We previously published an article titled FOLATE INGREDIENTS – FOLINIC ACID & 5-MTHF in which we discuss how coenzyme folate vitamins are far superior to the synthetic folic acid form. In today’s article, I take a more in-depth look at how homocysteine is formed from methionine, how genetics affects the metabolic pathways, and how B vitamins are used in metabolic pathways.
One way to look at the metabolic pathways of methionine (an essential amino acid) is that it provides a way for the body to convert this sulfur containing amino acid either to cysteine and its key by-products glutathione, taurine, and sulfates or allows remethylation back to methionine to occur using either the Folate Cycle or the Trimethyl glycine (betaine) pathways.
Figure 1 shows these metabolic pathways including the vitamins required at each step including vitamin B6 (as P-5-P), methylcobalamin, and 5-methyltetrahydrofolate (5-MTHF). In addition, it shows the key enzymes produced by the body at each step. These enzymes include CBS (cystathione beta synthase), BHMT (betaine homocysteine methyltransferase), MS (methionine synthase), and MTHFR (methylene tetrahydrofolate reductase).
Figure 1. Metabolic Pathways in Methionine and Homocysteine Metabolism
HEALTH ISSUES ASSOCIATED WITH HIGH HOMOCYSTEINE LEVELS
It is highly important that the various metabolic pathways function correctly to keep homocysteine at healthy levels (6–8 µmol/L). Unfortunately, high levels of homocysteine in the body (10–20 µmol/L) are a factor in a wide range of health issues, including:
Greater risk for heart problems, including coronary artery disease, heart attacks, stroke, high blood pressure, congestive heart failure, and abnormal cholesterol levels. This is due to increased inflammation, sometimes due to blood clotting spontaneously, and because of blockages of the major arteries.
Mental abnormalities such as depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, and other mental problems are more common among people with high homocysteine
Migraines and headaches in a significant percentage of the population
In those who suffer from high homocysteine due to having nutritional deficiencies anemia, aches and pains, hearing loss, age-related macular degeneration (ARMD), slowed development, and birth defects might also be possible
Greater risk for dementia, Alzheimer’s disease, brain atrophy, and other cognitive problems
In children, skeletal and developmental abnormalities including having a curved spine or protruding chest and rib cage. Some patients appear very tall and thin, and some might also have very long, thin “spider-like” toes and fingers.
Behavioral problems, including ADHD, autism and other learning disabilities
ROLE OF GENETICS IN HOMOCYSTEINE METABOLISM
Ten or more years ago, questions of how genetics enters into homocysteine metabolism were unlikely to be asked. However, in recent years DNA testing has advanced and is now available to everyone (for example, see my article about Bodysync’s genetic test, DISCOVERING NUTRITIONAL NEEDS THROUGH ADVANCED GENETIC TESTING.
You may have heard a great deal about MTHFR (methylene tetrahydrofolate reductase). This gene is involved in folate metabolism and has a central role in methylation processes like repair of and building new DNA in dividing cells.
In the remethylation pathway for conversion of homocysteine to methionine, MTHFR plays a key role in converting folate into 5-MTHF which is needed along with B12 as methylcobalamin in order for the conversion to take place. Genetic variations in MTHFR have been studied in depth. Of the many variations studies the most significant ones appear to be variations of C677C such as C677T (referred to as heterozygous) or T677T (referred to as homozygous). The heterozygous variant appears in about 30–50% of the population and causes somewhat less efficiency in the conversion of folic acid to 5-MTHF. However, the homozygous variation occurs in about 10% of the population and can have serious effects due to converting little homocysteine back to methionine.
Another variation in MTHFR is called A1298A. These variations are A1298C and C1298C and will have similar effects to the C677C variations. It was interesting to me when I recently analyzed my Bodysync genetic test results showing I carry the variation A1298C (heterozygous), which indicates I may not be effectively converting homocysteine back to methionine.
Additionally, my Bodysync genetic test results also indicate that I have heterozygous variations in the CBS enzyme shown in Figure 1, as well as heterozygous variations in MTR and MTRR enzymes, which are involved with B12 levels in the remethylation pathway. These results indicate that I need to take higher levels of methylcobalamin and 5-MTHF.
IMPORTANCE OF COENZYME FORMS AND PROPER AMOUNTS OF B VITAMINS
Many of the B vitamins on the market today unfortunately are in synthetic form. The body can only use the natural coenzyme forms effectively. For example, the body needs vitamin B6 in the form of P-5-P (pyridoxal-5-phosphate), folate in the form of L-5-MTHF, and B12 in the form of methylcobalamin for proper metabolism of methionine. In some cases the body can use the synthetic forms of pyridoxine HCl, folic acid, and cyanocobalamin but pays a cost (e.g., in time and energy) by having to convert synthetic forms to coenzyme forms.
Add to the prevalence of synthetic B vitamins, the fact that genetic deficiencies are more common than previously assumed, and it becomes clear that the coenzyme forms of B vitamins in the proper amounts are extremely important.
Fortunately, I have always believed it best to include as many coenzyme forms as possible in the nutritional supplements I formulate (over the past 27 years). For example, all HPDI multivitamins include coenzymes of B1, B2, B6, B12, and folate (as 5-MTHF and folinic acid). This is uncommon in most multivitamin formulas on the market. For this reason our supplements are ideally suited to the prevention or resolution of most genetic problems regarding homocysteine.
In addition, I have always chosen to include higher amounts than most multivitamins on the market. We also make available 5-MTHF one milligram (1 mg) capsules and methylcobalamin five milligram (5 mg) sublingual tablets. When genetic variations are in play as discussed above, then providing relatively higher amounts of coenzyme B vitamins that support important requirements in the body seems necessary.
Interestingly, several other nutrients are involved in the pathways involving methionine and homocysteine. These include zinc, magnesium, and Vitamin B2. Our multivitamin formulas and magnesium formulas, especially Myo-Mag with its coenzyme B1, B2, and B6, are recommended to support these nutrient needs. Finally, it has been found that N-Acetyl-L-Cysteine (NAC) can significantly lower homocysteine (by up to 50%), most likely because its gives the body an excellent source of cysteine without have to use methionine.
In this article, I have shown the value of the use of genetic testing and high-quality coenzyme B vitamins in resolving health issues associated with high values of homocysteine in the body.
Well, no—you probably don’t get enough—and you’re not alone. Fewer than 2% of people do.
Experts say 4,700 milligrams (4.7 grams) of potassium is the minimum daily intake required for health and to reduce risk of chronic disease.
Yet, the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) reports the average potassium intake for Americans is 2,640 milligrams (2.6 g) daily. This low intake remains unchanged over decades! Most people get less than half the amount of potassium needed to meet “adequate” or minimum levels.
Given essential roles played by potassium in the body, and the known health benefits it confers, almost everyone — including you — can benefit from additional potassium. From where will it come?
That is to say, will the average person really meet recommended potassium intake from diet alone? I’m a huge advocate for increasing intake of dietary potassium, but long-term evidence suggests the answer is “no.” Supplementing with certain forms of potassium can be an effective adjunct to dietary intake.
It therefore can be highly beneficial to take a potassium-containing formula like pH Adjust, which provides potassium bicarbonate that boosts potassium levels and powerfully alkalinizes the body.
Bananas provide potassium (400–800 mg), but not if you don’t eat them!
THE “NEGLECTED” MINERAL?
For years, a parade of minerals—calcium, magnesium, zinc, iodine, and yes, sodium—have drawn attention from health professionals, consumers, and the media. Whither potassium?
Yet despite compelling scientific studies, articles, and books, potassium has not “caught on” among doctors, consumers, or health aficionados. Nevertheless, knowledgeable health professionals and a small number of health-consious individuals have known of its importance for decades and longer.
Potassium has become known as the “forgotten” or “neglected” mineral. It’s time to revisit what we thought we knew…or never knew. It’s time to recognize potassium as “first among equals” in the pantheon of macrominerals.
If you think you know potassium, prepare to think again.
A review from Nutrition 101…and some things you may not know:
The symbol for potassium is “K” in the periodic table. It is one of seven essential macrominerals including calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, sodium, chloride, and sulfur.
