Gain Weight During The Lockdown…Is Alcohol To Blame?


By Kennedy Shelley

Just how much does alcohol consumption affect your weight?

Back in the 1960’s Robert Cameron published a widely popular diet book called the Drinking Man’s Diet.

Surprisingly it was effective at helping people lose weight because it was essentially a low carbohydrate way of eating.

Alcohol, and especially distilled spirits have no carbohydrates.

This seems absolutely counterintuitive because it comes from grain which is all carbohydrates, but the process of distillation and fermentation kills the sugars.

There are calories in alcohol, but alcohol itself is its own food group.  It is neither fat, protein or a carbohydrate.

Just drinking distilled alcohol alone won’t cause weight gain.

The problem is very few people drink pure distilled spirits, but instead mix them with sweetened beverages which do include carbs and boost insulin levels which does lead to weight gain.

The type of alcohol you consume also affects how it is absorbed.  Not every calorie is a calorie.  Some increase hormones such as leptin and insulin which control how many calories are stored as fat.

Beer and wine will cause more insulin in the blood, which increases your body’s tendency to store fat.

Drinking straight vodka or whiskey will not.  They are similar in calories but processed very differently.

But the real problem with alcohol is how it is processed by the liver.

Alcohol is treated as a poison by the body, especially the liver.  It is prioritized first for elimination.

So, if you have a drink with dinner, the alcohol will be broken down first, and then the liver will work with the nutritious food.

This is why so many chronic alcoholics who have engaged in long term drinking are so malnourished.  Their liver gets damaged trying to process the alcohol and then can’t get other nutrients from food.

So, trying to lose weight by drinking heavily may work at making the number on the scale go down, but it is hardly a way to achieve optimum health.

But reducing your nutritional intake is only half the problem.  When you imbibe, you also get relaxed at your ability to say “no” to sweets and other items not on your diet goes down.

Let’s face it, how many times have you wondered where the bag of chips went after you were drinking on the couch binge watching a TV show?

And let’s face it, no one wants to exercise when they are enjoying an alcoholic buzz.  Alcohol is a depressant drug which slows down your overall metabolism.

In short it is the cascade of effects that happen when you drink too much that tends to lead to the weight gain from drinking too much.

Another note,  drinking too much alcohol tends to dehydrate you and messes up your ability to get deep restful sleep, both of which make you more vulnerable to viruses and bacteria which may not be what you want to be during a pandemic.

So, while having one or two of your favorite adult beverages a couple of times a week won’t affect your weight, but when you unleash the cascade of problems by drinking too much it will show up on the scale.

Since it is reported that alcohol sales have gone up over 60% since the lockdown started, it is probably a major reason why so many people are going to need to purchase bigger clothes in the coming weeks.

New Blood Test Could Change Cancer Detection Forever

Blood Test Cancer

By Kennedy Shelley

A revolutionary new test could make it possible to detect over 50 types of cancer, most of which are very tough to diagnose until it is too late.

Imagine getting your annual blood work done and being able to do a cancer screening without having to get into an MRI tube.

That is the promise of a study just released in the Annals of Oncology.

It turns out that when cancer cells are present, the body’s immune response is to shed DNA which is circulated in the blood, and now thanks to new computer technology it is detectable.

Early detection gives patients and doctors more opportunity to make better treatment decisions.

This test not only detects cancer but gives some very good clues as to what type of cancer they have.

In some ways the early detection is going to change the discussions doctors have with their patients about cancer.

Some cancers are slow growing and some spontaneously go away as the body naturally fights the cell anomalies, so learning that there are cancer markers in the blood does not necessarily mean chemotherapy or surgery.

The test now moves into clinical trials.  The Harvard School of Medicine is leading this effort.

While the test is proving to be very accurate, the goal is to see if it is creating false positives which could lead to unnecessary worry, procedures and tests.

Then there is the question of what you do about positive tests.

And that is going to require some more clinical application to figure out what is the correct next step.

The test was created using a computer algorithm using AI technology.  It traced the presence of methylation in DNA and the computer found the pattern.

They used the blood samples of over 3000 people, half had cancer, and half did not.  The AI program soon found a pattern that has eluded researchers for decades.

The results were promising, though not 100%.  For instance, it would show 1% who did not have cancer were testing positive.  And it did not detect every cancer either.

In Stage I cancers it only picked up 18% on average, while by Stage IV it was picking up over 93%.

In other words, getting a clean cancer blood test doesn’t mean you are cancer free at this point, but early detection of pancreatic cancer can be a life saver.

But some cancers were more detectable than others.  For instance, the test was able to find pancreatic cancer 63% of the time in Stage I, and 93% of the time in Stage IV.

Many cancers are notoriously hard to detect in the early stage and getting a heads up on 18% of them without the need for expensive testing could save many lives.

Cancer is the second leading cause of death in the US killing over a half a million people a year, so detecting 18% could save nearly 90,000 people from a great deal of pain each year.

Cancer cells are less aggressive in the early stages and far easier to treat, and a simple screening tool could give us an important weapon to fight this killer.

Hunkering At Home Is A Dangerous Theory

Self Isolation

By Kennedy Shelley

The idea that you can slow a pandemic through social isolation is not a fact, it’s an untested theory.

Intuitively it makes sense, but there are many things which seem to make sense to us, but in reality, are not true.

An example of this type of thinking is calcium supplementation for bone health.  The idea was bone is made of calcium, and people suffer from bone degeneration, so the solution is more calcium.  The problem is that it doesn’t work.

It turns out that unless you have the proper amount of vitamin D and weight-bearing stress on the bones, calcium won’t be absorbed into the bones and worse yet, the excess calcium tends to harden the arteries and cause kidney stones.

In short, the intuitive answer is completely wrong.

People and society like bones are complex systems.  You can’t just change one thing without it affecting other areas.

What was never taken into account with the isolation model is what effect it would have on people’s ability to fight the virus naturally.

Does economic uncertainty and isolation have an effect on health?  Of course, it does, and it may be much more profound than this virus.

There is no such thing as a free lunch, and government-imposed lockdowns actually have other consequences.


Dr. Martin Malcolm of the University of Stirling looked at the effect of social isolation on the elderly and found it significantly lowered their ability to fight disease by destroying their immunity.

