We are addicted to technology, but at what cost?
- Sleep Deprivation
- Heart Disease
- Eye Diseases
- Breast Cancer
- Prostate Cancer
- Rewiring of the Brain
The list can go on.
Blue light is everywhere. The sun, TV’s, computers, phones, tablets, fluorescent and LED lighting, electronic devices, and any type of digital screen all project a blue light. Light from the sun is natural, traveling through particles in the atmosphere and scattering everywhere, making the sky blue. This natural blue light is what regulates the body’s circadian rhythm (the sleep and wake cycles). This natural light boosts alertness and increases happiness. Artificial blue light, however, does not have the same effect.
Most people spend a majority of their day at work exposed to unnatural blue light through their phones, tablets, or laptops. Due to the addiction of social media and technology, the exposure of light continues at home into the evening. Homes are illuminated well past the darkest hours, and people are paying the price.
The Dangers of Technology
Rewiring the Brain: Exposure to technology and blue light is rewiring the neural circuitry, increasing skills like multi-tasking, complex reasoning and decision-making. But it reduces emotional abilities like sympathy and empathy.
Repetitive Stress Injuries: Recurring movements that affect muscles, joints, tendons, and nerves can cause pain and injury to the area(s). Quervain Syndrome, injury to the tendons in the thumb, can be caused by texting, for example.
The Spine: Tilting the head 60 degrees places 60lbs of pressure on the neck. The neck and cervical spine can compress or stretch the nerves and cause posture issues and chronic health problems. Proper chiropractic care can alleviate symptoms and promote healing if you are suffering from issues currently. A chiropractor can also aid in preventing problems from arising.
Tendonitis or Wrist Pain: Holding devices and using the fingers to type can trigger joint pain. Virtual keys don’t react when they’re pressed. Users typically strike these keys with as much as eight times the force as they tap real ones. This force puts strain on the fingers, wrist, and forearm. Typing more than a few sentences at a time on a tablet or smartphone can cause problems. Even holding the fingers in anticipation of typing can cause damage. This is known as isometric tension, and it puts stress on the muscles and tendons. Disorders such as Carpel Tunnel Syndrome and other diseases caused by unnatural postures are painful and possibly debilitating, but can be helped through chiropractic care.
Decreased Fertility: Wifi (electromagnetic radiation) can lower sperm count in men. A 2015 study discovered that sperm count is lowered, damaged, and has a decreased motility whether the man spends one hour a day or seven working with a laptop connected to wifi. This includes carrying a smartphone in a pocket all day.
Suppressed Melatonin: Blue light can suppress the secretion of melatonin which leads to sleep disruption. Exposure to light at night is linked to breast and prostate cancers, diabetes, heart disease, obesity, and depression. Melatonin is a hormone that influences circadian rhythms, meaning that a lower production causes the entire body to be at risk for illnesses.
Headaches: Tension headaches can arise from eye strain, triggered by blue light.
Eye Strain: Constant or excessive blue light exposure blurs and dries the eyes causing strain and eye exhaustion. Blue light penetrates all the way to the retina and can damage light-sensitive cells causing macular degeneration, which can lead to permanent vision loss.
- Include chiropractic care in your regular habits. Chiropractors can aid with posture problems, joint pain, and other issues related to blue light and technology over-exposure.
- While it is impossible to avoid blue light and technology, it is possible to decrease usage by creating rules for yourself. Turn off devices 2-3 hours before falling asleep at night and lessen your daily exposure.
- Resist the temptation to bend your neck forward or backward, and especially avoid turning your head or tilting it to one side or another for extended periods. Take frequent breaks, and if you feel any discomfort stop what you’re doing and find a more comfortable position.
- Adjust contrast of light admitted by your devices.
- Try to stretch after every 10 minutes of blue light or technology exposure.
- Use a red night light instead of blue. Red light has the least power to shift circadian rhythm and suppress melatonin.
- Consider wearing blue-blocking glasses or installing an app that filters the blue/green wavelength at night.
You may be risking your life for a good night’s sleep.
There are two different categories of sleeping medications: Over-The-Counter (OTC) and Prescription. I’m going to talk to you about the risks of both, beginning with OTC. OTC sleep aids may seem to be an easy fix, not addictive like prescription versions, and even safe because they are made so readily available. This is not the case, is it ever these days? If you are not sleeping well, or not falling asleep well, there is a deeper issue at hand. Finding a natural, healthy solution to the rooted issue will not only solve your sleeping troubles, but improve your overall wellbeing.
Most people assume that taking an OTC sleep aid won’t cause harm, but the sad truth is that a few doses can cause long-term problems. The main ingredient in many OTC sleeping pills is an antihistamine which results in the drowsy and sedative effect. Many OTC sleep aids also contain acetaminophen (Tylenol type products), especially if they advertise pain relief as well. For more specific information on Tylenol risks read here: http://peaandthepodchiropractic.com/the-truth-about-tylenol-dangers-for-infants-children-and-pregnant-women/
Most Common OTC Sleep Aids:
- Tylenol PM
- Advil PM
- Other store-name brands
OTC Sleeping Pills May Increase Your Risk of Liver Failure and are linked to brain damage.
The number one cause of acute liver failure in the United States is taking too much acetaminophen, which is incredibly easy to do considering just how many over-the-counter and prescription products contain this drug. http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2009/07/21/FDA-Changes-Tylenol-Warnings-But-Doesnt-Tell-You-How-to-Take-it-Safely.aspx
Overdosing is as easy as taking a dose for a headache, cold or achy back that’s making it difficult for you to sleep, but having already taken one or more acetaminophen-containing products to relieve your pain and other symptoms during the day. Not realizing that compounding doses of acetaminophen can be extremely dangerous, even deadly, is what causes an overdose. This risk is important to be aware of, especially if you take Tylenol PM, Excedrin PM or other acetaminophen-containing sleep aids on a regular basis. http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2010/05/29/overthecounter-sleep-meds-are-not-effective.aspx
The numbers are alarming, over $100 million or more is being spent on OTC sleep aids, and research shows that children 12 years and older along with adults are downing these medications like candy.
