds, and thus the “opening of the third eye” is the gateway to spiritual progress.

Even Rene Descartes—the philosopher who we have to thank for the scientific method, algebra, and many other foundational aspects of modern scientific inquiry—believed that the pineal gland was the seat of the soul.

Needless to say, modern science isn’t exactly on board with this theory—and third eye vernacular is still confined to yoga studios, retreat centers, and a small vanguard within the natural health community.

Nevertheless, scientists and spiritualists alike can agree on one thing: the pineal gland is vitally important to the health of the physical body.

Your brain’s built-in detox system

The pineal gland is part of the endocrine system’s master hormone control system. Through hormone secretion, it is able to regulate the body’s circadian rhythms, metabolism, and sexual development. The proper functioning of the entire endocrine system (and even the entire body) rests on a healthy pineal gland.

The gland’s main secretion is melatonin, which regulates sleep-wake cycles (more melatonin = more sleepiness), as well as sexual development (melatonin production slows down during puberty).[1] Melatonin is also one of the most potent brain antioxidants in existence, so in this sense, you can also think of the pineal gland as part of the brain’s built-in detox system.

According to recent research, there may be other little understood chemicals that the pineal gland secretes too. For example, scientists discovered an exceedingly mysterious chemical called dimethyltryptamine (DMT)—a strongly psychoactive compound that may be implicated in dreaming and out-of-body experiences—in the pineal glands of rats.[2] DMT is often called the Spirit Molecule.

While this area of study is still in its infancy, such discoveries offer great hope for bridging the gap between the scientific and spiritual understandings of the pineal gland.

Regardless of what side of the argument you fall on, though, it’s essential that you keep your pineal gland functioning optimally.

Your pineal gland needs your help

We’ve talked in past articles about the many burdens that modern living places upon your endocrine system. Environmental toxins are chock-full of endocrine disruptors, and iodine deficiency is a rampant problem (iodine is essential for proper endocrine function). All of this means that the pineal gland is under constant attack.

On top of these issues, the pineal gland is very prone to calcification by fluoride, mercury, and other toxins that are omnipresent in our society. The pineal gland has the highest levels of fluoride in the body. As a calcifying tissue that is exposed to a high volume of blood flow, the pineal gland is a major target for fluoride accumulation in humans.

a

Calcified pineal glands show up as solid-looking objects on brain scans. The worse the calcification gets, the more the gland’s functioning is inhibited.

So how can we help keep our pineal glands free of calcification and functioning in peak condition?

Detoxification is the name of the gameand all the usual rules apply.

Detox practices. Integrating fasting, juice cleansing, and oil pulling into your life will all help give your body’s natural detox systems a leg up. Doing so is especially important if you’ve lived a relatively sedentary lifestyle or consumed an unhealthy diet in the past (but even if you’re an active, healthy-eating person, your body is still prone to the onslaught of environmental toxins).

Stay active. Vigorous exercise helps supercharge your body’s detoxification processes—lots of toxins are excreted when you sweat, and increased heart rate and circulation helps push toxins out of tissues. Adding cold showers, cold plunges, and sauna sessions will make your exercise regimens even more detoxifying.

Detoxifying foods. The easiest way to turn your body into an unstoppable, detoxifying machine is to continuously eat a detoxifying diet. Turmeric, coconut oil, kale and other dark greens, raw cacao, chlorella, spirulina, probiotics, apple cider vinegar, beet juice, and oregano are all excellent choices. Read more about how to build the perfect detoxifying diet here.

Supplement properly. As I mentioned above, most people are deficient in iodine, so you’ll want to supplement in order to maintain optimal levels (kelp extracts are the best source). Vitamin C and glutathione also work wonders, as they simultaneously support the immune system, lower inflammation, and boost the body’s ability to take care of its own detoxification.

Ditch the bad stuff. Lastly, it should go without saying that you should avoid consuming fluoridated water, mercury-contaminated fish and dental fillings, and all industrially processed products laced with health-disrupting chemicals. It’s impossible to avoid all the toxins to which you’re subjected, but consciously staying away from as many as possible is immensely beneficial.

