Destroy Parasites with Natural Herbal Remedies

Human parasites are unwanted inhabitants of the gastrointestinal system that have the potential to cause serious damage to their host.  These pathogens consume key nutrients from the foods we eat and release waste products that harm the human body.  They also puncture holes in the intestinal membrane which leads to leaky gut syndrome and chronic inflammation.  Use natural herbal remedies to reduce inflammation and restore integrity to your digestive system (1)

Parasites can range from 10 foot long tapeworms to microscopic amoeba.  These organisms can drop their eggs into the gut lining where they can enter the circulation and travel to major organs such as the liver and cause serious harm.

The Power of Anti-Microbial Herbs

Various different forms of herbs have antimicrobial factors that reduce pathogenic bacteria, yeast and parasites.  These herbs can be used to reduce the microbial load and be an important part of reestablishing a healthy microbial balance.  Here are some unique ones that are clinically proven to be effective:

Sweet Wormwood

Also known as Artemisia annua, sweet wormwood is one of the bitterest herbs on the planet and this bitterness works to drive out worms and parasites.

This is also a potent anti-malarial agent and can kill the most deadly malarial parasite, Plasmodium falciparum (2).  It works to break down iron bridges in the pathogenic organism, causing massive oxidative stress and death of the parasite.

Pumpkin Seed

Pumpkin seed extract is a rich source of zinc and B vitamins and helps to reduce parasite formation.  The vermifugal properties have been demonstrated in studies to be extremely effective at reducing gastrointestinal nematode (roundworm) levels (3).

Grapefruit Seed Extract  

Grapefruit Seed Extract (GSE) has very high amounts of disease-fighting, free-radical eliminating antioxidants and phytonutrients called bioflavonoids. One of these powerful bioflavonoids (plant antioxidants) include the chemical component hesperidin, a well-known natural immune system stimulator and booster.

A recent study from The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine found that grapefruit seed extract was effective in killing over “800 bacterial and viral strains, 100 strains of fungus, and a large number of single and multi-celled parasites.” (4) No other naturally occurring anti-microbial can come close to these results.

Wormseed

Wormseed, also called Chenopodium ambrosioides, are seeds that contain a compound called ascaridoles, which is highly toxic to fungus (5).  Wormseed has been shown to reduce skin infecting fungus and fungal spores on food (6, 7).  It has also been shown to be very effective against gastrointestinal worms (8).

Guarana

These seeds contain a strong antimicrobial and anti-oxidant effect against a wide variety of microorganisms (9).  These seeds have a similar nutritional makeup as cacao and are a natural source of caffeine so they are stimulating and speed up metabolism and fat burning properties.

They also contain cardiac stimulants such as theophylline and theobromine and polyphenol anti-oxidants catechin and epicatechin (ECGC also found in cacao and green tea).

Passion Flower  

This herb has been used for centuries to treat anxiety, hypertension, and insomnia.  It has mild sedative qualities that improve mood and relaxation.  This herb contains plant alkaloids, phenols, glycoside flavonoids, and cyanogenic compounds that have been shown to have profound antimicrobial effects against pathogenic microorganisms (10).

Lavender

This popular essential oil has great anti-microbial, anti-fungal, sedative, antidepressant, and carminative effects in the body (11). Research has shown it is effective against antibiotic-resistant staph infections (12).  Other research has shown that it is highly effective against yeast overgrowth (13).

For more information on testing and overcoming parasitic overgrowth see What Type of Parasites do You Have?

Recommended Reading:
Sources:
  1. History of Human Parasitology – American Society for Microbiology
  2. Artemisinins: their growing importance in medicine – PubMed.gov
  3. Anthelmintic efficacy of pumpkin seed (Cucurbita pepo Linnaeus, 1753) on ostrich gastrointestinal nematodes in a semiarid region of Paraíba State, Brazil. – PubMed.gov
  4. The effectiveness of processed grapefruit-seed extract as an antibacterial agent: II. Mechanism of action and in vitro toxicity. – PubMed.gov
  5. Composition and antifungal activity of the essential oil of the Brazilian Chenopodium ambrosioides L. – PubMed.gov
  6. Fungitoxicity of essential oils against dermatophytes. – PubMed.gov
  7. In vitro and in vivo antifungal activity of essential oils of Cymbopogon martini and Chenopodium ambrosioides and their synergism against dermatophytes. – PubMed.gov
  8. Effects of aqueous extracts of Mentha piperita L. and Chenopodium ambrosioides L. leaves in infective larvae cultures of gastrointestinal nematodes of goats. – PubMed.gov
  9. Antioxidant and antimicrobial activity of guarana seed extracts – Science Direct.com
  10. Antibacterial properties of Passiflora foetida L. – a
    common exotic medicinal plant. – Academic Journals.org
  11. Biological activities of lavender essential oil. – PubMed.gov
  12. The antimicrobial activity of high-necrodane and other lavender oils on methicillin-sensitive and -resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MSSA and MRSA). – PubMed.gov
  13. Antifungal activity of Lavandula angustifolia essential oil against Candida albicans yeast and mycelial form – PubMed.gov



The Dangers of Industrial Vegetable Oils

There are many fallacies that guide our beliefs in human nutrition today and often prevail until long-term studies indicate otherwise. Here are just a few:

  • If vegetables are healthy, anything that comes from a vegetable is nutritive.
  • Fats are linked to obesity and disease; therefore all fats are bad and should be avoided.
  • All calories are created equal.
  • Nutritional supplements are not necessary if an individual eats a healthy balanced diet.

About Vegetable Oils

Vegetable oil is a product consumed worldwide. Production skyrocketed with advances made in agricultural farming from the industrial revolution. Soybeans, palm plant, and corn are just a few crops that have since been mass produced.

