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Germs Are Everywhere – How Can You Protect Yourself?

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How long does a virus remain on a surface, such as a knob, door, TV remote, pen, cellphone, elevator button, etc.? It is said that for up to 24 hours. Now you’re probably thinking how many times you’ve touched those surfaces in a day, or how many other people touched it before you did? Forget it; it’s not worth it to make a drama and suffer anxiety attacks when thinking about viruses. And don’t even think of becoming a germaphobe. Luckily, there are many ways on how you can protect yourself from viruses, including when you’re in closed areas.

Wash and sanitize your hands often

Washing your hands many times a day is increasingly important, especially if you’re touching money, your cellphone, and other dirty objects. It’s almost impossible to avoid touching contaminated surfaces, so unless you’ve considered locking yourself in a crystal globe, the chances are that you might get bacteria. Therefore, wash your hands as often as possible, especially before and after you eat, or after you’ve touched public surfaces. Washing and sanitizing your hands can keep you healthy and prevent spreading bacteria from one person to another. Germs are everywhere, and they can spread quickly from other people if you touch your eyes, nose, and mouth with dirty hands.

Don’t sneeze in public areas

Coughing and sneezing are the most common ways of how a virus can be spread easily. Cover your coughs and sneezes with your elbow, to prevent spreading germs all over your hands and then on other surfaces. It’s best to use a cotton mask with string ties to stop the spread of germs. Whether you’re at the office, or any other public place, covering your nose and mouth with a mask, it’s incredibly important to help others be safe around you as well. If it’s a bad moment, and you don’t have a mask, just sneeze or cough using a tissue. Remember to throw the tissue away immediately and wash your hands properly.

Don’t touch your face with dirty hands

Keeping your hands away from your face is another important aspect to consider. Without realizing it, many of us tend to touch our faces throughout the day. It’s the main reason why we get germs into our body so fast. Make sure that you properly wash your hands before eating or touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.

Stay home if you’re sick

One of the best ways to stop yourself from spreading germs to others is to stay home if you’re sick. You can get a flu by simply touching something, such as an elevator button that has been touched by many people before. Protect yourself by always remembering to wash your hands, avoid touching your face with dirty hands, and wear a mask in crowded places, especially if you’re sick. Also, encourage your coworkers and friends to do the same if they feel sick. It’s okay to work from home or take a few days off sick, rather than showing up to the office completely ill.




The 6 Wellness Dimensions and What Each One Means for You

In 2020, more people report feeling stress than ever before. That is because of several factors. The pandemic is still running rampant, while we’ve seen a contentious presidential election and much societal upheaval.

It’s hard to stay well these days, however you choose to define wellness. However, you must do it. If you feel unbalanced, you need to take steps to alleviate that sensation.

The National Wellness Institute says there are six wellness dimensions. If you’re doing fine in all of them, that’s when you experience fulfillment and happiness.

If you’re unhappy right now, you can probably pinpoint one of these wellness dimensions as the problem. Once you determine which one isn’t balanced, you can attempt to fix it.

Let’s look at what these six dimensions are and what each one means to the average individual.

Physical Wellness

Once you accept that wellness includes many dimensions, physical wellness is the first one about which you will probably think. Physical wellness includes:

  • Strength
  • Endurance
  • Flexibility

If you are physically fit, you’re not experiencing any pain, or very little. You can get through your daily routine without any trouble. You give your body an order, and it responds.

To stay physically well, you must eat a healthy diet. That includes lean meats, fish, and other good protein sources. You’ll want to ingest plenty of fruits and vegetables for vitamins and fiber.

You should imbibe lots of water and consume alcohol sparingly. Avoid tobacco products and recreational drugs. Exercise often.

If you’re in excellent physical shape, you can tackle the various challenges your life presents. If you’re not in such good physical condition, you’ll struggle.

Social Wellness

Social wellness involves:

  • Having friends you like and seeing them often
  • Getting along well with your family

In 2020, many individuals are not feeling socially well. That’s because they can’t see their friends and family members anywhere near as much as they would like.

With the lingering Covid-19 threat, maybe you can’t get together for Thanksgiving and the other year-end holidays. That’s tough for you. You may feel isolated and lonely.

You should stay in touch with friends and family however you can. Talk to them on the phone or FaceTime with them. You can start a family text chain, so you know what the people you love are doing, and vice versa.

If you communicate with your family and friends a lot this year, even if you can’t see them in person, it will do you some good. Eventually, you’ll be able to see them again, but for now, it helps to know you’re not alone, and everyone is going through this challenging situation together.

Intellectual Wellness

Intellectual wellness means you’re among people who challenge your intellect, or you’re taking part in activities that challenge it. If you don’t feel intellectual stimulation, you can read more. Reading is a great way to keep your mind limber.

You can watch informative TV programs or read instructional magazine articles. You can do a physically-distanced book club. You and some of your friends or relatives read a book, and then you use FaceTime or similar technology to discuss its merits and deficiencies.

You shouldn’t spend all day playing video games or watching TV. If you do, you are not challenging your intellect.

Spiritual Wellness

Everyone believes in different things. You have people who believe in various religious tenets, or you have others who have no religion at all.

Either way is okay, as long as you feel spiritual fulfillment. If you believe in a particular deity or deities and want to worship him, her, it, or them, that’s great. If you have atheistic or agnostic beliefs, that’s okay too.

The point is that you need to find spiritual fulfillment. If that means attending a socially-distanced church service, you can do that, or if you just want to meditate to find your spiritual center, you have that option.

Spiritual wellness will mean something different for everyone.

Emotional Wellness

If you’re emotionally well, you probably have people in your life who love you and care about you. You feel the same way about them. Perhaps you have pets you love and who love you back.

People are experiencing a lot of angst in 2020. Maybe you’re not emotionally well because you know someone who Covid-19 has killed. Perhaps you’re not sure what your future holds, and that worries you.

You can stay emotionally well by talking to your family and friends about what you’re experiencing. You should not bottle it up inside. You might also talk to a therapist or go on antidepressant medication.

Occupational Wellness

Occupational wellness is the final wellness aspect. If you have a job that makes you happy and pays you appropriately, you have great occupational wellness.

Some people have lost their jobs this year, so you might not feel fulfilled in this area. If you don’t have occupational wellness, you might not have enough money either.

If you’re in this position, you’ll need to job hunt. Update your resume, and start looking on places like Indeed, LinkedIn, and Monster. If you take a proactive job-hunting approach, you will hopefully find something and get back on track soon.

If you’re doing well in all of these six life areas, you should have a good life. It’s when you don’t do well in any one of them, or more than one, that you can’t move forward happily and healthily.

If you feel sadness or a fulfillment lack, first, determine which wellness area has gone off course. Once you can answer that, you’ll know where to focus.

One thing you should know and understand is that many people do not feel well this year. Whichever life area you feel isn’t working for you, many others are going through it too.

It seems inevitable that things will turn around, though. Maintaining a glass-half-full philosophy is not always easy, but if you can do it, perhaps 2021 will bring a fortune reversal.




15 Tried and Proven Activities You Can Do That Can Help You De-stress

Everyone faces different stressful situations each day. There are those who get stressed by a lovers quarrel, while some people get annoyed with traffic jams. Often, lots of people worry about earning money to cater to their family needs. Others grieve over the loss of a loved one.

Our mind and body can only take so much stress. You’ll experience burn out, anxiety and other issues when you push it to the limit. In turn, this can definitely make a toll on your health and quality of life. The good news is, there are lots of ways you can do to de-stress.

Engage in activities that can help you relax to give your mind, body, and soul a break. The following are the things you can do to de-stress and reduce anxiety.

Exercise Regularly

You may think that exerting physical effort is not exactly the best thing to do to relax. However, exercise proves to be an effective way to relieve mental stress. According to a study, people will feel calmer after doing 20 to 30-minute aerobic exercises. This only goes to show that exercise has a calming effect, thus making it an excellent way to de-stress and relax.

Avoid Stress Eating

Some people resort to stress eating which proves to be an unhealthy habit. Since we tend to grab comfort foods such as ice cream, chocolates, and other sweet and salty foods, they may feel temporary relief only to regret their actions in the long run.

Eat Nutritious Foods

Instead of grabbing junk foods and other unhealthy treats, grab healthy alternatives such as salmon, tuna, banana, avocado, whole-wheat crackers and pretzels, yogurt, almonds, and even walnuts. If you’re craving for something sweet, grab a dark chocolate bar. The higher percentage of cacao can reduce your stress levels and also satisfy your sweet tooth.

Drink Your Favourite Cup Of Tea

Drinking tea alone is a relaxing ritual, thus helping reduce your stress and anxiety. Health experts even claim decaffeinated green tea can also improve the quality of yourself. Are you willing to splurge and taste an even better variety? Go for Matcha tea. You’d be surprised about the health benefits you can enjoy by drinking this yummy treat.

Meditate

Meditation offers tons of health benefits, stress reduction included. When you experience stress responses, you can feel a variety of effects such as fatigue, anxiety, depression, decreased focus, cloudy thinking and even increased blood pressure. By meditation, you get to lessen such symptoms plus a load of other perks.

Consider Physiotherapy

Many associate Physiotherapy as massage therapy, but there is more physio than meets the eye. In a nutshell, physiotherapy helps treat injuries, deformities and even diseases through physical methods. This can include heat treatment, exercise, and massage. By searching for “Burlington Physiotherapist Kinetic,” you can find the best Physiotherapist in Burlington. Get to de-stress, invigorate and feel refreshed after each session.

Adopt A Pet Or Play With One

Pets like dogs can significantly improve your mood, can make you happier and gives you purpose and proves to be an excellent companion. If you’re ready for a long-term commitment and responsibility, then consider adopting a new pet. If not, you can always play with one by visiting dog parks and shelters or your neighbour if he has one. Make sure to ask permission first!

Enjoy Positive Physical Contact

When someone hugs, kisses or cuddles you, you feel loved, thus uplifting your spirit and improving your mood. Such acts can help release the love hormone (oxytocin) and lower your cortisol levels which is your stress hormone. So, the next time you’re feeling down and stressed, cuddle up and enjoy positive physical contact.

Avoid Procrastinating

Delaying tasks leads to cramming which can eventually lead to stress, sleepless nights and headaches. It can even cost you your grades or your career. To avoid stressing over deadlines, avoid procrastinating, learn to prioritise and set realistic deadlines.

