Thursday, August 11, 2016

Filter Out the PFAS In Our Water Supply

Water contamination is a major problem, but the United States is just beginning to examine it and  talk about how to deal with it. There are a huge variety of chemicals in our waters from conventional farming as well as from industry. Even the drugs people consume end up excreted into their feces and become a part of our water supply. Most of these chemicals are not looked for on a day to day basis and there are no mechanisms in place to remove it from the water supply.

A new study published Aug. 9 in the journal Environmental Science & Technology Letters, alerts people to the issue of polyfluoroalkyl and perfluoroalkyl (Perfluroalkyl substances = PFAS) that exceed the recommended safety levels in public drinking water. These chemicals disrupt the endocrine system and cause changes in our hormone levels. Additionally they have been found to disrupt the immune system.  They are linked with obesity, high cholesterol and cancer.

You can read further details here.

I use a Berkey water filter and it is what I usually suggest to others. If you check on Berkey's website they make the following statement about PFAS.

"PFAS's fall under the category of PFC's - Perfluorinated Chemicals. PFOA, PFOS, etc.  The Black Berkey elements that come standard with our Berkey systems do reduce these contaminates, to an Extreme Degree (in parts per trillion). Testing to back this up does exist and will be released soon."

The one I use is here: 

There are probably other water filters as good. This is just the one I have used and find does a good job.  I would never want to drink water from a municipal water system without filtering it. Even some country water needs to be filtered. Berkey sells filters for other things and if you have special needs I would suggest checking out their other types of filters. They also have some other sizes of Berkeys.

Thursday, August 4, 2016

Phone App to Boycott GMOs

I realize many of you reading this do not eat GMOs and probably eat only organic food. However, you have friends, family and neighbors who do eat this stuff. They may not want to eat GMOs, but they are not sure how to know if their food has GMOs or not. Often, they are unable to put the effort into educating themselves as they do not have the time to learn which foods are safe. They may feel going completely organic is not possible for a variety of reasons.  Organic Consumers Association has come to their rescue by creating a phone App that will let them know. Anyone wanting to boycott GMOs or simply wanting to eat better should use this App if they  have a cell phone. It will help them choose safe foods.  Send this link to everyone you know. Friends, family, co-workers and your neighbors.

We may not be able to get our political representatives to supply a good GMO labeling bill, but we can refuse to buy GMOs if we know how to spot them. We can stop then dead in their path if we simply do not buy their toxic food. 

When you go shopping for food, you can use this app to scan food labels and see if you should boycott it or not. This link will take you to the Organic Consumers Association page with the cellphone App. 

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Herbal Constituent Kills Hospital Acquired Candida and It's Biofilm State

In the last post, I mentioned that western medicine is waking up to the realization that herbs may be the answer to the antibiotic resistant infectious diseases we created. Today, I will share a new research study with you that examines an herbal constituent called berberine. 

Berberine is found in Goldenseal - Hydrastis canadensis, Oregon grape and other species of Berberis  Phellodendron amurense, Gold thread - Coptis chinensis. Many of the antimicrobial, antifungal, antiparasitic actions of these herbs have been attributed to this one constituent. However, as I mentioned in the previous article, the whole herb is still necessary. We discussed how Berberis has a metabolite called 5-methoxyhydnocarpin-D (5'-MHC) that is needed for berberine to be more fully effective . 5'-MHC is a natural plant inhibitor of multidrug resistant pumps.  Although 5'-MHC has no antimicrobial activity of its own, the constituent berberine is much more effective when given in conjunction with the substance. 

So, this new research looks at the antifungal activity of berberine in fluconazole-resistant pathogenic yeasts. They specifically were looking at candida that is acquired in the hospital. This was really nasty hard to treat candida. Fluconazole is a fairly strong antifungal drug that use to work on candida but now there is the fluconazole-resistant candida that hospitals have bred and is living on equipment and various devises used in surgical procedures.

Basically, the study found that berberine not only killed the free floating candida planktonic yeast cells but also the biofilm forming cells. Since many biofilms are resistant to conventional antifungal agents this is exciting news to the researchers.