Vegetable oils are popular in modern cuisine because they can be used in different techniques in restaurants and home cooking. Oils are utilized based on smell, color, taste, and the potential stability at high cooking temperatures. Vegetable oils dominate an overwhelming amount of processed foods found in dressings, marinades, spreadable cheeses, packaged baked goods, and the list continues.

Statista collects information from over 18,000 studies worldwide. Data collected reveals that there has been a steady increase in the consumption of vegetable oils from 2005 to 2015. Currently, people are consuming 172.99 million metric tons of vegetable oil a year. Most popular in demand is palm oil followed by soybean, canola, a generalized “other” category and lastly sunflower oil. (1)

Heart Healthy Myths

Food manufacturers deserve most of the blame for such faulty thinking. Health-conscious consumers are targeted by the vegetable oil industry. For example, canola oil is advertised as a good source of heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids and a nutritive food source for frying or other cooking purposes. Health-conscious consumers are targeted in this marketing approach because omega-3 fatty acids are typically deficient in the average American diet.

Nutritionists and dieticians recommend the consumption of plant sterols (cholesterol-like structure) daily to help regulate cholesterol levels. When healthy plant sterols are provided in vegetables and nuts, the body’s cholesterol has to compete for recognition that ultimately leads to a reduction in harmful low-density lipoprotein cholesterol. Hopping on the pro-plant sterol bandwagon too quickly, food manufacturers created a new booming product in the form of margarine. (20)

False Marketing

False marketing stimulated a lure from individuals trying to eat nutritiously. “I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter” products were advertised as free of cholesterol. According to the product’s label, ingredients contained liquid and partially hydrogenated soybean oil amongst several other ingredients known to raise human health concerns.

“I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter” products have been redesigned and relabeled today to no longer include partially hydrogenated oils and trans fats. Unfortunately, the product is still produced from health hazardous vegetable oils such as canola and palm (21).

Learning the Fat Terminology

The term “fat” has received a blemished reputation across most cultures in the world. Rising obesity and heart disease rates provoked the assumption that fats consumed equals pounds added. This belief is indeed misunderstood. Without a solid understanding of nutrition, consumers remain susceptible to manipulative food industry claims. It is as if the blind is leading the blind.

Fat is essential for brain function and overall health and well-being. Generally speaking, fats are categorized based on their chemical structure and their physical appearance at room temperature.

Saturated Fats: Naturally found in meat, dairy and coconut products. Solid at room temperature. Looks like a straight chain linked fence. Contains as many hydrogen bonds as it could possibly hold.

Monounsaturated Fats: Examples are olive oil, lard, and canola. Typically liquid at room temperature but possibly solidifies when cooled. Looks like your bicycle chain when it has a kink in one link that causes the chain to bend. Has just a slightly bit fewer hydrogen bonds structurally attached.

Polyunsaturated Fats: Found in several plant-based oils including flaxseed oil and also found in fatty fish such as salmon. Remains liquid at cold temperatures. Looks like your bent gold chain with multiple kinks after you untangled it from the jewelry box. Has the least percentage of hydrogen bonds attached to the chain compared to saturated or monounsaturated fats. (4, 20)

Vegetable Oils Are a Source of Trans Fats

As a result of their structures, straight chain linked saturated fats are readily available to link up with other biological compounds. Increased saturated fat consumption promotes a greater concentration of fat storing triglycerides harmful to the body. So what does the structure of the fat have to do with trans fats?

Trans fatty acids are artificially created when the saturated fat structure is altered to resemble the chemical composition of unsaturated fat. Even though a few hydrogen bonds are removed from the chain, hence the name “partially hydrogenated”, the problem remains because the chain remains straight. As a result, only 20% of trans fats in an individual’s diet is sourced from nature whereas 80% originates from these man designed and technology produced partially hydrogenated vegetable oils (4).

A lax standard from food regulating agencies, especially in the United States, allows food manufacturers too much wiggle room for vegetable oil use. Despite having been entirely banned in other countries, foods loaded with trans fats flood the American food supply. The Federal Drug Administration (FDA) did, however, pass a regulation in 2003 requiring food labels to disclose trans fats as an ingredient that has been in effect since 2006. (4, 5)

What Are Hydrogenated Oils?

Partially hydrogenated oils (trans fats) are a cheap and effective tool to increase shelf life and melting temperatures of food products (20). As exemplified over and over again, food companies are intelligent, manipulative and always a step ahead of you to bulk up their wallets.

Margarine and vegetable shortening are engineered foods that have increased melting points. Remember what types of fats remain solid at room temperature because of straight linked chains? Genetically modified and mass produced soybean or safflower oil are chemically made into these solid fats and have been marketed since the 1930s (4).

The FDA considered the product Generally Recognized As Safe (GRAS) in 1977 due to the lack of scientific evidence correlating trans fats to human health problems (4). Isn’t it interesting how the lack of information could be used to justify rationale?

Trans Fats Found in Tissue Samples

Costa Rican studies have since shown insight on the relationship between vegetable oil consumption and trans fat accumulation in the body. Costa Rica serves as an ideal location for nutrition based experimentation because of low dairy and meat consumption which may influence saturated fat levels.

Trans fats were calculated from tissue samples taken from the Costa Rican population. Researchers concluded that the primary sources of trans fat was soybean oil. Popular in cuisine to prepare beans, rice, eggs and fried foods, soybean oil accounted for 30% of sourced trans fats followed by margarine and baked goods. (4,17)

If enough supporting evidence did not exist in the 1930s when the product was introduced or in 1977 when the FDA ruled that trans fats were safe for human consumption, there is clearly enough evidence today for the FDA to readdress the safety of vegetable oils in food.

