Nurses Against Circumcision

Childbirth is miraculous, beautiful, traumatic, and overwhelming, all at the same time, for both the baby and the mother. But for many children born today, squeezing through the birth canal is the easy part. Soon after birth, males born to North American women routinely face amputation of a fully functioning, healthy organ – the foreskin.

Circumcision is so commonplace in North America, it has long been considered the norm. The World Health Organization estimates the male circumcision rate in the U.S. to be 76% to 92%, while the rates in most of the Western European countries are less than 20%. Globally, more than 80% of the world’s men are left intact. An intact penis is not rare – an intact penis is the norm.

Medical professionals tell parents that circumcision is relatively painless, just a snip and it is over. Nothing could be further from the truth. Aside from the rare but possible complications, which include mutilation of the penis or death, the practice of circumcision is painful and traumatic.

The following nurses have come forward to share their knowledge and experience, to tell the truth about this practice.

Related: Circumcision Linked to Sudden Infant Death Syndrome

Nicole, A Former Nursing Student

A few years ago, I began an OB/GYN hospital clinical as a student nurse. One day, I was enlisted to attend a ‘routine circumcision.

… I did not anticipate the lurching sensation that gripped my heart as I looked upon that baby. He was laying strapped down to a table, so small and new – pure and innocent – trusting – all alone – no defenses.

I walked toward the baby and wanted to take him off the table and shelter him – to tell him that it would be okay, that nobody would hurt him on my watch.

Then in walked the doctor. Loud. Obnoxious. Joking with his assistant. As if he was about to perform a 10-minute oil change.

Not once did he talk to this little baby. I am not sure he even looked at him – really looked at him.

Rather, he reached for his cold metal instruments and then reached out for his object of mutilation: this sweet newborn’s perfect, unharmed, intact penis.

I recall this little baby boy’s screams of pain and terror – his small lungs barely able to keep up with his cries and gasps for breath.

I turned in horror as I saw the doctor forcefully rip and pull the baby’s foreskin up and around a metal object.

Then out came the knife. Cut. Cut. Cut. Screaming. Blood.

I stood next to the baby and said, “You’re almost done sweetie. Almost done. There, done.”

Then came the words from the doctor, as that son-of-a-b***h dangled this little baby’s foreskin in midair and playfully asked, “Anybody care to go fishing?”

My tongue lodged in my throat.

I felt like I was about to vomit.

I restrained myself. It was now my duty to take the infant back to the nursery for “observation.”

… Back in the newborn nursery, rather than observing, I cradled the infant. I held him and whispered comforting words as if he were my own. I’ll never forget those new little eyes watch me amid his haze. He knew I cared about him. He knew he was safe in my arms. He knew that I was going to take him to his mommy. But, deep in his little heart, at some level, I know he wondered where his mommy was. While he lay there mutilated in a level of agony that we cannot imagine, in what was supposed to be a safe and welcoming environment after his birth, where was his mommy?

Related: Religious Reasons Not To Circumcise

Betty, RN

We are saying what is happening, because the male myth is, “Well, I was circumcised and I am fine, and my son was circumcised and he’s fine.”

But we’re saying, “Maybe you were circumcised, but it wasn’t fine, because we were there, and we saw what happened. It’s the same thing with your baby. We were there, and we saw it. It was not fine.”

… That is the next step, for the grown men to come forward. It’s happening now. There is a powerful coalition forming. We women are coming out as mothers and as witnesses to this brutal sexual assault. Women who have been circumcised in Africa are coming forward, too. We’re all saying this isn’t okay.

Mary, RN

We just wanted people to stop hurting babies. In 1992, we started a petition. Before that, I think we all had the sense that something was wrong, but we had never communicated about it. Everything I’d read said circumcision isn’t a necessary thing to do, from a medical or health standpoint. So why are we doing it? You take a newborn baby, strap him down to a board, and cut on him. It’s obviously painful!

Circumcision became so intolerable that five of us wrote a letter saying that ethically we could no longer assist. When we were getting ready to present the letter, other nurses came out of the woodwork and asked to sign it. Out of about 50 nurses, 24 signed it.

Now we’re conscientious objectors, but it’s still going on. We can still hear it.

… Behind closed doors, you can hear the baby screaming. You know exactly what part of the operation is happening by how the screams are.

Mary-Rose, RN

My dreams were about taking the babies and strapping them down, participating in the whole thing, and having the babies say to me, “Why are you doing this? You were just welcoming me, and now you’re torturing me. Why, why, why?”

I’ve watched doctors taking more foreskin than they should. When there’s too much bleeding, they burn the wound with silver nitrate so that the penis looks like it’s been burned with a cigarette. Then the doctor will tell us to go tell the mother that this is what it’s supposed to look like.

Related: Celebrities Against Circumcision

Chris, RN

I worked with countless intact men, mostly European immigrants in Chicago: Poles, Serbs, Lithuanians, etc. Younger men and older men. Men who could walk to the bathroom and men who constantly soiled themselves. Men who had indwelling Foley catheters and men who didn’t. Men who were impeccably clean and men who were homeless. Men who were healthy and men who were critically ill and severely immunocompromised. Never once did I encounter an adult male patient who had ever had a medical problem due to being intact.

… In fact, female patients are far more prone to fungal and bacterial genitourinary infections than male patients are—yeast infections, urinary tract infections, abscesses, etc. And we know that this is largely due not only to their shorter urethra, but also to their labial folds—their “excess” skin. Why don’t we cut that off? Why isn’t female circumcision considered for infection prophylaxis? That’s how we think of male circumcision. Except the reality is that, as with male patients, the “benefit” of circumcision would be negligible, because the number of serious complications with women staying “uncircumcised” is extremely minor.

So as it stands, we have two sons who are intact. One is almost five years old and the other is nearly three. They’ve never had a problem. During diapering they required less care and bother than our daughters did. And now, during bathing, we don’t retract or mess with their prepuce (foreskin).

They’re clean. They’re fine.

I suspect that someday they’ll be like my patients were: ninety years old and intact—with no regrets.

Related: Circumcision, the Primal Cut – A Human Rights Violation

Patricia, RN

I am a neonatal nurse practitioner with over 42 years of experience in maternal newborn health. I have seen many circumcisions, and I have been appalled at the pain that they have caused.

… In my experience as a neonatal nurse, I know that circumcisions are painful, that little boys will cry for days after the procedure. They need to be medicated with Tylenol. They need to have injections at the penile nerve to try to prevent the pain, but it doesn’t completely eliminate it. I have seen excessive bleeding after the procedure. I’ve seen disfigurement. I believe that little boys are made the way they are because it’s absolutely fine to be intact. If there was a problem with foreskin, nature would not have put it there. So let little boys decide when and if they want to be circumcised. But parents, please spare your child the pain and unnecessary surgery that is not without risk. Just think about it.

I have seen, not loss of the entire penis but definitely disfigurement, and definitely excessive bleeding that has required intervention by GU specialists, suturing. Complications occur frequently.

…When babies are born, one of the first developmental tasks is to learn to trust the world, which means being in the comforting arms of their mother and father. To subject them in the first couple of days after birth to this terribly painful procedure just seems like the wrong way to start life. But the bottom line is: it is not necessary.

Jacqueline Maire, RN

I am a retired nurse in France as well as in British Columbia, a mother, a grandmother, and today I really want to speak specifically to female circumcisers, those who cut the penis of little boys. I have questions. What is your excuse? Were you at one point molested by a male in your youth that makes you now take revenge on any penis whatsoever and whatever the age of the victim, in this case, a defenseless little boy? Did you ever have an orgasm? And I’m not talking while you’re making love, I’m just talking about sex. Never had an orgasm with an intact male and discovered the wonders and the perfection of the act? Well. I feel sorry for you, but this is not an excuse to take revenge on defenseless children, baby boys mostly and I don’t understand how you can do that without being ashamed of yourself. Well, it’s just excuses, or medical excuses, or plain and simple fallacies. I feel sorry for you, but I also feel ashamed in the name of womanhood. You don’t respect your Hippocratic oath if you even know what it’s all about. Well, I’ll remind you it’s first “do no harm.” You’re just plain bitches, and I’m not insulting the female dog there. You are very mean, and I’m disgusted.