Taking these OTC Sleep Medications, even sporadically, can put you at risk of: http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/adult-health/in-depth/sleep-aids/art-20047860
- Skin rash
- Appetite increase, weight gain, loss of appetite, or even anorexia.
- Hypo-tension (abnormally low blood pressure).
- Blurred vision.
- Prostate problems.
- Liver toxicity.
- Morning hangover. Waking up groggy and feeling “drugged” is a common side effect.
- Daytime drowsiness and fatigue. OTC medications tend to last longer than 8 hours, leaving you unable to function well throughout the next day.
- Dental Decay
Benadryl and Sominex have previously been found to cause hallucinations in the elderly. All of the listed OTC drugs can negatively affect your brain, causing long-term cognitive impairment. These drugs, called anticholinergics, block acetylcholine – a nervous system neurotransmitter. Those suffering from Alzheimer’s disease typically have a marked shortage of acetylcholine. The results of some studies indicate that these drugs with anticholinergic effects may be yet another piece of the puzzle that might explain the sharp rise in dementia and cognitive decline.
Other anticholinergic drugs, such as Paxil, Detrol, Demerol, and Elavil are available only by prescription.
“Research involving data from more than 10,500 people who received drugs for poor sleep (hypnotics) showed that “as predicted, patients prescribed any hypnotic had substantially elevated hazards of dying compared to those prescribed no hypnotics” and the association held true even when patients with poor health were taken into account — and even if the patients took fewer than 18 pills in a year.
The study suggested that those who take such medications are not only at higher risk for certain cancers, but are nearly four times more likely to die than people who don’t take them.
Sleeping pills linked to these risks included benzodiazepines (such as temazepam), non-benzodiazepines (such as Ambien, Lunesta, and Sonata), barbiturates, and sedative antihistamines.” http://www.darksideofsleepingpills.com/
Not only are prescription sleep medications linked to increased risk of death, but they place you at a 35% higher risk of cancer.
In addition to the side effects of the OTC versions, prescription sleep aids add the side effects:
- Sleep walking, sleep eating and even sleep driving
- Confusion and disorientation
- Complete amnesia from events, even those that took place during the day
Sleeping Pills Help You Fall Asleep Just 13 Minutes Faster and Sleep Only 11 Minutes Longer
Sleeping pills do nothing to help the underlying reasons why you’re having trouble sleeping in the first place. This is likely why studies have shown that cognitive behavioral therapy can treat insomnia better than drugs
Better Options for a Good Night’s Sleep
Whether you are not able to fall asleep, wake up too often, or don’t feel well rested when you wake up in the morning, these options may provide you with techniques to improve sleep problems.
There are many factors that can influence your sleep, but one that many fail to consider is the use of lights, such as your TV, iPad, and computer, before going to bed. These emit the type of blue light that will suppress melatonin production and hamper your ability to fall asleep. Ideally, you’ll want to turn them off at least an hour prior to bedtime.
Next, making sure your bedroom is ideally suited for sleep can also go a long way to ensure restful and uninterrupted sleep:
- Cover your windows with blackout shades or drapes to ensure complete darkness.
- Consider using a Himalayan salt lamp. It will give off a soft red glow, purify the air, and help you rest easier.
- Keep the temperature in your bedroom at or below 70 degrees F (21 degrees Celsius)
- Check your bedroom for electro-magnetic fields (EMFs).These can disrupt your pineal gland and the production of melatonin and serotonin, and may have other negative effects as well.
Natural sleep aids and insomnia treatments such as cognitive behavioral therapy take time to treat this sleeplessness, usually a minimum of several days or weeks. It takes time and hard work to learn how to sleep if you have insomnia.
Chiropractic care and wellness adjustments will help you to relax. It also improves the blood flow in the nervous system and corrects any misalignments, or sublaxations in the spine. These subluxations compress the nerves and cause lack of communication between the spine and the brain. These subluxations lead to a process called stress response which puts the body out of balance and do not let the body rest.
Avoiding gluten, grains, dairy and sugars will lower your insulin and leptin levels. Elevated insulin and leptin levels are one of the most important reasons why inflammatory prostaglandins are produced. That is why stopping sugar and sweets is so important to controlling your pain and other types of chronic illnesses.
Omega-3 fats (Like Krill Oil or Fermented Cod Liver Oil) are precursors to mediators of inflammation called prostaglandins.
B vitamins are important for energy production in cells. And vitamin B6 works with the sleep aid 5-htp to help create serotonin.
Calcium, Magnesium, and Vitamin D3:
Adequate calcium and magnesium in your daily diet are also important nutrients for helping you relax and get a good night’s sleep. But according to the U.S. Office of Dietary Supplements, millions of Americans are not getting adequate amounts. Magnesium in particular may help with fatigue and stress reduction. Multivitamins almost never contain much calcium or magnesium, so you may need to supplement if your diet is lacking in these two essential nutrients. You should also make certain you are getting at least 400 IU of vitamin D3 every day (1,000 IU supplements are even better, especially during the dark winter months). Vitamin D is important for calcium absorption.
Make sure to use high quality supplements.
A melatonin sleep aid can be very effective for some people, especially for jet lag. Melatonin can be taken by itself as a natural sleep aid. It is also often seen as a blend in supplements, which may be the most effective way to use it.
Also known as 5-hydroxytryptophan, this substance is produced in the body from the amino acid tryptophan. In supplements, 5-htp often comes from Griffonia simplicifolia seed extract. 5-htp is a precursor to serotonin and increases serotonin levels in the brain. Serotonin is an important neurotransmitter that has many functions, one of which is to regulate sleep. One of the great things about 5-htp is that it crosses easily from the blood into the brain. That’s why 5-htp taken by itself may be effective for reaching a natural calm mood and also help with depression.
As a natural sleep aid, it’s probably best to use 5-htp as part of a supplement blend.
This brain neurotransmitter is included in some natural sleep aids because it has a calming effect and relieves anxiety that can keep a person awake at night. GABA does promote drowsiness and may help some people fall asleep faster.