Avoiding Vegetable Oils

In 2014, The Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) recognized that artificial trans fat in food has declined by approximately 75% since 2005. A few popular examples of products that remain on the market and contain trans fats are:

  • Turkey Hill Party Cake ice cream
  • Sara Lee Classic New York Cheesecake
  • Pop-Secret Kettle Corn
  • Betty Crocker Pie Crust Mix
  • Popeye’s breakfast hash browns (5)

Despite this seemingly optimistic statistic, the United States, Australia, Canada and Japan are consuming more canola oil than they have in previous decades (12). For a culture with everything but time, the dinner table has become a staple for prepackaged, processed foods fortified with vegetable oils.

Dietary Omega-3 Fatty Acids and Omega-6 Fatty Acids

Dietary recommendations promote consuming a greater intake of omega-3 fatty acids found in marine life, eggs, plants as well as vegetable oils. One might assume that the benefits from the omega-3 content alone make vegetable oil worth consuming. However, the idea that vegetable oils contain healthy omega-3s is also misunderstood.

Beneficial omega-3 fatty acids contain alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) and have heart protective properties (6). The problem with getting the recommended requirements of omega-3 fats from vegetable oils is that there is an even higher concentration of omega-6 fats available. Although omega-6 fats are an essential dietary need, the balance between the two types of fatty acids is delicate.

Problems With Omega-6 Diets

Omega-6 fats contain linolenic acid (LA). Scientific evidence reveals that the two fatty acid types biologically compete for metabolism. With the average human’s diet now deficient in omega-3s and overloaded with omega-6 fatty acid sources, the healthy ALA simply cannot compete with our rich LA diets. Resulting health consequences are glycemic problems in individuals with diabetes, cholesterol issues, inflammation and cardiovascular related degeneration and disease. (6, 11)

The average American diet now has a ratio of 10 omega-6 fatty acids for every one omega-3 fatty acid consumed and vegetables oils are certainly a major culprit (6). A better source to get ALA for health benefits is from salmon, flaxseed, chia seeds, or whole English walnuts.

Refinement Is Not Always a Good Thing

The question then remains, where did all of the heart healthy promoting factors go? Refining vegetable oil is required to remove compounds not safe for human consumption. A series of high temperatures and chemicals are used to extract, bleach, and deodorize vegetable oil. Avocados are a great source of healthy fat, and we don’t have to bathe them before consumption. (20)

The entire refinement process is responsible for destroying and depleting the oil of its beneficial omega-3 content and antioxidants. The result is a legally marketed biological poison with concentrated amounts of trans fats and an unbalanced omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acid ratio.

Environmental friendly researchers don’t even suggest the use of these same vegetable oils in engineering. Due to the same reasons that contribute to inadequate chemical stability when influenced by raising temperatures, biolubricants such as vegetable oil increase corrosion and acidity when used in engine oils (15). If it isn’t recommended for engine use, how can it be recommended for human use?

Vegetable Oil: A Toxic Source of Chemicals and Pesticides

The danger of pesticides and other chemical food contaminants is becoming increasingly unavoidable and does not exclude vegetable oil. Cold-pressed is considered the “healthier” form of refined vegetable oil. With no added heat, liquid is isolated and the chemical properties of oil are not structurally altered. (14)

In 2012, researchers in Poland published their findings of known human carcinogens and common pesticides in refined and cold-pressed vegetable oils (14). Levels of the following synthetic compounds were discovered.

Polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs): Associated with hormonal defects and disease. Researchers identified 18 types.

Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons (PAHs): Known to cause skin, lung and stomach cancer. Researchers identified 15 types.

Polybrominated Diphenyl Ethers (BPDEs): Flame retardant chemicals known to cause birth defects, cancer and neurobehavioral changes. Researchers identified 14 types (16).

As if these chemicals listed are not harmful enough, 74 classifications of pesticides were also measured. The Stockholm Convention sets guidelines for the allowance of persistent organic pollutants in food. The chemical levels measured exceeded the maximum permitted concentration under the guidelines of the Stockholm Convention. (14)

If fallacy originates from the concept that anything comes from a vegetable is nutritive, whatever happened to if you cannot pronounce what is in your food, don’t eat it?

Freshness Counts

The development of hypertension is linked to the oxidative (chemical altering) process of heating vegetable oils. Fast food chains most especially are known for their use of reheating vegetable oils simply because it is a cost effective approach in food production. With repetitive heating, the chemical structure of the oil ages and eventually depletes the antioxidants available such as vitamin E. As a consequence, free radicals increase in concentration, the toxicity of the oil increases and any possible health benefits are destroyed. (13)

Compared to fresh vegetable oil, heated vegetable oils have been indicated to raise blood pressure and promote various factors which increase the risk of hypertension. Researchers believe that part of the problem is because the networks for blood travel are altered.

Changes have been observed in the concentration of biological compounds that affect these pathways. Free radicals produced from heated vegetable oils not only causes disturbances in blood regulation but this oxidation process contributes to pathogenesis, or the development of disease. (13, 20)

Vegetable Oil Increases Risk of Coronary Heart Disease

Changes in the biological concentration of lipids, nitric oxide, nitrite and acetylcholine from vegetable oil consumption require long term human testing. The following factors contribute to an increase risk of coronary heart disease (11,18).

Cholesterol: In a Nurses’ Health Study, researchers concluded that trans fatty acids increase the ratio of harmful low density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-c) and decrease beneficial high density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-c) concentrations (9). The study analyzed results collected from over 85,000 women. Women whom consumed margarine and other food sources containing trans fats had a significantly higher risk of coronary heart disease.