Laugh More

People find it hard to laugh when they haven’t slept a wink, failed to meet a deadline or two, and are overly stressed over a specific matter. However, doing fun activities that makes you laugh will make you feel instantly better, improve mood and even your health. When you find yourself feeling sad and stressed, take time to watch your favourite comedy show, go out with friends or play with your favourite kiddo or pets.

Practice Yoga

This type of exercise incorporates three things – yoga poses, meditation and breathing exercises. Yoga helps with stress and anxiety reduction, improves focus, helps make you flexible and even reduce neck and back pain. This is also excellent for expectant mothers and after giving birth. If you are interested in Yoga sessions, it’s vital that you work with professionals only, try Burlington Physiotherapist Kinetic since they also offer Yoga programs in Burlington which is reviewed as one of the best.

Good Read: 13 Benefits of Yoga That Are Supported by Science

Don’t Isolate Yourself

In this age where people would rather socialise with their family and peers through social media, one can feel a sense of belongingness even with a simple chat or video call. However, physical socialisation is still the best way to connect. If time permits, make sure not to isolate yourself with social media and the comforts of your home. Go out, have dinner with friends or even go on a mini-vacation.

Take A Mental Vacation

Every one of us has what we call “a happy place.” This is a calming place which, although may not be real, can instantly boost your mood, making you forget your problems. If you feel overwhelmed or need time to think, find a quiet place to sit in, focus on images that make you happy and serene and feel your mind and body relax.

Play Your Favourite Playlist

But make sure not to pick one with depressing songs. Listening to your favourite tunes affects your psyche and physical state in a good way since your body produces happy hormones known as endorphin when you sing and dance.

Don’t Forget To Focus On The Good In Everything

Being grateful for it gives you the opportunity to think about even the littlest things that make you feel happy. Being positive is trying to find the good in everything despite the seemingly bad situation you’re in. Try to promote positivity in everything you do, say and think and you’ll find yourself happier and a lot less stressed.




Is the Way You Breathe Making You Anxious?

By Kira M. Newman | Greater Good Magazine 

Scrolling social media, amid frantic election-related posts and news of escalating COVID-19 cases, you may have come across a friend reminding everyone to just breathe. In Greater Good’s advice for Americans post-election, UC Berkeley professor John A. Powell first suggested we “take a breath or two; get grounded in body, mind, and spirit.”

But can just-breathing really make a difference?

In his new book Breath: The New Science of a Lost Art, journalist James Nestor argues that modern humans have become pretty bad at this most basic act of living. We breathe through our mouths and into our chests, and we do it way too fast. There’s even a phenomenon called “email apnea,” where multitasking office workers breathe irregularly and shallowly, or even hold their breath, for half a minute or more while glued to their devices.

Besides all the worrisome health problems this may cause—detailed pointedly in Nestor’s book—our ineptitude at breathing may have another big consequence: contributing to our anxiety and other mental health problems.

“The rate and depth we breathe at is a huge determinant of our mental state,” says Elissa Epel, a professor at UC San Francisco.

Researchers like Epel are exploring this by using breathing techniques—some new, some ancient—to help nervous people stave off anxiety. What they’re discovering is that breathing, something we do all the time anyway, could be an overlooked key to finding more calm and peace.

How breathing can calm us

We often try to tame anxiety by changing our thoughts—questioning the worst-case scenarios in our heads, interrupting rumination with some kind of distraction, or going to therapy.

But breathing offers a different approach, bypassing the complexities of the mind and targeting the body directly. Instead of trying to think yourself out of feeling anxious, you can do something concrete—breathe slow or fast, in a particular rhythm, or through a nostril—and sometimes find immediate relief.

In a 2017 study, highly anxious people were assigned to take a course in diaphragmatic breathing relaxation. They practiced twice a day at home. Diaphragmatic breathing, or belly breathing, involves breathing deeply into the abdomen rather than taking shallow breaths into the chest. After eight weeks, they reported feeling less anxious compared to a group that didn’t receive the training. They also showed physical signs of reduced anxiety: lower heart rate, slower breathing, and lower skin conductivity.

So, a regular breathing practice might help you feel calmer in your everyday life. But other studies suggest that focusing on your breathing in moments of acute stress could also be useful.

In an older study published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, researchers brought participants into the lab and told them they were going to receive electric shocks. Some of the participants practiced breathing slowly before the shocks (which were actually never administered), while others focused on breathing at a normal rate or didn’t regulate their breathing at all. The slow breathers—at about eight breaths per minute—not only reported feeling less anxious while anticipating the pain; they also showed lower anxiety on a physical level, as measured by sweat and blood flow to the fingers.

Another study followed up on this research and tested three different breathing rhythms: fast inhaling with slow exhaling; slow inhaling with fast exhaling; or evenly paced inhaling and exhaling. Here, the fast inhaling with slow exhaling (2 seconds in, 8 seconds out) was the most effective at relieving both the physical and mental experience of anxiety.

Of course, breathing is a major component of many meditations and Buddhist mindfulness practices, and it may be a key reason why they work. In a small 2017 study, researchers asked people with an anxiety disorder to try either alternate nostril breathing or mindful breath awareness for 10 minutes, two days in a row. They found that practicing alternate nostril breathing was about three times as effective at reducing people’s feelings of anxiety.

These benefits felt profound to the participants in a small, 12-week yoga breathing class in the United Kingdom. According to researchers from the University of Southampton:

Participants described feeling “more in control,” noting “anxiety doesn’t feel debilitating anymore.” One participant reported marked increases in confidence, mindfulness, and spirituality; [and] greater ability to relax. . . . Three participants returned to paid employment, another was able to secure a long-desired job, and another became able to contemplate a return to work, having been unable to do so for many years.

The ripple effects of breathing

The way we breathe can set off a cascade of physical changes in the body that promote either stress or relaxation.

“If we’re breathing really shallowly and fast, it causes our nervous system to up-regulate and we feel tense and anxious,” says Epel. “If we’re breathing slowly, it actually turns on the anti-stress response.”

Technically, breathing influences the sympathetic (“fight or flight”) and parasympathetic (“rest and digest”) branches of our nervous system, and certain techniques can promote more parasympathetic calm and relaxation. Some may also cause us to release hormones like prolactin and possibly oxytocin, the feel-good hormone of love and bonding.

“If we’re breathing slowly, it actually turns on the anti-stress response.”

―Elissa Epel, Ph.D.

“[Breathing techniques] are allowing you to consciously take control of your breathing so you can take control of your nervous system so you can take control of your anxiety,” says Nestor. “When we breathe in a certain way, we are sending messages to those emotional centers of our brain to calm down.”

Other techniques, like tummo—a yogic breathing practice that involves forceful or gentle breathing, abdominal contractions during breath-holding, and visualization—actually amp up the sympathetic nervous system, spiking our body’s stress to activate a deeper relaxation afterward, the same way tensing a muscle and then letting it go works.

This is similar to the kind of breathing that “Iceman” Wim Hof teaches his followers, a method that Epel is currently researching. Hof is famous for his seemingly superhuman feats, like climbing Mount Kilimanjaro in shorts and changing his immune response to E. coli, which he attributes to a finely tuned control over his own physiology thanks to breathing practices and more.

Fast breathing can be triggering for people with anxiety—causing the tingling limbs and lightheadedness that often accompany panic attacks—but that’s part of the point. When you breathe fast and start to feel symptoms that you normally associate with anxiety, it may help you re-interpret those symptoms in a less threatening way. They become less worrisome because they have a clear cause, the same way an elevated heart rate during exercise doesn’t bother us. And if you can connect anxiety to faulty breathing habits, it means you can change the way you breathe and potentially see some improvement.

How to breathe better

If you want to practice breathing for better mental and physical health, there are endless techniques you can try. Although these shouldn’t be seen as a replacement for therapy or a cure for severe anxiety, they can be a free, simple tool for both short-term relief and long-term benefit.

“Breathing techniques could be used as first-line and supplemental treatments for stress [and] anxiety,” write Ravinder Jerath and his colleagues in a 2015 study.

Many of the techniques that have been formally researched are derived from pranayama, yogic breathing that dates back to ancient India:

  • Ujayyi: Deep breathing with a narrowed throat, creating an ocean-like sound, often recommended while doing yoga asanas.
  • Bhastrika, or “bellows breath”: inhaling and exhaling forcefully.
  • Nadi Sodhan and Anulom Vilom: Types of alternate nostril breathing, where the air is inhaled in one nostril and exhaled through the other, sometimes with breath-holding.

There are also a variety of “box breathing” practices, derived from the pranayama Sama Vritti, where you inhale for four seconds, hold for four, exhale for four, hold for four, and repeat. Other timed techniques include 4-7-8 breathing, often recommended to help you fall asleep.

In the same way that mindfulness practice isn’t just meditation, breathing as a practice isn’t just waking up every morning and doing 10 minutes of box breathing. Another important component is being aware of the way you breathe in everyday life (or while you’re checking your email).

In Breath, Nestor’s tips boil down to a shortlist of general principles: For example, make sure to breathe through your nose, slow your breathing down (to five or six seconds in and five or six seconds out), and extend your exhales for even greater relaxation.

So much talk about breathing might have you feeling anxious—that’s how I felt, at least, while reading about all the ways our breathing habits are faulty. In one study, the researchers noted that anxious people were skeptical at the beginning of the experiment and had some difficulty practicing. But this group still went on to feel better at the end of 12 weeks of practice.

All this research illustrates just how much influence our body has on our minds. Modern life brings many things to be worried about, but, as Nestor writes, not being able to breathe remains one of our deepest and most primal anxieties. If somehow the way we’re breathing is signaling to our brains that something is wrong, it’s no wonder we feel anxious—and it’s no wonder that all these breathing techniques can bring such profound healing.

About the Author
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Kira M. Newman

Kira M. Newman is the managing editor of Greater Good. Her work has been published in outlets including the Washington PostMindful magazine, Social Media Monthly, and Tech.co, and she is the co-editor of The Gratitude ProjectFollow her on Twitter!




Researchers Identify Melatonin As Possible COVID-19 Treatment

Credit: Pixabay/CC0 Public Domain

By | Medical Xpress

Results from a new Cleveland Clinic-led study suggest that melatonin, a hormone that regulates the sleep-wake cycle and is commonly used as an over-the-counter sleep aid, may be a viable treatment option for COVID-19.

