How would you like to build new neural connections so that you can align your thoughts, emotions, and behaviors with what you ultimately want to achieve? You're in luck. You are innately endowed with the ability to train your brain to become an elite performer (if that's what you desire to do).
Your Mental World
For a moment, imagine your brain as if it is it's own planet. Your "neural planet" has a population of some 85 billion neurons. Just as people in close proximity interact with one another, neurons communicate to each other via synapses and neurotransmitters. A synapse is an electrochemical junction between two nerve cells, in which impulses pass by diffusion of chemicals, also referred to as neurotransmitters.
If you took a consensus of your mental world, neurons of different sizes would be visible all over. Neurons that fire together look somewhat like a social gathering occurring. From a bird's-eye view, you would be able to see "remote villages" variably exchanging conversation, "towns" making more connections, and "large metropolitan areas" continuously in contact.
Synapses vary in size because the frequency of neural communication dictates the size and efficiency of their pathway. Infrequently used trails can become freeways and vice versa.
This connection between neurons, and clusters of neurons, is the essential function of the brain. Every time you think, feel, act, emotionalize, or remember, you reinforce existing brain neural connections or create new ones. There are neural patterns for everything, from standing to reading this page. The innumerable patterns in which your brain cells connect and share information reflects your brain's capacity to perform.
Neuroplasticity: The Brain's Ability to Change Itself
The old scientific paradigm held that you can't teach an old dog new tricks. Fortunately, the old paradigm has evolved and incorporated the science of neuroplasticity, which suggests the brain can change and it can happen at any time. Like plastic, neurons can mold into new forms, creating new connections. Any time you learn a new skill, the brain is changing by making new neural connections. Whether it is learning to play an instrument, speaking a new language, discovering a new route home, eating whole foods, and so much more, your brain begins to change itself.
Learning is forging new connections. Remembering is maintaining and sustaining those connections. And just like a relationship, the more communication that occurs, the more bondage that takes place. Neurons are the same way.
What is really fascinating, is that you can change your brain, not only by doing, but also by thinking. Researchers have demonstrated that the act of focusing and being present through meditation changes the brain in many ways.
Neuroplasticity is the brain's ability to change itself, and it's the innate ability that you can harness to help you attain your goals.
Continental Shift: Three Ways Neuroplasticity Works
You are able to reshape your brain using the same principles that your brain was built - neurons firing and wiring, syncing and linking together.
There are three ways that neuroplasticity can change your mind:
More neurons, more connections, and more efficient connections. These are the three ways to exponentially transform your life. But, there is a caveat. As an adult, some of your neuroplasticity is turned off. But once again, you're in luck, you can turn it back on.
Teaching Old Dogs New TRicks: Turning On Neuroplasticity
As an infant, the brain is a sponge, absorbing what it can in an effort increase the chances of survival. As you age, your neuroplasticity slows down as new memories and skills are created; habitual patterns begin to direct most of your daily activities, and novel ideas get pushed to the back burner.
As an adult, learning processes, beliefs, and behaviors become, more or less "fixed" within the neural pathways of the brain. This means the plasticity switch is predominately in the "off" position, to varying degrees in each individual. One person may be so set in their ways that to try to get them to see things from a new perspective is like talking to a brick wall. Whereas another person may be more flexible and is able to take all sides into consideration. In either case, neuroplasticity can work at any age, so in the case of that brick wall, the only thing holding them back is themselves. They're not old dogs who can't learn new tricks, they're just uninformed, or perhaps unwilling.
Here are six time-tested principles to turn on neuroplasticity:
Here are some more ways to activity neuroplasticity:
Clearly more is better. Neuroplasticity is a ongoing process, and if you are committed to being the best version of yourself, then it is a lifelong process.
Assaraf, J. (2018). Innercise. Cardiff, CA: Waterside Press.
Dr. Joe Dispenza is teaching the world how to empower and heal our mind through meditation and mindfulness. His studies have proven that when well practiced these tools can put us on the path to understanding and breaking deep-rooted bad habits and even heal illnesses. The author of Becoming Supernatural explains how to stop your mind from controlling you on this episode of Impact Theory with Tom Bilyeu.
It's a scientific fact that the hormones of stress downregulate genes and create disease. Long-term effects. Human beings because of the size of the neocortex, we can turn on the stress response just by thought alone. As I think about our problems and turn on those chemicals. That means then our thoughts could make us sick. So if it's possible, that our thoughts could make us sick then it is possible then our thoughts could make us well? The answer is absolutely yes.
Everybody welcome to Impact Theory. Our goal with this show and company is to introduce you to the people and ideas that will help you actually execute on your dreams. Alright today's guest is a New York Times bestselling author and one of the most sought-after speakers in the world. He's lectured and given advanced workshops in more than 30 countries across five continents all with the aim of helping people better understand and unlock the power of their mind. His expertise is the intersection of the fields of neuroscience, epigenetics and quantum physics and he's partnered with other scientists across multiple disciplines to perform extensive research on the effects of meditation using advanced technologies such as epigenetic testing brain mapping with EEG s and gas-discharge visualization technology. Through his work he is endeavouring to help advance both the scientific community and the public at large as understanding of mind derived health optimization, a topic he covered extensively in his groundbreaking book, You Are The Placebo. His teaching has had such a profound impact on the way that people perceive a wide range of brain related topics around mindfulness and well-being. [that] He's a faculty member at the quantum University in Hawaii the Omega Institute for holistic studies in New York and the Kerr Paulo Centre for yoga and health in Stockbridge, Massachusetts. He's also an invited chair of the research committee at life University in Atlanta, as well as a corporate consultant where he delivers his lectures and workshops for businesses. So, please help me in welcoming the man who has appeared in such films as Heal, People Versus the State of Illusion and Unleashing Creativity, the author of the recent book Becoming Supernatural, Dr. Joe Dispenza.
Thanks for being here. So, diving into your world and how you perceive the sense of self and the way that you marry science to - the way that we form memories the way that we live in a perpetual state of reliving our past and things like that. It's really, really incredible and I want to dive into the whole notion of you sort of being a habitual construct like what? What is that? What is the habit of you?
Well a habit is a redundant set of automatic unconscious thoughts, behaviors and emotions that's acquired through repetition. The habit is when you've done done something so many times that your body now knows how to do it better than your mind.
So if you think about it, people wake up in the morning, they begin to think about their problems. Those problems are circuits, memories in the brain, each one of those memories are connected to people and things at certain times and places. And, if the brain is a record of the past, the moment they start their day, they're already thinking in the past. Each one of those memories has an emotion. Emotions are the end product of past experiences. So the moment they recall those memories of their problems, they all of a sudden feel unhappy, they feel sad, they feel pain.
Now how you think and how you feel creates your state of being. So the person's entire state of being when they start their day is in the past. So what does that mean? The familiar past will sooner or later be predictable future. So, if you believe that your thoughts have something to do with your destiny and you can't think greater than how you feel, or feelings have become the means of thinking, by very definition of emotions you're thinking in the past. And for the most part you're going to keep creating the same life.
So then people grab their cell phone they check their WhatsApp. They check their texts. They check their emails. They check Facebook. They take a picture of their feet. They post it on Facebook. They tweet something, they do Instagram. They check the news and now they feel really connected to everything that's known in their life.
And then they go through a series of routine behaviors. They get out of bed on the same side. They go to the toilet. They get a cup of coffee. They take a shower, they get dressed, they drive to work the same way. They do the same things. They see the same people, that pushed the same emotional buttons, and that becomes the routine and it becomes like a program. So now they've lost their free will to a program, and there's no unseen hand doing it to them. So when it comes time to change the redundancy of that cycle becomes a subconscious program.
So now 95% of who we are by the time we're 35 years old is a memorized set of behaviors, emotional reactions, unconscious habits, hardwired attitudes, beliefs and perceptions that function like a computer program. So then person can say with their five percent of their conscious mind. I want to be healthy. I want to be happy. I want to be free, but the body's on a whole different program.
So then how do you begin to make those changes? Well, you have to get beyond the analytical mind because what separates the conscious mind from the subconscious mind is the analytical mind and that's where meditation comes in, because you can teach people through practice how to change their brainwaves, slow them down. And, when they do that properly they do enter the operating system where they can begin to make some really important changes.
So most people then wait for crisis or trauma or disease or diagnosis, you know, they wait for loss
some tragedy to make up their mind to change and my message is, "Why wait?" You can learn and change in a state of pain and suffering or you can learn and change in a state of joy and inspiration. I think right now the cool thing is that people are waking up.
That's really interesting. And where I found the the deepest hooks into how powerful this can be for somebody is when you talk about trauma and you've talked about how people experience a traumatic event, but they then basically rehearse it and how that then has this knock-on effect. So, what is that? Why do people find it so hard to get past trauma?
Well, the stronger the emotional reaction you have to some experience in your life, the higher the emotional quotient, the more you pay attention to the cause, and the moment the brain puts all of its attention on the cause, it takes a snapshot and that's called a memory. So long-term memories are created from very highly emotional experiences. So what happens then is that people think neurologically within the circuitry of that experience and they feel chemically within the boundaries of those emotions. And so when you have an emotional reaction to someone or something most people think that they can't control their emotional reaction.
Well, it turns out if you allow that emotional reaction, it's called a refractory period to last for hours or days, that's called the mood. I say to someone, "Hey, what's up think?" "I'm in a mood," "Well, why are you in a mood?" "Well I had this thing happen to me five days ago and I'm having one long emotional reaction." If you keep that same emotional reaction going on for weeks or months that's called temperament. Why is he so bitter? I don't know. Let's ask him. Why is he so bitter? "Why are you bitter?" "Well, I had this thing happened to me nine months ago." And if you keep that same emotional reaction going on for years on end that's called a personality trait. And so learning how to shorten your refractory period of emotional reactions is really where that work starts.
So then people when they have an event what they do is they keep recalling the event because the
emotions of stress hormones the survival emotions are saying pay attention to what happened, because you want to be prepared if it happens again.
Turns out most people spend 70% of their life living in survival and living in stress. So they're they're always anticipating the worst-case scenario based on a past experience and they're literally, out of the infinite potentials in the quantum field, they're selecting the worst possible outcome and they're beginning to emotionally embrace it with fear and their conditioning their body into a state of fear. Do that enough times, the body has a panic attack without you. You can't even predict it because it's programmed subconsciously.
So then you say to the person, "Why are you this way?" And they'll say, "I am this way because of this event that happened to me 15 or 20 years ago," and what that means from biological standpoint is that they haven't been able to change since that event. So then the emotions from the experience tend to give the body and the brain a rush of energy. So people become addicted to the rush of those emotions and they use the problems and conditions in their life to reaffirm their limitation, so at least they can feel something. So now when it comes time to change you say the person, "Why are you this way?" Well, every time they recall the event they're producing the same chemistry in their brain and body as if the event is occurring, firing and wiring the same circuits and sending the same emotional signature to the body.
Well, what's the revelant behind that? Well, your body is the unconscious mind. It doesn't know the difference between the experience that's creating the emotion and the emotion that you're creating by thought alone. So the body's believing it's living in the same past experience 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year. And so then when those emotions influence certain thoughts, and they do, and then those thoughts create the same emotions, and those same emotions influence the same thoughts, now the entire person's state of being is in the past.
So then the hardest part about change is not making the same choice as you did the day before a period. And the moment you decide to make a different choice get ready because it's going to feel uncomfortable, it's going to feel unfamiliar.
So why does it feel so uncomfortable? Is it because of the neurons that fire together wire together?
So there's like an easiness to that loop. (Just because, literally, and you've talked very eloquently about this the way that the neurons connect in the brain how rapidly. I've seen you show footage of how rapidly those connections happen, which is pretty incredible." Is that what makes it so discomforting for people?
I think that the bigger thing is that as we keep firing and wiring those circuits, they become more hardwired. So there you have a thought and then the program runs but it's the emotion that follows the thought. If you have a fearful thought you're gonna feel anxiety, the moment you feel anxiety your brains checking in with your body and saying, " Yeah, you're pretty anxious." So then you start thinking more corresponding thoughts equaled how you feel.
Well, the redundancy of that cycle conditions the body to become the mind. So now when it comes time to change, a person steps into that river of change and they make a different choice in all of a sudden they don't they don't feel the same way. So the body says, "Well, you've been doing this for 35 years." Well, you're gonna just stop feel suffering and stop feeling guilty and stop feeling shameful and you're not gonna complain, or blame, or make excuses, or feel sorry for yourself.
The body's in the unknown. So the body says I want to return back to familiar territory. So the body starts influencing the mind then it says, "Start tomorrow, you're too much like your mother. You'll never change. This isn't gonna work for you. This doesn't feel right."
And so if you respond to that thought as if it's true, that same thought will lead to the same choice, which will lead to the same behavior, which will create the same experience, which produce the same emotion.
I want to talk about that notion. Give me a little more detail. We mean by the body becomes the mind or the unconscious mind. What do you mean by that exactly?
Well, those are two different things. Your body is your unconscious mind. In a sense, if you're sitting down and you start thinking about some future worst-case scenario that you're conjuring up in your mind and you begin to feel the emotion of that event, your body doesn't know the difference between the event that's taking place in your world, outer world, and what you're creating by emotion or thought alone.
So most people then, they're constantly reaffirming their emotional states. So when it comes time to give up that emotion they can say, "I really want to do it," but really the body is stronger than the mind because it's been conditioned that way. So, the servant now has become the master and the person all of a sudden once they step into that unknown, they'd rather feel guilt and suffering because at least they can predict it. Being in the unknown is a scary place for most people because the unknown is uncertain.
