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Why Are Vaccine Rights Being Removed While Safety Issues Are Increasingly Brought to the Fore?


Article Source: Health And Fitness Journal

By Dr. Mercola

As noted by Barbara Loe Fisher,1 founder of the National Vaccine Information Center (NVIC), July Fourth celebrates the American Declaration of Independence, which asserts that “all men are created equal,” and are “endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights.”

Unwilling to submit to the tyranny of the aristocracy any longer, the Declaration is a pledge, promising that the United States would uphold the “unalienable natural right to life and liberty that belongs to every person.”

Yet today, 240 years later, we again find ourselves in a situation where we’re increasingly oppressed by an elite “who want the legal right to judge, shame, segregate, discriminate against and punish fellow citizens who do not share their beliefs,” Fisher writes, adding:

“Nowhere is this truth more self evident than in the oppressive implementation of one-size-fits-all mandatory vaccination laws that fail to respect biodiversity or human rights and crush citizen opposition, in violation of the informed consent ethic and freedom of thought, speech, conscience and religious belief …

The appropriation of unaccountable authority by medical trade and the militarization of public health in the 21st century should be of concern to every person who values life and liberty.”

Vaccines Are ‘Unavoidably Unsafe’

Both the U.S. Congress and the Supreme Court have concluded that government licensed vaccines are “unavoidably unsafe,”2 and this is what precipitated the decision to grant drug companies immunity against vaccine injuries and deaths.

If vaccine makers could actually be sued for damages, most would probably go out of business.

This “free pass” means that if the vaccine fails to protect you or your child, or worse, ends up injuring or killing, you cannot sue the vaccine manufacturer or the doctor who administered the vaccine. 

As a result of having zero liability for harm arising from the use of their products, vaccine makers have started churning out an ever-growing number of poorly tested vaccines with dubious benefits.

Bill Threatens to Strip Virginia of Religious and Medical Exemptions

At the same time, there’s a concerted, nationwide effort to eliminate choice by removing religious and conscientious [sic] vaccine exemptions, which were instituted more than 50 years ago.

“[In] 2015, Vermont lost the conscience exemption and California lost the personal belief exemption protecting both exercise of conscience and religious beliefs. This year, the vaccine machine invaded Virginia,” Fisher writes.3

“A proposed law was introduced in the House of Delegates in January 2016 to strip away not just the religious vaccine exemption, but also the medical exemption for all children, whether they are being homeschooled or are enrolled in public or private schools.

An individual physician would no longer exercise professional judgment when granting a child a medical exemption but would become a government agent enforcing the narrow one-size-fits all federal vaccine contraindication guidelines … which means that 99.99 percent of children would not qualify for the medical vaccine exemption in Virginia.”

Fortunately, parents in Virginia rose up and were able to suppress the bill. But it may be only a temporary victory. Similar legislation is expected to be reintroduced next year.

Interestingly, not only does Virginia have one of the lowest vaccine exemption rates in the U.S., Virginia is also “hallowed ground where freedom of thought, conscience and religion [were] first defined as a natural right and [were] codified into American law,” Fisher notes.

Virginia’s history as a leading defender of religious and personal rights is likely one of the reasons they’re now trying to undermine personal and religious freedom in that state with the most restrictive anti-choice law of any state to date.

Lawsuit Filed to Overturn California Vaccine Requirements

Despite overwhelming opposition, California lost the personal belief exemption last year. The new law took effect on July 1.

That same day, a group of parents and the nonprofit Education 4 All filed a lawsuit to overturn the new law, which requires all children to be fully vaccinated in order to attend public or private school and/or daycare.

Parents who refuse to vaccinate their child according to the mandated schedule have only two options: they can try to get a medical exemption, which is extremely difficult and rarely obtained, or home-school their child.

Any child who previously attended school under a personal belief exemption must be fully vaccinated by kindergarten and seventh grade to be allowed to stay in school.

According to CBS News,4 the lawsuit says “the law violates the children’s right to an education as guaranteed under California’s constitution, and asks for a judge to suspend the law while the suit plays out.”

The plaintiff’s attorney, Robert T. Moxley, said the law “has made second class citizens out of children who for very compelling reasons are not vaccinated,” adding they hope to be granted an injunction “while the judicial process takes place to see if this law is constitutional, which it most certainly does not seem to be.”

Forced Vaccinations Are Unethical and Dangerous

In a recent article for congressional blog The Hill, Gretchen DuBeau, executive director for Alliance for Natural Health USA (ANH-USA), writes:5

“When health officials assure us that almost all children should receive the full schedule of vaccinations, you would think that rigorous safety testing has repeatedly proven vaccines, their ingredients and the CDC schedule to be completely safe.

The sobering truth is, however, that this safety testing has been conspicuously lacking and in many cases simply has not been done. Until these extremely serious safety concerns are adequately addressed, it is unethical — and very possibly dangerous — to force children to be vaccinated.

