Lard is pork fat, tallow is beef fat and schmaltz is chicken or duck fat and If you were to go to the supermarket and pick up a ready-made product and see one of these fats in it, or wanted to try a recipe which called for one of these fats, chances are you would cringe. We have been conditioned to think that animal fat consumption is a quick way to an early death by clogging our arteries and the opposite is true with the consumption of vegetable oils such as canola, corn, sunflower, safflower, cottonseed oil, and soy, as a substitute for animal fats. However, don’t be fooled by the stereotypical profiles of each and especially the wholesomeness of the above mentioned “vegetable oils” because the truth is more complex than that. These oils typically seen in many products at the supermarket are hardly vegetables. Some fall under the umbrella of industrial oils, have had their genetics modified, and have been tampered with in other ways in the past few decades that make me question their healthfulness over a long exposure time.
You may be aware that squeezing lemon or lime juice on a salad or fruit salad will keep it from oxidizing or turning brown. In a sense, the lemon or lime juice is like an antioxidant to prevent your body from oxidizing or turning brown. Antioxidants are the anti agers of the nutrient world working to protect your body from oxidative stress. It is estimated that every cell in our body takes 10,000 oxidative hits to its DNA daily! These hits can come from chemicals in our environment, breathing, or from sunlight. It is antioxidants that work to counteract that damage caused by free radicals. Antioxidants and antiradicals are found mostly in fruits and vegetables such as berries, broccoli, spinach, and green tea. These antioxidants protect plants and consequently us, when we consume them.
Antiradicals are molecules that neutralize free radicals in our bodies. Free radicals are highly reactive and short-lived uncharged molecules that have an unpaired electron. Since electrons like to be in pairs, these unpaired varieties seek out other electrons so they can become a pair. When they pair up with electrons in our bodies it causes damage to cells, proteins, DNA, by stealing an electron. This process has been linked to various human diseases including cancer, atherosclerosis, neurological diseases such as Parkinson’s disease and premature aging. Although very similar and broadly referred to under the umbrella of antioxidants, essentially antiradicals are substances that can either act as an electron donor or an electron grabberwhereas antioxidants are substances that can inhibit the process of oxidation. What is not similar is how each antioxidant and antiradical perform in different analytical assays or measurement testing. (click the title for the entire article)
If you have never heard of the pesticide chlorpyrifos (pronounced klor-peer-a-foss), sold under the name Lorsban, Dursban and others, you might want to learn more about what foods it gets sprayed on so that you can avoid exposure to it. It appears that despite the gallant efforts of many to remove this toxic pesticide from use, it will continue to be used for the foreseeable future on approximately 50 crops thanks to a series of events that display the worst side of the political and agribusiness friendships that occur in Washington D.C.
Chlorpyrifos is an organophosphate pesticide like ones developed by the Nazi’s during WW II. Patented by Dow Chemical company in 1963. Organophosphates interact with cholinesterase, an enzyme that aids in the production of an important neurotransmitter in animals. In other words, it’s a nerve agent that paralyzes insects and for a half a century, staple foods in the U.S., such as corn, wheat, apples, peaches, lettuce potatoes, almonds, and citrus, have been sprayed with chlorpyrifos. Consequently, because it affects the nervous system, chlorpyrifos has been shown to cause harm to the brain and cause neurodevelopmental problems in children.
If you have been to the airport or any public place since 9/11, we see dogs standing next to security people at the ready because of their ability to smell explosives. Police dogs have also been used for missing persons or finding the remains of a deceased person. Did you know that dogs can smell diseases and sense seizures before they happen? Dogs possess about fifty times more olfactory receptors in their noses compared to humans and the part of the dog’s brain that is devoted to analyzing smells is about 40 times greater than humans. Dogs also have a vomeronasal organ which enables them to detect pheromones, which are chemicals that transfer information to another member of either the same or another species.
There are humans that are also capable of smelling disease, they are called super smellers. Joy Milne a “super smeller” who is capable of detecting scents too subtle for most people to perceive and is also a retired nurse living in Perth, Scotland. Joy first noticed a “sort of woody, musky odor” from her husband about 12 years before his diagnosis of Parkinson’s disease. Tilo Kunath, an Edinburgh University neurobiologist became aware of Milne’s observations of smell during a lecture he gave in 2012. Milne’s husband Les had since passed away, but Kunath tested Milne by having her smell 12 shirts worn by a mixture of healthy volunteers and patients diagnosed with Parkinson’s. Milne correctly picked out the six shirts worn by those suffering from Parkinson’s disease. She also picked another shirt that was initially thought to be a normal volunteer, but eight months later it was later learned that the shirt the person belonged to was diagnosed with Parkinson’s!
Fascia: The forgotten connective tissue, and new organ?