People say to me, "Well, I can't predict my future. I'm in the unknown." And I always say, "The best way to predict your future is to create it. Not from the known but from the unknown. What thoughts do you want to fire and wire in your brain? What behaviors do you want to demonstrate in one day?
The act of rehearsing mentally, closing your eyes and rehearsing the action.
The rehearsing the reaction of what you want.
The action of what you want by closing your eyes and mentally rehearsing some action. If you're truly present, the brain does not know the difference between what you're imaging and what you're experiencing in 3D world.
So then you begin to install the neurological hardware in your brain to look like the event has already occurred. Now your brain is no longer a record of the past. Now, it's a map to the future. And if you keep doing it, priming it that way, the hardware becomes a software program and who knows you just may start acting like a happy person. And then I think the hardest part is to teach our body emotionally what the future will feel like ahead of the actual experience.
So, what does that mean? You can't wait for your success to feel empowered. You can't wait for your wealth to feel abundant. You can't wait for your your new relationship to feel love, or your healing to feel whole. I mean that's the old model of reality of cause and effect, you know waiting for something outside of us to change how we feel inside of us and when we feel better inside of us. We pay attention to whatever caused it. But what that means then is that from the Newtonian world that most people spend their whole life living in lack, waiting for something to change out there.
What do you mean the Newtonian world?
Newtonian world is all about the predictable. It's all about predicting the future. But the quantum model of reality isn't is about causing an effect. The moment you start feeling abundant and worthy you are generating wealth. The moment you're empowered and feel it, you're beginning to step towards your success the moment. You start feeling whole, your healing begins. And when you love yourself and you love all of life, you'll create an equal. And now you're causing and effect and I think that's that the difference between living as a victim - In your world saying "I am this way because of this person or that thing or this experience. They made me think and feel this way." When you switch that around you become a creator of your world and you start saying, "My thinking and my feeling is changing an outcome in my life." And now that's a whole different game and we start believing more that were creators of reality.
So, how do we go from, "Okay, I have this negative emotion. It's controlling my life. It's got me in this cycle of I think about this emotion, which triggers a chemical reaction, which trains my body to feel that way, which makes it easier more likely I will do it again, and so now I'm in this vicious cycle." And it's unconscious right.
You said, "Does your thinking create your environment, or does your environment create your thinking," which I thought was really, really interesting. So, how do we then go from that, like mechanistically, to begin this visualization process of something that's empowering, its me in a different state, it's my future self. Is it meditation? What does that look like?
If you're not being defined by a vision of the future, then you're left with the old memories of the past and you will be predictable in your life. And, if you wake up in the morning and you're not being defined by a vision in the future as you see the same people and you go to the same places and you do the exact same thing at the exact same time, it's no longer that your personality is creating your personal reality. Now your personal reality is affecting or creating your personality. Your environment is really controlling how you think and feel unconsciously, because every person every thing every place every experience has a neurological network in your brain.
Every experience that you have with every person produces an emotion. So some people will use their boss to reaffirm their addiction to judgment. They'll use their enemy to reaffirm their addiction to hatred. They'll use their friends to reaffirm their addiction to suffering. So now they need the outer world to feel something.
So, to change them is to be greater than your environment, to be greater than the conditions in your world and the environment is that seductive. So then why is meditation the tool?
Well, let's sit down. Let's close our eyes. Let's disconnect from your outer environment. So if you're seeing less things is less stimulation going to your brain if you're playing soft music or you have earplugs in, less sensory information coming to your brain. So you're disconnecting from environment if you can sit your body down and tell it to stay like an animal stay right here. I'm gonna feed you when we're done. You can get up and check your emails. You can do all your texts, but right now you're gonna sit there and obey me.
So then, when you do that properly and the you're not eating anything or smelling anything or tasting anything, you're not up experiencing and feeling anything, you would have to agree with me that you're being defined by a thought, right? So when the body wants to go back to its emotional past, and you become aware that your attention is on that emotion, and where you place your attention is where you place your energy, you're siphoning your energy out of the present moment into the past and you become aware of that. And, you settle your body back down in the present moment because it's saying "Well, it's eight o'clock. You normally get upset because you're in traffic around this time and here you are sitting and we're used to feeling anger and you're off schedule. Oh, it's 11 o'clock and usually check your emails and judge everybody."
Well, the body is looking for that that predictable chemical state every time you become aware that you're doing that and your body is craving those emotions and you settle it back down into the present moment, you're telling the body it's no longer the mind, that you're the mind. And now your will is getting greater than the program. And if you keep doing this over and over again, over and over again, over and over again, just like training a stallion or a dog, it's just gonna say, "I'm gonna sit." And the moment that happens, when the body's no longer the mind, when it finally surrenders, there's a liberation of energy. We go from particle to wave, from matter to energy, and we free ourselves from the chains of those emotions that keep us in the in the familiar past and we've seen this thousands of times. In fact, we can actually predict it now on a brain scan.
That's so interesting. Let's go a little bit harder on metacognition, the notion that you don't have to believe everything you think. I love the way that you talk about that.
Hmm. Yeah, and we have a huge frontal lobe. It's 40% of our entire brain, and most people when they have a thought they just think that that's the truth. And, I think one of my greatest realizations in my own journey was just because you have a thought, it doesn't necessarily mean it's true.
So if you think 60 to 70 thousand thoughts in one day, and we do, and 90% of those thoughts are the same thoughts as the day before and you believe that your thoughts have something to do with your destiny, your life's not gonna change very much. Because the same thought leads to the same choice, the same choice leads to the same behavior, the same behavior creates the same experience, and the same experience produces the same emotion.
And so then, the act of becoming conscious of this process, to begin to become more aware of how you think, how you act, and how you feel, it's called metacognition.
And so then, why is that important? Because the more conscious you become of those unconscious states of mind and body, the less likely you're gonna go unconscious during the day. And that thought is not gonna slip by your awareness unchecked. It means to know thyself. And the word meditation means to become familiar with. So as you become familiar with the thoughts the behaviors and the emotions of the old self, you're retiring that old self as you fire and wire new thoughts and condition the body into a new emotional state. If you do that enough times, it'll begin to become familiar to you.
So it's so important. Just like a garden, if you're planting a garden, you've got to get rid of the weeds. You got to take the plants from the past year and you got to pull them out. The rocks that sift to the top that are like our emotional blocks, they have to be removed that soil has to be tenderized and broken down. We have to we have to make room to plant the new garden.
So primarily, we learn the most about ourselves and others when we're uncomfortable, because the moment you move into that uncomfortable state, normally a program jumps in. When that program jumps in, it's because the person doesn't want to be in the present moment and engage it consciously.
So when you teach people how to do that with a meditative process, turns out that when they're in their life, they're less likely to emotionally react. They're less likely to be so rigid and believe the thoughts they were thinking. They're more aware of when they go unconscious back into a habit, and that is what starts the process of change.
And, so we have to unlearn before we relearn. We have to break the habit of the old self before we reinvent a new self. We have to pre-synaptic connections and sprout new connections. We have to unfire and unwire and refire and rewire. We have to unmemorize emotions that are stored and then recondition the body that to a new mind into a new emotion. Like the deprogram and reprogram, that's the act, and it's a two-step process.
Yeah, I like the way that you call that out as an action. There was another thing that you said that I thought was really powerful, about how insights themselves are essentially inert, they don't do anything. What what then do we do with an insight? How do we take a breakthrough moment and make sure that it's not just a breakthrough moment? Like I guarantee people watching right now are having like a hundred aha moments. For sure, that was definitely the case for me as I was researching you and when you said that I was like and that's the danger that you have the aha and then nothing.
Yeah, and it is a danger, because then people will will shrink back into mediocracy and they'll use the insight to excuse them from taking a leap. They'll say, "Yeah, you know, I have a chemical imbalance in my brain. Yeah, my father was really overbearing, he was a perfectionist. That's why I am the way I am."
You know people, they come up with stuff to excuse themselves. The insight is actually giving them permission to stay limited. And it's an amazing idea because they'll say to you that they really want to get over their anxiety. But let's ok. Let's take your ex-husband. Let's put him in a straitjacket. Let's duct tape them and shoot them to the moon know what I mean. What are you gonna do now? You still have to make those changes. And so then the person's enemy dies or they're something shifts in their life and that person's gone, they'll find another person to hate. This is just how we function as human beings. We just slide another reason to feel those emotions.
So I think I think when people start to understand this, you know, I think knowledge is power. But knowledge about yourself is self empowerment.
So how much of this is really learning to just bifurcate the world into (there's) negative emotions that have negative neurochemistry - associated with, and you said that in those states if you're living in a perpetual state of stress hormones and things like that illness is like a step away and then just the other side of that is understanding - (but there's) [and] this whole other side of positive energy, which happiness, joy, empowerment - whatever that you know neurochemical cocktail is, but that when you're on that side your immune system is more likely to function well. Is that just sort of bringing it down to like a really base level. Yeah, that's sort of one of the biggies.
Well, let's talk about it in terms of survival or creation
As I said 70% of the time people live in stress and living in stress is living in survival. Now, all organisms in nature can tolerate short-term stress, you know a deer gets chased by a pack of coyotes, when it out runs the Coyotes it goes back to grazing and the event is over. And the definition of stress is when your brain and body are knocked out of balance, out of homeostasis.
The stress response is what the body innately does to return itself back to order. So you're driving down the road, someone cuts you off, you jam on the brakes, you may give them the finger and then you settle back down and the event is over and boom now everything's back back to normal.
But what if it's not a predator that's waiting for you outside the cave, but what if it's your coworker sitting right next to you and all day long you're turning on those chemicals because they're pushing all your emotional buttons. When you turn on the stress response, and you can't turn it off, now you're headed for a disease because no organism in nature can live an emergency mode for that extended period of time. It's a scientific fact that the hormones of stress down regulate genes and create disease, long term effects.
Human beings, because of the size of the neocortex, we can turn on the stress response just by thought alone, I can think about our problems and turn on those chemicals. That means then our thoughts could make us sick. So if it's possible that our thoughts could make us sick, is it possible that our thoughts could make us well? The answer is absolutely, yes.
So then what are the emotions that are connected to survival? Let's name them, anger, aggression, hostility, hatred, competition, fear, anxiety, worry, pain, suffering, guilt, shame, unworthiness, envy jealousy. Those are all created by the hormones of stress. And psychology calls them normal human states of consciousness, I call those altered states of consciousness.
So then we tend to remember those traumatic events more because in survival, you better be ready if it happens again. And in one's survival gene is switched on you could have ten really great things that happen to you in your day and you just have one bad thing that happens and you cannot take your attention off that unhappy thing because the survival gene is switched on.
It's really interesting. How does epigenetics come into play in all this. What's actually happening? You've talked pretty profoundly about proteins and like really at a deep level how we're signalling to our genetics to create these kinds of changes. What does that actually look like?
Well, epigenetics. Epi means above the gene. And many years ago after the DNA helix was discovered by Watson and Crick, they said the blueprints of life, you know, all diseases are created from genes. It turns out less than 5%, more like 1%. of people on the planet are born with a genetic condition like type 1 diabetes or Tay-sachs disease or sickle cell anemia. The other 95 to 99 percent are created by lifestyle and by choices. You can take to identical twins with the exact same genome, one dies at 51, the other one dies at 85, same gene different environment.
So, all of a sudden they said, "We lied. That was wrong. It's not genes that create disease. It's the environment that signals the gene that creates disease."
Well, ok, but that's not the whole truth too because you could have two people working side by side in the same factory, one gets cancer after being exposed to a carcinogenic for 25 years, both working for 25 years, he other one has no cancer at all. So there must be some internal order that would cause one person to not get it while another one does.
So is it possible then, if the environment signals the gene, and it does, and the end product of an experience in the environment is called an emotion, can you signal the gene ahead of the environment by embracing an elevated emotion?
We've done the research on this where we measured 7,500 different gene expressions in a group of people. It came to an advanced event for four days. And we had them doing a seated meditation, a walking meditation, a laying down meditation, a standing meditation. And at the end of four days, just four days, the common eight genes that were upregulated, two genes to suppress cancer cells and tumor growth; two genes for neurogenesis the growth of new neurons in response to novel experiences; and learning the gene that signals stem cells to go to damaged areas and repair them; the gene for oxidative stress was upregulated.
We started seeing all these genes that are very, very healthy to cause the body to flourish. Imagine if people were doing that for three months. We also measured telomeres - the little shoestrings on the end of DNA that tell us our biological age. We asked people to do the work meditation five out of seven days for 60 days. Measure their telomeres that determine their biological age. sixty days later, seventy four percent of the people lengthen their telomeres, 40 percent significant change, twenty percent a very remarkable change. That means that they got a little bit of their life back if it lengthened by ten percent. They got 10% of their life back.
Before I ask my last question tell these guys where they can find you online.
Sure. My website is just https://drjoedispenza.com. You can follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, we're all over.
And then my final question. What's the impact that you want to have on the world?
I think that the end game for me is to empower people to such a degree that they realize that they need less things outside of them to make them happy, less things outside of them to regulate their moods and their behaviors, and that they begin to use the kind of the power that we all have access to, and into really, and to change the world, to make a difference so that there's more peace, here's more wholeness, there's more connection. That we support and love each other, and we serve better. And I think that we have to start for the most part if everybody's working on themselves. And trying doing their best to present the greatest ideal of themselves to the world, I think the world would be a better place. And so, that's my passion and I'm witnessing it happening now the more than I ever thought I would.
