Friday, December 19, 2014

Diabetes Ages Your Brain Five Years Faster Than Normal

Mercola | Dec 18, 2014 | Dr. Mercola
In the United States, nearly 80 million people, or one in four, have diabetes or pre-diabetes. What’s worse, diabetes among children and teens has also skyrocketed.

The most recent data1,2 reveals that incidence of type 2 diabetes among children aged 10-19 rose by 30 percent between 2001 and 2009. The same situation exists in other developed nations.

In the UK, more than one-third of adults are now pre-diabetic,3 and British researchers warn that this will lead to a massive avalanche of type 2 diabetics in upcoming years, which will have serious consequences for health care and life expectancy.
Diabetes Linked to Faster Decline in Memory
One of many debilitating health problems associated with type 2 diabetes is a higher risk for dementia. According to one recent study,4,5,6 diabetes ages your brain about five years faster than normal.

People who are diagnosed with diabetes in their 50s are at a significantly heightened risk for mental decline by the time they’re 70.

Previous research7 has also shown that type 2 diabetics lose more brain volume with age than expected—particularly gray matter. This kind of brain atrophy is yet another contributing factor for dementia.

According to lead author Elizabeth Selvin, PhD, MPH, an associate professor of epidemiology at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health:8
“The lesson is that to have a healthy brain when you’re 70, you need to eat right and exercise when you’re 50.

There is a substantial cognitive decline associated with diabetes, pre-diabetes and poor glucose control in people with diabetes. And we know how to prevent or delay the diabetes associated with this decline...”
The Importance of Healthy Blood Vessels for Proper Brain Function
A number of different factors play a role in memory decline and dementia. One important factor is the health of your blood vessels, and I’ve previously discussed the links between heart disease and dementia. In fact, the test that predicts your future risk of heart disease is better at predicting your risk of dementia than a specific dementia-risk test.9

In the featured study, diabetics were found to suffer a 19 percent greater decline in mental acuity compared to non-diabetics over the course of 20 years. Those with pre-diabetes were also at a significantly increased risk for memory decline.

The researchers suggest the decline in memory associated with diabetes is due to damage to small blood vessels in the brain. According to co-author A. Richey Sharrett, MD, DrPH:
“There are many ways we can reduce the impact of cerebral blood vessel disease—by prevention or control of diabetes and hypertension, reduction in smoking, increase in exercise and improvements in diet.

Knowing that the risk for cognitive impairments begins with diabetes and other risk factors in mid-life can be a strong motivator for patients and their doctors to adopt and maintain long-term healthy practices.”
The best predictor of type 2 diabetes is being obese or overweight, and in the US one-third of children and teens (aged two to 19), and more than two-thirds of adults are either overweight or obese.

Obesity is usually the result of inappropriate lifestyle choices, such as eating too much processed foods (high in carbs and low in healthy fats), and not fasting enough.

It’s interesting to note that the poorest Americans have the highest obesity rate, and they also tend to eat a diet that is very high in processed foods. This is yet another indication that processed foods play a significant role in metabolic dysfunction, weight gain, and associated health problems like diabetes, heart disease, and dementia.
Diabetes Medication May Do More Harm Than Good 
Diabetes is a disease rooted in insulin resistance10 and perhaps more importantly, a malfunction of leptin signaling, caused by chronically elevated insulin and leptin levels.

This is why the medical community’s approach to its treatment is not getting anywhere. Contrary to popular belief, treating type 2 diabetes with insulin is actually one of the worst things you can do, as it only exacerbates the underlying problem.

One recent study published in JAMA Internal Medicine11 concluded that insulin therapy in type 2 diabetic patients—especially older diabetics—may indeed do more harm than good. As reported by Medical News Today:12
“In the US, type 2 diabetes is diagnosed when hemoglobin A1c levels reach 6.5 percent or higher. The higher A1c levels are, the greater the risk of other health problems.

Sometimes the condition can be managed through changes in diet, but other patients with type 2 diabetes may need medication - such as insulin or metformin – to help lower their blood sugar levels, and ultimately, reduce the risk of diabetes complications.

But the researchers of this latest study... claim that the benefits of such treatment - particularly for people over the age of 50 – may not always outweigh the negatives.

‘In many cases, insulin treatment may not do anything to add to the person's quality life expectancy,’ says study co-author John S. Yudkin...

‘If people feel that insulin therapy reduces their quality of life by anything more than around 3-4 percent, this will outweigh any potential benefits gained by treatment in almost anyone with type 2 diabetes over around 50 years old.’ ...

For example, they estimate that a person with type 2 diabetes who begins insulin therapy at age 45 and lowers their hemoglobin A1c levels by 1 percent may experience an extra 10 months of healthy life. 

