Dr Dingle's Blog
Lactose intolerance is a “condition” in which the body cannot digest the sugar efficiently (or at all), leading to poor gut health and excess mucous, acid and gas production and varying degrees of abdominal discomfort 1. People with lactose intolerance also experience reduced absorption in the gastrointestinal system 2. Approximately 75% of the world’s population (particularly in Eastern countries such as China, India, Africa and in minority populations such as Australian Aboriginals and Native Americans) has a level of lactose intolerance 1, and it is now generally accepted that this “condition” is actually the norm for the human species. It is more prevalent in Asians (about 85%) and African Americans (about 50%) than Caucasians (about 10%). It should be highlighted that the inability to digest lactose is exacerbated by pasteurisation destroying all the enzymes naturally found in milk that would normally help with digestion of the milk.
A food allergy is an abnormal immunological response due to a sensitisation to a food or food component. It represents an important health problem, especially in industrialised countries where it has been estimated to affect about 1% to 2% of the adult population and up to 8% of children below the age of three 3. As far as statistics go, cow’s milk allergy can be considered one of the most common food allergies, especially in early childhood with an incidence of 2% to 3% in the first years of life 4.
If an allergic reaction develops it is not always due to the dietary habits of the infant. A baby can be exposed to the proteins that cause an allergic response. Breast milk from mothers who have consumed products containing cow’s milk might be another threat for the development of cow’s milk allergy due to the absorption of cow proteins, their passage through the gut mucosa and their release in human milk 4. Antibody reactivity to bovine casein as well as to casein and lactoglobulin is detectable only in bottle-fed infants and not in infants who are exclusively breast-fed5.
Hormones and growth factors
Many of the bioactive components of milk contain hormones and growth factors. Milk contains more than 50 hormones and growth factors 6. The consumption of cow’s milk can result in significant hormonal changes and disrupt the balance of insulin, growth hormones and insulin-like growth factors (IGF) 7. Insulin Growth Factor One (IGF-1) is intended to assist suckling calves to grow and produce new tissue through the prolific reproduction of cells 8. However, when this hormone is introduced to the adult human body, which is no longer growing, cells may be encouraged to reproduce at the wrong time or place, providing the basis for cancerous growth 9. Cow’s milk and human’s milk share the same amino acid sequence of IGF and therefore the cow form is capable of binding to human IGF 10. Numerous studies have shown a link between these hormone levels and levels of IGF in prepubertal boys and girls 11 and as a result such levels have been positively correlated with increased height 12,13. The levels of IGF-1 in dairy milk may have increased significantly with the increase in milk production per cow since the beginning of the agricultural revolution. This problem is compounded in the US where they can add IGFs to milking cows to increase milk production. There is some scientific debate whether homogenisation allows the hormone to be digested and consequently reach the bloodstream 14.
Insulin Growth Factor One (IGF-1) has been linked with numerous types of cancer, including prostate and breast cancer 15,16 and cow’s milk consumption has been strongly associated with an increase in hormone-dependent cancers 17. A large study, a meta-analysis, found that high intake of dairy products and calcium was associated with an increased risk of prostate cancer. Researchers found men with the highest intake of dairy products were more likely to develop prostate cancer than men with the lowest intake 18. Dose-response analyses suggested that dairy product and calcium intakes were each positively associated with the risk of prostate cancer. That is, the more dairy consumed, the higher the rates of prostate cancer 19,20,21. One study found a 5.1 times higher risk of advanced stage prostate cancer 22 while another found that milk consumption was most strongly associated with mortality rates of prostate cancer 19. A strong link has also been found between dairy consumption and testicular cancer 24,25,26.
A study of 3,300 cancer patients and 1,300 control subjects 27 comparing milk and dairy intake between the two groups found a significant association between the exclusive consumption of whole milk and increased risk of certain cancers (e.g., oral, stomach, rectum, lung, breast, etc.). Most of the subjects in the control group were drinkers of reduced fat milk or non-fat milk, linking the reduction in saturated fat to a reduction in oral and cervical cancers. A number of other studies have linked dairy consumption with breast cancer 28-32 as well as ovarian cancer 33.
Diabetes mellitus (type 1)
Cow’s milk-based infant formulas and cow’s milk consumption in childhood have been found to promote the development of type 1 diabetes mellitus and other immune-mediated or neurological diseases. The introduction of cow’s milk-based infant formula within the first three months of life is associated with increased risk of type 1 diabetes mellitus 34-38 and there are more than 100 studies linking early exposure to dairy milk to the onset of diabetes mellitus (type 1) in children who are genetically prone to the disease 37-43. The evidence for this association is overwhelming. Furthermore, in animal models of type 1 diabetes mellitus, cow’s milk proteins have been proven to lead to the development of diabetes.
