Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Gluten-Free Diets Require Scrutiny !!

Think your gluten-free diet is healthy? You're exposed to twice as much arsenic and mercury, study finds

  • Gluten-free diets have increasingly grown in popularity over the past few years 
  • But scientists claim it could be dangerous for those choosing to eat such foods
  • They found high levels of the 2 toxic metals in the urine of gluten-free dieters
Gluten-free diets have taken off rapidly in the past few years.
But new research suggests those choosing to follow the trend are exposed to high levels of two toxic metals.Those going gluten-free have double the amount of arsenic - a known cause of cancer - in their body, scientists found.  
While traces of mercury - another deadly chemical - are almost 70 per cent greater, expert claim.
Scientists have discovered that those going gluten-free have double the amount of arsenic in their body due to the wide use of rice
Scientists have discovered that those going gluten-free have double the amount of arsenic in their body due to the wide use of rice
There may be no need for anyone that isn't suffering from celiac disease to choose such products, researchers warn.
Sufferers of the agonising digestive disorder often restrict themselves from eating the protein as it can make them severely ill.
However, it is believed that around 13 per cent of the UK population have started to avoid the protein by choosing such products instead. And the figure is even higher in the US, with a quarter saying they had consumed such foods in 2015 - a 67 per cent increase in two years.
Gluten-free versions of bread, spaghetti and cereals often contain rice flour as a substitute for wheat.  But rice is known to contain up to ten times more arsenic than other foods due to the way it was grown.
Generally, brown rice has higher levels because the arsenic is found in the outer coating or bran, which is removed in the milling process to produce white rice. 
Rice is known to contain up to ten times more arsenic - which can cause cancer in frequent exposure - than other foods due to the way it was grown
Rice is known to contain up to ten times more arsenic - which can cause cancer in frequent exposure - than other foods due to the way it was grown
Industrial contaminants and pesticides used to grow the food in the past can remain in the polluted paddy fields for decades - meaning the rice in supermarket shelves often contains higher levels.  


You may not think there's anything wrong with how you cook rice - but there probably is.
If you're not using enough water then you're at risk of heart disease and cancer, a scientist warned last week.
Cooking the grains in excess water helps to flush out arsenic, preventing any possible chemical poisoning.
While soaking rice overnight slashes levels of the industrial toxin by around 80 per cent, a contamination expert claimed. 
Glten Free Researchers from the University of Illinois at Chicago assessed the urine of 73 participants from a previous nutrition survey they conducted.
They ranged from between six and 80 years old and had all reported eating gluten-free food over a period of five years.
However, those who consumed the most had higher concentrations of arsenic in their urine, they found.
Their levels of the toxic metals were almost twice as high, according to the study published in the journal Epidemiology.
While traces of mercury was almost 70 per cent greater in those restricted to a gluten-free diet.
Study author Dr Maria Argos said: 'These results indicate that there could be unintended consequences of eating a gluten-free diet.'
However, she added that further research is needed to determine the health effects of consuming both metals. 

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-4223422/Gluten-free-diets-higher-levels-arsenic.html#ixzz4YgFfHjYi
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Thursday, February 9, 2017

Sauna Therapy May Reduce Risk of Dementia and Boost Brain Health

February 09, 2017 
                                 By Dr. Mercola
When it comes to improving your health, some of the simplest strategies can have a tremendous impact.
Sweating in a sauna, for example, has many great health benefits, including expelling of toxins, improving blood circulation, killing disease-causing microbes and improving mitochondrial function.  Research has even shown that regular sauna use correlates with a reduced risk of death from any cause, including lethal cardiovascular events, and may help stave off Alzheimer’s disease and dementia.

Sauna Bathing Promotes Brain Health

Most recently, researchers in Finland — a country where most homes come equipped with a sauna — found that men who used a sauna four to seven times a week for an average length of 15 minutes had a 66 percent lower risk of developing dementia, and 65 percent lower risk of Alzheimer’s, compared to men who used the sauna only once a week.1
More than 2,300 middle-aged men were followed for more than two decades in this study, and the results held even after other healthy lifestyle factors were taken into account, such as exercise and socioeconomic factors.