This is the most abundant amino acid in your body. It has a wide range of uses, including for insomnia, anxiety, and to improve mood.
This is also an amino acid and is naturally found in green tea. Studies have shown that green tea contains about 1 to 3% theanine. It has a relaxing and anti-anxiety effect on the mind.(Green tea itself is not a natural remedy for insomnia because this tea contains caffeine, but you can find a decaffeinated version.)
Herbal Sleep Remedies:
The best natural sleep aid will have some combination of sleep herbs in them.
- Lemon balm
Not all of these herbs need to be present for an all-natural sleep aid to be effective. Most herbal sleep aids will also often have melatonin mixed in with them, though not always.
Tips for falling asleep fast: http://www.sleeppassport.com/how-to-fall-asleep.html
The journey to healing your gut is not an overnight, one-size-fits-all solution where the same steps work for every individual. Truly healing your gut takes knowledge, dedication, and time.
When your gut is unhealthy, it can cause more than just stomach pain, gas, bloating, or diarrhea. Because 60-80% of our immune system is located in our gut, gut imbalances have been linked to hormonal imbalances, autoimmune diseases, diabetes, chronic fatigue, fibromyalgia, anxiety, depression, eczema, rosacea, and other chronic health problems. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25022563
Signs your gut needs healing:
- Digestive issues like bloating, gas, and/or diarrhea
- Food allergies or sensitivities
- Mood swings, irritability
- Skin problems like eczema, rosacea
- Autoimmune disease
- Sugar Cravings
- Frequent Infections or illness
- Poor memory and concentration, ADD or ADHD
- Constant fatigue
Take this online quiz if you are unsure about your current gut health: http://solvingleakygut.com/myquiz/
Having a “Leaky Gut” (LGS: Leaky Gut Syndrome) can sabotage all of your healthy lifestyle choices and cause you to live in a cycle of symptoms that you just can’t rid of. The digestive system is a pathway starting at the mouth and ending at the anus. It is responsible for breaking down the foods we eat, extracting the nutrients needed, and then eliminating the waste. The problem is that poor food choices, viruses, sugar, chronic stress, parasites, caffeine, alcohol consumption, birth control pills, antibiotics, anti-inflammatory drugs, and bad bacteria can cause damage to the gastrointestinal tract, which leads to increased permeability or “leaky gut.”
This “leaky gut” means that instead of foods being broken down, absorbed, and eliminated, partially digested foods can now cross through the damaged area of the intestinal lining and enter the blood stream directly. Chronic irritation leads to inflammation and, eventually, to a lot of these little pinprick-style leaks in the very thin and delicate lining of your intestinal wall. This leak can cause intolerances that then initiate an inflammatory response in the body and the release of stress hormones. One of these stress hormones is cortisol, which further taxes the body and starts to impair the body’s immune system. This can then lead to a host of issues that may not seem related to the impaired gastrointestinal tract, like allergies, skin conditions, impaired performance, and weight gain to name but a few. https://www.dovepress.com/comparison-with-ancestral-diets-suggests-dense-acellular-carbohydrates-peer-reviewed-article-DMSO-MVP and http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20876708
Even a tiny leak can cause big problems. A healthy gut is very selective about what gets passed into your body. But a leaky gut can release undigested food particles, bacteria, and toxins into your bloodstream, leading to a potentially outsized immune response. If the damage to the lining of your gut is bad enough that such substances regularly leak through, it can wreak havoc on your health.
You need to heal your gut, what now?
The Four R’s are a common tool that is used to evaluate progress and stay on track when healing the gut. https://experiencelife.com/article/how-to-heal-a-leaky-gut/
- Remove: In this first step you remove the offending foods and toxins from your diet that could be acting as stressors on your system. This means caffeine, alcohol, processed foods, bad fats, and any other foods you think may be causing issues, like gluten and dairy. All of these irritate the gut in some form and create an inflammatory response.
- Repair: The next step is to begin to repair the gut andheal the damaged intestinal lining. You do this by consuming an unprocessed diet and giving your body time to rest by providing it with substances that are known to heal the gut, like L-glutamine, omega-3 fatty acids, zinc, antioxidants (in the form of vitamins A, C, and E), quercitin, aloe vera, and turmeric.
- Restore: This involves the restoration of your gut’soptimal bacterial flora population. This is done with the introduction of probiotics like Lactobacillus acidophilus and Bifidobacterium lactis. A probiotic is a good bacteria and is ingested to help reinforce and maintain a healthy gastrointestinal tract and to help fight illness. In general a healthy lower intestinal tract should contain around 85% good bacteria. This helps to combat any overgrowth of bad bacteria. Unfortunately in most people these percentages are skewed and this allows for the gut health to drastically decline. The human gut is home to bad bacteria like salmonella and clostridium, which is fine as long as they are kept in order and don’t get out of control.
- Replace: This involves getting your bile salts, digestive enzymes, and hydrochloric acid levels to optimal levels to maintain and promote healthy digestion. This can be done by supplementing with digestive enzymes and organic salt to help make sure you have enough hydrochloric acid.
Through your gut healing journey, you will begin to question everything you put in your mouth. You already know that choosing unprocessed, real, whole foods are a must – but what else? What foods can you consume to help aid the healing of your gut? There are numerous “Leaky Gut Diets” out there (Such as the GAPS diet), and following one that works for you is a great start. But no matter what diet you choose, there are some foods that can aid the body in healing the gut.
Foods to Include: (Chew thoroughly) http://www.consciouslifestylemag.com/heal-digestive-problems-naturally/
- Bone Broth: A good, organic broth is an anti-inflammatory and contains collagen and the amino acids proline and glycine that can help heal your damaged cell walls. Bone broth can help your body heal and restore the mucosal lining in your digestive system. https://apathtohealth.wordpress.com/2013/06/13/leaky-bone-broth-for-leaky-gut-and-leaky-brain/
- Gelatin: Bone broth already contains gelatin, so if you are consuming homemade bone broth you will not necessarily need to supplement your diet with other forms of gelatin. High quality gelatin comes from animal sources, so those who do not consume bone broth can eat foods made with gelatin to reap the benefits.
