Skyrocketing Male Infertility May Threaten Mankind’s Survival

Article Source: Health And Fitness Journal

By Dr. Mercola

Human fertility is in a downward spiral, scientists warn and modern life — with its technological and chemical “progress” — is likely to blame. Female infertility tends to get the most attention, but in this case, it’s male infertility that has made headlines, as recent research shows sperm concentration and quality has dramatically declined in recent decades.1,2,3,4,5

According to the first of two recently published papers,6 a meta-analysis of 185 studies and the largest of its kind, sperm counts around the world declined by more than 50 percent, to 47 million sperm per milliliter (mL), between 1973 and 2013, and continue to dwindle.

The most significant declines were found in samples from men in North America, Europe, Australia and New Zealand, where many had sperm concentrations below 40 million/mL. (Men suspected of infertility, such as those attending IVF clinics, were excluded from the study.) Overall, men in these countries had a 52.4 percent decline in sperm concentration and a 59.3 percent decline in total sperm count (sperm concentration multiplied by the total volume of an ejaculate).

Male Infertility Rates Warn of Impending Human Extinction

According to the World Health Organization, 40 million sperm per mL is considered the cutoff point at which a man will have trouble fertilizing an egg, which means half of the men in most developed nations are near or at the point of being infertile. South American, Asian and African men had no noticeable decline, although this discrepancy could be due to the smaller sample sizes obtained from those countries.

As noted by Frederick vom Saal, professor emeritus of biological sciences at the University of Missouri, who was not involved in the study, these findings are a wake-up call and a warning that “we are in a death spiral of infertility in men.” Indeed, lead author Dr. Hagai Levine, who called the results “profound” and “shocking,”7 worries that human extinction is a very real possibility, should the trend continue unabated.8

Danish researcher and pediatrician Dr. Niels Skakkebæk, who in 1992 published a paper9 showing male fertility declined between 1940 and 1990, also commented on the findings, saying:

“These two new papers add significantly to existing literature on adverse trends in male reproductive health problems … Here in Denmark, there is an epidemic of infertility. More than 20 percent of Danish men do not father children. Most worryingly [in Denmark] is that semen quality is in general so poor that an average young Danish man has much fewer sperm than men had a couple of generations ago, and more than 90 percent of their sperm are abnormal.”

Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals Wreak Havoc on Men’s Reproductive Ability

The second paper,10 published in PLOS Genetics, suggests endocrine disrupting chemicals are to blame for the dramatic decline in reproductive health among men.11 It found that exposing male mice to ethinyl estradiol, a synthetic sex hormone found in birth control pills, causes developmental problems in the reproductive tract, thereby lowering sperm counts.

While men do not use birth control pills, they’re exposed to them nonetheless through contaminated water and other sources. Men are also exposed to a number of other endocrine disrupting chemicals in their day-to-day lives,12 thanks to the pernicious use of endocrine disrupting chemicals in plastics, personal care products, herbicides such as glyphosate13 (which is a very common contaminant in non-organic foods) and more.

The study also confirmed that the effects of environmental estrogens have generational effects. Males are successively becoming increasingly more sterile with each passing generation. As reported by Environmental Health News:14

“They observed adverse effects starting in the first generation of mouse lineages where each generation was exposed for a brief period shortly after birth. The impacts worsened in the second generation compared to the first, and by the third generation the scientists were finding animals that could not produce sperm at all.

This latter condition was not seen in the first two generations exposed. Details of the experimental results actually suggested that multiple generations of exposure may have increased male sensitivity to the chemical.”

Testicular cancer is also on the rise, as are congenital malformations of the penis, and these problems have also been linked to endocrine disrupting chemicals. Experiments on fathead minnows show endocrine disrupters turn the fish into a sterile intersex species, meaning they have both male and female reproductive systems yet are incapable of reproducing.15

While women are also adversely affected by these kinds of chemicals, men are disproportionally affected due to the way the male reproductive system develops in utero. At the outset, male and female fetuses are fairly identical. Sex hormones are what drive the differentiation between the sexes. Alas, when synthetic chemicals that mimic these all-important hormones enter into the mix, it confuses the process and interferes with the biological process of turning the fetus into a male.

Corruption and Lies Threaten Human Health and Survival

The Unites States permits more than 84,000 chemicals to be used in household products, cosmetics, food and food packaging, and a majority of these have never been tested for safety. According to the U.S. Government Accountability Office, 85 percent of new chemical applications include no testing whatsoever.

What’s worse, the chemical industry has a long history of lying about the safety of their wares, and its powerful lobby has allowed the industry to saturate the world in extremely dangerous chemicals with little or no oversight.

As revealed by Grant David Gillham,16 a political consultant who ran Citizens for Fire Safety, the American Chemistry Council17 (the chemical industry’s trade group) flat out lied when it said it had no involvement with Citizens for Fire Safety. The group was in fact created with the specific aim of defending the use of flame retardants in furniture — despite the fact that they don’t work and are profoundly toxic — to protect the industry’s interests.