Blood Pressure: A study released in 2011 brought further attention to risks for cardiovascular related illnesses. Experimental rodents that consumed heated vegetable oils exhibited a significant increase in blood pressure. After only 24 weeks of consumption, blood pressure increased by over 25%. (13)

Nitric Oxide: Nitric oxide helps blood flow by expanding blood vessels. This mechanism is especially important during exercise when the brain and heart require an increased oxygen supply. The same experimental rodents had less nitric oxide available. Instead, an altered form of nitric oxide increased by up to 23.1% (13). Nitrite poses a health hazard; it is usually found in deli meats and bacon.

Acetylcholine: Acetylcholine is a neurotransmitter involved in biological functions such as stimulating nervous system activity involving arousal and learning. The reduction of acetylcholine levels were measured and correlated to the increase in heated vegetable oil consumption (13).

Vegetable Oil Elevates Risk of Cancer & Other Illnesses

In 2004, another Nurses’ Health Study performed an experiment analyzing the intake of trans fatty acids in a group of 823 women (7). A linear association was found between increased trans fatty acid intake and higher risk of coronary artery disease and diabetes.

Higher than normal biological compounds correlated to increased cancer risks, heart failure mortality, insulin resistance, lipid abnormalities, increased inflammation and immune infection.

Gut Changes Promote Inflammation

Researchers analyzed the effects of oil on metabolism in a study released in 2011 (11). They observed an altered gut environment with increased intestinal permeability as well as high concentrations of proinflammatory cytokines associated with cancer. The study concluded that vegetable oils have varying degrees of inflammatory properties on the body.

One inflammatory response includes an increase in endotoxin metabolism (11). Endotoxins are known to cause botulism. Until more human intervention studies are performed, it is too risky to assume that vegetable oils are safe for consumption because of the lack of supporting data accepted by the United States FDA.

Vegetable Oil Increases Women’s Risk for Infertility

The Department of Nutrition, Brigham Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School in Boston, MA underwent a study that assessed the relationship between ovulatory infertility and risks factors such as fat, cholesterol, and fatty acid intake. A high BMI is often associated with infertility issues in women. Researchers in this study concluded that most fatty acid types are actually not related to ovulatory infertility but rather a significant correlation exist with trans unsaturated fats. A 73% greater risk of ovulatory infertility was recorded for every 2% increase in trans unsaturated fats compared to other fat sources. (8)

Researchers dating back to 1999 understood the risk associated with vegetable oil and disease. An article published in Plant Foods for Human Nutrition warned of dangers linked to vegetable oil, specifically palm oil. Associated risks included toxicity in the kidneys, lungs, liver, heart, and even disorders such as Tay-Sachs and Gaucher’s disease (2, 3). The FDA no longer permits the use of vegetable oil in infant formula because it has been linked to inhibiting growth and vitamin E deficiency amongst other health risks (20).

Revoke Authority from the Food Industry

Dr. Michael Jacobson, Executive Director at CSPI, petitioned the United States FDA in 2004 to revoke any authority given to the food industry to use partially hydrogenated vegetable oils. In the request, CSPI urged the FDA to encourage the use of the healthiest ingredients possible in replacement of partially hydrogenated oils from food manufacturers and restaurants. Cited research includes studies from health councils in other countries and research on the correlation of heart disease from the Institute of Medicine. An overwhelming amount of evidence from the most recent studies was also provided refuting the FDA’s previous comments from 1976 that:

“There is no evidence in the available information on hydrogenated soybean oil that demonstrates, or suggests reasonable grounds to suspect, a hazard to the public when it is used as a direct or indirect food ingredient at levels that are now current or that might reasonably be expected in the future.”(4)

Now, in a full reversal, the FDA has finally announced new regulations to prohibit trans-fats in processed foods beginning in 2016.

Recommendations & Alternatives to Vegetable Oils

By removing sources of vegetable oil in food, human health and wellbeing will improve. The following is a summary of foods containing vegetable oils that should be avoided:

  1. Cooking foods with vegetable oils like canola, palm, peanut, sesame, canola or shortening.
  2. Processed goods such as coffee creamers, canned frosting, pastries and frozen meals.
  3. Fast food chains like McDonald’s, Dunkin’ Donuts and Burger King.
  4. Alternative fat sources such as margarine.
  5. All products containing trans fats or partially hydrogenated oils.

If vegetable oil cannot be entirely avoided, The Heart & Vascular Team with the Cleveland Clinic does not recommend deep frying for any oil including those with a high smoke point (19). It is also best to purchase organic oils whenever possible and reduce the intake of GMOs and chemical pollutants.

A more nutritious alternative to vegetable oils is organic coconut oil. Studies currently attribute several possible benefits to consuming coconut oil such as providing protection from Alzheimer’s disease and heart-related illness.