Longevity studies show consistently that if you want to live a long and healthy life you need a strong social support network.  In other words, you need friends and community.

Forced government isolation breaks these ties that keep us healthy.


One under-reported statistic is alcohol sales in the US since March.  They have gone up 56%.

People are not at work so at least initially some thought “well, I’ll drown my sorrows and enjoy a drink during my vacation.” Unfortunately for some the addictive properties of alcohol become a problem.

Alcohol consumption also lowers the body’s ability to fight infections, putting more at risk of health problems.

And this also begins a horrible cycle for many leading to suicide.  Alcohol is a depressant.  That means it literally causes depression in people.

Isolation is one of the top risk factors for suicide.


Isolation means losing the positive health habits many people have.  Membership in a gym and working out in a group is often great motivation for people to get healthy.

But in the name of public health, we take away this vital link to one of the most important habits many people have for keeping a strong immune response.


Many people when they are under stress grab comfort from food, often junk foods that again negatively affect their immune function.

Unfortunately, this response is emotionally addictive to many people as they use it to soothe feelings of anxiety during a crisis.

In short, forced government isolation creates a host of unintended problems that actually make a pandemic worse.

There are two strategies for avoiding getting sick – stay away from the danger or make your immune system as strong as possible so you can fight the infection.

Whether anyone wanted it or not, our government forced ill-health on the nation made us less able to fight a virus, and never considered any negative consequence of the decision.

In short, they tried to solve one problem, but created many others.

If The Store Is Out of Sanitizer, Make Your Own


By Kennedy Shelley

I can’t tell you how to make toilet paper at home, but the other item that many people can’t find at the store is hand sanitizer, but thankfully there is a do-it-yourself version that is just as effective.

Hand sanitizer is not a substitute for handwashing with soap and running water, but it is so comforting to have when you are at the grocery store and you need to use a cart that you know someone else used a few minutes ago.

The thing that kills viruses, bacteria and germ is a 60% alcohol solution.  There is nothing more required than that to kill a huge swath of microscopic bugs.

But if you miss the feel of that gel and you want it to be more personal, then I will give you some basic recipes to make it feel better.

Again, this is not a substitute for 30-60 seconds of serious handwashing with soap, warm/hot running water with that rigorous scrubbing action, but it is helpful in killing some bad stuff.

Get some rubbing alcohol (99% solution), aloe vera gel and if you want maybe some type of fragrance like an essential oil you like.

Put ¾’s of a cup of the alcohol, ¼ of a cup of aloe and ten drops of the oil you like in a bowl and mix until it becomes a gel.

And that is about it.  Put it in small bottles you can take with you but mark the bottles, so you don’t mix it up.

Be careful with this if you have a cut on your finger.  It burns like the dickens if it gets in a small wound.

It tends to dry out your hands, so try not to use it all the time.

This probably shouldn’t be used on the tender hands of small children, plus if they rub their eyes it is going to really hurt.

People who already suffer from skin diseases such as eczema or psoriasis are going to find this painful to use.

Some find that different essential oils help their mood. They find that lavender helps calm them down, so you label that batch “Chill Sanitizer” and they think lemon oil promotes the immune system, so label that “Immune Boost.”

Who knows, this might become a fun gift to give friends

Have some fun with it.

There are other ingredients you might also want to consider too.

Vitamin E oil might make your hands smoother and help make you feel more moisturized, so you don’t have to lick your fingers to change pages like some health officials did during a press conference.

If you can’t get rubbing alcohol, stop by the liquor store and get 190 proof grain alcohol.  (Whatever you do, don’t drink that straight).

In an absolute pinch, look for the highest proof vodka you can find.

Most distilled spirits will provide some protection, but the darker it is, usually the stickier it is when it evaporates.

What is the official word on hand sanitizers according to the Center for Disease Control?

“Hand washing mechanically removes pathogens, while laboratory data demonstrate that 60% ethanol and 70% isopropanol, the active ingredients in CDC-recommended alcohol-based hand sanitizers, inactivates viruses that are genetically related to, and with similar physical properties as, the 2019-nCoV.” They also recommend them for health professionals.

Who knew you could make your own?

Treat A Symptom Or The Disease

Symptom or Disease

By Kennedy Shelley

Do we hurt ourselves when we spend our time worrying about symptoms instead of solving the real problem for the disease?

Let’s say you have a painful splinter in your finger, and you go to the doctor.  You tell him “my finger hurts.”  You all see the big splinter in your finger.

Treating the symptoms means he gives you pain killers or a nerve block for your arm so your finger no longer hurts and sends you home and does not touch the splinter.

That may seem stupid, but isn’t that what is happening now with many treatments for some diseases?

The smart thing is to realize that the pain is a signal from the body that you have a splinter and need to remove it.


Most people and some doctors treat fever as a disease.  It isn’t, it is a symptom of a disease that can be suppressed by medication.

But the fever is not the disease, it is one of several possible symptoms that show your body is fighting a bacterial or viral infection.

One of the problems many have is they take a fever-reducing medicine before seeing a doctor and the infection is missed because for six hours their fever is chemically reduced.

So, suppression of a symptom may lead to a missed diagnosis. But there are other problems with this.

Your body fights infections best when the internal body temperature is elevated a few degrees.

This requires a great deal of fuel.

Your metabolism speeds up 10% for every degree your body temperature increases.  So, this is not something your body does lightly, but the effects are positive.

If you have the flu for instance, taking fever-reducing medicine increases the chance of death by 5% according to an article in the National Review of Immunology in 2015.

That is a good reason to avoid taking aspirin.

An article in Critical Care in 2017 actually showed that fever makes antibiotics work better, slows down the growth of infection and helps you recover more quickly.

An article in Lung in 2017 showed that reducing a fever worsens the results of people with pneumonia.

Sometimes symptoms of a disease are what you want, not something to be suppressed.


While we can see this with fairly simple problems like splinters and fever but is the medical community making a similar mistake with chronic conditions such as type 2 diabetes?

What is the presenting symptom of type 2 diabetes?  High glucose levels.  Doctors treat it with increasing the amount of insulin.

But what is the root cause of the disease?  Why is there not enough insulin in the blood to take care of this extra glucose?  Is there something else that can be done to reduce glucose?