- Organ Meats: Organ meats are the most concentrated source of just about every nutrient, including important vitamins, minerals, healthy fats and essential amino acids.
- Fermented Foods: These contain organic acids that balance intestinal pH and probiotics to support the gut. Kimchi, Sauerkraut, kvass are all wonderful.
- Vegetables: Rich in anti-oxidants, vitamins and minerals which help control inflammation. Eating a variety of differently colored vegetables, a variety of dark green leafy vegetables, and a variety cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, turnip greens, kale, Brussels sprouts, etc.) every day will provide all of the essential vitamins and minerals in a way that is easy for the body to absorb.
- Coconut Products: Easy to digest, coconut products are good for the gut.
- Grass-fed beef: Organic and pasture-raised is your best option. These are nutrient-dense and can be especially healing for the gut when the cuts include bone and fat and are slow-cooked or braised.
- Wild caught fish: Omega-3 fatty acids help to reduce inflammation.
- Sprouted Seeds: Hemp, chia, and flax seeds are great sources of fiber which help your gut to grow good bacteria. (For a severe leaky gut, you’ll want to reduce fiberous food sources temporarily and then introduce them back in after 6 months slowly.)
- Ghee: Clarified butter helps balance the immune cells in your gut and can help heal your leaky gut.
- Turmeric: An anti-inflammatory that encourages the body to release digestive enzymes and aids the breakdown of fats and carbohydrates.
- Ginger: Ginger contains potent healing properties that help to reduce the irritation and inflammation caused in the intestinal lining due to leaky gut. Ginger also contains potent anti-oxidant properties that help to get rid of toxins, harmful bacteria and other microorganisms inside the intestines. This would prevent these toxins and pathogens from entering the blood stream.
- Lemon Water: Benefits of lemon water are to stimulate the lymphatic system, increasing both vitamin C and bioflavonoids, while also helping the digestion and elimination process.
Herbs to Include: Some herbs are known to calm inflammation and the damage that occurs in the gut. The two best choices are Marshmallow Root along with Slippery Elm, as both soothe and coat the intestinal tract while minimizing the absorption of toxins. Other herbs to help heal the damage further by reducing excessive permeability are: http://thescienceofeating.com/2015/01/16/how-to-heal-leaky-gut/
- Licorice Root
- Sheep Sorrel
- Fennel Seed
- Ginger Root
To eliminate parasites (that frequently accompany a suppressed digestive system):
- Black Walnut
- Caprylic Acid
- Grapefruit Seed Extract
- Dairy in any form: Dairy can be addictive. Caseomorphins – a cousin of morphine or heroin – are protein fragments that come from the digestion of the milk protein, casein. In addition to making you want more, casein can be highly disruptive to your body. It raises cortisol and contributes to leaky gut syndrome.
- Any form of GMO food
- Processed foods
- Nuts: Most contain levels of phytic acid, which bind nutrients and make them unavailable (unusable), furthering malnutrition already caused by a leaky gut. They also have a high polyunsaturated fat content, which is a fragile fat that oxidizes and becomes rancid easily – exacerbating inflammation.
- Gluten: A “leaky gut” allows gluten peptides to cross the intestinal membrane and the blood brain barrier, affecting the endogenous opiate system and neurotransmission. These gluten peptides may set up an innate immune response in the brain similar to that described in the gutmucosa, causing exposure from neuronal cells of a transglutaminase primarily expressed in the brain. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26184290
- Eggs: Containing anti-nutrients and protein inhibitors, these are frequently an allergen. Their antinutrient avidin binds to biotin and makes it unavailable to the body. They should be avoided until the gut is healed.
- Nightshades: Vegetables including eggplants, tomatoes, peppers, and potatoes all contain glycoalkaloids, which are compounds capable of damaging the gut barrier and furthering inflammation and a leaky gut.
- Excess Fruits: Until the gut is healed, the high sugar content of fruits can further damage.
It seems that there is no way to truly win with our supplements and vitamins. While this is partially true, there are options that offer great benefits. You may find brands not included on this list that work well for you, but remember to read labels and research what you are putting into your body. I am including the brands that I have found to hold the highest amount of positive, helpful and healthy ingredients.
Almost all supplements and vitamins will have some sugar, unfortunately, but if you can find zero fillers and dyes, you are winning. If a brand has consciously left these out of their product, then I would like to think that they are only using a small amount of sugar.
Klaire Labs: http://www.klaire.com/ Klaire Labs was created to provide supplement options for those with sever food allergies. All products are free of artificial flavors, preservatives, and colors. Most of the products are vegetarian; and all common allergens: wheat, corn, soy, yeast, and dairy are avoided unless otherwise specified on the label. Active ingredients used are selected based on their purity, bioavailability, documented actions, and safety characteristics. Any raw materials undergo quarantine, inspection, and evaluation before being used in products. There are small amounts of naturally-derived materials such as cellulose-based excipients, vegetable-derived magnesium stearate, L-leucine, and silicon dioxide used to encapsulate or bond the tablets. Tablets are protected with an inert, water-soluble cellulose coating. This dissolves immediately and does not interfere with active ingredients within the supplement.
Seeking Health: http://www.seekinghealth.com/ These supplements are free of fillers. Nearly all Seeking Health products are free of Casein, Corn, Dairy, Egg, Fish, Gluten, Peanuts, Shellfish, Soy, Tree Nuts, and Wheat. (Read the label to be sure) Containing ingredients that are readily absorbed by the body, Seeking Health strives to reach the foundation of your health: your gut and brain. By strengthening your foundation with a well-balanced lifestyle and proper supplementation, you are increasing your overall health and enjoyment of life.
Thorne Research: https://www.thorne.com/quality Filler and dye-free products that contain the highest quality ingredients. Non-GMO and Organic, Thorne provides FDA approved supplement options for us and our pets.