Related: 10 Circumcision Myths – Let’s Get the Facts Straight 

Dolores Sangiuliano, RN

I’m a registered nurse, and we have an ethical code, the AMA Code of Ethics for Nurses, and it states very clearly that we are charged with the duty to protect our vulnerable patients. If we’re not protecting our vulnerable patients, then our license isn’t worth the paper it’s written on. If anybody is vulnerable, it’s a newborn baby. You know, a child with no voice, and that’s why I carry this sign: “I will not do anything evil or malicious and I will not knowingly… assist in malpractice”.

Infant circumcision is maleficence and malpractice. It’s totally unethical. Proxy consent is only valid for a procedure. In other words, parents can give consent for a procedure for their child. That’s proxy consent in a case of treatment or diagnosis, and circumcision is neither. You’re not treating a disease, and you’re not trying to diagnose an illness. So it just flies in the face of everything we know to be ethical, right, and moral. And I believe that forced genital cutting, all forced genital cutting, is always wrong. It should be consented to, fully informed consent, and that fully informed consent needs to include what you’re cutting off the penis, the value of the foreskin, and the consequences of changing the structure from a mobile, fluid unit to this dowel like structure, and that needs to be included. Ethical nurses educate their patients. Ethical nurses teach intact care, and ethical nurses don’t participate in forced genital cutting ever.

A woman from Egypt came up to us and she said,” I totally agree with you. Female circumcision happens in our country all the time, and it’s illegal but it still goes on. And it’s our cultural shame.” And she said, “I totally understand you having your cultural shame for doing this and it is the same thing.” And we just had a total agreement conversation about, and it doesn’t matter the varying degrees. We don’t need to compare the varying degrees of harm. Because a lot of people say female circumcision is much worse. But right out of her mouth she said, “But no, it’s the same. To the person having it done, it’s the same.” That was really good.

A Danish woman came and said, during her college days, she came to the United States and had a little bit of fun one season and she had sex with an American man. She was horrified because she didn’t know what had happened to him. She thought he had been in some sort of industrial accident. She didn’t know how to ask him or how to approach it. So that was an interesting tale, and I really appreciated the term industrial accident in a new way cause this is an industry, the medical industry. It’s not so accidental. Although their intention is to say that they’ve improved our males, they, perhaps by accident, devastated us and devastated so many men sexually and in their souls.

Kira Antinuk RN

Feminism, at its best, encourages me to think broadly and critically about the potentially harmful effects of gender constructions on all people. To me, feminism should be more than a narrow interest group of women who care only about women’s issues or women’s rights. My feminism is bigger than that. I believe that feminism can help us to identify and challenge discourses and practices that engender all of us.

… Upon review in 2009, scholars Marie Fox and Michael Thompson found that most feminists’ considerations of female genital cutting either omit to consider male genital cutting altogether or deem it a matter of little ethical or legal concern. Why might this be? So biomedical ethicist Dena Davis observed that the very use of the term “circumcision” carries vaguely medical connotations and serves to normalize the practice of male genital cutting.

Conversely, it’s worth noting, how the term female circumcision was essentially erased from academic, legal, and to some extent popular discourse following the World Health Organization’s re-designation of the practice as FGM or female genital mutilation in 1990. The WHO’s justification was that the new terminology carried stronger moral weight. So, terminology then, as well as the differential constructions of the practices themselves seems to protect male genital cutting from the critical scrutiny that other practices like female genital cutting attract.

Now it seems pretty clear to me, that this asymmetry extends to the very different understandings of genitalia and human tissue that we all have. Here in the West, for example, we’re heavily invested in the clitoris to the extent, that its excision results in what Canadian anthropologist Janice Body referred to as “serious personal diminishment.” Janice Body went on to say, “We customarily amputate babies’ foreskins, not with some controversy, but little alarm. Yet global censure of these practices is scarcely comparable to that level of female circumcision. Is it because these excisions are performed on boys and only girls and women figure as victims in our cultural lexicon?”

Sophia Murdock, RN

After we had taken the newborn back to the “circ room” in the nursery, I watched the nurse gather the necessary supplies, place him on a plastic board [a circumstraint], and secure his arms and legs with Velcro straps. He started crying as his tiny and delicate body was positioned onto the board, and I instantly felt uncomfortable and disturbed seeing this helpless newborn with his limbs extended in such an unnatural position, against his will. My instincts wanted to unstrap him, pick him up, and comfort and protect him. I felt an intense sensation of apprehension and dread about what would be done to him. When the doctor entered the room, my body froze, my stomach dropped, and my chest tightened.

This precious baby was an actual person. He was a 2-day-old boy named Landon, but the doctor barely acknowledged him before administering an injection of lidocaine into his penis.

Instantly, Landon began to let out a horrifying cry. It was a sound that is not normally ever heard in nature because this trauma is so far outside of the normal range of experiences and expectations for a newborn.

The doctor, perhaps sensing how horrified I was, tried to assure me that the baby was crying because he didn’t like being strapped onto the board. He began the circumcision procedure right away, barely giving the anesthetic any time to take effect.

Landon’s cries became even more intense, something I hadn’t imagined was possible. It seemed as if his lungs were unable to keep up with his screams and desperate attempts to maintain his respirations.

Seeing how nonchalant everyone in the room was about Landon’s obvious distress was one of the most chilling and harrowing things I had ever witnessed. I honestly don’t remember the actual procedure, even though the doctor was explaining it to me. I can’t recall a word he said during or after because I wasn’t able to focus on anything but Landon’s screams and why no one seemed to care. I only remember that the nurse attempted to give him a pacifier with glucose/fructose at some point.

Landon was “sleeping” by the end of the circumcision, but I knew it was from exhaustion and defeat. I had watched as his fragile, desperate, and immobilized body struggled and resisted until it couldn’t do so anymore and gave up.

Seeing this happen made me feel completely sick to my stomach, and I told myself that I would absolutely refuse to watch another circumcision if the opportunity presented itself again. I was unable to stop thinking about what I saw and heard…

The sounds that I heard come from Landon as he screamed and cried out still haunt me to this day.

Darlene Owen, RN

The truth about circumcision is that it is not medically necessary. It is not cleaner. Studies have proven again and again that it has no direct relation on cancer etc. as was once thought. It is also a very painful procedure. The baby does feel it, experience it.

There have been studies that demonstrate actual MRI changes within an infant’s brain after a circumcision has been performed.

As for those who claim “it looks better”, my response is, “Really? Based on whose decision?” A penis with a foreskin is how the penis is supposed to look. The foreskin has a function. It provides protection of the very sensitive glans (head) of the penis, and it provides ease during intercourse. During intercourse, the penis moves within its foreskin, preventing rubbing or friction of the vagina, which makes intercourse far more pleasurable for both the man and woman.

Many people will respond in outrage over female circumcision, yet still consider circumcision of males “the norm.”

Many parents aren’t properly informed of the procedure. It IS a very serious procedure with very many real risks involved. In my experience as a post-partum nurse, many parents who were led to believe it was a “minor” procedure and observed their sons’ circumcision, were sickened just as I was at the actual pain and distress it caused their infant. I have had many patients who, after witnessing their first son’s circumcision, decided immediately that they would not get any other boys they may have circumcised. Many parents told me that they wished they had known just how painful it would be for their son, that they would not have even considered it if they had known what is actually involved.