How Sauna Use Helps Boost Brain Function

There are many reasons why sauna use may boost brain health, including lowering inflammation and blood pressure, improving vascular function and enhancing relaxation and well-being.2
Other researchhas shown sauna use increases levels of norepinephrine, a stress hormone that increases focus and attention, as well as prolactin, which may promote myelin growth, helping your brain to function faster and repair nerve cell damage.
Researchers have also found a link between heat exposure and brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), which activates brain stem cells to convert into new neurons. BDNF also triggers numerous other chemicals that promote neural health.
Exercising in heat increases BDNF to a greater degree than exercise done at lower temperatures, suggesting heat stress (i.e., sauna use) is beneficial for brain health.4
They found that exercising in heat increased the permeability of the blood-brain barrier, which is thought to stimulate cerebral output of BDNF. Heat stress also benefits your brain by:5
  • Preventing aggregation of proteins in your arteries and brain
  • Increasing production of dynorphin, which helps cool your body down. Although dynorphin has the opposite effect of endorphins, it sensitizes your brain to endorphins that your body produces
  • Increasing production of growth factors, which in turn promote the growth of brain neurons

Sauna Benefits Your Heart as Well

Previous findings by the same Finnish research team revealed that men who used the Finnish-style, dry heat sauna seven times per week also cut their risk of death from fatal heart problems in half, compared to those who used it only once a week. 6,7,8,9,10  
These findings remained stable even when confounding factors such as smoking, blood pressure, cholesterol and triglyceride levels were factored in. In regard to time, the greatest benefits were found among those who sweated it out for 19 minutes or more each session.
One mechanism for this effect is thought to be related to the fact that the heat places stress on your heart and body similar to that of exercise. Conversely, hyperthermic conditioning (i.e., acclimating yourself to heat independent of aerobic physical activity through sauna use) can also boost your exercise endurance.
It does this by inducing adaptations in your body that make it easier for you to perform when your body temperature is elevated. Stated another way; as your body is subjected to heat stress, it gradually becomes acclimated to the heat, prompting a number of beneficial changes and adaptations.
This includes increased blood flow to your heart and muscles (which increase athletic endurance) and increased muscle mass due to greater levels of heat-shock proteins and human growth hormone (HGH).
Compared to traditional saunas, athletes using infrared saunas also report greater recovery from strength and endurance training sessions.11

Heat, Sweat and Detoxification

Your skin is the largest organ in your body and your sweat glands are one way of cleansing your skin and releasing toxins that build up in your cells. Lack of sweating may actually result in an increased toxic load over time, which in turn can adversely affect your heart and brain.
Compared to other detoxification strategies, sauna bathing has a number of benefits, and may be one of the best, if not the best, strategy to lower your toxic load in a natural way.
As discussed in my interview with Dr. George Yu, the mobilization of stored toxins can be further enhanced by taking niacin in conjunction with sauna bathing.
While still often downplayed by modern medicine as a means of detoxification, studies have shown that sweating can help excrete heavy metals such as cadmium, arsenic, lead and mercury,12 for example, all of which can have very serious health effects. 
In one such study, sweat generally exceeded plasma or urine concentrations of toxins. According to the authors, sweating “deserves consideration for toxic element detoxification,” adding that:13
  • Sweat may be an important route for excretion of cadmium when an individual is exposed to high levels
  • Sweat-inducing sauna use might provide a therapeutic method to increase elimination of toxic trace metals
  • Sweating should be the initial and preferred treatment of patients with elevated mercury levels