Davinci Labs: http://www.davincilabs.com/ Supplements that provide support for all areas of health, including brain and heart health, joint and muscle support, mood support, immune system support, and stress management support, along with full spectrum multivitamins and minerals to support overall good health. With close to 300 products to choose from (for us and our pets), Davinci stands by its pure and potent ingredient lists. Raw materials used in DaVinci products are as natural as possible and are guaranteed to contain no artificial flavorings, preservatives, colors, sweeteners or other foreign agents unless otherwise stated on our labels. Each lot of tablets or capsules is carefully assayed to be sure they meet product specifications.
Apex Energetics: http://www.apexenergetics.com/ Apex uses cutting-edge science and practitioner observations and experience while collaborating with the top international experts in the field. Utilizing the latest peer-reviewed scientific research they develop effective nutritional strategies and formulas. Apex offers supplements, creams, flower essences and homeopathics. The supplements are created to support the endocrine system, gastrointestinal system, brain, brain-gut axis, circulatory system, hepatobiliary system, musculoskeletal system, and immune system with high-quality ingredients.
Xymogen: Xymogen formulas do not contain wheat, gluten, corn protein, yeast, soy, animal, or dairy products unless otherwise labeled. None of the formulas contain artificial colors, artificial sweeteners, or preservatives. Dicalcium phosphate, methylcellulose, glycerin, and croscarmellose sodium comprise the majority of binders used in the tablets. All binders are hypoallergenic, non-animal derived compounds. Xymogen supplies supplements, vitamins, detoxes, and nutritional support.
Remember that supplements are just that – supplemental to your diet. Please practice a healthy lifestyle, full of real whole foods and plenty of exercise! Once your diet is optimized, nutrients flood in, energy increases, blood sugar stabilizes and the immune system balances.
As you have read so far, the supplements we are consuming are full of fillers and sugars. There are other hidden dangers within these capsules, tablets, liquids, and even powders: DYES.
According to the FDA, in 2007 Americans were consuming five times more artificial food colorings than they were in 1955. That number in no way has decreased in the mast eight years. http://www.organicauthority.com/blog/organic/banned-in-europe-food-coloring-linked-to-behavior-problems/
Artificial colors are being added to our vitamins, supplements, and medicines (as well as our foods, skin products, bath products, etc.) at an alarming rate. Somehow the rate is increasing even though studies are linking these dyes to everything from cancer to hyperactivity in children. The risks can be deadly, and the benefits: a more appealing product to draw consumers in, to make a sale.
The Food and Drug Administration has approved the use of these dyes, even as they are band in other countries across the world due to their significant side effects. Countries throughout Europe have banned against food dyes and insisted on strong labeling with warnings including all health risks to these dyes. But yet, here in the United States we not only promote the use of dyes, but they are included as ingredients within our health-boosting supplementation and medications.
The seven FDA approved food dyes include: http://www.fda.gov/ForIndustry/ColorAdditives/
- FD&C Blue No. 1 – Brilliant Blue FCF, E133
- FD&C Blue No. 2 – Indigotine E132
- FD&C Green No. 3 – Fast Green FCF, E143
- FD&C Red No. 40 – Allura Red AC, E129
- FD&C Red No. 3 – Erythrosine, E127
- FD&C Yellow No. 5 – Tartrazine, E102
- FD&C Yellow No. 6 – Sunset Yellow FCF, E110
Some of these artificial colors (Yellow Dye 5 & 6) are derived from toxic coal tar. Coal tar is a mixture of many chemicals, derived from petroleum. It is recognized as a human carcinogen, with the main concern of using it for individual colors (whether produced from the coal tar or synthetically) is the potential to cause cancer. These colors may also be contaminated with low levels of heavy metals and even be combined with aluminum substrate. Aluminum compounds and many heavy metals are toxic to the brain. Coal tar is used for purposes such as: roofing, outdoor sealants, exterior paints, and heating. This should obviously NOT be ingested. http://www.davidsuzuki.org/issues/health/science/toxics/chemicals-in-your-cosmetics—coal-tar-dyes/
Current research is working towards providing the direct link from synthetic supplements and artificial dyes to autism, sleep disturbances and other chronic problems in children. Previous studies show links to artificial dyes and cancer, hyperactivity, ADHD, allergies, and sterility. http://melisann.hubpages.com/hub/Know-Which-of-Your-Vitamins-and-Medicines-Contain-Toxins
This research is eye opening, even for myself. I have a four year old son with sensory processing disorder, food allergies, food sensitivities, speech delays, and sleep troubles. We were told by wonderful natural-minded pediatric doctors and chiropractors to keep toxins away from him. This meant vaccines, chemicals, processed foods, etc. We learned of a wonderful diet that removed all dyes, fillers, and chemicals from the body to heal the gut. We have had great success on this diet, but hadn’t looked into the hidden details of his supplements (or ours!). While we have been making smart supplement decisions, there were a few with hidden dyes that have since been eliminated. I know that it sounds extreme to most people, but I am telling you from our personal four year journey that what you put into your body makes a world of difference.
Common ailments linked to these dyes include headaches, mood response, hyperactivity, skin rash, and swollen gut, trouble falling asleep, or breathing problems. An actual allergy to dyes may be difficult to diagnose. However, if removing dyes from the diet is linked to absence of symptoms, this may prove dye sensitivity. Allergy testing for dyes is not conclusive, but an IgG antibody test can be part of your investigation. (We had IgG testing done as early as 15 months of age with our son.)
Each dye can be traced to its own set of possible side effects: http://www.cspinet.org/reports/chemcuisine.htm
Blue Dye No. 1 can cause hyperactivity, skin rashes, bronchoconstriction – especially when combined with other artificial colors- and chromosomal damage. It may also cause issues with the gastrointestinal tract while inhibiting cell respiration and lead to ADHD, asthma, and other allergic reactions. (This dye is banned in Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, Norway Switzerland, and Sweden.) New studies show that Blue Dye is also absorbed through the skin. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23127598
Blue Dye No. 2 is a synthetic coal tar dye commonly added to pharmaceutical drugs and is also used as a medical diagnostic aid. The dye, which is banned in Norway, has been known to cause nausea, vomiting, high blood pressure, skin rashes, breathing problems, brain tumors and other allergic reactions.