In a study on newly diagnosed type 1 diabetes, researchers found that the children in the study had antibodies that were primed to attack cow’s milk proteins. These antibodies had apparently risen in response to cow proteins in their infant formula, but the antibodies were also capable of attacking the body’s insulin-producing cells. The antibodies that arose to destroy the cow’s milk protein ended up attacking the children’s insulin-producing cells. The infant’s immune system recognises these bovine proteins as foreign and forms antibodies to attack them. Unfortunately, these antibodies attack not only the cow proteins but also the insulin-producing cells in the pancreas.
There is so much concern about this that a worldwide study has begun in which children are being kept off all cow’s milk to see whether diabetes can be prevented 7.
Evidence dating back to 1976 44 shows that cow’s milk consumption is linked with the development of multiple sclerosis (MS) 45-48. One study of dairy consumption in 27 countries and 29 populations around the world found a strong correlation between liquid cow’s milk and MS prevalence; interestingly no such correlation was found with cream, butter or cheese 42.
A number of cow’s milk proteins have now been shown to be targeted by the immune cells of people with MS 7. Further, injecting the proteins into experimental animals has caused lesions to appear in the central nervous systems of the animals. Other researchers have demonstrated how certain proteins in cow’s milk mimic part of myelin oligodendrocyte glycoprotein, the part of myelin thought to initiate the autoimmune reaction in MS49.
Milk has also been linked to Parkinson’s disease (PD). Researchers found that among more than 130,000 U.S. adults followed for nine years, those who consumed the largest amount of dairy foods had an increased risk of developing Parkinson’s disease 50. Men with the highest levels of dairy consumption were 60% more likely to develop the disease than those who consumed the least amounts of dairy, particularly milk 50-54. This supports earlier findings about dairy intake and the development of PD: the same authors studied men with high dairy consumption and found that those men had an 80% higher risk. Women with moderate dairy intake were also found to be in the high-risk range for PD.
A study found that Japanese-American men in Honolulu, Hawaii who consumed more than 0.5 litres of milk per day had a 130% higher risk of PD than men who did not drink milk 52. In a study in which a total of 128 participants developed Parkinson’s disease, the risk of Parkinson’s disease increased as the amount of milk consumed each day rose. Heavy milk drinkers—those who consumed more than 16 ounces (454g) per day—were more than twice as likely to develop Parkinson’s disease than non-milk drinkers 52.
Epidemiological evidence suggests that per capita consumption of milk proteins and milk is associated with national mortality rates from heart attack or stroke 55-58. Although it does not appear to be associated with the saturated fat consumption.
Milk consumption results in significantly elevated blood levels of IGF-1 in prepubertal and pubertal individuals as well as young adults which is associated with acne 59-62.
Not a great food
Cow’s milk is not a great food for humans. What I have presented here is just a small fraction of the scientific literature highlighting the problems with milk. Perhaps in the future we will see health warnings on milk containers. Unfortunately, we have been sold a deceptive message for more than 50 years so everyone believes that “milk does a body good.”
No other animal on this planet consumes milk beyond infancy or another animals milk. Despite this humans are the only animal that suffer form such high rates of chronic illness. To complicate this equation even further we destroy many of the healthful qualities of milk by pasteurisation including enzymes and antioxidants, we then mix the fat and liquid together through homeginastion and we still call it a natural food. What beneficial qualities milk might have in very small quantities, they no longer exist when we process them out. Then add sugar and chemical colours to make flavoured milk and I could not think of a more toxic compound.
- Goldberg and Folta 2002
- Smith et al. 1995).
- Helm 2000
- Monaci et al. 2006
- Moetini et al. 2000
- Michaelidoua and Steijns 2006
- Jelenek 2010
- Blum 2009
- Fürstenberger and Senn 2002
- Francis et al. 2008
- Edwards et al. 2007
- Wiley 2005
- Berkley et al. 2009
- Daniel 2007).
- Key et al. 2003
- Shaneyfelt et al. 2001
- Ganmaa and Sato 2005
- Gao et al. 2005
- Ganmaa et al. 2002
- Qina et al. 2004
- Tominaga and Kuroishi 1997
- Campbell and Campbell 2004
- Ganmaa et al. 2002
- Davies et al. 1996
- Garner et al. 2003
- Strang et al. 2006
- Mettlin et al. (1990
- Gaskill et al. 1979
- Stocks 1970
- La Vecchia 1993
- Le et al. 1986
- Ursinl et al. 1990
- Larsson et al. 2004).