Other Health Benefits of Sauna Therapy

Sauna use may also help your body excrete nonbiological halides, like bromine or fluoride that displace iodine. This is particularly important if you have thyroid issues.
A lack of sweating or an inability to sweat is often a sign of hypothyroidism (underactive thyroid). Hypothyroidism may be exacerbated by halides found in baked goods, soft drinks, pesticidesfire retardants and other products.
These halides bind to the same receptors in your thyroid used to capture iodine, necessary for the production of thyroid hormones. This results in a low production of thyroid hormone and symptoms of hypothyroidism.
The more you can excrete the halides (and reduce your exposure), the more iodine your body can use to produce thyroid hormones.
Individuals suffering from fibromyalgia have also experienced great results from using saunas to reduce discomfort and pain. In one small study, 44 patients with fibromyalgia found a reduction in pain between 33 and 77 percent.
Six months after the study ended, the participants continued to report a reduction in pain between 28 and 68 percent.14
Sauna therapy has also demonstrated benefits for patients with asthma, bronchitis and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).15 Patients with rheumatoid arthritis and ankylosing spondylitis report positive effects from infrared sauna therapy specifically. After four weeks and eight treatments, pain and stiffness were significantly reduced and improvements were seen in fatigue.16
Anecdotally, one of my senior staff writers reports successfully treating all sorts of aches and pains using a portable tent-style low-EMF infrared sauna, including headaches and general pains associated with menstruation, stiff knees, shoulder and back pain, and even migraines.
She started using it four times a week for 30 minutes per session at 150 degrees by recommendation from her doctor after being diagnosed with lead and aluminum toxicity, and was pleasantly surprised to notice its acute effects on various aches and pains as well.

Different Types of Saunas

There are several different types of saunas to choose from these days, including:17
  1. Finnish sauna, either wet or dry
  2. Far-infrared saunas
  3. Near-infrared saunas (emitters and lamps)
The difference between an infrared sauna and the traditional Finnish-style saunas (whether wet or dry) is that the Finnish-style sauna heats you up from the outside in, like an oven. The infrared sauna heats you from the inside out. Infrared saunas are particularly known for their ability to promote detoxification, and this is part of the reason for that.
By heating your tissues several inches deep, the infrared sauna can enhance your natural metabolic processes and blood circulation. It also helps oxygenate your tissues.

What’s the Difference Between Near- and Far-Infrared Saunas?

Near-infrared saunas have several additional benefits over the others, including far-infrared saunas. For starters, it penetrates your tissue more effectively than far-infrared because wavelengths under 900 nanometers (nm) in the near-infrared are not absorbed by water like the higher wavelengths in mid- and far-infrared, and thus can penetrate tissues more deeply.
When you look at the rainbow spectrum, the visible part of light ends in red. Infrared-A (near-infrared) is the beginning of the invisible light spectrum following red. This in turn is followed by infrared-B (mid-infrared) and infrared-C (far-infrared). While they cannot be seen, the mid- and far-infrared range can be felt as heat. This does not apply to near-infrared, however, which has a wavelength between 700 and 1,400 nm. As previously explained by Dr. Alexander Wunsch:
"Here you have only very low absorption by water molecules, and this is the reason why radiation has a very high transmittance. In other words, it penetrates very deeply into your tissue, so the energy distributes in a large tissue volume. This near-infrared A is not heating up the tissue so you will not feel directly any effect of heat.
This significantly changes when we increase the wavelength, let's say, to 2,000 nm. Here we are in the infrared-B range and this already is felt as heat. And from 3,000 nm on to the longer wavelength, we have almost full absorption, mainly by the water molecule, and this is [felt as] heating."

Near-Infrared Radiation Is Important for Optimal Health

The near-infrared range affects your health in a number of important ways,18 primarily through its interaction with chromophores in your body. Chromophores are molecules that absorb light, found in your mitochondria and in water molecules. To make sure the near-infrared rays can penetrate your skin, avoid wearing clothing when using a near-infrared sauna.
In your mitochondria, there's a specific light-absorbing molecule called cytochrome c oxidase (cco), which is part of the mitochondrial electron transport chain and absorbs near-infrared light around 830 nm. Cco is involved in the energy production within the mitochondria. Adenosine triphosphate (ATP) — cellular energy — is the end product. ATP is the fuel your cells need for all of their varied functions, including ion transport, synthesizing and metabolism.
Most people don’t realize that light is an important and necessary fuel just like food.  When your bare skin is exposed to near-infrared light, cco will increase ATP production. It is also important to understand that near-infrared light is healing and repairing, and helps optimize many other biological functions. Its absence in artificial light sources like LEDs and fluorescents is what makes these light sources do dangerous to your health.
We now know that mitochondrial dysfunction is at the heart of most health problems and chronic diseases, including many signs of aging. For these reasons, I strongly recommend using a sauna that offers a full spectrum of infrared radiation, not just far-infrared. Regular exposure to near-infrared through the sun and/or sauna is a powerful strategy to improve your health.
Also beware of the fact that most infrared saunas emit dangerous non-native EMFs. So, look for one that emits low or no non-native EMFs. To learn more about this issue, please see my interview with Steve Benda, who has spent many years developing low-EMF saunas. After searching for a long time, I finally found a near perfect full-spectrum infrared sauna that I hope to have made to my customized specifications in a few months, so stay tuned for this exciting development.