As COVID-19 continues to spread throughout the world, particularly with cases rising during what some have termed the “fall surge,” repurposing drugs already approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for new therapeutic purposes continues to be the most efficient and cost-effective approach to treat or prevent the . According to the findings published today in PLOS Biology, a novel artificial intelligence platform developed by Lerner Research Institute researchers to identify possible drugs for COVID-19 repurposing has revealed melatonin as a promising candidate.

Analysis of patient data from Cleveland Clinic’s COVID-19 registry also revealed that melatonin usage was associated with a nearly 30 percent reduced likelihood of testing positive for SARS-CoV-2 (the virus that causes COVID-19) after adjusting for age, race, smoking history, and various disease comorbidities. Notably, the reduced likelihood of testing positive for the virus increased from 30 to 52 percent for African Americans when adjusted for the same variables.

“It is very important to note these findings do not suggest people should start to take melatonin without consulting their physician,” said Feixiong Cheng, Ph.D., assistant staff in Cleveland Clinic’s Genomic Medicine Institute and lead author on the study. “Large-scale observational studies and randomized controlled trials are critical to validate the clinical benefit of melatonin for patients with COVID-19, but we are excited about the associations put forth in this study and the opportunity to further explore them.”

Here, the researchers harnessed network medicine methodologies and large-scale electronic health records from Cleveland Clinic patients to identify clinical manifestations and pathologies common between COVID-19 and other diseases. Specifically, they measured the proximity between host genes/proteins and those well-associated with 64 other diseases across several disease categories (malignant cancer and autoimmune, cardiovascular, metabolic, neurological, and pulmonary diseases), where closer proximity indicates a higher likelihood of pathological associations between the diseases.

They found, for example, that proteins associated with  and sepsis, two main causes of death in patients with severe COVID-19, were highly connected with multiple SARS-CoV-2 proteins. “This signals to us, then,” explained Dr. Cheng, “that a  already approved to treat these respiratory conditions may have some utility in also treating COVID-19 by acting on those shared biological targets.”

Overall, they determined that autoimmune (e.g., ), pulmonary (e.g.,  and ), and neurological (e.g., depression and ) diseases showed significant network proximity to SARS-CoV-2 genes/proteins and identified 34 drugs as repurposing candidates,  chief among them.

“Recent studies suggest that COVID-19 is a systematic disease impacting multiple cell types, tissues, and organs, so knowledge of the complex interplays between the virus and other diseases is key to understanding COVID-19-related complications and identifying repurposable drugs,” said Dr. Cheng. “Our study provides a powerful, integrative network medicine strategy to predict disease manifestations associated with COVID-19 and facilitate the search for an effective treatment.”




The Simple Eating Hack That Could Prevent Most Diseases Including Blindness

By Dr. Joseph Mercola | mercola.com

STORY AT-A-GLANCE

  • Age-related macular degeneration (AMD), a leading cause of blindness in the U.S., is said to be a disease associated with aging but Dr. Chris Knobbe believes it’s mostly related to diet
  • Nine years of extensive research and investigation has led Knobbe to conclude that AMD is driven by nutrient deficiencies and toxicity, caused by processed foods
  • In 1900, the top four causes of death were infectious in nature; by 2010, this had all changed, with chronic diseases replacing infectious diseases as the top killers
  • The four primary components that makeup processed foods that are, in turn, contributing to chronic diseases like AMD are sugar, industrially processed seed oils, refined flour, and trans fats; industrially processed seed oils are clearly the worst offender
  • According to Knobbe, there were only 50 cases of AMD described across the globe between 1851 and 1930; this skyrocketed to an estimated 196 million cases in 2020
  • Knobbe believes that by following an ancestral diet, rich in grass-fed meat and poultry, pastured dairy, wild-caught fish, vegetables, nuts, and seeds, the majority of AMD cases would disappear

Dr. Chris Knobbe, an ophthalmologist, is the founder and president of the Cure AMD Foundation, a nonprofit dedicated to the prevention of age-related macular degeneration (AMD).

AMD, a leading cause of blindness in the U.S. — and the third leading cause of blindness globally (after cataracts and glaucoma)1 — is said to be a disease associated with aging, but, in the presentation above, Knobbe asks, “Could age-related macular degeneration be a disease of processed food consumption?”

Nine years of research and investigation have led Knobbe to conclude that AMD is, indeed, being driven by nutrient deficiencies and toxicity caused by processed foods. This common denominator isn’t linked only to AMD, however — it’s also linked to chronic diseases of all kinds, including Type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and cancer.

The root of the problem lies in mitochondrial dysfunction, which is caused by the excessive consumption of a Westernized diet, including toxic industrially processed seed oils (incorrectly called “vegetable oils”), refined flour, refined added sugars, and trans fats.

Chronic Metabolic and Degenerative Disease ‘Didn’t Exist’

According to Knobbe, chronic metabolic and degenerative disease “clearly didn’t exist 125 years ago,” at least not nearly to the extent they do today, citing a study by Dr. David Jones and colleagues, published in the New England Journal of Medicine in 2012.2 The study looked at the history of disease over the past 200 years, comparing the top 10 causes of death in the U.S. from 1900 to 2010.

In 1900, the top four causes of death were infectious in nature: pneumonia/influenza, tuberculosis, gastrointestinal infections, and cardiac valvular disease. The latter is classified as heart disease, but, Knobbe says, “This wasn’t coronary artery type heart disease. This was cardiac valvular disease driven by syphilis, endocarditis, and rheumatic fever … It was infectious still.”

By 2010, this had all changed, with chronic diseases replacing infectious diseases as the top killers. “Today, heart disease, cancer, stroke, COPD, Alzheimer’s disease, Type 2 diabetes, kidney disease, all chronic diseases account for seven of the top 10 causes of death.” In reviewing the data, Knobbe found that diabetes of any type was rare in the 19th century, but it increased 25-fold in a period of 80 years.

He also cites data that found the obesity rate in the 19th century was 1.2%. By 1960, it had already risen to 13% — an 11-fold increase — and continued to climb steadily to this day. “Obesity is on target to be 50% of adults obese in the United States by 2030, half obese,” Knobbe says. “So the increase looks something like … a 33-fold increase already in 115 years.” He continues:

“Again, you have to ask, you know, what accounts for this … All right, well, let’s go back to the dietary history now. So you’re going to see Westernized disease correlate to modernized diets. That’s the theme of this, essentially …

And I will submit to you that this has really been a global human experiment that began in 1866, it didn’t begin in 1980, you know, with our low-fat, low saturated-fat dietary guidelines, it began in the 19th century and nobody gave informed consent of us. Not one of us knew what we were getting into and most of us still don’t.”

Four Primary Processed Food Culprits

The four primary components that makeup processed foods that are, in turn, contributing to chronic diseases like AMD are sugar, industrially processed seed oils, refined flour, and trans fats. Knobbe says:

“ … Sugar has been in the food supply for hundreds of years, but between 1822 and 1999 sugar increased 17-fold … Cotton seed oil, the world’s first, highly polyunsaturated vegetable oil introduced right here in the good old US of A in 1866, the entire world, or at least 99.9-plus% of it had never seen a polyunsaturated vegetable oil, ever. All right, 1880 roller mill technology was introduced.

And in the United States, it was introduced in Minneapolis … roller mill gives us refined white, wheat flour, which is a nutrient deficient food. And then fourth, 1911, Proctor and gamble introduced Crisco. That’s trans fats, they’re hydrogenated and partially hydrogenated vegetable oils … by 2009, our own USDA reports that those four foods make up 63% of the American diet, 63%. That’s the recipe for disaster.”

As the consumption of processed foods rose, so too did chronic diseases. According to Knobbe, AMD was rare from 1851 to about 1930 but had reached epidemic proportions by the 1970s. As of 2020, 196 million people worldwide suffer from AMD.

“And what we always see is that the processed foods come first and then the AMD hits later,” Knobbe says.

“It’s always this way. There’s a temporal relationship. It’s at least 30 years of this consumption, probably closer to 50. You know, these are chronic … diseases that take a long time to develop, right? There’s a dose-response relationship … I believe if you look at all of our data, this becomes nearly a mathematical certainty that this relationship between food and macular degeneration exists.”

Knobbe also cites the work of Weston A. Price, the dentist who wrote the classic book “Nutrition and Physical Degeneration.” In the 1900s, Price did extensive research on the link between oral health and physical diseases.

He was one of the major nutritional pioneers of all time, and his research revealed native tribes that still ate their traditional diet had nearly perfect teeth and were almost 100% free of tooth decay. But when these tribal populations were introduced to refined sugar and white flour, their health, and their perfect teeth, rapidly deteriorated. In many ways, Knobbe is the 21st century equivalent of Price.

Diet-Related Macular Degeneration

https://youtu.be/9hkpKcTHrfk?list=PL7YKya_R1ROs0Asz5gKGtbtj7TQ2ktMKr

Knobbe believes “age-related” macular degeneration should be called diet-related macular degeneration instead and states that out of all the components in processed foods, polyunsaturated vegetable oils are the greatest contributor. Comparing them to “biological poisons,” Knobbe notes that industrially processed seed oils are not only nutrient-deficient but also pro-oxidative and proinflammatory:

“ … When vegetable oils are produced … oil seeds are crushed, heated, pressed. They go through about four or five heatings … then they go to a petroleum drive, hexane, solvent bath, right? And then it’s steamed, degummed … then they go through a chemical process of being alkalinized, bleached and deodorized before they go into this bottle and we think they’re healthy.

They’re extraordinarily oxidized. They’re toxic. Aldehydes in these, these are literally poison. These are extremely noxious agents, and … vegetable oils replaced animal fats.”

He cites the work of nutrition pioneer Elmer V. McCollum, who, in the early 20th century, fed rats diets enriched with either 5% cottonseed oil or 1.5% butterfat — “this is good butter,” Knobbe points out. “It’s coming from pasture-raised cattle grazing on grass, right? That’s all they had back then.”

Stark differences were observed among the rats, with the cottonseed oil group experiencing stunted growth, illness, and shorter survival. The rats fed butterfat fared much better, growing to about twice the size of the other rats and living about twice as long. The fat-soluble vitamins A, D, and K2 in the pastured butterfat were a likely factor in the marked health differences.