Take aluminum, for example, which has been added to vaccines since the 1930s to help jolt the body’s immune system into action.

Aluminum is a well-documented neurotoxin linked with Alzheimer’s disease, epilepsy, asthma, hyperactivity and Down’s syndrome. Despite these dangers, adequate clinical research proving aluminum adjuvants to be safe has never been done.”

Indeed, it is the lack of evidence of safety that concerns most parents who decide to delay or forgo one or more vaccinations for their children. They’re not doing it out of some misplaced desire to rebel against authority.

But rather than conducting the necessary research to settle these uncertainties, the vaccine industry has chosen to simply push for forced vaccinations instead. And why not? Forced vaccination guarantees maximum profits since there are no repercussions should their vaccines turn out to do more harm than good.

Assumptions and Comparing Apples to Oranges Are Not Good Science

DuBeau goes on to talk about how the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) set the limit on the amount of aluminum allowed in vaccines, saying this limit is not based on safety studies but rather on the amount required to boost vaccine effectiveness. The agency is simply assuming the current levels are safe, based on inappropriate data.

The safety level for orally ingested aluminum was set by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) based on rat studies. However, while the EPA’s minimum risk level is used to justify aluminum adjuvants in vaccines, you really cannot compare orally ingested aluminum and intra-muscularly injected aluminum. These two routes of administration do not produce the same health effects. As noted by DuBeau:

“[I]ngesting aluminum orally, where only about 0.25 percent is absorbed and then filtered by the kidneys, is very different than injecting it directly into muscle, where it may be absorbed at nearly 100 percent efficiency over time and can accumulate in organs, including the brain.

This complete lack of evidence proving the safety of aluminum adjuvants in vaccines is unacceptable and should concern any parent who trusts health authorities with the safety of their children.”

Many Scientists Have Raised Concerns About Potential Vaccine Dangers

DuBeau takes a strong stand against California’s mandatory vaccination law (SB 277), calling it “ill-advised,” as it mandates dosing all school-aged children with a dangerous metal known to have neurological effects. She also points out that the scientific community is nowhere near as unanimous as proponents of SB 277 and other forced vaccination laws would like you to believe.

“Many doctors and researchers have raised serious concerns about vaccine ingredients like aluminum,” she writes. “Animal studies, for instance, have demonstrated a link between repeated inoculation with aluminum-containing vaccines and severe neurobehavioral outcomes … and altered expression of certain genes in the brain.

According to DuBeau, children who get all of the vaccines on the CDC’s schedule may receive as much as 4,225 micrograms of aluminum in their first year of life. “To put this in perspective,” she says, “the animals mentioned above were given an aluminum dose in a range that is nearly comparable to what children on the CDC schedule receive. This should give us all pause.”

Also consider this: the amount of aluminum injected into a newborn baby via the hepatitis B vaccine equates to an adult getting 10 doses of the vaccine in one day, when you consider the difference in weight between the two.

In order for an adult to get the same amount of aluminum per kilo of weight that a child receives at the age of 2 months, the adult would have to get 34 adult doses of the hepatitis B vaccine in one day. Does it really seem reasonable or wise to inject that hefty a dose of aluminum into a baby?

Doctor Highlights Risks and Excessive Cost of HPV Vaccine

One medical doctor raising concerns about vaccine hazards is Gary G. Kohls, who is now retired. In a recent article,6 he responds to a commentary in the News Tribune, “written and endorsed by area board-certified pediatricians, oncologists and obstetricians/gynecologists,” who promote “the universal use of the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine for pre-teen and teen-age girls.”

According to Kohls, “the commentary appeared to be a part of a worldwide, billion-dollar promotion campaign,” to encourage women around the world to get vaccinated, and financing this campaign is “one of the most profitable, price-gouging pharmaceutical companies in the world, Merck.”

“In 2006, after only three to five years of clinical trials, the FDA approved for marketing the most expensive vaccine in the history of the world, Gardasil, which has been proclaimed as preventative for cancer of the cervix, a claim that was never proved and which has, to date, not prevented a single case of cervical cancer … mainly because cancer of the cervix takes 20 to 50 years to develop,” he writes.

The only thing these short-term industry-funded studies showed was that the vaccine “produced transient anti-HPV immune complexes in most of the young female vaccine recipients.” They also found “modest reductions in the development of abnormal Pap smears.” However, it’s well known that 90 percent of all HPV infections clear up on their own within two years anyway, so that’s hardly a medical breakthrough.

Kohls notes that the antigens in Gardasil and GlaxoSmithKline’s version of the HPV vaccine, Cervarix, are “genetically engineered proteins that, thanks to the neurotoxic aluminum adjuvant in each dose, can cause serious autoimmune disorders and unknown levels of potentially serious mitochondrial damage.”

‘Number Needed to Treat’ Statistic Reveals Risks and Cost of HPV Vaccine Far Outweigh Alleged Benefit

The HPV vaccines are also exorbitantly priced, costing approximately $140 for three doses, plus office visit charges. According to Kohls, the News Tribune commentary bore all the hallmarks of an industry campaign, including all the standard talking points. Missing entirely was any mention of the potential downsides and risks of the HPV vaccines, and without this information, how can a parent or young woman make a fully informed decision?