The Brief Details
This study exposed the candida to berberine and found it  caused loss of cellular membrane integrity resulting in cell membrane permeability and decreased the number of viable cells.
According to the data obtained in this study, berberine causes the death of fluconazole-resistant Candida spp. cells by apoptosis (cell suicide).

The results of this study showed that the berberine concentration necessary to inhibit both planktonic cells and preformed biofilm cells is similar. This indicates that berberine may reduce the growth of planktonic cells and inhibit the viability of cells in preformed biofilms at concentrations of 8 μg/ml and 37.5 μg/ml, respectively. This finding is relevant because biofilms are frequently associated with reduced sensitivity to conventional antifungal agents.

Hopefully, when used internally, they will know enough to use berberine in a whole plant base of Berberis spp.

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Antimicrobials in Food and Herbs - Super Bugs Be Aware

This last May, a strain of E. coli was found in a Pennysylvaia woman that is antibiotic-resistant. It caused the CDC and others to go running around in a tizzy.

Each year in the United States, at least 2 million people become infected with various kinds of bacteria that are resistant to most antibiotics, and at least 23,000 people die each year as a result of those infections, according to the CDC.

Bacteria  have various methods to resist antibiotics. The more contact they have with an antibiotic, the more likely they are to figure out a way to resist it. The learned behavior of resisting one antibiotic can spill over and lead to resistant to other types of similar antibiotics. The bacteria that survive an antibiotic may learn how to pump the antibiotic out of their body or they may learn to neutralize the antibiotic before it harms them, or they may learn to change part of their body that is involved in the antibiotics lethality against them.

The overuse of antibiotics has allowed more antibiotic resistant microbes to evolve. This overuse is not just by the medical establishment. Many people now know that antibiotics are not useful against a virus, but still people do use them for viral infections sometimes.  Besides antibiotics being overused in the medical community, there is an even bigger problem with antibiotics being added to animal feed. Antibiotics help make animals fatter. There is a 3-5% rate of gain in beef feed lots when antibiotics are added to their food. So, you will find many feeds with antibiotics added into their food rations. The antibiotics are supposed to be pulled from the animals feed prior to slaughter to ensure the antibiotics are not in the food chain. However, they can be detected sometimes according to research studies.

Additionally, many people do not realize that glyphosate which is now poured onto conventional crops at the rate 128,000 tons annually in the U.S. ( according to government data in 2015) is an antibiotic as well as a weed killer. Yes, the first patent ever taken out on glyphosate was for use as an antibiotic. However, its use as a weed killer has made much more money for Monsanto than it could ever have brought in as an antibiotic. Now consider that RoundUp Ready crops of corn and soy are the main foods that conventional farm animals are being fed. RoundUp Ready means that the crop has been genetically modified to allow the farmer to spray glyphosate containing herbicide directly on that plant without hurting the plant. The farmer is spraying for weeds but since the weeds grow next to their crop, they spray everything. They don't have to be careful about keeping the glyphosate off the crops which is the point of RoundUp Ready crops. This means glyphosate is sprayed directly on the food that animals and humans eat. The government gives subsidies for growing these GMO soy and corn crops (Your tax dollars at work.) which means they can be sold at a decreased price in relation to non-subsidized crops, so they end up being the majority of what is fed in the cattle feed lots. (Also provides a nice dose of hidden antibiotic that may add to the animals growth.) It is additionally in chicken food and other animal food. Yes, it is in the majority of pet foods.  If you are not eating organic meat, you are eating meat from animals fed food that has had a lot of glyphosate poured onto it.  The majority of corn and soy grown in the U.S. is doused with glyphosate. That glyphosate has been found to accumulate in the tissues of animals. It is no wonder that glyphosate has been found in human bodily fluids when tested. So if you are eating non-organic meat you are almost assured of getting glyphosate in your meal. 

Glyphosate has been shown to kill off most bacteria, including those inhabiting your digestive system except for some nasty bacteria like Salmonella and Pseudomonas aeruginosa. Additionally, it is absorbed into the body. In fact recent research has shown that glyphosate appears to be actively picked up by amino acid transporters and moved into the blood stream. This is probably because it is an analogue to the amino acid glycine. The body may think it is glycine and believe it is important to the body. (You can see a short article about this here.) Perhaps as a society we should begin a conversation about the fact that we have been pouring an antibiotic all over our food supply in larger and larger amounts since the 1990s. This is certainly discussed in the alternative medical community.