Recommended Reading:
Sources:
  1. That Statistics Portal Link Here
  2. Ebong PE, Owu DU, Isong EU. Influcence of palm oil (Elaesis guineensis) on health. Plant Foods for Human Nutrition. 1999 Jan;53(3):209-22. PMID: 10517280
  3. Edem DO. Palm oil: biochemical, physiological, nutritional, hematological, and toxicological aspects: a review. Plant Foods for Human Nutrition. 2002 Sep;57(3-4):319-41. PMID: 12602939
  4. Petition for Rulemaking to Revoke the Authority for Industry to Use Partially Hydrogenated Vegetable Oils in Foods Link Here
  5. Center for Science in the Public Interest Link Here
  6. Penny M, et al. Fish Consumption, Fish Oil, Omega-3 Fatty Acids, and Cardiovascular Disease. Circulation Journal of the American Heart Association. 2002 Jan;106:2747-57. DOI: 10.1161/01.CIR.0000038493.65177.94
  7. Mozaffarian D, Pischon T, et al. Dietary intake of trans fatty acids and systemic inflammation in women. Am J Clin Nutr. 2004 Apr;79(4):606-612. PMID: 15051604
  8. Chavarro JE, Rich-Edwards JW, et al. Dietary fatty acid intakes and the risk of ovulatory infertility. Am J Clin Nutr. 2007 Jan;85(1):231-7. PMID: 17209201
  9. Willett WC, Stampfer MJ, et al. Intake of trans fatty acids and risk of coronary heart disease among women. Lancet. 1993 Mar;341(8845):581-5. PMID: 8094827
  10. Laugerette F, et al. Oil composition of high-fat diet affects metabolic inflammation differently in connection with endotoxin receptors in mice. Am J Physiol Endocrinol Metab. 2011 Nov;302:374-386. DOI: 10.1152/ajpendo.00314.2011
  11. Ghosh S, Novak EN, and Innis SM. Cardiac proinflammatory pathways are altered with different dietary n-6 linoleic to n-3 α-linolenic acid ratios in normal, fat-fed pigs. American Journal of Physiology – Heart and Circulatory Physiology. 2007 Nov;293(5):2919-2927. DOI: 10.1152/ajpheart.00324.2007
  12. Ratnayake S, and Lewandowski P. Rapid bioassay-guided screening of toxic substances in vegetable oils that shorten the life of SHRSP rats. Lipids Health Dis. 2010 Feb;9:13. DOI: 10.1186/1476-511X-9-13
  13. Jaarin, K, et al. The effects of heated vegetable oils on blood pressure in rats. Clinics. 2011 Dec; 66(12), 2125–2132. PMCID: 3226610
  14. Roszko, M, et al. PAHs, PCBs, PBDEs and Pesticides in Cold-Pressed Vegetable Oils. Journal of the American Oil Chemists’ Society. 2012 Mar;89(3), 389–400. DOI: 10.1007/s11746-011-1926-5
  15. Salimon J,et al.Synthesis, reactivity and application studies for different biolubricants. Chemistry Central Journal. 2014 Mar;8: 16. PMCID: 3995787
  16. Shao J, et al. The Role of Mitochondrial and Oxidative Injury in BDE 47 Toxicity to Human Fetal Liver Hematoietic Stem Cells. Toxicological Sciences. 2007 Oct;101(1):81-90. DOI: 10.1093/toxsci/kfm256
  17. Baylin A, et al. Adipose tissue biomarkers of fatty acid intake. Am J Clinc Nutr. 2002 Oct; 76(4):750-7. PMID: 12324287
  18. Kabagambe EK, et al. The Type of Oil Used for Cooking Is Associated with the Risk of Nonfatal Acute Myocardial Infarction in Costa Rica. J Nutr. 2005 Nov;135(11):2674-2679. PMID: 16251629
  19. Cleveland Clinic Heart-Healthy cooking: Oils 101 Link Here
  20. The Weston A. Price Foundation: The Great Con-ola Link Here
  21. I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter” Ingredients Link Here
Additional Sources Include:

Healthiest Cooking Oil Chart with Smoke Points – Baseline of Health Foundation

New Alzheimer’s Drugs Continue to Fail Where Coconut Oil Shines – Health Impact News




The Unique Mushroom that Balances Hormones

Nature provides an amazing array of resources to improve our health and boost our immunity.  Mushrooms are a type of fungus that are enjoyed by people all over the world and renowned for their nutritional benefits.  In recent years, scientists have studied the medicinal benefits of the cordyceps sinensis mushroom.

Mushrooms have been used as food, medicine, poison, and in spiritual mushroom practices in religious rituals across the world since at least 5000 BC.  They have been used in tonics, soups, teas, prepared foods and herbal formulas to promote health and longevity.  The mushroom fungus, Penicillium, was the raw material used to create the antibiotic penicillin, which transformed the medical world.

What is Cordyceps?

This oddly shaped mushroom grows native to China and grows around the Tibetan area.  For years, it was thought to be a living worm rather than a mushroom and was nicknamed the caterpillar fungus as it is seen growing on the sides of trees.  Cordyceps is actually a fungal spore that kills insects such as caterpillars and moths and feeds off their tissues.

The Cordyceps mushroom has been described in old Chinese medical books from ancient times and is also found in Tibetan medicine. Traditional Tibetan healers have recommended Cordyceps as a tonic for all illnesses.  This is because they continually witness how it improves people’s energy, sleep habits, digestion, stamina, libido, and endurance.

Cordyceps first became popular in the western world when the coach of the record breaking Chinese female runners credited it with the team’s extraordinary success.  Today, many researchers believe Cordyceps to be one of the most powerful performance and longevity promoting herbs (1).

Cordyceps Improves Adrenal and Hormonal Health

The adrenal glands are critical for maintaining healthy energy levels, physical and mental performance, and good sleeping patterns.  Adrenal fatigue is a state where the adrenal glands are overworked and unable to perform their functions effectively.  Individuals with adrenal fatigue suffer from low energy, poor hormonal function, and chronic inflammation.

Adaptogenic substance is a term originally defined by Russian scientist Dr Nikolai Lazarev in the late 1940’s following research done on the eleuthero root.  Israel Brekham, PhD and Dr. I.V. Dardymov formally defined adaptogens with three major characteristics:

  1. Adaptogens are non-toxic – this means they don’t have harmful effects on the body and are safe to be taken for long periods of time.
  2. They produce a non-specific biological response that improves the body’s ability to resist physical, chemical, emotional, and other biological stressors.
  3. They have a strong influence on the body towards homeostatic balance. This means that they move the body in the direction of a normal homeostatic set point.  If stress hormones are too high, they lower and stabilize them, and if stress hormones are too low, they raise and stabilize them.