- Harrison and Honeyman 1999
- Scott 1990
- Elliot and Laugesen 2003
- Goldberg and Folta 2002
- Laugesen and Elliot 2003
- Wasmuth et al. 1999
- Thorsdottir et al. 2000
- Padberg et al. 1999
- Elliot et al. 1998
- Tailford et al. 2003
- Butcher 1976
- Malosse et al. 1992
- Malosse et al. 1993
- Winer et al. 2001
- Stefferl et al. 2000
- Guggenmos 2004
- Chen et al. 2002
- Norton 2007
- Park et al. 2005
- Chen et al. 2006
- Chen et al. 2007
- Venn et al. 2005
- McLachlan 2000
- Popham et al. 1983
- Seely 1981).
- Schmitz and Melnik 2009
- Batya et al. 2010
- Danby 2008
- Adebamowo et al. 2008
I grew up in the 1960s, when every kid in Australia was given a free bottle of milk just before morning tea at school. I thought it was great. Now, 50 years on, maybe it was a big mistake. Today I see many people with allergies and reactions to milk; chronic illness related to milk is skyrocketing. Even the smallest amount of milk now causes me to have lots of mucus. Despite advertising claims, cow’s milk, as we know it, is not a healthy drink. Not only is it not a great source of calcium for bones but also there is mounting scientific evidence that consuming processed dairy has negative health consequences from colic in kids to breast cancer.
Milk is not the food it used to be. It is so highly processed that it no longer resembles the milk our ancestors consumed thousands of years ago. Today a cow (a Friesian cow) gives 25 litres per day compared to just a few litres daily that cows produced centuries ago. Modern farming practices have extended the milking period to 305 days per year 1. Pasteurization was necessary 100 years ago due to poor hygiene but today it destroys the enzymes that make milk easy to digest, particularly for infants. All milk, including human milk, comes with a rich array of nutrients, including 20 or more enzymes to help digest itself—such as lactase to digest lactose. Homogenisation forces the particles of fat through a series of sieves to mix it with water, just so cream does not settle on top. It then becomes difficult for the body to determine whether it is fat or water. Normally the two don’t go together.
Modern milk has been sold to millions of people around the world based on its supposed benefits in building healthy bones. The research shows that milk has, at best, questionable benefits for preventing osteoporosis and bone fractures and is in fact linked with many forms of chronic illness including cancer, cardiovascular disease, multiple sclerosis, diabetes type 1, Parkinson’s disease, gut disorders and allergies.
Calcium for bones?
Findings from long-term studies have cast doubt on the value of consuming the large amounts of dairy and calcium currently recommended. In particular, high calcium intake does not actually appear to lower a person’s risk for osteoporosis 2. There is evidence that the recommended levels in the West are too high, with countries such as India, Japan and Peru having an average daily calcium intake around 300 milligrams (mg) per day, less than half that in the Western world, and no increase in the incidence of bone fractures 3. If increased dairy consumption leads to reduced osteoporosis and fracture rates, then multi-country epidemiologic studies would show that countries with the highest dairy consumption, such as Australia, New Zealand, the U.S. and U.K., would have the lowest osteoporosis and fracture rates yet this is not the case. Although the consumption of dairy products in the United States is among the highest in the world, osteoporosis and fracture rates are simultaneously high 4,5.
Other areas of research also support this finding. A comprehensive literature review found that of 57 evidence-based scientific studies of dairy foods’ effects on bone health, “53% were not significant, 42% were favourable and 5% were unfavourable. Of 21 stronger-evidence studies, 57% were not significant, 29% were favourable and 14% were unfavourable” 6. In other words, despite the huge amount of money the dairy industry invests in research, there are many studies showing that milk has no benefit and that it has potentially negative effects.
In one study, a low intake of calcium (less than one glass of milk daily) was not associated with a significantly increased risk of any fracture, osteoporotic fracture or hip fracture and no significant relationship was observed by age for low milk intake and hip fracture risk 7. There was also no difference in risk of fracture or osteoporosis between men and women. In the Harvard Nurses’ Study of 77,761 mostly white women aged 34-59 who were followed over a 12-year period, those who drank little or no milk compared to the high milk drinkers (three glasses or more) had no reduction in risk of hip or arm fracture 8. The bottom line is that the studies do not support what we are constantly told by the dairy industry, media, governments and dieticians. So why do we keep getting told this message? If it was so clear cut to warrant a health message from the government you would expect all the research to support it. Not only is this not the case but there is also plenty of research to show the complete opposite.