Kohls goes on to discuss the statistical measure known as “Number Needed to Treat” (NNT), which is a simple way to relate the effectiveness of any given treatment. A drug’s NNT tells you how many people have to receive the drug in order for one person to benefit from it.

“For instance, the NNT for a course of penicillin for penicillin-sensitive streptococcal pharyngitis is one, meaning that one cure occurs for every one course of treatment. If a treatment results in only half of patients benefitting, the NNT is two (the inverse of the fraction 1/2). The smaller the NNT, the more beneficial the treatment,” he explains.

“An article published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal (CMAJ) …  stated that for Gardasil, the Number Needed to Vaccinate (same principle as the NNT) to prevent four or five cases of cervical cancer for a typical 12-year-old girl would be 9,080, meaning that 9,075 girls would be risking the serious adverse health consequences of Gardasil … while still not receiving the alleged benefit, the prevention of cervical cancer.” [Emphasis mine]

Neither doctors nor patients are informed about NNT statistics, yet this can be a very important treatment consideration. In Kohl’s view, the cost of the HPV vaccine, both in terms of dollars and cents and their potential adverse health effects “come nowhere near outweighing the alleged benefit.”

It’s very unusual for a doctor to come out with such strong views. Most would do so under the threat of potentially losing their medical license. However, Kohl is retired, so he doesn’t have to fret about that possibility, which may be why he’s able to be so outspoken in the first place.

Complaint Filed Over European HPV Vaccine Assessment

Kohls is not the only one expressing concerns over the way the HPV vaccine is being pushed while risks are overlooked. On May 26, the Nordic Cochrane Center, which is part of Cochrane, an international network considered the gold standard within the evidence-based medical model for assessing the effectiveness of common medical interventions, filed a complaint with the European Medicines Agency (EMA), questioning the EMA’s 2015 Assessment Report on the safety of HPV vaccines. In the 19-page letter to the EMA, Cochrane Nordic Center writes:7

“We are concerned about the EMA’s handling of this issue as reflected in its official report and ask the EMA to assess:

1. Whether the EMA has been open and accountable to the citizens and has respected their rights to know about the uncertainties related to the safety of the HPV vaccines.

2. Whether the EMA has lived up to the professional and scientific standards that must be expected of the agency to guarantee that the administration enjoys legitimacy when evaluating the science and the data related to the safety of the HPV vaccines.

3. Whether the EMA has treated fairly — in a manner that guarantees that the administration enjoys legitimacy — a Danish whistleblower, Dr. Louise Brinth, when she raised concerns about possible serious harms of the HPV vaccines.

4. Whether the EMA has treated fairly … the observations and concerns the Danish Health and Medicines Authorities and the Uppsala Monitoring Centre had raised about possible serious harms of the HPV vaccines.

5. Whether the EMA’s procedures for evaluating the safety of medical interventions guarantee that the administration enjoys legitimacy. The EMA asked the manufacturers of the vaccines to assess potential harms of their own products in which they have huge financial interests.

6. Whether the extreme secrecy, with life-long confidentiality agreements, which the EMA imposed on its working group members and scientific experts, is needed; is legitimate; is in the public interest; and guarantees that the administration enjoys legitimacy.

7. Whether the redactions the EMA imposed on documents it delivered to the citizens according to Freedom of Information requests were needed; were legitimate; are in the public interest; and guarantees that the administration enjoys legitimacy.

8. Whether the EMA has behaved in a manner that guarantees that the administration enjoys legitimacy in relation to declaring conflicts of interest. We noticed a Guido Rasi’s name associated with patents for inventions and wonder whether this is the same person who is the EMA’s director.

If so, we believe Rasi has failed to declare his conflicts of interest. We also believe that the rapporteur for the EMA’s report, Julie Williams, has failed to declare her conflicts of interest.

9. Whether the EMA behaves in a manner that guarantees that the administration enjoys legitimacy when the agency use experts with financial ties to the manufacturers, in particular considering that it is always possible to find experts without such conflicts.

10. In the interest of transparency, we urge the EMA to ensure that the names of all the experts consulted are disclosed together with their conflict of interest declarations … ”

Functional Disorders Linked to HPV Vaccine

According to Cochrane Nordic Center, the EMA ignored significant data showing there may be severe adverse events associated with the HPV vaccine, “the prominent symptoms, which are suspected of being caused by the vaccine,” bearing strong similarities to functional disorders such as:

According to the complaint, “the hypothetical mechanism is an autoimmune reaction triggered by either the active component of the vaccine or the adjuvant in the vaccine.”

Cochrane also claims the EMA’s internal 256-page report, which served as the basis for the draft of its 40-page official report, contradicts the final report. “We find that the EMA’s comments are unprofessional, misleading, inappropriate and pejorative, and that the EMA’s approach involves cherry-picking, which is unscientific,” Cochrane writes.