An injury often involves the muscles, tendons, ligaments, and bones which are all part of the connective tissues of our bodies. The fascia is also part of the connective tissue but is rarely talked about. It is a sheath of connective tissue under the skin that covers all joints, muscles, tendons, ligaments and visceral organs. There are no orthopedic tests to identify a fascial injury other than pressure points where we think the fascia is tense and irritated. Trauma to the body can replicate the same pain within the fascia that other connective tissue injuries can. Researchers in the past few years have concluded that the fascia, also known as the interstitium has properties that could classify it as a new organ. This was the conclusion of a study in the Journal of Scientific Reports published in March of 2018. The fascia was previously thought as just a wall of dense collagen, but now according to Dr. Neil Theise a professor of pathology at New York University, it’s more like an “open, fluid filled highway”. This was only discovered when a new imaging technique called probe based confocal laser endomicroscopy or pCLE, enabled them to examine living tissues on a microscopic level. Our bodies which are about 60-70% water, has about two thirds of it in the cells and about one third outside the cells in the fluid filled spaces of this interstitium or fascia. Researchers at Mt. Sinai hospital in NYC believe that the fluid filled fascia can act as a portal to deliver lymph to and from organs and unfortunately serve as a transportation highway for metastatic cancerous cell migration. These same researchers believe the fluid filled spaces may also act as a shock absorber to protect tissues during daily functions as well, and that is the connection to many acute and chronic pain syndromes
Like all mammals we are introduced to our first dose of microbes via two ways. 1. Coming through the birth canal and 2. Suckling for milk and having skin to mouth contact with our mother. Not only are we exposed to bacteria through ingesting colostrum and breast milk, but also from skin contact. Amazingly, the mothers gut bacteria travel through the entero-mammary pathway. Starting from the gut beneficial bacteria enter the mesenteric lymph node and then travel through the mammary gland epithelium to reach the baby. This period of our lives and the inoculation of bacteria we get from out mother is a key moment in the establishment of our oral and gastrointestinal microbiome.
However, new information is revealing that there are bacterial strains specific to the mouth that are important in preventing illness’ such as bleeding gums and periodontal disease beyond what you might get in a typical probiotic.
Bleeding gums and periodontal disease in women and men
According to a study done at Penn State University College of Medicine, Penn State Health Medical Center, and Columbia University, older adults who met twice weekly strength training guidelines had lower odds of dying. Is one of the keys to a longer life strength training? In previous decades it was the rewards of aerobic exercise that were emphasized. However, for the past decade, more research appears to show that strength training has at least as much importance if not more than aerobic training.
The NHIS (National Health Interview Survey) collects overall health, disease, and disability data of the U.S. population from a nationally representative sampling of all 50 states and the District of Columbia. Dr. Jennifer Kraschnewski assistant professor of medicine and public health sciences, Penn State College of Medicine examined data from the 1997-2001 NHIS and linked it to death certificate data through 2011. The study included more than 30,000 adults age 65 and older. The survey revealed only 9% of the adults reported strength training twice a week. However, those who did had 46% lower odds of death for any reason and 19% lower odds of dying from cancer. The study showed strong evidence that strength training in older adults was beneficial beyond improving muscle strength and physical function.
The benefits of strength training go beyond just longevity. Postmenopausal women can lose 1-2% of their bone mass annually and all adults on average lose about 3-8% of our muscle mass each decade. A study from Tufts University showed that strength training increases bone density and reduces the risk for fractures among women aged 50-70
In the past several years legalization of medical and non-medical marijuana and cultivation of hemp for CBD (cannabinoids) has skyrocketed. Last year the sales for legal hemp was one billion dollars. Thanks to the updated farm bill passed by congress in December of 2018, starting in January 2019, hemp can now be grown in all 50 states and it is estimated that by 2020 it will be a 20-billion-dollar industry. Raphael Mechoulam, is an Israeli chemist, who is fondly called the Father of Medical Cannabis. He was the first scientist who isolated the first two endogenous (made in the body) cannabinoids over 50 years ago. He then discovered that we had Endocannabinoid receptor sites where like a lock and key, cannabinoids attach to cells throughout the body to produce physiological responses necessary for keeping cells alive and healthy.
Over the past 50 years our understanding of the endocannabinoid system has increased dramatically. We now know that there are different types of CBD receptors located in different areas throughout the body. Simply put, the endocannabinoid system (E.C.S.) is a vast network of receptor sites, that is closely connected to many conditions of suffering. This is nicely summarized in the following two pictures.
In 2016 the Nobel Prize in Physiology & Medicine went to Yoshinori Ohsumi for his research on the mechanisms of autophagy. Autophagy, a natural process, means “self” “eating”. This is a process that our bodies undergo cellularly to recycle or rid itself of old parts within the cell, such as organelles and microbes. Essentially, autophagy is self-cannibalism. However, it is much more than that because it is a key to understanding detoxification at the cellular level and that is where we can finally understand chronic degenerative diseases and how to prolong life.
Probably the most effective method of “detoxing” is something that has been talked about for millennia but is only recently getting the public recognition it deserves. That method is fasting or intermittent fasting. Part of Dr. Ohsumi’s research showed how the effects of fasting and calorie restriction came to increase autophagy. For those who work in the natural health fields, this research gives scientific proof to fasting, and how restricted oxygen (hypoxia) aid in detoxification and cleansing ourselves....
Antibiotic resistance is a growing public health concern, and according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, drug-resistant infections account for 2 million infections and 23,000 deaths in the U.S. each year. The World Health Organization estimates that the threat of antimicrobial resistance will kill 50 million people per year by 2050. Superbugs such as C. difficile (which accounts for about 15,000 of those deaths), CRE, Neisseria Gonorrhoeae, MRSA, Streptococcus Pneumoniae, Malaria, and MDR are some of the top superbugs that commonly fall into this category. When antibiotics fail to work, there may be little to turn to in the medical world to prevent the downward spiral of a patient...
Bacteriophages have been around since the dawn of the planet and comprise the single most abundant life form on the planet. There are an estimated ten million trillion trillion bacteriophages on earth. A single drop of seawater can contain millions. They exist in soil, water, and in excrement. While they are harmless to humans, phages are deadly to bacteria and prevent bacteria from overrunning the planet. Smaller than bacteria, bacteriophages have a very unusual appearance as you can see from this electron microscopic image. The difficulty in broadening phages as a treatment protocol is the need for a host where the bacteriophage can survive long enough to see if can kill a specific bacterium. If the phages do in fact find a specific bacterium, they insert their DNA into the bacterium and then replicate themselves so that it causes the bacteria to burst open with multiples of themselves. The diagram below illustrates how this works.... keep reading