Be Mindful of Mineral Depletion When Frequently Sweating

Dr. Lawrence Wilson has written an excellent book, “Sauna Therapy,” which is the best resource I have read to date on sauna use.19 As a nutritional consultant, Wilson recommends not spending more than 20 minutes in a near-infrared lamp sauna unless you’re also on a nutritional balancing program.
The reason for this is because the near-infrared can produce profound changes in your body chemistry. While most of these changes will be beneficial, if you have very unbalanced mineral ratios you could potentially worsen the problem.
My staff writer, whom I mentioned earlier, experienced this problem as well. After several weeks of regular sauna use, she developed symptoms suggestive of a magnesium deficiency. Magnesium is one of the minerals that are more rapidly depleted when you sweat a lot.
The symptoms, which included a persistent “thick” headache and muscle spasms, began to dissipate within 15 minutes of taking an extra-large dose of magnesium, and disappeared completely after two days of upping her magnesium dosage.
Many other minerals can also be lost through sweating. To replace lost minerals, Wilson recommends taking kelp and using a high-quality natural (unprocessed) salt in your cooking. My preference is Himalayan salt in combination with magnesium as most of us are deficient in magnesium.
Wilson also provides instructions for how to build your own near-infrared sauna. If you currently have a far-infrared tent sauna, you could simply add one or two 10-watt infrared heat lamps as these types of bulbs emit near- and mid-infrared radiation. If you have a larger wooden sauna you could use a few 250-watt heat lamp bulbs. You could also add a small air purifier that produces negative ions that further enhances sauna benefits.
I have been taking an early morning 30-minute infrared sauna nearly daily for the last six months and enjoying swimming in my unheated pool afterwards, which at this time of the year is below 50 degrees, providing over a 120-degree contrast. But I feel great after I get out of the pool.
For men considering this regimen, I would caution them to protect their testes by holding an ice pack near their scrotum while they are in the sauna, as the testes weren’t designed for these types of high temperatures and there are some reports of impaired fertility in men who use sauna regularly.
Overall, regular sauna therapy, especially full-spectrum, near-, mid- and far-infrared low EMF sauna, can be a powerful adjunct to optimize your health through eliminating toxins and recharging your body with regenerating red and infrared wavelengths that energize your mitochondria and charge your water cellular battery.

Monday, February 6, 2017

Proper Handwashing-Drying No. 1 Way to Prevent Spread of Contagious Disease

Proper Handwashing — and Drying — Is the No. 1 Way to Prevent Spread of Contagious Disease

February 06, 2017 | 

By Dr. Mercola
With drug-resistant infections on the rise, disinfecting yourself and your surroundings may seem like a good idea. However, research has clearly shown that this may exacerbate problems rather than solve them.
When it comes to preventing the spread of contagious disease, handwashing tops the list of effective strategies.1 The key is to do it, and to do it correctly, using proper products and techniques.
Studies suggest compliance with handwashing practices in healthcare settings is surprisingly low, typically no higher than 40 percent.2 An estimated 1 in 4 patients also leave the hospital with a superbug on their hands, suggesting patients also need to become more mindful about handwashing when in a health care setting.3
Unfortunately, many still labor under the mistaken assumption you need antibacterial soap to get the job done right. Many also believe using an air dryer is preferable to using a towel when in a public restroom. Surprising as it may seem, air dryers may actually spread FAR more germs than paper towels!
Moreover, as we're learning more about the human skin microbiome, researchers have noted that fewer bacteria are not necessarily better. Diverse communities of bacteria thrive on perfectly healthy skin. In fact, they're very much needed for optimal health. Hence "clean" does not mean bacteria-free.