Everything an expectant mother takes into her body can potentially get passed along to her developing child, and scientific evidence strongly suggests exposure to chemicals is contributing to cancer, reproductive abnormalities, early puberty18,19,20 and a host of other endocrine, neurological and metabolic problems.

In a 2005 study,21 the Environmental Working Group (EWG) found an average of 200 industrial chemicals and pollutants in the umbilical cord blood of infants born in the U.S. Tests detected a total of 287 chemicals from pesticides, consumer products, food packaging and environmental waste, including BPA, flame retardants, PCBs and even DDT. As noted in a 2009 scientific statement from the Endocrine Society:22

“The evidence for adverse reproductive outcomes (infertility, cancers, malformations) from exposure to endocrine disrupting chemicals is strong, and there is mounting evidence for effects on other endocrine systems, including thyroid, neuroendocrine, obesity and metabolism, and insulin and glucose homeostasis …

Effects of endocrine disrupting chemicals may be transmitted to further generations through germline epigenetic modifications or from continued exposure of offspring to the environmental insult.”

Hormone Disrupting Chemicals — The Dirty Dozen

As mentioned, endocrine disrupting chemicals specifically alter the normal function of your hormones.23 A hormone’s job is to interact with the cells in your body, sending signals that instruct them to perform certain tasks, and endocrine disrupting chemicals interfere with this communication process. In 2013, the EWG24 identified 12 of the most troublesome hormone wreckers.

Surprisingly, along with some very well-known endocrine disruptors,25,26 the review also identified several you might not normally associate with hormone disruption, such as lead, mercury and arsenic. The EWG’s “dirty dozen” list for the 12 worst endocrine disruptors are outlined in the following table.

I’ve written about many of these in prior articles, so for more information about any particular one, please follow the links. For a list of some of the most common sources of these hormone wreckers, please see “10 Sources of Endocrine Disruptors and How to Avoid Them.”

? Bisphenol-A (BPA)

? Dioxin

? Atrazine

? Phthalates

? Perchlorate

? Fire retardants27

? Lead

? Mercury

? Arsenic

? Perfluorinated chemicals (PFCs)

? Organophosphate pesticides28

? Glycol ethers

Other Root Causes of Infertility

While endocrine disrupting chemicals are high on the list of contributing factors, they’re not the only ones. Other variables that can affect a man’s reproductive ability include:

  • Electromagnetic field (EMF) exposures
  • Nutritional deficiencies and/or food intolerances
  • Stress
  • Immune deficiencies
  • Obesity and/or inactivity

These subtle but critical factors synergistically interact to impact the quality of a woman’s eggs and a man’s sperm, affecting a couple’s ability to conceive and the health of the embryo. For example, while a gluten intolerance alone cannot cause infertility, the resulting gut inflammation can affect your nutrient absorption and lead to deficiencies in nutrients you need for optimal sperm, egg and hormone production and a healthy pregnancy.

In terms of diet, certain nutrients are also more important than others when it comes to fertility. Animal-based omega-3 fats and vitamin D are two vital components that can have a significant impact. Both are also crucial during pregnancy to protect the health of both mother and child.

Optimizing your vitamin D could be one of the most important things a woman could possibly do in pregnancy, as research clearly shows that achieving a vitamin D serum level of at least 40 ng/mL (100 nmol/L) reduces the risk of premature birth by 60 percent. It also helps protect against a number or pregnancy complications, as well as autism spectrum disorder and Type 1 diabetes in the child.  

Microwave Exposure Is Decimating Male Reproductive Health

I personally believe this may be the most significant factor for the observed decrease in male sperm count. You may not recall this, but it was well known in World War II that radar operators could easily create sterility by exposing the groin to radar waves. Radar is microwave radiation and was the precursor to cellphones that use similar frequencies.

In May 2011, the cancer research arm of the World Health Organization, the International Agency for Research on Cancer, classified radiofrequency EMF — such as the radiation from cellphones — a class 2B carcinogen, meaning it is possibly carcinogenic to humans.29 Research also suggests microwave radiation may play a significant role in male reproductive health.

While evaluating studies showing you can radically reduce biological microwave damage using calcium channel blockers, Dr. Martin Pall discovered a previously unknown mechanism of biological harm from microwaves emitted by cellphones and other wireless technologies.30

Embedded in your cell membranes are voltage gated calcium channels (VGCCs). It turns out these VGCCs are activated by microwaves, and when that happens, about 1 million calcium ions per second are released.

This massive excess of intracellular calcium then stimulates the release of nitric oxide (NO) inside your cell and mitochondria, which combines with superoxide to form peroxynitrite. Not only does peroxynitrites cause oxidative damage, they also create hydroxyl free radicals — the most destructive free radicals known to man.

Hydroxyl free radicals decimate mitochondrial and nuclear DNA, their membranes and proteins. The end result is mitochondrial dysfunction, which we now know is at the heart of most chronic disease.

