ADD/ADHD

Astaxanthin Benefits 6,000x Stronger Than Vitamin C

Astaxanthin benefitsYou may have heard of beta-carotene, lycopene, zeaxanthin and lutein, but have you heard of astaxanthin?  Astaxanthin is found in wild caught salmon and krill and astaxanthin benefits are numerous especially when it comes to reducing age spots and boosting energy levels.

Astaxanthin is an anti-oxidant in the carotenoid family that gives salmon it’s red-orange color.  Research published in The Journal of Nutrition and Metabolism suggests astaxanthin can reduce oxidative stress, inflammation and enhance the immune system! According to several studies when it comes to eliminating free radicals astaxanthin can be as much as:

*550 times stronger than vitamin E

*800 times more powerful than CoQ10

*6000 times more potent than vitamin C Astaxanthin was even found to be more than 500 times more powerful than catechins found in green tea!  Here is a quick summary of astaxanthin benefits for your health.

  • Reduce wrinkles and age spots
  • Improve vision
  • Support joint health
  • Reduce signs of aging
  • Improve endurance and exercise recovery
  • Reduce risk of Alzheimer’s disease
  • Improve skin and reduce sun damage
  • Increase energy
  • Improve focus and ADHD 

As you can see the health benefits of astaxanthin are truly amazing!

Benefits of Astaxanthin on Aging

As we age, our cells change and can more easily become damaged through oxidation.  Astaxanthin is an antioxidant that protects your cells from oxidation so your cells stay younger and free from damage.  According to researchers at Washington State University, taking an astaxanthin supplement could have a major impact on slowing the aging process and giving you glowing clear skin.

Another study confirms the findings of the above research.  Animals given 20 mg astaxanthin daily for four months had improved cellular function in their white blood cells and also better glutathione levels. The scientists who tested the animals believe that the supplement worked by repairing damage to their DNA and protein, two vital processes in the body tied closely to aging.

Astaxanthin Benefits Reduce Age Spots

In the early 1990s, astaxanthin showed up as a food supplement on health food store shelves but wasn’t as well-known for its properties as beta-carotene or other carotenoids. That may be because there were far more studies on other carotenoids or because its anti-inflammatory properties aren’t as sensational as that of fish oil or curcumin.

However, astaxanthin has antioxidant benefits that far-outweigh those of fish oil by itself. In one Japanese study, scientists gave 3 mg supplements of astaxanthin twice daily to 30 women between the ages of 20 and 55 at the end of breakfast and dinner. The women also applied an additional 1 ml of astaxanthin topically onto their face twice daily after they washed their face in the morning. They did this for eight weeks.  Japanese researchers found that by taking the astaxanthin, the women’s skin improved with respect to wrinkles, texture, elasticity, and age spots.

And in another study by the same researchers, men who took the oral supplements (but not the topical application) experienced similar decreases in wrinkles and elasticity of the skin. As we age, there are major changes that occur in the skin in all these areas that the scientists tested. Our number of wrinkles increase, sometimes to the point where we don’t even want to look in the mirror. 

Our skin elasticity decreases, becomes less supple, and age spots can begin to occur. The skin’s production of oil decreases as well as the moisture content, especially in those with dry skin. As a result, we tend to look tired and not as vibrant as in our younger years.  But with astaxanthin, we find this decline is delayed and improved. Astaxanthin has also been found to inhibit the negative effects of UV-A light by decreasing the secretion of IL-6.

This means that this carotenoid would significantly protect against photo-aging damage such as sagging and wrinkles. There is strong evidence that astaxanthin could be the most powerful anti-aging antioxidant in the world but it has other benefits as well including improving energy and endurance.

Astaxanthin Benefits Increase Energy and Athleticism

One of the best ways to determine whether or not a supplement works for athletes is to test its effects on free radicals and antioxidant levels in the body after exercising. Exercise is a known producer of free radicals.  The greater the body’s ability to quench free radicals, the quicker an athlete can recover from a workout session. 

Researchers who tested the health benefits of astaxanthin on soccer athletes who took supplements of astaxanthin for 90 days found they had excellent results. Exercising increased all the soccer athletes’ free radical production and oxidative stress. However, the group that took the astaxanthin prevented the rise in free radicals and depletion of antioxidants.

This says a lot for how the supplements could make a difference in recovering from workouts. Tests on athletes who were cyclists in Louisiana found that a supplement of 4 mg astaxanthin per day taken for 28 days had significantly better cycling time trial scores and greater power output than those who didn’t.

Should you use astaxanthin? It’s up to you… but if you goals are to slow aging, enhance energy and improve brain health then it’s an excellent choice.