• Regulates fluid balance in the body by means of the sodium-potassium pump (Na+/K+ pump)
• Controls electrical activity of cardiac muscle (heart) and other muscles
• Counters the effects of sodium and thereby maintains proper blood pressure
• Maintains proper acid-base balance in the body
BENEFITS OF HIGH (ADEQUATE) POTASSIUM:
• Decreases risk of dying from all causes (20%)
• Reduces risk of stroke
• Lowers blood pressure
• Protects against loss of muscle mass
• Preserves bone mineral density
• Reduces formation of kidney stones
POTASSIUM – NEEDED MORE THAN EVER?
Beyond the benefits you may take for granted that are provided by the mineral you don’t get enough of…there are many reasons why potassium is more important than ever.
One major reason potassium is needed more than ever: sodium.
Sodium is the essential macromineral no one seems to be lacking. Just the opposite! When people talk about sodium, it is usually about how to avoid it. Sodium is blamed for hypertension and adverse cardiovascular health. What is the connection between sodium and potassium?
It all starts at the level of the cell with the “sodium-potassium pump” (or N+/K+ pump). The sodium-potassium pump is responsible for keeping sodium out of cells and keeping potassium in. But it also a carrier for nutrients going into cells, and it is involved in the energy production.
The typical modern diet —low in potassium and high in sodium (and sugar)—is a major problem for cells because it compromises the function of the sodium-potassium pump. Optimal function of the sodium-potassium pump requires not only increasing potassium intake, but also reducing sodium intake.
The sodium-potassium pump expels 3 sodium ions and brings in 2 potassium ions per cycle
SODIUM – POTASSIUM RELATIONSHIP:
• Humans once consumed high levels of potassium (12 g or higher) and low levels of sodium (<2 g) daily. That 6:1 ratio in favor of potassium has radically shifted to a 2:1 or even 4:1 ratio in favor of sodium. Salt is everywhere in the food supply. The potassium to sodium ratio (K/Na ratio) is called the “K Factor.”
• High “K Factor”: During evolutionary history, humans consumed 5–10+ times more potassium than sodium. Because the prehistoric diet contained little sodium, the body developed means for conserving it through resorption. Conversely, our potassium supplies were higher, and therefore the body developed no system for conserving it—it is absorbed, filtered by the kidneys, and eliminated.
• Cellular imbalance between potassium and sodium can cause strokes and other damage without increasing blood pressure (K Factor xxix). An exclusive focus on decreasing blood pressure (whether through diet or drugs) that fails to take potassium into consideration may not produce desired results.
• The sodium-potassium (Na+/K+) pump is an important pump that exists in cells. Its job is to keep sodium levels low in cells (pump out sodium and wastes) and pump in potassium, glucose, and other nutrients. Sufficient potassium is critical for this all-important pump that keeps us healthy.
• When sodium (salt) levels are high and potassium levels are low, the pump does not function efficiently. Cells cannot prevent sodium from entering, causing them to swell from osmotic pressure, and causing metabolic blockage.
• The sodium-potassium pump uses sodium as a “carrier” to bring in potassium, glucose, and other nutrients. For every glucose molecule, two sodium molecules are pumped into a cell. With high sodium intakes, cells become overloaded with sodium, and the pump works far less efficiently.
• Low potassium creates greater imbalance preventing the pump from excreting sodium, and also preventing nutrients from entering cells. The cell produces less energy and enters a type of metabolic stasis.
• Studies show the greatest decreases in blood pressure occur not only when sodium intake decreases, but when potassium intake simultaneously increases.
The role of potassium in the sodium-potassium pump has implications for nearly every function in the human body. And potassium does a lot more.
MANY HEALTH BENEFITS
Potassium provides many benefits. These include known benefits for reducing hypertension, stroke, osteoporosis, and kidney stones, as well as supporting cardiovascular health, and stabilizing blood glucose. Many of potassium’s benefits relate to its role in the sodium-potassium pump. Other benefits relate to different aspects of potassium.
POTASSIUM ALKALINIZES YOUR BODY
Among the most significant features of potassium is its ability to alkalinize the body. Potassium neutralizes acids by itself and especially when combined with minerals such as bicarbonates.
I have recently posted several articles that discuss potassium’s role in keeping the body alkaline. Specifically, how consuming more potassium-rich fruits and vegetables remains the most important means for maintaining alkaline conditions in the body.
Potassium contributes mightily to acid-alkaline balance essential for health by boosting alkalinity. pH levels in the range of 7.35–7.45 provide many benefits. Because modern diets and lifestyles tend to produce acidic conditions (acidosis) in the body, it is important to recognize potassium’s role as “ultimate alkalinizer.”
Known benefits of ideal pH levels (slightly alkaline) include:
• Optimal function of enzymes
• Proper mineral retention, including electrolyte reserves
• Better tissue oxygenation
• Beneficial effects on microbiome
Consuming more potassium-rich fruits and vegetables can help maintain proper pH in the body.
The alkaline-forming minerals include potassium, magnesium, calcium, and sodium. They work together to keep you alkaline—all are important. Yet, in terms of what in your diet most drives alkalinity, potassium is the king. In fact, certain measures of pH indicate that alkalinity is a function of potassium intake. This means potassium intake most effectively creates alkaline conditions.
High dietary intake of potassium-rich, alkaline-forming fruits and vegetables (especially leafy green vegetables) and vegetable juices is the best way of supporting proper pH. This is a proven means for balancing the effects of acid-forming foods like meats, and most grains and starches (simple carbohydrates).
Known factors producing overly acidic conditions in the body include consuming meats, sugar, processed foods, and simple carbohydrates like wheat, corn, rice, and most pastas and breads.
IT’S REALLY ABOUT DIET?
TOO LITTLE POTASSIUM…TOO MUCH SODIUM
The human story behind potassium begins with dietary intake. Once upon a time, we “got plenty” of potassium in our diets. Now, not so much.
Indeed, humans have a long history of high potassium intake from foods. Our paleolithic ancestors ate a lot of vegetables, fruits, and nuts—all of which are high in potassium. This helped balance their intake of nutrients from animal foods, which are typically lower in potassium.
During the rise of agriculture (20,000–30,000 years ago) and settled communities, grains became a significant portion of our diet. Yet, grains contain relatively low levels of potassium.
In addition, salt was added to foods in larger quantities as a preservative and taste enhancer. A long, slow slide toward decreasing potassium levels— and simultaneously increasing sodium levels—was set in motion.
Sodium is an essential mineral for health—it is one of the alkalinizing minerals. But historically, humans obtained 5–10+ times as much potassium as sodium. We have now “successfully” reversed potassium preponderance by consuming 2–4 times as much sodium as potassium. This causes lots of problems, and is one of the major elements creating dysfunction in sodium-potassium pumps in cells (see above).
In our modern age, and especially since the later decades of the the 20th century, intake of fresh vegetables and fruits has fallen dramatically. And so has the dietary intake of potassium.
The 20th century witnessed an unprecedented and dramatic rise in consumption of processed, packaged, and “fast” foods — most of which are low in potassium and high in sodium.
Beyond the rise of processed foods, there are declines in nutrients (including potassium) in foods due to steadily poorer soil quality on farmland. And adverse impacts on nutrients in food crops relating to the rise of industrial agriculture—with its dependency on chemicals—and failure to replenish soils.
DIET REMAINS BEST TO INCREASE POTASSIUM INTAKE
Potassium remains high in vegetables and fruits, including dried fruits. And vegetable broths. The best solution to low intake of potassium in the diet is simply consuming higher levels of vegetables and fruits, especially those that are fresh and organic.
Got spinach? It provides 800 mg potassium per cup!
Leafy greens (raw or cooked) are among the very best sources. Beet greens contain 1,300 mg of potassium per cup and spinach about 800 mg per cup.
Fresh carrot juice is my favorite providing nearly 700 mg per cup. Even comfort foods like baked potatoes (or sweet potatoes) provide high levels (1,000 mg) with skin. Avocado lovers rejoice, as there are 400–500 mg per avocado.
Beans and nuts are good sources, too. Fruits like bananas (400 mg), cantaloupe (350 mg), and even fruit juices like orange juice (650 mg) are significant sources. Among animal foods, fish, chicken, and pork are highest in potassium.