As for the argument that many men want their son to look like them, my answer is, “Why?” It is a stupid argument. Why can’t parents simply teach their son that their son’s penis is “normal and healthy”, that “Daddy had his normal, healthy functioning skin of his penis removed surgically, unnecessarily.” I also always say to those people, “Really? Well, watch an actual circumcision, and see if you still feel that way afterwards.” I have yet to see any parent watch a video, or view an actual circumcision procedure, who is not completely against the idea afterwards.

An uncircumcised penis is very easy to keep clean. There is no special care required. The saying goes, “Clean only what is seen.”

As for worrying about the son’s foreskin not retracting, and needing a circumcision later in life, that actually only occurs in a very, very small number of males. However, even if the male does need the surgery later in life, he will be put to sleep for the procedure and will not feel it. He will also be managed comfortably with pain medication. A newborn doesn’t have any of those benefits. A newborn is awake for it, will feel it, and doesn’t receive any pain medication.

Ask any grown male if he’d get his penis circumcised while awake, with no freezing, and I guarantee you’d hear a very loud resounding “NO!” Yet, many men will put their newborn son through it. Doesn’t make much sense does it?

I realize that at one time it was considered the norm. Now, however, with all of the education about it, I cannot understand why parents still proceed to put their tiny little newborn son through such a horrific experience.

I am proud to say that I am an intactivist and the proud mom of two gorgeous, healthy, intact boys.

Related: Doctors Against Vaccines – Hear From Those Who Have Done the Research

Andrew, RN

I am a registered nurse. I work at a DC hospital. It’s not part of my current job, but when I was in nursing school, I witnessed several circumcisions as part of my rotation, and I was interested in it because personally, I had developed an opposition to circumcision.

As an adult, I never had to be part of that decision not having a child. But I knew that if I did, it was one that I would want to make. And when I had the opportunity, I asked a doctor whom I watched perform it if he thought it was medically necessary because in my education, it is no longer stated, there is no longer a valid medical claim being made in the literature including in my nursing textbooks and so how can you justify it? And he said that he doesn’t personally justify it. He just knows that for the time being, it will continue to be done and he wants it done humanely and as well as possible. And he said “And I do it well” And indeed, he seemed to be proficient in it. I then asked him if he had noticed that the husband of the couple who had just had it done had seemed like he had his doubts and he said, “Yeah, I noticed that too”. “Do you think someone should have discussed it further with him because he clearly didn’t support the decision.” And then he said that that happens all the time, that one of the two of the couple want that decision made and the other go along with it.

My nurse’s perspective is that part of our job as an educator is to give more information, and so that would have been a great opportunity for someone to give that couple more information about whatever concerns the mother had that made her think that circumcision was the best decision. She seemed actually like she had some ill-conceived notions about the difficulty of keeping it clean, things that I knew that medically were not actually accurate. I actually thought at that time that I saw an opportunity for nurses to step in and educate her, to help and not tell the couple what they should do, but make sure they had the best information possible to make a decision, that again, is no longer being promoted clearly on the literature as medically necessary, including in my textbooks, and this was just last year.

Carole Alley, RN

And after the strap down and tie, they’re still screaming. The screaming lasts the entire time. And I don’t know if you’ve ever heard a baby scream like that. It’s not a regular cry. It’s not a cry of hunger or a cry of wanting to be hugged or a cry of having a wet diaper. This is a cry of incredible pain. I mean, it goes right through your body. Every cell in your body responds. And then the child is circumcised. You know, there are two different ways of doing it. Sometimes anesthesia local will be used but for the most part, I’ve never seen babies stop crying, even if that’s given. A lot of the time, it’s not used. More often than not, it’s not used. And then the clamp goes over the baby’s penis and the foreskin is cut off.

Patricia Worth, RN

In my opinion, this is an abuse. There is not enough information out there to convince me that this is medically necessary. And just as I can read through the Old Testament of the Bible, and stoning women to death because they committed adultery, I see as abusive, this “ancient covenant,” I look at it as a well, the human race has done all kinds of things and thought was the best thing at the time, and in retrospect, we can look back and go, blood sacrifice of human beings? This is not right. This is not morally right. This is not ethical. And especially when you’re taking someone who has not consented. Parents can consent all they want. This does not mean the child has consented to this.

Marilyn Milos, RN The Mother of the Intactivist Movement

While working as a nurse in a hospital, she learned about circumcision by assisting doctors during the procedure. The obvious pain and distress felt by the infant prompted Marilyn to research circumcision. Afterwards, she was able to provide parents with all of the facts.

By offering true informed consent, she dramatically cut into her hospitals’ cutting business. She was fired. Undaunted, she went to work saving our sons. She founded a non-profit known as NOCIRC, demonstrating that one person can still make a difference.

Here are her words:

The more we understand what was taken, the more we understand the harm of circumcision, that it is a primal wound, that it does interfere with the maternal-infant bond, that it disturbs breastfeeding and normal sleep patterns. Most importantly, that it undermines the first developmental task, which is to establish trust. And how can that male ever trust again? And I think that’s very hard for a lot of men and why men need to have control and be in control, and their reactions to make themselves more safe.

It was so amazing to me when I worked in a hospital, and my first question would be, “I see—I see that you’re gonna have the baby circumcised, and may I ask why you’ve chosen circumcision for your baby?” And they would say, “Oh, because I’m a Christian.” And I said, “Do you know that there’s 120 references to circumcision in the New Testament, that circumcision is of no value? If you’re a Christian you don’t live by outward signs. You live by faith expressed through love. Christ shed the last—was the last to shed the blood. He was the ultimate blood sacrifice for everybody. We don’t need to do this again.”

Conclusion

The hardest moral dilemmas seem to lie at the crossroads of two or more moral principles. In this instance, the right to religious freedom and the right to bodily integrity are in conflict for some parents. But if we are to uphold the right to bodily integrity for girls regardless of religion (Muslims often circumcise girls), shouldn’t we allow the same protection for boys?

Although religion is a factor, many parents choose circumcision simply because it is considered the norm. Myths about disease and cleanliness add to the confusion. When parents are not given all the facts, they cannot make an informed decision. On average, nurses are poorly equipped to answer their questions about circumcision. They do not educate parents, explaining the 16 functions of the foreskin or teach parents how to care for an intact child. (Nothing! Do not retract the foreskin. It cleans itself!)

Our sons’ genitals are carved apart in the name of healthcare when in actuality the practice is a profit-making enterprise. Circumcisions generate a lot of money for hospitals, while intact penises bring in no money at all. So while it is ethical for a nurse to provide parents with informed consent, it is wholly unprofitable for them to do so.

The truth will win. Circumcision is a profound violation of human rights. This conclusion is inescapable once we begin to think critically about the practice.

Author’s Note:

Male genital mutilation is still legal in all 50 states, and although Marilyn Milos hasn’t yet completely changed the world, she changed mine.

I am the second born of two sons. My older brother was circumcised. I was not.

Before my birth, my mother met a neighbor who had been given literature from NOCIRC. The sharing of this information about the benefits of the foreskin and the dangers and drawbacks of circumcision is the reason I was left intact.

Marilyn Milos bet on the idea that when given all the facts, more parents would make the right decision, and in my case she was spot on. I am intact, my sons are intact, and my nephews are intact.

Marilyn, I can never thank you enough for what you’ve done for me and for my family. You are an inspiration to us all.

Sources




If You Drink Soda, It’s Probably The Worst Thing You Do To Yourself (even worse than smoking!)