Virta Health has released the results of their two-year trial and they have shown that type 2 diabetes can be reversed or ended simply by reducing the amount of carbohydrates in the diet.

This is treating the cause and not the symptoms.

And in many ways, this is the discussion people need to be having with their doctor about important chronic conditions such as diabetes, high blood pressure and heart disease.

By treating the root cause instead of covering up symptoms can or may save your life or your health.

New Therapy Option That Can Heal Your Brain

Brain Health

By Kennedy Shelley

It’s too early to say this will stop dementia, but it certainly will give millions hope for restored brain function.

The question is, will anyone hear about it because it is not a drug and no doctor is going to get to do a life-changing surgery.

The solution is exercise and changing the diet.

But this is the most powerful therapy studied yet that can radically allow the brain to heal itself.

The brain has trillions of connections between different parts.  This is the essence of who we are.  It includes our personalities and our memories.

The brain is made up of fatty substances known as neurons.  Connected to one another by specialized nerve fibers known as axons.

How these cells die and are replaced is critical to keeping your brain viable.

This means the total number of connections is constantly changing, and this can be good or bad depending on your brain’s health.

The proteins that run this process are called neurotrophic factors.  The most important is now thought to be the brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF).


Now, this is going to be new to most people.  BDNF is not only produced in the brain, but also in our gut bacteria.

And the quality of the BDNF produced in the gut is dependent on what you eat.

When the neurons of the brain receive enough BDNF proteins they thrive, too little and they start to die off.

Your memory and ability to learn is really dependent on your gut health because that’s where the important proteins are made.

This is clearer when you see certain neurological diseases being cured by certain dietary changes.  For instance, the easiest and only treatment for epilepsy was a ketogenic diet.

More and more we are seeing just how important gut health is to maintain mental health.

The old saying “you are what you eat” may be truer than we realized when we said it originally.


The bad news is the number one treatment is rigorous exercise.  The good news is that you don’t have to do very much.

High-Intensity Interval Training of one minute on (working as hard as you can) and one minute of rest for 20 minutes was enough to significantly increase BDNF, even more than those who ran hard for an hour.

The diet change consisted of getting rid of vegetable oil (industrial seed oils) and sugar.

If you do these two things, you will give your brain more BDNF, which some call “Miracle Grow” for the brain.

You might even get more benefit if you skip breakfast and only eat lunch and an early dinner (known as intermittent fasting).

Getting more sun may also help some by increasing vitamin D levels according to some research.

But you can’t supplement your way out of a bad lifestyle.

HIIT and getting rid of sugar and processed food will go a long way to increase the Miracle Grow BDNF proteins your brain needs to thrive.

Is All This Hand Washing Getting Painful?

Hand Washing

By Kennedy Shelley

The public pressure to wash your hands like a doctor going into surgery has never been higher.

Regular hand washing is a powerful tool against the spread of nearly every infectious disease, but to people with some skin problems, it is near agony.

Thankfully there are some strategies to make this easier on those people who are suffering from chaffing.


Is washing with soap and then making sure they are dry really important?  Yes, yes it is.

This isn’t a thing your mom read in a magazine somewhere, this is real and has been known for a long time.

The importance of it was scientifically proven in Hungary in 1846.

Dr. Ignaz Semmelweis could not understand why the babies born in the charity hospital where he worked didn’t get a disease that was killing the rich children.

This was at a time when doctors were starting to really use the scientific method to solve diseases.  He did a series of experiments and some observational detective work.

He soon figured out that in the rich hospital, the doctors were doing autopsies and then going to the delivery rooms but didn’t wash their hands.

And he hypothesized that they were spreading disease to the babies.

So, he did a controlled experiment and found that when you washed with chlorinated water, the death rate with the babies dropped.

Instead of being hailed as a hero who was saving babies, he lost his medical license because so many doctors were offended because of the implication that they were responsible for hurting their patients.

It took several decades for other scientists to show why his findings were correct.

In 2005 some UN doctors went to the poorest parts of Indonesia where diarrhea was the biggest killer.

It was impossible to change the water system there, but just giving out soap and teaching people the importance of handwashing ended the problem.


If you have dry skin, eczema, or psoriasis hand washing can be extremely painful.  Is there a way to make it easier?

Thankfully, yes.

Using soap with a built-in moisturizer can help.

Putting on hand cream, or oil-based moisturizers can reduce the chaffing.

Also making sure you dry your hands helps out in two ways.

First, wet hands transfer germs more easily, so you want them dry.  But it also cuts down on chaffing too.  Win/win.

There isn’t a one sized fits all skin conditions answer, but don’t put yourself and others at risk because your hands hurt, now is a good time to experiment and figure out what works best for you.

Put this on your list of things to talk to your doctor about.

There may be some medical ointments that he or she may know about or can prescribe.

Oil-based moisturizers coat the skin and lock moisture in, helping to keep your hands from feeling so dry because we lose a great deal of water through sweat, even if we are not dripping wet.

Keep washing your hands and find a solution and keep washing your hands even when there isn’t a pandemic happening.

Why Does Cracking Your Back Feel So Good

Cracking Back

By Kennedy Shelley

When you are feeling tight in your back and neck and it’s just painfully annoying…and then there is that magic moment of relief when you hear it crack and you feel great.

Why did that happen, and is it safe?

Well unless you broke something because of a tremendous force being suddenly and viciously inflicted, it’s probably not going to harm you.

The sound you are hearing is just gas bubbles trapped in joint fluid being released.

The gas is most likely laughing gas, or nitrous oxide.  No wonder you feel good.

You are also releasing micro receptors which override the pain receptors because of the mechanical pressure.

And then you probably will release some endorphins, which are natural pain killers in your brain.

Yes, you are feeling better for a reason.

So, does this hurt or harm you?

That depends on who you ask and why your back was hurting.

If it was because of a very serious condition such as a compressed disk or cracked vertebrate, you might have made the situation worse (and you will find out in 20 minutes after the nitrous oxide leaves your system).

If it was simple muscle tension, you might not have made it worse, but you didn’t solve the underlying problem.

In short, the solution to muscle tension is not a back crack, but some good deep stretching.

Google good yoga stretches for your back and you will find a host of ways to keep your back loose.

If this a recurring problem, go see a physical therapist.

They can suggest exercises you can do at home that will strengthen the right muscles to help.