Nutritionists frequently suggest a 80–20 rule: simply consume 80% alkaline-forming foods to 20% acid-forming foods.
With this simple 80–20 formula, nearly everyone can achieve high—or at least adequate—potassium intake through their dietary choices.
The question is: Will people CHOOSE high-potassium foods? Do you?
SOLUTIONS FOR INCREASING POTASSIUM AND REDUCING SODIUM
You can point a person to high-potassium foods, but you can’t make them eat them. Despite exhortations from all sides for greater consumption of vegetables, fruits, nuts, and other high-potassium foods, “potassium sufficiency” isn’t the reality for most people. Potassium intake has been steady for decades.
Regarding sodium, it is just as easy (and important) for most people to decrease sodium in the diet as it is to increase potassium intake. Reduce use of salt. Choose low-sodium options when possible. Sodium is now on the radar as a mineral that promotes hypertension, so low-sodium options are increasingly available.
But like eating more fruits and vegetables, getting more exercise—and other things we know we “should” do—reducing sodium requires a conscious effort. The first part is awareness on the part of the individual. That leads to greater responsibility.
Too much sodium and insufficient potassium in the diet describes modern life.
I also believe manufacturers, restaurants, and the food industry in general should voluntarily limit the amount of sodium they put in foods. That would go a long way toward making it easier to reduce salt.
Coming back to potassium, an interesting fact is that based on US research, Finland in the 1990s replaced their salt shakers with potassium shakers. It’s true. And among other benefits, the incidence of strokes and heart attacks decreased by 60%.
Much can be done by individuals to improve their lives by increasing their potassium intake. Unless and until people eat enough high-potassium foods (and/or the US replaces its salt shakers with potassium shakers—which actually would help solve two problems), another viable option is potassium supplements.
For individuals who do not (or will not) consume sufficient potassium in their diets—this includes the vast majority of people—potassium supplementation can be beneficial.
Even for those who often consume adequate potassium, but sometimes fall short, supplementation is a useful option because it allows for increased potassium intake during times when they need more of it. And who doesn’t?
There are various potassium supplements, typically either capsules or alternate “salts” comprised partly or wholly of potassium bicarbonate. This form of potassium found naturally in fruits and vegetables (versus potassium chloride), and therefore is considered safe. Even when taken in amounts beyond normal recommended daily values, excesses will typically be excreted.
A few caveats. Most nutritional supplements only provide small amounts (100 mg) due to government rules created to avert “hyperalkemia,” defined as too much potassium in the blood. Hyperalkemia can be caused by acute or chronic kidney failure, so if you suffer from kidney failure, please leave potassium supplements alone.
Hyperalkemia can also be caused by medications, such as angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors (taken for lowering high blood pressure, ironically), non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS), and blood thinners like heparin. It may also relate to alcoholism, diabetes (type 1), or excessive use of potassium supplements.
The “normal” range of potassium in blood is 3.6–4.8 milliequivalents per liter (mEq/L).
On the reverse side: while most people get less than ideal amounts of potassium in their diets, deficiencies that would qualify as too little potassium (“hypoalkemia”) are not common. (Symptoms of hypoalkemia can include irregular heartbeat, muscle weakness, cramping, mood changes, nausea, and vomiting. Severe deficiencies may lead to muscle paralysis and abnormal heart rhythms.)
Given that most people do not obtain sufficient potassium, eating more fruits and vegetables and perhaps taking a high-quality potassium supplement will help the average person. That is, most people benefit from more potassium—not less—which they can get from diet and/or supplements.
pH ADJUST & POTASSIUM
HPDI recently launched pH Adjust, which is probably the world’s most sophisticated alkalinizing formula. pH Adjust is not a potassium supplement, per se. Yet, it provides easily assimilated potassium as part of a synergistic formula (including other important macrominerals) that is exceptionally well designed for increasing pH levels in the body.
pH ADJUST provides potassium and sodium bicarbonates and magnesium carbonate for alkalinity.
pH Adjust is already popular because many people are overly acidic due to dietary and lifestyle choices, including—but not limited to—not consuming enough vegetables and fruits and over-consuming meats, grains, and other acid-forming foods.
pH Adjust is an excellent formula for those interested in safely and rapidly increasing their pH to overcome acidosis, and creating alkaline conditions in the body.
One gram (1/4 teaspoon) of pH Adjust provides 141.7 mg of potassium from potassium bicarbonate and potassium glycinate. This means that one teaspoon — which is the amount I take daily — gives me 567 mg (.567 g) of potassium. That is not a huge amount of potassium, perhaps as much as you would obtain from mid-sized banana. However, if you consider that pH Adjust is a dietary supplement, which in conjunction with improved diet (i.e., consuming more potassium-rich foods) can make a difference in your potassium intake.
And for the many individuals whose potassium intake is less than 2.6 g — recall that 2.6 g is the AVERAGE intake — a 1/2 gram increase in potassium can make a big difference (a 20% boost!) in terms of improving total intake.
Then consider the “healthy” person whose potassium intake may hover around 4 g, which is above average, but less than the suggested 4.7 g intake level. One teaspoon of pH Adjust will move them into the range where they will meet— or get much closer to—the recommended daily intake.
pH ADJUST: MINERALS FOR ALKALINITY
Taking one teaspoon of pH Adjust daily not only helps boost potassium intake, but represents a HUGE move toward being alkaline, which is a major benefit for health, as I wrote in my last blog article.
Equally important in terms of alkalinizing the body, the bicarbonate form of potassium in pH Adjust is hugely alkaline-forming. That is, while potassium itself neutralizes acids in the body, potassium bicarbonate is substantially more alkalizing because of the tremendous alkaline-forming power of bicarbonate.
That is why HPDI created pH Adjust—to rapidly and effectively create alkaline conditions in the body.
Other significant facts: pH Adjust contains magnesium carbonate and sodium bicarbonate. Magnesium carbonate helps neutralizes stomach acids (hydrochloric acid) and then after it is absorbed (as magnesium ions) it continues to neutralize acids throughout the body. The sodium bicarbonate similarly splits: sodium neutralizes acids and bicarbonates alkalinize the body.
Moreover, it is known that without sufficient magnesium, cells cannot retain potassium. pH Adjust provides a significant amount (105 mg) of magnesium (from carbonate) per 1/4 teaspoon. Think about it—pH Adjust supplies more than 400 mg of easily assimilated magnesium in a single teaspoon! (This means you can reduce or drop your other magnesium supplements.)
pH Adjust provides a 3:1 ratio of potassium to sodium. This ratio is known to be ideal for optimal uptake of potassium.
pH Adjust provides 141.7 mg potassium and 105 mg magnesium per 1/4 teaspoon serving.
Potassium powers sodium-potassium pumps in your cells and keeps you alkaline. It supports proper blood pressure and cardiovascular function. It balances the effects of sodium and works synergistically with other macrominerals keeping you healthy.
Potassium loves you. Yet, you hardly know potassium—or how deficient you are.
Love potassium like it loves you. Eat more potassium-rich fruits, vegetables, and fresh juices. Take a potassium-containing formula like pH Adjust. Not only will it supply you with easily assimilated potassium, but also powerfully boost your alkalinity.
Eat less salt. For God’s sake, eat less salt. Do all these things. Then it’s likely your poor sodium-potassium pumps will revive themselves. I promise, you will feel it!
You’ve heard it before. Eat more fruits and vegetables to be alkaline. Consume more alkaline-forming foods. Eat fewer acid-forming foods to avoid acidosis. Balance your pH levels.
Maybe you’ve even studied lists or charts of acid- and alkaline-forming foods to encourage dietary choices for creating proper acid-alkaline balance.
It’s no secret that acid-alkaline balance is important for health. In fact, it is well established that pH levels in the range of 7.35–7.45 provide many benefits. The facts are the facts, and the science is sound.
Consuming more alkaline-forming fruits and vegetables can help maintain proper pH in the body.
Yet, if creating alkalinity were that simple, then why are most individual’s pH levels acidic instead of alkaline? What can be done to remedy the endemic (and epidemic!) levels of acidosis we see today?