Sodas are worse for your health than eating sugary junk foods and may even be worse for you than smoking. Soda is proven to be addictive and consumption has been clinically linked to increased blood pressure, high blood sugar, weight gain, kidney disease, heart disease, diabetes, depression, asthma, headaches, ear infections, joint and muscle problems, developmental delays, ADHD, heavy metal toxicity, yeast infections, urinary tract infections, candidiasis, other increased pathogenic activity, increased PMS symptoms, brain damage, liver toxicity, tooth decay, acne, mood swings, decreased fertility in men and women, and so much more!

In other words, drinking soda feeds infections, disrupts the gut microbiome and the metabolic processes, degrades cells, causes chronic illness, exacerbates virtually all chronic illness symptoms, and rapidly ages the body.

This is true for sugary sodas, diet sodas, and most energy drinks.

Recommended: How To Heal Your Gut

The Sugar in Soda

A 20-ounce bottle of Coke contains approximately 65 grams sugar which equates to about or 16 teaspoons of sugar. There are 39 grams of sugar in a 12 oz can of Coke, which is equivalent to about 10 teaspoons of sugar. Most sodas that aren’t artificially sweetened are made with high fructose corn syrup, so the teaspoons of sugar are just equivalents.

The American Heart Association recommends that Americans consume no more than five to nine teaspoons of sugar per day.1 We contend that nine teaspoons of processed sugar are too much. Even one is too much. We don’t recommend any refined sugar.

A 20 oz soda has 2.5 servings. A standard serving size is eight ounces. There are 100 calories in one eight ounce serving of soda. These calories are void of nutrition. There’s an easy trick to figure out how many teaspoons of sugar a food has: divide the total sugar grams by four.

A 20-ounce bottle has 65 grams of sugar; 65÷4 = 16.25 teaspoons of sugar.

A can of coke has 35 grams of sugar; 35÷4=8.75 teaspoons of sugar.

If you’re trying to stick with the American Heart Association’s recommendations of no more than nine teaspoons of sugar per day you’re pretty much done after a can of soda.

Beverages are the most significant source of added sugars in the American diet.  The average American drinks almost 42 gallons of sweetened beverages a year. That’s about 39 pounds of sugar.2

Our genes are arranged within double-stranded molecules of DNA called chromosomes. At the ends of the chromosomes are stretches of DNA called telomeres. Telomeres protect the ends of chromosomes from deterioration and from fusion with other chromosomes. When chromosomes replicate, the enzymes that duplicate DNA cannot continue their duplication all the way to the end of a chromosome. Consequently, when a chromosome is duplicated it is also shortened. The telomeres act as disposable buffers at the ends of chromosomes, protecting the genes from being shortened. Over time, with cell replication, the telomere ends become progressively shorter.

Telomere length is positively correlated with lifespan, and shorter telomeres are associated with aging and an increased risk of age-related diseases. Sugar-sweetened soda consumption is associated with shorter telomeres. “Regular consumption of sugar-sweetened sodas might influence metabolic disease development through accelerated cell aging.” 3 The good news is that telomere length has been shown to increase with positive dietary and lifestyle changes.

Recommended: Holistic Guide to Healing the Endocrine System and Balancing Our Hormones

It’s Not Just the Sugar

Plain sparkling water is slightly acidic. We don’t believe these weak acids acidify the body significantly but the carbonation may cause some damage to the teeth’s enamel even without the sugar (diet sodas have been shown to cause tooth decay). There is also a theory that the phosphate used in some carbonated beverages inhibits calcium absorption. But neither of these issues compares to the damage sugar and artificial sweeteners do to the body.

Artificial colors and flavors in many soft drinks have been shown to cause hyperactivity in children.  Yellow 5 has been associated with irritability, depression, and insomnia. Caramel coloring produces a chemical called 4-methylimidazole (4-MEI). The chemical may increase the risks of developing cancer. But, again, these risks are nearly negligible when compared to the health impacts of the sweeteners.

Soda has also shown in studies to have mercury, lead, cadmium, chromium, and aluminum.4,5,6

Diet Soda

Artificial sweeteners increase hunger and make it harder to enjoy healthier foods.

When we consume artificial sweeteners our brain thinks real sugar is coming into the body. We produce insulin to deal with the sugar that’s not there. When the sugar doesn’t arrive the insulin has nothing to store. Elevated insulin causes inflammation and depresses the immune system.7 Blood sugar temporarily drops but long-term use of artificial sweeteners raises blood sugar levels overall.8 They also alter gut bacteria, disrupt normal serotonin levels, slow metabolism, and they alter how the body responds to insulin and glucose, which can lead to glucose intolerance.9,10

Studies suggest that drinking diet soda is associated with metabolic syndrome,11 a mix of conditions that includes: high blood sugar, increased blood pressure, and ironically enough, obesity. This can lead to diabetes, heart disease, and stroke. Artificial sweeteners have been tied to Type 2 diabetes, Hypertension, Cardiovascular Disease, and cancer.11,13

Soda Addiction

You can definitely compare the intense pleasure I get from a cold can [of soda] to having a cigarette.” – Wouter, People Explain How Soda Addiction Is Ruining Their Life

Recommended: Sugar Leads to Depression – World’s First Trial Proves Gut and Brain are Linked (Protocol Included)

Soda Facts

Soda May Cause Headaches and Migraines

Artificial sweeteners such as aspartame are listed as top migraine triggers by numerous medical authorities and migraine sufferers.” – Migraine Triggers: Artificial Sweeteners, (1234567).

Caffeine and high fructose corn syrup are also common triggers for migraines.

Soda Messes Up Our Microbiome

Sugar (including dextrose, table sugar, and high fructose corn syrup) and artificial sweeteners have all been shown to disrupt gut bacteria, promote pathogenic activity, and increase the occurrence of yeast infections and urinary tract infections problems.

Soda and Diet Soda Are Making Us Fat

“The rise in soft drink consumption mirrors the national march toward obesity.” – Soda making Americans drink themselves fat

Obviously, sugar causes weight gain, but so does diet soda:

Several studies have proved conclusively that drinking diet soda is associated with weight gain.”

[…]

“Those who drank more than 3 of these drinks per day were more than twice as likely to become obese in the next 7 to 8 years.” – Here’s the Science That Explains Why Drinking Diet Soda Makes You Gain Weight

“And for another 8-year-long study between 1979-1988, participants who started out at a normal weight and drank an average of 21 diet beverages a week faced DOUBLE the risk of becoming overweight or obese by the end of the study, compared to people who avoided diet beverages completely.” – What drinking diet soda does to your body and brain

Soda Causes Diabetes

We all know sugar leads to diabetes and high-fructose corn syrup may even be worse (countries that use HFCS in their food supply had a 20 percent higher prevalence of diabetes than countries that did not use it 14). And artificial sweeteners fair no better.

A report published by the Washington Post stated that long-term use of foods and drinks containing artificial sweeteners are associated with a higher risk of Type 2 diabetes.

Diet Soda and Sugary Drinks May Lead To Stroke and Dementia

High-fructose corn syrup causes cholesterol and triglycerides levels to rise. High-sugar diets lead to diabetes. High cholesterol, high triglycerides, and diabetes increase the likelihood of strokes and dementia.

But diet soda drinkers have a higher risk of stroke and dementia compared with those who consumed conventionally sweetened soda, according to research published in the American Heart Association’s journal.15

Soda Vs. Smoking

According to this study, drinking a 20-ounce soda every day ages your cells as much as habitual smoking, an astonishing 4.6 years of aging at the cellular level.

The study, published in the Journal of Public Health, analyzed data from 5,300 Americans, ages 20 to 65: those who reported daily soda slurping were found to have significantly stunted telomeres. Telomeres, the little caps at the end of your chromosomes, are essential in regulating the lifespan of your cells, and shorter telomeres have been linked to shorter life spans, diabetes, and cancer.” – Is Soda Worse Than Cigarettes?

