How Good Are Health Articles?

Most people tend to appreciate that the internet carries a wide range of health article and related material, and most people would probably accept that some of this material is of a highly dubious quality.

The paradox of the internet is that anyone can access virtually any type of information about anything, and at the same time that anyone can produce any piece of information about anything.

Given the nature of health and people’s concerns and desire for information, trying to assess how reliable and good the health article is can be in fact very difficult. Anyone can write anything about any health-related issue, and publish it on-line with virtually no criticism or sanction or need to prove or verify any type of source.

Although in theory people can differentiate between different types of written material, it is also true that anything in print carries with it a degree of authority simply by virtue of it being print. This has always been acknowledged about books, newspapers and magazines, and is also true to a large extent about health articles on-line.

Health articles that are written in newspapers and magazines often appear to have a greater degree of authority by virtue of the quality of the newspaper or magazine they appear in. It is not necessarily the case, as a lot of newspapers or magazines will sensationalize a whole range of health related issues in order to gain readership and/or advertising revenue.

Trying to find out good quality health information about any specific issue can be a difficult process. It is often complicated by the fact that the individual looking for such information may have time restraints or other conditions that affect the nature of their search. It is quite likely that an individual will suddenly become aware of a health-related issue, and start looking for related articles or topics on-line to try and verify or validate their own knowledge.

There are a couple of guidelines about how to find an rely on good quality health articles on-line. It is possible to access a number of medical journals, or at least extracts from a number of medical journals that should carry quite a high degree of authority as they will be peer-reviewed. Some of them will be highly technical, but they will at least point to where good research has been done, and work as an indicator of where to go next.

If anyone is looking for information on a particular topic regarding health, one of the best places to go to is a discussion forum related to people who have experienced or are experiencing such a condition. If you want information about any particular condition, a good place to start is to talk to an individual who has such a condition. Obviously their views are going to be subjective, but someone who has a lived sense of an illness will be able to give individual many pointers. A discussion forum which retains a high degree of anonymity will help do that.

The other place to go for health-related articles on health are websites of associations or organisations of people who have a specific condition or illness. They take the value of a discussion forum one stage further, by combining the collective experience and insights of a number of people who have any type of condition or illness, along with the most recent research and good practice that exists that relates to that condition or illness.

There is an important caveat that any health article read on-line, or in any newspaper or magazine written by anyone should be assessed with a degree of caution. Certainly before acting on any advice contained within such an article independent verification of its merits should be sought.

How To Restore Gut Health After Antibiotic Use

The first antibiotic, Penicillin, was discovered in 1928 by a Scottish biologist named Sir Alexander Fleming while he was experimenting on influenza virus. He found that a common fungus, Penicillium notatum, can control the growth or kill certain kinds of bacteria. He named this newly discovered substance Penicillin, which successfully treated some deadly bacterial infections like syphilis, gangrene, and tuberculosis.

These days, most antibiotics are synthetic though they are usually chemically related to natural antibiotics. Antibiotics are of great value because they combat infections, save millions of lives, and are not harmful to normal body cells. However, they have their drawbacks as they kill healthy gut bacteria and may have side effects such as stomach upset, nausea, diarrhea, and yeast infection.

When penicillin and other antibiotics were first introduced, they were perceived as wonder drugs because they worked quickly and seemed like an answer to all common illnesses. Unfortunately, decades of overuse have resulted in more and more drug-resistant germs – any bacterium that survives an antibiotic treatment can then multiply and pass on its resistant properties to other bacteria.

Although antibiotics can only treat bacterial infections, they have often been misused for viral infections as well (for example cold, flu, bronchitis, most coughs and sore throats, some ear and sinus infections, and stomach flu).
Antibiotics are commonly sprayed on fruits and vegetables and given to animals like cattle, chicken, and pigs. As a result, humans are consuming minute doses of antibiotics every day. The cumulative effect on healthy gut bacteria cannot be underestimated.
Antibiotics kill beneficial gut bacteria. Even a single round of antibiotics causes havoc to our gut health.

First, antibiotics cause leaky gut or intestinal permeability, because they so viciously inflame the intestinal lining resulting in the widening of spaces between cells. Normally, the food that we eat is broken down into tiny molecules before they are being absorbed. When we have leaky gut, large molecules of food get through the gut lining into the bloodstream. This triggers the immune system to react, makes antibodies against that food, and result in a food allergy.

Second, antibiotics decimate the population and diversity of good bacteria in the gut. Since 80% of our immune system is in the gut, these good bacteria are our major defense system against all sorts of illnesses. Not only is it important to have a preponderance of good bacteria versus bad, diversity of gut bacterial strains is also critical. Antibiotics are known to reduce the number and diversity of the resident bacterial population in the gut.

What do we do if we absolutely have to take antibiotics? Are there ways we can counter the damages caused by antibiotics?