Green Dye No. 3 is linked to tumors and gene mutations in test animals.
Red Dye No. 40 is a petroleum byproduct often used in medications and supplements that can cause allergy-like reactions, hyperactivity in children and potential cancer. Asthmatics and those intolerant to aspirin are at increased risk of a reaction to this dye, which is prohibited throughout Europe. http://www.npr.org/2011/03/30/134962888/fda-probes-link-between-food-dyes-kids-behavior
Red Dye No. 3 has been shown to cause cancer in lab animals.
Yellow Dye No. 5 is one of the most dangerous artificial colors. Derived from Coal Tar, the dye is linked to cancer and provokes asthma attacks, skin reactions, and hyperactivity in children. It has been banned in Norway, Austria, and Finland.
Yellow Dye No. 6 is linked to hyperactivity, allergic reactions, nausea, and nasal congestion. It is often used in medications and supplements Yellow Dye #6 is banned in Finland, Norway, and the UK.
Unfortunately, these reactions and their connections to artificial food dyes have largely been dismissed by the FDA. In 2004, an analysis of fifteen studies found evidence that artificial colors worsen the behavior of children with ADHD. Even after studies found that artificial dyes affect the behavior of children without behavioral disorders, the FDA continues to deny any significant link between food dyes and behavioral problems.
By eliminating food dyes and food additives, studies have continuously shown increased improvements in children’s behavior.
The FDA has approved a number of natural dyes for use in products. These dyes include:
- Beet Juice
- Grape Skin Extract
- Paprika Oleoresin
- Fruit and Vegetable Juices
Some natural dyes can still cause adverse reactions to those with sensitivities. My son, for example, reacts to annatto extract. Annatto, caramel, and cochineal extract (known as carmine) have all been traced to allergic reactions.
A partial list of popular vitamins with toxic dyes: http://www.vaclib.org/docs/ToxicDyesVitamins.doc
- One A Day – Red #40
- One A day for Women – Mixed Berry’s – Blue #1 Yellow #5, Yellow #6 and Red #40
- One A Day Scooby Doo – Blue #2, Yellow #6 and Red #40
- Flintstones (Children’s Vitamin) – Blue #1, Blue #2, Yellow #6, Red #40 and Aspartame Toxic Sweetener
- Centrum & Centrum Silver – Yellow #6 and Red #40
- Geritol – Blue #2, Yellow #6 and Red #40
- Prenatal from Nature’s Bounty – Blue #1, Yellow #6 and Red #40
- Tums – Blue #1, Yellow #5, Yellow #6 and Red #40
Processed sugars can cause our cells to age faster, worsen ailments, trigger health issues, and make it harder for our bodies to obtain a true healthy balance. This includes the processed honey, inulin, sorbitol, fructose, high fructose corn syrup, dextrose, glucose, sucrose, xylitol, juice concentrates, maltodextrin, and artificial sweeteners found in our supposedly beneficial supplements.
The highest offenders are liquids, chewables, and gummy forms of supplements. This is due to the need for consumers to enjoy taking them. Capsule forms typically have far less sugar, but be careful, because they are full of additives and toxins (as you learned in Part 1 of this series). Vegetarian capsules are normally made with cellulose, a type of sugar. It’s as if we have to choose between two evils: sugar-filled or supplements containing nothing but fillers. It seems to be a catch-22. The overall lesson to take away: KNOW YOUR SUPPLEMENTS.
The majority of the time, you will find the very first ingredient is a form of sugar in your supplement.
Let’s learn why this is a danger to our health: While this article is about the hidden sugars in supplements, it is the amount of sugars we are consuming in total that are endangering our health. Our supplements are just an unexpected place to find excess sugars, adding to the overall dangers, instead of benefitting our lives as supplements should. The following is a short list of how sugar affects our body:
Suppressing the Immune System– As little as 3.5 ounces can suppress your immune system up to 50% by reducing the ability of white blood cells to kill germs. Most sugar is void of nutrients and in turn pulls nutrient from the body. The immune-suppressing effect of sugar starts less than thirty minutes after ingestion and may last for five hours. (http://www.wellsphere.com/healthy-living-article/sugar-s-damaging-health-effects-on-your-immune-system/804129)
Obesity– Obesity affects one-third of adults and one-sixth of children in the United States and continues to increase. Increasing sugar intake, increases risk of obesity.
Mineral Deficiency– Sugar consumption upsets the balance of the minerals in the body. (Calcium and magnesium especially)
Cancer– Cancer is fueled by sugar. By lowering sugar intake, cancer growth slows. The supplements taken to help beat cancer should NOT be allowing it to grow.
Arthritis– Sugar increases inflammation, which worsens arthritis.
Early Aging- Sugar causes the caps on the end your chromosomes (called telomeres) to shrink faster than they should. This prevents the cells from regenerating; causing the skin to looked aged.
Depression– People who suffer from depression are especially vulnerable to sugar’s evil power. Sugar is also at the root of chronic inflammation, which impacts the immune system, the brain and other systems in the body and also has been implicated in depression. Interestingly, countries with high sugar intake also have a high rate of depression.
Candida – The slightest sugar intake can feed candida. Maltodextrin, a form of sugar, is absorbed by your body extremely rapidly, just like glucose, and so it quickly affects your blood sugar levels.
Liver Damage- The entire weight of processing fructose lies on your liver.
Hormone Imbalance- Sugar affects insulin and insulin is closely connected to all of the other hormones in your body, including estrogen and testosterone.
Heart Disease– Recent studies have shown the link between sugar consumption and coronary heart disease. http://circ.ahajournals.org/content/106/4/523.full
Headaches– Sugar acts as a dehydrator, triggering headaches.