That was incredible Joe. Thank you so much for being here and amazing having you.
Meditation is the practice of being in the here and now. Researchers have long observed that meditation, or the sense of presence, has the ability to:
Meditation has the ability to fundamentally change the way you live. Researchers have observed individuals who meditate and have discovered that the human mind wanders nearly half of the day. Moreover, research suggests that a wandering mind is a better predictor of happiness, independent of financial security. In essence, if your mind is wandering, you are much less likely to be happy. The sense of the present moment determines happiness.
Meditation develops two important skills to help keep the mind from wandering. The first is the ability to remain focused and attentive. The second, is the ability to recognize when the mind wanders so that it can gently be returned to the present moment.
An crucial concept to grasp before diving into meditation is the relaxation response. In the modern world, stress is chronic. The modern world is deluged with a vast amount of information and moves at such as fast pace, and this places everyone experiencing it in a state of stress. This often results in a surge of cortisol and adrenaline, hormones released by the adrenal glands, which activates the sympathetic nervous system, also known as the fight or flight response. As a result, the mind turns outward, seeking to evaluate and resolve anything that is the source of the stress. Unless you are relaxed, out of fight or flight, you cannot meditate. Activation of the parasympathetic nervous system must occur (the mind must be turned inward) in order to practice meditation. This balance can be achieved by learning the relaxation response. Relaxation is the first step to meditation.
The key to the relaxation response is noticing what happens in your body when the response is activated. What physiologic cues are revealed to you when you are relaxed? It is different for everyone. Some may experience a release of tension in the shoulders, others in the neck, many in the jaw. What is important is knowing when your body is relaxed and is ready to begin meditating.
In 1975, Herbert Benson wrote the book "The Relaxation Response". As a cardiologist, he noticed that many of his patients who had high blood pressure felt worse with the medications that he prescribed. Patients simply visiting him made matters worse. Benson discovered that stress was the culprit and relaxation was the cure. Benson reluctantly began working with transcendental meditation meditators because they claimed to be able to reduce their blood pressure. He observed that they were in fact correct. The meditators were able to successfully reduce their heart rate, metabolic rate, and breath rate. Benson coined this effect the "relaxation response". After researching this phenomena more he discovered that the relaxation response could be triggered easily, quickly, and anywhere.
Just as stress can be triggered in a variety of ways, so too can relaxation, including meditation. Benson later discovered four key components underlying the relaxation response:
Eventually, Benson later discovered that only the last two are required, a mental device and an allowing attitude, to activate the relaxation response. This means that anyone can tap into the relaxation response anywhere and anytime.
Benson, H., & Klipper, M. (2000). The relaxation response. New York: HarperCollins.
Fredrickson, B. L., Cohn, M. A., Coffey, K. A., Pek, J., & Finkel, S. M. (2008). Open hearts build lives: Positive emotions, induced through loving-kindness meditation, build consequential personal resources. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 95(5), 1045-1062. http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/a0013262
How many hugs have you had today? Neuroeconomist Paul Zak, also known as "Dr. Love," recommends at least eight hugs a day to feel happier and more connected, as well as nurture relationships. As psychotherapist Virginia Satir said:
"We need 4 hugs a day for survival. We need 8 hugs a day for maintenance. We need 12 hugs a day for growth."
There may very well be a "hug threshold" that allows your body to produce ample amounts of oxytocin, which is released in response to physical touch such as breast-feeding, orgasm, hugs, snuggling, holding hands, partner dance, massage, bodywork, and prayer. The neuropeptide oxytocin, released by your pituitary gland, is a naturally occurring hormone in the body with incredibly powerful, health-giving properties.
This "love hormone" is also a key reason why the simple act of hugging is such an incredible way to enhance bonding with others but also boost your physical, and emotional, health.
How Hugging Makes You Healthier
Hugging increases levels of oxytocin, a neurotransmitter that acts as a hormone. This, in turn, has been observed to have beneficial physiological effects on your cardiovascular health and emotional happiness. One group of researchers observed, for example, a reduction in blood pressure among adults following a brief episode of warm contact with their partner. A 20-second hug, along with 10 minutes of hand-holding, reduces the harmful physical effects of stress, including its impact on your blood pressure and heart rate (Grewen, Anderson, Girdler & Light, 2003). This makes sense, since positive physical contact as hugging and reduces cortisol, increases oxytocin, and lowers systolic blood pressure in stressful situations (Holt-Lunstad, Birmingham & Light, 2008). But researchers suggest there is even more to it than that.
The skin contains a network of tiny, egg-shaped rapidly adapting mechanoreceptors called Pacinian corpuscles with a large receptive field that can sense pressure and vibration and which are in contact with the brain through the vagus nerve. The vagus nerve winds its way through the body and provides input and receives sensation from the heart, liver, and digestive tract. (Freberg, 2006). The vagus nerve is also connected to oxytocin receptors. One theory is that stimulation of the vagus triggers an increase in oxytocin, which in turn leads to the cascade of health benefits.
A 10-second hug a day can lead to biochemical and physiological reactions in your body that can significantly improve your health. Hugging has been observed to stimulates your nervous system while decreasing feelings of loneliness, combating fear, increasing self-esteem, defusing tension, and showing appreciation. According to researchers, hugging has been observed to (Forsell & Åström, 2012):
The effects of connection
There's no doubt that physical touch of all kinds feels good. Whether it is a hug or a handshake, physical touch has a powerful effect on the human psyche resulting in us feeling happy, regardless if you are the toucher or touchee; connection, big or small, results in happiness.
Yet, many people are touch-deprived. One poll found that one-third of people receive no hugs on a daily basis while 75 percent said they wanted more hugs. Findings such as these, coupled with the emotional and health benefits of human touch, have led to the emergence of cuddle therapy centers, where people can pay for a lunchtime cuddle.
However, some have questioned whether or not physical contact from strangers has the same impact as those from someone you know and trust. While cuddling with a spouse or partner has been shown to boost satisfaction in relationships, some researchers have observed that hugs are only beneficial if trust is involved.
Neurophysiologist Jürgen Sandkühler, Head of the Centre for Brain Research at the Medical University of Vienna actually cautioned against worldwide "free hugs" campaigns (where strangers offer hugs to others), saying that this may be perceived as threatening and actually increase emotional burden and stress. However, significant benefits have been found from cuddling with a pet, which shows hugs don't have to only be between humans to be beneficial to your heart and overall health.
The Importance of Hugging
On average, people spend on hour a month hugging. That doesn't seem like much, but when you consider that the average hug is 3 seconds long, that adds up to be a lot of hugs.
And if you had any doubt about the importance of touch, consider that children who lack physical connection have delays in walking, talking, and reading. The act of hugging has a near-immediate impact on health, lowering your heart rate and inducing a calming effect while also leading to a more upbeat mood.
Touch is described as a universal language that can communicate distinct emotions with startling accuracy. Researchers observed that touch alone can reveal emotions including anger, fear, disgust, love, gratitude, and sympathy, with accuracy rates of up to 83 percent (Hertenstein, Holmes, McCullough & Keltner, 2009).
Hugging is a way to encourage your body to release oxytocin, and the more oxytocin your pituitary gland releases, the better able you are to handle life's stressors.
Moreover, oxytocin quite likely plays a role in why pet owners heal more quickly from illness, why couples live longer than singles, and why support groups work for people with addictions and chronic diseases.
Oxytocin has also been found to reduce the cravings of drug and alcohol addiction, as well as for sweets. It even has a positive influence on inflammation and wound healing. Even beyond this, regular hugs have the added benefit of:
Do You Need a Hug?
Often making a concerted effort to hug the people close to you is one of the best ways to get more hugs in return. This can include your spouse, children, and other family members along with close friends. But even if you're not currently in a life situation conducive to getting daily hugs and producing enough of your own oxytocin on a regular basis, the good news is there are some alternatives you can use to help you deal in a healthy way with your emotional response to stress and anxiety.
With the already known and still-to-emerge health and quality of life benefits to be derived from the natural release of oxytocin in your body, your best course of action is to make sure you're cultivating warm, loving, intimate relationships, no matter what stage of life you're in. Additionally, if you have a pet, just a few minutes petting your dog or cat can promote the release of your body's "happiness" hormones, including oxytocin. Since touch anywhere on your body, as well as positive interactions and psychological support, are known to increase oxytocin levels, you might also consider:
Chillot, R. (2013). The Power of Touch. Retrieved from https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/articles/201303/the-power-touch
Forsell, L., & Åström, J. (2012). Meanings of Hugging: From Greeting Behavior to Touching Implications. Comprehensive Psychology, 1, 02.17.21.CP.1.13. https://doi.org/10.2466/02.17.21.CP.1.13
Freberg, L. (2006). Discovering biological psychology (2nd ed.). Wadsworth: Cengage Learning.
Grewen, K., Anderson, B., Girdler, S., & Light, K. (2003). Warm Partner Contact Is Related to Lower Cardiovascular Reactivity. Behavioral Medicine, 29(3), 123-130. https://doi.org/10.1080/08964280309596065
Hertenstein, M., Holmes, R., McCullough, M., & Keltner, D. (2009). The communication of emotion via touch. Emotion, 9(4), 566-573. https://doi.org/10.1037/a0016108
Holt-Lunstad, J., Birmingham, W., & Light, K. (2008). Influence of a “Warm Touch” Support Enhancement Intervention Among Married Couples on Ambulatory Blood Pressure, Oxytocin, Alpha Amylase, and Cortisol. Psychosomatic Medicine, 70(9), 976-985. https://doi.org/10.1097/psy.0b013e318187aef
Mercola, J. (2014). How Hugging Makes You Healthier and Happier. Retrieved from https://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2014/02/06/hugging.aspx
Richardson, J. (2014). 9 Reasons You Need To Be Giving and Receiving Hugs Everyday. Retrieved from http://preventdisease.com/news/14/012314_9-Reasons-Need-Giving-Receiving-Hugs-Everyday.shtml
Zhivotovskaya, E. (2012). Oxytocin: Go Out and Touch Someone. Retrieved from https://positivepsychologynews.com/news/emiliya-zhivotovskaya/2012032321636
What can we all do to overcome the stress and anxiety that seems to pervade our news and daily interactions these days? In other words, how do we keep ourselves peaceful, healthy and thriving in these chaotic times we find ourselves in?
In this interview, Rosemary Gladstar shares a handful of herbs that can be used to keep your body centered and at peace – including one slightly controversial plant if you’re feeling adventurous. What is most striking about this interview is the deep wisdom that the legendary medicine woman shares. Her perspective is one worth listening to.
The stress-healing herbs Rosemary mentions are:
Ayurveda offers insight into the earlier stages and enables those monitoring their health to take care of any small imbalances well before developing any serious illness. The length of the each stage may vary from weeks, to months, even years, depending on the person and the degree of aggravation.
The six stages of disease development are:
The first stage, accumulation, represents imbalance, a build up or collection of something in the body. Being exposed to and acquiring a pathogen via the external environment is an example of accumulation. This stage can also be caused by the internal environment, such as from eating an imbalanced diet leading to excess inflammation or mucous. Accumulation in the body leads to the the next stage, aggravation.
As the imbalanced elements continue to increase, the symptoms become more aggravated and will begin to be noticed throughout the body. This stage is a sign of continued accumulation. This stage can manifest, as seen in the Kapha state, as loss of appetite, indigestion, nausea, excess saliva, oversleeping, sluggishness; or as seen in the Pitta state, as increased acidity, burning sensations in the abdomen, lowered vitality, or insomnia; or as seen in the Vata state, as pain in the lower abdomen, excess flatulence, and light-headedness.
Once the site of origin is full with excess accumulation and is aggravated, it will begin to overflow into or disseminate throughout the rest of the body using different channels of transportation. Overflow typically begins in the GI tract, then spilling into the circulating plasma and blood, allowing the accumulation to spread systemically, and eventually seeping into the organs and tissues (dhātus). Simultaneously, the symptoms at the site of origin will grow worse.
The excess accumulation will then move to wherever a weak site exists in the body. This is where and when diseases begin to develop. This stage is also where genetics matter; the weak spots are determined by genetics - as the saying goes, genetics loads the gun, environment pulls the trigger. This stage can manifest, as seen in the Vata state, as arthritis. In a Pitta state, this can be seen as an ulcer, and in the Kapha state, manifestation may begin in the lungs. At this stage, healing is still regarded as simple.
This is the first state of the development of illness for which modern Western medicine can detect signs of disease. It is at this stage where diseases progress and become fully developed, showing signs of clinical features. Manifested imbalances are given names at this stage, such as arthrosclerosis, cancer, colitis, etc. It is at this stage where conventional medicine attempts to mask the symptoms by offering pharmaceutical drugs.
Complications of the dis-ease begin at this final stage. Often times, conventional medicine attempts to solve the problem by simply removing the affected tissue (e.g., small intenstine, colon, thyroid, etc.) from the body. The symptoms become clear enough so that the elemental cause (i.e., dosha constitution such as Vata, Kapha, Pitta) may be determined. Some medical professionals describe this stage as the chronic phase of development. For example, if one develops inflammation in the manifestation stage, in this stage, complications set in, and the inflammation may grow worse into a chronic problem.
Being aware of the stages of the dis-ease process is helpful because one can gain a better understanding in how prevent, and perhaps even reverse, it. To be clear, the information provided here is not claiming to treat, cure or diagnose disease.