Cordyceps Improves Performance

Cordyceps is shown to help the body produce and balance cortisol and other stress hormones (2).  The adaptogenic qualities allow them to influence the body towards homeostatic balance.  This means that they move the body in the direction of a normal homeostatic set point.  If stress hormones are too high, they lower and stabilize them and if stress hormones are too low, they raise and stabilize them (3).

In a 2003 study, Cordyceps extract was shown to improve a group of rat’s physical performance in an endurance swim by over 16% .  The rats also showed signs of reduced stress during the swim compared to the placebo group (4).

A 2014 study showed that Cordyceps markedly reduced exercise induced oxidative stress in a group of rats.  The study showed that the rats using Cordyceps has significantly increased production of intracellular anti-oxidants superoxide dismutase, glutathione and catalase in their serum, liver, and muscle.  They had considerably lower oxidative stress markers in their serum, liver, and muscle (5).

For more indepth information on Cordyceps, including  the best forms to take it in and the best teas, raw products, and supplements to get online, see my complete article here:

Sources:
  1. Traditional uses and medicinal potential of Cordyceps sinensis of Sikkim – National Institute of Health
  2. The in vivo effect of Cordyceps sinensis mycelium on plasma corticosterone level in male mouse – National Instite of Health
  3. Pharmacological actions of Cordyceps, a prized folk medicine. – National Institute of Health 
  4. Antifatigue and antistress effect of the hot-water fraction from mycelia of Cordyceps sinensis – National Institute of Health
  5. Polysaccharides from Cordyceps sinensis mycelium ameliorate exhaustive swimming exercise-induced oxidative stress – National Institute of Health



How To Cook Using Coconut Flour

Coconut has been traditionally cultivated for its raw coconut meat, oil, milk, water, and most recently for its flour. The Philippines is now the largest coconut producing country and was first to produce flour as a byproduct from its production of coconut milk (1, 2). The growing demand for the use of natural, non-toxic plants as medicinal aids to prevent and treat illness has highlighted the various health benefits of consuming coconut products.

Many researchers now recommend the addition of coconut flour to supplement any healthy diet because of its many benefits including antibacterial and antifungal properties. Whether you are on a strict paleo diet, seeking an allergy free flour source, or you simply desire to stimulate your digestive and immune system, coconut flour is an excellent addition to your meals and a pantry staple.

What is Coconut Flour?

Producers of coconut flour originally sold the nutritious coconut milk byproduct to farmers in the form of coconut meal. Farmers understood that coconut meal was an excellent source of organic fertilizer and animal feed supplement. In the past few decades, as more research emerged supporting the numerous health benefits of coconut flour, human consumption of the valuable superfood also increased. (3)

Coconut flour is derived from grating the meat of fresh coconuts. The meat is then dehydrated and defatted which means the oil is extracted. The result is a fine powder that looks and feels similar to wheat or grain flours. The most pure and organic form may even fool a seasoned foodie because of its lack of coconut flavor. (3, 4)

Coconut Flour is Gluten-Free

Coconut flour has different health benefits than those of other coconut products such as the oil for instance and it offers a great alternative to conventional flour. Considered a functional food, coconut flour exhibits properties that significantly benefit health and is a valuable source of nutrition (1). This functional food is a great source of dietary fiber, is high in protein, does not contain gluten and has a low glycemic index (GI) (5).

Coconut flour is especially recommended for those with inflammatory issues that result when wheat or gluten is consumed. Coconut flour is safe for consumption in individuals with celiac disease or gluten sensitivity, leaky gut syndrome, as well as those with diabetes.

Advice on How to Use Coconut Flour

Despite the fact that coconut flour may look, feel, and perhaps even smell like conventional refined flours, coconut flour can be frustrating and costly to cook with without some guidance. Don’t forget Dr. Fife’s description that coconut flour is like a sponge and cooking with such an absorbent food provides its own challenges to be overcome.

A few tips follow on how to achieve success in substituting 100% coconut flour in recipes for wheat flour:

1)  Use as a Thickening Agent:  Due to the high absorbency, coconut flour is an excellent thickening agent for soups, stews, and even smoothies. For this reason, it is also recommended to store coconut flour in an airtight container in the fridge or freezer to avoid moisture clumps.

2)  Experiment to Find What You Want:  In general, for every one cup of traditional flour you only need approximately 1/4 cup to 1/3 cup of coconut flour.  You may like it with a little more or less flour so try experimenting to see what gives you the desired texture you love.

3)  Binding Ingredients:  Recipes commonly include an additional protein source such as extra eggs or hemp powder to make up for the binding properties that gluten normally would provide. Flax seed is also an excellent binder and contributes it own health benefits to your coconut flour recipe.

Great Coconut Flour Recipes

Do you enjoy, cookies, pizza, bread, blueberry muffins, and donuts?  Try making them with coconut flour next time.  Some of my favorite coconut flour recipes include the following:

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Apple Cider Vinegar: The Weight Loss Tonic

Historical evidence credits ancient Babylonians (5,000 B.C.) for creating vinegar or “sour wine” stemming from the French origin “vin airgre.” The benefits were not overlooked by the Father of Medicine, Hippocrates, who historically used apple cider vinegar (ACV), or cider vinegar, to treat wounds as well as to prescribe it as a tonic solution for a persistent cough.  Studies have shown that apple cider vinegar has a profound ability to improve blood sugar regulation and speed up weight loss.