Cochrane also notes that the Uppsala centre compared adverse events reported following HPV vaccination and vaccination with all other vaccines given to women. Based on their findings, it would appear the HPV vaccine carries a FAR higher risk of severe side effects than any other vaccine, yet the EMA claims no conclusions could be drawn from this data:

  • POTS was reported 82 times for HPV vaccines versus once for other vaccines
  • CRPS was reported 69 times for HPV vaccines versus 16 for other vaccines
  • Autonomic nervous system imbalance was reported 77 times versus 16 for others
  • Fibromyalgia was reported 62 times for HPV versus 39 for other vaccines

FluMist Found to Be Worthless Against Influenza

In related news, The Washington Post8 recently wrote about the “mystery” of why FluMist suddenly stopped working. Until recently, the spray form of the flu vaccine was preferred over the injectable flu vaccine for children between the ages of 2 and 8. FluMIst is a live attenuated vaccine, meaning it contains a live but weakened version of the flu virus.

In June, a CDC advisory panel decided the nasal spray “was so ineffective that it should not be used by anyone during the 2016 to 2017 season,” The Washington Post reports. Data from last winter’s flu season revealed FluMist was only 3 percent effective among children aged 2 to 17. This is yet another instance where almost everyone who received the vaccine risked their health for what amounts to no potential benefit whatsoever.

According to Dr. David Kimberlin, a professor of pediatrics at The University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB), the reason for FluMist’s failure is still not understood. Researchers at MedImmune, the makers of FluMist, are trying to determine the cause. As noted by The Washington Post:

“In any given flu season, vaccine effectiveness varies. One factor is how well the vaccines match the virus that is actually prevalent. Other factors include the age and general health of the recipient.

In the overall population, the CDC says studies show vaccines can reduce the risk of flu by about 50 to 60 percent when the vaccines are well matched. Now, researchers are trying to find a common factor behind FluMist’s recent incidents of poor performance.”

One of the questions researchers will attempt to answer include whether the flu vaccine may lose effectiveness when given to a child who has been previously vaccinated against influenza several times.

What does all of this tell you? In my view, it speaks loud and clear to the fact that vaccine makers really don’t know as much about their product as they purport to know. Yet despite this lack of knowledge, they insist vaccines are beneficial and worth just about any risk to the individual in order to protect society at large.


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How Animals Impact Regenerative Agriculture Efforts


Article Source: Health And Fitness Journal

By Dr. Mercola

I recently visited Will Harris’ farm White Oak Pastures in Bluffton, Georgia. Harris is a pioneer of grass-fed products and what he calls “a kinder, gentler agriculture.”

His farm is a great demonstration of how you can convert conventionally farmed land to a healthy, thriving farm based on regenerative methods. Conventional chemical agriculture typically involves the growing of a single crop, such as corn — a strategy that decimates the soil.

Harris recently purchased the land I visited, where he’s in the process of implementing regenerative principles to rebuild the soil and make it productive again.

These 220 acres he recently purchased for his expansion are adjacent to his old farm, which has been in his family for 150 years. He expects to be able to bring the current organic matter in the soil from its current baseline of about 0.5 percent to about 5 percent over the next two decades.

“This land has been farmed in what I call the trifecta — cotton, corn and peanuts; cotton, corn and peanuts, over and over again. All three crops are really hard on land for different reasons,” he says.

“This soil is, in my mind, completely dead. The biological life just doesn’t exist here anymore, because of intense tillage and the tremendous amount of chemical fertilizers being used on it, as well as pesticides …

What we’ve done is fenced the property. We put about 1,000 cows on the land. There’s nothing for them to eat out here [right now] so we feed them hay and haylage during the period that we’re asking them to transition this land for us. They will be out here for about a month.”

Animals Are an Important Aspect of Regenerative Agriculture

Indeed, animals are an important aspect when it comes to achieving healthy soil in which to grow crops. By urinating and defecating on the land, the animals provide important nourishment for soil microbes.

Harris also spreads perennial grass seed on the bare land, which the cows will help trod into the ground. Besides adding manure, the hoof activity helps break down the hard cap on the land.

“We call this using animals or animal impact to bring about the desired result, which is ultimately to turn this into a pasture, and then later to turn it into a savannah, which we feel best utilizes the rain ration, the energy cycle, the water cycle, and the mineral cycle,” Harris explains.

To get the animals to cover and “treat” the entire 220 acres, Harris entices the cows to move across the land by placing the hay at one end and the water at the other. This helps maximize the impact of their hooves on the land, and helps distribute the waste (manure and urine) more evenly across the property.

Now and then, they also move the feed in order to encourage the cows to take a different path. In short, the idea is to imitate nature as much as possible, which includes the migration of wild herds across the land.

“Nature abhors a monoculture. Nature won’t allow it … Nature wants a smorgasbord of many different microbes and plants and animals living in symbiotic relationships with each other,” Harris says.