Consuming potassium-rich fruits and vegetables remains the most important means for maintaining alkaline conditions in the body. However, taking pH Adjust powder supplement is an effective adjunct not only for helping balance pH levels, but rapidly producing an alkaline state conducive to optimal health.
pH BALANCE BASICS
A pH of 7 is considered neutral. A slightly alkaline pH level – like 7.4 – is best for health, of course.
Known benefits of ideal pH levels (slightly alkaline) include:
• Optimal function of enzymes
• Proper mineral retention, including electrolyte reserves
• Better tissue oxygenation
• Beneficial effects on microbiome
Dietary intake of alkaline-forming foods is the most obvious way of supporting proper pH. Consuming a diet rich in alkaline forming foods, such as fruits and vegetables (particularly leafy green vegetables) and vegetable juices are proven means for successfully balancing the effects of acid-forming foods like meats, and most grains and starches (simple carbohydrates).
Vegetables and fruits contain potassium. Evidence shows that potassium is critical for producing alkaline conditions in the body.
Known factors producing overly acidic conditions in the body include consuming meats, sugar, processed foods, and simple carbohydrates like wheat, corn, rice, and most pastas and breads.
pH BALANCE ESSENTIAL FOR HEALTH
Despite the certain knowledge that consuming vegetables, vegetable juices, and certain fruits helps balance pH, most people’s pH levels are overly acidic. I personally know many people, often vegetarians, whose pH levels are perfectly within the range suggested for optimal health.
Yet, I also see that most people do not consume sufficient alkaline-forming foods (specifically vegetables and vegetable juices), and therefore I am not surprised that the pH levels of most people are overly acidic.
What people in the thick of life may not realize is the degree to which acidosis—chronic or otherwise—is taking a toll of their health. And how maintaining alkalinity can improve health, longevity and quality of life. Or how easy it can be to create and sustain alkaline conditions using diet and dietary supplements.
MODERN TIMES: CHRONIC ACIDOSIS FOR MOST
Government statistics show that individuals by far do not consume recommended amounts of fruits and vegetables. It makes me wonder what foods the average individual or family consumes daily. Fast foods, fried foods, GMO foods, sugar-laden foods, and processed foods, as well as artificial additives, pesticides and agricultural chemicals are not conducive to alkaline conditions.
Neither are high-nitrogen foods, like red meats and most high-protein animal foods, especially when over-consumed—and not balanced by potassium-rich plant foods.
It seems the diet and lifestyle of most people are such that they are overly acidic. This may be considered a symptom of “modern” life. Yet, while the acid-alkaline balance of ancient diets—and even the diets of Westerners into the 20th century may have been fundamentally better (i.e., more alkaline-forming), the principles of pH balance remain the same. The pH levels of individuals subsisting on grains in any historical period would be relatively acidic.
Beyond low potassium intake from vegetables and fruits, other factors associated with over acidity include alcohol and most pharmaceuticals, antibiotics, artificial sweeteners, preservatives and artificial colorings, low nutrient intake, chemical exposure, pollution, lack of exercise, shallow breathing, and chronic stress.
Given the prevalence of these factors, is it any wonder that maintaining alkaline conditions in the body has become difficult for the average person?
Some effects of acidosis:
• Being “out of breath” easily and asthmatic symptoms
• Muscle cramping or pain—even with little exertion
• Feeling like can’t get sufficient air (low tissue oxygenation)
• Skin problems
• Weight gain
Importantly, studies indicate that long-term acidosis is linked to certain health conditions, including arthritis, diabetes, fibromyalgia, heart disease, osteoporosis, stroke, and other adverse conditions.
HOW TO BE ALKALINE: DIET AND pH ADJUST
The answer for maintaining alkalinity is to consume plenty of potassium-rich fruits and vegetables. Most people know that it is important to eat 4–6 servings of vegetables daily. Yet, how many actually do? And why is that?
Not unlike taking daily multivitamins and sufficient quantities of basic dietary supplements, maintaining proper pH levels is easier said than done for most people. It just is.
For example, what if you normally consume sufficient amounts of fruits and vegetables, but you are traveling? Or find yourself on a given day not maintaining sufficient intake to maintain optimal pH balance? Or inadvertently become exposed to “factors” that create acidosis?
If you regularly consume sufficient levels of vegetables, vegetable juices, and certain fruits, you will most likely be slightly alkaline most of the time. If you do not, then you will either need to increase your intake of these potassium-rich foods, or try something else, or both.
How do I know this? Because despite my rather large intake of vegetables, vegetable juices, and fruits, I discovered that I am myself not always sufficiently alkaline. When I recently used litmus paper to test my pH levels, I found to my surprise that I am not *always* as alkaline as I should be.
Fortunately, my father Hank Liers, who is our company’s formulator and founder, had something brewing in his mind the last few years.
Just as I was deeply wondering how to squeeze more vegetable juices into my busy schedule…he develops a formula that forever changes my perspective on acid-alkaline balance, not to mention keeping me alkaline — like all the time.
It is amazing and it is “something else.” He calls it pH Adjust. And that is what it does—adjust your pH—and fast!
pH ADJUST can safely and effective alkalinize the body.
WHAT TO EXPECT: pH ADJUST BENEFITS
After taking a single dose of pH Adjust, my pH “litmus” paper turned from light-ish green to deep purple.
After taking a dose every day for 10 days, my litmus test paper is dark blue to purple nearly all the time.
In addition, my father, Dr. Hank, has noticed that by taking a single large dose (a rounded teaspoon) every morning upon arising and measuring his urinary pH levels shortly before taking the dose, his morning pH levels are consistently in the 6.8 to 8.0 range. Before initiating this practice his morning urinary pH range was 6.2 to 6.6. Using this same protocol, my mother has experienced the same pattern of morning urinary pH values.
Of course, urinary (and salivary) pH measurements over the day will show significant variations depending upon your dietary habits. However, it was noticed that the trend was to have the pH increase over time as the protocol was rigorously followed.
What changed? Well, our pH levels have changed—toward alkalinity—for one thing. For another thing, I notice I have greater stamina, breathe easier, and just “feel” better.
Another unexpected benefit: my teeth feel stronger. Go figure! I thought about it and I see that my body must be retaining minerals better.
When the body is acidic, minerals are required to “buffer” the acidity. The body will even pull minerals from bones or teeth to buffer acidity because it tries to balance acidity any way it can.
Does this mean you can stop eating vegetables—and just take pH Adjust? Absolutely “no” because your diet remains the single most important factor in keeping your body slightly alkaline. If anything, your intake of potassium-rich fruits and vegetables (like kale and other leafy greens) should increase or at least be maintained, if it is already sufficiently abundant in these foods.
The arrival of pH Adjust just means there is a highly effective tool (supplement) to help maintain proper acid-alkaline balance beyond your diet alone. It means that whenever your pH levels dip into an acidic zone, you can rapidly and effectively return yourself to an alkaline state independently of your immediate dietary circumstances. From this perspective, pH Adjust is like an insurance policy: a useful means to attain alkalinity if and when diet alone is not enough. That’s why pH Adjust is a dietary “supplement.”
I cannot guarantee you will get the exact results I obtained. Your results will depend on your diet, level of acidity, and exposure to other factors known to determine pH levels. Nevertheless, the science behind the development of pH Adjust is based on the fact that certain key forms of minerals like potassium and sodium bicarbonate and magnesium carbonate create alkaline conditions in the body.
TELL ME MORE ABOUT pH ADJUST
pH Adjust is a fluffy, mild-tasting power formula you add to water, juice, or other liquid drinks in small amounts (about 1/4 teaspoon) that rapidly “adjusts” your pH levels toward alkaline.
pH Adjust contains potassium bicarbonate, magnesium carbonate, potassium glycinate, and sodium bicarbonate. A one gram serving (about a rounded ¼ tsp) contains about 300 mg of bicarbonate, 260 mg of carbonate, 142 mg of potassium, 105 mg of magnesium, 48 mg of sodium, and 100 mg of glycine.
Potassium, sodium, and magnesium are key minerals involved in many important functions in the body. When combined in bicarbonates (potassium & sodium), carbonates (magnesium), and glycinate (potassium) they help to adjust and balance pH levels essential to optimal body function.
You can read more in depth about pH Adjust on our product page.
pH ADJUST VERSUS SODIUM BICARBONATE (BAKING SODA)
For years, health professionals have advocated the use of baking soda (sodium bicarbonate) for its alkalinizing effects and the benefits associated with balanced pH levels.