By making these practices a part of your everyday life, you’ll be able to keep your pineal gland working in tip-top shape.

Once you begin to feel the effects of living a detoxifying lifestyle, try throwing some meditation into the mix (simply focusing the awareness on the third eye can catalyze some incredible experiences).

Even if you’re skeptical about the spiritual possibilities of the pineal gland, you’ll be pleased by what happens when you take special care of this extraordinary organ. At the very least, you’ll be keeping your endocrine system nice and balanced (which translates to better sleep, more energy, greater immune function, balanced mood, and more). And who knows…an experience of third eye opening just might catch you by surprise and turn you into a believer.

 


References

[1] http://www.globalhealingcenter.com/natural-health/what-is-the-pineal-gland/

[2] http://www.cottonwoodresearch.org/dmt-pineal-2013/

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Fukushima-leak

If you’re not worried about radiation, you should be.

Radioactivity is a major health concern in today’s world, both for its enormous toxicity and its worrying prevalence in the environment.

Even prior to March 11, 2011, our exposure to radiation was nearly constant, thanks to x-ray machines and other medical technologies, microwaves, cell phones, and cell towers. The air is a literal super-highway for radioactive frequencies.

Our water and soil is also being continuously polluted by radioactive waste from industrial processes and nuclear power plants, by the way.

And as bleak as this all sounds, things got much worse after Fukushima.

Don’t be fooled by the propaganda: the disaster in Fukushima adversely affects everyone on the planet. It is not an isolated problem, it is not a small or insignificant issue by any stretch of the imagination, and its accompanying dangers aren’t going away anytime soon.

Agencies involved in the incident did a frighteningly good job downplaying its severity and keeping things quiet. Here’s some alarming facts about Fukushima that have been withheld from you…

The disaster is far from over. Even now, well over four years later, the nuclear power plant is barely considered stable. Cleanup efforts continue with bated breath, due to the constant danger of new issues. Conservative estimates state that the cleanup will take forty years.[1]

Fukushima radiation has contaminated the entire globe. Japan is awfully far away…so we have nothing to worry about, right? Wrong. A huge radiation plume crossed the Pacific Ocean and made contact with the US West Coast this year (and we haven’t even seen the peak of the radiation flow, which will occur in 2016).[2] Radiation from Fukushima has been detected in countries all over the world, including Europe, the Canary Islands, and even in the Arctic.[3]

It’s even in our soil, water, and food. The mainstream would like to convince us that post-Fukushima radiation has not reached dangerous levels—but this just isn’t true. Tests of US surface soil reveal a radiation level that is 108 times higher than before Fukushima.[4] Air, water, and industrial food samples from across the US have also been found to contain high levels of radioactive iodine, cesium, and tellurium.[5]

Marine life is in dire straits. If radiation from Fukushima was able to cross the entire Pacific Ocean and contaminate US water and soil, just imagine how strongly it’s affecting marine life. After all, 300 tons of highly radioactive water has already leaked into the ocean, and the danger of further leakage still remains.[6]

So just how bad for you is radiation?

The above facts should make it fairly obvious that, whether we like it or not, radiation is a clear and present danger. But why exactly should we be so concerned about it?

Simply put, highly radioactive materials are among the most hazardous substances on earth.

Radiation causes cellular damage and DNA mutation, which lead to a staggering array of health issues, including cancer, heart problems, asthma, and neurological impairment. And genetic issues caused by radiation damage can affect families for generations to come.

The work of Dr. John Gofman and Dr. Arthur Tamplin has proven beyond a reasonable doubt that there is no safe dosage of radiation.[7] It is lethal in shockingly small doses, and inhaling just 1 millionth of a gram of a radioactive isotope like plutonium will give you cancer.

And we can’t just wait around for the radiation risk to dissipate either. Most radioactive materials take hundreds of years to break down, and some (like radioactive iodine) stick around in the environment for millions of years.