“We need them to maintain our health and prevent degenerative disease,” Knobbe says. “There’s absolutely no question in my mind — all the data supports this — that macular degeneration patients are vitamin A-, D- and K2-deficient.”

Knobbe cites data from native populations around the globe, including the Maasai tribe in Eastern Africa, inhabitants of Papua New Guinea and Tokelau in the South Pacific, which had very different diets with one major similarity: “In general … they have no refined sugar, no refined wheat, no processed foods, no vegetable oils.” They also have little or no macular degeneration.

Vegetable Oils Cause Mitochondrial Failure, Insulin Resistance

AMD is ultimately a disease process rooted in mitochondrial dysfunction and insulin resistance, and the catastrophic cascade of health declines are triggered by the long-term consumption of vegetable oils (omega-6) and other processed foods, Knobbe explains the complex process in his presentation:

“Here’s what excess omega-6 does in a Westernized diet: induces nutrient deficiencies, causes a catastrophic lipid peroxidation cascade, is what this does … This damages … a phospholipid called cardio lipid in the mitochondrial membranes. And this leads to electron transport chain failure … which causes mitochondrial failure and dysfunction.

And this leads first to reactive oxygen species, which feeds back into this peroxidation cascades. So, you’re filling up your fat cells and your mitochondrial membranes with omega-6, and these are going to peroxidize because of the fact that they are polyunsaturated.

All right, the next thing that happens is insulin resistance, which leads to metabolic syndrome, Type 2 diabetes, nonalcoholic fatty liver disease. When the mitochondria fail, you get reduced fatty acid, beta oxidation, meaning you can’t burn these fats properly for fuel.

So now you’re … carb dependent and you’re heading for obesity. So, you’re feeling tired. You’re gaining weight. Your mitochondria are failing to burn fat for fuel … this is a powerful mechanism for obesity.

So, the energy failure at the cellular level leads to nuclear mitochondrial DNA mutations, and this leads to cancers. Three weeks on a high-PUFA diet causes heart failure in rats — three weeks. And this also leads to apoptosis and necrosis. And of course, that’s how you get disorders like AMD and Alzheimer’s.”

Knobbe has also been studying the toxic aldehydes that result from omega-6 fats. When you consume an omega-6 fat, it first reacts with a hydroxyl radical or peroxides radical, producing a lipid hydroperoxide.

This lipid hydroperoxide then rapidly degenerates into toxic aldehydes, of which there are hundreds, which in turn lead to cytotoxicity, genotoxicity, mutagenicity carcinogenicity, and more, along with being obesogenic, at very low doses.

Ancestral Diet Key to AMD Prevention

According to Knobbe, there were only 50 cases of dietary blindness described across the globe between 1851 and 1930, some of which were likely other diseases. This skyrocketed to an estimated 196 million cases in 2020.3 Knobbe believes that by following an ancestral diet, rich in grass-fed meat and poultry, pastured dairy, wild-caught fish, vegetables, nuts, and seeds, the majority of AMD cases would disappear.

“Could modernized processed foods drive this disease? That’s the question. I mean, is it as simple as this, you know, could this difference be due to diet and diet alone?” Knobbe asked. “I will submit to you that everything I have found so far indicates that it is, and I can’t find anything that doesn’t support this concept.”

For more details, Knobbe discusses more of this eye-opening information in his book, “Ancestral Dietary Strategy to Prevent and Treat Macular Degeneration,” as well as via his website, on CureAMD.org. As Knobbe says:

“Today, about 534 people will go blind due to AMD. They’ve already lost vision in their first eye. They’ll lose vision in their second eye. And I think this is a travesty because I believe it’s all preventable. So, our mission at Cure AMD foundation is to prevent and treat AMD through ancestral dietary strategy advocacy. And we need more scientific research in order to convince all of us and our peers.”

Single Most Important Strategy You Can Implement

It is vital that you reduce your intake of industrially processed seed oils as much as you can. This means eliminating all of the following oils:

Soy Corn
Canola Safflower
Sunflower Peanut

Olive and avocado oil should also be on the list as over 80% of these are adulterated. But even if they weren’t it simply isn’t worth it to have high levels of olive oil as it is loaded with the omega-6 fat called linoleic acid.

It will also be important to avoid nearly all processed foods as it is the rare processed food that does not include these toxic oils. Nearly every fast food restaurant is also guilty of using high levels of these toxic fats. This is why it is so important to prepare as much of your food as you can in your home so you can know what you are eating.

Most health “experts,” including many I have previously interviewed, simply do not understand how much more dangerous these oils are than sugar. These fats become embedded in your cell membranes and stay there for years wreaking havoc on your health.

This is one of the reasons why a high-fat diet can be harmful. If it is loaded with these dangerous omega-6 fats it will make you metabolically unhealthy and radically increase your risk for nearly every chronic degenerative disease, like heart disease, cancer, diabetes, and blindness.




Studies Show This Oil Reduces Plaque and Improves Oral Health

By Dr. Joseph Mercola | mercola.com

STORY AT-A-GLANCE

  • Oil pulling has been used as a traditional Ayurvedic remedy in India since ancient times, and it’s once again popular for improving oral health
  • Oil pulling with coconut oil significantly lowered plaque index scores compared to a control group, while also reducing bacterial colony counts in saliva
  • Oil pulling may work better than chemical mouthwash to reduce Streptococcus mutans, bacteria responsible for cavities
  • Coconut oil is antibacterial and antiviral, and oil pulling has been found to reduce gingivitis and plaque
  • Oil pulling only requires a small amount of coconut oil — 1 tablespoon for adults and 1 teaspoon for a child — and should be done for at least 20 minutes daily for best results

Your overall health is tied to your oral health, so tending to your teeth and gums should be an integral part of your day. While the key to a healthy mouth lies in a healthy diet based on whole foods — and minimal refined sugars — techniques such as oil pulling can also be used to support oral health.

While in the U.S. tooth brushing and flossing are the predominant tools used to mechanically remove debris from the teeth, tongue, and gums, oil pulling has been used as a traditional Ayurvedic remedy in India since ancient times. According to Ayurvedic tradition, oil pulling may improve more than 30 systemic diseases while offering a range of benefits for the mouth, including:1

  • Reduced inflammation and bleeding
  • Reduced bad breath
  • Improved oral hygiene and whiter teeth
  • Relief from dry mouth/throat and chapped lips
  • Stronger muscles and jaws in the oral cavity

Part of what makes oil pulling so attractive as an adjunct for oral health is its simplicity. Organic oils commonly used for oil pulling include sunflower oil, sesame oil, and coconut oil, although cold-pressed virgin coconut oil is my top choice, for reasons I’ll explain below.

Take a small amount of the oil and swish it around your mouth, “pulling” it between your teeth and ensuring it moves around your entire mouth. After about 20 minutes, spit the oil out into the garbage. You can use oil pulling daily along with regular brushing and flossing.

Oil Pulling May Improve Oral Health

U.K. researchers conducted a systematic review to look into the effect of oil pulling with coconut oil on oral health, noting that, “As coconut oil is a readily accessible and cheap material for most, research into the effectiveness and efficacy of its use in the oil pulling procedure is of clinical merit.”2 They found coconut oil significantly lowered plaque index scores compared to a control group, while also reducing bacterial colony counts in saliva.

Notably, they also found that coconut oil pulling worked as well as chlorhexidine mouthwash for plaque score, gingival index score, and bleeding-on-probing. Chlorhexidine has been used in dental practice since 1970 and has broad-spectrum antibacterial activity.3

The antiseptic has been found to reduce bacteria associated with periodontal disease and dental caries, as well as reducing bad breath,4 but it has adverse effects, not only indiscriminately killing beneficial bacteria in your mouth, thereby disturbing your oral microbiome, but also leading to taste disturbances, hypersensitivities, and mucosal soreness and irritation.5 According to the study:6

“Supporters of coconut oil pulling may see these adverse effects of using chlorhexidine mouthwash as another reason to promote the use of coconut oil; unfortunately none of these effects were demonstrated in the included studies, most likely due to the short study durations.”

Overall, however, they concluded that coconut oil pulling appears to be useful to improve oral health and dental hygiene, although further studies are needed.

Oil Pulling Works as Well as or Better Than Regular Mouthwash

If you’ve been using commercial mouthwash to keep your mouth fresh, switching to oil pulling may give you similar results with less risk. Researchers with Saveetha University in India also compared the effectiveness of oil pulling and mouthwash.7 In this case, the oil pulling was done using gingelly oil, which comes from the same seed as sesame oil but is processed slightly differently.8

The oil pulling and mouthwash were nearly equal in terms of effectiveness, with the oil pulling having an effectiveness score of 49% compared to 51% for mouthwash. When it came to safety, however, oil pulling was superior, with a score of 61% compared to 39% for mouthwash.

In the book “Natural Oral Care in Dental Therapy,” it’s further noted, “There is mounting evidence of oil pulling being as good as many other chemical‐containing ointments, kinds of toothpaste or mouthwashes in control of oral problems with no untoward side effects.”9

On the contrary, twice-daily use of mouthwash has been linked to an increased risk of prediabetes and Type 2 diabetes by affecting oral bacteria critical for the formation of nitric oxide, which predisposes individuals to metabolic disorders like diabetes.10

Researchers have also looked at the effects of oil pulling on Streptococcus mutans, bacteria responsible for cavities. Sixty Egyptian children between the ages of 5 and 10 were divided into two groups. One group rinsed with 10 milliliters (ml) of coconut oil three times a day for two weeks for one minute, while the other group rinsed with chlorhexidine mouthwash of the same dosage.

Streptococcus mutans were reduced significantly in both groups, but the reduction was greater in the oil pulling group. Writing in the Al-Azhar Dental Journal for Girls, the researchers concluded, “Use of coconut oil pulling therapy may be used as a preventive therapy at home to maintain oral hygiene as it is natural, safe and has no side effects.”11

Coconut Oil Reduces Plaque and Gingivitis

Coconut oil is an ideal oil for oil pulling due to its antimicrobial effects.12 Coconut oil is antibacterial and antiviral and contains 92% saturated fats, 49% of which are the anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial medium-chain saturated fat lauric acid.