The tissues with the highest density of VGCCs are your brain, the pacemaker in your heart and male testes. (A man’s testicles are also more vulnerable to EMFs for the fact that they’re on the outside of the body. Women’s eggs, on the other hand, are somewhat protected and shielded from EMFs due to them being further inside the body.31)

What this research tells us is that excessive microwave exposure can be a direct contributor to conditions such as Alzheimer’s, anxiety, depression, autism, cardiac arrhythmias and infertility.32 Indeed, other studies have linked low-level electromagnetic radiation (EMR) exposure from cellphones to an 8 percent reduction in sperm motility and a 9 percent reduction in sperm viability.33,34

Wi-Fi equipped laptop computers have also been linked to decreased sperm motility and an increase in sperm DNA fragmentation after just four hours of use!35 So, if you care about your reproductive health, avoid carrying your cellphone in your pockets or on your hip, and avoid using portable computers and tablets on your lap.

Strategies to Treat Infertility and Boost Fertility Naturally

Considering there are many factors contributing to male infertility, any comprehensive list of recommendations is bound to be a long one. That said, following are a number of common sense suggestions that will address the root causes of infertility. For more detailed information on treating infertility naturally, including specific information on all fertility nutrients, fertility diet, what to avoid and the influence of stress and sleep on fertility, check out Iva Keene’s home study fertility program, “The Natural Fertility Prescription.”36

? Minimize your exposure to toxic chemicals

Exposure to environmental toxins, both in utero and neonatally, may dramatically affect adult fertility. Compounds that can alter hormone function and result in adverse reproductive health effects include but are not limited to heavy metals; endocrine disruptors; phthalates (associated with testicular toxicity and hormonal disruption even at low levels); VCH chemicals used in rubber tires, plastics and pesticides; PAHs released from cigarettes, car fumes and road tar; pesticides and herbicides; formaldehyde; bisphenols found in plastic products; organic solvents; dry-cleaning chemicals and paint fumes.

For a list of suggestions on how to minimize your exposure to these kinds of toxins, please see “Your Body’s Chemical Burden.”

>>>>> Click Here <<<<<

? Avoid drinking unfiltered tap water

Our waterways are constantly being polluted by industrial waste and byproducts, pharmaceutical drugs (such as birth control pills and other hormone therapies), pesticides and commercial cleaning products. Heavy metals are the most common of the reproductive toxins reaching our water supply through industrial waste, jet fuel exhaust residue and a variety of other sources.

? Eat an optimal fertility diet

An optimal fertility diet is about what to avoid as much as it is about what to include. Eat REAL food, ideally organic, to avoid pesticide residues, and locally grown. Processed and packaged foods are a common source not only of pesticides but also chemicals such as bisphenol-A and phthalates.

Key elements are good-quality protein sources (organic and grass fed when it comes to animal products) and healthy fats.

Avoid factory farmed animal products, harmful trans fats and processed vegetable oils. Also avoid unfermented soy products, as soybeans contain phytoestrogens that act on hormones. For an added boost, consider adding more of the following “sperm-enhancing” foods:37 organic pastured eggs, spinach, bananas, dark chocolate, asparagus, broccoli, pomegranates, walnuts, garlic and all zinc-rich foods (as zinc plays a key role in sperm development).

? Avoid common allergens

An overactive immune system is more likely to attack its own body cells, and the link between food intolerances and anti-sperm antibodies is well established. The two most widely spread food intolerances are gluten and dairy. Factory farmed milk can also be a source of estrogen that can harm a man’s fertility. Hormones found in factory farmed cows’ milk include:

  • Prolactin
  • Somatostatin
  • Melatonin
  • Oxytocin
  • Growth hormone
  • Luteinizing releasing hormone
  • Thyroid stimulating hormone
  • Estrogens
  • Progesterone
  • Insulin
  • Corticosteroids and many more

? Minimize microwave exposure

Avoid carrying your cellphone on your body while it is on, and avoid using laptops and tablets on your lap. More generally, it would also be wise to limit your total exposure by turning your Wi-Fi off at night, and make your bedroom an EMF-free zone.

? Get checked for sexually transmitted diseases (STDs)

Some STDs can be asymptomatic, meaning you may not be aware you have them as there are no obvious symptoms. One such STD is a chlamydia infection. In men, chlamydia can lead to sperm abnormalities including sperm antibodies.

In women, it can lead to scarring, blocked tubes and miscarriage. Most STDs are easy to treat, so it pays for both partners to have an STD check. There is no point in only one partner going for a test as the other partner can reinfect them again.

? Avoid coffee, smoking and alcohol

While organic black coffee has a number of health benefits, fertility does not appear to be one of them. On the contrary, studies suggest it decreases fertility. In one study, men who drank three or more caffeinated beverages per day during the conception phase raised their partner’s risk of miscarriage by more than 70 percent.38

Alcohol is also harmful to both eggs and sperm, and increases the risk of miscarriage. Needless to say, smoking and recreational drugs also have an adverse effect on fertility, reducing the size of your testes and lowering your sperm count.