It’s up to you to protect yourself

Because the threat of radiation isn’t going anywhere anytime soon, and because we obviously can’t count on our governments and regulatory agencies to warn us of impending dangers…we just need to take matters into our own hands.

Luckily, there’s a number of measures you can take to protect yourself from radiation toxicity.

Regular detoxification practices are a must. Certain foods—especially spirulina, chlorella, and dark leafy greens like kale—will amplify your radiation detox process.

Remember: it’s almost impossible to avoid radiation exposure altogether. The trick is to help your body deal with it more effectively.

Making sure your body receives sufficient iodine is another radiation-fighting practice. Radioactive iodine-131 is among the most feared isotopes released during the Fukushima meltdown. When your thyroid is full of beneficial iodine, though, it is less likely to absorb radioactive iodine.

The most powerful radiation protector of all, though, is an organic compound called squalene.

Squalene to the rescue

Squalene is an unsaturated hydrocarbon that was first popularized as a component of shark liver oil.

It’s wildly anti-inflammatory, immune-supporting, and cell-oxygenating, and it has an uncanny ability to protect against the free radicals created during radiation exposure.

In fact, one study showed that daily intake of squalene led to a 100% survival rate among rats subjected to a lethal dose of radiation.[8] You don’t often see scientific results this astonishing: all of the rats that weren’t given squalene died from radiation exposure, and all of the rats who were given squalene lived.

This is about as close to a magic bullet as it gets.

Until recently, squalene was exceedingly hard to come by (and producing it required the mass murder of sharks).

Fortunately, though, researchers have figured out how to extract it from a plant known as amaranth—which turns out to be the richest source of squalene in the world. Amaranth contains nearly ten times more squalene than shark liver oil!

Amaranth Seed Oil is thus an unparalleled source of squalene, and an essential tool to have in your radiation-combating toolbox.

It’s also sustainable, affordable, and packed with lots of other vitamins, nutrient, peptides, and phytochemicals that support and nourish your entire body.

So give amaranth seed oil (as well as the other practices listed above) a try. We may live in a toxic and irradiated world, but that doesn’t mean we should just throw in the towel. With the proper tools and a little follow-through, we can protect ourselves and our families from even this gravest of dangers.

 


References

[1] http://www.popularmechanics.com/science/energy/nuclear/40-years-of-fukushima-cleanup-timeline-7210953

[2] http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22469934

[3] http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22300482

[4] http://livingmaxwell.com/radiation-japanese-earthquake-worse-than-thought-marco-kaltofen

[5] http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22456673

[6] http://rt.com/news/fukushima-record-radiation-leak-616/

[7] http://www.beyondnuclear.org/storage/pandoras-false-promises/Aug23_2013_Pandora%27s%20False%20Promises.pdf

[8] http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8355581

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detoxifying-foods

Despite its growing popularity, detoxing is still commonly associated with relatively fringe health circles.

It usually entails the use of “cleanses,” “fasts,” or other extended practices intended to catalyze a massive release of toxins all at once. These practices also usually require a good deal of time, energy, knowledge, and discipline to do safely and effectively. Unfortunately, these requirements make detoxing inaccessible for most people.

Make no mistake, though: detoxifying practices are immensely important for maintaining vibrant health. We live in a veritable sea of toxins, courtesy of our industrial society’s pollutive onward march. You can read about some of the most important toxin sources to avoid here, here, and here.

The moral of the story is this: even if you think you’re living healthily, you still need to help your body detoxify, because just existing in the world ensures that you’re bombarded by toxins on a daily basis.

The accumulation of toxins in your body will disrupt hormones, enzymes, and even metabolic processes, damage your cells through oxidation, and flood you with free radicals. These conditions lead to chronic inflammation, decreased disease resistance, sapped energy levels, and an extended list of long-term health problems.

Days could be spent cataloguing all the correlations between the increased presence of environmental toxins and the increased incidence of a specific disease and disorder. Just to cite one example: glyphosate—the prevalent toxin in Monsanto’s RoundUp pesticide—has been correlated for the development of autism, obesity, gastrointestinal issues, depression, cancer, allergies, Alzheimer’s, infertility, heart disease, and more.[1] And that’s just one toxin with which our body has to cope.