First and foremost, take a quality probiotic supplement as this will immediately help to reseed some of the good bacteria in the gut.

Check to make sure the supplement contains one or more of these bacteria strains that have confirmed health-promoting features:

• Bifidobacterium bifidum
• Bifidobacterium brevis
• Bifidobacterium infantis
• Bifidobacterium longum
• Lactobacillus acidophilus
• Lactobacillus bulgaricus
• Lactobacillus casei
• Lactobacillus paracasei
• Lactobacillus plantarum
• Lactobacillus rhamnosus
• Lactobacillus salivarius
• Streptococcus thermophilus

Choose one with a higher bacteria count by looking at the number of organisms per capsule, expressed in billion CFU’s. Most brand range from 1-50 billion CFUs. In general, the higher the number, the more potent and expensive it is.

Duration
For the first month after antibiotic use, take a probiotic supplement twice a day, morning and evening. Some supplements are to be taken on empty stomach, some with food. Follow instructions on the bottle. For maintenance, take a probiotic supplement every day.

Apart from taking a supplement, the following are five additional dietary tips to help restore gut health:

1. Avoid Inflammatory Foods

With leaky gut, the gut lining is already inflamed, therefore, it makes no sense to continue eating foods that will cause more inflammation. The worst foods are:

wheat
dairy
sugar
deep fried foods
Duration
Stay away from inflammatory foods during antibiotic use and at least 7-10 days after. Best is to avoid for 2-4 weeks so that the gut lining has a chance to completely heal and rebuild.

2. Stewed Apples

Cut up two washed, unpeeled, organic apples into 1/2-inch pieces. Place in a pot with filtered water up to about one-third of the apples. Add a few raisins and some cinnamon. Bring to a boil and simmer for 8-10 minutes until the skin of the apple becomes shinny. This makes four servings.

The magic with stewed apples is the fiber inside the skin called pectin. When it is cooked, the pectin comes to the surface. It acts as a prebiotic (food that feeds the good bacteria) and helps seal the leaky gut.

Duration
Have the stewed apples twice a day for the first week after antibiotic use. Then reduce to once every few days for the rest of the month.

3. Chicken Bone Broth

For those who are not into cooking or have no time to cook, many health food stores do carry pre-made chicken bone broth. However, homemade bone broth still tastes the best.

Place organic chicken bones in a soup pot. Add vegetables (such as onions and carrots) and herbs (such as thyme, oregano, parsley, and bay leaf). Add 1-2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar. Fill with filtered water. Bring to a boil and simmer for at least 3-4 hours. Season to taste.

Chicken bones are rich in collagen which acts as a prebiotic (food that feeds the good bacteria) and helps seal the leaky gut.

Duration
Drink a cup of chicken bone broth every day for the first few weeks after antibiotic use. For maintenance, drink on a regular basis.

4. Foods That Make Butyrate In The Gut

Butyrate is a fatty acid naturally found in butter, ghee (clarified butter), raw milk, parmesan cheese, animal fats, and kombucha (fermented tea).

Butyrate is also formed inside our gut when the good bacteria feed on insoluble fiber (bad bacteria do not feed on insoluble fiber.) Insoluble fiber passes through our intestines largely intact because humans do not have the enzymes to digest it (whereas soluble fiber forms a gel when mixed with liquid). Insoluble fiber prevents constipation by retaining water in the stool and making it soft and bulky.

Top insoluble fiber foods include:

Beans and legumes
Nuts and seeds such as almonds and flax seeds.
Vegetables such as turnips, parsnips, okra, green peas, artichokes, asparagus, beets, sweet potato, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, corn, kale, bell peppers, onions, and carrots.
Fruits such as apple (with skin), pear (with skin), orange, raspberries, strawberries, apricots, mango, prunes, and figs.
(Please note that it is always preferable to buy organic fruits and vegetables as conventional produce is often sprayed with pesticides and antibiotics. However, if organic is not available, it is still preferable to eat non-organic vegetables than not eating vegetables at all.)

Butyrate is crucial to the well-being of our gut because it supports the health and regeneration of cells in the gut lining. In other words, butyrate helps to repair leaky gut. Multiple studies have shown its ability to fight colon cancer – people with higher levels of butyrate in the gut have a lower risk for colon cancer.

Duration
Make sure your daily diet is always rich in insoluble fiber, especially vegetables.

5. Fermented Vegetables

If you are not into making your own fermented vegetables, you can find them in the refrigerator section of many health food stores. Just make sure they have not been pasteurized as all the healthy bacteria will be lost.

Fermented vegetables are very rich in healthy bacteria or probiotics. Each type of vegetable provides a different strain of bacteria. Since diversity of gut bacteria is essential, it is best to eat several types of fermented vegetables, such as sauerkraut, kimchee, fermented beets, and pickled carrots, cucumbers, and onions.