? Get regular exercise

According to recent research, getting at least 30 minutes of exercise three times a week can help boost men’s sperm count. And, to maintain healthy swimmers, you need to stay active —  within a month of quitting exercise, sperm count starts to wane again.39 That said, be aware that bicycling may have an adverse effect on your sperm. In one study, men who routinely cycled 300 kilometers per week ended up having fertility problems.40

? Normalize your weight

Obesity contributes to infertility, so normalizing your weight can help improve your sperm quality and quantity. For guidance, please review my free nutrition plan.

? Limit hot baths and saunas

While hot baths and saunas have a myriad of health benefits, the heat can take a toll on sperm. In one three-year-long study, 5 of 11 men who quit taking hot baths were able to raise their sperm count by nearly 500 percent. So, limiting hot baths and saunas for a few months may be helpful during the conception phase. I do a far-infrared sauna nearly every day, but I put a small freezer block of ice next to my groin to keep the temperature low.

? Combat stress

From making sure you’re getting sufficient amounts of sleep and exercising regularly to incorporating a tool like the Emotional Freedom Techniques or taking up yoga or meditation, there are many ways to address stress. Try a few different things and stick to whatever works.

? Clean up your home environment 

Use natural cleaning products or make your own. Avoid those containing 2-butoxyethanol (EGBE) and methoxydiglycol (DEGME) — two toxic glycol ethers that can compromise your fertility and cause fetal harm. Look for products made by companies that are Earth-friendly, animal-friendly, sustainable, certified organic and GMO-free.

This applies to everything from food and personal care products to building materials, carpeting, paint, furniture, mattresses and others.

When buying new products such as furniture, mattresses or carpet padding, consider buying flame retardant-free varieties, containing naturally less flammable materials, such as leather, wool, cotton, silk and Kevlar. Avoid stain- and water-resistant clothing, furniture and carpets to avoid perfluorinated chemicals. Use a vacuum cleaner with a HEPA filter to remove contaminated house dust. This is one of the major routes of exposure to flame retardant chemicals.

Also switch over to organic toiletries, including shampoo, toothpaste, antiperspirants and cosmetics. EWG’s Skin Deep database41 can help you find personal care products that are free of phthalates and other potentially dangerous chemicals.

Other Related Health Posts:

Buy and Sell text links

Article Source: Health And Fitness Journal
If you like all this stuff here then you can buy me a pack of cigarettes.


Successful Vitamin D Project Aims to Change Standard of Care for Pregnant Women Across US

Article Source: Health And Fitness Journal

By Dr. Mercola

Despite being simple and inexpensive to address, vitamin D deficiency is epidemic around the world. It’s been estimated that if vitamin D levels were raised among the general population, it could prevent chronic diseases that claim nearly a million lives throughout the world each year. Raising vitamin D levels among pregnant women is of particular concern, as insufficiency affects both the mother and her developing child.

Protect Our Children NOW! is a GrassrootsHealth campaign launched in 2015 to combat vitamin D deficiency among pregnant women worldwide. Research by GrassrootsHealth shows 40 to 60 percent of preterm births could be prevented by raising pregnant women’s vitamin D to a level of 40 nanograms per milliliter (ng/mL). This really seems to be the sweet spot, above which the risk for many complications and health problems dramatically decline.

Preterm birth is defined as a birth before 37 weeks’ gestation. One of the reasons GrassrootsHealth created a field trial around pregnancy and preterm birth is because there’s a clearly defined timeframe — babies either are or are not preterm, which makes the results unambiguous. Preterm birth is cited as the reason for 28 percent of newborn deaths during the first month of life.

Preterm babies are also more likely to suffer health problems later on, including a higher risk of ADHD, cerebral palsy, autism, asthma, intestinal problems, pneumonia, vision problems, hearing loss and dental problems. As of 2015, the U.S. had a preterm birth rate of 9.6 percent, meaning nearly 1 in 10 babies were born prematurely. The U.S., while one of the most advanced countries in the world, ranked No. 130 in preterm births out of 184 countries in 2010.

The Benefits of Optimizing Vitamin D During Pregnancy

Protect our Children NOW! is a cost-effective, reproducible program that protects children by ensuring pregnant mothers are vitamin D sufficient. Aside from halving the risk for preterm birth, vitamin D optimization also reduces the mother’s risk of preeclampsia, gestational diabetes and prenatal infections by approximately 50 percent.1

Research also confirms there is a lifelong impact for children born of vitamin D deficient mothers, ranging from childhood allergies and asthma to more frequent colds and flu, dental cavities, diabetes, autism and even strokes and cardiovascular disease in later life. All of these conditions can be reduced by optimizing vitamin D during pregnancy.2,3,4

According to the 2015 Save the Children report5 on the health of mothers around the world, the U.S. ranked worst among developed countries. American women face a 1 in 1,800 risk of dying during pregnancy, and are more than 10 times as likely to die from pregnancy-related causes than women in Belarus, Poland and Australia. We now have an unprecedented opportunity to change this abysmal track record.