Redefining Cleanliness

In their paper, "Cleanliness in Context: Reconciling Hygiene With a Modern Microbial Perspective,"4 microbial ecologists at the University of Oregon argue that cleanliness isn't as simple as ridding your skin of as many microbes as possible.5
A "scorched earth" strategy may actually do more harm than good, as by removing too many beneficial bacteria you become vulnerable to more harmful ones. According to the authors:
"Most evidence suggests that the skin microbiota is likely of direct benefit to the host, and only rarely exhibits pathogenicity …
The skin is a complex immunological organ with both innate and adaptive immune cells, including multiple dendritic and T-cell subsets; antimicrobial peptides, proinflammatory cytokines, and chemokines that are secreted by keratinocytes to support an immune response …
This complex ecological context suggests that the conception of hygiene as a unilateral reduction or removal of microbes has outlived its usefulness.
As such, we suggest the explicit definition of hygiene as 'those actions and practices that reduce the spread or transmission of pathogenic microorganisms, and thus reduce the incidence of disease.'"
In their paper, the scientists examine different methods of hand drying as an aspect of this redefinition of cleanliness. As it stands, there are studies showing both pros and cons of hot air or jet drying and using paper or cloth towels.
"Utilizing a definition of hygiene that explicitly relies on reduction in disease spread rather than alterations to bulk microbial load would address concerns raised on both sides of the debate," the scientists note.

The Problem With Hot Air and Jet Dryers

Public restrooms have largely traded out paper or fabric towel dispensers for warm air dryers or jet dryers. But research suggests this may actually be counterproductive, promoting rather than preventing the spread of disease-causing bacteria.
Warm air driersblow heated air for 30 to 40 seconds per use. According to the featured paper, "most research has shown that warm air dryers may increase the number of bacteria on the hands after use." The reason for the increase in bacterial load is thought to be due to:
  • Bacteria inside the dryer mechanism being blown out during use
  • Bacteria-enriched air being recirculated
  • Bacteria found in the deeper layers of skin being liberated when rubbing your hands together beneath the hot air stream
  • Some combination of the above
Moreover, the authors note that the temperature of the air in these dryers is not hot enough to actually kill bacteria. Their purpose is solely to promote evaporation so your hands become dry.
Jet dryers are a newer alternative. These units use a high-speed jet of unheated air, drying hands in as little as 10 to 15 seconds, again by promoting the rapid evaporation of water. According to the authors:
"Many jet air dryers (e.g., the Dyson AirbladeTM) are marketed as designed with a high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filter built into the airflow system, which reduces the risk of redistribution of airborne microbes to the hands.
However, there is concern about the propensity of such rapid air movement to aerosolize microbes from users' hands or the surrounding environment … Particular attention has been paid to the distance such rapid air movement is capable of dispersing potentially contaminated droplets from the hands …"
In one recent study,6 jet dryers were found to spray 1,300 times more viral material into the surrounding area than paper towels, dispersing the viral load up to 10 feet away from the dryer.7,8