Cabral, S. (2018). The 6 Stages of the Disease Process (Ayurvedic Principle). [podcast] The Cabral Concept. Available at: https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/cabral-concept-by-stephen/id1071469441?mt=2
Tirtha, S. (2007). The Āyuveda encyclopedia. Bayville, NY. Ayurveda Holistic Center Press.
It's that time: time to test your blood. Most blood tests include a fasting lipid panel to assess one's risk of cardiovascular disease. A lipid panel is a test that measures fats and fatty substances used as a source of energy in the body. Lipids include cholesterol, triglycerides, high-density lipoprotein (HDL) and low-density lipoprotein (LDL).
What Are Triglycerides?
Triglycerides are a powerful cardiovascular risk marker. Elevated triglyceride levels are a hallmark of too many carbohydrates in the diet.
60 percent of fructose is shunted toward the liver, where it is converted to triglycerides (which causes heart disease) (Gundry, 2017). In fact, fructose, which is the sugar found in most processed foods (often in the form of high-fructose corn syrup) can only be metabolized by your liver. If you eat a typical Western-style diet, you consume high amounts of it. The overload of fructose ends up damaging your liver in the same way alcohol and other toxins do (Mercola, 2017).
What about Cholesterol?
Our culture is obsessed with cholesterol levels, to the point that one in four adults in the U.S. take a statin drug to lower cholesterol levels. Nevertheless, elevated cholesterol levels are rarely a risk factor for heart disease, although elevated triglycerides clearly are. Fortunately, elevated triglycerides can easily be corrected and lowered to an ideal level of below 75 with the proper lifestyle interventions. The following tests can give you a far better assessment of your heart disease risk than your total cholesterol alone:
Influence of Triglycerides on Leptin
High triglyceride levels (over 100 mg/dL) is known to cause leptin resistance. Leptin is a hormone located in fat cells, and like most hormones, it's function is complex. Leptin is tied to the coordination of our metabolic, hormonal, and behavioral response to starvation. Leptin essentially controls mammalian metabolism. Leptin decides whether to make us hungry and store more fat or burn fat. In other words, when your stomach is full, fat cells release leptin to tell your brain to stop eating. This is why people with low levels of leptin are prone to overeating.
One study observed participants with a 20 percent drop in leptin experienced a 24 percent increase in hunger and appetite, influencing their cravings for calorie-dense, high-carbohydrate foods, especially sweets, salty snacks, and starchy foods. The researchers discovered the drop in leptin was caused by sleep deprivation.
Leptin is also a pro-inflammatory molecule - it controls the creation of other inflammatory moleciles in your fat tissue throughout your body. This explains why overweight individuals are susceptible to inflammatory problems. Leptin is ranked highly on the body's chain of command, so imbalances tend to spiral downward and wreak havoc on virtually every system of the body beyond those directly controlled by leptin. Leptin, like insulin, is negatively influenced by carbohydrates. The more refined and processed the carbohydrate, the more imbalanced leptin levels become. When the body is overloaded and overwhelmed by substances that cause continuous surges in leptin, leptin receptors begin to turn off and you become leptin resistant. So even though leptin is now elevated, it doesn't work - it won't signal to your brain that you're full so you can stop eating.
Not a single drug or supplement can balance leptin levels. But better sleep, as well as better dietary choices will (Perlmutter, 2013).
Causes of High Triglycerides
The main culprit
Preventing cardiovascular disease involves reducing chronic inflammation in your body, and a proper diet is an absolute cornerstone. Although saturated fat has taken the blame for causing heart disease for the last several decades, the primary culprit in heart disease is sugar consumption.
A 2015 study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association concluded that there is " a significant relationship between added sugar consumption and increased risk for cardiovascular mortality." the 15-year study, which included data for 31,000 Americans, found that those who consumed 25 percent or more of their daily calories as added sugars were more than twice as likely to die form heart disease as those who got less than 10 percent of their calories from sugar. On the whole, the odds of dying from heart disease rose in tandem with the percentage of added sugar in the diet regardless of the age, sex, physical activity level, and body mass index (Dhurandhar & Thomas, 2014).
A 2014 study came to very similar conclusions. Here, those who consumed the most sugar - about 25 percent of their daily calories - were twice as likely to die form heart disease as those who limited their sugar intake to 7 percent of their total calories (Yang et al., 2013).
A 2013 study, published in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, looked at the differing effects of high-fat diets versus low-fat diets on blood lipid levels. The study included 32 studies and found that high-fat diets resulted in significantly greater improvements in reductions of total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol, and triglycerides and benificial increases in HDL cholesterol (Schwingshackl et al., 2013).
How to Lower Triglycerides
Consider a Detox
The Dangers of Statins
So, why are we all obsessed with total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol when we know they aren’t the primary culprits for heart attacks? Because a multi-billion dollar drug industry exists behind the number-one best-selling class of drugs on the market: Statins.
Of course, the choice to take medications, if referred by your physician is, and should, always be your choice. However, you have the right to be fully informed of the side effects of consuming anything. With this in mind, it is important to be aware of the unintended side effects of taking statins.
A study published in Clinical Cardiology concluded that "Statin therapy is associated with decreased myocardial [heart muscle] function," which often leads to heart failure. The study did not address causes, but it's widely known that statins lower your CoQ10 levels by blocking the pathway involved in cholesterol production -- the same pathway by which Q10 is produced. Statins also reduce the blood cholesterol that transports CoQ10 and other fat-soluble antioxidants. The loss of CoQ10 leads to loss of cell energy and increased free radicals which, in turn, can further damage your mitochondrial DNA, effectively setting into motion an evil circle of increasing free radicals and mitochondrial damage (Mercola, 2011).
Moreover, for those at risk of heart disease taking statins who are unwilling or unable to bring down their cholesterol and/or triglyceride levels naturally with dietary changes, the potential for liver or muscle damage should be acknowledged. In addition, the potential for brain-related side effects, such as memory loss and confusion, as well as Parkinson’s-like symptoms is of concern. Statin drugs also appeared to increase the risk of stroke and developing diabetes. In 2013, a study of several thousand breast cancer patients reported that long-term use of statins may as much as double a woman's risk of invasive breast cancer.
There are 71 diseases that may be associated with these drugs, and this is only the tip of the iceberg. There are actually over 900 studies showing the risks of statin drugs, which include:
Plant-based diets have been shown to lower cholesterol just as effectively as first-line statin drugs, but without the risks. In fact, the "side effects" of healthy eating tend to be good - less cancer and diabetes risks and protection of the liver and brain (Gregor, 2015).
What Should you Eat?
Baker, A. (2012). What's the real driver of elevated cholesterol? hint: it's not saturated fat! - Nourish Holistic Nutrition. [online] Nourish Holistic Nutrition. Available at: nourishholisticnutrition.com/whats-the-real-driver-of-elevated-cholesterol/ [Accessed 8 Feb. 2019].
Dhurandhar, N. and Thomas, D. (2015). The Link Between Dietary Sugar Intake and Cardiovascular Disease Mortality. JAMA, 313(9), p.959. https://doi.org/10.1001/jama.2014.18267 [Accessed 8 Feb. 2019].
Gregor, M. (2015) How Not to Die. London: Pan Books
Gundry, S. (2017). The Plant Paradox. New York, NY: Harper Wave
Hyman, M. (2016). 7 Ways to Optimize Cholesterol. [online] Dr. Mark Hyman. Available at: https://drhyman.com/blog/2016/01/14/7-ways-to-optimize-cholesterol/ [Accessed 8 Feb. 2019].
Mercola, J. (2017). Fat for Fuel. Carlsbad, CA: Hayhouse Inc.
Mercola, J. (2011). New Study Shows Using Statins Actually Harms Heart Function. [online] Mercola.com. Available at: https://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2011/06/22/new-study-show-using-statins-actually-worsens-your-heart-function.aspx [Accessed 8 Feb. 2019].
Mercola, J. (2015). Conventional Heart Disease Advice May Make Matters Worse. [online] Mercola.com. Available at: https://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2015/08/02/heart-disease-risk-factors.aspx [Accessed 8 Feb. 2019].
Perlmutter, D (2013). Grain Brain. New York, NY: Little Brown
Ray, K. et al. (2010). Statins and All-Cause Mortality in High-Risk Primary Prevention. Archives of Internal Medicine, 170(12), p.1024. Available at: https://doi.org/10.1001/archinternmed.2010.182 [Accessed 8 Feb. 2019].
Rubinstein, J., Aloka, F. and Abela, G. (2009). Statin Therapy Decreases Myocardial Function as Evaluated Via Strain Imaging. Clinical Cardiology, 32(12), pp.684-689. Available at: https://doi.org/10.1002/clc.20644 [Accessed 8 Feb. 2019].
Schwingshackl, S., et al. (2013). Comparison of Effects of Long-Term Low-Fat vs High-Fat Diets on Blood Lipid Levels in Overweight and Obese Patients: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, 113(12), pp. 1640-61. Available at: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jand.2013.07.010 [Accessed 8 Feb. 2019].
Wallerwellness.com. (2019). Understanding Triglycerides. [online] Available at: https://www.wallerwellness.com/health-and-aging/understanding-triglycerides [Accessed 8 Feb. 2019].
Williams, J. (2017). How To Lower Dangerously High Triglyceride Levels. [online] Renegade Health. Available at: http://renegadehealth.com/blog/2017/03/31/how-to-lower-dangerously-high-triglycerides-levels [Accessed 8 Feb. 2019].
Yang, Q., et al. (2014). Added Sugar Intake and Cardiovascular Diseases Mortality Among US Adults. JAMA Internal Medicine, 174(4), pp.516-24. Available at: https://doi.org/10.1001/jamainternmed.2013.13563 [Accessed 8 Feb. 2019].
Despite food manufacturers claiming that refined vegetable oils were healthy, Americans experienced an up-rise in heart disease during the early 20th century. Like many new inventions, few questions were initially posited. Unfortunately, an alternate nutrient took the blame due to the research of a single scientist.
In 1951, American physiologist and professor Ancel Keys went to Europe in search of the cause of cardiovascular disease. In his quest, he went to observe the eating habits of individuals living Naples, Italy due to reports of a low prevalence of heart disease.
During this time, post-war conditions resulted in finite and unusual circumstances in regards to agriculture and infrastructure. Therefore what Keys perceived as a cultural tradition was dubbed the "Mediterranean diet".
Keys observed the residents in Naples consumed primarily pasta and plain pizza, with vegetables, olive oil, cheese, fruit for dessert, a moderate amount of wine, and very little meat (except among individuals belonging to a higher socioeconomic status).
Through an informal study measuring cholesterol serum levels among Rotary club members (those who could not afford meat, but could afford cheese) conducted by Keys's wife, whom at the time was a medical technologist, Keys deduced that avoiding meat resulted in a lower incidence of heart attacks.
Ancel Keys continued on his biased search for proof that a diet high in saturated fat is correlated with a higher risk of cardiovascular disease. He eventually compiled data from six more countries with high rates of heart disease and diets typically high in saturated fat. At first glance, Keys's research seemed logical and compelling. The evidence was based on the premise that individuals in America, who consumed high amounts of saturated fat, died from heart disease at a higher rate than individuals in Japan, who consumed low amounts of saturated fat.
Unfortunately, Keys had gained the interest of people in positions of power. Upon President Eisenhower's heart attack in 1955, Keys proposed his theory to the president's primary care physician, Paul Dudley White. Days following, White began to advise to the public to reduce the consumption of saturated fat and cholesterol in an effort to prevent cardiovascular disease.
Through his connections and influence, Keys soon joined the nutrition committee of the American Heart Association (AHA) which, based on Keys's research, released a report in 1961 that advised patients with a high risk of cardiovascular disease to reduce their consumption of saturated fat. (Interestingly enough, the AHA began its rise to prominence in 1948, the same year Proctor & Gamble donated over $1.7 million to the organization - resulting in the AHA indebted to Crisco.)
In 1961, Time magazine placed Ancel Keys on the front cover touting him as "the twenthiest century's most influential nutrition expert."
By 1970, Keys published the Seven Countries Study, which detailed his original research - this study has now been cited in over a million other scientific publications. While Keys associative observations between saturated fat and cardiovascular disease never proved causation, he had won the battle of public opinion.
With the help of Ancel Keys, the American medical community and mainstream media has advised consumers to stop eating the animal products that have been consumed for centuries, replacing them with bread, pasta, margarine, low-fat dairy, and vegetable oil. This was the dietary shift that was codified by the United States government in the late 1970s.
Central Committee for Medical And Community Program of the American Heart Association. (1961). Dietary Fat and Its Relation to Heart Attacks and Strokes. Circulation [online] 23, pp.133-36. Available at: https://circ.ahajournals.org/content/circulationaha/23/1/133.full.pdf [Accessed 26 Jan. 2019]
Keys, A. (1953). Atherosclerosis: A Problem in Newer Public Health. Journal of Mt. Sinai Hospital, [online] 20(2), pp.118-39.
Keys, A. (1970). Coronary Heart Disease in Seven Countries. Circulation. 41 (1), pp.1186-95.
Keys, A. (1995). Mediterranean Diet and Public Health: Personal Reflections. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, [online] 61 (6), pp.1321S-1323S. Available at: https://dx.doi.org/10.1093/ajcn/61.6.1321s [Accessed 26 Jan. 2019]
Marvin, H. (1964). The 40 Year War on Heart Disease. New York: American Heart Association.
Mercola, J. (2017). Fat For Fuel. Carlsbad, California: Hay House.
Teichholz, N. (2014). The Big Fat Surprise. New York: Simon & Schuster, pp.32-33.