The fermentation process is required in two series to produce cider vinegar. First, bacteria and yeast break down the sugars into alcohol. Secondly, over a slow and lengthy process, acetobacterium cause the oxidation of alcohol into acetic acid.

Acetic Acid and Blood Sugar Control

Acetic acid distinguishes ACV by giving it a pungent, sour taste and may leave a cloudy, substance, called the mother, in the bottom of the glass (1).  The mother is the fermenting portion of the apple and it is rich in enzymes.  It is best to buy raw, unpasteurized ACV with the mother intact.

A common way of fulfilling a dietary dose of cider vinegar is to utilize it in salad dressing or take a small shot glass of the tonic before a high caloric meal, especially before consuming protein such as beef that requires a longer period for digestion.

ACV Impact Better Than Metformin

Researchers believe that cider vinegar has antiglycemic properties and plays a pivotal role in regulating sugar levels in type 2 diabetics. Specifically, it is possible that a key component of the vinegar acts as an antiglycemic agent by mocking the chemical pathway of the drug, metformin, used by diabetic patients.

Side effects of metformin use include drowsiness, nausea, and diarrhea among other problems (2). Metformin use is also linked to liver disease and heart failure. (3, 4)

The Research on ACV and Glycemic Control

A Japanese study in 2003 found that the glycemic index (GI) was reduced by over 30% when the simple swap of a pickled cucumber was made for a fresh cucumber (1).  Post prandial glycemia is a spike in an individual’s blood glucose levels following meals.

The simple introduction of vinegar consumption with a meal improved blood glucose sensitivity in several studies. The Diabetes Journal published a study in 2007 assessing the effects of vinegar on waking hyperglycemia in type 2 diabetic individuals, a condition known as “dawn phenomenon” (5).

Noted was a 4-6% reduction in fasting glucose levels when individuals received only 2 tablespoons of apple cider prior to a meal, in comparison to a lower 3-6% fasting glucose reduction when the same individuals received pharmaceutical treatment. Another study showed that women had a 55% reduction in the blood glucose response following a morning meal containing vinegar (6).

ACV Can Aid in Weight Loss

There are various factors promoting weight loss in individuals consuming a daily intake of cider vinegar (approximately one or two tablespoons). The antiglycemic effect may be attributed to the suppression of carbohydrate synthesis by inhibiting enzymes that stimulate the rate and timeframe of blood glucose concentration and consequently regulating satiety and/or appetite (4).

Acetic acid protects the liver by increasing tolerance of lipogenesis and fatty acid synthesis responsible for improving cholesterol levels. The synergistic nature of increased blood flow and insulin activity relays into increased energy.

Weight loss effects from ACV are evident in a group of 155 obese Japanese individuals (7). Data collected signified a decrease in visceral fat, BMI and serum triglyceride levels among other health benefits. With many factors promoting the detoxification and overall health of the liver, weight loss may also be caused from the stimulation of fecal bile acid excretion when consuming cider vinegar (8).

Best Strategies for Using ACV

1)  Have 1 tbsp in 4oz of water before each meal.  This will help stabilize post-meal blood sugar levels and reduce inflammatory agents.

2)  Add ACV to your salads and meats, the acetic acid and enzymes in the ACV will help to premetabolize the meal and make the nutrients more bioavailable for your digestive system.

For more information on the tremendous health benefits of ACV and how to use it in a wide variety of ways, check out my authoritative article here.

Further Reading:
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Gluten & Neurological Disorders – Understanding the Connection

Gluten is the common protein molecule found in wheat, barley, rye, kamut, and spelt. Gluten is a sticky, storage protein that binds to the small intestinal wall where it often causes digestive and immune system disorders. The most common condition associated with a gluten sensitivity is celiac disease where the small intestinal villi are flattened. However, the immune reaction that takes place with gluten sensitivity can affect many different tissues, and when it does, it is termed non-celiac, gluten sensitivity (NCGS).

NCGS is an epidemic that is a major factor in inflammatory disorders of the brain and nervous system.  Studies have found associations between gluten sensitivity and disorders in every part of the neurological system including the brain, spinal cord, and peripheral nerves. 1

Gluten and Major Neuropathic Disorders

Gluten is a significant trigger in psychiatric disorders, movement disorders, sensory ganglionapathy, ataxia, neuromyelitis, multiple sclerosis, cerebellar disease, cognitive impairment, dementia, restless leg syndrome, migraines, apraxia, neuropathy, myoclonus, hearing loss, and virtually every other neurological disorder. 2,3,4,5,6

For many individuals, their immune system gets so overworked from gluten sensitivity and other environmental challenges such as toxins, parasites, vitamin D3 deficiencies, and trauma they can have severe immune reactions that last months after one provoked exposure. This means that consuming gluten on one day can cause an inflammatory assault that could last for 2-3 months. 5 This is why it is so critical to be as strict as possible when avoiding gluten and other inflammatory irritants.

The Complexity of Gluten Sensitivity

Gluten is made up of a sticky portion called glutenin and a protein portion called gliadin. Gliadin can be broken down into alpha, omega, and gamma gliadins. Most lab tests only look at alpha gliadin antibodies but this is only a very small component of the total molecule. Often times this lab comes back negative, but the individual is reacting to some of the other components of the gluten molecule.

Glutenin gives wheat dough strength and elasticity and is very commonly used in the baking process due to these desirable characteristics. Many people have severe reactions to this molecule, but it never shows up on the basic gliadin antibody testing.6

The food processing industry very often deamidates the gladin molecule to make it water soluble. Deamidated gliadin has been shown to trigger severe immune responses in many individuals. This never tests out for gliadin antibodies.7

Gluten Based Opioids

When the body metabolizes gluten, it creates opoids in the form of gluteomorphin. One can have a blood test to see if the body produces antibodies to gluteomorphin and the building block prodynorphin.8

When someone has an opioid sensitivity, going gluten free can cause severe withdrawal symptoms that are similar to coming off of opioid drugs such as heroin. These symptoms include depression, crazy mood swings, nausea, and vomiting, as well as abnormal bowel activity. This can last anywhere from several days to weeks.