“Research indicates daily consumption of a 20-ounce soda (though the study didn’t say over how long a time period) correlated to nearly five years of increased aging. This is comparable to the effects smoking cigarettes have on aging.” – If You Would Never Smoke a Cigarette but Still Drink Soda, Read This

Soda Makes Us Older

Soda makes us age faster. It influences metabolic disease development through accelerated cell aging. If you’re not off soda yet, hopefully now you’re ready to kick the habit. Once you remove soda from your life your body will begin to feel much better, provided you don’t replace it with another bad habit. Waking up will feel better, going to sleep will be easier, moving will feel better, thinking will be clearer, joints will hurt less, wounds will heal faster, healthy food will taste better, allergies will lessen or disappear, and everything in your body will work better.

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Signs You Have Too Much Candida

A gut filled with Candida leads to chronic illness. It inhibits beneficial bacteria and proper digestion, which increases toxicity and nutrient deficiencies. Candida also increases zonulin levels, the substance that controls the tight junctions between enterocytes in the gut, which leads to weaker junctions and the development of leaky gut. Candida filaments also penetrate directly through the wall of the gut lining and contribute to leaky gut in this manner as well. Undigested proteins and pathogens seep through the gut lining causing inflammation and infection throughout the body. Candida and other fungal pathogens open up pathways for infection with filaments that damage organs and glands. This leads to the immune system becoming overwhelmed.

Candida also disrupts the endocrine system causing hormonal imbalances that also cause chronic illness. Lyme disease, celiac disease, Morgellons, and most other chronic infections and chronic ailments are an indication of an abundance of Candida in the gut and throughout the body.

Related: How To Heal Your Gut

Tiredness, Physical Fatigue

Adrenal fatigue is a common symptom of Candida overgrowth. Being exhausted or fatigued regardless of how many hours you sleep along with other symptoms including headaches, joint pain, difficulties with memory and concentration is a sign of chronic fatigue syndrome. One of the main symptoms of candida overgrowth is chronic fatigue.

Mental Fatigue, Depression, Anxiety, Mood Swings, and Mental Illness

Our brains are inextricably tied to our gastrointestinal tract. Your gut health affects your brain health. Candida overgrowth leads to an inability to concentrate, brain fog, headaches, depression, anxiety, and worse. With a leaky gut, the 180+ toxins produced by Candida travel to the rest of your body through your bloodstream, affecting your different tissues and organs, including your brain. In addition to that, Candida, its toxic byproducts, and other pathogens in the gut can reach the brain through the millions of nerves and neurons that run between your gut and brain.

Ethanol and acetaldehyde are toxic byproducts of Candida which are known to interfere with cognitive function, the respiratory system, the endocrine system, and the immune system.

Candida also affects serotonin production, the key neurotransmitter responsible for regulating mood, with 90 to 95% of the chemical produced in our gut. A deficiency in serotonin causes depression and anxiety.

Related: Sugar Leads to Depression – World’s First Trial Proves Gut and Brain are Linked (Protocol Included)

Intestinal Distress, Digestive Issues

Diarrhea, constipation, flatulence, bloating, cramps, IBS, stomach ulcers, and most digestive issues are an indication of Candida overgrowth. We need a healthy microbiome for our immune system to properly breakdown food to assimilate nutrients.

Allergies and Allergic Reactions

Rash and hives are typically a sign of increased fungal activity. Seasonal allergies and food allergies almost always vanish when Candida is brought under control. It sounds radical, but it’s true. Celiac disease, wheat allergies, and gluten sensitivity also subside when the gut is healed.

Joint Pain

Uric acid is one of the many byproducts of Candida albicans, which leads to joint pain in various parts of the body, and can lead to gout. High levels of uric acid can eventually do damage to the tendons and joints.

Candida can also enter the bloodstream and infect joints like the knees and hips.

Related: Running Without Knee pain

Skin, Athlete’s Foot, and Nail Fungal Infections

Candidiasis on the skin causes red, itchy rashes to form, typically in the folds of the skin and then spreading to other areas of the body.  an abundance of Candida in the gut also degrades the immune system and depletes the body’s beneficial bacteria which can lead to other skin infections as well. Liver toxicity, hormonal imbalances, and autoimmune reactions from Candida also lead to other skin issues.

Floaters

The longer thread-like floaters (not the small round ones) are a sign of an abundance of yeast in the body. Candida can also negatively impact vision.

Body Odor

Candida converts sugar into alcohols that can contribute to body odor. An abundance of Candida also reduces the beneficial bacteria on the skin that would otherwise keep odor-causing bacteria in check.

White Tounge, Oral Thrush

White tongue is a typical sign of an overgrowth of candida.

Genital or Urinary Tract Infections

An unhealthy gut microbiome leads to most UTIs and yeast infections. An abundance of Candida can reduce the variety of beneficial bacteria which can then allow a select few to become pathogenic.

While some UTIs are directly caused by yeast, many UTIs are caused by E. coli. The body relies on a variety of beneficial bacteria, including lactobacillus, to keep bacteria like E. coli in check. If the E. coli, normally found in a healthy gut, are able to proliferate, it can infect the urinary tract.

Kidney infections are often caused by slow kidney function due to swollen reproductive systems putting pressure on the kidneys (swollen prostates and PMS can cause this).

Related: How To Stop a UTIs & Yeast Infections Naturally, and How To Prevent Them From Reoccurring

Sinus Infections

Like the rest of your body, your sinuses rely on a healthy microbiome to ward off infection. Doctors used to believe that almost all chronic sinus infections were caused by bacteria. Recent research shows that many of the long-term, chronic sinus infections are often fungal. A Mayo Clinic study looked at 210 patients with chronic sinusitis and found fungal infections in 96% of the patients’ sinuses.

More Candida Overgrowth Symptoms

Due to the fact that Candida can affect all of the body’s major systems and infect every part of the body, virtually any health issue could be a sign of Candida overgrowth. While any one symptom on this page doesn’t mean Candida has taken over, it’s a safe bet that if the body hasn’t been working properly for long periods of time, Candida is one of the main underlying causes.

Related: Best Supplements To Kill Candida and Everything Else You Ever Wanted To Know About Fungal Infections
  • Acne
  • Alcohol cravings
  • Allergic reaction to certain medications including antibiotics or steroids
  • Asthma
  • Bad breath
  • Bad PMS and erratic periods
  • Body odor
  • Chronic aches and pains
  • Chronic nasal congestion
  • Congenital heart disease
  • Constant colds and other infections
  • Constant feeling of dehydration
  • Constantly craving sugar or carbs
  • Cracked tongue
  • Feeling slightly drunk without drinking alcohol
  • Hayfever
  • Insomnia
  • Itching
  • Itchy anus
  • Itchy ears
  • Itchy eyes
  • Mood swings
  • Night sweats
  • Panic attacks
  • Post-nasal drip
  • Psoriasis
  • Recurring cystitis
  • Recurring vaginal discharge
  • Regular fevers
  • Restless leg syndrome
  • Sensitivity to smells such as chemicals and perfumes
  • Stuffy nose or itchy ears after eating
  • Thrush infections
  • Tinnitus (ringing in the ears)
  • Vertigo, Dizziness
  • Weight gain

Fungal Supplement Stack – Knock Out Yeast, Candida, Mold, Fungus

The first three should be plenty for most people, but for really prominent fungal issues or for impatient people with a bigger budget I’d recommend all of these:

I recommend taking the SF722, Berberine, MycoCeutics, and Microdefense with meals, and the Abzorb and Syntol separately, on an empty stomach (like in the morning and before bed). The Abzorb and the Syntol are a bit redundant, but I find good results using both if the budget can afford it. If money is really tight, just get the SF722 and put your money into your diet. And be sure to check out How To Heal Your Gut for more on this.