It is simplistic to think that the calcium in our diet goes straight to our bones. The “calcium balance” is where the calcium intake from food is compared to the amount of calcium lost through excretion and unabsorbed mineral in sweat, faeces and urine. The remaining amount, whether positive or negative, is the calcium balance 9. If a person’s calcium balance is positive, there is an excess of calcium in the body, a proportion of which goes directly to increasing bone mineral density 10. If, however, a person’s balance is negative, more calcium is lost than is consumed, and therefore calcium from bone mineral must be reabsorbed into the bloodstream to provide the difference 10. This causes a lowering of bone mineral density and therefore is a factor in the onset of osteoporosis and fracture risk in later life 10. The amount of calcium that is absorbed and retained in the body from dairy products is about 30% of the total calcium consumed 9.
A number of factors help explain this discrepancy. First, calcium absorption is inversely related to the amount of calcium consumed in the diet, with low levels of calcium intake resulting in the most efficient absorption rates 11. This phenomenon may be partly responsible for the fact that many non-dairy-consuming societies around the world have few adverse health effects (such as osteoporosis and fracture) even with relatively low calcium intake 12.
Dairy products contain significant levels of protein, fat (in cheese, cream, butter and full cream products), sugar (in flavoured milks and yoghurts), sodium and phosphorous, all of which reduce the bioavailability of the calcium it contains. The presence of proteins has been demonstrated to have a negative influence on calcium absorption. Protein in milk causes an increase in urinary calcium excretion 13. Some dairy products, especially processed cheeses, clearly increase the urinary excretion of calcium as a result of their increased sodium, sulfur-containing amino acid, and phosphorus content 14. Interestingly, high-fat dairy products such as cheese, butter, chocolate and ice cream have also been found to be acid-forming foods (like protein and alcohol) 15,16, and so the question is raised: how effective are dairy products at ensuring bone health and are there other, more effectual dietary alternatives?
What is good for the bone
While protein has a negative effect on calcium availability, magnesium and potassium, which are found in high concentrations in plants we eat as food, have been recognized as having a largely positive influence 17. These minerals appear to decrease the rate of bone attrition and urinary excretion of calcium from the body when present in moderate quantities. Milk has a poor calcium-to-magnesium ratio and contains low concentrations of potassium, while plant sources have a much higher concentration. Potassium appears to buffer the effects of acidic foods by protecting against calcium loss from the renal acid load of protein 6.
Vitamin D, derived primarily from sunlight, certain oils (including cod liver oil) and fortified foods (including dairy products), is the major nutritional factor affecting calcium absorption 4. Scientific studies have repeatedly shown that inadequate vitamin D levels result in impaired calcium absorption in the body 4,9. The role of vitamin D in milk is also found to significantly lower the risk of fracture 5. Many people in Western populations are now recognised as being deficient in vitamin D (see my earlier article on the topic).
The adequacy of non-dairy centred diets to support bone health has been demonstrated by a recent study conducted in Spain among adolescent males. It reported that a Mediterranean-type intervention diet based on fresh fruits and vegetables, olive oil, fish and legumes provided the same amount of dietary calcium as the subject’s usual (baseline) diet, although the food sources of that calcium varied significantly. The intervention diet also resulted in a significant increase in calcium absorption and retention, while significantly reducing the amount of calcium excreted in urine. This may be partially attributed to the lowered potential renal acid load of the diet, particularly from a high intake of fruit and vegetables 19,20. Therefore, the study concludes, the adoption of a Mediterranean-style diet low in dairy can assist in maximising peak bone mass and preventing osteoporosis without milk or other dairy products 21.
Perhaps the most important part of the bone mass equation is a healthy mixture of minerals from unprocessed plant foods and physical activity, particularly weight-bearing exercises 22,6.
In response to learning these facts about milk, many people ask me, “But where can we get our calcium?” No other animal on the planet experiences bone problems at the rates humans do. Most other animals get calcium from their normal, often vegetarian diet. Our primate cousins, even those such as the gorilla which are much heavier and stronger than us, get all the calcium they need from unprocessed plant foods and cows get theirs from grass and have an excess of calcium. So where should we be getting our calcium?
- Maruyama et al. 2010
- Papadimitropoulos et al. 2002
- Babbar et al. 2006
- Lanou et al. 2005
- Feskanich et al. 2003
- Weinsier and Krumdieck 2000
- Kanis et al. 2005
- Roba 2005
- Allen 1982
- Atkinson et al. 2008
- Gallagher et al. 1979
- Jackson et al. 2001
- Beresteijn et al. 1990
- Heaney et al. 1982
- Alexy et al. 2008
- Buclin et al. 2001
- Tucker et al. 1999
- Allen 1982
- New 2003
- Remer 2000
- Seiquer et al. 2008
- Black et al. 2002
A number of previous research has suggested that there is an association between fluoride ingestion and the incidence of hypothyroidism. In a cross-sectional study the researchers found that higher levels of fluoride in drinking water are linked with the prevalence of hypothyroidism. The West Midlands (a wholly fluoridated area) were nearly twice as likely to report high hypothyroidism prevalence in comparison to Greater Manchester (non-fluoridated area).