Cross-Reactivity Immunology & Nervous System Dysfunction

Immune cross-reactivity happens when the immune system mistakes one protein for another. The gluten protein is similar to protein structures in the nervous system and the thyroid tissue. When the body creates antibodies for gluten, it may also produce antibodies to the body’s own nervous tissue or thyroid.9 This cross-reactive effect leads to damage to the brain, thyroid, and other neurological tissue when the individual consumes anything with even the slightest bit of gluten.

The most common area of cross-reactivity is through a family of proteins located on neurons called synapsin. These proteins help to regulate neurotransmitter release. This is most common in the cerebellum, which can cause problems with vertigo, motor control, balance, and anxiety.10

Further Reading:

Sources:
  1. Functional and metabolic disorders in celiac disease: new implications for nutritional treatment. – Pub Med
  2. Gluten sensitivity presenting as a neuropsychiatric disorder. – Pub Med
  3. Non-Celiac Gluten sensitivity: the new frontier of gluten related disorders. – Pub Med
  4. Gluten-related neurologic dysfunction. – Pub Med
  5. [Gluten-related disorders and demyelinating diseases]. – Pub Med
  6. [Neurological disorders associated with gluten sensitivity]. – Pub Med
  7. Dispersion in the presence of acetic acid or ammonia confers gliadin-like characteristics to the glutenin in wheat gluten. – Pub Med
  8. Non-celiac gluten sensitivity: literature review. – Pub Med
  9. Salivary antigliadin and antiendomysium antibodies in coeliac disease. – Pub Med
  10. Sporadic cerebellar ataxia associated with gluten sensitivity. – Pub Med



Unique Soil Based Organisms Improve Your Health

For most of the history of mankind, we lived in close contact with the Earth. The majority of our diet consisted of foods and water that had soil clinging to it.  This soil was not an inert substance; it was a dynamic mineral rich, probiotic infused source of electrochemical energy.  The unique, soil-based probiotic, bacillus subtilis, was one of the key components that gave the soil its powerful nutritional benefits.

Humans are the only species on the planet that does not intentionally consume soil.  Our ancestors always had soil in their diet through picking produce out of the ground and drinking from lakes, rivers, and streams.  Many original doctors and medicine men used dirt in their various healing concoctions. Today, we intentionally attempt to sterilize our food and avoid the consumption of soil.

Bacillus Subtilis and Our Immune System

Bacillus subtilis is an ubiquitous bacterium that is commonly found in water, soil, air, and decomposing plant residue.  This bacterium is called a human soil organism (HSO) and has an extraordinary ability to survive harsh environments.  It produces an endospore that allows it to endure extreme conditions of heat, dryness, humidity, and acidity in the environment.

B subtilis is fully resistant to bile salts and can handle the harsh stomach acid environment, which allows it to get into the digestive system and colonize.  It has beneficial effects in the digestive system. 1,2,3  Research has revealed that supplemental B subtilis improves symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome. 4

B subtilis is able to suppress the growth of harmful pathogens, strengthen the mucosal biofilm, and enhance the growth of other good probiotic strains such as lactobacillus species in the gut microflora. 5,6

Soil Based Organisms and Our Innate Immunity

As our ancestors were exposed to trillions of organisms every day through their dirt consumption, they were strengthening their microbiome and their immune system.  They were exposed to many different pathogenic organisms to which their immune system learned how to adapt and destroy.

If the pathogenic load was too strong, the individual would get sick and sometimes they would die.  This was obviously tragic and was a leading cause of death.  However, those who didn’t die often had robust immune systems that were well-adapted to the harsh pathogens around them.

Modern Technology and Improving Immunity

With modern technology, we are not exposed to these natural microbes.  The use of our technology can reduce the pathogenic load we are exposed to in order to prevent sickness and infectious fatalities, meanwhile, providing the proper stimulation to our immune system.

One such way to gain these benefits is the inclusion of human soil organisms in our natural diet.  This would include growing much of our own food in gardens and consuming it right out of the ground with little cleaning.  We could also drink water from clean rivers, lakes, springs, and streams. (Editor’s note: If we could find clean sources. Most are contaminated with giardia and other parasites as well as pollutants.)

Finally, one can use naturally fermented foods and supplement with probiotics containing HSO’s such as bacillus subtilis.  Most probiotics on the market only contain the lactobacillus and bifido bacterium species.  These are fantastic for the health of the small and large intestine, but some individuals struggle with a sensitivity to these microorganisms.

It is wise to find a probiotic supplement with HSO’s such as bacillus subtilis, which is hyposensitive and easy for most individuals to tolerate.

Sources:
  1. Improved growth and viability of lactobacilli in the presence of Bacillus subtilis (natto), catalase, or subtilisin – Pub Med
  2. Improved growth and viability of lactobacilli in the presence of Bacillus subtilis (natto), catalase, or subtilisin – Pub Med
  3. Evaluation of Bacillus subtilis strains as probiotics and their potential as a food ingredient. – Pub Med
  4. Effect of Bacillus subtilis PB6, a natural probiotic on colon mucosal inflammation and plasma cytokines levels in inflammatory bowel disease. – Pub Med
  5. Sticking together: building a biofilm the Bacillus subtilis way – Pub Med
  6. Soil Organisms: Bacillus Subtilis – Organic Fitness