References

Tominaga, K., Hongo, N., Karato, M., and Yamashita, E. Cosmetic benefits of astaxanthin on human subjects. ACTA Biochimica Polonica 2012, Vol. 59, (1):43-47.

Sugarnuma, K., Nakajima, H., Ohtsuki, M., and Imokawa, G.. Astaxanthin attenuates the UVA-induced up-regulation of matrix-metalloprotein-1 and skin fibroblast elastase in human dermal fibroblasts. J Dermatol Sci 2010 May;58(2);136-42.

Djordevic, B., Baralic, I., Kotur-Stevuljevic, J., Stefanovic, A., Ivanisevic, J., Radivojevic, N., Andjelkovic, M., and Dikic, N. Effect of astaxanthin supplementation on muscle damage and oxidative stress markers in elite young soccer players. J Sports Med Phys Fitness 2012 Aug;52(4):382-92.

Earnest, C.P., Lupo, M., White, K.M., and Church, T.S. Effect of astaxanthin on cycling time trial performance. Int J Sports Med 2011 Nov;32(11):882-8.

Park, J.S., Mathison, B.D., Hayek, M.G., Zhang, J., Reinhart, G.A., and Chew, B.P. Astaxanthin modulates age-associated mitochondrial dysfunction in healthy dogs. J Animal Science 2013 Jan;91(1)268-75.

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Oregano Oil Benefits Superior To Prescription Antibiotics

Benefits of Oregano OilDesigned specifically for bacterial infections, antibiotics are medical doctors’ favorite tools against most issues that walk into their offices. But oregano oil benefits are proving to be superior to some antibiotics, without the harmful side effects. 

Unfortunately, the antibiotics prescribed by most medical doctors today have horrendous side effects including: causing antibiotic resistance, destroying good bacteria (probiotics), reducing vitamin absorption and damaging the digestive lining causing leaky gut.

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Your Supplements Could Be Made of Shower Scum

Here is some news that will shock you. Approximately 90% of supplements sold on the shelves of health food stores, drug stores and supermarkets contain vitamins that are literally ground up rocks or mineral salts.

There are a lot of people with expensive urine today because they aren’t absorbing the vitamins they are taking!

Not all vitamins are created equal, and they will effect your body in a different way. There are several different types of calcium including: calcium citrate, calcium malate, calcium carbonate, and calcium chelate, just to name a few.

Companies can extract calcium from green vegetables, cultured dairy, or by grinding up limestone and taking the minerals from there. The same minerals that cause scum to build up in your shower is what you may be consuming in many supplements today.

iStock_000023743821Small

This is a picture of scum in a shower similar to the scum that is building up in arteries from synthetic vitamins some people are taking.

Most nutritional suppliers will spend pennies on their products and millions on marketing claiming to give you the best, when in fact they’re giving you something that could actually damage your long-term health.

For instance, new evidence is coming to light that not only do calcium supplements do very little to protect bones, these supplements are now being shown to actually increase the risk for heart attacks.

In a new study out of the University of Aberdeen in the United Kingdom and Dartmouth University in the United States researchers have found that people taking calcium supplements have a 20-30% increased risk of heart attack. 1

Now not all calcium compounds would cause this but 70% of calcium in nutritional supplements today is calcium carbonate that is take from finely ground limestone rock. Only 5 to 30% of calcium carbonate is actually absorbed by the body so the extra calcium is excreted or can bind to plaque in your arteries causing “calcification” of your arteries increasing your risk of a stroke or heart attack. 2

Your body knows just what to do with the calcium from cabbage, spinach, and raw cheese, but not from synthetic man-made sources.

Vitamin C Scam

Another mind blowing vitamin that is almost always fake is Vitamin C. Most “vitamin C” in supplements today is ascorbic acid. This man made chemical is not found in lemons, broccoli, or anywhere else in nature.

Ascorbic acid is created by applying high heat, pressure, and chemicals to sugar (glucose) extracted from corn starch, which turns the sugar into ascorbic acid. This isn’t the same thing as eating an orange! Since Ascorbic acid is a chemical it isn’t absorbed or utilized the same way as food.

Over 90% of the ascorbic acid in North America is manufactured in Nutley, New Jersey and is owned by Hoffman-LaRouche a massive drug manufacturer. Each company then gets this ascorbic acid and makes their own claims and marketing ploys.

Dr. Timothy O’Shea says Ascorbic acid isn’t in fact vitamin C. He also states that ascorbic acid will damage the lining of your digestive tract.