Baking soda is cheap and effective, but consuming it has drawbacks. Its key flaw is sodium. Sodium bicarbonate provides relatively too much sodium (salt), and as such, its consumption must be monitored so as to avoid elevated sodium levels. Too high sodium levels create known risks for high blood pressure (hypertension) and cardiovascular health.
pH Adjust is formulated to avoid high sodium levels. One key to the formula is its 3:1 ratio of potassium to sodium. These are balanced amounts, as well as levels the body itself favors in terms of absorption and retention. Moreover, these levels maintain a balance known to be heart-healthy and that keep the formula low in sodium, when used as directed.
Most individuals already consume sufficient (or more than sufficient) sodium, and therefore require other minerals to balance that intake. pH Adjust not only contains low levels of sodium, but also provides minerals (potassium, magnesium) needed to balance sodium levels in the body.
A refreshing glass of water with pH Adjust. Can alkalinizing get any simpler?
Taste is another advantage of pH Adjust. Baking soda literally tastes “salty” because it is full of sodium. For a long while, I used baking soda to balance my pH levels toward greater alkalinity.
I stopped taking baking soda not only because my dietary intake of alkaline-forming foods is usually sufficient (relative to the average person), but also because I no longer could stomach the salty taste. I continue to “slug” down baking soda every now and then, but I have to suppress my overriding desire to spit it out—it’s simply too salty!
Imagine me now: happily drinking my pH Adjust in water every morning (and sometimes afternoon) which tastes good! I cannot actually say it tastes like a dessert because it is more like neutral to slightly sweet in taste (partly due to its glycine content). It goes down smoothly with no detectable “salty” taste.
EVERYTHING TO LOVE IN AN ALKALINIZING FORMULA
I would say pH Adjust has everything I would ask for in an alkalinizing, pH balancing formula. It alkalinizes me–FAST! It provides critical minerals required for health in balanced amounts, including potassium and magnesium in easily assimilated forms. It is low in sodium. It tastes good. What more can you ask for?
pH Adjust probably is the most sophisticated alkalinizing formula available. Certainly it is better than calcium- and chemical-laden antacids, which I would never take anyway. pH Adjust’s elegant design makes baking soda seem plain and salty by comparison not to mention highly imbalanced in terms of its mineral content.
TRY pH ADJUST AND MEASURE YOUR pH
No one can really know the effects of such an excellent pH balancing formula as pH Adjust without accurately measuring their pH levels. That is the reason HPDI offers Hydrion litmus paper, which is simply a litmus paper for measuring pH.
Whether you use Hydrion brand papers won’t make a difference. Any good-quality litmus paper should work just fine. Use a small, one- or two-inch strip of pH paper to quickly dip into a saliva or urine sample (i.e., to test salivary or urinary pH). Hint: urinary pH tends to be more accurate because saliva tends to be affected by foods. Test salivary pH well away from meals.
Order a container or two of pH Adjust, which we’ve purposefully kept low cost so both health professionals and individuals can make it a regular part of their pH balancing regimes. At $19.95 for retail customers (and less for HPDI resellers/wholesale customers), you will see that there is significant value for the price of pH Adjust.
As for serving size, one container provides 250 one-gram servings (about a rounded 1/4 teaspoon). Even if you were to take larger amounts (like I do), say up to one teaspoon daily, there would be nearly 63 servings per container. That’s enough for two full months of servings assuming daily usage.
NOTHING TO LOSE, JUST pH BALANCE TO GAIN
For every person I know whose pH levels lean toward acidic end of the spectrum, there is a container of pH Adjust waiting to be opened. Seriously though, if you’re not getting quite enough potassium-rich vegetables in your diet (or think you are but actually are not), then please consider pH Adjust your supplemental “friend-in-need.”
And if you (or your clients) suffer from long-term, chronic acidosis due to a potential variety of causes, then you have much more to gain. Stop the spiral of acidity from keeping you from attaining much better balanced pH levels—and thereby improved health—by trying our simple blend of minerals in bicarbonate, carbonate, and glycinate forms, called pH Adjust.
Then measure your pH using litmus paper—and see the difference for yourself. Litmus paper doesn’t lie, and it gives you a reliable indicator of the progress you’re making and your current pH status in real time.
After using pH Adjust and measuring your results with litmus paper, then decide for yourself. Is pH Adjust worth its name? Does it effectively help you balance your pH? We think your answer will be “yes.” We believe you will love pH Adjust as much as we love it.
HPDI foundational supplements are designed to provide a complete range of essential nutrients that complement a healthy diet and lifestyle. They help ensure sufficient levels of nutrients required for good health.
We define foundational supplements as basic or “core” supplements that should be part of everyone’s daily regimen. They are the foundation of a complete nutritional supplement program.
HPDI has a three-tiered system of nutritional supplements: 1) Foundational Supplements, 2) Enhancement Formulas, and 3) Specific-Condition Formulas. All three tiers comprise a complete nutritional supplement program.
When properly combined, these three tiers of nutritional supplements help create optimal health. This month, I explain how to use HPDI foundational supplements, the base or bottom tier of the system (see cone diagram below).
The HPDI supplement system can be visualized as a cone having a base of Foundational Supplements ascending toward an apex of Enhancement Formulas and Specific Condition Formulas.
The HPDI Supplement System includes six types of Foundational Supplements forming its base.
USING HPDI FOUNDATIONAL SUPPLEMENTS
My intent is to guide consumers and health care professionals to decide the foundational supplements that are best for their purposes, and that provide the most effective results.
We established the original three types of foundational supplements about 1988. We have always suggested that clients and health professionals take and/or recommend multivitamins, vitamin C and antioxidants, and essential fats.
About 10 years ago, we added high-RNA foods (like Rejuvenate! superfoods) as a fourth type of foundational supplement because research indicates dietary nucleic acids are essential nutrients—see our blog articles on nucleic acids, Benjamin S. Frank, MD, PhD, and about Rejuvenate! superfoods (Original, Plus, and Berries & Herbs).
Two categories of foundational supplements are new: gut health formulas and hydrogen formulas. Hank wrote an article (Amending the HPDI Foundational Program) about these changes in April. We added these two categories after much consideration regarding their benefits, and have written extensively about them in this blog (see resources section below).
The entire HPDI supplement system is depicted (above) as a cone. The six types of foundational supplements form the base of the cone. Enhancement Formulas and Specific-Condition formulas sit above toward the apex.
Ultimate Protector Nrf2 formula is a foundational supplement in the vitamin C / antioxidant category.
HOW I USE HPDI FOUNDATIONAL SUPPLEMENTS
I use all six types of HPDI foundational supplements. I take the following supplements (below) and present them here as an example of how they can be integrated into a complete supplement regimen. Foundational Supplements I take:
Taking one supplement from each of the six foundational supplement categories builds, supports, and maintains optimal health.
We at HPDI recommend everyone take one of each type of foundational supplement. That is, we suggest an individual select for personal use a multivitamin, vitamin C/antioxidant formula, essential fats formula, Rejuvenate!™ superfood (or other high-RNA superfood), hydrogen product, and at least one gut health product (depending on their gut-health needs).
Similarly we suggest health care professionals recommend for their clients one of each of the six types of foundational supplements.
The other two categories in the HPDI nutritional supplement system are Enhancement Formulas and Specific-Condition Formulas (see cone diagram). These are not foundational supplements. However, I include the supplements I take in these categories for the sake of completeness, as well as to show how Enhancement and Specific-Condition Formulas integrate with Foundational Supplements to form a complete supplement program providing a wide-range of essential nutrients required for health.
While I take supplements from all three categories (Foundationals, Enhancements, and Specific-Condition) in the HPDI supplement system, I always prioritize foundational supplements—I take them first—because they are base on which my personal supplement program rests.
Foundational supplements should be the base on which your supplement program—or those of your clients—rests, as well.
We have seen the results of taking a complete set of foundational supplements. They work because the nutrients they provide are needed by everyone.
Muti Two Caps is a high-potency multi with coenzyme forms for optimal utilization in the body.
FOUNDATIONAL SUPPLEMENTS: RESULTS
Individuals who take all types of foundational supplements do best in terms of optimizing health. The reason is that all six types provide nutrients required for good health.