The environment that we live in is toxic. It is worrisome to think that the status quo has occurred with the help of corporations knowingly dumping harmful chemicals into the environment.
The Environmental Working Group (EWG) has studied the current state of our world in great detail and has discovered that before a child is even born they already have approximately 287 toxins in their blood and tissues. These results came from 10 newborns whose parents gave permission to have their toxins measured at birth.
The results of this study indicate that an average of 200 chemicals was found in each newborn. Of the toxins tested, 47 were consumer ingredients such as cosmetics, 212 were industrial and pesticide byproducts. In this study, only around 400 total chemicals were actually tested for - thousands of others may have been found if larger parameters were used.
Many of the toxins measured in the newborns included plastics, flame retardants, and other chemicals that disrupt brain function, IQ, hormones, and the nervous system of the child. Some of the toxins observed like DDT, have actually been banned since 1972 (over 3 decades ago), but are still being measured in laboratory samples. Certain chemicals never fully degrade in the environment.
So, there is not question about it, the environment we live in is toxic. All of us have disease-creating toxins inside of our bodies, the question boils down to which ones and how much.
But there are some solutions: lab tests and detoxification.
"You hear all this talk about blue light being harmful, but do you know what blue light actually is?
Blue light is one of the types of light that form the white light we get from the Sun. Together with
red, orange, yellow, green, violet, and indigo. This is called the electromagnetic (EM) spectrum of visible light. At the end we have the UV light, which can't actually be seen by the human eye. The energy of these waves increases as we go towards the end, which makes blue lights one of the highest intensity types of visible light.
Light is made of EM waves that emit energy and it's this energy that we perceive as light. These waves come in different wavelengths, which means we get different colors of light. These are the different colors of light that we can perceive from the EM spectrum. So blue light is actually everywhere; it's in the light that travels from the Sun all the way to the Earth.
Because the wavelength of blue light is so small they collide with air molecules a lot more than any other color and they get scattered everywhere - that's actually what makes the sky blue. That's why your body uses this blue light from the Sun to make the difference between day and night and
regulate your sleep cycle. But our eyes natural filters barely provide us with enough protection from blue light on a particularly sunny day.
The blue light from your devices is even worse. LED devices emit much stronger blue light than we get from the Sun. Spending hours staring at a screen can cause eye damage and fatigue. This is due to most lower energy waves being absorbed by the cornea, the eyes outer membrane. Blue light goes straight through due to its high energy and slowly deteriorates the retina. And because our brains use blue light to differentiate between day and night and boost alertness, spending time on your phone tablet or laptop late at night fools your body into thinking it should keep you awake. It's all of them - phones, tablets, any gadget with an illuminated display. They all use blue LEDs because they are energy efficient and cheaper to produce, but your body disagrees.
Basically, what keeps you awake and alert during the day can severely affect the quality of your sleep at night. Blue light has also been shown to suppress secretion of melatonin, a hormone that is produced at night and helps your body prepare for sleep. Melatonin isn't just linked to poor
sleep, scientists have also managed to find a correlation between melatonin deprivation and conditions like cancer, diabetes and clinical depression. Do you still think your tablet is that harmless?
Well there is a way you can prevent it. Scientists have now designed special screen protectors that stop the blue light from reaching your eyes and causing damage to your retina at a microscopic level. This glass has tiny ridges that block blue waves and let the other less harmful light go through. These glasses can block up to 60% of blue light and 99% of UV rays. People have reported that their sleeping patterns were significantly improved after only a few days. There was also significant reduction in eye strain and headaches. Or you can go for full protection and buy eyewear that you can use for all blue light-emitting devices: computers, TV laptops, or your phone. These work in a slightly different way - the protectors as the yellow, absorbs rather than blocks blue and UV light, and lets other types of light go through.
No matter what you do, whether its buying a protective glass or reducing the time you spend on your device make sure you stay on the lookout for the unseen damage that your day-to-day gadgets can do to your health."
Since 2010, water utilities' testing has found pollutants in Americans' tap water, according to an EWG drinking water quality analysis of 30 million state water records.
Welcome to the first episode of our brand new docuseries - Remedy: Ancient Medicine for Modern Illness.
(If you are not registered for the full Remedy docuseries yet, click this link to join us for all 9 episodes - https://remedy.thesacredscience.com/r... )
Episode 1 is called “The Quest For Lost Medicine” and it lays the groundwork for the entire series - some of what you will witness may shock you… Over the 9-part Remedy series, we’ll be uncovering powerful herbal remedies for major diseases - but first, we need to understand why this vital healing information has been kept from us.
Here’s some of what we will reveal in this first episode…
This eye-opening episode sets the stage for everything else we cover in the Remedy docuseries. Again, if you are not registered for the full series, click here - https://remedy.thesacredscience.com/r...
The researcher, Dr. José Baselga, a towering figure in the cancer world, is the chief medical officer at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York. He has held board memberships or advisory roles with Roche and Bristol-Myers Squibb, among other corporations, has had a stake in start-ups testing cancer therapies, and played a key role in the development of breakthrough drugs that have revolutionized treatments for breast cancer.
According to an analysis by The New York Times and ProPublica, Dr. Baselga did not follow financial disclosure rules set by the American Association for Cancer Research when he was president of the group. He also left out payments he received from companies connected to cancer research in his articles published in the group’s journal, Cancer Discovery. At the same time, he has been one of the journal’s two editors in chief.
At a conference this year and before analysts in 2017, he put a positive spin on the results of two Roche-sponsored clinical trials that many others considered disappointments, without disclosing his relationship to the company. Since 2014, he has received more than $3 million from Roche in consulting fees and for his stake in a company it acquired.
Dr. Baselga did not dispute his relationships with at least a dozen companies. In an interview, he said the disclosure lapses were unintentional.
He stressed that much of his industry work was publicly known although he declined to provide payment figures from his involvement with some biotech startups. “I acknowledge that there have been inconsistencies, but that’s what it is,” he said. “It’s not that I do not appreciate the importance.”
Dr. Baselga’s extensive corporate relationships — and his frequent failure to disclose them — illustrate how permeable the boundaries remain between academic research and industry, and how weakly reporting requirements are enforced by the medical journals and professional societies charged with policing them.
A decade ago, a series of scandals involving the secret influence of the pharmaceutical industry on drug research prompted the medical community to beef up its conflict-of-interest disclosure requirements. Ethicists worry that outside entanglements can shape the way studies are designed and medications are prescribed to patients, allowing bias to influence medical practice. Disclosing those connections allows the public, other scientists and doctors to evaluate the research and weigh potential conflicts.
“If leaders don’t follow the rules, then we don’t really have rules,” said Dr. Walid Gellad, director of the Center for Pharmaceutical Policy and Prescribing at the University of Pittsburgh. “It says that the rules don’t matter.”
The penalties for such ethical lapses are not severe. The cancer research group, the A.A.C.R., warns authors who fill out disclosure forms for its journals that they face a three-year ban on publishing if they are found to have financial relationships that they did not disclose. But the ban is not included in the conflict-of-interest policy posted on its website, and the group said no author had ever been barred.
Many journals and professional societies do not check conflicts and simply require authors to correct the record.
Officials at the A.A.C.R., the American Society of Clinical Oncology and The New England Journal of Medicine said they were looking into Dr. Baselga’s omissions after inquiries from The New York Times and ProPublica. The Lancet declined to say whether it would look into the matter.
Christine Hickey, a spokeswoman for Memorial Sloan Kettering, said that Dr. Baselga had properly informed the hospital of his outside industry work and that it was Dr. Baselga’s responsibility to disclose such relationships to entities like medical journals. The cancer center, she said, “has a rigorous and comprehensive compliance program in place to promote honesty and objectivity in scientific research.”
Asked if he planned to correct his disclosures, Dr. Baselga asked reporters what they would recommend. In a statement several days later, he said he would correct his conflict-of-interest reporting for 17 articles, including in The New England Journal of Medicine, The Lancet and the publication he edits, Cancer Discovery. He said that he did not believe disclosure was required for dozens of other articles detailing early stages of research.
“I have spent my career caring for cancer patients and bringing new therapies to the clinic with the goal of extending and saving lives,” Dr. Baselga said in the statement. “While I have been inconsistent with disclosures and acknowledge that fact, that is a far cry from compromising my responsibilities as a physician, as a scientist and as a clinical leader.”
The corporate imprint on cancer researcher
Dr. Baselga, 59, supervises clinical operations at Memorial Sloan Kettering, one of the nation’s top cancer centers, and wields influence over the lives of patients and companies wishing to conduct trials there. He was paid more than $1.5 million in compensation by the cancer center in 2016, according to the hospital’s latest available tax disclosures, but that does not include his consulting or board fees from outside companies.
Many top medical researchers have ties to the for-profit health care industry, and some overlap is seen as a good thing — after all, these are the companies charged with developing the drugs, medical devices and diagnostic tests of the future.
Dr. Baselga’s relationship to industry is extensive. In addition to sitting on the board of Bristol-Myers Squibb, he is a director of Varian Medical Systems, which sells radiation equipment and for whom Memorial Sloan Kettering is a client.
In all, Dr. Baselga has served on the boards of at least six companies since 2013, positions that have required him to assume a fiduciary responsibility to protect the interests of those companies, even as he oversees the cancer center’s medical operations.
The hospital and Dr. Baselga said steps had been taken to prevent him from having a say in any business between the cancer center and the companies on whose boards he sits.
The chief executive of Memorial Sloan Kettering, Dr. Craig B. Thompson, settled lawsuits several years ago that were filed by the University of Pennsylvania and an affiliated research center. They contended that he hid research conducted while he was at Penn to start a new company, Agios Pharmaceuticals, and did not share the earnings. Dr. Thompson disputed the allegations. He now sits on the board of Merck, which manufactures Keytruda, a blockbuster cancer therapy.
Ms. Hickey said the cancer center cannot fulfill its charitable mission without working with industry. “We encourage collaboration and are proud that our work has led to the approval of novel, lifesaving cancer treatments for patients around the world,” she said.
Some disclosures are required; others aren’t. After the scandals a decade ago over lack of disclosure, the federal government began requiring drug and device manufacturers to publicly disclose payments to doctors in 2013.
From August 2013 through 2017, Dr. Baselga received nearly $3.5 million from nine companies, according to the federal Open Payments database, which compiles disclosures filed by drug and device companies.
Dr. Baselga has disclosed in other forums investments and advisory roles in biotech start-ups, but he declined to provide a tally of financial interests in those firms. Companies that have not received approval from the Food and Drug Administration for their products — projects still in the testing phases — do not have to report payments they make to doctors.
Serving on boards can be lucrative. In 2017, he received $260,000 in cash and stock awards to sit on Varian’s board of directors, according to the company’s corporate filings.
ProPublica and The Times analyzed Dr. Baselga’s publications in medical journals since 2013, the year he joined Memorial Sloan Kettering. He failed to disclose any industry relationships in more than 100, or about 60 percent of the time, a figure that has increased with each passing year. Last year, he did not list any potential conflicts in 87 percent of the articles that he wrote or co-wrote.
Dr. Baselga compiled a color-coded list of his articles and offered a different interpretation. Sixty-two of the papers for which he did not disclose any potential conflict represented “conceptual, basic laboratory or translational work,” and did not require one, he said. Questions could be raised about others, he said, but he added that most “had no clinical nor financial implications.” That left the 17 papers he plans to correct.
Early-stage research often carries financial weight because it helps companies decide whether to move ahead with a product. In about two-thirds of Dr. Balsega’s articles that lacked details of his industry ties, one or more of his co-authors listed theirs.
In 2015, Dr. Baselga published an article in the New England Journal about a Roche-sponsored trial of one of the company’s drugs, Zelboraf. Despite his financial ties to Roche, he declared that he had “nothing to disclose.” Fourteen of his co-authors reported ties to Roche.
Dr. Baselga defended the articles, saying that “these are high-quality manuscripts reporting on important clinical trials that led to a better understanding of cancer treatments.”
Industry ConnectionsSome of Dr. José Baselga’s known relationships with health care companies. He has failed to disclose any industry ties in dozens of research articles since 2013.
The guidelines enacted by most major medical journals and professional societies ask authors and presenters to list recent financial relationships that could pose a conflict.
But much of this reporting still relies on the honor system. A study in August in the journal JAMA Oncology found that one-third of authors in a sample of cancer trials did not report all payments from the studies’ sponsors.
“We don’t routinely check because we don’t have those kind of resources,” said Dr. Rita F. Redberg, the editor of JAMA Internal Medicine, who has been critical of the influence of industry on medical practice. “We rely on trust and integrity. It’s kind of an assumed part of the professional relationship.”
Jennifer Zeis, a spokeswoman for The New England Journal of Medicine, said in an email that it had now asked Dr. Baselga to amend his disclosures. She said the journal planned to overhaul its tracking of industry relationships.
The American Association for Cancer Research said it had begun an “extensive review” of the disclosure forms submitted by Dr. Baselga.
It said that it had never barred an author from publishing, and that “such an action would be necessary only in cases of egregious, consistent violations of the rules.”
Among the most prominent relationships that Dr. Baselga has often failed to disclose is with the Swiss pharmaceutical giant Roche and its United States subsidiary Genentech.
In June 2017, at the annual meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology in Chicago, Dr. Baselga spoke at a Roche-sponsored investor event about study results that the company had been counting on to persuade oncologists to move patients from Herceptin — which was facing competition from cheaper alternatives — to a combination treatment involving Herceptin and a newer, more expensive drug, Perjeta.