The authors of the study said the findings of the study raise particular concerns about the validity of community fluoridation as a safe public health measure.
S Peckham et al 2015 J Epidemiol Community Health doi:10.1136/jech-2014-204971. Are fluoride levels in drinking water associated with hypothyroidism prevalence in England? A large observational study of GP practice data and fluoride levels in drinking water
Fluoride readily crosses the placenta exposing the developing brain, which is much more susceptible to injury caused by toxicants than is the mature brain, may possibly lead to damage of a permanent nature 4
In a study conducted by Tianjin Medical University in China, a comparison in the Intelligence Quotient (IQ) was measured between 60 children living in a high fluoride area and 58 children living in a low fluoride area. The IQ of the 60 children living in the high fluoride area was lower than that of the 58 children living in the low fluoride area. 21.6% of the children in the high fluoride area were retarded compared to 3.4% of retarded children living in the low fluoride area 5.
In a study at Tokyo University Medical School, water fluoridation was linked to Down syndrome. The study found that - as well as the aging of mothers - the number of excess Down syndrome births caused each year by water fluoridation was estimated to be several thousand cases throughout the world 6.
In the most recent meta analysis of 27 eligible epidemiological studies found that children in high fluoride areas had significantly lower IQ scores than those who lived in low fluoride areas 7. The conclusions of the study “support the possibility of an adverse effect of high fluoride exposure on children’s neurodevelopment.”
Some of the other adverse health effects of fluoride include lowered levels of collagen synthesis, depleted energy reserves and lowered immunity, irritable bowel syndrome,thyroid disorders, Skeletal fluorosis, Osteosarcoma, Osteoporosis and bone fractures as well as Alzheimer's disease.
1 NRC (National Research Council). 2006. Fluoride in drinking water: a scientific review of EPA’s standards. The National Academies Press, Washington, DC
2 Chioca LR, Raupp IM, Da Cunha C, Losso EM, Andreatini R. 2008. Subchronic fluoride intake
induces impairment in habituation and active avoidance tasks in rats. Eur J Pharmocol
3 Mullenix PJ, Denbesten PK, Schunior A, Kernan WJ. 1995. Neurotoxicity of sodium fluoride in rats. Neurotoxicol Terator 17:169-177.
4 U.S. EPA. 2011. EPA and HHS announce new scientific assessments and actions on fluoride/agencies working together to maintain benefits of preventing tooth decay while preventing excessive exposure
5 Lu, Y; Sun, ZR; Wu, LN; Wang, X; Lu, W; Liu SS (May 2000) “Effect of High Fluoride Water on Intelligence in Children” , Fluoride (Journal) Volume 33, No 2, pp 74 – 78.
6 Takahashi, K (May 1998) “Fluoride-Linked Down syndrome Births” , Fluoride (Journal) Volume 31, No 2, pp 61 – 73.
7 Choi AL, Sun G, Zhang Y, Grandjean P 2012. Developmental Fluoride Neurotoxicity: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. Environ Health Perspect :-. http://dx.doi.org/10.1289/ehp.1104912
Nobody knows weight loss and wellness like Dr Peter Dingle, Australia’s most engaging and innovative thought leader on the topics of health, wellness and weight loss. Dr Dingle has spent the past 30 years as a researcher, educator, communicator and author. Formerly an associate professor at Murdoch University, Dr D has written more than a dozen books on living well and is passionate about common sense and sustainable health approaches.
Blending motivation and humour, Dr Dingle regularly appears on state and national media. He was the presenter on the award-winning SBS program, “Is Your House Killing You?” and appeared regularly on ABC’s “Can We Help?” Dr Dingle is also the grandfather of the acclaimed “Living Smart” program.
One of the most informative and entertaining health speakers in Australia, Dr Dingle helps cut through medical and health myths to give you the real facts on evidence-based health and wellness. Dr Dingle also practices what he preaches.
Last year, the most commonly diagnosed cancers worldwide were lung (1.8 million or 13 percent of the total) breast (1.7 million, 11.9 percent) and colon cancer (1.4 million or 9.7 percent) (IARC). Lung cancer resulted in the deaths of 1.6 million people who died from cancer last year, the report said -- 19.4 percent. Other major cancer killers were liver cancer (800,000 or 9.1 percent), stomach cancer (723,000 or 8.8 percent), colon cancer (694,000 or 8.5 percent), breast cancer (522,000 or 6.4 percent), esophagal cancer (400,000 or 4.9 percent) and cervical cancer (266,000 or 3.2 percent).