“The only way we can maintain a monoculture is through the use of the tools the reductionist science has given us — chemical fertilizers, pesticides, antibiotics, hormones. The monoculture falls apart if you don’t use those things …


Industrial farming has horrible unintended consequences and it is absolutely in conflict with nature. What we do here is an effort to emulate nature. Our best emulation is not good and our worst emulation is horrible. But we get better and better at it.”

Redefining Animal Welfare

As noted by Harris, no farmer sets out to destroy the land on purpose. Everyone believes they’re doing the right thing; that they’re growing the best crops they can and manage their livestock well.

But what does animal welfare really encompass? According to Harris, this term really needs to cover more than the most obvious bare essentials.

“[G]ood animal welfare used to mean you don’t intentionally inflict pain and discomfort on the animal. You keep them fed. You keep them safe. You don’t hurt them. All of us believed that was good animal welfare, and most people still believe that.

To us, now, that is no longer sufficient. For me and my family and my employees, good animal welfare means it is incumbent upon us as herdsmen to create an environment in which the animals can express instinctive behavior.

Cows were born to roam and graze. Chickens were born to scratch and peck. Hogs were born to root and wallow. Those are instinctive behaviors. If they’re deprived of that aptitude, that is poor animal welfare.

If you have a cow on a feedlot, a hog in a gestation crate, a chicken in a battery cage, they’re safe, they’re reasonably comfortable, but they can’t express instinctive behavior.

It’s like putting your child in a closet and saying, ‘This is great. I keep the temperature at 72 degrees. I leave the light on. He’ll never break his leg playing football. He’ll never be abducted. He’ll never be run over by a bus … That may seem like great child rearing — except it’s not.”

Factory-Farmed Versus Pasture-Raised Animals

Concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs) have also changed what people know and expect from a healthy animal. A cow fed on pasture, which is its natural diet, has a lifespan of about 24 years — all without added drugs or vitamins.

Feedlot animals, on the other hand, are typically slaughtered at the age of 17 months, at which point they may weigh in around 1,275 pounds instead of the typical 1,000 pounds of a mature cow.

As noted by Harris, that’s really an unnatural and obscenely obese creature that would not only fail to survive in nature, it wouldn’t even occur.

“If they were left beyond their 17 months in that feedlot environment where they’re gaining 4 to 5 pounds a day, they wouldn’t live very long. I’ve never done that experiment, but I’m sure they wouldn’t live to be 4 years old. That’s the difference,” he says.

“When you eat one of these (grass-fed, pastured) animals, you’re eating a healthy animal in the prime of their life. When you eat that feedlot animal, you’re eating an obese creature that is dying of all the diseases of sedentary lifestyle and obesity that kill people.”

The situation is even worse for pigs and chickens, as the smaller the animal, the more intensive the factory farming methods.

“A cow in a factory farm does not have a great life. A hog in a factory farm has a worse life. And I don’t think there’s a factory farm animal that has as bad a life as a chicken in a factory farm,” Harris says.

In the video below, you’ll find two segments showing how Harris raises his chickens and pigs — a far cry from the sad “prison cells” in which CAFO chickens and pigs spend their lives. Will has 14,000 birds that lay about 10,000 eggs a day, which makes it the largest pastured egg operation in the U.S. The damaged eggs are recycled and fed to the pastured hogs who relish the treat; plus it enhances their diet.

Total Video length: 14:21

Animals Can Rapidly Regenerate Land

Another part of the property (see video at top) has already undergone the animal impact phase and you can clearly see the difference between the two areas. Here the animals’ hooves have broken up the hard soil cover, and feces and urine have been well-trodden into the soil.

Perennial grass seed (about 15 pounds per acre) was spread out, and after being trodden into the ground by the animals for a few short weeks, the animals were removed to allow the grass to grow and mature. These perennial grasses are what will turn this area into a productive pasture and later savannah, as it grows taproots that are nearly 8 feet long — much deeper than annuals.

These mixed grasses will help nourish the soil microbiome, which need the plant interaction. Shallow-rooted annuals are also mixed in to increase diversity, but it’s really the perennials that are the long-term solution. As the annuals become more invasive, Harris will move the cows into the area to “flash graze” on the annuals so they don’t choke out the perennials.

They’ll do that a number of times each year until the perennials have grown deep roots and taken firm hold. At that point, the perennial grasses will outcompete the annuals naturally. It’s really magnificent to see this whole process in transition, and how they’re transforming the landscape.

You have to understand how the cycles work in order to manage the process properly, but once you do, you can rebuild soil quality at a very efficient rate by using regenerative agriculture principles. He is literally creating healthy topsoil hundreds if not thousands of times quicker than it would occur in nature.