Protect Our Children NOW!

Protect Our Children NOW! was initiated by Carole Baggerly, founder of GrassrootsHealth,6 which has a panel of more than 40 vitamin D researchers that provide scientific advice. Dr. Carol Wagner, a neonatologist, is the lead principal investigator for Protect Our Children NOW! The program was initially implemented at the Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC), a federally qualified health care center.

Vitamin D supplements were made available to all pregnant women in 5,000 IU capsules, donated by Bio-Tech Pharmacal. Pregnant women residing in South Carolina were able to enroll in this community demonstration project at no cost. The insurers paid for the vitamin D tests. Now, the results are in and not only has it led to a successful change in practice at MUSC, but the data also confirms that vitamin D optimization does indeed reduce premature birth.

Every day, there are approximately 1,000 preterm births in the U.S. By making vitamin D optimization standard of care across the nation, that number could likely be less than 500. According to estimates by March of Dimes, each preterm birth has a price tag of about $50,000. By making this one simple change in care, the U.S. could save more than $9 billion per year, including $4.5 billion in Medicaid costs.

Over the past two years, Protect our Children NOW! has created a successful template for standard of care that is now ready to be implemented throughout the U.S. in any hospital willing to participate. To start, the project needs your help to expand its support to at least three major hospitals and their pregnant populations. To begin the implementation of the program, they need $200,000 this year. To fund all three hospitals, a total of $1 million is needed. I urge you to make a donation right now. By doing so, you will help save thousands of lives, and improve the health of both mothers and children.

Your Support Is Needed Now

I believe optimizing vitamin D during pregnancy is one of the most important things you can do for your and your child’s health — it’s so simple and inexpensive, and the benefits are so dramatic, it’s really a no-brainer. Unfortunately, many women are still unaware of this simple strategy, and many doctors are also underinformed. Protect our Children NOW! can change all of that, and I hope you will help them do just that.

So, please, make a donation right now, and I will match the first $25,000, dollar for dollar. I know we are constantly asking for your support but these are noble causes, and I would not ask if I were not donating first, so I appreciate your consideration.

>>>>> Click Here <<<<<

Our Goal — Improve Health Outcomes for Pregnant Women and Their Babies

One of the things that makes this initiative so exciting is that Blue Cross Blue Shield is helping at the state level and will be helping create some statewide educational programs. This is great news, since the high profile of this insurance company will increase the chances of eventually getting the standard of care changed nationwide. Blue Cross endorsement has the potential to EXPLODE this initiative across the country and could be a very strategic leverage of anything you are able to donate for support.

As with the initial South Carolina project, your donation will allow GrassrootsHealth to implement a “change in standard of care” for the entire pregnant population (an estimated 3,000 women per hospital) in each of the three hospitals for two years, after which the outcomes of each community project will be published.

The change in care includes vitamin D testing for all pregnant women upon their initial obstetrics visit. If their level is below the minimum target of 40 ng/mL, they will receive free vitamin D supplements. A second and third follow-up test will be administered about 8 to 12 weeks, and 24 weeks after the initial visit. Protect our Children NOW! will also provide the following categories of support to participating hospitals:

  • A one-time grant to help pay for internal data collection and extraction, project leader compensation, and ongoing implementation and communication with staff
  • Customization of infrastructure of the GrassrootsHealth protocol to meet the specific needs of the hospital and its community. This includes the institutional review board application within the hospital, definition of the measurements to be used to quantify results, custom literature, educational courses for their doctors, and project management by GrassrootsHealth
  • Analysis of the health and lab test data by GrassrootsHealth on a bimonthly basis to a) provide ongoing direction to the local project manager and b) provide critical information to patients and to remind them of the need to take their supplements and to do their vitamin D tests at specified times. This methodology is key to the compliance of both patients and doctors with the program protocols
  • Disseminating outcomes through the creation of a scientific publication of the results; meeting with state and local officials to promote awareness and providing additional educational sessions

Research Supports Vitamin D Optimization During Pregnancy

The science supporting vitamin D optimization during pregnancy has been demonstrated in several randomized trials. To that, we can now add the large population study produced by the Protect our Children NOW! project at MUSC. The results of this research were published July 24 in PLoS One.7 As noted in a recent press release:

“This first-of-its kind study demonstrated significant results by changing the standard of care for pregnant women. The goal was to help pregnant women achieve a vitamin D serum level of at least 40 ng/mL (100 nmol/L) — which has been demonstrated to be the threshold for benefit in previous randomized trials …

This population study included over 1,000 pregnant women at the Medical University of South Carolina. Results found that women who achieved a 25-hydroxyvitamin D serum level of ? 40 ng/mL (100 nmol/L) had a 60 percent lower risk of preterm birth compared to those with levels < 20 ng/ml (50 nmol/L).