What Can Berberine Do For You?

Berberine is a yellow alkaloid found in goldenseal root, barberry bark, Oregon grape root, and coptis (goldthread) root. It is an antioxidant that is antibacterial, antiparasitic, antifungal, antiviral, anti-amoebic and has also been shown to:

  • Decrease insulin resistance
  • Stabilize blood sugar
  • Activate AMPK
  • Increase glycolysis inside the cells
  • Slow the breakdown of carbohydrates in the gut
  • Increase some beneficial bacteria in the gut
  • Reduce triglycerides
  • Balance cholesterol
  • Lower blood pressure
  • Increase mitochondria production
  • Reduce the risk of heart disease
  • Reduce fatty liver

Berberine For Weight Loss

Berberine studies produced weight loss and improvement of triglyceride, leptin, and cholesterol levels in obese patients (leptin is a hormone involved in hunger). Berberine has also been shown to inhibit the production of body fat cells.

Berberine is believed to activate the enzyme called AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK). AMPK, sometimes referred to as a “metabolic master switch,” is an enzyme inside our cells that plays a major role in cellular energy homeostasis, activating glucose and fatty acid uptake when cellular energy is low. This enzyme plays a major role in regulating blood sugar and metabolism.

Berberine For Diabetes

Berberine has been shown in studies to work as well as the most commonly prescribed drugs taken for diabetes, metformin, rosiglitazone, and glipizide, to control blood sugar. Berberine reduces insulin resistance and lowers blood sugar levels. It also increases glycolysis inside cells, signals the liver to decrease glucose production, and slows the breakdown of carbohydrates in the gut. Berberine may also positively affect other enzymes and genes that affect blood sugar.

Berberine For Heart Health

Studies have shown that berberine can improve overall heart function in more than one way. Berberine may help repair and protect heart muscle cells. Berberine seems to improve the quality of life for patients with chronic congestive heart failure by helping to exercise lung capacity and reducing fatigue. Berberine also lowers lipid levels, prevents harmful fat deposition, increases fat burning in the mitochondria, relaxes the arteries, lowers blood pressure, and increases blood flow.

Berberine For Gut Health and the Immune System

Berberine exerts selective antimicrobial action, killing a wide range of harmful organisms without harming the microbiome. In fact, it promotes a healthy gut colony.

Many, if not all of berberine’s health benefits may be more a result of berberine’s effect on the gut microbiome than anything else. Researchers have shown that a very low percentage of berberine is actually absorbed from our gut into the rest of the body. But berberine increases the quantity of Akkermansia muciniphila, a beneficial gut bacteria that has been inversely associated with obesity, diabetes, inflammation, and metabolic disorders. This bacteria is necessary for sufficient mucin thickness, which lines the gut, protects the intestines and the microbiome from damage, and keeps undigested food particles and pathogens from entering the rest of the body.

Without enough of the mucin layer, the gut becomes leaky and inflamed, which leads to chronic inflammation and insulin resistance, and then many more autoimmune symptoms result from this.

Low concentrations of berberine have also been shown to increase other beneficial bacteria including Bacillus subtilis, Bifidobacterium adolescentis, and Lactobacillus acidophilus but high concentrations can inhibit many of these microorganisms.

For more on gut health, see How To Heal Your Gut.

What Supplements Go Well With Berberine?

If you suffer from autoimmune disease or are dealing with an infection it’s probably wise to start off with a higher dosage of berberine and then after a week or two to scale back to a lower dosage to allow more of the beneficial bacteria to flourish.

In an unhealthy gut, fungal activity is virtually always present and proper enzymatic activity is certain to be lacking. In this supplement stack we include SF722 which is the best supplement we know of to kill fungi. There is also the AMD probiotic which is designed not just to supply the gut with beneficial bacteria but also to help the friendly microbes flourish with prebiotics and enzymes. The bacteria in this supplement work well with berberine. The MycoCeutics complex is a mushroom complex. Just like bacteria, there are beneficial fungi and pathogenic fungi. I take the MycoCeutics and the SF722 separately, at least a few hours apart.

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Researches Say These Weeds Are More Nutritious Than Store-Bought Produce

Researchers from the University of California, Berkeley, reported that nutritious wild greens are growing abundantly in poor urban areas of San Francisco. The researchers, led by Philip Stark, foraged for edible wild greens in disadvantaged neighborhoods classified as “urban food deserts”. Six of the “weeds” were tested for nutrition content including chickweed (Stellaria media), dandelion (Taraxacum officinale), dock (Rumex crispus), mallow (Malva sylvestris), nasturtium (Tropaeolum majus) and oxalis (Oxalis pescaprae). Nutritionally speaking, all of these plants compare favorably to kale.

The wild greens boasted more dietary fibre, protein, vitamin A, sodium, calcium, iron and vitamin K, and provided more energy. Kale’s vitamin C content outshone the species tested, but the researchers suspect other greens such [as] wild mustard (Hirschfeldia incana) and wild radish (Raphanus raphanistrum) might rival it.” – Cocmos Magazine

Researchers have documented 52 different species in San Francisco, most of which are drought tolerant. Other abundant edible weeds include cat’s ear (Hypochaeris radicata), fennel (Foeniculum vulgare), plantain (Plantago lanceolate), sow thistle (Sonchus oleraceus), wild lettuce (Lactuca ludoviciana) and wild onions (Allium spp).

Many of these edible weeds are available year-round. If you’re interested in free food including some that are much more nutritious than most store-bought produce start studying edible weeds in the videos below and also check out FallingFruit.org

Recommended: How To Heal Your Gut

 




Five Ways To Reduce Depression and Improve Your Mental State

When the body is healthy, the brain is healthy. If the brain is impaired it’s pretty difficult to enjoy life. Do not underestimate how your health affects your mind!

For those suffering from depression, there’s situational depression and there’s chronic depression. Situational depression is generally triggered by a traumatic incident like losing a loved one or being unable to find work. Chronic depression often starts with situational depression, but it can also just seem to come out of nowhere. Either way, eliminating depression is much harder and often impossible without a healthy brain. For many who do not address health, the best they can hope for is situational happiness, where sadness or anxiety is the norm and outside influences are needed to trigger positive feelings. Addiction is common for such people.

Contents

Eat Right: Healthy Gut = Healthy Brain

A healthy gut is necessary to break down food, assimilate nutrients, balance hormones, and supply beneficial microflora throughout the body that keeps pathogenic activity from proliferating. An unhealthy gut prohibits proper nutrient assimilation, causes hormonal imbalances, and leaks unhealthy, infectious microbes and undigested food into the body. Pathogens, undigested food particles, hormonal imbalance, and a lack of proper nutrition balance all lead to inflammation.

If the body is inflamed, the brain is inflamed. Studies have shown that people with depression have higher levels of inflammatory markers compared to people who are not depressed. Chronically higher levels of inflammation due to medical illnesses are also associated with higher rates of depression.

Poor diet hurts brain function in other ways too. The refined sugars found in most processed foods spike insulin and trigger the release of inflammatory cytokines.  Pesticides, herbicides, artificial colors and flavors, and other chemicals cause problems in many different ways as well. Each and every toxic ingredient harms our health in multiple ways, which is the nature of toxins. But, gut health usually is the best indicator of overall health.

You can inhibit some of the effects of depression with drugs, for a while, but to truly be well one must heal the gut. Healing the gut requires lots of raw vegetables and herbs along with the elimination of pharmaceuticals and other drugs, as well as refined and processed foods. For more on that check out How To Heal Your Gut.