Paper Versus Cloth Towels

In healthcare settings, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and World Health Organization (WHO) both advise using paper towels to dry your hands.
The reason for this is because the bulk of the data suggests paper towels can effectively remove surface bacteria from your hands, and effectively prevent the spread of contaminated water droplets from your hands into the environment.
As noted in a 2012 meta-analysis of a dozen studies published in the Mayo Clinic Proceedings:9
"[M]ost studies suggest that paper towels can dry hands efficiently, remove bacteria effectively, and cause less contamination of the washroom environment.
From a hygiene viewpoint, paper towels are superior to electric air dryers. Paper towels should be recommended in locations where hygiene is paramount, such as hospitals and clinics."
That said, the waste paper can be a source of bacteria, and depending on how the paper towels are manufactured and stored, the paper itself could be a source of contamination, especially if the paper towels are produced with recycled materials.
Cloth towels are the fourth and final alternative, typically used in private homes, although some public restrooms will still use a roller-type fabric towel rack. Not surprisingly, cloth towels have the highest risk of cross-contamination, although they're comparable to paper towels when you're measuring the reduction of bacteria on your hands after drying.
According to a 2014 University of Arizona study,10 towels may be the most germ-ridden item in your home. Tests revealed a staggering 89 percent of kitchen towels and nearly 26 percent of bathroom towels were contaminated with coliform bacteria — microbes associated with food poisoning and diarrhea.
The primary reason for this is the moisture cloth towels retain, which serves as a perfect breeding ground for bacteria. To properly cleanse towels of potentially harmful bacteria, be sure to wash them in HOT water, as most of these organisms live at body temperature.
No. 1 Disease-Prevention Strategy — Proper Hand Hygiene
While the issue of hand drying is important, it should not overshadow the issue of actually washing your hands in the first place. As noted by The Verge:11
"All this discussion of drying, though, ignores one obvious, overwhelmingly important fact: [I]t's washing your hands that's key when it comes to personal hygiene, and people just don't wash their hands enough.
When you look at advice and research from agencies tasked with public health like the CDC and WHO, there's scant mention of drying techniques because getting people to wash is tricky enough. In a U.K. study,12 99 percent of people visiting a public bathroom said they had washed their hands after going to the toilet. Recording devices showed that only 32 percent of men and 64 percent of women actually had."
Handwashing is particularly important:13
  • During cold and flu season
  • Anytime you visit a health care facility. Before leaving the premises, be sure to wash your hands
  • Before and after food preparation, especially if you're cooking poultry, raw eggs, meat or seafood. It's also advisable to wash your hands directly before sitting down to eat
  • After you've used the restroom, and after each diaper change
  • Before and after caring for someone who is ill, and/or treating a cut or wound

How to Properly Wash Your Hands

Hand washing is a simple and effective way to reduce your exposure to potentially disease-causing germs and reduce your chances of getting sick and/or spreading disease to others. Unfortunately, research14 suggests as little as 5 percent of people wash their hands in a way that will actually kill infection and illness-causing germs. To be truly effective for disease control, be sure to follow the following handwashing guidelines:
1.Use warm, running water and a mild soap. You do NOT need antibacterial soap, and this has been scientifically verified. Even the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has stated15 "there is currently no evidence that [antibacterial soaps] are any more effective at preventing illness than washing with plain soap and water."
Not only does antibacterial soap promote the development of drug-resistant bacteria, compounds such as triclosan have also been linked to a number or harmful health effects, especially in young children, including allergiesthyroid dysfunctionendocrine disruption, weight gain and inflammatory responses.16,17
It's even been found to aggravate the growth of liver and kidney tumors.18 In pregnant women, triclosan has been shown to affect hormone regulation, and may interfere with fetal development.19,20,21,22
Alcohol-based products are also best avoided. While they've been shown to significantly reduce bacterial diversity on your hands, this decreased bacterial diversity may actually increase your likelihood of carrying potential pathogens on your hands by eliminating naturally-occurring protective species.23
2.Work up a good lather, all the way up to your wrists, scrubbing for at least 15 or 20 seconds (most people only wash for about six seconds).
3.Make sure you cover all surfaces, including the backs of your hands, wrists, between your fingers and around and below your fingernails. See suggested techniques in the video above.
4.Rinse thoroughly under running water.
5.Thoroughly dry your hands, ideally using a paper towel. In public places, also use a paper towel to open the door as a protection from germs that the handles may harbor.
As noted at the beginning of this article, your skin is actually an important primary barrier against germs, so obsessive-compulsive washing, especially in dry environments, can actually increase your risk of getting sick by drying out your skin, allowing potentially harmful bacteria entrance into your body. So, maintain a balance — wash when advisable (see above) but avoid washing your hands to the point of irritating your skin.