The results were so underwhelming that Roche’s stock fell 5 percent on the news. One analyst described the results as a “lead balloon,” and an editorial in The New England Journal called it a “disappointment.”
Dr. Baselga, however, told analysts that critiques were “weird” and “strange.”
This June, at the same cancer conference, Dr. Baselga struck an upbeat note about the results of a Roche trial of the drug taselisib, saying in a blog post published on the cancer center website that the results were “incredibly exciting” while conceding the side effects from the drug were high.
That same day, Roche announced it was scrapping plans to develop the drug. The news was another disappointment involving the class of drugs called PI3K inhibitors, which is a major focus of Dr. Baselga’s current research.
In neither case did Dr. Baselga reveal that his ties to Roche and Genentech went beyond serving as a trial investigator. In 2014, Roche acquired Seragon, a cancer research company in which Dr. Baselga had an ownership stake, for $725 million. Dr. Baselga received more than $3 million in 2014 and 2015 for his stake in the company, according to the federal Open Payments database.
From 2013 to 2017, Roche also paid Dr. Baselga more than $50,000 in consulting fees, according to the database.
These details were not included in the conflict-of-interest statements that are required of all presenters at the American Society of Clinical Oncology conference, although he did disclose ownership interests and consulting relationships with several other companies in the prior two years.
ASCO said it would conduct an internal review of Dr. Baselga’s disclosures and would refer the findings to a panel.
Dr. Baselga said that he played no role in the Seragon acquisition, and that he had cut ties with Roche since joining the board of a competitor, Bristol-Myers, in March. As for his presentations at the ASCO meetings in the last two years, he said he had also noted shortcomings in the studies.
The combination of Perjeta with Herceptin was later approved by the F.D.A. for certain high-risk patients. As for taselisib, Dr. Baselga stands by his belief that the PI3K class of drugs will be an important target for fighting cancer.
Ornstein, C & Thomas, K. (2018). Top Cancer Researcher Fails to Disclose Corporate Financial Ties in Major Research Journals. [online] Retrieved from: https://www.nytimes.com/2018/09/08/health/jose-baselga-cancer-memorial-sloan-kettering.html
What is the fastest way to health? It's simply honesty being honest with yourself. We each have four doctors within ourselves: Dr. Happiness, which is what is our concept of what makes us happy (what am you living for?); Dr. Quiet which is how do you create adequate rest to regenerate yourself to have a clear mind and to let my body recover from any stress; Dr. Diet (how do you tune into your body's particular nutritional needs?); and Dr. Movement, which is the difference between Working Out and Working In and putting those movement types to use in your life.
Wim Hof is an autodidact and taught himself how to control his heart rate, breathing and blood circulation. All this is regulated by the autonomic nervous system. Conventional science says that the autonomic nervous system is a part of the body you just can´t control, yet Wim can, by steering his hypothalamus (an area in the brain which regulates the body temperature). Where the body temperature of an untrained person drops dangerously after exposing it to extreme cold, Wim is able to retain his core temperature around 37 degrees Celsius, constantly. Even after 1 hour and 52 minutes sitting in ice, Wim’s core temperature stays the same. Scientists around the world baffled by this exceptional performance. In the Netherlands, Prof. Maria Hopman of the UMC St Radboud Nijmegen examined Wim’s physiology as he was affected by the cold, while he was up to his neck in a cylinder filled with ice cubes.
Wim Hof, aka "The Iceman" holds the world record for the longest ice bath lasting over one hour and 52 minutes and 20 other world records for feats performed while withstanding the cold. He has climbed Mount Everest and Mount Kilimanjaro in just shorts and shoes. His method enables him to control his core body temperature and immune system, which can be learned by anyone including. Wim's ultimate goals are to end all disease to facilitate a paradigm shift towards health to promote care for our planet and to bring back love and happiness for all people by encouraging them to get in touch with the cold, and he plans to do all this under the scrutiny of science.
The anti-cancer assertions made by medical cannabis advocates are no longer just based on anecdotal success stories. In the following video, Dr. Christina Sanchez, a molecular biologist at the Complutense University of Madrid, explains how her research supports the claim that cannabis kills cancer.
Through several human and animal experimental observations, researchers, such as Dr. Sanchez, have discovered that the application of the popular psychoactive compound found in cannabis, tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), has the potential to induce apoptosis in carcinogenic cells; in other words, THC kills cancer cells. This treatment significantly differs from other cancer treatments, such as chemotheraphy, because THC is able to distinguish between healthy and unhealthy cells, whereas chemotherapeutic agents cannot, resulting in a myriad of undesirable and deleterious side effects.
According to Dr. Sanchez, "One of the advantages of cannabinoids, or cannabinoid based medicines, would be that they target a specifically, tumor cells. They don’t have any toxic effect on normal, non-tumoral cells. This is an advantage with respect to standard chemotherapy that target basically everything."
Sanchez has further revealed that the cancer-killing effect of THC is potentiated by the presence of cannabidiol (CBD), a very potent antioxidant that protects the brain from stress and oxidative damage. These synergistic effects of both THC and CBD could make for a very safe and effective cancer concoction.
Sanchez states, "I cannot understand why in the states cannabis is under schedule I, because it is pretty obvious not only from our work but from work from many other researchers that the plant has very wide therapeutic potential."
Cannabinoids and the Endocannabinoid System
The human body responds to the cannabinoids found in cannabis because it also makes its own endogenous cannabinoids. These endocannabinoids, which are lipid-based retrograde neurotransmitters that bind to cannabinoid receptors and proteins that are expressed throughout the mammalian central and peripheral nervous system, have been observed to mediate homeostasis via a variety of physiological and cognitive processes. This endocannabinoid system, named after the plant that led to its discovery, is a biological system of the body has many important regulatory functions affecting fertility, pregnancy, reproduction, appetite, pain-sensation, mood, locomotor behavior, exercise-induced euphoria, and memory.
The endogenous cannabinoid system is perhaps the most important physiologic system involved in establishing and maintaining human health. Endocannabinoids and their receptors are found throughout the body: in the brain, organs, connective tissues, glands, and immune cells. In each tissue, the cannabinoid system performs different tasks, but the goal is always the same: homeostasis, the maintenance of a stable internal environment despite fluctuations in the external environment.
A growing body of evidence continues to validate the miraculous healing capabilities of cannabinoids. Supporting the cultivation of cannabis and continued scientific research will lead to more availability of various cannabis strains specifically designed to have high doses and specific ratios of certain cannabinoids to serve as a safe and effective therapeutic treatment for a variety of disorders and diseases. The use of medical marijuana and cannabis-derived medicines in the treatment of diseases such as cancer, epilepsy, chronic pain, diabetes, multiple sclerosis, insomnia, depression, etc., will continue to grow. Cannabis may yet become one of the most useful natural remedies to some of the most crippling diseases of mankind.
Hunt, Anna. (2018). Molecular Biologist Explains How Cannabis Kills Cancer Cells. [online] Waking Times. Available at: http://www.wakingtimes.com/2017/12/21/molecular-biologist-explains-cannabis-kills-cancer-cells/ [Accessed 6 Jul. 2018].
How much time do you spend sitting each day? Considering that excessive sedentary time is ubiquitous in Western societies, for most people, the total amount of time spent sitting could be cut in half, or even in quarters.
"Sit less, move more" is the maxim worth repeating, especially with the growing body of evidence suggesting how detrimental prolonged sitting is for your body. A multitude of chronic metabolic diseases, including diabetes, obesity, cardiovascular disease, cancer, even premature death, have been directly associated with prolonged sitting time. According to several long-term studies, no matter how much you exercise, sitting for extended periods of time significantly increases your risk of disease and death, by any cause.
The Relationship Between Sitting and Mortality
Due to its prevalence, researchers set out to examine the association between daily, sedentary behavior (its total volume and accrual in prolonged, uninterrupted bouts) and all-cause mortality.
Researchers shadowed nearly 8000 participants, age 45 or older, for an average of four years and observed that that sedentary behavior, on average, accounted for about 12.3 hours of an average 16-hour waking day. After analyzing the compiled data, the results of this observational experiment postulate a direct relationship; as total sedentary time increases, so does your risk of dying early than expected. Researchers have observed the participants' risk of metabolic morbidity and all-cause mortality grew in tandem with total sitting time and sitting stretch duration - no matter their age, sex, race, body mass index or exercise habits. In other words, prolonged sitting is a risk factor for all-cause mortality, independent of overall levels of moderate to vigorous physical activity. Furthermore, those who sat for more than 13 hours per day had a 2-fold (or 200%) greater risk of death compared to those who sat for less than about 11 hours per day (Diaz et al., 2017).
The current exercise guidelines, established by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, recommend adults perform moderate-intensity aerobic exercise for two hours and 30 minutes every week, plus resistance training exercises on two or more days a week. Even this recommendation, however, doesn’t address the importance of reducing sitting time in addition to increasing physical activity levels (Van der Ploeg, Chey, Korda, Banks & Bauman, 2012).
Fortunately enough, the recommendations established by the researchers are, perhaps, more clear; take a movement break every 30 minutes. The researchers also determined that people who sit for less than 30 minutes at a time have the lowest risk of early death. According to the researchers, those who frequently sat in stretches less than 30 minutes had a 55% lower risk of death compared to people who usually sat for more than 30 minutes at a stretch. In addition, people who frequently sat for more than 90 minutes at a stretch had a nearly two-fold greater risk of death than those who almost always sat for less than 90 minutes at a stretch.
If you have a job, obligation, or lifestyle where you have to sit for prolonged periods, the findings of this research recommend one behavior change could reduce your risk of death: take a movement break every 30 minutes
While a standing desk might be helpful for those who work desk jobs, there is limited evidence to suggest that standing is a healthier alternative to sitting. Just taking a look at the anatomy of the human body, it is clear that it is designed for dynamic movement, not remain static.
Each Hour Spent Sitting Decreases Your Life Expectancy by 2 hours
In 2016, Dr. Mercola interviewed Kelly Starrett, who has a Ph.D. in physical therapy and is the author of "Deskbound: Standing Up to a Sitting World." In "Deskbound," Starrett quoted research from Dr. James Levine estimating for every hour you sit down, your life expectancy decreases by two hours.
For comparison, every cigarette smoked reduces life expectancy by 11 minutes, which explains why some are now calling sitting the new smoking. For all intents and purposes, prolonged sitting may actually be far worse for your health than smoking.
Starrett even mentioned a study that found office workers who smoked to be healthier than non-smokers simply because they got up every 30 minutes or so and walked outside to have a cigarette.
In the end, it is clear that the human body is designed to move, and is not designed to stay in any fixed position.
Take Away: Sitting and Standing are Tools
The body is designed to move. Standing is not inherently better than sitting, and sitting is not inherently worse than standing - they are both tools. However from a metabolic perspective, standing is perhaps better, due to the relative rate of energy expenditure. Given this, it is not recommended to stand all day, or vice versa.
What is most important, is how, or the way in which, you are sitting or standing. How is the quality of your sitting or standing position? How are utilizing your chair or the floor? If you are standing in an array of compromised positions, such as, for example, with an inwards collapsed knee or foot, or disengaged glutes, you are exacerbating the same patterns that result in physical discomfort. Sitting and standing are both tools, so it is important to ask yourself, "How am I using this tool?"
To ensure proper posture, if you are going to be sitting, sit on the front edge of your seat, or the ischial tuberosity (the "sit bones" or bony protrusions located on your rear), with your hips located higher than your knees and your core activated. This position activates the spinal chain setting the sacrum and lumbar spine with a normal curve. If you are going to be standing, equally distribute the weight between your feet, stacking your spine while activating your glutes and core, with your shoulders back and down (not hunched forward), and your head neutral (not forward or looking down).
Diaz, K., Howard, V., Hutto, B., Colabianchi, N., Vena, J., Safford, M., Blair, S. and Hooker, S. (2017). Patterns of Sedentary Behavior and Mortality in U.S. Middle-Aged and Older Adults. Annals of Internal Medicine, 167(7), p.465. https://doi.org/10.7326/M17-0212
Scutti, S. (2018). Yes, sitting too long can kill you, even if you exercise. [online] CNN. Available at: https://www.cnn.com/2017/09/11/health/sitting-increases-risk-of-death-study/ [Accessed 31 May 2018].
Van der Ploeg, H., Chey, T., Korda, R., Banks, E. and Bauman, A. (2012). Sitting Time and All-Cause Mortality Risk in 222 497 Australian Adults. Archives of Internal Medicine, 172(6), p.494. https://doi.org/10.1001/archinternmed.2011.2174
Have you ever wondered what the health impact of a stressful day was? Will you perform well during your long run or training session tomorrow morning? Is there anything you can do today that would improve your ability to have a better day tomorrow? HRV may be a piece of data that could help you answer these questions.
What is HRV?
HRV is simply a measure of the variation in time between each heartbeat, also known as the RR interval. This variation is controlled by a primitive part of the nervous system called the autonomic nervous system (ANS). The ANS works regardless of our desire and regulates, among other things, our heart rate, blood pressure, breathing, and digestion. The ANS is subdivided into two large components, the sympathetic and the parasympathetic nervous system, also known as the fight-or-flight mechanism and the relaxation response.
The brain is constantly processing information in a region called the hypothalamus. The hypothalamus, through the ANS, sends signals to the rest of the body either to stimulate or to relax different functions. It responds not only to a poor night of sleep, or that sour interaction with your boss, but also to the exciting news that you got engaged, or to that delicious healthy meal you had for lunch. Our body handles all kinds of stimuli and life goes on. However, if we have persistent instigators such as stress, poor sleep, unhealthy diet, dysfunctional relationships, isolation or solitude, and lack of exercise, this balance may be disrupted, and your fight-or-flight response can shift into overdrive.