I can attest that HPDI Foundational Supplements are effective for improving or maintaining good health. In addition, I have witnessed numerous instances where individuals benefit most greatly when taking all four–and now all six–types of foundational supplements.
Each of the six categories of foundational supplement provide unique benefits. Yet, each performs functions required by the human body for good health. That is one reason when they are combined they exert synergistic effects for health going far beyond the benefits of using, one, two, or three of the types of foundational supplements.
WHEN FOUNDATIONAL SUPPLEMENTS ARE NOT PRIORITIZED
I talk to people who may or may not take a multivitamin. And they may or may not take vitamin C. Yet, they may take calcium for their bones, glucosamine for their joints, and lutein for their eyes. Or they may take a low-potency, off-the-shelf multivitamin providing merely the RDA for all nutrients.
There is nothing wrong with individuals taking supplements they regard as important or useful. But that cannot guarantee that a wide range—and sufficient levels—of nutrients necessary for health are available to the body on a regular basis.
In fact, I regard the supplement intake programs of most persons to be “hit-or-miss.” They may consume nutrients important for a few functions in the body, yet fail to obtain other essential nutrients required for the nutrients they take to work most effectively. We have written extensively on this topic on our website and in blog articles (see below).
Not taking regularly a complete set of foundational supplements likely means key nutrients (and key levels of nutrients) go missing. Over time, this means fewer and lower levels of nutrients available to support the body’s needs for them at levels known to sustain the good health.
The best way to ensure a sufficient range of nutrients at plentiful levels is to take foundational supplements. After a baseline of nutrients is established by taking foundational supplements, additional supplements can be added, as necessary.
High-RNA foods like Rejuvenate! PLUS superfood provide dietary nucleic acids important for health.
A COMPLETE SYSTEM OF SUPPLEMENTS, INCLUDING FOUNDATIONALS
After obtaining sufficient levels of basic nutrients required for health, then a person can add (or you can recommend) specific nutrients or formulas that target certain problems or issues. This is the basis for HPDI development of Enhancement Formulas and Specific-Condition Formulas.
Nutritional supplements in the categories of Enhancement Formulas and Specific-Condition Formulas therefore “stack” on top of HPDI’s Foundational Supplements (see cone diagram above). In this way, a complete nutritional supplement program begins with the most essential nutrients and continues with customizations based on the unique needs of an individual.
Enhancement Formulas in the HPDI system are supplements we regard as falling into the next tier in terms of importance, at least for most people. They do not necessarily provide essential nutrients, and yet many people (including myself) benefit significantly from them.
HPDI Foundational Supplements collectively form the base tier of a complete nutritional supplement system comprised of three tiers: 1) Foundational Supplements (six types), 2) Enhancement Formulas (or simply “Enhancements”), and 3) Specific-Condition Formulas.
Foundational Supplements are necessary because they provide nutrients foundational to health. Taking them daily or recommending your clients take them daily can help mean big differences in health, nutrition, and quality of life.
We at HPDI design our nutritional supplements to be the most effective dietary supplements available. HPDI products are known for: 1) Advanced Formulation (including use of superior forms of nutrients), 2) Ultra-High Purity, 3) Avoidance of Harmful Ingredients, and 4) being made with Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP). For more details, please see The HPDI Difference and our Statement on Additives (Excipients).
At least 40 of HPDI’s products are formulated by Dr. Hank Liers. They fall in all categories in HPDI’s supplement system. They can be found under “Dr. Hank Liers original formulas.”
Omega Plus provides exceptionally well-balanced omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids.
We frequently get questions from HPDI clients and resellers regarding foundational supplements. These questions include:
“Why did you add gut health and hydrogen products to your foundational supplements program?”
We found it necessary to add categories for gut health and hydrogen because they provide nutrients that are support the body and help ensure the foundational supplement system supports health most effectively. You can read more in previous blog articles (see below).
“Which is the better multivitamin: Multi Two or Mighty Multi-Vite!™?” It depends on whether you need more B vitamins or antioxidants. Multi Two provides more B vitamins and Mighty Multi-Vite™ provides more antioxidants and cofactors. I take a separate HPDI B-Complex-50 formula, so I take Mighty Multi-Vite!™ as my primary multivitamin.
“What are the differences between Rejuvenate!™ Original, PLUS, and Berries & Herbs superfoods?” They each provide about 340 mg of dietary nucleic acids. Original is the “greenest” with a large percentage of dietary nucleic acids coming from chlorella and spirunlina. PLUS is our most popular and 30% is identical to Original with more protein and a built-in multivitamin complex. Berries & Herbs contains no greens, yet more nucleic acids (390 mg), protein, and a built-in multivitamin. See our Rejuvenate! comparison page for more information.
“Should I take a vitamin C formula with antioxidants like PRO-C or one with Nrf2 activators like Ultimate Protector?” Both provide vitamin C and Nrf2 activators, but Ultimate Protector provides more types of Nrf2 activators. Ultimate Protector capsules are smaller than PRO-C capsules, so a daily dose may require taking more capsules.
“How important are hydrogen supplements?” Very important for energy production, recovery, antioxidant functions, and gut health. Hydrogen supplements like Active H2 and Megahydrate ensure high levels of hydrogen are available in the body.
What are your best products for supporting gut health? It depends on your needs: cleansing (Intestinal Rejuvenation Formula), probiotic/microbiome support (Prescript-Assist™), or tightening tight junctions in the gut (RESTORE)? We offer products for all these purposes.
These are just a few questions frequently asked about HPDI foundational supplements. If you need more information about products, please contact the HPDI office (800-228-4265) or email email@example.com.
You can also contact Fred Liers, PhD (520-400-0155) or Hank Liers, PhD (formulator) with questions you may have regarding products, ingredients, or formulation.
We recently added a category of products for Gut Health to the HPDI foundational supplements program. We did this not only because there is a documented increase in gut-related health issues, but also because we hear about gut health issues from our clients and resellers. They desire effective means for solving the gut health problems prevalent today.
One of the biggest gut health problems we see today is leaky gut syndrome. The syndrome goes by other names and encompasses various symptoms. These symptoms broadly encompass food allergies, sensitivities, and intolerances.
Yet, the symptoms can also include low energy, fatigue, immune disorders, as well as obesity and blood sugar issues. It also encompasses celiac disease and certain brain disorders.
In fact, most of these gut-related conditions and symptoms today go beyond what was historically meant by “leaky gut syndrome.” Today leaky gut and the conditions associated with it largely seem to relate to a combination of factors, including modern agricultural methods, use of antibiotics and certain other pharmaceuticals, and toxic chemicals in foods and the environment.
Studies show the herbicide glyphosate adversely impacts gut health.
TOXIC INDUSTRIAL AGRICULTURE
Agriculture was not so long ago an organic affair. Chemical fertilizers were unknown, soils were healthier, and crops were at least non-GMO.
Things got worse with the introduction of chemical fertilizers, herbicides, and pesticides. The green revolution of the 1960s brought more changes, including the rise of monoculture crops and more dependence on chemicals.
Chemicals used in agriculture destroy soil microbes. These chemicals induce plant growth without simultaneously improving the quality of the soil. Consequently, the result is depletion of nutrients in soils. This has been proven by measurable declines in vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients in food crops.
When soils are continuously depleted and are nutrients are not replaced or augmented (as in Biodynamic agriculture, for example), soils have fewer nutrients. Eventually crops grown in these soils will be nutrient-poor and therefore not optimal for health. Nutrient declines in soils are significant, and soils continue to be depleted of nutrients.
The combination of chemical fertilizers, herbicides, and pesticides has created an unsustainable system of agriculture that does not produce nutritious food crops. Herbicides such as 2,4-D and atrazine, and pesticides like DDT (which remains in soils) are examples of chemicals that can significantly harm human and environmental health.
The introduction of genetically modified (GMO) crops has accelerated the negative effects of industrialized farming methods. This is especially true in terms of the lowering soil-quality and adversely impacting soil microbes, reducing nutrient levels in crops, and both directly and indirectly harming human health.
GMO crops have not been properly tested for safety. The dangers of GMO crops are significant. Bt corn is a crop whose genetic modification is associated directly with gut health issues (see charts below). Bt corn was created to damage the intestines of insects, but that also damages the health of the human gut.