Oftentimes the tight muscle isn’t really the problem, it’s a weak muscle nearby.

This doesn’t provide the immediate relief and satisfaction as a good back crack brings, but it will help keep it from flaring up as much.

Note, make sure you warm up the muscles some by walking around before you try any hard stretches.  Muscle tears can result from doing a cold stretch.

And if you are continually cracking your back, there is the possibility that you could make the joints hypermobile, decreasing stability of the joint, which creates its own problems.

Is there a difference between cracking your back and the chiropractor crunch?

In short, yes.

Your back crunch is very non-specific, and the chiropractor isn’t trying to cause the popping sound, it might happen, but he’s trying to mobilize key ligaments, the material that holds joints together.

Different chiropractors practice different methods to achieve this, so shop around, but most people find relief from the aches and pains of life with the help of a good chiropractor.

So, you have a wealth of tools out there to help that aching back.  Shop around and find what works for you.

If worse comes to worse, maybe you just need to relax with a good massage.

Why would that help?

It relaxes you and the tight muscles that are the root problem of most annoying back pain.

In Praise of Cholesterol


By Kennedy Shelley

What does LDL cholesterol do?  Ask a doctor and they will tell you “it clogs your arteries and gives you a heart attack.”

But that doesn’t tell you what LDL does and why it is in your blood.

Every year, half of the 200,000 people who had a heart attack in Great Britain had normal cholesterol levels according to a story in The Daily Mirror.

This goes along with a 2009 UCLA study that looked at over 136,000 people who were hospitalized for a heart attack.

75% had normal or low cholesterol, but half had low HDL (the so-called “good” cholesterol).

While this may leave doctors scratching their heads, but no one wants to say, “the Emperor isn’t wearing clothes.”

In other words, what if cholesterol isn’t a good indicator of heart health?  What if cholesterol was actually good for you?

You could not live without cholesterol.  It is in every cell of your body, it gives them form, it holds us together.

And your brain is made up of it.  One of the signs of Alzheimer’s disease and dementia is less fat in the brain.

It is so vital that if you do not eat it, your body will make its own.  Nearly every cell in the body, but especially in the liver your body will make cholesterol.

There are two important exceptions though:  the adrenal system and the gonads.

This is why so many people on statins (cholesterol lowering drugs) complain of low energy and low sex drive.

If cholesterol is so important, why is everyone so concerned about it?

It really goes back to the 1950s when there was a sudden rise in heart disease in the US.  There were some profound shifts in the American lifestyle from 1900 to 1950.

The amount of sugar in the US diet in 1800 was estimated to be 18 pounds a year, by 1900 it was 60 pounds, and 80 pounds by 1950.

In 1911 industrial seed oils (otherwise known as vegetable oil) was introduced to the American diet as a cheaper “healthier” alternative to animal fats.

No one knew then that these fats increased inflammatory linoleic acid in the blood.

But by 1950 it was shown that reducing animal fat did decrease cholesterol levels and the makers of Crisco gave major donations to the American Heart Association, so they started pushing low cholesterol.

And then the US government started putting a large amount of money into heart disease research and Ancel Keys, a researcher from the University of Minnesota said he had the answer to heart disease, reduce cholesterol.  And the war on cholesterol began.

Then in the 1980s statin drugs were introduced which could reduce HDL, the so-called bad cholesterol.

These drugs have produced nearly a trillion dollars in profits for big pharma, and they have been telling you and your doctor how important it is to reduce your cholesterol.

But what do we lose when we reduce our HDL?  Does HDL do anything good?

HDL transports vitamins A & D.

Vitamin D is really an important hormone vital to nearly every system of the body, yet we get less of it when we have low levels.

It feeds your muscles.  It is an energy transporter because it is lighter and takes fat to parts of the body that needs it.

It fights infections and disease.  The LDL molecules are vital in helping the body fight disease.

It is vital in estrogen and testosterone production.

Basically, all the dangerous side effects statin drugs are actually the result of artificially lowering your LDL levels.

But the biggest reason for wanting high LDL and cholesterol is that you will live longer and smarter.  Study after study shows that people that have high cholesterol after 70 live longer and are better protected from dementia.

Again, ask your doctor, “what does LDL do?” If you find one that lets you know that it is a vital part of your body and blood, you may have found a very good one.

Eggs Are Good Again


By Kennedy Shelley

An egg a day got the thumbs up from Harvard Health again.

This has been an on again off again conversation within the health community for nearly 50 years.

Back in 1984 Time magazine set the tone for the war against cholesterol with their cover saying eggs and bacon were bad.

But by 2014 the pendulum had swung the other way

Why has this been such a matter of controversy?  This actually goes back to the Eisenhower administration.  The president had a heart attack.  It came at a time when more and more Americans were developing heart disease.

What you may not realize is that this was a new phenomenon.  Prior to WWII there was very little type 2 diabetes in the US and very few people had heart attacks.

But with the rise of vegetable (industrial seed) oil, sugar and smoking from the 1940’s heart disease started to increase.

But in 1961 Ancel Keys announced that he had discovered the problem:  dietary cholesterol.  This was not proven, but there were two things that made him sure of his conviction:

  • The stuff that was clogging arteries was cholesterol plaques.
  • He looked at seven countries and found that the higher amount of animal fat eaten lead to a higher cholesterol level.

The problem with his hypothesis was:

  1. He could not explain why the cholesterol plaques formed.
  2. He could not show that cholesterol in the blood caused problems.

Strangely his seven-country study actually pointed out that sugar was just as big of a danger as animal fat.

But the American Heart Association received some major donations from the sugar industry and the companies that made Crisco and they declared war on animal fat and eggs.

By the 1980’s the rate of smoking dropped, but there were more heart attacks than ever, so the medical establishment started trying to convince America that eggs were no longer incredible and edible.

Per capita egg consumption dropped in half in the US, but the number of heart attacks continued to rise from the 1980’s onward.

Finally, around 2010 people started questioning the war on dietary cholesterol.

Many pointed out that Keys’ idea was a hypothesis, an idea, but there was no scientific proof that linked cholesterol with heart disease.

In 2009 someone finally checked the cholesterol levels of those who had heart attacks.  They could not find a link between heart attacks and cholesterol.

75% of those hospitalized with a heart attack had normal to low levels of cholesterol.