If all that data still doesn’t make intensive cleansing and fasting feel worth the effort, don’t worry…there’s an easier way.

Turn your body into a detoxifying machine

While it’s ideal to set aside time for a conscious and directed detox, you can get most of the job done simply with proper lifestyle design.

The simplest possible practice is to learn about the most dangerous and most insidious environmental toxins, so that you can avoid them. The fewer toxins make it into your body in the first place, the easier your detoxification will be.

Perhaps even more important, though, is the inclusion of detoxifying foods in your diet. Your body is a miraculously designed, self-preserving machine, but it can get bogged down under the weight of our toxic world. Detoxifying foods ensure that it always runs at full capacity, and therefore that it’s able to handle whatever comes its way.

With the help of these foods, the body is able to take care of toxins immediately, so that they’re not allowed to accumulate and cause systemic issues.

So which foods are most detoxifying?

The number of dietary choices available these days can be overwhelming. So, instead of listing a bunch of seemingly unrelated foods, let’s jump into the general principles that can be used as orientation points when planning a detoxifying diet.

First of all, it’s important to remember a clean, simple, and consistently healthy diet is superior to an unhealthy diet with a few detox “superfoods” sprinkled throughout it. When in doubt, just always strive to eat lots of living vegetables and healthy fats and proteins, and to minimize your intake of sugars, grains, and other carbs.

When it comes to prioritizing specific detoxifying foods, it’s helpful to categorize them according to how they aid detoxification within the body. Two of the most easily identified categories are antioxidants and chelators.

Antioxidants protect your body from the oxidizing effects of toxins, which can lead to a proliferation of disease-causing free radicals. We’ve written before about some of the world’s greatest food sources of antioxidants: turmeric, kale and other crucifers, healthy fats like coconut oil, macadamia nut oil, and avocado oil, probiotic sources like kombucha, pomegranate, coriander seed oil, and even CBD, one of the non-psychoactive alkaloids in cannabis.

Chelators help the process of actually removing toxins from the body (antioxidants simply neutralize their harmful effects, rather than removing them). They do so by binding to toxins and heavy metals, which makes it much easier for your body to excrete them safely. Two of the best chelators around are marine algaes called spirulina and chlorella, which are the top sources of chlorophyll (the green pigment in plants).

Lastly, there are some multi-talented foods and compounds that fit into both categories. Raw cacao is one of the most powerful antioxidants on the planet, and because of its vasodilatory effect, it also helps flush toxins by opening up blood flow throughout the body.

And vitamin C is another miracle worker. It works as an antioxidant in its own right, and also helps the body synthesize glutathione, the most powerful endogenous antioxidant. While it’s not technically a chelator, it optimizes so many of the body’s natural detoxification systems that it deserves to be in this “jack-of-all-trades” category.[2] While it’s fairly easy to get vitamin C from foods, you can supercharge your detoxification and defense systems by supplementing with higher doses—just make sure to take plant-extracted vitamin C rather than synthetic (it’s very difficult for your body to process most synthetic vitamins, and you end up excreting most of them in your urine).

Keeping your system balanced

By eating a clean diet that consistently includes both antioxidants and chelators, you’ll be tapping into the innate intelligence of healing foods. This intelligence allows you to optimize your body’s own cleaning potential, so that you can avoid the “detox, re-tox” cycle that many of us get stuck in.

Unless you live in an extraordinarily unpolluted area that is equally insulated from toxic consumer products, you might still have to undertake a detox regimen from time to time, in order to keep your system in tip-top shape. But awareness of the toxin sources to avoid, coupled with a little dietary discipline, will go a long way in helping you live a healthy and radiant life unhindered by toxins.

 


References

[1] http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2013/06/09/monsanto-roundup-herbicide.aspx

[2] http://besynchro.com/blogs/blog/9393529-why-detoxing-matters-the-best-simple-detox-strategies

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toxic-skin-care

We’ve confronted the issue of manmade environmental toxins in past articles.