Percentage of organic matter in the soil is a good indicator of quality, and Harris has been able to increase organic matter in other areas from less than 0.5 percent to as much as 5 percent in a 20-year period. The cycles are complex however, and there are cycles within cycles that work in a symbiotic fashion. For example, there’s the:

  • Energy cycle: with the sun, where photosynthesis is used to produce grass that feeds the cows. When sunlight hits bare earth, it’s of no use.
  • Carbon cycle: the grass covering can be likened to photosynthesizing tissue that breathes in carbon dioxide, sequestering it in the ground and breathes out oxygen, which is critical for animal and human life. By sequestering it in the soil, where it’s needed, the plants help remove excess carbon dioxide from the air where it does harm.
  • Water cycle: when the soil is hard and degraded, any rain that falls simply runs off and takes topsoil with it. When the soil quality is good, with high amounts of organic matter, it soaks up the water like a sponge. That not only helps retain water, but also the topsoil.

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Economic Challenges of Regenerative Agriculture

Economic challenges are often what prevent farmers from taking the course Harris has taken. It requires an investment of time, effort, energy and resources to regenerate an environment, and for a time it may be difficult to sustain a profit. Part of the solution is to incorporate animals on the land. According to Harris, having healthy, grazing animals is profitable. But it takes a while to get here. You don’t get here in a year or two.

“Unfortunately, here in my part of the world, and I think it’s probably true throughout the world, industrial agricultural practices have degraded the land dramatically,” he says. “The land beneath this grass is an organic medium that’s teeming with life.

It’s just full of living things; some of which you can see; some of which you cannot see. But it’s teeming with life. If you go right across that forest to another field and got a handful of that soil, it is a dead mineral medium. It’s like a handful of tiny glass beads and nothing is living there … The transition from that to this is very expensive, very slow. It requires knowing what you’re doing.”

That said, farmers like Harris not only demonstrate that it’s possible, but that it’s possible to farm using regenerative methods on a large scale. You don’t have to follow a monocrop system just because you’re dealing with large land areas. He also demonstrates the ultimate payoff, not all of which can be calculated in mere dollars and cents.

How does one put a dollar value on healthy, happy animals, a thriving environment and the subsequent increase in food quality produced from both? As noted by Harris:

“I’m a land steward and livestock man. I focus on the health and well-being of the land and animals. The good food that comes from that is almost like a byproduct, but it’s the byproduct we need because consumers buy it and provide the money that allows us to continue to operate and expand in this way.”

Many Objections to Meat Consumption Are Quelled by Pasture Farming

Harris’ practice also addresses some of the primary objections many have to eating meat: that animals are raised inhumanely and that they’re loaded with chemicals, hormones, antibiotics and pesticides, which you then ingest when you eat the meat. It’s important to realize that those objections really only apply to CAFO animals.

Livestock raised within a regenerative agriculture setting are raised as nature intended, live a “full” life in which they’re allowed to express their instinctive behavior, and will actually contribute to your health in profoundly important ways when you eat them. I believe we were designed to eat some form of animal protein. I recommend avoiding CAFO meats, eggs and dairy for the same reasons listed above, but pasture-raised animal protein is, I believe, an important part of a healthy diet.

That said, I also believe you don’t need very much meat. Most Americans eat several times more meat than required for health, and most eat poor-quality CAFO meats. I believe the average person needs 40 to 60 grams of protein a day. That’s a 4-ounce steak at most. And if you eat less meat and other animal products, the cost differences between CAFO and pasture-raised disappear.

“The third thing I think causes people to refrain from eating meat is the concern over animal impact to the environment,” Harris says. “I agree if you’re talking about the confinement animal factory farm model. But I would suggest to you that animal impact is essential for turning this dead land back into productive farming.”

Grazing Is the Most Sensible Way to Manage Productive Land

To give another example of the important role animals serve within the regenerative model, take goats for example. One of the primary purposes of keeping goats is to strategically manage vegetation in lieu of toxic herbicides, as they gnaw weeds down to an extremely low level. There are even companies from which you can rent a herd of goats and sheep to clear a large lot of land of vegetation, or to keep vegetation under control.

“The plant species that goats and sheep prefer are different from the ones cattle prefer. We have virtually no weeds in our part of the world — maybe one — that even goats, sheep or cows won’t eat. Using the three in combination allows us to avoid using herbicides and pesticides on the pastures,” Harris says.

“In my part of the world, land will go back to forest unless you do one of five things: spray it with pesticide (which has many problems), till it (which leaves it open for erosion and requires fossil fuel), burn it (which puts organic matter open to the atmosphere), mow it (which requires fossil fuel and has other problems with organic matter) or grazing.

Of those five possibilities, the one that makes the most sense is grazing. It’s the most environmentally regenerative of the five as well.

I’m 61 years old. My generation never learned how to use animal impact to shape land. My father’s generation was exposed to it, but they fell so deeply in love with internal combustion engines and the tools reductionist science gave us, like chemical fertilizers and pesticides, they forgot about animal impact.

Now that we, my generation, are learning of the unintended consequences of industrial farming, we have to relearn how to use animal impact.”