But medicine has been slow to get the news.

Especially since there were very lucrative drugs known as statins that were making billions of dollars a year that only did one thing, lower the cholesterol level.

Then in the last few years more evidence came out that showed that higher cholesterol levels were actually a marker for longer life.

A low cholesterol level when you got over 80 predicted death better than any other marker.

Slowly but surely the war on cholesterol is starting to end, and the egg is being vindicated.

The new study by Harvard showing that an egg a day does nothing to make you more at risk of a heart attack is just one more nail in the anti-cholesterol coffin.

Vegans More Likely To Be Mentally Ill


By Kennedy Shelley

More and more science confirms it, vegans are setting themselves up for depression and mental illness with their diet alone.

And this isn’t just a condemnation or mocking of the smug vegan you know on Facebook; this is a serious health issue in the US.

Depression is one of the leading causes of long-term disability in the US.  It costs our economy billions of dollars each year for treatment costs and lost productivity.

And the current treatment of just giving pills is not solving the problem.  If giving pills was the solution then we would not have the number of people suffering from this going up each year.

What if the root cause of depression was not in our head but instead in our stomach?

When you think about it, you realize that the brain only makes up 2% of our body yet consumes 25% of the calories.  It is not separate; it is part of our body.

Bodybuilders and athletes will eat to feed their muscles, but we give scant thought to what food does to our brains.

There are at least 11 peer-reviewed papers from 2007-18 that show an increasing link to vegan diets and mental health problems.

And their findings would no longer be baffling to these scientists if the mental health community would actually work with the nutritional community.

The problem is that vegans often do not start looking to find the optimal diet for human health, but instead give up meat to protect the environment or because they love animals, and then try to find proof that they can get nutrients from plants.

This is backward thinking.

They should be looking at what is required for optimal health and then try to create a diet in line with their values.

On paper, certain plants have vitamins, minerals and protein.

But when studied you find out the human digestive system can’t pull those nutrients out of the plants, setting the vegan up for serious nutritional deficiencies.

In 2018, French scientists studied 90,000 adults and found that for each food group that was given up on the road to veganism would lead to increased depression.

So, if you give up meat, you get more depressed.  If you then give up eggs, more depression.  If you quit fish, the group gets more depressed.

Young women in college are highly likely to flirt with veganism, so in 2018, William & Mary looked at over 6000 college students and found the vegans were significantly more at risk for neurosis and depression.

None of these studies prove that veganism caused a mental health problem.  It is possible that veganism is attractive to the mentally ill.

But there is a strong enough link between the two that people should be very concerned about.

That does not mean that vegetables cause mental health problems either.

Researchers looked into the data from the Canadian Longitudinal Study on Aging to see if there was a link between diet and mental health issues.

This is not an isolated study with a few participants, this is tracking over 26,000 Canadians and will go on for over 20 years, but this study looked at the group from 2005-10.

The study participants were interviewed, examined and lab work was analyzed, and they found that those who ate more fruits and vegetables had less depression than those who didn’t.

But that is not automatic because higher fruit and vegetable consumption was linked to higher income, and when you have an adequate income, your chances of depression go down.

But the bottom line is that if you think some of your vegetarian friends are having some mental health issues, there is a very real chance they are, and their diet very well may be the reason.

More meat and non-industrial seed/vegetable oil fats can make a big difference in improving mental health, to learn more see this article in Freedom Health News.

Music Gets You The Best Workout?


By Kennedy Shelley

Can you maximize your workout by increasing music tempo?

That question has finally been answered by science.

Most trainers and athletes have known for decades that music makes the workout go by faster, but this study wanted to see if you fooled yourself into working out harder depending on the beat of the song.

The researchers don’t call it “fooling yourself” the technical term is Rating of Perceived Exertion (RPE), but in essence that is the way of measuring how fast and how hard you think you are working out.

The RPE is your view of how hard you thought you worked; it is subjective.  But it can be graphed against the actual heart rate which does show how hard you worked.

While we all have our favorite music to listen to, the question was can you get better workouts with higher tempo music?

There were 19 female participants in the study from 24-31 and the study was held in Italy.  This was not a randomized trial; these were all healthy women who volunteered.

All of them engaged in physical activity 3-5 times a week for at least one year.

They were tested on two types of exercise – endurance work (i.e. a treadmill) and high-intensity training (i.e. weightlifting).

They would then work out in four segments:

  • No Music
  • low: 90–110 bpm (beats per minute)
  • medium: 130–150 bpm
  • high: 170–190 bpm

The music was shuffled randomly to keep it from being part of the routine.

So on the endurance, the participants walked on a treadmill for 10 minutes at 4 miles an hour.  They would measure the heart rate and ask how tired they were.

Then on high intensity, they were told to lift ten times and the load was increased until they could not perform ten repetitions.

Again, their heart rate was noted, and they were asked about their perceived rate of exertion.

Some music helped every type of exercise.  But the study showed that the faster the tempo the more profound the energizing effect during the endurance work.

This means that we fool ourselves into thinking we are giving less effort than we really are when we are using up-tempo music.

So, if you want to run harder and faster, you need fast beat music.

But the results were not as profound on weightlifting.

It is theorized that we have to focus and concentrate during lifting and the subconscious effect of music isn’t as powerful as a distraction.

In other words, it is tough to fool yourself during lifting.

What is nice today is you don’t have to break down songs to get the right beat per minute, many music services will do it for you automatically.

The authors noted:

repeated movements seem to be related to the phases between pulse music beats, stimulating a feedback/forward loop and that rhythm may even result in improved execution of movements.”

Music seems to have a profound impact on the autonomic nervous system and even affects our blood pressure and heart rate.

They are hoping in the next study to look at music genres and work with a broader group of subjects.

But the takeaway from this is that you should be listening to fast-paced music during your runs or bike rides if you want to push yourself to get faster and not feel as tired.

You Need To Do This One Thing Every Morning


By Kennedy Shelley

We all have our morning routines.  Stretch, possibly brush our teeth, but here’s a new one to add to your day…wash your eyelids.

It’s amazing what using a little gentle soap and light cleaning can do to keep your eyes healthy.

If you use eye makeup it is especially important to add this to your morning regiment.

You might notice that your eyes are getting dry and itchy, especially during allergy season.