These days, it seems like pretty much everything causes cancer (or some other worrying health condition): processed foods, GMO produce, cell phones and other EMF-emitting technology, flame-retardant-soaked furniture, fluoride-poisoned tap water, and even the air we breathe.

There’s no doubt about it: your body’s detoxification system has a full-time (and nearly impossible) job on its hands. The least we can do is help lighten its load.

One way of doing so is to include detoxification practices as part of our ongoing routines—which can take the form of fasting, cleansing, or eating detoxifying foods as often as possible.

An even more common-sense way to protect ourselves, though, is simply to avoid as many manmade toxin sources as possible.  

While this lifestyle can get pretty tricky in some cases (avoiding air pollution is a fairly futile task and we’re pretty much surrounded by EMF-radiating technology whether we like it or not), making choices about which consumer products we use is a bit simpler process.

I’ve talked before about the dangers of industrially products like cleaning solutions, cosmetics, and sunscreens. Here’s another prominent example to add to your watch list: skin moisturizers.

So my moisturizer causes cancer too, right?

I hate to break it to you, but yes, it probably does.

A study published by the National Center for Biotechnology Information demonstrated that moisturizers containing certain toxic chemicals (more on those in a bit) can significantly increase the risk of developing skin cancer.

During the study, irradiated mice that had moisturizer applied to their skin five times per week exhibited 69% more tumors than the control group.[1]

This experiment proves that toxic moisturizers can worsen and accelerate the development of cancer. It also suggests that people who are already at risk for skin cancer should definitely steer clear of the toxins found in many popular moisturizers (and I would advise staying away from them regardless).

Obviously, this doesn’t mean that all moisturizers are carcinogenic, but with so many available products, it can be difficult to know which ones to avoid. Here’s the offending products that were identified by this study: Eucerin, Dermabase, Vanicream, and Dermovan.

The complete list of toxic moisturizers would probably occupy the majority of this article—these four products just happen to be ones with research-confirmed toxicity.

While more research is necessary to show definitively what makes these products dangerous, there’s a handful of noxious ingredients that always seem to make an appearance whenever there’s a question of toxicity.

The usual suspects

The worst of these toxins is sodium lauryl sulfate, which is in nearly all hair and skin care products. Product manufacturers continue to deny that it’s dangerous in any way, despite innumerable studies that link it to endocrine disruption, possible immune suppression, and accumulation of toxins within the body (probably because it makes the skin more permeable, thus allowing environmental toxins to enter the bloodstream more easily).

Parabens, isopropyl palmitate, and propylene glycol have similar negative effects. They also paradoxically make your skin more dry over time—partially because of irritation from incoming toxins, and partially because your skin becomes trained by these chemical moisturizers to stop producing its own moisturizing oils.

The story is pretty much the same with ceteareth-20, except this scary-sounding chemical has the added bonus of contaminants that are also known carcinogens, such as 1,4-dioxane and ethylene oxide.

BHT and isopropyl myristate are linked with a frightening array of side effects, including stomach issues, compromised gut flora, immune dysfunction, cancer, liver damage, and irritation of the skin, eyes, and lungs. Some moisturizers even contain sodium hydroxide—also known as lye, the incredibly toxic irritant that’s the main ingredient in drain cleaners.

Simple ways to protect yourself

It’s truly disheartening that companies would even think to include ingredients like this in their product formulations (especially now that their toxicity has been demonstrated by numerous studies).

Luckily, there’s a simple rule of thumb that you can use to protect yourself from this corporate negligence: just stay away from products with long lists of unpronounceable ingredients, and stick with plant-derived formulations.

And in most cases, it’s not even necessary to buy pre-packaged products—Nature has already provided us with ready-made, perfectly designed moisturizers.

Coconut oil is a fabulous moisturizer all on its own, and it even remains solid at room temperature, so it’s easy to transport and apply. Best of all, it’s also a delicious and amazingly healthful dietary addition, so you can stock up on it as a multi-purpose health product. I always get a kick out of adding coconut oil to my morning smoothie, and then while waiting for it to blend, applying some oil as a moisturizer and using some more for an oil pull (swishing coconut oil in your mouth for a few minutes and then spitting it out is a great way to detox in the morning).