Why Monitor HRV?
HRV is a noninvasive way to identify these ANS imbalances. If a person’s system is in more of a fight-or-flight mode, the variation between subsequent heartbeats is low. If one is in a more relaxed state, the variation between beats is high. In other words, the healthier the ANS the faster you are able to switch gears, showing more resilience and flexibility. Over the past few decades, research has shown a relationship between low HRV and worsening depression or anxiety. A low HRV is even associated with an increased risk of death and cardiovascular disease (Buccelletti et al., 2009; Tsuji et al., 1994).
People who have a high HRV may have greater cardiovascular fitness and be more resilient to stress. HRV may also provide personal feedback about your lifestyle and help motivate those who are considering taking steps toward a healthier life. It is fascinating to see how HRV changes as you incorporate more mindfulness, meditation, sleep, and especially physical activity into your life. For those who love data and numbers, this can be a convenient way to track how your nervous system is reacting not only to the environment, but also to your emotions, thoughts, and feelings.
The gold standard to measure HRV is to analyze a long strip of an electrocardiogram, the test that occurs frequently in medical offices where wires are attached to the chest. But over the past few years, several companies have created heart rate monitors that sync with apps that do something similar. The accuracy of these methods is still under scrutiny, but the technology is improving substantially. A word of caution is that there are no agencies regulating these devices, thus they may not be as accurate as claimed to be. With that said, the easiest and cheapest way to check HRV is to buy a chest strap heart monitor (e.g., Polar H10) and download a free app (e.g., Elite HRV) to analyze the data. The chest strap monitor tends to be more accurate than wrist or finger devices. Check your HRV in the mornings after you wake up, a few times a week, and track for changes as you incorporate healthier interventions.
Tracking HRV may be a great tool to motivate behavioral change for some. HRV measurements can help create more awareness of how you live and think, and how your behavior affects your nervous system and bodily functions. While it obviously can’t help you avoid stress, it could help you understand how to respond to stress in a healthier way. While there are questions about measurement accuracy and reliability, if you decide to use HRV as another piece of data, do not get too confident if you have a high HRV, or too scared if your HRV is low. Think of HRV as a preventive tool, a visual insight into the most primitive part of your brain.
Far from the metronome we might assume it to be, the healthiest heart beat follows a fractal pattern, with varying lengths of time separating each pulse (Tapanainen et al., 2002; Yaniv, Y., Lyashkov, A. E., Lakatta, E. G., 2013). A higher HRV suggests a relaxed, low-stress physiological milieu, while a lower HRV indicates a need for recovery, rest, and sleep. Therefore, in order to increase HRV, generally speaking, a more relaxed, low-stress environment is desirable. While there are a number of ways to reduce stress and increase relaxation, here are some examples that have been observed to increase HRV:
The only other strategy that has so many research-baked benefits for longevity is long-term calorie restriction, which requires a significant long-term reduction in the amount of food you eat so that you are essentially living on the brink of starvation. Compliance with calorie-restricted diets is abysmal. Fortunately, there are many ways to fast, and there is likely a form of fasting out there that you will be able to tolerate and incorporate into your life. It's important for you to remember that fasting can provide nearly identical benefits without the pain, suffering, and compliance challenges of calorie restriction.
Instead of regulating how much food you eat, as with long-term calorie restriction, you only need to modify when you eat - and of course wisely choose the foods you do eat.Simply cycling between periods of eating and fasting on a daily, weekly, or monthly schedule has been shown to provide many of the same benefits as long-term calorie restriction. Choosing when to eat and when to fast in this way is known as "intermittent fasting."
"Don't eat less - eat less often."
The nonhuman environment constitutes one of the most basically important ingredients of human psychological existence, and that, if ignored, is done so at peril to our psychological well-being. Numerous researchers have explored and expanded upon this notion of the essential importance of our relationship with nature. Researchers propose that we have evolved an inclination to affiliate with nature (known as biophilia).
Existential Positive Psychology (EPP) is concerned with the study of ultimate concerns through integrating both positive and negative aspects of the human condition to create a better future for self and others. EPP stresses the importance of an authentic self-identity. Three types of mature happiness are supported:
- authentic happiness, that arises from being an authentic person;
- eudaimonic happiness, which comes from doing virtuous deeds; and
- chaironic happiness, connected with our spiritual nature.
Eco-Existential Positive Psychology
Indeed, empirical evidence supports the existence of such a mutually enhancing relationship between individual human well-being and the larger natural world’s well-being. Exposure to nature and an increased sense of nature connectedness increases human well-being in a variety of ways (Hartig, Kaiser, & Bowler, 2001; Hartig, Kaiser, & Strumse, 2007; Hine, Peacock, & Pretty, 2007; Hoot & Friedman, 2011; Schultz &. Zelezny, 1998).
Increased time spent indoors using technology means that we are also losing our connection with the natural world. If this disturbing trend of humankind’s increased distancing from direct experiences in nature continues, the well-being of the planet’s ecosystem will continue to degrade.
Experiences in nature play a fundamental role in addressing the six existential anxieties.
- Meaning in Life
Affiliating with nature affords us the opportunity to be fully flourishing human beings — which in turn will allow the larger-than-human natural world an opportunity to fully flourish, as individuals shift from an ego-centered view and lifestyle, to an eco-centered view and lifestyle.
It is only through embracing life in its totality that we can uplift humanity and improve the human condition. It is hoped that the perspective of Eco-Existential Positive Psychology will contribute to an expanded awareness of the potential role of nature connectedness and nature involvement in a life well lived.
Hartig, T., Kaiser, F. G., & Strumse, E. (2007). Psychological restoration in nature as a source of motivation for ecological behaviour. Environmental Conservation, 34, 291–299.
Hine, R., Peacock, J., & Pretty, J. (2007). Evaluating the impact of environmental volunteering on behaviours and attitudes to the environment. Colchester, UK: University of Essex.
Hoot, R. E., & Friedman, H. (2011). Connectedness and environmental behavior: Sense of interconnectedness and pro-environmental behavior. International Journal of Transpersonal Studies, 30, 89–100.
Passmore, H. & Howell, A. (2014). Eco-Existential Positive Psychology: Experiences in
Nature, Existential Anxieties, and Well-Being. The Humanistic Psychologist, 42, pp.370-388. https://doi.org/10.1080/08873267.2014.920335
Schultz, P. W., & Zelezny, L. C. (1998). Values and proenvironmental behavior: A five-country survey (Mexico,Nicaragua, Peru, Spain, and United States). Journal of Cross-Cultural Psychology, 29, 540–558.
Research on brain plasticity supports the notion that our environment can shape brain structure as well as function. Enriched environments elicit brain plasticity in animals. In humans it is unclear which environment is enriching. Living in a city has been associated with increased amygdala activity in a stress paradigm, and being brought up in a city with increased pregenual anterior cingulate cortex (pACC) activity. Increased pACC activity has been implicated in human anxiety disorders and depression (Amemori and Graybiel, 2012; Ernst et al., 2016).
At first sight one may conclude that city dwellers experience more complexity and novelty in their environment compared to people living in more rural regions. However, in contrast to this, a growing body of research suggests that urban environments encompasses a set of adverse psychosocial influences that facilitate chronic stress. This is in line with epidemiological evidence showing that mental health problems are more frequent in urban as compared to rural areas. This has been shown for mood and anxiety disorders as well as schizophrenia, with up to 56% higher prevalence rates when comparing most to least urbanized regions. Reasons for this may lie in the repeated infringement of personal space in cities that may trigger the brains’ threat system and in particular the repeated exposure to strangers may facilitate chronic engagement of the amygdala.
At the same time a growing body of research has shown that living close to natural landscapes has beneficial effects on mental health as well as well-being, mood, cognition, but also longevity and mortality. Researchers have observed that moving to greener urban areas is associated with improvements in mental health. Moreover, it has been shown that more green space in deprived urban neighbourhoods is associated with less perceived stress and healthier diurnal cortisol responses. In Japan a so-called practice of “forest bathing” has been established under the term “Shinrin-yoku”. Although the empirical evidence base on Shinrin-yoku is small, first studies have demonstrated beneficial effects of passive viewing and active exploration of forest landscapes onto stress markers such as concentrations of cortisol, pulse rate, blood pressure, parasympathetic and sympathetic nerve activity.
Green landscapes and forests may be viewed as environmental enrichment factors in humans. What has been shown in the neuroscientific literature is that urban upbringing and city living might be detrimental by affecting stress processing in humans. More concretely, current city living has been associated with increases in amygdala activity in comparison to living in more rural areas, whereas being brought up in an urban environment in the first 15 years of life increased stress related functional brain activity in the perigenual anterior cingular cortex (pACC).
Researchers set out to apply established characteristics of geographical features within cities in more depth and associate these cross-sectionally with brain structural integrity. The purpose of the study was to investigate what may constitute an enriched environment for human beings on the micro level within the city of Berlin, complementing previous studies that discriminated brain differences of inhabitants of cities, towns and rural regions on the macro level (Kühn et al., 2017).
Ernst, J., Hock, A., Henning, A., Seifritz, E., Boeker, H. and Grimm, S. (2016). Increased pregenual anterior cingulate glucose and lactate concentrations in major depressive disorder. Molecular Psychiatry, 22(1), pp.113-119. https://doi.org/10.1038/mp.2016.73
Kühn, S., Düzel, S., Eibich, P., Krekel, C., Wüstemann, H., Kolbe, J., Martensson, J., Goebel, J., Gallinat, J., Wagner, G. and Lindenberger, U. (2017). In search of features that constitute an “enriched environment” in humans: Associations between geographical properties and brain structure. Scientific Reports, 7(1). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-017-12046-7
Each time you become exposed the warm sunlight, the sun's ultraviolet radiation bombards your skin, which in moderation may optimize your health, or in excess, may lead to sunburns, rapidly aging skin, and potentially, skin cancer. To lower one's risk, many will often turn to sunscreens—sprays, lotions, and even powders—to protect their skin from the worst of the sun's effects. Unfortunately, researchers have collected data showing that you should be very cautious when choosing sunscreen to apply to your skin.
Skin Cancer on the Rise - No Proof That Sunscreen Prevents Skin Cancer
While the exact cause of melanoma is unknown, researchers have established that risk factors for melanoma include family history, indoor tanning, the number of moles on a person’s skin, fair skin, freckles, blue or green eyes, blonde or red hair and a history of severe sunburns, among others (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2017). People are able to modify only three of these risk factors: indoor tanning, exposure to UV radiation and severe sunburns.
In December 2012, the Food and Drug Administration began to enforce new laws designed to improve sunscreens and consumer protection. The new laws restrict certain bogus label claims, but they allow most sunscreens to advertise “broad spectrum” skin protection. Sunscreen manufacturers are permitted to tell consumers, that with proper use, their products can help reduce the risk of skin cancer. However, the FDA and the International Agency for Research on Cancer have concluded that the available data does not support the assertion that sunscreens alone reduce the rate of skin cancer (Food and Drug Administration, 2011; IARC 2001).
It's Not the Sunscreen, It's the Additives
Researchers have observed that adults who put on sunscreen containing 4% oxybenzone (the US allows up to 6%) in the morning and evening—mimicking what they’d do while on vacation—continued to excrete the chemical in their urine for five days afterwards, suggesting that it was being stored in the body (Gustavsson Gonzalez, Farbrot & Larko, 2002).
Aside from oxybenzone — which is found in 70% of sunscreens — other commonly used chemicals that can enter your bloodstream and can cause toxic side effects, including hormone disruption, include but are not limited to:
Octyl methoxycinnamate (OMC)
Para-aminobenzoic acid (PABA)
It is also advised to avoid using personal care products that contain synthetic fragrance, as this term describes any number of harmful chemicals that do not have to be listed individually on the label. Some common "fragrance" chemicals include:
- Parabens: Synthetic preservatives known to interfere with hormone production and release.
- Phthalates: Another synthetic preservative that's carcinogenic and linked to reproductive effects (i.e., decreased sperm counts, early breast development, and birth defects) and liver and kidney damage.
- Synthetic musks: These are linked to hormone disruption and are thought to persist and accumulate in breast milk, body fat, umbilical cord blood, and the environment.
Mineral Sunscreens May Contain Nanoparticles
This nanotechnology has several different effects. Some are concerned that the particles have become so small that they may be absorbed directly into your skin. Although mixed, some studies have found significant negative health effects from the absorption of nanoparticles (European Union Public Health, 2006). While these nanoparticle technologies may make an excellent drug delivery system, it is questionable for use in sunscreen (De Jong & Borm, 2008).
Titanium dioxide is more effective in UVB range and zinc oxide in the UVA range, therefore the combination of these particles assures a broad-band UV protection (Smijs & Pavel, 2011). Zinc oxide is beneficial because it remains stable in heat, but as a nanoparticle, the problems with toxicity probably outweigh the benefits to sun protection. Upon systemic distribution, toxicity of zinc oxide nanoparticles may affect the lungs, liver, kidneys, stomach, pancreas, spleen, heart and brain (Tian et al., 2015). Findings have also demonstrated that aging has a synergistic effect with zinc oxide nanoparticles on systemic inflammation and neurotoxicity, affecting your brain and neurological system. In other words, the older you are, the higher your risk of neurotoxicity from zinc oxide nanoparticle absorption.