What Are the 2 Things That Have a 72% Influence Factor on Your State of Health & Well Being?

Imagine a line with premature death at the far left end. Now look to the far right end & you will see the highest level of health & well being possible. The center of the line is the lack of apparent disease. Now as you look at the line put all levels of illness to the left of the center, placed on the line by severity of illness. The right half of the line illustrates that even though you may not see or feel any illness; there is still a lot of room for improvement.

Where are you on this line? Where do you want to be? When are you going to begin?

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control & Prevention report that the environment has a 19% influencing factor upon your state of health, while your everyday lifestyle choices have a 53% influence factor.

Because the choices you make about your life & habits are by far the biggest influencing factor of your state of health & well being, we will explore it in more depth.

Of course the first things that come to mind are drugs, alcohol, nicotine & unprotected sex. These are dangerous to your health & well being, but there is a much bigger problem with your everyday choices that have a more subtle impact upon your health & well being. The impact of your everyday lifestyle choices is also cumulative with time. The impact is exponential the longer you make these choices. You also must keep in mind the more times you choose to do something, the easier it is to make the same choice again, until the choice is controlled by the subconscious.

Excess of things like sugar, caffeine & negative attitudes also have a cumulative negative impact over time. Combine this with little or no exercise, processed foods with no nutritional value & low or no self-esteem, it is no wonder so many people are overweight, depressed, mentally & physically ill & die prematurely.

Again:

Most disease, illness & premature death are a result of that persons lifestyle choices. The cells in a person’s body are constantly being replaced. These new cells are built from what you consume physically & mentally. Do you want to build healthy perfect cells or unhealthy imperfect cells? It all comes down to your everyday choices on what you allow into your body.

Your quality of life, now & in the future, is determined by many seemingly unimportant & unrelated choices you make everyday. Choices are usually just habits that are now being controlled by your subconscious. These habits can be changed with repetition, the same way they were formed.

The most important part is the choice to start the journey towards the far right side of the line. You can accomplish anything if you break it down into small enough tasks!

Start with making the choice to achieve a higher level of health & well being. When you take responsibility for your own level of health & well being, you will find it much easier to make better everyday choices.

Diet and Dental Health, Tips From Dr Doug Graham

Kevin Great. I wanted to talk to you about tooth care because a lot of people who get into the raw food diet have specific teeth issues that may arise. What are some of the challenges that people face? What are some of the things that you’ve done to kind of help reverse some of that?

Dr. Graham: Tooth care, it’s an interesting thing. Long ago people asked me to write about diseases. I said, “You know, I don’t really write about diseases because diseases are all pretty much the same. If you stop participating in the cause, the body won’t generate the symptoms.” Every individual disease, there’s thousands and thousands of human health conditions. I think it comes up the same with teeth. Oral hygiene and oral health is once again just one tiny aspect. It would be a shame if we were out there in the world telling people, “Look, we’ve got this diet. It’s the best diet in the world for everybody but it’s really terrible for your teeth.” Well that wouldn’t work. It turns out that the diet that we espouse is really wonderful for our teeth.

And obviously, but it still has to be said, because anybody that’s ever been to a dentist’s office has noticed that the dentist offices around the world are filled with people eating cooked food. So we can’t just look at raw food and say, “Raw food is really bad for your teeth because look what happens,” because we’re seeing the same thing happen on cooked food. At the same time we’re also seeing two other issues going on with our teeth that have to be at least allowed for. One is the fact, as disclosed in Pottinger’s Cat’s, that with every generation of cats eating a diet that was not species specific there was degeneration, both physical and physiological. In other words in the form and function and the design of the cat we saw decay.

We notice in human anatomy that changes have happened. One of the big ones that happens with malnutrition over generations is a loss of what is called the broadness, a narrowing of the dental arch. So for instance, if I smile at you, you might see 8 or 10 teeth whereas someone with a broader dental arch would smile at you and you would see 12 teeth or 14 teeth. The broader the front of that arch is, the wider the horseshoe, effectively, that the teeth make, the more room there is for teeth. So we’re seeing an increase with each generation. We’re seeing an increase in the number of children who need orthodontic work because there simply isn’t enough room for the number of teeth that are coming in, so they start crossing over each other instead of sitting alongside of each other.

We have inherited not only this problem but several others, with the health of our teeth, before we ever went raw. Then we have these issues with going raw. One of them is that a lot of people go raw and have a really hard time staying raw, so they’re switching back and forth between cooked and raw, which doesn’t do our teeth a lot of good, especially the kinds of foods that tend to get cooked, because as you become aware on some level, cooked food is really sticky. It sticks to our teeth like crazy. If we’re going to eat food that sticks to our teeth and a bunch of sweet foods as well, we’re going to have problems. In fact, anything that sticks to your teeth is a problem. All cooked food is sticky, all dehydrated food is sticky to some degree, stickier than its fresh counterpart. Nuts and seeds are sticky, they’ve been dehydrated.