“Medium-chain saturates and their derived products (e.g., monoglycerides) are effective in destroying a wide range of bacteria (lipid-coated bacteria) demolishing their lipidic membrane,” researchers explained in the European Journal of Dentistry. “They can be effective, for instance, against the bacteria causing gastric ulcer, sinusitis, food poisoning, urinary tract infections, and caries.”13

The oil may also be effective against gingivitis, an inflammatory disease caused by an accumulation of plaque, or bacteria, on the teeth that often leads to bleeding gums. If left untreated, it can lead to periodontitis, which is a more serious infection that can lead to teeth loss. In a pilot study of 20 people with plaque-induced gingivitis, coconut oil was used as a mouthwash daily for 30 days.

A control group carried out normal daily oral health procedures but without coconut oil. Both plaque and bleeding decreased in the groups, but the coconut oil group had a more significant decline, showing promise for reducing plaque formation and gingivitis.14

Another study also added coconut oil pulling to the normal oral hygiene procedures of middle-aged adults with plaque-induced gingivitis. The group that used oil pulling in addition to regular brushing had a significantly greater decline in gingivitis and plaque after six weeks.15

What Makes Coconut Oil Pulling so Effective?

Coconut oil makes an important dietary staple in Sri Lanka and South Asian diets. In the U.S., it’s been vilified for its high content of saturated fat, despite the fact that it has a number of health benefits when added to the diet, including the following properties:16

Anticancer Hypocholesterolemic
Antihepatosteatotic Antidiabetic
Antioxidant Anti‐inflammatory
Antimicrobial Skin moisturizing

In terms of oil pulling, however, there are many theories about what makes it so effective for oral health. Bacteria are the root cause of both bad breath and cavity formation in your teeth. They have membranes that are fat-soluble and break down with the mechanical action of swishing and pulling oil.

Research demonstrates that pulling oils improves the saponification, or breakdown of bacterial membranes.17 It’s also been suggested that it may kill microorganisms that are damaging cells, or reduce plaque and bacterial cohesion via the oily film that covers your teeth and gums.18

Oil pulling is also an effective mechanical method of cleansing your teeth and the smallest crevices along your molars that the bristles of your brush cannot reach. Your dentist may have recommended using sealants on your teeth to help prevent decay from forming in these tiny areas.

“Coconut oil also contains lauric acid that together with sodium hydroxide and bicarbonates creates a substance that reduces adhesion and plaque accumulation, having a cleaning action,” researchers explained in the European Journal of Dentistry. “Despite its ambiguous mechanism of action, some studies have clearly demonstrated an anti-inflammatory effect, together with the one against adhesion/aggregation of plaque.”19

Traditionally, oil pulling also has merit in Ayurveda as a method for purifying your entire body, as it exposes your tongue to the oil while swishing.

“It holds that each section of the tongue is connected to a different organ such as to the kidneys, lungs, liver, heart, small intestines, stomach, colon, and spine, similarly to reflexology and TCM (traditional Chinese medicine),” according to a review in the Journal of Ayurveda and Integrative Medicine.20

Oil Pulling for 20 Minutes a Day

https://youtu.be/TFJdUyqLHMc

In my interview with Dr. Gerry Curatola, founder of Rejuvenation Dentistry who has over 30 years’ experience in biological dentistry, he discusses that achieving oral health is really about promoting balance among the bacteria in your mouth. So, it could be argued that even coconut oil, a natural antimicrobial, should be used with caution.

However, while coconut oil does have a natural detergent effect, it doesn’t do the damage chemical detergents do. Coconut oil also contains a number of valuable nutrients helping to promote oral health. “If you don’t have a good nutritional that promotes oral microbiome homeostasis, coconut oil pulling is great,” Curatola says.

Oil pulling only requires a small amount of oil — 1 tablespoon for adults and 1 teaspoon for a child — and should be done for at least 20 minutes daily for best results:21

“In the oil pulling procedure, the oil has to be kept in the mouth for the duration of 20 minutes, preferably in the morning before breakfast. The quantity for adults is equal to a tablespoon, for children to a teaspoon.

The oil, during the rinsing, has to be pulled and forced in between all the teeth and brought to contact to all the parts of the mouth. At the end of this procedure, if it has been performed properly, the aspect of the oil should be thin, viscous, and milky. Afterward, it has to be spat out and the mouth has to be rinsed with warm water.”

If you’ve never tried oil pulling before, you may need to work your way up to 20 minutes a day, but soon you’ll likely experience the benefits of improved oral health and hygiene using this age-old technique that’s making a modern comeback.




Stress Less Throughout the Rest of This Pandemic

If the impacts of COVID-19 have started to get you down over the last few weeks, you’re not alone. The lack of opportunities to lead a normal life poses a continued threat to everyone’s mental health, not least in regard to stress. Finding ways to reduce your stress levels over the coming months should, therefore, be a priority for all.

Here are 10 of the best tricks to see you through this difficult period and maintain your mental wellbeing for many years to come.

Meditate

There’s no better way to reduce your stress than actively combating it through meditation. When you know how to use japa mala beads for a range of practices, you will be perfect positioned to disconnect from the outside world. The heightened levels of inner peace will see stress fade away from your body in a matter of minutes. Yoga is another strategy that can be incorporated to achieve greatness.

Meditation is great for the home or if you get a few minutes to spare at work. When out and about, though, developing simple deep breathing exercises is the best solution.

Exercise

The current social climate causes people to stay inside for far longer periods than they’d like. Sadly, the sedentary lifestyle poses a wide range of health risks. Therefore, it’s vital that you find ways to incorporate exercise into your day. Cycling, running, home workouts, and brisk walks are just some of the ideas you can use. It will aid your organs and mindset through the release of endorphins.

Without exercise, energy levels will quickly fade and you may become irritable. When combined with weight gains, it’s inevitable that stress levels would rise too.

Cut Financial Waste

Money worries are the most common form of stress even under normal circumstances. It has become an even greater problem in recent times, though, as jobs feel less secure than ever. One of the best ways to combat this is to reduce unnecessary costs. Cutting down cell phone or cable TV packages can have an immediate impact without reducing your quality of life. Your food waste is another focal point.

When your bank balance is in a better position, your life will be under far less stress. Moreover, you’ll have more time to focus on the other goals that you’ve set.

Schedule Chats With Loved Ones

You might not be able to see friends and distant relatives face-to-face. But that shouldn’t mean that you have to forget about each other. Learning how to manage Zoom quizzes and other virtual meetings can work wonders. This is a chance to chat and reminisce. Crucially, the human interactions with people you care about will deliver a sense of comfort. And remind you that this situation won’t last forever.

Even in these unprecedented times, we all have our own lives to lead. So, it’s important to schedule the times rather than expect them to be ready to drop things as soon as you say.

Sleep Better

Notice the operative word is ‘better’, and not ‘more’. The pandemic may encourage you to waste days by sleeping before staying up at night. Honestly, it’s more important than ever to adopt a healthier sleep pattern. This will establish the platform of a healthier lifestyle. Avoiding restless nights will remove stress while a better quality of sleep improves your cortisol levels.

So, good sleep will scientifically help you stay away from stress in the weeks to come. A new mattress, improved surroundings, and smarter evening routine should pay dividends.

Adapt The Home

If you are going to spend more time at home, you need to ensure it’s a happy environment. Knowing how to build a home office can work wonders if you’re working remotely. Meanwhile, setting aside spaces for creative activities or hobbies will make a big impact. When you are actually able to enjoy your property to the max, it shows in the form of reduced stress levels.

On a side note, you should look to boost the security. Otherwise, the looming threat of intrusions will continue to stand in your way of true relaxation.

Laugh

Laughter truly is the best medicine for fighting stress. Unfortunately, the current social climate doesn’t really make us feel like laughing. And Covid-19 isn’t the only reason. Nonetheless, unleashing your inner Eric Idle by looking on the bright side of life is vital. In fact, watching comedy films and TV shows is probably one of the smartest ways to make it happen at this time.

You can still find fun and laughter in daily activities, at work or at home. COVID-19 shouldn’t stop that from happening. If it does, you’ve let it win.

Be Organized

Good organizational skills benefit your life in many ways. Reduced stress is one of the greatest outcomes. Essentially, you will regain control of your life while the added guidance also prevents you from falling off track. Writing plans and ‘to do’ lists should be followed by recording your progress. Each time you hit a proposed target, it will give you a little boost.

This momentum keeps you in a far better frame of mind. In turn, you will feel stress far less frequently during the pandemic and beyond.

Take A Screen Break

Technology is a major weapon in the battle against boredom and feeling lonely in this tough period. Still, you can have too much of a good thing. Scheduling time to take a break from screens is great for your mindset as well as your eyes. Whether you go for a walk, paint a picture, or listen to music doesn’t matter. It’s a move that can establish a sense of balance.

Crucially, you should avoid smartphones and computers for an hour before bed. It will take your enjoyment levels to new heights.

Remember It’s Not Forever

The pandemic has lasted far longer than anyone predicted when it first broke. This is obviously one of the main reasons that the situation has become so stressful. Still, it will come to an end at some point. Whether life returns to true normality is another question. But the fact that we’ll be able to do things we used to do should provide a source of light.

You’ve done well to get to this stage, and will get through the challenges to come. That should deliver peace of mind in these difficult times.




Your Mental Health: How You Can Reduce Coronavirus-Related Anxiety

The coronavirus pandemic has caused all kinds of problems for society. People are falling ill, the economy is flailing, and, increasingly, people are beginning to experience mental health issues. It’s not hard to see why. We’re living in unprecedented times. The old rules and ways of being are out; a new, chaotic way of operating is in. It’s not difficult to understand why people may struggle with this. However, it’s also important to remember that there are things you can do to nudge your mental health in the right direction. In this blog, we’re going to take a look at five useful actions that’ll help to keep you mentally healthy during COVID-19 times.

Deep Breathing

Breathing is the answer to so many of life’s problems. If you’re feeling anxious, then one of the best things you can do is simply slow down and notice your breath. After thirty seconds, you’ll feel much calmer. And that’s just thirty seconds. If you make meditation an active part of your lifestyle, then you’ll find that you’re generally much more relaxed in life. The beautiful thing about meditation is that anyone can do it at any time. Even one-minute of meditation will help, but for the biggest impact, try to do at least ten minutes every day.

Take Precautions

It’s understandable that some people are worried about contracting the coronavirus. It has the potential to be fatal, but even if you’re not in a risk group, then it can still be nasty. In any case, it’s not something that you want to experience first hand. The good news is that we have a good understanding about how we can keep the infection at bay. If you’re wearing a mask and using hand gel, then you’ll be on the right track. You can also look for a store that has disinfectant wipes in stock, and fill up your home and workplace with those, too. You’ll feel a lot more relaxed knowing that you’ve taken all the necessary precautions.