In the US Women, minorities, and migrants in the United States face a growing risk from cancers of the lung, breast and thyroid and deaths from cancer will increase by more than 25 percent over the next decade. While lung cancer rates have been coming down considerably in men, they've been increasing for women. Last year in the United States 75,852 women died of lung cancer -- 25.9 percent of all women who died of cancer that year. Breast cancer accounted for 15 percent of female deaths, about 43,000.
A study in the UK found the lifetime risk of cancer for people born since 1960 is more than 50% compared to those born 30. Over half of people who are currently adults under the age of 65 years will be diagnosed with cancer at some point in their lifetime. Whereas smoking-related cancers have become less common in men, other cancers have become more common. In women, breast and lung cancers have increased substantially since the mid 1970’s. The increase in breast cancer is related to lifestyle changes, such as increasing obesity. In men, there has been an increase in the incidence of prostate and bowel cancer. The increase in bowel cancer rates is thought to be related to an increase in red meat consumption and obesity (Center et al, 2009). (Trends in the lifetime risk of developing cancer in Great Britain: comparison of risk for those born from 1930 to 1960 A S Ahmad, N Ormiston-Smith and P D Sasieni)
While in Australia results show we are nearly four times as likely to have thyroid cancer, three times as likely to have Liver Cancer and twice as likely to have Melanoma, Motor Neuron Disease, Kidney or Anal cancer compared to 30 years earlier. Men are more than twice as likely to have prostate cancer and 60% more likely to have testicular cancer. Women are 43% more likely to have breast cancer. Children are 6 times as likely to suffer from leukemia than just 20 years ago.
So what is driving the increases in cancer?
10 steps to cut stroke by 90%.
Stroke is a leading cause of death and disability, and the rate could be cut in half (47.9%) by getting blood pressure under control, and another 36% by regular exercise.
The study investigated 26 919 participants from 32 countries (13 447 cases [10 388 with ischaemic stroke and 3059 intracerebral haemorrhage] and 13 472 controls) between Jan 11, 2007, and Aug 8, 2015,.
1 hypertension or blood pressure of 140/90 mm Hg or higher
2 regular physical activity 35·8%,
3 apolipoprotein (Apo)B/ApoA1 ratio for highest vs lowest; 26·8%,
4 diet 23·2%,
5 waist-to-hip ratio 18·6%,
6 psychosocial factors 17·4%,
7 current smoking 12·4%,
8 cardiac causes 9·1%,
9 alcohol consumption for high or heavy episodic intake 5·8%, and
10 diabetes mellitus 3·9%,
Collectively, these risk factors accounted for 90·7% for all stroke worldwide (91·5% for ischaemic stroke, 87·1% for intracerebral haemorrhage).
The good thing about this is that you can lower your blood pressure very quickly using good nutrition and supplements. Check out my blood pressure smoothie.
For how to lower blood pressure and reduce your risk of stroke and heart attack have a look at my book "Reversing heart disease high blood pressure and blocked arteries without drugs"
When health is absent, Wisdom cannot reveal itself, Art cannot manifest, Strength cannot be exerted, Wealth becomes useless, And reason is powerless." — Herophilus 300 B.C.
Our work places are either a great place to promote health or to contribute to the health problem. Our work environments are experiencing an emerging health crisis from longer workdays, deskbound occupations, access to poor quality foods and poor physical activity. In many cases they are contributing to a deterioration in employee health as our work and the workplace has the potential to have a significant affect on the mental, physical, economic and social well-being of workers. Major concerns in the work environment are work-related stress, obesity, diabetes, cardio vascular disease, fatigue , poor sleep and the many other conditions that come from these. Many of our workplaces for example have increased the risk of putting on weight due to sedentary practices, stress and long and awkward work hours. This of course has the potential to lead to many other chronic health conditions which cost the individual, community and employers. From an employers perspective poor health has the potential to reduce the quality of work and productivity within many workplaces and is likely costing the economy billions of dollars in workplace productivity alone. While the costs of workplace productivity are significant it is also likely that some obesogenic (increasing the risk of putting on weight) environments are likely to be the focus of legal action as the rates of illness and obesity increase. This is particularly the case for inflexible workplace, long hours and shiftwork.
An employee’s health and productivity at work is not only affected by their work environment but also by factors that are not work related. These factors vary between individuals and depend on the individuals chosen lifestyle outside of work. However, through empowering staff members on healthy lifestyles the overall health management of individuals will benefit not only the company but also the broader community. Wellness in the workplace is influenced by many different factors including the communication between co-workers and employers, physical demands especially in sedentary occupations and the eating habits, lifestyles of employees and much more.