Related: Sugar Leads To Depression

Foods That Fight Depression

This is where articles typically go over the benefits of salmon, fresh whole fruits and vegetables, leafy grains, nuts, chocolate, oysters, etc. Readers are expected to pick out a few of their favorite foods that made the list and starting eating more of those foods in a futile attempt to feel better about their lives.

It doesn’t work that way.

Salads are the best thing anyone can eat to heal the gut and the entire body (except for those rare exceptions when someone suffers from things like histamine intolerance, but still, the goal for anyone healing from chronic disease should be to get on daily salads, even if one cannot start off that way). We’re not just talking about lettuce and carrot shreds. Salads should have at least ten vegetables and a few herbs. This article has a recipe for the kind of salads we’re talking about. Other than that, focus on whole foods and diversity. And don’t let corporations make your food for you.

In a nutshell, eat salads, eat whole foods, avoid processed and refined foods, make your own food.

Related: Stop Eating Like That and Start Eating Like This – Your Guide to Homeostasis Through Diet

Squats and Other Exercises

We were meant to squat. And the great thing about squats is you can do them almost anywhere. In nature we squatted to hide, to defecate, to pick things up, and we squatted instead of sitting. In paleo times, if you couldn’t squat you probably wouldn’t be around much longer.

Squatting helps massage and activate organ and glandular function, releases positive hormones, aligns the spine, and helps to get the lymphatic system moving. If you can’t squat, try assisted squats to work on the range of motion, and try “get-ups”, which are done by laying on the ground and getting up. Alternate sides and alternate legs being used each time.

Other exercises that are good for alleviating depression include:

  • Running: We are also meant to run. The human body should be squatting and running every day. Studies show that aerobic exercise is often as effective as anti-depressants for treating depression. And if you manage to achieve that “runner’s high” you’ll want it again and again.
  • Hiking In the Woods: Getting outdoors and in nature for some time has also been shown in studies to match or exceed anti-depressants for treating depression. While you’re out there, do some earthing.
  • Yoga: Studies also show yoga can alleviate depression. We can’t recommend Yoga with Adriene enough.
  • Resistance Training: Weightlifting and other forms of resistance training have much less research regarding the benefits for depression, but the little bit of research that has been done looks promising. And anyone who can put more than their body weight on their back to squat can attest to how amazing it feels.
  • HITT: If you want to squeeze the most out of the least amount of time, you can’t beat high-intensity interval training. Try it once and you’ll know why it’s a good routine for alleviating depression.
Related: Running Without Knee Pain

Breathe

Most of us are rapid, shallow breathers. We raise our shoulders, pull in our diaphragm, and take a breath that fills only the top portion of our lungs.

When you breathe properly, your diaphragm, your stomach, and your ribcage expand, not the pectoral area. Fully exhaling is important, too. Remember, you are breathing in oxygen-rich air and releasing carbon dioxide and toxins.

Proper breathing dramatically increases stamina and mental clarity, elevates your mood, and helps the body detoxify more efficiently (more toxins are released through breathing than through the pores, urination, and defecation combined).

Supplements For Depression

If you’re looking at supplements to replace a healthy diet, that’s going to work only a little better than skipping exercise for a protein shake. Supplements can certainly help improve symptoms but without the right diet, true health cannot be achieved.

That said, chronic depression indicates a deficiency in the body and pathogenic activity. Most people who suffer from chronic depression also suffer from an abundance of Candida. In fact, most people who suffer from chronic anything have too much Candida. For anything regarding yeast, mold, or fungi, we recommend SF722, second only to a healthy diet with lots of salad.  For more on that, see How Candida Leads to Depression.

Probiotics

As stated earlier, healthy gut microbiome is imperative to brain health. Our symbiotic bacteria play a key role in nutrient assimilation, hormone production, immune system functionality, and science has just discovered that our gut bacteria also resides in our brain!

Probiotics can help bring the gut into homeostasis and can help keep pathogenic microbes from flourishing. Probiotics are anti-inflammatory, and some studies have indicated that probiotics may alleviate depression. Be careful though. Don’t just pick up any cheap probiotic and expect good results. A high-quality probiotic along with a prebiotic diet (raw vegetables) can help build a healthy gut biome, while a cheap probiotic can actually feed pathogens and do more harm than good.

Fatty Acids

Our brain is 60% fat. Our brain, gut, and whole body need a variety of fats to function properly. We need saturated fats, monounsaturated fats (omega 9s), and polyunsaturated fats (omega 6s, 3s). A typical western diet is heavy in trans fats and rancid fats which cause inflammation. Some people don’t get enough fats and most people get too many of the wrong types of fats.

A large Norwegian study showed that people who regularly consumed cod liver oil were about 30% less likely to show signs of depression. The longer the participants took cod liver oil, the less likely they were to have high levels of depression. In another study with 49 patients who had a history of harming themselves, study subjects were randomly assigned to receive either 1200 mg EPA and 900 mg DHA, or a placebo. Both groups also received counseling. The study lasted 12 weeks. In the end, the group receiving the fat supplementation improved significantly more than the placebo group.

Many other studies have shown promise in treating depression and anxiety and other mental health disorders with beneficial fat supplementation. It’s best to get your healthy fats through a healthy diet but supplementation can help speed up healing and have an almost immediate reduction in inflammation and brain health.

Tryptophan (5-HTP and L-tryptophan)

Tryptophan is an essential amino acid because it can’t be produced by our body. We need it for anabolic processes and the production of various hormones, including serotonin, and the liver can synthesize niacin from tryptophan. So there’s a lot of competition for tryptophan. For those who are low in serotonin, supplementation may help (but low serotonin levels are an indication of poor gut health). Several studies have shown that low tryptophan levels can lead to a depressive state and cause anxiety.

5-HTP is generally recommended over l-tryptophan because it crosses the blood-brain barrier and gets converted into serotonin more efficiently than l-tryptophan. Studies have shown greater results in alleviating depression with 5-HTP supplementation.

Selenium

A study looked at selenium and depression with a total of 978 young adults aged 17 to 25. Participants filled out a questionnaire to track their mood daily for two weeks to determine their levels of depression. Blood tests were done to determine their selenium levels. The results showed that when selenium levels are too low or too high depressive symptoms were much more likely. The study also showed that lower concentrations of selenium were found to be more detrimental than higher levels.

Vitamin D

Many studies have shown a link between vitamin D deficiency and depression. People with low vitamin D were at a much greater risk of depression. We recommend daily access to sunlight. For those with whom it’s not possible to get enough sunlight, and for those who are overweight, vitamin D supplementation makes sense.

B Vitamin Complex

According to some experts, one of the common causes of chronic depression is a lack of or imbalance of B vitamins. Vitamins B3, B6, B9, and B12 are all known to be imperative for proper brain health and hormone production. Taking just one B vitamin for a long period of time can cause an imbalance that can be more detrimental to health than being low in most or all Bs. Poor B vitamin assimilation is a sign of poor gut health.

Ashwagandha

Laboratory rats were administered imipramine (a common anti-depressant medication) or ashwagandha. The results were almost identical. In another study, ashwagandha was also found to work as well as diazepam with depression and anxiety caused by social isolation. Ashwagandha is an effective anti-depressant without the serious side effects that medication comes with.

Eleuthero

Eleuthero has a mild sedative effect and supports the adrenals and inhibits stress hormones. While this herb can be a godsend to some, it also can be overstimulating and is contraindicated in some people, especially those with very high blood pressure.

Holy Basil

Holy basil is well known for its ability to reduce inflammation, stress, and anxiety and it can help manage depression. Research has shown that holy basil decreases the amount of cortisol released during stressful events.

Maca Root

Maca root has been shown to help reduce depression and anxiety. A study compared postmenopausal women who took maca root versus those who took a placebo. The study revealed a significant reduction in anxiety, depression, and sexual dysfunction after Maca consumption.