This process of washing removes many of the allergens that have gotten stuck on the eyelids adding to the problem.

But why does this work?

When you clean the lids and eyelashes, you are also cleaning out the tear ducts which helps allow them to get natural moisture to the eye.

When they don’t work, bad things happen.

The meibomian glands secrete an oily substance that keeps your tears from quickly evaporating away, even in hot dry climates.

Washing the eyelid and lashes keeps the tiny gland path clear so they don’t get blocked.

When they get blocked over time from all the gunk on our eyelids, you can develop a painful condition called Meibomian Gland Dysfunction (MGD).

Taking a few seconds to wash around the eye prevents this and prevents you from developing permanent dry eye later in life.

Ask anyone who suffers from it and you will know you don’t want it.

While dry eyes may be a problem for the older population, MGD can affect anyone.  It’s a painful inflammation of the eyelid.

One of the causes could be a blocked gland, and the only way to really clear it out is to use warm compresses on the site until it goes away.

And it is miserable, but often avoidable if you take a few seconds to keep your eyelids clean.

NOTE:  If the warm compresses don’t clear it up you might have a fungal infection and you need to see your eye doctor.

By doing a daily cleaning you are removing the toxic biofilm that surrounds the eye.  Microscopic and parasitic eyelash mites called Demodex love that environment and start to flourish in a dirty eyelash.

Don’t use ordinary soap to clean the eyes though.  If some of it gets on the eye, well it just hurts.

Just diluting a little baby shampoo is generally gentle enough to use around the eyes and shouldn’t cause any irritation.

If you are particularly sensitive, there are some specific soaps to use around this delicate tissue.

You might want to start cleaning your eyelids a couple of times a day to get started and then just do it at least in the morning though many also do it at night.

It’s a small investment in time, but because it prevents the long term problem of dry eyes which require you to use drops for the rest of your life, or painful MGD flair-ups that can keep you from wearing contact lenses or seeing your phone screen comfortably it’s a small price to pay.

Is Apple Cider Vinegar Worth The Hype?

Apple Cider Vinegar

By Kennedy Shelley

I have seen lots of ads for apple cider vinegar.  I still keep wondering, what is all this hype about and is it really important?

Well, it turns out that it can be important to your diet, but probably for reasons you would never expect.

Actually, it isn’t more magic than any other fermented food.  But fermented foods are really good for you, but that’s where the magic really exists.

Nearly any fruit or vegetable can be fermented.  If you crush grapes and age the juice, you get wine, age it some more and it turns into vinegar.

Cut up some cabbage, store it for a while and it ferments into sauerkraut.

Fermentation is and was an important way to store perishable vegetables that would rot if just left alone.

All fermentation is the chemical process of breaking down an organic compound using enzymes, bacteria or yeast.

It breaks down the carbohydrates which are why most fermented foods are sour even though the original food was sweet.

Most people eat it this way during their life in some limited quantity.

Yogurts, sauerkraut, kimchi and pickles are all fermented foods.

These fermented foods seem to improve your gut health.

We don’t know exactly how, but the microbiome, which is made up of five pounds of 500 or more germs and bacteria that live in your gut.

It is becoming clearer that these bacteria help control our health in very unexpected ways.

All of these are being cataloged and sorted out, but it does seem safe to say that you want a healthy environment for these important bugs to flourish.

If you would like more information about the importance of gut bacteria on your health, see this article in Freedom Health News.

Which brings us back to apple cider vinegar.

All kinds of vinegar are fermented food.  Balsamic vinegar is made from overly fermented wine.  It originates with grapes.

So, taking apple cider and fermenting it, makes the apple cider vinegar that many swear by.

Taking a few teaspoons will do nothing to your blood sugar.  It has no fat or carbohydrates.

But it does help feed the microbiome.

It also seems to help some people get over GERD and chronic heartburn because it is slightly lower pH than stomach acid, but it doesn’t lower stomach acid so much that you can’t digest food.  See this article for more information.

But when apple cider vinegar is feeding your gut bacteria, your blood glucose and insulin levels go down, which reduces inflammation in the body.

This helps protect us from heart disease, and other inflammatory diseases.

So, when you see the incredible claims about apple cider vinegar this is all going back to having a healthier metabolic system.

And in this case, the claims are based in fact.  Now does this mean that apple cider vinegar is the only way to achieve these results?  Absolutely not.

Many have found that a low carbohydrate diet will get them there.  Other people have moved away from processed foods, sugar, and industrial seed oils.  Some have gone as far as a carnivore or KETO diet.

But what is clear, adding fermented foods, including apple cider vinegar to your diet is a way to improve your overall health.

This Supplement Might Mean Stronger Bones (and it’s not calcium)

Bone Health

By Kennedy Shelley

This little discussed supplement might be the secret to stronger bones.

Men and women both lose bone density as they age.

Men too often think this is only a problem for women, but as testosterone levels drop, men lose bone mass too.

If you want to keep the problems associated with hip fractures away, then you want to keep your bones healthy and that should include taking PQQ.

I had ignored much of the hype surrounding Pyrroloquinoline quinone (PQQ) because it sounded too good to be true.

Here is a supplement that is supposed to help restore cell health and give you more energy.

And then the journal Nature published a glowing study showing that many of the claims were true.  Nature is one of the most respected scientific journals in the world.

They test every claim before they publish an article.

Unlike many journals they stay away from industry backed studies, and don’t rely on big Pharma to buy reprints of their articles in order to make money.

In June of 2018, they published one of the most important works on PQQ which showed just how much PQQ helped the body strengthen itself from oxidative stress.

It turns out that increasing PQQ did help with body repair at the cellular level.

A study published in the American Journal of Translational Research looked at mice with very low testosterone to see if PQQ would stop the bone loss.

It turns out that it did, using the same mechanisms brought up in the Nature article.

Two years later the International Journal of Biological Science published a similar study on female mice with low estrogen, and the same effect was shown.

In other words, PQQ turned out to be a fantastic supplement to maintain bone health that has just not been recognized by most of the world.

For years, supplement manufacturers have mostly pushed increased calcium in the diet because that is what bones are made of.

But studies started showing real problems associated with high calcium, hypercalcemia being the worst.

It turns out that the body just can’t utilize calcium for the bones without the proper amounts of other minerals and even vitamin D.