When it comes to common health issues of most employees, wellness programs can provide an easy and cost effective solution. Fatigue, stress, depression and obesity are commonly interrelated and increasingly common in most workplaces. The workplace has been viewed as an attractive place for wellness programs as it has established communication channels and it provides a convenient, familiar physical and social setting. In addition, it serves to benefit the employers from the improved health of employees.
Many factors contribute towards the creation of a healthy employee who is able to work consistently at a high level of efficiency and productivity; however health is one of the most important determinants. The costs of unhealthy workers are usually measured by employers in terms of easily quantifiable direct health costs such as medical claims, disability funds and compensation payouts. In the US where figures are more easily accessed because the employer has been traditionally responsible for health care cost, compared with employees who are struggling, thriving employees have 41% lower health-related costs to the employer, a difference of $2,993 per person. For every 10,000 employees, this represents a difference of nearly $30 million to the employer. However, when looking at the health/productivity costs borne by employers, only a small portion of these expenditures are direct medical costs. Indirect costs are more difficult to distinguish and measure, they include those costs incurred from employee mortality, absenteeism and the reduced productivity and presenteeism including poor concentration and focus, low output, and disruption of other workers evident in an employee while still working.
An employee health behaviors are strong predictors of job performance and absenteeism. Many studies have demonstrated the link between poor health factors and absence from work including positive associations between absenteeism and obesity, stress, physical inactivity, and hypertension. While the frequency and severity of poor health are directly related to days absent from work. Healthier workers work more and are away less.
The loss of a qualified professional due to moving to a new job, illness or even death can often be difficult and costly for the organization to replace. The cost of rehiring and retraining a suitable replacement could result in large organizational outlays of time and money, well in excess of $100,000. Not only will a new candidate be difficult and costly to find, but an immense amount of expertise, experience and organizational knowledge will be lost. Karoshi is a term coined in Japan, literally translating into ‘death from overwork’ in English. Karoshi is described as ‘unexplained death’ thought to arise due to a combination of elevated working hours, high stress and poor health, with the major medical causes of death being heat attack and stroke. In Japan working weeks that exceed 60 hours are not an exception. The first case of karoshi was reported in 1969 where a 29 year old married man died from a stroke and his death could not be attributable to anything other than occupational stress and chronic overwork. In 1994 the Japanese Government’s Economic Planning Agency in the Institute of Economics estimated the number of karoshi deaths at around 1,000 or 5% of all deaths as a result of cerebrovascular and cardiovascular disease each year within the 25-59 age group.
In the US the cost of turnover per person employed who is healthier is 35% lower than that of those who are struggling. For every 10,000 employees, this represents $19.5 million. Although turnover is more common among younger employees, higher wellbeing was predictive of lower turnover and lower turnover costs in the next year for younger and older employees alike. Those who were struggling or suffering in overall wellbeing were more than twice as likely as those who were thriving to say they would look for another job if the job market improves. This means that the actions that employers take today to improve health — in addition to improving job performance — are likely to have important implications on the moves employees make in the future.
Presenteeism represents a cost that is difficult to quantity but a large contributor to lost productivity. Many people are under the flawed assumption that when people are at work that they are productive, however if employees are sick, injured, stressed or burned-out in the workplace, they are not working to full capacity. Presenteeism is the worker coming in who shouldn’t and in the process is not just less productive but may also be reducing the productivity of other employees. This doesn’t just occur over health but when a person is sick they may be slowing everyone else down. Presenteeisms result in a negative impact not only on the quantity of work completed, but also on the quality of products, services, decisions, and co-worker and customer interactions. Although presenteeism cannot be directly quantified in a straightforward manner many studies now suggest it may be one of the biggest costs to employees. So you might be better off staying away from work when you are sick.
Unhealthy workers are also more likely to have workplace accidents and healthy and focused employees is less likely to endanger themselves and other co-workers through negligent behavior caused by poor physical and psychological health. A number of studies have now found that investing in wellness programs and the health of employees can reduce accidents. This also includes accidents on the way home from work if an employee is fatigued or distracted with their health. Accidents are expensive for all companies because of downtime, the resources that need to be dedicated to investigation, lost productivity from injured workers and workers’ compensation. In Australia, workers’ compensation costs are unacceptably high, reflecting relatively high frequency rates of occupational injuries which may be prevented through a wellness program.