You can get fancier by adding aloe vera, liquid vitamin E, almond oil, or essential oils (sandalwood oil is particularly moisturizing) to your homemade moisturizer. Beeswax will also help thicken the mixture.

Get creative and have fun with your DIY skin care. Most importantly, remember that any one of these natural ingredients will be more moisturizing and drastically safer for your body than any of those store-bought chemical concoctions. Companies work hard to convince you that natural alternatives couldn’t possibly be as effective as their products…but this just isn’t true.

Give these natural moisturizers a try, and find the recipe that works best for you (the possibilities are endless)—you’ll wonder why you didn’t ditch the expensive, cancer-causing ones a long time ago.            

 


References

[1] http://diet-sage.com/health-news/is-your-moisturizer-increasing-your-cancer-risk

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sneaky_toxin_sources

Wouldn’t it be wonderful to live in a world free of manmade toxins? A world in which clean water, pure air, and optimal health is more important than profit margins and short-term schemes?

A world in which everyone holds themselves to the same high standard of accountability? A world in which you can trust that you’re not constantly surrounded by hidden sources of toxins?  

I’d like to think we’re on our way there. Unfortunately, though, that’s just not the way things are at present.

Staying healthy is a full-time job these days—mostly because we always have to be on the lookout for unwitting toxin sources.

Personal care, diet, and fitness obviously play an essential role, but even if you’re playing all your cards right, your health can still suffer considerably because of environmental toxins.

Below, you’ll find a list of unexpected toxin sources to avoid at all costs.

Don’t be overwhelmed; just take action, one step at a time. Start by removing just one toxin source from your life, and build up from there. This process should be empowering, not paranoia-inducing.

Let’s start with the basics…

Processed foods. It’s hard to take three steps in a grocery store without bumping into processed foods. Any product that is even a single step removed from its natural form should be considered processed.

Processed foods are designed to be overstimulating and addictive.[1] Creating such “designer junk foods” destroys nearly all the nutrients its ingredients may have contained. Synthetic vitamins and nutrients are sometimes added after the fact, but these are a poor replacement at best, and toxic at worst.

And to top things off, processed foods are filled with destructive substances like high-fructose corn syrup,[2] preservatives, colorants, artificial flavors, and texturants.

Many chemicals like this that have been deemed “safe” by the FDA in the past were later found to have deleterious effects on the body. The FDA will only ever investigate chemicals that they believe pose a serious danger—so just know that you’re rolling the dice by consuming any of them.

Non-organic produce. Organic products have been all the rage for years now, but because of the high price that they command, it can be tempting to justify the purchase of more affordable, non-organic food.

How bad could it possibly be?

Pretty bad, unfortunately.

Evidence is mounting that the pesticides and other various chemicals that are sprayed on conventional produce are adversely toxic. A widely published study claiming that there is little difference in the healthfulness and safety of organic and non-organic produce is now being harshly criticized and overturned.[3]

And don’t think that you can just wash off these noxious chemicals either—many of them are absorbed by the plant’s internal structures. In the case of GMO foods, toxicity is incorporated into the plant at a genetic level.

Unwashed produce. Even some organic produce is contaminated with pesticides and other toxic chemicals, so be sure to wash everything before eating it.

The most effective method is to submerge your produce completely in room temperature water, and then lightly scrub each item.

Avoiding dietary toxins

This probably isn’t anything you haven’t heard before.

If you’re already avoiding non-organic and processed food, excellent. Here’s some dietary toxin sources with which you may be less familiar, though…

Mycotoxins in wheat and corn. Here’s a shocking statistic of which very few people are aware: a large percentage of the grains available in the U.S. has been exposed to toxic mold (because it’s nearly always stored in commercial silos for long periods of time).[4]

When wheat and corn is exposed to mold, dangerous byproducts called mycotoxins are developed. Even though cooking will normally destroy any mold that’s present, the mycotoxins will remain intact.