Spray-on sunscreens, containing zinc oxide and/or titanium dioxide, pose an additional hazard by releasing these toxic nanoparticles into the air. The FDA has previously expressed concern that inhaling these products may be risky, especially to children, and has warned parents to avoid spray-on sunscreens (Food and Drug Administration, 2006).
While these two minerals are the safest topical sunscreen agents around, inhaling them is a whole different story. When these minerals are inhaled, they have been shown to irritate lung tissues and potentially lead to serious health problems, and the finer the particles, the worse their effects appear to be (Grassian, O’Shaughnessy, Adamcakova-Dodd, Pettibone & Thorne, 2006). The lungs have difficulty clearing small particles, and the particles may pass from the lungs into the bloodstream. Insoluble nanoparticles that penetrate skin or lung tissue can cause extensive organ damage. Some researchers speculate that the toxic effects of nanoparticles relate to their size being in the range of a virus, which may trigger your body's immune response (Buzea, Pacheco Blandino & Robbie, 2007).
The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) has classified titanium dioxide as a "possible carcinogen" when inhaled in high doses. According to IARC:
"Titanium dioxide causes varying degrees of inflammation and associated pulmonary effects including lung epithelial cell injury, cholesterol granulomas and fibrosis. Rodents experience stronger pulmonary effects after exposure to ultrafine titanium dioxide particles compared with fine particles on a mass basis (IARC, 2006).
The use of nanoparticles in cosmetics poses a regulatory challenge because the properties of nanoparticles may vary tremendously, depending on their size, shape, surface area and coatings. A number of manufacturers sell products advertised as containing “non-nano” zinc oxide and titanium dioxide - these claims are generally misleading. While particle sizes vary among manufacturers, nearly all would be considered nanomaterials under a broad definition of the term, including the definition proposed in 2011 by the Food and Drug Administration (Food and Drug Administration, 2011b). According to the available information, these mineral sunscreens must be delivered in nanoparticle form to render a layer that is reasonably transparent on the skin.
According to EWG, even with the existing uncertainties, zinc oxide and titanium dioxide lotions are among the best choices on the American market. Here’s why:
- The shape and size of the particles affect sun protection.
- Nanoparticles in sunscreen may not penetrate the skin.
- It is unlikely that nanoparticles in sunscreen cause skin damage when energized by sunlight.
Currently, all available evidence suggests that zinc oxide and titanium dioxide can be safely used in sunscreen lotions applied to healthy skin and pose a lower hazard than most other approved sunscreen ingredients.
More human studies need to be conducted in regards to the health effects of inhaling of zinc oxide particles, especially at lower levels, such as from brief exposure to sunscreen spray. However, using these spray-on products are clearly an unnecessary risk since safer options are readily available. Your safest bet is to use topical zinc oxide or titanium dioxide that does not contain nanosized particles.
High SPF is "Inherently Misleading"
But for high-SPF sunscreens, theory and reality are two different things. Researchers have observed that people are misled by the claims on high-SPF sunscreen bottles. They are more likely to use high-SPF products improperly and as a result may expose themselves to more harmful ultraviolet radiation than people relying on products with lower SPF values. The FDA has long contended that SPF higher than 50 is “inherently misleading” (Food and Drug Administration, 2007).
Here are some reasons against applying sunscreens with SPF values greater than 50:
- Marginally better sunburn protection.
- Consumers misuse high-SPF products.
Researchers have conducted numerous studies on sunbathers and have observed that high-SPF products spur “profound changes in sun behavior” that may account for the increased melanoma risk found in some studies. The researchers confirmed that European vacationers spent more total time in the sun if they were given an SPF 30 sunscreen instead of an SPF 10 product (Autier et al., 2000). It is assumed the difference would also apply to products with SPF values greater than 50.
Solutions: Sunscreen Should be the Last Resort
Astaxanthin is produced by the microalgae Haematococcus pluvialis when its water supply dries up, forcing it to protect itself from ultraviolet radiation. It is this "radiation shield" mechanism that helps explain how astaxanthin can help protect you from similar radiation.
When you consume this pigment, you are essentially creating your own "internal sunscreen." Researchers have confirmed astaxanthin is a potent UVB absorber that helps reduce DNA damage, reduce inflammation, oxidative stress and free radical damage throughout your body.
Each of these health-promoting effects of astaxanthin improves the ability of your skin to handle sun without burning, while giving your body the best advantage to manufacturing vitamin D. However, it is still advised to seek physical protection from the sun, such as hat and long-sleeved clothing, but consuming more astaxanthin will provide a healthier alternative to using synthetic chemicals to filter UV radiation.
Shorts, hats, shorts and pants can shield you skin from the sun's UV rays, reducing sun burns by 27%
Plan Around the Sun
Go outdoors in the early morning or late afternoon when the sun is lower in the sky
Find Shade - Or Make It
Find a tree or bring a canopy
Don't Get Burned
Red, sore, blistered skin means you have gotten far too much sun exposure
Sunglasses Are Essential
Polarized sunglasses protect your eyes from the sun's harmful UV rays
Check the UV Index
The UV index provides helpful information to help you plan your outdoor activities without the risk of too much sun exposure
When Purchasing Sunscreen
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Buzea, C., Pacheco Blandino, I., & Robbie, K. (2007). Nanomaterials and nanoparticles: Sources and toxicity. Biointerphases. Retrieved 3 August 2017, from https://arxiv.org/ftp/arxiv/papers/0801/0801.3280.pdf
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2017). What Are the Risk Factors for Skin Cancer?. Cdc.gov. Retrieved 3 August 2017, from https://www.cdc.gov/cancer/skin/basic_info/risk_factors.htm
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2016). Skin Cancer Trends. (2017). Cdc.gov. Retrieved 3 August 2017, from https://www.cdc.gov/cancer/skin/statistics/trends.htm
De Jong, W. H., & Borm, P. J. (2008). Drug delivery and nanoparticles: Applications and hazards. International Journal of Nanomedicine, 3(2), 133–149.
Environmental Working Group. (2017). EWG's 2017 Guide to Safer Sunscreens. Ewg.org. Retrieved 3 August 2017, from http://www.ewg.org/sunscreen/report/the-trouble-with-sunscreen-chemicals/#.WYKSS4UnHPp
European Union Public Health. (2006). What are potential harmful effects of nanoparticles?. Ec.europa.eu. Retrieved 3 August 2017, from http://ec.europa.eu/health/scientific_committees/opinions_layman/en/nanotechnologies/l-3/6-health-effects-nanoparticles.htm
Food and Drug Administration. (2011). Labeling and Effectiveness Testing: Sunscreen Drug Products for Over-the-Counter Human Use. Regulations.gov. Retrieved 3 August 2017, from https://www.regulations.gov/document?D=FDA-1978-N-0018-0698
Food and Drug Administration. (2011b). FDA Draft, Not for Implementation: Guidance for Industry. Enforcement Policy – OTC Sunscreen Drug Products Marketed Without an Approved Application. Available at www.fda.gov/downloads/Drugs/GuidanceComplianceRegulatoryInformation/Guidances/UCM259001.pdf
Food and Drug Administration. (2006). PETITION REQUESTING FDA AMEND ITS REGULATIONS FOR PRODUCTS COMPOSED OF ENGINEERED NANOPARTICLES GENERALLY AND SUNSCREEN DRUG PRODUCTS COMPOSED OF ENGINEERED NANOPARTICLES SPECIFICALLY. FDA.gov. Retrieved 3 August 2017, from https://www.fda.gov/ohrms/dockets/dockets/06p0210/06p-0210-cp00001-01-vol1.pdf
Food and Drug Administration. (2007). Sunscreen Drug Products for Over-the-Counter Human Use; Proposed Amendment of Final Monograph; Proposed Rule - FR Doc 07-4131. (2017). Fda.gov. Retrieved 3 August 2017, from https://www.fda.gov/OHRMS/DOCKETS/98fr/07-4131.htm
Grassian, V., O’Shaughnessy, P., Adamcakova-Dodd, A., Pettibone, J., & Thorne, P. (2006). Inhalation Exposure Study of Titanium Dioxide Nanoparticles with a Primary Particle Size of 2 to 5 nm. Environmental Health Perspectives, 115(3), 397-402. http://dx.doi.org/10.1289/ehp.9469
Gustavsson Gonzalez, H., Farbrot, A., & Larko, O. (2002). Percutaneous absorption of benzophenone-3, a common component of topical sunscreens. Clinical And Experimental Dermatology, 27(8), 691-694. http://dx.doi.org/10.1046/j.1365-2230.2002.01095.x
International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC). (2006). IARC Monographs on the Evaluation of Carcinogenic Risks to Humans. IARC.fr. Retrieved 3 August 2017, from https://monographs.iarc.fr/ENG/Monographs/vol93/mono93.pdf
IARC. (2001). IARC Summary Recommendations for Public Health Action. IARC. Retrieved 3 August 2017, from http://www.who.int/uv/resources/recommendations/en/IARCSum.pdf
Mercola, J. (2017). Is Your Sunscreen Doing More Harm Than Good?. Mercola.com. Retrieved 3 August 2017, from http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2017/04/26/hazardous-chemicals-in-sunscreens.aspx
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National Toxicology Program (NTP). (2000). Broad-Spectrum Ultraviolet (UV) Radiation and UVA, and UVB, and UVC. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Retrieved 3 August 2017, from https://ntp.niehs.nih.gov/ntp/newhomeroc/roc10/uv_no_appendices_508.pdf
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Tian, L., Lin, B., Wu, L., Li, K., Liu, H., & Yan, J. et al. (2015). Neurotoxicity induced by zinc oxide nanoparticles: age-related differences and interaction. Scientific Reports, 5(1). http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/srep16117
The decline of honey bees and other pollinators have been at the forefront of recent scientific publications and popular press for quite some time. A growing body of evidence suggests that no single stressor alone is responsible for these observed declines; but rather, the phenomena is probably a combination of various factors acting in synchrony, to have a negative impact on pollinator populations.
A recent large-scale, real-world field study, published in the journal Science, evaluating neonicotinoid pesticides has been added to a growing body of evidence suggesting that these agricultural chemicals are indeed harming bee populations to a unprecedented level.
Researchers investigated three different bee species across 33 sites in the United
Kingdom, Germany and Hungary, and found that exposure to neonicotinoid-treated crops is associated with a reduced capacity of bee species to establish new populations in the year following exposure.
For honey bees, the researchers found both negative (Hungary and United Kingdom) and positive (Germany) effects during crop flowering. In Hungary, negative effects on honey bees persisted over winter and resulted in smaller colonies in the following spring (24% declines). In wild bees (Bombus terrestris and Osmia bicornis), reproduction was negatively correlated with neonicotinoid residues (Woodcock et al., 2017).
Bayer and Syngenta, makers of neonicotinoid pesticides, promptly disputed the researchers’ conclusions—even though they partially funded the study (Gardner, 2017).
- Small bodied species show greater sensitivity to neonicotinoids.
- Dosed bees were significantly less likely to return to the nest than control bees.
- Bees in the two neonicotinoid treatments grew significantly more slowly and had an 85% reduction in the number of new queens produced when compared to control colonies.
- Concentration of thiamethoxam (a neonicotinoid) in pollen significantly negatively predicted both colony weight gain and production of new queens.
- Field-realistic doses of neonicotinoids (<3.5 ng/g) resulted in sublethal impacts on their ability to successfully build nests and provision offspring.
- Field studies using bumblebees demonstrate that exposure to neonicotinoid-treated flowering crops can have significant impacts on colony growth and reproductive output depending on the levels exposed to.
Bees May Be Exposed to 32 Pesticides When Collecting Pollen
The researchers observed that pollen collected by honey bees was consistently contaminated with pesticides throughout the 16-week observation period. Pesticide residue analyses of bee-collected pollen revealed contamination by up to 32 different pesticides spanning 9 chemical classes (Table 1 - Click to enlarge).
It is evident that bees and other non-target organisms inhabiting farmland are routinely exposed to far more complex cocktails of pesticides than any experimental protocol has yet attempted to examine. Since researchers typically study the effects of only one chemical at a time, a major challenge for scientists and regulators is to attempt to understand how chronic exposure to complex mixtures of neonicotinoids and other chemicals affects wildlife, including humans.
Bees are Crucial for Pollinating Crops
Implications of These Findings - We Too Are Full of Pesticides
A Solution - Vote With Your Dollar
It is up to everyone of us to source foods that we know how they are grown and produced - easier said than done when shopping at a supermarket. Try shopping at your local farmer's markets, where you can meet the farmers in person and know how they are growing the food you purchase. You should know what is in your food. Collectively, we have the power to choose what we as consumers want.
A Better Solution - Grow Your Own Food
As for pesticides in your body, your best bet for minimizing health risks from herbicide and pesticide exposure — including both the active and "inactive" ingredients — is to avoid them in the first place by eating organic as much as possible.
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Long, E., & Krupke, C. (2016). Non-cultivated plants present a season-long route of pesticide exposure for honey bees. Nature Communications, 7, 11629. http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/ncomms11629
UCSF Presentation Reveals Glyphosate Contamination in People Across America. (2017). Organicconsumers.org. Retrieved 1 August 2017, from https://www.organicconsumers.org/news/ucsf-presentation-reveals-glyphosate-contamination-people-across-america
Woodcock, B., Bullock, J., Shore, R., Heard, M., Pereira, M., & Redhead, J. et al. (2017). Country-specific effects of neonicotinoid pesticides on honey bees and wild bees. Science, 356(6345), 1393-1395. http://dx.doi.org/10.1126/science.aaa1190
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