Research published in The Lancet states, “Whole food vitamin C as found in onions and citrus fruits is able to quickly cure any case of scurvy. By contrast, the fractionated chemical ascorbic acid has been shown to be insufficient in resolving a scurvy condition, simply because it does not act as a nutrient.” 3

Pharmacological Grade Vitamins

These man-made vitamins we are talking about can be termed “USP” which stand for United States Pharmacopoeia. Many medically based nutritional companies will boast that their products are pharmaceutical grade which means they are highly processed and not found in nature.

So how is it that some people who take synthetic vitamins can sometimes at first notice a health improvement? In some instances your body can find a way to utilize a small amount of the nutrient but the problem is these vitamins aren’t really vitamins. They will effect your body more like a mild drug where you might notice a small improvement initially but long term it will actually have a negative side effect on your health.

According to Dr. DeCava, “You can take a synthetic form of vitamin B1 like Thiamine Mononitrate and initially it can improve fatigue. But it will eventually cause fatigue because of a buildup of pyruvic acid which leads to a vicious cycle of you thinking you need more thiamine and your problems continue to get worse.”

“Organic” Vitamins

A few other labels you must be weary of are “Organic” and “Food Based”. Even though some of the companies with these labels produce REAL quality vitamins many of them don’t. What some of the companies will do is create their own man made vitamins and then add in soy or alfalfa that are organic then call it whole food based or organic.
But in general, most supplements with an Organic Seal and that have foods and herbs as ingredients are of much higher quality.

Synergistic Vitamins

According to health pioneer Royal Lee, “Vitamins are not individual molecular compounds. Vitamins are biological complexes. They are multi-step biochemical interactions that are dependent upon each other. Vitamins working properly happens when all co-factors and components are working together.” 4

For an example of this let’s take a look again at calcium. In order for calcium to be utilized by your body you also need:

  • Magnesium
  • Vitamin D3
  • Vitamin K2
  • Enzymes

So taking an synthetic isolated calcium supplement is not the same as taking a synergistic calcium complex or consuming raw cheese which has all of the above nutrients.

How Real Vitamins are created

When you plant spinach in the earth it’s roots grow down into the soil and rocks. The roots pull minerals like magnesium out of the earth and transform that undigestible mineral into a form of magnesium our body can utilize. This is the natural circle of life that goes from soil to plant to nourish our body.

In order for a nutritional company to create a high quality vitamin or mineral they must bring the nutrient through the same process.

For instance, good magnesium today is produced by mixing the mineral with plants high in magnesium and feeding it to live yeast organisms or live lactobacillus cultures. This is very similar to how we would make yogurt, kefir, or cultured veggies today. By doing this the minerals become part of the plant then can be ground into a powder and packed as a quality whole food based supplement.

Getting more specific if you want a high quality vitamin C you will mix a food based vitamin C in a complex of citrus fruits, acerola cherry, kiwi, broccoli and other vitamin C rich foods then ferment the compounds to create a high concentration of vitamin C that is in the very same form found in nature.

Steps for finding a good brand of supplements

If you want to find a good quality brand, you need to be a researcher and label reader. Look for these 5 things when shopping for your vitamins:

iStock_000013970101Small

Step 1
Find the “food source” on the product label. For instance, if you want a good vitamin C then look for the food forms like lemon, acerola cherry, bell peppers, and kale.

Step 2
Look for Enzymes and Probiotics on the label.

Step 3
Consider price. You typically pay more when buying quality. It’s pretty inexpensive to pulverize rocks and put it in a pill form.

Step 4
Look for the Organic seal or other whole food based certifications.

Step 5
If a vitamin is in it’s dl- or D- form, that means it’s synthetic. Here’s a common list of synthetic vitamins to try and avoid:

  • Vitamin A: Acetate and Palmitate
  • Vitamin B1 (Thiamine): Thiamine Mononitrate, Thiamine Hydrochloride
  • Pantothenic Acid: Calcium D-Pantothenate
  • Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxine): Pyridoxine Hydrochloride
  • Folic Acid: Pteroylglutamic Acid
  • Calcium: Calcium Carbonate
  • Choline: Choline Chloride, Choline Bitartrate
  • Biotin: d-Biotin
  • Vitamin C (Ascorbic Acid): Ascorbic Acid
  • Vitamin D: Irradiated Ergosteral, Calciferol
  • Vitamin E: dl-alpha tocopherol, dl-alpha tocopherol acetate or succinate 24

Here is an example of what you’re looking for in a product:

supplementfacts1

Here is an example of what NOT to take:

supplementfacts2

Supplements can be a tremendous benefit to your health if it’s the right type of supplement. And remember your best source of vitamins are always going to be whole foods like vegetables, herbs, fruit, nuts, seeds, raw pastured dairy, and organic meat.