When combined with specialized herbicides designed for use on GMO crops, the dangers of GMOs increase significantly. The primary herbicide used for GMO crops is glyphosate, which is a mineral chelator, endocrine disruptor, and biocide with antibiotic effects that kill bacteria (beneficial and harmful) indiscriminately leading to an imbalanced human microbiome.
Glyphosate appears to be associated with an increasing number of adverse health conditions partly because many health problems can be caused or exacerbated by nutrient deficiencies, endocrine disruption, microbiome imbalances, and other toxic effects. These health conditions include leaky gut syndrome which not only may result from an imbalanced microbiome, but also from a loosening of the necessarily tight junctions in the gut wall that protect us from exposure to foreign proteins not unlike the blood-brain barrier protects our brain.
Use of the herbicide glyphosate has increased dramatically in recent years. Glyphosate is the primary (but by no means the only) ingredient in the herbicide RoundUp.
Glyphosate kills plants including weeds, and it does this partly by acting as a mineral chelator that prevents the uptake of nutrients by plants. This starves the plant until it dies. However, plants genetically modified to withstand glyphosate still contain fewer nutrients and are therefore less nutritious.
Moreover, any glyphosate you consume acts as a chelator in your body that blocks your uptake of minerals and nutrients. This will not be good, especially if the GMO foods you consume are already nutrient deficient. Glyphosate also interferes with how you uptake and process nutrients (like manganese) in ways that guarantee depletion in the body, as will be discussed further below).
Source: N. L. Swanson, “Genetically Modified Organisms and the Deterioration of Health in the United States” (2013)
A major reason for increasingly larger applications of glyphosate on crops is the rise of glyphosate-resistant “super weeds.” This was not predicted to happen, but clearly it is happening. Thus, the “solution” to the development of super weeds has been simply to apply more glyphosate. This means greater amounts of poison in crops, and of course, greater profits for the herbicide company.
The problem is that glyphosate is extremely toxic. If there were a perfect storm scenario for herbicide use, then glyphosate would be one component of it. Many scientists are concerned about it, including former genetic engineers like Thierry Vrain, who now advocates growing and consuming organic foods (see more below).
Increased use of glyphosate will in turn accelerate the rise of super-resistant weeds, and accelerate damage to the health of those who consume it.
Not to mention the unknown health risks of the genetically modified (GMO) crops themselves, which are sprayed with glyphosate. How would you be able to tell which is more damaging to health, the toxins embedded in GMO crops or the sprays that soak both GMO and non-GMO crops alike. None have been properly tested, or test results are hidden or suppressed.
Beyond all this, non-GMO crops like wheat, oats, barley, beans, and nuts are routinely sprayed with glyphosate at the end of the season as a means to dry these crops to make harvesting easier. So much for trying to eat verified non-GMO.
You’re likely getting a lot of glyphosate in your diet…unless you eat 100% organically grown foods that are not contaminated with glyphosate by direct spraying, spraying for the purposes of drying, or from drift related to nearby spraying.
And with increased levels of spraying to apply more of this herbicide, the likelihood is you’re getting glyphosate not only from foods, but also from a contaminated water supply (wells, rivers, streams), and from rainfall (with more than 65% of rain samples testing positive).
Scientists may disagree on the level of veracity of the article, and quibble over the finer points of statistical correlation. Meanwhile, people are getting sicker, not healthier. And that is the point.
If indeed glyphosate is impacting human health adversely at even a fraction of the levels argued by Swanson, then individuals should reduce their consumption of GMO foods as much as possible to avoid health consequences.
Foods containing GMOs should be clearly labeled, like they are in many other countries. Consumers have a right to know if foods contain GMO. There is no valid objection to labeling since many other (and far less harmful) ingredients in foods are labeled. This is a transparency issue. It is the least consumers deserve.
In July 2016, the US enacted the so-called DARK Act, which requires labels for GMO products. However, this law is far weaker than the Vermont law that preceded it. The US law preempts state laws. It represents a poor attempt to address consumers’ desire for labeling of GMO foods. It offers no standard labeling requirements, nor any means to enforce compliance for companies that fail to label. And while some may consider the US law progress for consumers, consider that in Europe GMO labeling went into effect back in 1997 – nearly 20 years ago.
In addition, proper scientific testing of the health effects of GMOs and in particular the herbicide glyphosate, as well as the adjuvants and surfactants contained in glyphosate-containing products—and how these ingredients act synergistically—must be carried out. Consumers should never be guinea pigs when science is available that can protect them and help them make informed decisions.
Not unlike tobacco companies that suppressed and downplayed the harm of their products, today’s purveyors of agricultural chemicals (and especially GMOs and glyphosate) are not particularly concerned about the adverse health effects of their products. In fact, it appears to be just the opposite, as studies indicating harmful effects frequently have been suppressed.
Several of the studies used to indicate safety of GMOs were short-term studies (three months) conducted by companies who make and sell the products themselves without peer review or release of data. Whereas longer-term, independent studies indicate probable harm to health, therefore showing the precautionary principle was disregarded in approving GMOs for human consumption.
In order for consumer to protect themselves, GMO labeling is a minimum measure. Most nations already require clear labeling or ban GMOs.
AVOID ANTIBIOTICS IN FOODS AND ELSEWHERE
The use of antibiotics in livestock results in a tainted food supply. This means that foods ingested contain antibiotics that damage and destroy beneficial microbes in the human gut. This contributes to reduced microbiome diversity and paves the way for a takeover by harmful bacteria.
Then there is the overuse of antibiotics in human medicine. The use of antibiotics significantly damages microbiome health and diversity. The importance of the microbiome for human health is such that antibiotic use that kills beneficial bacteria and imbalances the gut flora is proven to reduce overall health and can contribute to major health problems throughout life. This is especially true when antibiotics are used in childhood when the microbiome is establishing itself.
Glyphosate is not considered an antibiotic per se, but it exerts antibiotic-like effects. That is, glyphosate destroys microbes by acting on the Shikimate pathway, and therefore acts like an antibiotic. This pathway is not present in human beings, but is present in plants and most microbes important for the health of the human gut.
Glyphosate interferes with the synthesis by gut bacteria of aromatic amino acids (including tyrosine and tryptophan) as well as methionine. This leads to shortages in critical neurotransmitters such as serotonin and melatonin as well as folate.
There is evidence to show that glyphosate produces resistance to antibiotic drugs, just as overuse of antibiotics themselves contributes to the increase of so-called “superbugs,” or bacteria resistant to most or all antibiotics. This fact is another reason glyphosate contributes to the health problems relating to antibiotic use and to gut health issues, in particular.
The overuse of antibiotics both in humans and animals is an ongoing problem with many authorities calling for a reduction in use so that antibiotics are not rendered useless by the development of antibiotic-resistant strains of bacteria.
Current policies regarding antibiotics virtually guarantee that not only will microbiome health be harmed by the consumption of antibiotic tainted foods and by the use of antibiotics too easily prescribed, but also that harmful bacteria will become stronger rendering antibiotics less useful in applications where they are truly needed.
An interesting fact in this regard is that Pseudomonas aeruginosa, a gram-negative bacteria, is a major problem in hospitals today due to its resistance to multiple antibiotics. It is one of only three bacterial species that can break down glyphosate. However, it produces formaldehyde as a by-product. Formaldehyde is a well-established neurotoxin. It is likely that the growth of this harmful bacteria is stimulated by the presence of glyphosate in the gut.
Avoidance of antibiotics in foods and when not medically necessary are ways individuals can help keep themselves healthy.
While this article deals primarily with the topic of gut or gastrointestinal health, it is noteworthy that glyphosate is considered to be an endocrine disruptor.
Endocrine disruption is associated with birth defects, reproductive problems (like infertility), breast cancer, and developmental problems in babies and children before and after birth, as well as a host of other health effects.
Endocrine disruptors are common in the environment, and we have written about them in previous posts. Glyphosate’s role as an endocrine disruptor is important not only because it is another harmful element among its many dangers, but also simply because of its ubiquitousness in the environment.