Too much calcium in our system and not in the bones was leading to constipation and was possibly linked to hardening of the arteries.

But PQQ helps the bones by reducing the oxidative stress allowing bones to get stronger without the dangers of increasing your calcium levels.

There is more growing evidence that PQQ helps the body in even more ways too.  See this article in Freedom Health News.

PQQ is not classified as a vitamin, nor is it listed as an essential nutrient.

We don’t create it in our own body which means we have to eat it.

Where do you get PQQ in your diet?

Eggs and dairy, have it, as well as the obscure fermented soy called natto from Japan.

It is found in trace amounts in many foods, but many are finding that simply supplementing with 20 mg a day is the easiest way to increase their daily supply.

Here’s a link to the supplement I now take every day.

Unless You Live By An Ocean This Is Probably Very Low

Iodine Levels

By Kennedy Shelley

The draft boards during World War I faced a problem, they were having to reject thousands of young men from military service because they had goiters.

Further research showed they were primarily from the Midwest and central parts of the country.

That’s when scientists made the link between iodine in the diet and the formation of goiters.

Why was it primarily in the central part of the country?

Because people on the coasts were absorbing iodine from the air and locally grown vegetables where they grew got iodine from the soil which again came from the ocean.

So, what is a goiter?  It’s an abnormal swelling of the thyroid gland in the neck.

While often not fatal, a goiter can cause a persistent cough and create difficulty in swallowing.

That’s when we started seeing a link between iodine and thyroid health.

There were very few goiters in areas where iodine was in the air itself, but since the iodine from sea air can’t make it to the center part of the country it led to iodine deficiency.

Enter the Morton salt company.  They found that adding iodine to salt didn’t affect the taste and because everyone salted their food back then they thought they had solved the problem.

Then in the 1970’s the war on salt began.  So fewer people were getting iodine added to their diet.

And fewer people go to the beach because of the fear of skin cancer, so people are not absorbing as much through their skin.

So, what is the result?  Record low levels of iodine in Americans and a slow but noticeable rise in thyroid problems.

For the first time in nearly a hundred years, family physicians are seeing goiters in their patients.

It is estimated that the average Americans iodine level has dropped by 50% in the last 40 years.

Is this something you should be concerned with in your life?  What is the effect of low iodine levels?

We have seen a near epidemic of Hashimoto’s and Grave’s disease.

Thyroid cancer is increasing.  Animal studies show that you can not create these problems without creating an iodine deficiency first.

If your doctor says, “well I never see low iodine in my practice” you might want to ask him, “do you actually look for it?”

While iodized salt might give you enough iodine to prevent an obvious goiter, it hardly is enough to promote optimal thyroid health.

So how do you get enough?  The best source is from the ocean.  Ocean fish are chock full of iodine, so that will help.

And unprocessed sea salt will help.

Not the iodized salt, but that from old dead seabeds will also help promote your iodine levels.  You might want to try this brand:

You can also supplement using such products as J. Crows 2% iodine solution (I use it once a day in my morning coffee).

Low iodine affects your thyroid health.  It’s not just goiters.  Low levels will cause weight gain, cold extremities, lower your energy level.

But don’t wait, get your doctor to check your iodine levels, and you can supplement now with no known side effects.

Do Those Creams Help Arthritis Pain?


By Kennedy Shelley

The top two selling arthritis pain creams generated over a quarter of a billion in sales last year.  Is this money down the drain?

Is the stuff doing any good, or is it making you smell like the people who reeked of BenGay you used to stay away from when you were younger?

And what about the new CBD oils that they say will help?

Harvard Health says that rub on pain relief does have some real advantages over pills.

Most pills tend to irritate the stomach and may interfere with other important functions, even over the counter medicines do have some side effects.

Topical anti-inflammation can go through the skin and actually get into the joint.

That means that you don’t have to get ibuprofen and other drugs going through your entire body just to get your knee or hands to quit aching.

Topical analgesics seem to work best on joints such as elbows, knees as well as feet and hands.

So instead of taking aspirin, naproxen, or ibuprofen putting it where it hurts makes a great deal of sense and the science seems to back up the use of topical nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs).

And the science backs this up.

The best evidence comes from the Cochran Review which looked at all the known studies and they showed that topical prescription NSAIDs did as well as taking the pill form.

The only problem with using topicals seems to be occasional skin irritation and people not washing it off their hands after they put it where it hurts.

Also, there are people who want to double-dip, that is they take the pills and apply a topical analgesic and that can produce problems associated with overdosing, which means this type of action will be especially tough on the liver.

You might have a tough time getting a rub-on cream of your specific NSAIDs but look and see if there is a compounding pharmacy near you that can do it for you.


In 2017, in the journal Pain, scientists published the first study of people who were using CBD on early arthritis pain and they found that indeed, CBD was an effective anti-inflammatory.

Unlike NSAIDs, it helped not only with the pain and inflammation but also protected the nerve cells.

CBD’s are made from hemp and while some are concerned that it will make them loopy, this medication does not contain any mind-altering chemicals, unlike its plant cousin marijuana.

It has been safe for general use and the National Institute on Drug Abuse can’t find any problems with it and can’t see how it could be addictive.

So now there are some good alternatives to taking non-stop pills for arthritis pain.

Put the medicine where the pain is may be a great way to avoid some of the complications of taking more medicine that goes everywhere and just stays focused where it is needed.

If Want To Keep Your Bones Healthy Take This


By Kennedy Shelley

Rickets is on the rise.  It is a disease that usually affects kids and is basically soft bones.

We also have many elderly who suffer from debilitating hip fractures.  It’s the complications of these fractures that kills too many every year.

But both of these are caused by the same thing, low vitamin D.

When we think of bones, we think calcium. That is the mineral needed for strong bones.

But the problem is without vitamin D it just doesn’t get absorbed out of the bloodstream to the bones and teeth where it is needed.

The fact is that if you just take calcium by itself you might be setting yourself up for kidney stones and arguably heart problems from calcium build up in the arteries.

The body needs calcium, but it needs to be balanced with vitamin D and optimized with vitamin K2.

What we refer to as vitamin D, is actually a hormone that is vital to getting calcium out of the blood and into the bones.