We can and have decreased our use of antibiotics in medicine and many in the medical community are better about using them only when necessary. Additionally, we have begun to take them out of our food supply to some extent.  The conversation about glyphosate in the feed is in it's beginning stages.  Even with all of this in motion, what about the fact that many microbes have and are already becoming resistant to antibiotics. We need some alternative answers to this predicament we have created. Perhaps, we should look at our friends the plants.

 The plants have not been taken seriously by main-stream medicine as agents to assist the body in resisting infectious disease. Past research on various plant antimicrobial constituents were shown to be weaker than the drug antibiotics in main-stream use today. This has lead to some people making the assumption that herbal medicines can't be used as a tool to protect the body from infectious organisms. However, the research has focused on individual constituents. Plants are not simply one constituent such as is usually found in an antimicrobial medication. Plant medicine consists of a kalidascopic mix of various supportive constituents that all work in harmony to bring about health. The plants antimicrobial properties rely upon a myriad of complementary constituents that all play a part in their ultimate antimicrobial symphonic activity. The researchers studying plants take out one constituent and look at the antimicrobial properties of that constituent by itself.  However, that is not how the plant works best as an antimicrobial. So, it is not a proper way to study what the whole plant does in the body.

In 2002 a researcher named Kim Lewis took a look at plant antimicrobials. He wondered why the 50,000 antimicrobial compounds that have been derived from plants have been found to be weak and have narrow specificity. He considered that over the millions of years of evolution the plants should have come up with something better to combat microbes. So, he began to look closer. The plant constituent extracts were able to invade the bacteria effectively but then they were rapidly excreted by the bacteria's multi-drug resistant pumps (MDRs). These are the same type of MDR pumps that bacteria use in humans to resist the antibiotics that we use in main-stream medicine. When a microbe like MRSA or pseudomonas aeruginosa is able to resist our antibiotics it is due to their MDR pumps pumping the medicine back out of their bodies. The bacteria build up a resistance through use of these pumps. The researcher thought there must be something the plant was doing to resist bacteria or they would not survive. But, what was it?

To understand the plants a little better and find out why they are able to defend themselves against bacteria we need to know that plants produce what are called secondary metabolites. It has long been thought that a significant part of secondary metabolites serve to protect plants against microbial pathogens. These plant substances are called  phytoanticipins, or phytoalexins. Phytoanticipins are normally in the plant at all times, while phytoalexin levels increase in response to microbial invasion. Plants with mutations that lack the phytoalexin that other similar plants have, may be prone to microbial invasion as has been shown in research. 

An example of how a plant uses one of these metabolites is shown in several of the Berberis  spp plants which contains the antimicrobial berberine. The metabolite is called 5
-methoxyhydnocarpin-D (5'-MHC). It is a natural plant inhibitor of MDR pumps.  Although 5'-MHC has no antimicrobial activity of its own, the constituent berberine is much more effective when given in conjunction with the substance. Researchers have found antimicrobial effectiveness of numerous plant extracts can increase several hundred-fold when studied in combination with the plant MDR pump inhibitor constituents at the same time. Yes, another case where using the whole plant makes perfect sense. 

So, the researchers proved what herbalists had been saying all along. The whole herb is important. You may not be able to get the desired effect from an herb if you take a single constituent out of the plant and try to use it. Now in some cases this does work. Drug companies have taken single constituents out of plants and sold them as drugs or have synthesized drugs that are very similar to certain single constituents in plants. However, nature has for the most part provided our medicine very well packaged, with the appropriate constituents that play well together.

Glyphosate (RoundUp) May be Causing Tissue Damage by Replacing the Amino Acid Glycine in our Bodies

Stephanie Seneff and Anthony Samsel have been pioneering innovative ideas as they collect and comb through glyphosate (Active ingredient in RoundUp herbicide) research and present the idea that glyphosate is a major cause of many of our current diseases. They have a few important papers out on this theme and are currently writing up a review of how glyphosate is impersonating the amino acid glycine in our bodies.  Here is a brief over-view of their new idea. 

They poiont out that glyphosate (RoundUp) appears to be able to act as a synthetic amino acid analogue of glycine. 