Eczema- When not properly metabolized, glucose (sugar) binds to protein molecules, forming abnormal chemical bridges called advanced glycation end products (AGEs)
Your body then starts to produce antibodies against the AGEs that cause inflammation. These AGEs accumulate in the tissues, causing skin to become rigid, wrinkly, less elastic, and have reduced regenerative ability. Glycation leads to cracking, weak skin that takes longer to heal, and future damage such as thinning and dryness (eczema).
Kidney Damage- Diabetes can damage the kidneys and cause them to fail.
Cavities and tooth issues– Gummy, chewable, and liquid forms tend to stick and stay on your teeth and gums causing a breakdown of enamel and increasing the rate of cell degeneration in the gums.
High fructose corn syrup (HFCS) has been linked to a range of health conditions such as tooth decay, liver damage, obesity, diabetes and ADHD. Additionally, the manufacturing process which transforms corn first into corn starch and then into HFCS involves the use of toxic chemicals. One of those, glutaraldehyde, is an embalming fluid which can induce headaches, dizziness, burning eyes, and asthma. Mercury is also used in the HFCS production process. In a 2009 study, between half and one third of all products containing HCFS were found to have mercury contamination
Unfortunately, maltitol, one of the substitutes some companies use for HCFC, carries its own health issues. Products containing maltitol technically qualify as “sugar-free.” Maltitol is a sugar alcohol, meaning its chemical structure resembles both sugar and alcohol. Unlike sugar, sugar alcohols are not fully absorbed in the bloodstream so they have less impact on blood sugar. Sugar alcohols cannot cause inebriation but they can ferment in the intestinal tract, causing gas, bloating or diarrhea.
Sugar actually depletes the body of nutrients, as it requires vitamins and minerals to metabolize. So any nutrients within the supplement may actually be used before they serve you any benefit.
What happens to the body as it processes sugar? From www.foodforthebrain.org
“Eating lots of sugar is going to give you sudden peaks and troughs in the amount of glucose in your blood; symptoms that this is going on include fatigue, irritability, dizziness, insomnia, excessive sweating (especially at night), poor concentration and forgetfulness, excessive thirst, depression and crying spells, digestive disturbances and blurred vision. Since the brain depends on an even supply of glucose it is no surprise to find that sugar has been implicated in aggressive behavior, anxiety, and depression, and fatigue.
Sugar also diverts the supply of another nutrient involved in mood – chromium. This mineral is vital for keeping your blood sugar level stable because insulin, which clears glucose from the blood, can’t work properly without it.”
Natural Options don’t mean perfection: Even some natural-minded supplements can fall into the sugar-filled category. Activated charcoal, for example comes in a “sweetened” form. Just because you are purchasing a product that should naturally improve your health or benefit your body, does not mean that every brand is created equal. Companies are taking advantage of the trends to lean toward more natural living, but the problem arises when these companies sacrifice the true benefits by over-processing and adding fillers, etc.
I am not just talking about the supplements we, as adults, are taking. We are poisoning our children with their daily vitamins, and our infants with their formula. http://www.naturalnews.com/034035_childrens_vitamins_corn_syrup.html#ixzz1cl7rsvVB
Sugars are linked to Learning disabilities: Children classified as learning disabled have one or more mineral deficiencies and require supplementation. A common problem with mineral supplementation is the supplements’ content of sugar. It is important to avoid supplements containing lactate, corn derivatives or sugar. Another way sugar and learning are related is that sugar hinders proper absorption of many B vitamins into the body and its cells. B vitamins are necessary to endorse cognitive thinking, coordination, and memory. When there is a lack of B vitamins, a child’s blood sugar can drop about 20 minutes after eating sugar, which leads to a lack of oxygen to the brain. The lack of oxygen to the brain can cause forgetfulness and affect ability to concentrate.
Sugar has the potential to be a destroyer of general health and immunity as it robs the body of important vitamins and minerals. Besides, sugar can cause a chemical addiction as severe as other drug addictions. Many children are addicted to sugar, eating it regularly instead of the important nutritious foods. Over consumption of sugar makes children vulnerable to yeast overgrowth, which can lead to chronic nasal congestion, eczema, and ear infections. Yeast overgrowth is linked to sensory integration disorders, high threshold of pain, inappropriate giggling and mental fogginess. The yeast becomes much greater problem with the ingestion of sugar or a sugar source.
Children’s vitamins: Chewable or Gummy form, these are some of the worst supplements you can have in your home. The sweetening ingredients added to make vitamins more attractive to children also put them at risk for obesity, diabetes, asthma, diarrhea and other ailments.
Infant Formula: Formula is loaded with corn syrup and sugars, often not included on the label. Feeding your baby sugar and corn syrup also increases your child’s risk for a wide spectrum of other health problems ranging from dental cavities to high triglyceride levels to nutritional deficiencies. Even the mainstream medical establishment warns of the dangers of added sugars.
An eye opening video on what sugar is doing to our health: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dBnniua6-oM
Starting in the 1950s, hundreds of communities across the U.S. became embroiled in heated battles over whether fluorides—ionic compounds containing the element fluorine—should be added to their water systems. Activists stated that the risks of fluoridation were inadequately studied and that the practice amounted to compulsory medication and thus was a violation of civil liberties.
When fluoride was first introduced to water in the 1940s as a means of preventing tooth decay, not a single dental product contained fluoride: no toothpastes, no fluoride mouth rinses, no fluoride varnishes, and no fluoride gels. In the past 60 years, as one fluoride product after another entered the market, exposure to fluoride increased considerably, particularly among children.
As you read through the research, you may decide to trash the fluoride-filled toothpaste in your bathroom (PLEASE lose your child’s fluoride toothpaste!), which I highly recommend. But you probably don’t know that processed foods, pesticides, bottled teas, pharmaceuticals, Teflon pans, and mechanically deboned chicken all contain fluoride. DITCH THEM. However, there is a bigger issue at hand: OUR WATER.