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The Trouble With Tinnitus


Article Source: Health And Fitness Journal

By Dr. Mercola

Tinnitus, or chronic ringing in your ears, affects about 1 in 5 people. While it’s typically not serious, it can significantly impact your quality of life, and it may get worse with age or be a symptom of an underlying condition, such as age-related hearing loss, ear injury or a circulatory system disorder.1

In the majority of cases, tinnitus is diagnosed after the age of 50 years, however, recent research has shown that tinnitus in youth is surprisingly common and on the rise, likely due to increased exposure to loud music and other environmental noise.2

Worse still, it may be a sign of permanent nerve damage that could predict future hearing impairment.

One-Quarter of Youth May Experience Tinnitus, Risk Hearing Loss Later in Life

In a study of 170 students between the ages of 11 and 17 years, researchers from McMaster University in Canada found “risky listening habits,” including exposure to loud noise at parties or concerts, listening to music with ear buds and use of mobile phones excluding texting, were the norm.

More than half of the study participants reported experiencing tinnitus in the past, such as experiencing ringing in the ears for a day following a loud concert.

This is considered a warning sign; however, nearly 29 percent of the students were found to have already developed chronic tinnitus, as evidenced by a psychoacoustic examination conducted in a sound booth.3

Youth with and without tinnitus had a similar ability to hear, but those with tinnitus had significantly reduced tolerance for loud noise and tended to be more protective of their hearing.

Reduced sound level tolerance is a sign of damage to the auditory nerves because, when nerves used to process sound are damaged, it prompts brain cells to increase their sensitivity to noise, essentially making sounds seem louder than they are.

Prevention Is the Best Solution to Tinnitus

Auditory nerve injury that’s associated with tinnitus and heightened sensitivity to loud noises cannot be detected by typical hearing tests, which is why it’s sometimes called “hidden hearing loss.” Further, such damage is permanent and tends to worsen over time, causing increasing hearing loss later in life.

Because there is no known cure, the best solution is prevention. Study author Larry Roberts, Ph.D., of McMaster University’s Department of Psychology, Neuroscience and Behaviour has compared the emerging risks from loud noises to early warnings about smoking.

At this point, many people are unaware that listening to loud music via earbuds or at parties may be permanently damaging their hearing, particularly since they may still hear normally at this point in time.

If more people were aware of the risks, more would take steps to turn down the volume and give their ears a break. Roberts told Science Daily:4

“It’s a growing problem and I think it’s going to get worse … My personal view is that there is a major public health challenge coming down the road in terms of difficulties with hearing …

The levels of sound exposure that are quite commonplace in our environment, particularly among youth, appear to be sufficient to produce hidden cochlear injuries … The message is, ‘Protect your ears.'”

Tinnitus Is Associated With Psychiatric Disorders and Stress

In adults, the majority of people with tinnitus (77 percent) may suffer from co-existing psychiatric disorders ranging from anxiety to personality disorders. Further, 62 percent of tinnitus patients may suffer from depressive disorders while 45 percent may have anxiety disorders.5

Further, there appears to be a close link between tinnitus and stress, such that stress may make tinnitus worse and vice versa. In one study, emotional exhaustion — or the feeling of being drained due to chronic stress — was a strong predictor of tinnitus severity.6

In addition, chronic stress may be as large a risk factor for developing tinnitus as exposure to occupational noise. Research has found that exposure to highly stressful situations and occupational noise each double the risk of tinnitus.7

Further, stress is especially influential in the transition from mild to severe tinnitus, with researchers concluding, “Stress management strategies should be included in hearing conservation programs, especially for individuals with mild tinnitus who report a high stress load.”8

Also of note, many people with tinnitus first noticed the ringing in their ears during a stressful life event, such as divorce, being laid off, sickness in family members, accidents or surgery. As noted in the Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery, and Psychiatry (JNNP):9

These events can heighten the brain’s arousal, and the tinnitus may be noted cortically [by the cerebral cortex]. This interaction between reduced auditory sensation and brain compensation might explain why some people are very bothered by their tinnitus and others just adjust to it.”

The researchers have suggested that tinnitus is not simply a condition affecting the auditory system but rather is neuropsychiatric in nature, which would explain why it often occurs alongside cognitive and behavioral symptoms.

Other Tinnitus Associations to Be Aware Of: Sleep, Trauma, Headaches and More

Tinnitus is often described as a symptom, not a disease in itself, and it may result from a variety of conditions. Traumatic brain injury (TBI) is one common cause, with nearly 40 percent of military personnel with TBI also experiencing tinnitus.10

Tinnitus is also associated with pain disorders and headaches, including migraines, and often leads to sleep difficulties such as delayed sleep, mid-sleep awakenings and chronic fatigue. In addition, tinnitus is also associated with cognitive deficits, including slowed cognitive processing speed and problems with attention.11

There are different types of tinnitus as well, and the variety may give clues as to its origin. For instance, tinnitus may occur in one or both ears and be described as:12

  • Throbbing or pulsing, which may be due to vascular tumors near the ear
  • High-pitched and continuous (this is most common)
  • Clicking, which may be related to muscle spasms in the roof of your mouth, which cause the Eustachian tube in your ear to open and close; temporomandibular joint (TMJ) issues may also cause a clicking sound in your ear
  • Buzzing or humming

Abnormal bone growth in the middle ear, known as otosclerosis, may also cause tinnitus, as can damage to your vestibulocochlear nerve, which transmits sound from your ear to your brain. Such damage may occur from acoustic neuroma tumor or drug toxicity, for instance.