Sources:

Bolland MJ ,Avenell A ,Baron JA ,Grey A ,MacLennan GS ,Gamble GD ,et al. Effect of calcium supplements on risk of myocardial infarction and cardiovascular events: meta-analysis. BMJ 2010;341:c3691   

Gueguen L, Pointillart M, Pointillart A, . The bioavailability of dietary calcium. Journal of the American College of Nutrition.2000;19(90002):199S-136S

The Doctor Within. Natural whole food vitamins: Ascorbic acid is not vitamin C. http://www.thedoctorwithin.com/vitaminc/ascorbic-acid-is-not-vitamin-c/ (accessed 2 June 13).

Lee, Royal. “What is a Vitamin?” Applied Trophology 1956.

DeCava, Judith. The Real Truth About Vitamins and Antioxidants 1996.

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Is Your Lipstick Toxic?

toxic-lipstick

Heavy Metals in Lipstick and Lip Glosses

[Learn more about my upcoming Detox Program, Click Here to check it out.]

When it come to cosmetics, each woman is on her own in judging the safety of products. There is often little or no meaningful information from the producer and no aid from government watch-dogs. The research, if done at all, can be withheld by the company.

I’ve written before about the many chemicals and toxins found in cosmetics and other health and beauty products in, “The Real Price of Beauty” . Now, another study has found that heavy metals in lipsticks and lip glosses may be of concern.

Researchers from University of California, Berkeley tested 32 lipsticks and lip glosses used by young women in a California youth program. They found concerning levels of nine heavy metals in many of the lip products, no matter what brand they were or how much they cost. The lip product prices ranged from $5 to $24.

Do you spend much more than that? Think you’re safe using a natural or organic lipstick? Think again. Read about the regulation (or lack thereof) about such labeling in ‘Natural’ Doesn’t Always Mean ‘Non-Toxic’. Heavy metals are natural ingredients, found in air, water, soil, rock. They’re found in many of the raw materials and pigments used in cosmetics.

High Ingestion Rates

Lipstick and glosses are often ingested over the course of the day so the impact of any toxin is heightened above and beyond skin absorption levels. According to prior research, the Berkeley scientists estimated average lipstick use as twice-a-day applications and heavy use as applying lip gloss or lipstick 10 times a day. One application spreads 10 milligrams of product across a woman’s lips, most of which is ingested. Average use of lipstick means that a woman ingests about 24 milligrams of product. Women that apply lipstick or lip gloss frequently may be ingesting as much as 87 milligrams of product per day.

The researchers compared what the women were likely ingesting in lip products to health standards for heavy metal consumption like those defined by the EPA for drinking water. They found that average lipstick or lip gloss use in these products resulted in women exceeding daily intake guidelines for aluminum, cadmium, chromium and manganese. In 10 of the products they looked at, daily use meant that a woman would exceed chromium intake recommendations by 100 percent.

Poor Regulation

Both Canada and the European Union regulate allowable levels of heavy metals in cosmetics. The European Union has banned the presence of cadmium, chromium and lead altogether in cosmetics. The Canadian government has set limits for the content of antimony, arsenic, cadmium, chromium, mercury and lead in cosmetics. They’re still trying to determine what levels are avoidable in the manufacturing process. That’s because many studies have found that government limits for heavy metals are much higher than what can be avoided in manufacture.

Canada’s Environmental Defense organization conducted their own study of heavy metals in cosmetics. They found that the highest levels of arsenic, cadmium and lead are found in lipsticks and lip glosses.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in the US does not regulate heavy metal content in cosmetics.

Lead Was Found in 75% of the Lipsticks Examined

The Berkeley scientists found lead in 75 percent of the lipsticks and lip glosses they looked at but weren’t concerned because the daily exposure rates were lower than government-recommended guidelines for lead consumption.

The FDA did take a look at 400 lip products in 2011 to determine their lead levels and concluded they were too low to be dangerous, especially since lipsticks aren’t meant for consumption.

While the FDA does limit lead in certain color additives used in cosmetics, it doesn’t set limits on lead in final products.  This is troubling because heavy metals accumulate in the body over time. Low amounts can add up to big effects.

That’s why the Berkeley researchers did admit that children shouldn’t play with lipsticks or lip glosses. Researcher David C. Bellinger, in his study, “Very Low Lead Exposures and Children’s Neurodevelopment,”, says that “No level of lead exposure appears to be ‘safe’ and even the current ‘low’ levels of exposure in children are associated with neurodevelopmental deficits.”