Two randomized controlled trials with vitamin D and pregnancy outcomes and an associated post-hoc analysis by researchers at the Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC) showed a 59 percent lower risk of preterm births with 25-hydroxyvitamin D levels of ?40 ng/ml (100 nmol/L) compared to women with concentrations ? 20 ng/ml (the current sufficient level recommended by the Institute of Medicine).

This new population study of all pregnant women at the medical center, using the implementation services of GrassrootsHealth and their Protect our Children NOW! program, has confirmed that results can be replicated in a much larger population.”

Among non-Caucasian women, the preterm rate prior to the start of the study was 18 percent. Those who achieved a vitamin D level of 40 ng/mL by their second test had a 78 percent lower preterm birth rate — reducing the preterm birth rate to just 4 percent!

preterm birth rate for women
preterm birth rate non-white women

GrassrootsHealth has also compiled data from its D*action participants and other partner institutions, which clearly shows that vitamin D serum levels do not increase linearly with dosage. For that reason, it’s actually quite difficult to reach toxic levels, and no signs of toxicity were found in the study population. As noted by Baggerly:

“It is seldom that we find a solution to a major health problem that is demonstrably simple, safe and effective, but we have that here. Prevention is the key to health — not treatment of the disease. A hospital in Columbia, SC, Palmetto, is starting their implementation based on these findings. Funding is needed to continue this implementation. We hope you will help us support this initiative for the next generation of people.”

>>>>> Click Here <<<<<

Pregnant? Join GrassrootsHealth Study

If you are currently 12 to 17 weeks pregnant, you can join the join the GrassrootsHealth pregnancy study for free and test your vitamin D level from the comfort of your own home. If you are planning a pregnancy, or are more than 17 weeks pregnant, you can take control of your and your child’s health by using the D*Action test kit. It’s one of the most cost-effective ways to monitor your vitamin D status.

Keep in mind that while most prenatal vitamins contain some vitamin D, the amount is unlikely to be high enough to raise your level to 40 ng/mL. Also remember that the only way to ensure vitamin D is suffice is to get tested, and to tailor your dosage to achieve at least 40 ng/mL. Ideally, you’ll want to achieve a level of 40 ng/mL as early as possible in your pregnancy. Breastfeeding women should also supplement with 6,400 IUs of vitamin D3 per day to optimize your child’s health.8

Other Related Health Posts:

Buy and Sell text links

Article Source: Health And Fitness Journal
If you like all this stuff here then you can buy me a pack of cigarettes.

Comments Off on Successful Vitamin D Project Aims to Change Standard of Care for Pregnant Women Across US.

Why Chili Peppers and Spicy Foods Trigger Hiccups

Article Source: Health And Fitness Journal

By Dr. Mercola

I love spicy foods and enjoy the benefits of the spicy chemical in peppers — capsaicin — that may improve health. Chili peppers, one of the main sources of capsaicin, are a staple in diets of Central America, Asia and India. Even in the U.S. there are many who believe “the spicier the better.”

One recent food industry report found the number of people who enjoy spicy foods is growing, up to 54 percent from 46 percent in 2009.1,2 The same report found those between 18 and 34 were the most likely to order spicy food from a restaurant menu. Interestingly, the heat you experience from the chili pepper is a protection for the plant, designed to make you not want to eat them.

As far as scientists know, humans are the only animal who willingly chooses to eat chili peppers.3 On some level you may have learned to tolerate the heat, and may even crave the peppers. This ability to desensitize to the heat in peppers is well-documented, but other studies also demonstrate it may not play as large a role in your desire for spicy peppers as once thought.4

Researchers from Pennsylvania State University dug further and discovered people who enjoyed hot peppers also enjoyed sensation-seeking, including activities like riding roller coasters or exploring. Interestingly, individuals who enjoyed the peppers didn’t feel any less heat from the capsaicin than those who didn’t enjoy hot foods. In other words, this study group didn’t demonstrate desensitization to the peppers.

Your preference for spicy foods may be determined by not only your personality type, but also your genetics.5 Using identical and non-identical twins from Finland, researchers evaluated their responses to capsaicin-laced jelly. Genetic factors accounted for a wide range in variation between people who perceived the spicy jelly as pleasant or unpleasant. Those who did find the experience pleasant shared a genetic variance.

Spicy Food May Trigger Hiccups

If you love a bit of heat with your meal, you’re in luck, as spicy foods are some of the best for your health. The capsaicinoid found in the in the food has been linked to the prevention of chronic diseases. Coupled with their high concentration of vitamins and antioxidants, those spicy peppers are a unique superfood, if you can tolerate the heat. However, while tasty and healthy, these little spice bombs may also trigger the hiccups.