Mycotoxins sap your energy, suppress the immune system, interfere with nutrient absorption, and disrupt metabolic and hormonal functioning in the body.[5]

While reducing (or even eliminating) your consumption of wheat and corn can be a difficult task, it’s really the only surefire way to protect yourself from mycotoxins.

And in case you still need some convincing, there’s a whole host of other reasons why you should banish wheat from your diet.

Damaged fats. Fats have gotten a bad rap in the past. Recent dietary fads (like the Paleo Diet) are starting to get the right idea, though—that the right kind of fat is incredibly healthful.

While whole books could be (and have been) written on this subject, here’s the basic gist that you should keep in mind: a fat becomes toxic when it is unstable, and thus becomes damaged and oxidized by the heat of cooking. The fats that are prone to this damage are called unsaturated.

The unsaturated fats that you’ll want to avoid (usually in the form of cooking oils) are as follows: corn oil (which can also contain mycotoxins, as explained above), canola oil, sesame oil, and anything else generically labeled as “vegetable oil.”

Stick with oils that contain lots of saturated fat, like coconut oil, palm oil, butter, and ghee.

Avoiding household toxins

And then there’s the myriad of toxin sources that surround us within our own homes. Here’s some of the biggest offenders, as well as some suggestions for how to neutralize them…

Plasticware. By now, you’re probably aware of the pitfalls of plastic.Even plastic products that are marketed as “non-toxic” are a gamble. Plastic contains many other chemicals besides those that are now considered toxic. Just because a company labels a given chemical as “non-toxic,” it doesn’t mean that future research won’t reveal the contrary.

So play it safe, and use as few plastic products as possible.

If you can’t eliminate plastic entirely, at least minimize your risk by not heating or freezing any plasticware (which accelerates the process of chemical leaching).

Never put plasticware in the dishwasher. Doing so will leach all those nasty chemicals and then redeposit them on all your other dishes!  

Furniture. A staggering percentage of mattresses, couches, and pillows contain flame retardants that have been shown to cause cancer and birth defects.[6]

High levels of these ridiculously toxic chemicals have been detected in people’s blood, which confirms that they easily enter the body when our skin is in contact with these household items, and even when we breathe the dust in our houses.

The process of “detoxifying” your house by replacing all your toxic furniture is certainly a daunting (and expensive) one. Just be aware of these dangers, and take one step at a time to clear your living space.

Start small: at least replace your pillows, then tackle the larger, more expensive pieces of furniture when it’s possible to do so. Isn’t your health worth the time and the cost?

Cleaning supplies. Taking one whiff of most cleaning supplies on the market is enough to confirm that they’re full of toxins. After years of coating our counters and tables, washing our clothes, and “freshening” the air in our house, these toxins accumulate to very dangerous levels.

And don’t believe everything you hear about “green cleaning products” either. Some of the top eco-products on the market still contain chemicals with demonstrable adverse effects.[7]  

Even seemingly inoffensive dryer sheets are bad news. Nearly all of them contain a whole host of terrible chemicals that cause burning skin, respiratory irritation, anxiety attacks, and irritability—like formaldehyde and chloroform, just to name a few that you’ve probably heard of.[8]

So always do your homework before purchasing any cleaning product. Better yet, read this article to learn how to make your own (it’s easy, I promise).

Creating your own sanctuary

Avoiding these toxin sources will have a huge effect on your health.

We may live in a toxin-laden world, but we shouldn’t just sit back and let ourselves be bombarded. Awareness is always the first step. Let the information that’s been presented sink in, and then start to take measures to protect yourself, bit by bit.

 


References  

[1] http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22016109

[2] http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23594708

[3] http://ehp.niehs.nih.gov/120-a458

[4] http://www.ers.usda.gov/media/321551/aer828h_1_.pdf

[5] http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12857779

[6] http://pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/es303471d

[7] http://www.greenmedinfo.com/blog/simply-green-washing-are-you-using-toxic-cleaner

[8] http://www.lifenatural.com/dangers_of_laundry_dryer_sheets.htm

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