While children are more susceptible to lead than adults, both can suffer from lead poisoning as it accumulates over time. Lead accumulation can affect the central nervous system, immune system and the kidneys. Its symptoms vary so widely that they are easily misdiagnosed. In adults, lead poisoning can show up as fatigue, irritability and sleeplessness, reproductive problems, joint, muscle and headaches, poor appetite, nervousness or constipation.

FDA Analyses of Lead in Lipsticks – Initial Survey

The following results for lead content in a selection of lipsticks were obtained by scientists at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and reported in the Journal of Cosmetic Science1 Exit Disclaimer. FDA purchased lipsticks from retail stores between October and December 2007.

Sample #
Brand
Parent company
Lipstick line
Shade #
Shadea
Lot #b
Lead (Pb)c
(ppm)d
1a
Cover Girl
Procter & Gamble
Incredifull Lipcolor
964
Maximum Red
7241S1
3.06
1b
5188S1
3.05
Revlon
Revlon
ColorStay Lipcolor
345
Red Velvet
Compositee
2.91f
2
07298
2.38
3
Cover Girl
Procter & Gamble
Queen Collection
Q580
Ruby Remix
7136
2.24
4
Body Shop
L’Oréal
Lip Colour
22
Garnet
C274EA
1.79
5
Cover Girl
Procter & Gamble
Continuous Color
435
Cherry Brandy
7228
1.76
6
L’Oréal
L’Oréal
Colour Riche
315
True Red
FD261
1.47
7
Revlon
Revlon
Super Lustrous
660
Bed of Roses
07208 1508
53
1.37
8
Maybelline
L’Oréal
Moisture Extreme
F315
Cocoa Plum
WD2891
1.21
9
Revlon
Revlon
Super Lustrous
725
Love That Red
07284 1508
59
1.04
10a
L’Oréal
L’Oréal
Colour Riche
752
Classic Wine
FD064
0.79
10b
FD234
0.67
11
Clinique
Estée Lauder
Long Last
FJ
Merlot
AA7
0.55
12
Clinique
Estée Lauder
Long Last
F9
Paprika
A87
0.48
13
Estée Lauder
Estée Lauder
Pure Color
1A3
Maraschino
B55
0.43
14
Burt’s Bees
Clorox Company
Lip Shimmer
g
Merlot
1840701
0.33
15
Maybelline
L’Oréal
Moisture Extreme
E215
Midnight Red
WD3041
0.23
16
PeaceKeeper
PeaceKeeper
Lipstick
Paint Me Compassionate
0.17
17
Dior
LVMH
Replenishing Lipcolor
752
Red Premiere
7A01
0.15
18
Dior
LVMH
Addict Ultra-Shine
750
Shiniest Sexiness
7D01
0.12
19
M.A.C
Estée Lauder
Matte
g
Viva Glam I
A67
0.10
20
Avon
Avon
Ultra Color Rich
U250
Cherry Jubilee
0.09
Average
1.07

Health Effects of Other Heavy Metals

What does science tell us about heavy metal accumulation over time?

  • Antimony impacts the cardiovascular system, the liver and the lungs.
  • Arsenic has been linked to cancers of the bladder, liver and lung. It also plays a factor in heart and vascular diseases, death from diabetes, and gastrointestinal function.
  • Cadmium is also a human carcinogen. It’s been linked to bone and kidney dysfunction.
  • Chromium is linked to stomach tumors.
  • Manganese may be linked to neurobehavioral problems.
  • Mercury can cause allergic reactions and affect the nervous system. It can impair kidney function or cause weakness and memory loss.

The Berkeley scientists worry that “some of the toxic metals are occurring at levels that could possibly have an effect in the long term” and suggest that the FDA begin regulating heavy metal levels in cosmetics.

Staying Safe

You can check out lead levels of 400 lipstick brands from the FDA study on “Lipstick and Lead: Questions and Answers”. The Berkeley researchers didn’t reveal brand names but you can visit the Environmental Working Group’s SkinDeep website to check out harmful ingredients in your cosmetics at EWG’s SkinDeep: Cosmetics Database. Visit Environmental Defence’s website to download Heavy Metal Hazard: The Health Risks of Hidden Heavy Metals in Face Makeup, in which the authors reveal brand names and types of cosmetics they tested for heavy metals.

Dr. Axe’s Detox Diet

I’m releasing a new program that I think you’re really going to love. It’s called the Secret Detox. I’ll be sharing more about it in the coming weeks, but for now, click here to get your name on the early bird list! 