St. John’s Wort

Dubbed “nature’s antidepressant,” St. John’s wort is a very popular alternative to antidepressant medication for those dealing with depression. Multiple studies have shown that this herb can be as effective as medication for mild to moderate depression. It could likely help with severe depression as well but there have not been enough studies done on this yet.

Conclusion

No medications will work to treat chronic depression forever, and the same is true for supplements. There are also many different nutrient deficiencies that can lead to depression. Taking one or two supplements may help for a little while, but the root cause will not be addressed without lifestyle changes. If you suffer from depression, stop letting corporations make your food for you, heal your gut, get outside, and put in the hard work to get well. I know that’s easier said than done. I’ve been there. I’m prone to depression and I’ve had some catastrophic loses in my life. I recommend baby steps. And for me, personally, I found the products below to be most helpful. But again, gut health is paramount! Be sure to check out How To Heal Your Gut.

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How To Stop a UTIs & Yeast Infections Naturally, and How To Prevent Them From Reoccurring

The urinary tract includes the bladder, kidneys, ureters, and urethra. It’s said that UTIs occur much more often in women and usually affect the bladder and urethra, though minor kidney infections are much more prevalent than people realize. Kidney infections often come and go with minor to major lower back pain and very slow, darker colored urination. Diarrhea is a sign of a more serious kidneys infection (fluids are forced out door #2). Gas, bloating, and a stiff lower back is a sign of slow kidney function which may be an indicator of more serious problems to come.

Women may be especially prone to bladder UTIs because they have shorter urethras, which allow bacteria easier access to the bladder, and the female anatomy makes UTI’s and yeast infections easier to contract through sex.

Bladder infections are usually caused by a type of E. coli, a bacteria commonly found in the gastrointestinal (GI) tract. However, sometimes other microbes are responsible.

An unhealthy gut microbiome leads to most UTIs and yeast infections. If there isn’t enough of a variety of beneficial bacteria, including lactobacillus, to balance the E. coli, the risk of UTIs increases. Minor kidney infections are also often caused or amplified slow kidney function due to swollen reproductive systems putting pressure on the kidneys (swollen prostates and PMS can cause this). Other common UTI and yeast infection risk factors and causes include:

  • Dehydration
  • Feminine products
  • Antibiotics
  • Sex
  • Holding in urine for too long
  • Hormone shifts
  • High blood sugar or uncontrolled diabetes
  • Kidney stones
  • Contact with stool
  • Contraception
  • Soda
  • Smoking
  • Gluten
  • Poor diet

UTIs vs. Yeast Infections

We are avoiding using the V word so as not to trigger social media blocks, but when we are talking about yeast infections here we are speaking of v____ infections. But, you can have a fungal infection anywhere in the urinary tract as well, and bacterial infections of the urinary tract are an indication of a gut with unhealthy microbiome and an abundance of Candida.

Relayed: Best Supplements To Kill Candida and Everything Else You Ever Wanted To Know About Fungal Infections

UTIs and yeast infections are different infections. Their symptoms may be in the same general area, but they’re distinct. Bladder infections can often lead to yeast infections, but so can conventional UTI treatments. UTI symptoms typically affect urination. They may cause darker, cloudy urine, slower urination, more frequent urination, and a burning sensation during urination. Yeast infections cause pain and itchiness in the affected area, and yeast infections typically produce a thick, milky discharge. Sometimes white patches or red hives can also coat the surrounding area.

How To Eliminate A UTI

In a healthy gut, there are many kinds of bacteria that could become pathogenic if left to their own devices, but a healthy gut maintains homeostasis through diversity. The E. coli that reside in a healthy gut, the same ones that can cause a urinary tract infection, aren’t the same E. coli that cause food poisoning. One key difference is that E. coli from factory farms are resistant to acidity, but our normal gut E. coli bacteria, as well as Candida and most other fungal infections, don’t do well with acidity. This is one reason why cranberry juice is so high up on the following list. Cranberry juice also has tannins that kill urinary infections, and cranberry has anti-inflammatory properties. An infected urinary tract is inflamed, swollen, and constricted, and cranberry juice can help open up the system.

But even more important than cranberry juice is staying hydrated. Cut out the juices and sodas and drink lots of water. Most people who get regular urinary tract infections do not drink enough water.

Diet To Prevent and Help Treat UTIs and Yeast Infections

Diet alone can eventually eliminate a UTI or yeast infection, but without cranberry juice or supplements it is likely to take considerable time. For most people, I recommend this recipe.

Cranberry Lemonade

  • 1 cup of organic cranberry juice, not from concentrate
  • 3 organic fresh lemons, juiced
  • Liquid Stevia (to taste)
  • Cayenne (optional, to taste)

Mix the ingredients with a half gallon of water. For daily drinking, I would double the water, but to eliminate UTIs I recommend more concentrated.

I also recommend Lakewood cranberry juice, which can be found at most health food stores and lots of grocery stores. Lemons should be organic if possible and freshly squeezed.

I do not recommend Trader Joes cranberry juice. There is something wrong with that juice. Also, don’t be fooled by cranberry blends or sweetened cranberry juice – these will exacerbate the problem.

Related: Inexpensive, Easy Detox – The One Gallon Challenge

Salads

Not just any salad, this salad needs to be very diverse and big! Vegetables of at least 10 different kinds should be included, and be sure to throw in lots of garlic too. Eating these types of salads regularly will increase the beneficial bacterial diversification in the gut which will radically enhance immune system functionality. Here’s a recipe.

Supplements For UTIs

SF722 – This supplement is an acid that helps eliminate Candida in the gut, kills fungal infections fast, and can also help kill other pathogens that are susceptible to acidity, like the E. coli that commonly caused UTIs.

D-Mannose – D-Mannose is related to glucose and derived from cranberries, peaches, and other berries. It can enhance the effectiveness of cranberry juice.

Probiotic – For yeast infections, see the probiotic below that is specifically formulated for the v___ area.

Berberine – This is a potent antimicrobial. Once you quit taking this, it’s probably a good idea to keep taking probiotics for at least another week.

Vitamin C -Vitamin C enhances the immune system, improves liver function, and inhibits the growth of E. coli. Vitamin C also acidifies the urine, limiting bacteria growth. Vitamin C does come in supplement form, but, for most people, a better way to increase your vitamin C intake is with the aforementioned salads and cranberry lemonade.

Supplements For Yeast Infections

SF722

Vitamin C

Undecyn – This has berberine, betaine hydrochloride, and calcium undecylenate, which help balance the body’s flora.

Woman’s Probiotic – Specifically formulated to help colonize the v____ tract.

Conclusion

If UTI’s or yeast infections are common, or if antibiotics have been used recently, check out How To Heal The Gut. If urination is slow or difficult, or if lower back pain is present, or if diarrhea is present, I also recommend something that I once heard called a “kidney flush.” If you have a partner for this, have them use a hand (the middle knuckles work well for this) to push on you about an inch below the belly button with approximately 15-35 pounds of pressure. You don’t want to bruise the area, but you do want to force some of the stagnant fluid to move through the urinary tract. Do this for about a two to five minutes, several times a day. You can also, if tall enough, pull yourself against the corner of a kitchen counter, or use weights. This is my favorite technique. Lay down and put something heavy on your abdomen, an inch below the belly button, and use your arms to modulate the weight. My wife, who weighs 160 lbs, used a 25-pound barbell plate and I have used a 45-pound plate – I weigh 220 lbs. An inch below the belly button is approximate. Find the spot below the belly button where it is most sensitive, where you feel most bloated, and then apply pressure, gently at first, increasing gradually until you reach your ideal pressure, and then keep it there for about two to five minutes. You should feel the need to urinate soon after, followed with back-pain relief.