Hiccups may be triggered from stomach distension or irritating the nerve to your diaphragm when you drink too quickly. Spicy peppers don’t trigger hiccups in this way though. Although the exact way in which the pepper triggers hiccups has not been definitively established, scientists do know that not everyone gets hiccups from chili peppers.

Although some people get hiccups just anticipating eating hot peppers, others never get them. The chemical in peppers, capsaicin, that generates the heat, is believed to irritate the nerve that triggers hiccups.6 Others believe the chemical is released in the mouth in a fine spray that enters the lungs and disrupts the normal rhythm of the diaphragm.7 As your diaphragm begins to contract and relax to expel the substance from your lungs, it triggers a hiccup.

What’s Happening When You Have Hiccups?

Hiccups are an involuntary spasm in your diaphragm, the muscle separating your chest from your abdomen, which plays a significant role in breathing. In this short video, you’ll see how hiccups may start after an irritation to nerves that service your chest and lungs. When your diaphragm contracts the space between your vocal cords closes and creates the characteristic “hic” sound. In order to draw breath, your diaphragm pulls down toward your abdomen, creating negative pressure in your lungs causing air to enter.

During the hiccups your diaphragm spasms, causing you to draw in an involuntary breath. In the simplest cases your stomach may get overdistended or you may have drunk fluid too quickly, irritating the nerve that innervates the diaphragm. Although the true reason for hiccups has not been determined, some believe an irritant triggers the diaphragm to contract helping to rid your gut of air that is trapped, or to draw food down your esophagus to your stomach.

Hiccups are usually self-limited and are nothing more than an uncomfortable nuisance. However, sometimes they can last for a long period of time, or be a signal that something else is wrong. A disturbance in the nerve pathway between the brain and the muscles involved can also trigger hiccups, which explains why you may get hiccups with an emotional situation and why they may be stopped when you are shocked.8

Hiccups are an involuntary movement triggered in part by your autonomic nervous system, the part of your nervous system that controls your breathing, heartbeat and other involuntary functions. Even unborn babies hiccup, which may perhaps prepare them for breathing. But, while virtually everyone gets hiccups, the reason you do has not been established and there is no hard and fast cure you may use each time you get them.

Hiccups That Last Longer Than 48 Hours May Need Attention

Most cases of hiccups are self-limiting, lasting no more than several minutes to a day. However, in some cases hiccups may last for days — or even years. A persistent case of hiccups lasting more than 48 hours may signal a cause for concern. Hiccups that last more than one month are called intractable hiccups. In some cases, hiccups also persist during sleep.

Since the condition is uncomfortable, some who suffer with persistent or intractable hiccups seek medical care in the hospital. In one study of a community hospital between 1995 and 2000, 54 of more than 100,000 visits were related to hiccups. Most of these patients were over 50 and had other health conditions.9 According to the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine:10

“Chronic persistent hiccups can be debilitating and have been associated with weight loss, insomnia and fatigue. They can be caused by a wide variety of medical conditions, including central nervous system abnormalities, metabolic imbalances, and chest and abdomen pathology. Among the medications known to cause hiccups, the most common include corticosteroids, antidepressants, dopaminergics, and opioids.”

Irritation to the nerves that serve your diaphragm is often the cause for long-term hiccups and may be triggered by gastroesophageal reflux, laryngitis, a tumor, cyst or goiter in your neck or even a hair touching your eardrum.11 Other causes may be related to infection, damage or trauma to your central nervous system, including stroke, head injury, tumor or multiple sclerosis. Long-term hiccups may also be triggered by:

? Alcoholism

? Anesthesia

? Barbiturates

? Diabetes

? Electrolyte Imbalance

? Kidney Failure

? Steroids

? Tranquilizers

How Capsaicin Interacts With Your Body

Your body has transient receptor potential vanilloid 1 (TRPV1) pain receptors which are activated by capsaicin, opening the floodgates to pain. This is one of the reasons your mouth likely feels as if it’s on fire when you eat something spicy.12 However, while the chemical does trigger pain, it also has a unique side effect. After exposure, your TRPV1 receptors go through a period of rest.

During this time, the receptors cease transmitting pain signals to your brain, and while your body may continue to experience the pain, your mind won’t recognize it. This is one of the ways capsaicin pain creams help treat peripheral pain. Scientists call this process “defunctionalization.”13 These creams are produced from highly purified capsaicin and also deplete the neurotransmitter, substance P, which sends pain messages to your brain.14

Although you may experience an increase in the intensity of pain when you first use capsaicin cream, it usually decreases with the second use.15 In some cases, it may take a week or more to help treat pain originating in your joints, as your levels of substance P must be depleted and the cream must be continued to keep the substance from building up again.16 The cream has been used to relieve pain from neurological pain, cluster headaches, surgical pain and arthritic disorders.

Capsaicin has also been used as a dietary supplement as there is evidence it may improve digestion, help reduce diarrhea triggered by bad bacteria in your intestines and fight bacterial infections in your body.17 As a supplement, it may help thin the mucus in your lungs and is an antioxidant that may help fight free radicals.