Additionally, certain medications, including certain cancer drugs, sedatives, and anti-inflammatories like ibuprophen and aspirin may also trigger tinnitus. 

If this condition is causing you serious emotional or physical distress, seek professional help. In many cases, however, natural interventions such as those described below may help.  

Effective Tinnitus Treatments

A slew of pharmaceuticals, including antidepressants, anxiety drugs, mood stabilizers and anticonvulsants, have been used to treat tinnitus.  A meta-analysis of a range of tinnitus management strategies revealed only antidepressants had a possible benefit, but even that study could not conclude that antidepressants were the answer.13

Considering their risks, and the fact that some antidepressants may cause ringing in the ears, non-drug options present the best course of action — and of these there are many.14

In many cases natural interventions, including the following, may help:

Cognitive behavioral therapy: which has been shown to improve quality of life in people with tinnitus.15 Even internet-based guided CBT has been shown to effectively manage tinnitus.16

Acupuncture: which was found to improve tinnitus severity and patients’ quality of life.17

Nutritional interventions, herbal remedies and melatonin: specifically, zinc deficiency and vitamin B12 deficiency may be associated with tinnitus.18,19 Herbal remedies, including Japanese cornel, dogwood, bayberry, hawthorn leaf, ginkgo and black cohosh may also be useful.20

In animal studies, ginkgo extract led to significant improvement in tinnitus, including complete relief in some cases.21 Melatonin also shows promise, and in one study melatonin supplementation led to a significant decrease in tinnitus intensity and improved sleep quality in patients with chronic tinnitus.22

Organic black coffee: research has shown that women who consumed higher amounts of caffeine (mostly in the form of coffee) were less likely to have tinnitus.23

Specifically, women who consumed less than 150 milligrams of caffeine a day (the amount in about 12 ounces of coffee) were 15 percent more likely to develop tinnitus than those who consumed 450 milligrams to 599 milligrams.24 The researchers weren’t sure why caffeine may reduce tinnitus risk, although past research has shown it has a direct effect on the inner ear or may be involved through its role in stimulating your central nervous system.

Stress management: including exercise, relaxation exercises and the Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT), is important for tinnitus treatment and prevention.

Simple Home Remedies May Provide Relief

If tinnitus is interfering with your quality of life, home remedies may help to relieve your symptoms (and if not, there’s no harm done in trying). Organic Facts compiled several examples worth considering:25

? Warm salt pillow: fill a fabric bag with warm salt. Lie down on the pillow and alternate each ear on the bag. Reheat the salt as necessary and repeat several times a day.

? Foot baths: alternate your feet in hot and cold foot baths. This may dilate your blood vessels and stimulate blood flow toward your head, helping to relieve tinnitus symptoms.

? Garlic oil: blend six cloves of fresh garlic with 1 cup of olive oil (the garlic should be finely minced in the process). Let the mixture steep for a week then strain out the garlic. Apply a few drops of the oil in each ear.

? Music: soft soothing music, white noise, nature sounds or even humming to yourself may help relieve tinnitus.

? Stimulate your little toe: use a toothpick to gently stimulate the edge of your little toe near the toenail. This should result in a tingling sensation near the top of your toe. Doing this once a day may relieve tinnitus symptoms.

? Ear drumming: gently drum on each ear using your fingertips for two to three minutes twice a day to help relieve ringing.

? Jawbone massage: massage the hollow and top areas of your jawbone behind your earlobes using coconut oil or sesame oil. You can also apply a hot compress to this neck area for relief.

How to Protect Your Ears From Loud Noise Exposures

While there are many causes of tinnitus, loud noise exposure is a primary culprit, especially among youth. It’s far easier to prevent related damage to your ears than it is to treat it. The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends teens and young people take the following steps to protect their hearing and avoid hearing loss (although the advice applies to people of all ages):

? Turn down the volume on personal audio devices

? Try a decibel meter app for your smartphone, which will flash a warning if the volume is turned up to a potentially damaging level

? Wear earplugs when you visit noisy venues (or when using loud equipment like lawnmowers or leaf blowers)

? Use carefully fitted noise-cancelling earphones/headphones, which may allow you to listen comfortably at a lower volume

? Limit the amount of time you spend engaged in noisy activities

? Take regular listening breaks when using personal audio devices

? Restrict the daily use of personal audio devices to less than one hour


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Article Source: Health And Fitness Journal
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