The amount of glyphosate spray in the US and the world in extraordinary. As weeds have become resistant to glyphosate (leading to the rise of super weeds), the solution has been to spray more of it. Therefore, the amounts to which individuals are exposed have skyrocketed along with the increase in its application on crops and elsewhere.
Also, as noted, the practice of spraying glyphosate as a desiccating agent on non-GMO crops (such as wheat, oats, sugar cane, and peanuts) contributes significantly to human exposure. So too does “household” use in gardens and use by municipalities for spraying to decrease “weeds” in public places, such as parks and schools.
NUTRIENTS, HORMONES, AND NEUROTRANSMITTERS DISRUPTED BY GLYPHOSATE
Dr. Stephanie Seneff is a leading researcher in the area of the harmful effects of glyphosate. The following YouTube presentation by Dr. Seneff and Dr. Sachin Patel (interviewer) provides a wealth of information for the reader and is highly recommended: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TpoGUPwe40c
In Dr. Seneff’s presentations she has pointed out that the following nutrients, hormones, and neurotransmitters are disrupted by glyphosate:
Folate, Vitamin K, Vitamin A, Vitamin D, and cobalamin (Vitamin B12).
Aromatic amino acids and methionine
Iron, manganese, cobalt, selenium, zinc, and sulfur
Serotonin, melatonin, dopamine, epinephrine
Melanin (skin tanning agent), thyroid hormone
NAD, glutathione (key antioxidant defenses)
Clearly it would be wise to take in foods and nutritional supplements that could replete the body with these substances.
In order to compensate for these effects of glyphosate Dr. Seneff recommends the following supplements:
GLYPHOSATE DISRUPTS PROTEINS AND ENZYMES RELYING ON GLYCINE
Recently, Dr. Seneff and collaborators have identified the fact that glyphosate – a glycine amino acid based molecule – can disrupt a large number of enzymes in the body by inserting itself into proteins during the synthesis process where glycine would normally be inserted. When this happens, the function of the enzyme is completely negated. For further details see: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=snNRfAfSeUk
LEAKY GUT AND BT TOXINS
Another class of worrisome genetically modified crops are Bt corn and other Bt crops (cotton, potato, and soy). Note that there are also glyphosate tolerant/resistant strains of corn (maize), so all types of GMO corn are potentially hazardous to health.
Bt corn is a variant of maize genetically altered to express proteins from the bacterium Bacillus thuringiensis. Thousands of different Bt strains exist that produce proteins toxic to insect pests. Particular strains are chosen to target specific plant pests, such at the European Corn Borer (ECB).
When an insect consumes Bt-containing plant tissues, one or more Bt proteins become activated in its gut, creating toxins that paralyze its digestive system and form holes in its gut wall.
Bt toxins bind to receptors in the insect’s gut. This causes the gut wall to break down and allows toxins, as well as normal gut bacteria to enter the insect’s body. Toxins and bacteria proliferate in the insect’s body causing death. Notably, many insects have developed resistance to glyphosate, just as have weeds.
It has been noted by commentators that the human digestive system appears to be damaged in a similar way by proteins in Bt corn. In any event, as the number of acres planted with Bt corn increases, it appears that human digestive disorders also increase.
Source: N. L. Swanson, “Genetically Modified Organisms and the Deterioration of Health in the United States” (2013)
Disorders of the digestive system associated with Bt toxins not only include irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and constipation, but also Crohn’s Disease and Ulcerative Colitis.
Source: N. L. Swanson, “Genetically Modified Organisms and the Deterioration of Health in the United States” (2013)
While the effects of the Bt toxin are different than those of glyphosate and other chemicals in glyphosate-containing crop chemicals, the fact is that evidence shows that the Bt toxins appear to adversely impact gut health.
KEY TAKEAWAY: CONSUME 100% ORGANIC DIET
Among key takeaways from examining the literature of problems associated with antibiotic use, as well as with the chemicals associated with modern agriculture and genetically modified foods (i.e., glyphosate and other herbicides, pesticides, and various surfactants and adjuvants used with them): Choose to eat organic foods as much as possible for best health.
Only by consuming organic foods can individually significantly reduce the amount of glyphosate, pesticides, antibiotics, and other harmful chemicals in the diet to support good health in general, and gut health in particular. Organic foods are also more nutrient dense, and therefore more nutritious.
After it is understood how current industrial agricultural methods contribute to damaging human health, then organic foods can be seen as a solution helping ensure avoidance of most or many of harmful elements in foods.
Organically grown foods may be tainted by drift or by toxins in the soil existing before the adoption of organic farming methods. Yet, the amounts of such toxins will be significantly reduced overall by consuming organic foods. The longer-term solution is adoption of organic methods (and corresponding reductions in use of chemicals and GMOs in agriculture) that will result in a cleaner, safer food supply for all.
Some say that organic foods are no better, or cost too much, or do not improve health. But the truth is that they are better, should not cost more, and are far more sustainable for human and planetary health. In fact, at this point in time, consuming organic foods may be the only practical solution for avoiding health problems, especially gut-health problems, associated with industrialized, chemically based agricultural methods.
Growing food yourself is another option, as is purchasing organic or locally grown organically grown produce at your Farmer’s Market. These foods will not be sprayed with toxins and will not suffer the same level of nutrient declines found in conventional produce. Having even a relatively small garden at home will allow you to supplement organic foods you obtain locally. Some neighborhoods support community gardens where you can grow foods organically.
Between consuming foods you grow, purchasing organic or non-sprayed produce locally and/or at natural foods stores, emphasizing grass-fed, free-range animal products (e.g., eggs and meats), and reducing meals at restaurants that serve conventional foods (as well as ordering organic and non-GMO foods whenever possible), you can largely bypass or reduce the toxicity and gut-health issues associated with the toxins and GMOs in foods sold in grocery stores and ubiquitous in our food distribution system.
A 100% organic diet is recommend, entirely possible, and at the very least a worthy goal. It will pay dividends in terms of good health and how you feel.
Wheat stands out as a singular food to avoid. It been hybridized beyond all recognition with many genes being added because wheat genes are additive. The wheat protein gluten has been linked to many types of health problems.
Gluten has long been a problem for gut health. Now with glyphosate being sprayed directly on wheat crops (as well as oats, sugar cane, and peanuts) as a desiccating agent, it seems that opening tight junctions in the gut and then having exposure to gluten is a prescription for disaster.
Glyphosate increasingly is sprayed on wheat (a non-GMO crop) for drying before harvest. How does poisoning wheat this way make sense?
Some commentators (like Wheat Belly author William Davis, MD) show that gluten is linked with obesity, diabetes, celiac disease, and many others.
Avoidance of wheat, gluten, and other simple carbohydrates is a good idea if you would maintain and retain good gut health.
Celiac disease has significantly increased with the practice of spraying glyphosate on wheat.
“The pathologies to which glyphosate could plausibly contribute, through its known biosemiotic effects, include inflammatory bowel disease, obesity, depression, ADHD, autism, Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, ALS, multiple sclerosis, cancer, cachexia, infertility, and developmental malformations.” (Entropy2013, 15(4), 1416-1463; doi:10.3390/e15041416)
Industrial agriculture, including the practices associated with the cultivation of GMO crops, harms the soils and human health.
Dangers to human health from industrial agriculture and GMOs includes harm to gastrointestinal health. This encompasses many conditions, including Leaky Gut Syndrome.
Leaky gut does not always result from a single cause, but can involve multiple factors, including exposure to glyphosate (and its adjuvants), Bt toxins, depleted nutrient levels, wheat and wheat protein (gluten/gliadin) exposure, microbiome imbalances or disruption, antibiotic use or consuming foods containing antibiotics, other chemical exposures, and additional factors.
Ways to avoid leaky gut: 1) Consume a 100% organic diet, 2) Avoid GMOs, 3) Avoid antibiotics, 4) Maintain a healthy microbiome, 5) Avoid wheat and simple carbohydrates (and simple sugars), 6) Improve nutrient levels through diet and dietary supplements, 7) Use specific supplements that help restore and maintain gut health 7) Detoxify on a regular basis using juices, herbs, and other practices.
We will continue writing articles for blog series on the topic of gut health. In coming months, we will write about various means for improving gastrointestinal structure and function. These means include restoring tight junctions in the gut using Restore (lignite formula).