We get vitamin D primarily from UV B rays from the sun.  But because there has been so much near hysteria about skin cancer and sun exposure, vitamin D levels have been dropping in industrial countries leading to softer bones.

Then add to that, governmental dietary recommendations keep many people away from high vitamin D foods such as egg yolks.

And then there is a long lingering idea that vitamin D is toxic.

The Mayo Clinic published a long paper explaining the history of this idea in 2015 and how the evidence shows that people can take ten times more vitamin D than the government RDA without any negative effect.

All three of these have led to serious bone problems.

The most obvious solution is to get some sun, in the winter use a tanning bed a couple of times a week and increase vitamin D supplements.

But that is only part of the equation.  Vitamin D and calcium seem to be optimized when using vitamin K2.

NOTE:  Vitamin K1 thins the blood and don’t get it confused with K2 if you are taking a blood-thinning medication such as Warfarin.

Vitamin K2 seems to supercharge the process of getting calcium out of the arteries and into teeth and bones when used with vitamin D.

It was discovered by a dentist who noticed that when he was doing missionary work that people in the third world often had better teeth than his patients in industrial countries.

He found vitamin K2 in their diet, but found it was lacking in areas that ate more processed food.

Vitamin D will support your immune system and muscles, K2 helps with heart health, but together they help you absorb calcium into your bones and teeth.

(See this article on the importance of vitamin K2 in Freedom Health News)

Getting sun without burning is important to your bones.  You can make it even more effective with more vitamin K2 in your diet.

Why The Flu Is A Winter Problem


By Kennedy Shelley

It is possible to get the flu in the summer, but we often don’t.

The common narrative is “we are all cooped up together in the winter, so it spreads.”  But don’t we all huddle around the air conditioner during the summer?

What if there was something else at work?  Say sunshine.

The sun gives us most of our vitamin D and we get exposed to the UV B rays much more during the summer months than we do in winter.  Could vitamin D keep the flu away?

If this is true, then we would expect to see fewer flu cases in Australia during our winter, and their summer.  And that is exactly what we see.

The University of Saint Mary in England looked at vitamin D’s role in preventing colds and flu and found that it certainly did correlate.  Low vitamin D meant more respiratory infections and flu.

Which again goes back to sun and summer.

So, the question is why doesn’t the US Center for Disease Control recommend more vitamin D during the winter?

Probably for the same reason they don’t want people in the sun.

It seems that the policy of the government is to keep vitamin D low, despite the evidence that it is vital.

Strangely vitamin D is not technically a vitamin, it is really a hormone.  It is vital for the absorption of calcium into the body, and when you are deficient, your bones and teeth get soft.

But it also helps out in nearly every hormonal system of the body including our immunity.

If you prefer an evolutionary model, then you can see how our ability to convert sunlight into vitamin D helped fish evolve into being on the land.

If you have a theological view, you can see how we were created to convert sunlight into this life-sustaining hormone.

But either way, we need ultraviolet sunlight to be healthy, particularly UV B rays, which are strongest in the northern hemisphere during the summer months.

That is when most people’s vitamin D levels are at their highest.

During the winter it drops as we put on more clothes and we have less sunlight.

Like everything, the poison is in the dose.  It is possible to kill yourself by drinking too much water.

And it is theoretically possible to get too much vitamin D, but that level is almost absurdly high.

Unfortunately, there was some bad science that was picked up by the popular press that created hysteria about too much vitamin D and to this day there are no vitamin D fortified products for sale in Europe.

And add to that the constant harpings of the government about the dangers of skin cancer and sun exposure.

This is not to say that malignant melanomas are trivial, they are very dangerous, but they are caused by exposure to UV A rays, which you get even through tinted glass and sunscreen lotion.

All our barriers do is stop the helpful UV B rays.

Taking ten times the recommended dosage of vitamin D supplements is perfectly healthy and might provide the protection you need against the flu this winter.

The American Heart Association Stunning Announcement About Vaping


By Kennedy Shelley

The American Heart Association reversed itself by letting the world know vaping won’t give you a heart attack.

This is a reversal of their pronouncement eight months ago that just taking a toke off of a JUUL could lead to sudden death.

Of course, the announcement eight months ago was made without any evidence at all, but what got the AHA to reverse course in such a public way?

In a statement released February 18, 2020, the AHA Journal (Journal of the American Heart Association) stated they misinterpreted a report and gave false information.

Interestingly, the original report eight months ago even implied that a JUUL could give you a heart attack even before you tried it, which hinted that just looking at a JUUL was potentially fatal.

While there is ample evidence that smoking can put people at risk of heart disease because of the chemicals found in burning tobacco, there isn’t any evidence that vaping, and nicotine replacement causes heart issues.

But the original report came from a known anti-smoking zealot who equates nicotine with smoking.

Dr. Stanton Glantz has long been opposed to vaping and has been making claims without evidence about it for years.

Dr. Glantz published his story in the AHAJ after a study called PATH Wave 1 came out.

It showed that people who already had a heart attack, and smoked, but then gave up smoking to switch to vaping were still at risk of a heart attack.

Dr. Glantz said that data applied to everyone.  And that was just absolutely wrong.  You could not get that from that data.

Why did it take eight months to retract the story that was so glaringly wrong?

The AHA claimed that they wanted to get “everyone’s input on the subject” and that took eight months.

Dr. Glantz who made his pronouncement based on the PATH Wave 1 study claimed he could not access the data, but if he didn’t have access to the data, why was he making this type of announcement in the first place.

This is one of the problems with medical research reports.  Often, we do not know that people who make claims that ‘meat will kill you’ are in fact, militant vegans.

And many of the reports that vaping is dangerous have strong prejudices against it because of years of fighting Big Tobacco.

Interestingly, the retraction comes out on the heels of a new study that shows smokers who buy a JUUL starter kit quit all nicotine within three months, making it one of the most effective stop smoking products out there.

There was a survey of over 7,000 JUUL users who bought the starter kit, and half of them had quit smoking and quit using their vaping device.

The FDA won’t allow vaping companies to advertise their products as smoking cessation devices.

But only 15% of those who quit cold turkey are able to get nicotine-free.  And that is the best of all the treatment options.  Nicotine replacement and the use of other drugs work less often.

But according to the anti-vaping crowd, the complete lack of evidence of harm is enough to ban the product.