Get Exercise

As well as breathing, exercise has been shown to be one of the most effective tools we have against poor mental health. It helps to get rid of nervous energy, and also gives your mood a boost, since feel-good chemicals are released into your mind when you work up a sweat.

Switch Off the News

You need to be generally in the loop, but you don’t have to know every single detail about the coronavirus. You’ll only torture yourself if you’re watching the news all day. Turn it off, and watch a happy show instead.

Know That It’ll Pass

Finally, be sure to keep things in perspective. Yes, the world might have gone a little crazy right now, but it’s not as if it’ll be like this forever. They’re saying that the first vaccines could arrive in the early part of next year. There’ll come a time in the future when we look back on this period as if it were a strange dream. So keep that in mind!




Learning To Say What You Need When It Comes To Your Health

It’s important that you can take control of your health, and that means learning to say what you need. For some reason, too many people are all too happy to just sit back, ignore their health, and not take the advice that is given to them. If this sounds like you, then you’ve got to make some changes as soon as possible, which is why we wrote this article. Down below, we’re going to be looking at some of the things that you can do to say what you need when it comes to your health. Keep reading if you want to find out more.

Speak To A Medical Professional

First, we recommend that you speak to a medical professional. If you think there is something wrong, then you should go and get checked out by an expert. Of course, it’s not always possible to know right away, and they may have to send you for some tests, but you are going to get some answers one way or another. Tell them what your symptoms are or tell them why you feel that there is an issue with your health and get them to list. Sometimes if a doctor is very busy, they will unintentionally brush past what could be a potential issue, so it’s important that you know they are listening to everything that you have said.

Look Into A Service For Help

It could be the case that you have a long-term medical condition, and you now need some help coping. There is nothing wrong with this, it happens to lots of people, which is why there are plenty of services available to provide this help. Don’t be embarrassed to say that you need some more help than what you currently have. Looking into in-home care might be the best option for you if you’d like to stay in your own home. Or, if you feel like it will be best to move into a facility, take control and find one that you like.

Your care is the most important thing and ensuring that you get everything you need without delay is essential. Find a company or service that can provide you with the support that you need sooner rather than later.

Don’t Be Afraid Of Admitting There’s An Issue

People tend to be afraid of admitting that there is an issue in the first place. We know it can be tough because once you admit there is a problem, it becomes more real. The issue is that if you ignore it, then it could become worse and get to a point that is dangerous. We don’t want to see this happen to you, and we’re sure you don’t want to be in this place either. Say something when you notice there’s a problem, and potentially save yourself a lot of problems.

We hope that you have found this article helpful and now see some of the ways that you can say what you need concerning your health. Don’t just sit back and let it take over your life. Be active and speak up!




Vitamin D Cuts SARS-CoV-2 Infection Rate by Half

By Dr. Joseph Mercola | mercola.com

STORY AT-A-GLANCE

  • Based on data from 191,779 American patients, people with a vitamin D level of at least 55 ng/mL (138 nmol/L) had a 47% lower SARS-CoV-2 positivity rate compared to those with a level below 20 ng/mL (50 nmol/L)
  • Based on data from 7,807 Israelis, those with a vitamin D level above 30 ng/mL (75 nmol/L) had a 58% to 59% lower risk of testing positive for SARS-CoV-2 compared to those with a vitamin D level below 29 ng/mL (74 nmol/L)
  • Having a vitamin D level below 30 ng/mL also approximately doubles your risk of being hospitalized with COVID-19, Israeli researchers found
  • Spanish researchers found giving hospitalized COVID-19 patients supplemental calcifediol (a vitamin D3 analog) in addition to standard of care lowered ICU admissions from 50% to 2% and eliminated deaths
  • An August 2020 study found patients who had a vitamin D level below 12 ng/mL (30 nmol/L) had a 6.12 times higher risk of severe disease requiring invasive mechanical ventilation, and 14.7 times higher risk of death compared to those with a vitamin D level above 12 ng/mL

Evidence showing vitamin D lowers your risk of SARS-CoV-2 infection, hospitalization, severe complications, and death continues to mount. Most recently, a September 17, 2020, paper1 in PLOS ONE found people with lower vitamin D levels in their blood had a significantly higher risk of testing positive for SARS-CoV-2.

Higher Vitamin D Lowers Risk of Positive SARS-CoV-2 Test

The lead researcher in this study was Dr. Michael Hollick, who is widely recognized as one of the leading vitamin D experts in the world. I have interviewed him twice in the past. He and his team used retrospective observational analysis of SARS-CoV-2 tests to determine whether vitamin D blood levels impacted positivity rates.

Based on vitamin D results from the preceding 12 months and SARS-CoV-2 test data from mid-March through mid-June 2020 from 191,779 patients from 50 U.S. states, people with a vitamin D level of at least 55 ng/mL (138 nmol/L) had a 47% lower SARS-CoV-2 positivity rate compared to those with a level below 20 ng/mL (50 nmol/L).2 As noted by the authors:

“The SARS-CoV-2 positivity rate was 9.3% and the mean seasonally adjusted 25(OH)D was 31.7 [ng/mL]. The SARS-CoV-2 positivity rate was higher in the 39,190 patients with ‘deficient’ 25(OH)D values (<20 ng/mL) (12.5% …) than in the 27,870 patients with ‘adequate’ values (30–34 ng/mL) (8.1% …) and the 12,321 patients with values ≥55 ng/mL (5.9% …) …3

The risk of SARS-CoV-2 positivity continued to decline until the serum levels reached 55 ng/mL. This finding is not surprising, given the established inverse relationship between risk of respiratory viral pathogens, including influenza, and 25(OH)D levels.4

SARS-CoV-2 positivity is strongly and inversely associated with circulating 25(OH)D levels, a relationship that persists across latitudes, races/ethnicities, both sexes, and age ranges. Our findings provide impetus to explore the role of vitamin D supplementation in reducing the risk for SARS-CoV-2 infection and COVID-19 disease.”5

The graph below, obtained from GrassrootsHealth,6 shows how the rate of positive SARS-CoV-2 results declines as vitamin D levels go up. Again, as you increase your vitamin D level from 20 ng/mL to 55 ng/mL, your risk of having a positive SARS-CoV-2 test result decreases by 47%.

Even after adjustment for gender, age, ethnicity, and latitude, the risk of having a positive test result was 43% lower among those with a vitamin D level of 55 ng/mL compared to those with a level of 20 ng/mL. I understand that the COVID-19 test may be worthless and counterproductive with its false positives, but it is the only metric we currently have to assess interventions.

positive SARS-CoV-2 results declines as vitamin D levels go up

Vitamin D Lowers Infection and Hospitalization Rates

That higher vitamin D levels lower the risk of SARS-CoV-2 infection (i.e., getting a positive test result) was also confirmed in an Israeli population-based study7,8 published in July 2020. This paper examined data from 7,807people tested for SARS-CoV-2 infection between February 1 and April 30 of 2020 who also had vitamin D test data available.

Here, those with a vitamin D level above 30 ng/mL (75 nmol/L) had a 59% lower risk of testing positive for SARS-CoV-2 compared to those with a vitamin D level between 20 ng/mL and 29 ng/mL (50 to 74 nmol/L), and a 58% lower risk compared to those with a vitamin D level below 20 ng/mL (50 nmol/L). The graph below, from a GrassrootsHealth report,9 illustrates the findings.

covid-19 infection risk by vitamin d level

Vitamin D Lowers Hospital and ICU Admissions

Seeing how higher vitamin D levels lower your risk of testing positive for SARS-CoV-2 in the first place, it’s no surprise then that other data show higher vitamin D also lowers hospital and intensive care admissions.

The Israeli analysis10 above, for example, found that among individuals who tested positive for SARS-CoV-2 infection, those who had a vitamin D level below 30 ng/mL also had 1.95 times (crude odds ratio) to 2.09 times (odds ratio after adjustment for demographics and psychiatric and somatic disorders) higher risk of being hospitalized for COVID-19.

In other words, having a vitamin D level below 30 ng/mL about doubled the risk of being hospitalized with COVID-19. Vitamin D, when administered to hospitalized patients, can also lower their risk of needing intensive care.

This was demonstrated by Spanish researchers in a small randomized clinical study11,12,13,14 published online on August 29, 2020. They found hospitalized COVID-19 patients who were given supplemental calcifediol (a vitamin D3 analog also known as 25-hydroxycholecalciferol or 25-hydroxyvitamin D) in addition to standard of care — which included the use of hydroxychloroquine and azithromycin — had significantly lower intensive care unit admissions.

Patients in the vitamin D arm received 532 micrograms of calcifediol on the day of admission (equivalent to 106,400 IUs of vitamin D15) followed by 266 mcg on Days 3 and 7 (equivalent to 53,200 IUs16). After that, they received 266 mcg once a week until discharge, ICU admission, or death.

Of those receiving calcifediol, only 2% required ICU admission, compared to 50% of those who did not get calcifediol. None of those given vitamin D supplementations died, whereas 7.6% in the standard care group perished.

icu admission and death among hospitalized covid 19

Vitamin D Lowers COVID-19 Mortality

Other studies have also confirmed that higher vitamin D levels lower your risk of complications and death from COVID-19. Among them is the August 2020 study17,18 published in the journal Nutrients, which found patients who had a vitamin D level below 12 ng/mL (30 nmol/L) had a 6.12 times higher risk of severe disease requiring invasive mechanical ventilation, and 14.7 times higher risk of death compared to those with a vitamin D level above 12 ng/mL.

need for invasive mechanical ventilation

An Iranian study19,20 published online in mid-July 2020 also found that patients with vitamin D levels above 30 ng/mL (75 nmol/L) had better clinical outcomes and a far lower risk of death. Among COVID-19 patients over the age of 40 who had vitamin D levels below 30 ng/mL, 20% died, compared to 9.7% of those with levels at or above 30 ng/mL. Among those with a vitamin D level of at least 40 ng/mL, only 6.3% died.

Low Vitamin D Is a Risk Factor for Respiratory Failure

Yet another study, published in the Journal of Endocrinological Investigation in August 2020, found vitamin D deficiency was a common factor among hospitalized patients in Italy who had been diagnosed with COVID-19 related respiratory failure.