So the body sees glyphosate as an amino acid (glycine) and gets incorporated into proteins as glycine would. It ends up in places in our body that it should never have been in.

Some of these amino acid analogues of glycine get incorporated into the tissue, the body recognizes there is a problem which causes self destruction of the cell and the supporting glycine based tissues. As the tissues are destroyed, it effects the function of that tissue and ultimately the organs they are a part of. 

Glyphosate and glufosinate are both synthetic amino acid analogues of glycine. There are serveral more amino acid analogues of glyphosate which are created in vivo.

90% of the entire US food supply is contaminated with glyphosate. Many of the fruits and vegetables are contaminated with residues. If not organic, you are probably getting glyphosate at every meal.

If you do not want glyphosate to be incorporating into your bodies proteins, I suggest you eat organic.

Stephanie Senneff and Anthony Samsel will soon have an entire research review article out on this topic. I suggest you read it when it becomes available.

Here are links to their past works on glyphosate which you will find of interest.

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Toilet Paper - Why We Should be Going Organic

Toilet Paper is something we use every day but not enough thought goes into it. Some people just buy whatever is on sale or what feels soft. Some of us are concerned about recycling things and we use recycled toilet paper. Others of us, want organic tissue but can't seem to find it on the market. (Some people reuse their wipes, and I included a link for that. It is not what you think and yes it would take some getting use to for most of us.) What is the skinny on toilet paper after all?

I would like to start by saying that any product that has cotton in it may also have glyphosate (RoundUp) or Bacillus thuringensis in it, if not organic. Much of the cotton on the market is from RoundUp Ready or BT cotton.  This includes your toilet paper if it contains cotton. Some toilet papers do have cotton in them. Many do not have cotton in them and are made from trees or recycled paper.  

Consider that  our forests both natural forests and our monocrop forests have insecticides and herbicides used on them. Additionally, when there are fires, horrendous chemicals are used to put the fires out. All of this can get into our toilet paper.  Most of us know of the issue of herbicides and pesticides in tampons, sanitary napkins, diapers and clothing. We have complained and organic alternatives were created. Why have we not clamored for organic toilet paper? 

Hemp paper is a choice. It can be grown organic,  and I have read it can be processed without chemicals and be rather soft. According to the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture one acre of hemp can produce 4 times more paper than one acre of trees.  There is hemp TP on the market. What about organic hemp TP?

What about recycled toilet paper? Many of us use it. Toilet paper uses more than 8 million tons of  trees to make the toilet paper each year in the United States. All toilet paper is usually bleached during the process. Both the TP made from fresh, new trees or from recycled paper contains chlorine unless you purchase TP that goes through a non-chlorine process. Additionally recycled toilet paper has  Bisphenol A (BPA) and or Bisphenol S (BPS) in it. It appears to be coming from thermal paper which is coated with BPA(S). Thermal paper reduces fading and is found in business receipts, some newspapers (ink), magazines, flyers etc. When these various papers get recycled, the BPA(S) can get recycled along with it. When it gets into your toilet paper, this means you are wiping yourself with paper that has an endocrine disrupter in it. You are rubbing it on your sensitive skin multiple times per day.

 You might say, organic toilet paper is the only way to go. However, I can't find any available and it is why I am writing this article. I would like to give you a link for organic toilet paper but I don’t know of any. You can buy organic tampons, sanitary napkins and diapers but no toilet paper that I know of. If you know of organic toilet paper, please let me know. 

So what is a person to do? Well there are bidets.  They are not used so much in our country but becoming more popular. This is understandable since toilet paper is so toxic.  I have seen them for sale at Home Depot. There are attachments you can buy for your toilet to turn it into a bidet. People seem to like this one on Amazon. 

Using reusable cloth toilet paper is another alternative. Yes, you read correctly. Before you get entirely creeped out, I suggest you read this article.  I found it quite interesting.
By the way, some companies selling toilet paper such as Paseo toilet paper are being boycotted as they are cutting down forests that are needed for some of the last remaining tigers, elephants and other endangered species. (There is so much more to know about toilet paper than just picking it up off the shelf.)

Please do let me know if you  find organic toilet paper. Perhaps it is out there.