Lessons Learned:

  • The FDA does not regulate heavy metal levels in cosmetics.
  • You ingest most of the lipstick or lip gloss that you apply.
  • Heavy metals in lip products can accumulate in your body over time.
  • Keep young children away from makeup products.
  • Visit helpful databases to determine what beauty products are lowest in toxins.

Sources

Shaunacy Ferro, “Ladies, Are You Smearing Toxic Metals on Your Lips Every Day?” Popsci.com, May 2, 2013, http://www.popsci.com/science/article/2013-05/are-you-smearing-toxic-metals-your-mouth-every-day

Lindsey Konkel, “Some Lipsticks Contain Toxic Metals,” LiveScience.com, May 2, 2013, http://www.livescience.com/36957-lipsticks-toxic-metals-lead-chromium.html

Sarah Yang, “Poison Lips? Troubling Levels of Toxic Metals Found in Cosmetics,” Berkeley News Center, May 2, 2013,

http://newscenter.berkeley.edu/2013/05/02/toxic-metals-in-lipstick/

“Heavy Metal Hazard: The Health Risks of Heavy Metals in Makeup,” Environmental Defence, http://environmentaldefence.ca/reports/just-beautiful-heavy-metals-in-cosmetics-factsheet

“Guidance on Heavy Metal Impurities in Cosmetics,” Health Canada, July 26, 2012, http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/cps-spc/pubs/indust/heavy_metals-metaux_lourds/index-eng.php

“Lipstick and Lead: Questions and Answers,” Food and Drug Administration, Last updated June 5, 2013, http://www.fda.gov/Cosmetics/ProductandIngredientSafety/Productinformation/ucm137224.htm

David C. Bellinger, “Very Low Lead Exposures and Children’s Neurodevelopment,” Current Opinion in Pediatrics, 2008, http://www.precaution.org/lib/neurodevelopment_and_vy_low_lead.080601.pdf

“Lead Fact Sheet,” University of Maryland Department of Environmental Safety, July 1997, http://www.des.umd.edu/os/rest/lead.html

Jason Rano and Jane Houlihan, “Myths on Cosmetics Safety,” Environmental Working Group, http://www.ewg.org/skindeep/myths-on-cosmetics-safety/

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Organic Mattresses and How to Pick the Healthiest Bed

Savvy-Rest

I’ve written before about toxic bedding and how to choose the right pillow (Is Your Pillow Toxic), but now I want to share how to choose the right mattress. Getting sufficient high quality sleep is one of the best things we can do for our health. Sleep allows the body to re-set after a long day. Lack of sleep can result in weight gain, impaired functioning, and even chronic diseases such as heart disease and diabetes. A great mattress is the first step to getting a good night’s sleep. But, did you know that over 90% of mattresses contain toxic chemicals? Some common chemicals found in mattresses include polybrominated diphenyl ethers, boric acid, formaldehyde, and antimony.

Flame Retardants

 In 1975, California passed law TB 117 which required all foam in furniture and mattresses to be flame retardant to prevent common household fires caused by candles and cigarettes.  Manufacturers have applied this policy to furniture sold in all 50 states. All traditional mattresses, therefore, are treated with flame-retardant chemicals to prevent fires.

Polyurethane foam is widely used in conventional mattresses. It breaks down into different VOC’s (volatile organic compounds) that are released into the air which one would then breathe in at night. As polyurethane begins to break down it can release polybrominated-biphenyl-ethers (PBDEs), which I think are currently becoming illegal and have been replaced with different, and potentially more dangerous flame retardants (the dangers are just unknown because there aren’t enough studies yet).

These chemicals can stay in the environment for a long time and have been shown to cause neurologic, thyroid, and other developmental problems. 97% of people in the US have been found to have levels of PBDEs in their blood, with people in California (due to TB 117) having the highest levels. The main problem with PBDEs is that they stay in the environment for a long time, even after the source is gone. Several states have begun to pass laws banning certain types of PBDEs, including Washington, Maine, and California. The international environmental community determined in 2009 that PBDEs are considered persistent organic pollutants.

Avoid Boric Acid

Boric acid is a toxic chemical frequently used as a roach killer. Acute exposure to a large dose of boric acid can result in convulsions, blistering of the skin, and even coma. Long-term exposure has been known to cause developmental and neurological problems. Inhalation of boric acid may result in damage of the upper respiratory tract. Many mattress companies use boric acid in the lining of their mattress and you could be breathing this in nightly!