As reported by GrassrootsHealth:21

“Vitamin D levels were measured for each patient and were defined as insufficient (20-29 ng/ml or 50-74 nmol/L), moderately deficient (10-19 ng/ml (25-49 nmol/L), and severely deficient (<10 ng/ml or <25 nmol/L). A normal vitamin D level was defined as 30 ng/ml (75 nmol/L) or higher.

81% of the patients with acute respiratory failure due to COVID-19 had vitamin D levels below 30 ng/ml (75 nmol/L); and 24% had severe vitamin D deficiency (≤10 ng/ml or ≤25 nmol/L).

When looking at mortality rates after 10 days of hospitalization, it was found that those with severe vitamin D deficiency had a 50% probability of death, compared to 5% among those with a vitamin D level greater than 10 ng/ml (25 nmol/L).

This is a 10 times higher risk of death among patients with severe vitamin D deficiency compared to patients with vitamin D levels >10 ng/ml (>25 nmol/L) at 10 days of hospitalization.”

survival rate among covid 19 patients

According to the study authors:

“Altogether, these considerations support the recommendation that people at risk of influenza and/or COVID-19 consider vitamin D supplementation to raise their 25(OH)D concentrations above 40-60 ng/mL, and that treatment of patients infected with influenza and/or COVID-19 includes higher vitamin D doses.”

How and Why Vitamin D Lowers COVID-19 Risks

In “Bradykinin Hypothesis Explains COVID-19 Complexities,” I reviewed how vitamin D lowers your risk of COVID-19 complications and death by inhibiting both cytokine22 and bradykinin storms.23 Vitamin D also:

Lowers viral replication24
Boosts your overall immune function by modulating both innate and adaptive immune responses
Reduces respiratory distress25
Improves overall lung function
Helps produce surfactants in your lungs that aid in fluid clearance26
Lowers your risk of comorbidities associated with poor COVID-19 prognosis, including obesity,27 Type 2 diabetes,28 high blood pressure29 and heart disease30

All of these factors make it an important component of COVID-19 prevention and treatment. As temperatures and humidity levels drop — two factors that influence the viability of SARS-CoV-2 in air and on surfaces — it’s quite likely we’ll see a reemergence as we move into fall and winter.

My #StopCOVIDCold campaign seeks to raise awareness about the importance of vitamin D optimization to prevent a resurgence of COVID-19 hospitalizations and deaths. The two reports, which you can download free of charge on the #StopCOVIDCold website, provide in-depth information about the biological mechanics behind vitamin D’s protective effects.

Now, as the northern hemisphere heads into autumn, is the ideal time to check your vitamin D level and start taking action to raise it if you’re below 40 ng/mL (100 nmol/L). Experts recommend a vitamin D level between 40 and 60 ng/ml (100 to 150 nmol/L). An easy and cost-effective way of measuring your vitamin D level is to order GrassrootsHealth’s vitamin D testing kit.

Once you know your current vitamin D level, use the GrassrootsHealth vitamin D calculator31 to determine how much vitamin D you might need to reach your target level.

To optimize vitamin D absorption and utilization, be sure to take your vitamin D with vitamin K2 and magnesium. As explained in “Magnesium and K2 Optimize Your Vitamin D Supplementation,” taking magnesium and vitamin K2 can lower your oral vitamin D requirement by as much as 244%.

Lastly, remember to retest in three to four months to make sure you’ve reached your target level. If you have, then you know you’re taking the correct dosage. If you’re still low (or have reached a level above 80 ng/mL), you’ll need to adjust your dosage accordingly and retest again in another three to four months.




Testing Your Blood Sugar Levels as a Diabetic: When, Why & How

People with diabetes administer insulin and test their blood sugar to regulate their glucose levels and prevent diabetes complications. Blood sugar testing helps people with diabetes to identify when their levels are too high or too low and allows them to monitor the effectiveness of their medication and track their general progress.

Individuals will also test their blood sugar to provide better context for how diet, exercise, illness, and stress impacts these levels in different ways. At a high level, testing blood sugar levels plays an essential role in diabetes management.

That said, there are various ways and times that people with diabetes do this testing.

Why Test Your Blood Sugar?

Diabetes occurs when you either produce no insulin to regulate your glucose levels (Type 1), or you don’t produce enough (Type 2.). People with diabetes get prescribed insulin analogs to regulate these levels and do regular tests to monitor their progress. Insulin can be very pricy in America but is roughly three times cheaper in Canada. If you’re wondering how to buy insulin from Canada, you can utilize an online prescription referral service and get your insulin at Canadian prices.

How to Test Your Blood Sugar

People with diabetes test their blood sugar with a blood sugar meter that will measure the sugar in your blood with a small fingerprint prick. Your medical professional will be able to identify the best device for you.

Before testing your levels, thoroughly wash and dry your hands to prevent an inaccurate reading. After inserting a test strip into your device, you prick your fingertip and apply the blood to the test strip to get your levels displayed on the screen.

When to Test Your Blood Sugar

Your doctor will be able to tell you the best times (and how often) to test your blood sugar levels. Generally speaking, professionals recommend that people with type 1 diabetes check their blood sugar levels four to 10 times a day. Conversely, people with type 2 diabetes are to test their levels a few times a day.

These are the times when people with type 1 diabetes should typically check their insulin levels:

Before Meals & Snacks: When you test your sugar levels before and after eating, you can identify the effect that the food has on your glucose levels. This way, you can better identify the right foods to avoid and integrate into your diet.

Before & After Exercise: According to Mayo Clinic, you will want to test your blood sugar 15 to 30 minutes before exercising. You want to ensure your levels are regulated before any physical activity. If your levels are too low or too high, it will not be safe to exercise.

Too Low: 5.6 mmol/L (100 mg/dL)

Target: 5.6 to 13.9 mmol/L (100 to 250 mg/dL)

Too High: 3.9 mmol/L+ (250 mg/dL+)

You will want to check your glucose levels more often when you are sick, change your routine, or start a new medication.

Before Bed:

Check your levels before bed to help you identify and monitor how successfully your insulin is managing your blood sugar overnight. Your target blood sugar level should be between 90 and 150 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dL) at nighttime.

The Results

When you test your blood sugar, you are looking to hit a specific level that is not too low or too high.  According to The American Diabetes Association (ADA), you typically want your blood sugar level to be between 80 and 130 mg/dL before meals and under 180 mg/dL two hours after meals.

Your medical professional may ask you to record your test results to help you establish a management plan and set goals.




Food Fix by Mark Hyman, MD | The Top 5 Big Ideas by Brian Johnson

Video Source: OPTIMIZE with Brian Johnson

Here are 5 of Brian Johnson’s favorite Big Ideas from the best-selling book “Food Fix” by Mark Hyman, MD. Here they are:

1. Quit drinking sugar via sodas and fruit juice. Sugar is candy for cancer cells
2. Eat REAL food — throw out the factory food
3. Make sure there are at least 14 hours between your last meal of the day and the first meal the next day.
4. Don’t believe Junk Science that tells you that any processed food is good for you
5. Prescribe yourself healthy foods for optimum health

Mark Hyman, MD, is head of strategy for the Cleveland Clinic Center for Functional Medicine and board president for the Institute for Functional Medicine. He is also the bestselling author of a number of books, including Eat Fat, Get Thin. This is a very important and equally sobering book. As Mark says: “”If we were to identify one big lever to pull to improve global health, create economic abundance, reduce social injustice and mental illness, restore environmental health, and reverse climate change, it would be transforming our entire food system. That is the most important work of our time—work that must begin now.”

Get Food Fix on Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Food-Fix-Econo…

Learn more about Mark Hyman, MD: https://www.optimize.me/authors/mark-…

► RELATED RESOURCES:
Big Idea 1: THE BROKEN SYSTEM
– Mark Hyman → https://www.optimize.me/authors/mark-…

Big Idea 2: #1 FIX = RULE #1
– +1: Don’t Drink Sugar | “The Single-Biggest Thing You Can Do to Improve Your Health” (#1247) →  https://www.optimize.me/plus-one/dont…
– +1: Cancer Candy (Aka Sugar) | And All It’s Secret Identities (#1177) → https://www.optimize.me/plus-one/canc…
+1: The Case Against Sugar | Is Very Strong (#685) → https://www.optimize.me/plus-one/the-…

Big Idea 3: LYING LABELS
– +1: Your Food Label | Is It Lying to You? (#1244) →https://www.optimize.me/plus-one/your…

Big Idea 4: JUNK SCIENCE
– +1: Junk Food’s Junk Science | Did You Know…? (#1245) → https://www.optimize.me/plus-one/junk…
– +1: Sugar Math | It Adds Up. Fast! (#1178) → https://www.optimize.me/plus-one/suga…
– Optimal Weight 101 | How to Optimize our Metabolism to Easily Sculpt our Ideal Bodies while Energizing to Actualize → https://www.optimize.me/weight/

Big Idea 5: FOOD Rx
– +1: Cancer’s Roots & Leaves | Modern Medicine: Strengths + Weaknesses → https://www.optimize.me/plus-one/canc…
– Tom Rath → https://www.optimize.me/authors/tom-r…

► FREE 14-DAY TRIAL:
Get the PhilosophersNote on Food Fix and 600+ other books by starting a Free 14-Day trial membership to Optimize: https://www.optimize.me/trial/




Russia’s ‘Sputnik V’ Covid-19 Vaccine Is 100% Effective Says Lancet Study

By Jonny Tickle | RT.com

The world’s first registered Covid-19 vaccine successfully produced antibodies in all 76 participants in early-stage trials, according to a study published in The Lancet, one of the oldest and best-respected medical journals.

The trials of ‘Sputnik V,’ funded by the Russian Ministry of Health, discovered that every single patient who received the vaccine developed antibodies, and none showed any significant side effects.

On August 11, Russian President Vladimir Putin announced that the country had registered the world’s first Covid-19 vaccine. Developed by Moscow’s Gamaleya Research Institute of Epidemiology and Microbiology, the formula will first be distributed to teachers and medical workers before being made available to the general public next year.

Following its registration, scientists and epidemiologists worldwide criticized Russia for the vaccine’s rapid development, questioning its safety due to the small number of trial subjects. Although the testing was successful, longer-term trials, including a placebo comparison, are required to establish its actual quality, according to The Lancet.