The other problem that comes in is almost invariably some aspect of nature attack us when we go raw. We become ‘nature boys’ and ‘nature girls’ to a greater degree than we ever were before. A lot of people have come to me and said, “I went raw four years ago. I stopped using shampoo. I stopped using deodorant. I stopped using a toothpaste. No animal brushes their teeth. I stopped brushing my teeth.” The number of people who’ve told me that is just astonishing. And I’m going, “Yeah, you know, you didn’t really earn that right the first day you went raw to expect that your body could function as if you had been raw your entire life and your parents had been raw their entire life and it had gone back for generations.” I’m not really sure that no teeth care is the plan.

In fact, it’s not the plan that I recommend. I recommend a tooth care plan. I recommend that you do clean your teeth after you eat and that you do not only a careful brushing under the gum line, or right at the gum line – this is where our teeth are most vulnerable – but that you also get out the particulate matter that’s in between your teeth. Whether you’re doing that with a bristly kind of round brush or whether you’re doing that with floss or whether you’re doing that with pick or a brush pick, there’s a wide variety of ways to do it.

We eat raw food and our teeth feel so clean but in fact there’s still stuff, there’s still material. And organic material stuck between your teeth is going to be broken down by bacteria. The bacteria will produce acid that will harm your teeth. In almost every case, I would say in every case of dental issues that I’ve seen with raw fooders, it’s a matter of them having decay at the gum line. It’s always at the gum line. It’s not the enamel portion that they’re having such problems with, it’s at the gum line where there isn’t enamel. And this is because on a standard cooked food diet we actually cause a loss of gums but also an inflammation of the gums. When the gums are inflamed, even though we’ve lost some gum matter, the inflammation makes them bigger and it covers up that area of tooth that has no enamel. When the source of the irritation goes away, we start eating raw foods that are not irritating to the gums instead of the cooked foods that have irritants built right into them, the food additives all function as irritants to the gums and so they become inflamed.

When we go to raw foods and we get rid of that irritation, the inflammation also goes down at which point we start to expose the teeth at the gum line, areas of teeth that don’t have enamel, and without cleaning them on a regular basis you’re definitely going to have tartar build up. What happens is kind of like a pearl in an oyster; the pearl functions as an irritant. If you get a little tiny bit of tartar under the gum line. If you get a little piece of food under the gum line it’s like picking up the blankets on the bed, it pulls the gum off of the teeth and then anything else can get in under there. At every meal stuff starts getting under there and the gums just get worse and worse, they recede quickly.

The gums are supposed to be dull in color, they should not be shiny. They’re supposed to be sort of stippled looking. They should not be puffy looking in any way, shape or form. If your gums are puffy or shiny, if the color isn’t that of healthy gums, you need to take care of them. This idea that we can live without washing is just not founded. Cleanliness is next to Godliness, as the old saying goes. Certainly cleanliness is a huge part of health and hygiene for human beings. We have to take care of ourselves.

Power Lines and Cancer: Are Power Lines Dangerous to Human Health?

Home owners and parents are often concerned about the potential for electromagnetic fields (EMF) from high voltage lines to cause cancer. What is the truth? The simple answer is that there is no data which proves that electromagnetic fields are harmful.

Numerous studies have been done over the past 25 years evaluating EMF and biological effects. One of the most comprehensive evaluations was the study mandated by Congress, managed by the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, over a period of several years (1992-1998). The net result from all these studies is that there is no correlation between EMF and cancers.

Several studies have also tried to create the results in the lab. For example, scientists would expose an animal or a human volunteer to EMF then observe any biological effects. The reports state that the supposed damage to health by power lines could not be reproduced by EMF exposure in the lab.

Furthermore, there have been studies done on people who work close to the lines and these studies show that the health of the individual is good. Specifically, studies have been done on linemen (people who work on power lines as a career), and farmers (who often have large towers in their fields.) These studies show that you can work near or even at these lines for many years without any effects to your health.

In addition to the official health studies of EMF, a brief look at the strengths of electromagnetic fields will tell us that the EMFs from power lines are relatively safe. Scientists have measured the EMF at various distances from power lines of all voltages. This data shows that the energy of the EMF decreases dramatically within a short distance. This data can be summarized by two key facts:

• Within 100 feet of a power line, for the majority of lines, the energy of the EMF decreases by approximately 85%.

• At 500 feet from the power line the EMF becomes negligible, even for the highest voltage lines.

It should be noted that the electromagnetic fields can itself induce electricity in another conductor (including the metal of a tractor). If that happens, a person working nearby can sometimes get a small shock, even when not touching the line. However, those who work on or near these lines say that this small shock is more annoying than harmful.