Here we are in 2015 still fighting about fluoride. Over the past 65 years, a lot has been discovered and brushed under the table pertaining to this chemical. Since 2010, more than 75 US and Canadian communities have voted to end water fluoridation, and the issue is heating up as more and more people begin to demand water that does not expose them to this highly toxic industrial waste product. The United States is one of the only developed countries that fluoridate their citizens’ drinking water. Most countries fully realize that adding a known poison to your population’s water supply is probably not a good idea. In Europe, only Ireland (73%), Poland (1%), Serbia (3%), Spain (11%), and the U.K. (11%) fluoridate any of their water. Most developed countries, including Japan and 97% of Western Europe, do not consume fluoridated water. More people drink fluoridated water in the US alone than in the rest of the world combined. About 70% of our public water supplies are fluoridated. This equates to approximately 185 million people, which is over half of the number of people drinking artificially fluoridated water worldwide. http://www.fluoridealert.org/
The FDA labels fluoride a drug, which has the purpose of preventing tooth decay. Did you know that according to the World Health Organization, decline in tooth decay has absolutely nothing to do with fluoride? The decline has taken place worldwide, not just in areas with fluoridated water.
The National Academy of Science reviewed the safety of fluoridation and remains “unsettled,” but in 2006, a committee at the NAS published an exhaustive 500-page review of fluoride’s toxicity. The report concludes that fluoride is an “endocrine disruptor” and can affect many things in the body, including the bones, the brain, the thyroid gland, the pineal gland, and even blood sugar levels.
According to the National Research council (2006) fluoride has the ability to interfere with the functions of the brain, lower intellectual abilities, disrupt the endocrine system, effect thyroid function, increase the severity of diabetes, and increases the risk of Alzheimer’s. Further study needs to be done to rule out links to infertility and bladder cancer. Studies also show that children in high-fluoride areas have significantly lower IQ scores than those who live in low-fluoride areas. Not only are our children at risk for lower IQ levels, but studies have reported an association between fluoride exposure and impaired visual-spatial organization. Other studies found association between prenatal fluoride exposure and fetal brain damage. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3491930/
Today, not only do 40% of American teenagers have fluorosis, but, in some fluoridated areas, the rate is as high as 70 to 80%, with some children suffering advanced forms of the condition. (http://fluoridealert.org/)
Many people argue that fluoride is naturally occurring at high levels in our water. However, a lot of toxic substances (arsenic and lithium for example) occur naturally at high levels, but that does not mean they are safe. Most people also assume that the fluoride artificially added to our water is added at the same level as (the toxic) natural occurring fluoride, but it is not. The levels are far higher, and add to that the amount of polluted, contaminated water, we are in trouble. Fluoride is captured in air pollution control devices because fluoride gases are hazardous air pollutants that cause significant environmental harm. This captured fluoride acid is the most contaminated chemical added to public water supplies, and may impose additional risks to those presented by natural fluorides. These risks include a possible cancer hazard from the acid’s elevated arsenic content, and a possible neurotoxic hazard from the acid’s ability, under some conditions, to increase the erosion of lead from old pipes.
Healthy adult kidneys excrete 50-60% of the fluoride ingested each day, but the remainder accumulates in the body, largely in calcifying tissues such as the bones and pineal gland. Infants and children excrete less fluoride from their kidneys and take up to 80% of ingested fluoride into their bones. The fluoride concentration in bone steadily increases over a lifetime.
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported that 41% of American adolescents have dental fluorosis- a discoloring of tooth enamel caused by too much fluoride.
Breastfed vs. Formula-Fed Fluoride Exposure Breastmilk has a remarkably low level of fluoride (0.004 ppm). A formula-fed infant consuming fluoridated water can consume up to 300 times more fluoride than a breast fed baby (0.6-1.2 ppm). There are no benefits, only risks, to ingesting fluoride. Infants are already susceptible to environmental toxins, so consuming formula made with fluoridated water, we are placing them at extremely high risks. These infants have the highest exposure to fluoride, by bodyweight, in the population. The American Dental Association (ADA) distributed an alert in 2006 recommending parents be “advised that formula should be made with ‘low or no-fluoride water’.” Unfortunately, the ADA has done little to get this information into the hands of parents.
Aluminum + Fluoride = Alzheimer’s Many municipal water supplies are treated with both alum (aluminum sulfate) and fluoride. These two chemicals combine with each other easily in the blood to form aluminum fluoride. Although elemental aluminum cannot pass the blood-brain barrier, some compounds such as aluminum fluoride do. Aluminum fluoride is very poorly excreted in the urine. It is poisonous to the kidneys. Aluminum salts in the brain lead to Alzheimer’s Disease.
If you think you are escaping artificially added fluoride by consuming bottled water, think again. The following companies “provide you with added fluoride” without so much as a warning on the bottle: (http://www.bottledwater.org/fluoride)
· Alhambra · Arrowhead · Belmont Springs · Crystal Rock · Crystal Springs · Deer Park · Diamond Springs · Hinkley Springs · Ice Mountain · Kandiyohi · Kentwood Springs · Mayer Bros. · Mount Olympus · Nursery Water · Ozarka · Poland Spring · Pure Flo · Puritan Springs · Shenandoah · Sierra Springs · Sparkletts · Zephyrhills
FLUORIDE and CANCER: Fluoride has been to shown to thicken but weaken bones, and worse mutate normal genetic cells into cancer cells. Some researchers believe that fluorine is a carcinogen. The National Cancer Institute, the New Jersey Department of Health, and the Safe Water Foundation all found that the incidence of osteosarcoma (a type of bone cancer) is substantially higher in young men exposed to fluoridated water as compared to those who are not.
Because of everything the fluoride is linked to, it is estimated that 30,000 – 50,000 people die from fluoride poisoning each year. (http://fluoridealert.org/)
What can you do? Filter your drinking water with a well-made reverse osmosis filter system that is able to remove over 90% of dissolved fluoride in drinking water.
Side note: The skin is our largest organ and absorbs what is put on it. Showering, bathing, washing our hands, etc with our over-polluted, fluoridated water is allowing our skin to absorb the toxic drug. Consider a filter for your showers and sinks as well as your drinking water.
(I’ll take a second to love on our Berkey water filter now.)