However, according to the Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF), the scientific data provided in the article proves the “safety and effectiveness of the Russian vaccine.”

Explaining why it took a month to publish the results, Gamaleya Institute head, Alexander Gintsburg, told Russian news agency Interfax that it took a long time to prepare, and the article was evaluated by five independent reviewers, following all standard international peer-review conventions.

“The scientific community has assessed it quite objectively,” he explained.

Despite its well-earned reputation, The Lancet has not been immune from controversy. Earlier this year, the journal published a study refuting the effectiveness of malaria drug hydroxychloroquine against Covid-19, but it was later withdrawn due to multiple errors.

Russia is not the only country racing to develop an effective vaccine against coronavirus. In July, a coronavirus vaccine developed by the University of Oxford was reported as creating immunity in a trial of 1,077 people. Earlier that month, UK security minister James Brokenshire claimed that Russian hackers had attacked British labs to steal vaccine research data.

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Japanese Scientists Discover New Benefits of Fasting

By Dr. Joseph Mercola | mercola.com

STORY AT-A-GLANCE

  • Fasting triggers the production of antioxidants and boosts age-related metabolites
  • Eating a low-carbohydrate breakfast was found to increase weight loss while eating dinner late at raised the risk of glucose intolerance and diabetes
  • Intermittent fasting supports weight management and reduces insulin resistance. It is not advisable to fast while eating a daily diet of processed foods

Fasting is a term that describes a variety of approaches to limiting food intake throughout a 24-hour period, or longer. One common approach is intermittent fasting, in which people limit the number of hours they eat during the day. There are a variety of approaches to intermittent fasting and no one approach is better than another.

Other people prefer doing a fast in which they do not eat for 24 hours, two or three times a month. Longer fasts are possible but they require additional support and knowledge to reduce any negative effects from a lack of preparation.

Going without food for longer periods of time was probably normal for human ancestors who did not have access to a refrigerator or restaurant on every corner. Intermittent fasting is more of a lifestyle than a diet, but ultimately, it’s a way of eating that has a significant impact on your metabolism and your health.

Fasting Actively Stimulates Metabolism

In a study published in Nature, scientists revealed data from participants who underwent a 58-hour fast. A team from the Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology Graduate University in Japan evaluated the effects of fasting by analyzing the blood of the participants beginning at 10 hours and ending 58 hours into the fast.1

During the fasting state, the body switches from burning glucose to burning fat for energy, and thus produces ketones. Other well-known by-products include butyrates, acylcarnitines, and branched-chain amino acids.2 Four volunteers signed up for the 58-hour fast, and blood was drawn at 10, 34, and 58 hours.

Some of the compounds peaked at 34 hours, while others had not yet plateaued at the end of the 58th hour of the fast. In all, they identified 44 substances that changed during the fasting period. In past studies, researchers had only identified 14.

Additionally, none of the participants was obese, since this is known to change markers during fasting. The researchers identified two butyrates that were “nearly invisible” at the 10-hour mark but had reached “major peaks after 34 and 58 hours of fasting.”3 Butyrates help maintain intestinal homeostasis by protecting the intestinal barrier and mucosal immunity.4

The researchers also identified tricarboxylic acid (TCA) cycle-related compounds that “reflect enhanced mitochondrial activity in tissues during fasting.”5 Past researchers who studied animals demonstrated that fasting can lengthen life.6 The researchers in this study were looking for “unknown health effects in human fasting.”7

Fasting Metabolites Support Antiaging

Three metabolites that decline with age include leucine, isoleucine, and ophthalmic acid. However, testing reveals that fasting individuals have higher levels of these metabolites which may help increase longevity.8

The data also revealed that during fasting, the metabolism of pyrimidine and purine was enhanced. These substances are vital to gene expression, which suggests that the practice may help reprogram protein cells and promote homeostasis. The metabolism of pyrimidines and purines affects the production of antioxidants, which researchers found significantly increased during the 58-hour fast.

They believe the data suggest that antioxidant production may be a marker of fasting that can “boost production of several age-related metabolites, abundant in young people, but depleted in old.”9 Dr. Takayuki Teruya was the first author of the paper who commented:

“We have been researching aging and metabolism for many years and decided to search for unknown health effects in human fasting. Contrary to the original expectation, it turned out that fasting induced metabolic activation rather actively.

People are interested in whether human beings can enjoy the effects of prevention of metabolic diseases and prolonging life span by fasting or caloric restriction, as with model animals. Understanding the metabolic changes caused by fasting is expected to give us wisdom for maintaining health.”

Low-Carb Breakfast Improves Weight Loss Efforts

As important as intermittent fasting is the time of day you eat your meals. For many, intermittent fasting is a way of attaining healthy weight loss they can maintain. In one study with 70 patients, researchers evaluated the difference in a morning meal that had restricted carbohydrate intake or had the same number of calories as in a typical Mediterranean-style diet.10

In the group of participants, 58.6% were women who were overweight or obese and nearly one-third had diabetes. The group was randomly assigned to one of the two breakfast meals, but the remainder of the foods in their daily diet was identical.

The average intake was between 1300 and 1500 calories per day. While both groups demonstrated improvements, by the end of the study, those who had been eating a restricted carbohydrate breakfast showed an impressive 3.5 kilogram (7.7 pounds) greater weight loss compared to the other group.

All participants in the carbohydrate-restricted group lost at least 5% of their body weight by the end of the study as compared to 65.7% of all of the individuals in the control group.

The researchers did not find other improvements in the low-carbohydrate breakfast group, including those related to glycemic outcomes. Dr. Dimitrios Tsilingiris presented the findings at the 2018 meeting of the European Association for the Study of Diabetes. In commenting on the results, he said:11

“The morning carbohydrate-restricted diet might offer certain benefits by favoring compliance…and the rapid weight lowering seen with this diet might be used in the induction of longer-term diets, or be an add-on feature in weight maintenance, even though it wasn’t tested for this.

As such, they might be helpful in the management of obesity-related type 2 diabetes. However, these diets often have limited versatility and the availability of low-carbohydrate food can impair compliance. Normally, overnight we fast and in the morning, with breakfast, our insulin rises and then drops again towards lunchtime.

As insulin drops, the fat stores tend to mobilize and act as energy substrates. Theoretically, inducing a lower insulin response after a low carbohydrate breakfast should mean we can prolong the low [overnight] insulin and fat mobilization state, resulting in a net effect on weight and fat loss.”

Eating a Late Dinner May Raise the Risk of Diabetes

What you eat and what time you eat has a significant effect on your health, specifically your risk for obesity and diabetes. A recent study published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism was led by a team from John Hopkins University.12 The researchers engaged 20 healthy young adults who spent two time periods in a clinical research unit where scientists structured the participants’ meals and sleep times.

The objective was to analyze the metabolic impact of eating a late dinner. During one time period, the participants ate a regular dinner at 6 pm, and in the second time period, they ate at 10 pm. The caloric intake of the meals was the same on both visits.13

The researchers measured hourly insulin, plasma glucose, triglycerides, and dietary fatty acid oxidation throughout the night and first thing in the morning. The participants also underwent a sleep study.

The results showed that eating dinner late at night induced higher glucose and reduced fatty acid oxidation. Senior study author Dr. Jonathan Jun said the study:14

“… sheds new light on how eating a late dinner worsens glucose tolerance and reduces the amount of fat burned. If the metabolic effects we observed with a single meal keep occurring chronically, then late eating could lead to consequences such as diabetes or obesity.

We still need to do more experiments to see if these effects continue over time, and if they are caused more by behavior (such as sleeping soon after a meal) or by the body’s circadian rhythms.”

Intermittent Fasting Improves Metabolic Health

Mounting evidence continues to reveal that what you eat and when you eat have an impact on your health. Intermittent fasting influences immunometabolism, which is the connection between metabolic health and the immune system.15

I believe it’s easily one of the most important fields in emerging medicine and supports what researchers have known — metabolic health is crucial for robust immune function.

In my interview with Dr. Paul Saladino, a board-certified psychiatrist, and board-certified in nutrition, we discussed the importance of insulin resistance which Saladino believes underlies many of the comorbidities responsible for severe COVID-19 disease. The overarching principle is that what matters most to your longevity is your immune and metabolic age, rather than your biological age.

You can see the interview and read more at “The Role of Metabolic Health in Better COVID-19 Outcomes.” While the focus of that article is on supporting your metabolic health to lower your risk for severe COVID-19, realistically, these principles are important in supporting overall good health that helps protect you against chronic and infectious diseases.

By ditching the idea of eating three meals a day in favor of trying the intermittent fasting approach, you accommodate a body that is simply not designed to be continuously fed. When you eat throughout the day, your body adapts to using glucose as a primary fuel. This encourages energy to be stored as fat and increases the risk you become progressively more insulin resistant.

Although many consider intermittent fasting as a way of losing weight, it also improves insulin resistance, increases human growth hormone production, boosts fat burning, lowers blood pressure, and boosts mitochondrial energy, efficiency, and biosynthesis. These and other health benefits to intermittent fasting I discuss in “Top 22 Intermittent Fasting Benefits.”

Take Control of Your Health With Intermittent Fasting

While it is likely that intermittent fasting is beneficial for most people, it’s important to remember a few points:

Intermittent fasting does not have to involve restricting calories — Fasting should not make you feel weak and lethargic. The objective is to limit the number of hours that you eat.

Sugar cravings will be temporary — As your body starts to burn fat for primary fuel, it’ll be easier to fast for as long as 18 hours and your hunger and craving for sugar will dissipate.

Intermittent fasting is not advisable with a daily diet of processed foods — Although the process may sound like a panacea against till health, by itself it does not provide you with all the benefits. The quality of your diet plays a vital role.

If you’re new to the idea of intermittent fasting, consider starting by skipping breakfast and eating lunch and dinner within an 8-hour time frame. Make sure you stop eating three hours before you go to sleep. As demonstrated in the study mentioned earlier, eating close to bedtime can raise your glucose intolerance at night and increase your risk for weight gain.

Focus on a diet with moderate amounts of healthy protein and minimize your net carbohydrate intake by exchanging them for healthy fats like butter, coconut oil, and raw nuts. Overall, these strategies can help your body go into fat-burning mode.

It may take a few weeks, after which you’ll likely be able to fast for 18 hours and not feel hungry. By adapting to a diet of whole foods and incorporating intermittent fasting, nearly every aspect of your health will also begin to improve.