The Benefits of Spicy Foods

Capsaicin’s interactions in your body explain many of the benefits you may experience when you eat spicy foods. Eating spicy foods helps increase your satiety, or feelings of fullness after a meal. You often feel full faster eating less food, and the peppers may rev your metabolism a bit, helping you to burn more calories at rest. Researchers have discovered including spicy foods may help shrink fat cells and lower blood fat levels.18

Past research has suggested that thermogenic ingredients, or those compounds that increase your body’s heat production, may increase your metabolism by up to 5 percent and the ability of your body to burn fat by up to 16 percent.19 Capsaicin is a thermogenic substance that may temporarily increase the ability of your body to burn fat to produce heat.

In fact, when eating spicy foods, you may feel your internal heat rising, even though the temperature in the room has remained the same. The heat you’re feeling is the result of the activation of the TRPV1 receptors.

Although the activation of TRPV1 helps to reduce pain, it may also be responsible for many of the other health benefits you experience. In a journal article in Open Heart, scientists explored a mechanism that may explain the favorable results researchers have found in animal studies using capsaicin-rich diets, including a positive effect on health conditions such as metabolic syndrome, obesity, hypertension, atherosclerosis and stroke.20

As capsaicin thins mucus, it may help to clear your lungs during an illness, strengthen your lung capacity and may help prevent or treat emphysema.21 Various studies also demonstrate that capsaicin may effectively help your body fight prostate cancer.22 Animal studies have found oral supplementation is effective against H. pylori, the bacteria that triggers gastritis and ulcerations of the stomach wall. Capsaicin has also demonstrated some effectiveness against breast cancer, lymphoma and some lung tumors.

The continued application of capsaicin cream may help reduce the proliferation of skin cells common to psoriasis.23 Participants in this study did report the initial week of application caused skin irritation. Men and women with diabetes experienced some improvement in their blood glucose levels, and women who suffered from gestational diabetes (altered blood glucose/insulin resistance during pregnancy) also experienced improvements.

Different Peppers Produce Different Levels of Heat

The intensity of the heat you experience is measured in Scoville units, first developed by William Scoville in 1912.24 Human tasters used to identify the different levels of heat in peppers that originates from the amount of capsaicin in the pepper. Today machines do that job.

To put the heat in your peppers into perspective, pure capsaicin would have a Scoville unit rating of 16 million.25 Police pepper spray has a unit rating of 2 million and the hottest pepper, the Carolina Reaper, has a unit rating of 2.2 million.26 As of August 2013, the Guinness World Record book states this is the hottest pepper known to man. Well down the list is the Chocolate Habanero, ranking between 300,000 and 577,000 Scoville units.

Scotch Bonnet chili peppers, often used in spicy Caribbean foods, measures between 100,000 and 350,000 Scoville units. Jalapeno peppers, common in the U.S., measure 2,500 to 8,000, while Cubanelle peppers are a mild 100 to 1,000 Scoville units.27

Control Your Hiccups

There are a number of different methods you may have read or heard about to get rid of hiccups. Dr. Tyler Cymet, head of medical education at the American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine, conducted a five-year study on 54 patients hospitalized for hiccups to evaluate treatment methods.28 What he found was that despite using a variety of treatments, from breath holding to strong medications, none of his patients successfully got rid of their hiccups.

He has continued to use a variety of treatments for patients who suffered from hiccups long enough to seek medical attention and found his patients may experience a 20 to 25 percent success rate.29

Those treatments include cognitive behavioral therapy, breathing exercise, yoga and Pilates. Each of these treatment options help reduce anxiety and control breathing, which seems to be the modalities that worked best for persistent hiccups. Other alternative remedies that appear to have success with people who don’t suffer from persistent or intractable hiccups include:

  • Eating a spoonful of peanut butter or raw almond butter
  • Having someone squeeze your pinky fingernail for 10 seconds30
  • Gargling with ice water or sipping cold water
  • Hypnosis
  • Acupuncture

Additionally, there are a surprising number of hiccup remedies that have been studied, albeit using small participant numbers. For instance:31

  • Eating a spoonful of sugar eliminated hiccups in 19 of 20 patients, possibly by stimulating the vagus nerve32
  • Eating a lemon wedge soaked in bitters worked to eliminate hiccups in 14 out of 16 individuals33
  • Triggering your gag reflex by blowing up a balloon may also work, possibly by causing a temporary break in respiration34
  • Rectal massage using a finger cured intractable hiccups in seven out of seven patients, possibly by stimulating the sympathetic and parasympathetic nerves35

Other Related Health Posts:

Buy and Sell text links

Article Source: Health And Fitness Journal
If you like all this stuff here then you can buy me a pack of cigarettes.

Comments Off on Why Chili Peppers and Spicy Foods Trigger Hiccups.