The direct cost of stress is more than $20 billion to the Australian economy, and around two thirds of that to Australian employers because of stress-related presenteeism and absenteeism. 95% of all claims for mental disorders in the past ten years are for mental stress. These claims are the most expensive type of workers’ compensation claim due to their typically lengthy periods of work absence. Professionals make more mental stress claims than any other occupation, mostly for work pressure. This is despite the fact that the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) Work-related Injuries Survey 2009–10 which showed that 70% of workers who reported they experienced work-related mental stress did not apply for workers’ compensation.
Productivity is affected heavily by seasonal illnesses and their available treatments. Allergies are a highly prevalent condition in the general population affecting people in varying ways. Symptoms of allergies include itching and irritation of the nose; watery nasal discharge, nasal congestion, sneezing and are often accompanied by fatigue, weakness, malaise, irritability and decreased appetite. Studies now show that individuals with allergy disorders generally score lower on tests on social functioning, role limitation, mental health and energy / fatigue and pain compared to controls. In the US allergy disorders result more than 4 million workdays lost per/year in the United States.
However, it is not just the disorder the can have an effect on productivity; the drugs used to treat the illness may also affect productivity levels. Medications are also often a hidden cost in presenteeism, accidents and lost work productivity. The use of sedating antihistamines for allergies had a 50% higher risk of on-the-job injury than control subjects. Another study found that driving impairments exhibited due to the use of a sedating antihistamine were worse than that connected with a blood-alcohol concentration of 0.1%. In a study of nearly 6000 employees those who used sedating antihistamines experienced on average an 8% reduction in daily work out-put compared to those who used non-sedating antihistamines. Many other medications including pain killers and cholesterol lowering drugs can result in lost productivity. The fatigue and muscle soreness created by cholesterol lowering drugs may impact productivity especially those with more physical work. While their effect on memory may be even more problematic. A colleague of mine recalled the effect these drugs were having on the memory of police officers who were called to be witnesses. Awkward eh.
The message is that it is in everyone’s best interests to promote health, both the individual and the company they work for. The good thing in all of this is that companies are increasingly adopting workplace wellness programs which if adopted well can make a big difference to the health of their employees.
The medical experts cry foul at every opportunity possible regarding anything other than their own drugs and medicine. But turn a blind eye to their own limitations. By looking out and blaming everyone else they miss the elephant in the room. The serious and deadly side effects of the medicines and practices they prescribe. They even miss the fact that their so called miracle drugs don’t even work.
The vast majority of scientific claims are wrong. Medical journals are openly admitting that at least a third of articles are false or fraud. While the ones that are factual exaggerate and embellish (using strange statistics) to give a glowing report. We could in fact get rid of 90% of the medicines we use today and we would only be healthier.
Here are a few short facts
• Cholesterol has never killed any person
• There is no such thing as bad cholesterol
• Cholesterol in the arteries is a band-aid to prevent you from dying from damaged arteries
• Cholesterol is one of the most important molecules in the body from the manufacture of vitamin D, hormones, bile to building memories and the structure of every cell.
• Higher LDL cholesterol (the so-called bad one) is protective as you age
• Cholesterol is an important part of your immune system
• The is no evidence that lowering cholesterol reduces the risk of heart attack or mortality any more than half of one percent (0.5%).
• Drugs to lower cholesterol have serious and deadly side effects in up to 25% of patients taking them.
• The real risk of heart attack and stroke comes from inflammation and our mismatch of between evolution and our lives and can be reversed by changes in your diet and lifestyle.
• Finally if your GP prescribes these cholesterol lowering drugs to you they are in the pockets of the pharmaceutical company.
It is time to take control of you own health and make a real difference.
My research covers thousands of scientific journals on the topic. But even more telling a professional colleague of mine died last week at the age of 65. He was on 12 drugs a day.
How much more evidence do you want?
Perhaps it is a time for a public debate on the issue because it cost the economy billions and billions of dollars every year.
Food allergy is now a major public health issue, due to its increasing incidence over the past 20 years, particularly in western countries. Recently, alterations in gut microflora composition have been suggested as an explanation for developing food alergies. This is evident in germ-free mice, which tend to develop more-severe allergies, and given that specific probiotic treatment can alleviate food allergy symptoms.
Diet, especially consumption of dietary fiber, appears to be a critical determinant for gut bacterial ecology, diversity, and function. Dietary-fiber-derived metabolites have been implicated in gut health. Dietary fiber is fermented in the colon by anaerobic bacteria into short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs), mainly acetate, butyrate, and propionate to create a healthy gut. Western diets, typically high in fat but also low in fiber, may therefore be associated with changes in gut bacterial ecology and this may compromise oral tolerance and allow for the development of food allergies.
We all should be eating more wholesome, whole foods with lots and lots of fiber and avoid poisons like preservatives and antibacterials which kill the gut bacteria.