Avoid Formaldehyde

Is a colorless, strong-smelling chemical that is commonly used in a variety of building materials and household products. Products that contain formaldehyde include glues, pressed wood products, and insulation. High levels of formaldehyde in the air can head to burning sensation in the eyes and nose, coughing, nausea, and skin problems. Long-term exposure can cause neurotoxicity, cancer, damage to the lymphatic system, or liver toxicity.

Harmful Chemical, Antimony

Antimony is a chemical similar to arsenic. The only difference is that antimony is a metal, where arsenic is more of a powder. Antimony has been shown to cause reproductive problems, including problems with fertility and miscarriage. It can also cause damage to the liver and the heart if people were exposed long-term. There is some research that sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) may be related to toxic chemicals from crib bedding. One 1998 study, found high levels of antimony (a toxic chemical) in the blood of babies who had died from SIDS.

Why Choose Organic?

As you can see, traditional mattresses are made with a variety of toxic chemicals. Not only are you putting your health at risk by exposing yourself regularly to these chemicals, but people tend to sleep better on natural, organic fibers. Studies have shown that those who sleep on natural fiber mattresses tend to toss and turn less, resulting in a better night’s sleep. There are several options for organic, non-toxic materials in mattresses such as wool, natural rubber, and cotton or a combination of all three.

Wool is Free of Chemicals

Organic wool is a sustainable and environmentally friendly resource because sheep are not killed to gather the wool, just shorn. Organic wool, specifically, is produced without the use of any hormones, chemicals or pesticides.  Wool mattresses have been shown to reduce back pain and results in a better night sleep. One study found that participants who slept on a natural-fiber wool mattress were found to have less low back pain after 4 weeks. Since wool is a natural fiber, it actually absorbs sweat during the night allowing you to stay cooler in the summer, but also keeps you warm during the winter.

Latex/Natural Rubber is Dust Mite Resistant

Natural rubber is made from the sap of the rubber tree, commonly found in Brazil, near the equator. The sap is harvested and whipped to turn into a latex foam. The tree heals within an hour of being tapped and the rubber can be collected up to 180 days a year. No chemicals or toxins are used in the process of creating the rubber. A latex mattress is covered in wool or cotton to make a supportive and organic mattress. It is dust mite resistant, hypoallergenic, and anti-microbial since bacteria, fungus, and dust cannot penetrate the latex core of the mattress. A natural latex mattress is expected to last a lot longer than a standard coil mattress and may even be good for up to 20 years due to it elasticity.

The proteins that cause allergies are washed out of the natural latex, however, people with a severe natural latex allergy and most people who have an allergy to synthetic latex, can have a reaction (although very infrequent).

Organic Cotton Doesn’t Contain Formaldehyde

Farmers in the US apply a significant amount of chemicals and pesticides to their cotton plants. Many farmers use genetically modified cotton that is resistant to pests and fungus. American farmers use about 12 pounds of chemicals per acre making it one of the most toxic crops grown in America. Non-organic cotton sheets may also be treated with formaldehyde to prevent wrinkles. Therefore, it is vital to look for products made with 100% organic cotton which does not contain any pesticides or added chemicals. Farmers of organic cotton use natural fertilizers, such as legumes instead of fertilizer in their fields.

Mattresses I Recommend

Switching out your traditional mattress for an organic one is a great way to reduce your exposure to toxic chemicals. Try to look for a mattress without any fire retardant chemicals, made of wool, organic cotton, or natural rubber latex. Make sure to ask your retailer if the mattress does not contain PBDEs, formaldehyde, or boric acid. Mattress manufacturers are not required to disclose the chemicals used in their beds, but you can do a quick internet search to find the best brands or go to a store that specializes in organic, natural bedding. My top two brands to consider:

1. Bella Sera

2. Savvy Rest

These mattresses are generally made of natural latex and wrapped in organic cotton and wool. Since natural latex lasts longer, an average of 10-20 years, this means that there will be fewer mattresses in landfills overall.

If you’re concerned about your mattress being flame-resistant wool is actually naturally flame resistant, so look for a mattress made with a wool covering. Getting a good night’s sleep is one of the best things you can do for your health, why not make your mattress healthy too?

[I've worked out a deal with the Natural Sleep Store for a 20% discount for draxe.com subscribers. The coupon code is draxe20 and is good for 20% off Bella Sera until 9/30/13. Click here to check out the Natural Sleep Store.]

Lessons Learned:

  • Traditional mattresses are full of toxic chemicals including PBDE, boric acid, antimony, and formaldehyde.
  • Manufacturers are making mattresses out of organic, sustainable materials such as wool, cotton, and natural latex.
  • Make sure to ask lots of questions or do your research before purchasing a mattress.
  • Brands to look for: Bella Sera, Green Sleep, and Savvy Rest.
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Is Your Salad Dressing Killing Your Weight Loss?

Is Your Favorite Salad Dressing Unhealthy?

You may be wondering why your weight loss plan isn’t working even though you’ve made salads a mainstay in your diet. Certain kinds of saboteurs are easy to recognize. Loads of meats and cheeses, too many dried fruits or candied nuts, salads laden with sour cream or creamy, rich dressings can obviously derail weight loss. But what if you’re watching what goes into your salad, using “light,” “low-fat” or “fat-free” dressings and the weight still won’t come off? It’s the kind of fat in your salad dressing that matters.

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Steve Jobs: His Treatment Plan, Where It Went Wrong

Steve Jobs cofounder and innovator of Apple Computer died on October 5, 2011 from complications of pancreatic cancer, he was 56 years old. Jobs made a huge impact on the culture of America with these techy gadgets that Americans absolutely love.

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This Little Known Additive is Just as Dangerous as MSG

Paul Bragg, health pioneer and nutritionists said, “If it is boxed, canned, or processed in any way, don’t eat it” Great advice! It’s scary to think about but many of the labels on the food products are ambiguous and deceptive, leading you to think you’re getting a healthy food product, when in fact you’re really getting something that is detrimental to your health. Many food processing plants have found government loopholes that allow them to add toxic additives into your prepared dinner entrees and other food items.

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ADHD America: Are the meds helping or hurting our kids

According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) Attention Deficient Disorder (ADD) and Attention Deficient Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is on the increase in children in the U.S. The number of children between the ages of five and seventeen that have been reported by their parents to have ADHD or ADD has increased from 7 to 9 percent over a decade ending in 2009. What this means is that a whopping 5 million children have been diagnosed with either ADD or the hyperactive form called ADHD according to the 2010 U.S Census data.

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Transform Your Health – April 17, 2011

Full Radio Show

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Top 10 Superfoods: What’s in Your Diet?


Eating healthy is one of the very best things you can do for your body and mind. The foods you choose to eat everyday determine on a daily basis how you’ll feel that day. If you put a lot of junk food in, don’t be surprised if you lack energy or get sick easily.

If you eat a variety of fresh, organic, raw foods you’ll notice you feel more energetic and even optimistic than when you ate poorly. When you eat a kaleidoscope of different whole, raw foods you’re giving your body the nutrients it needs to function and thrive.  This is key for feeling good not just daily but in the long run too.

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Transform Your Health – March 13, 2011

Full Radio Show

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How to Protect Yourself from the Flu and the Dangerous Flu Vaccine

flu-seasonAutumn is in the air. The cool, crisp air, football games, falling leaves, pumpkins and of course the signs sprouting up everywhere advertising the ‘flu vaccine.’ And while autumn, winter, and the flu seem to go hand in hand there are steps you can take right now to protect yourself and loved ones from getting the flu this year. But beware – the flu vaccine isn’t the answer

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Asthma & Heart Disease Can Begin in Your Neck

back of neckIf you’re like I was, you might wonder how a chiropractor can help you overcome things like asthma, heart disease or carpal tunnel. It all links back to the “arc of life” found in your neck.

When any one of the four natural curves in the spine is misaligned, stress affects the spinal discs, tissues and nerves.

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ADHD Linked to Common Pesticides

pesticidesMore and more children are being diagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and also being placed on medication to treat the symptoms. We already know the extreme dangers associated with these drugs, but what about getting to the root cause of the problem? Here is a look at a recent study that links pesticides to an increased risk of ADHD.

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Dangers of Ritalin

dangers of ritalinIn a recent post I talked about how fish oil works even better than Ritalin for the treatment of ADHD. I realize, though, that many people will still not be convinced to take their children off these meds if they see them working. Medications will treat the symptoms of the condition, and will admittedly work faster than a natural method, but they are not taking care of the root causes. And they are changing your child’s brain long term. Seems the risks are far outweighing any perceived benefits.

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Fish Oil Better Than Ritalin for ADHD

So many children (and even adults) are being diagnosed with Attention-Deficient/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) these days. And almost all of them are being prescribed dangerous, mind-altering medications like Ritalin.

But fish oil actually improves the symptoms of ADHD without any of the side effects of drugs like Ritalin and Concerta–and does it even more effectively.

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* These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. If you are pregnant, nursing, taking medication, or have a medical condition, consult your physician before using this product.