But for a patient who starts treatment for type 2 diabetes at age 75, they estimate the therapy may only gain them an additional 3 weeks of healthy life. The researchers say this prompts the question - is 10-15 years of pills or injections with possible side effects worth it?”
Lifestyle Changes Are as Effective as Medicine for Preventing Type 2 Diabetes
Just like obesity, type 2 diabetes is primarily controlled and prevented through diet and exercise. Avoiding sugar (and processed fructose in particular) is imperative for preventing insulin/leptin resistance. Exercise is also important for normalizing your insulin and leptin sensitivity.

I’ve often said that lifestyle changes can be just as, if not more, effective than drugs, and studies have repeatedly confirmed this view. Most recently, a meta-analysis published in Diabetologia13 found that diet and exercise lowers blood sugar levels and prevents diabetes in pre-diabetics as effectively as diabetic medications in both genders. As reported by
“The researchers reviewed data from more than 7,400 women and 5,500 men in 12 studies. Men and women with prediabetes who made lifestyle changes were 40 percent less likely to progress to diabetes after one year, and 37 percent less likely to progress after three years, compared to those who did not make lifestyle changes, the study found.

Men and women with prediabetes who made lifestyle changes also lost more weight and had greater reductions in blood sugar levels, the researchers said... ‘Clinically, these findings highlight an important issue.

Despite differences in age of onset, detection and burden of type 2 diabetes between men and women, the effectiveness of preventive interventions in people with prediabetes is not influenced by gender,’ the researchers explained...”
The Importance of Magnesium for Glucose and Insulin Balance
Magnesium deficiency is also worth mentioning, as it plays an important role in glucose and insulin homeostasis.15 Magnesium is also required to activate tyrosine kinase, an enzyme that functions as an “on” or “off” switch in many cellular functions and is required for the proper function of your insulin receptors. Studies,16,17,18 from around the world universally agree that  in order to optimize your metabolism and keep your risk for type 2 diabetes low, you need to consume adequate magnesium.

One 2013 study involving pre-diabetics found that most had inadequate magnesium intake, and those with the highest magnesium intake reduced their risk for blood sugar and metabolic problems by a whopping 71 percent.19 Current government guidelines for magnesium intake among adults call for 300 to 420 mg per day,7 but research suggests many would benefit from a much higher intake—about 700 mg per day or more.
Type 3 Diabetes, or ‘Brain Diabetes,’ May Be Responsible for Alzheimer’s Disease
A growing body of research suggests there’s a powerful connection between your diet and your risk of Alzheimer's disease20 via similar pathways that cause type 2 diabetes. Alzheimer's disease was tentatively dubbed "type 3 diabetes" in early 2005 when researchers learned that, in addition to the pancreas, your brain also produces insulin. This brain insulin is actually necessary for the survival of your brain cells.

A drop in insulin production in your brain may contribute to the degeneration of your brain cells, and studies have found that people with lower levels of insulin and insulin receptors in their brain often have Alzheimer's disease. Researchers have discovered that insulin actually does far more than regulate your blood sugar. It also helps with neuron glucose-uptake, and the regulation of neurotransmitters like acetylcholine, which are crucial for memory and learning. This is why reducing the level of insulin in your brain impairs your cognition.

It's becoming increasingly clear that the same pathological process that leads to insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes may also hold true for your brain. As you over-indulge on sugar and grains, your brain becomes overwhelmed by the consistently high levels of glucose and insulin that blunts its insulin signaling, leading to impairments in your thinking and memory abilities, eventually causing permanent brain damage.

Additionally, when your liver is busy processing fructose (which your liver turns into fat), it severely hampers its ability to make cholesterol, an essential building block of your brain that is crucial for optimal brain function. Indeed, mounting evidence supports the notion that significantly reducing fructose consumption is a very important step you can take to prevent Alzheimer's disease.

Prevention and Treatment Guidelines  

It’s becoming quite clear that to protect your brain and prevent cognitive decline, it’s important to address any underlying insulin/leptin resistance and/or type 2 diabetes. Fortunately, type 2 diabetes is curable, and in the vast majority of cases does not require any form of medication. The following nutrition and lifestyle modifications should be the foundation of your diabetes prevention and treatment plan. 

Also, make sure to monitor your FASTING insulin level. This is every bit as important as monitoring your fasting blood sugar. You'll want your fasting insulin level to be between 2 and 4. The higher your level, the greater your insulin resistance and the more aggressive you need to be in your treatment plan, especially when it comes to altering your diet.
  • Swap out processed foods, all forms of sugar—particularly fructose—as well as all grains, for whole, fresh food. A primary reason for the failure of conventional diabetes treatment over the last 50 years has to do with seriously flawed dietary recommendations. Refined fructose, grains, and other sugar forming starchy carbohydrates are largely responsible for your body's adverse insulin reactions, and all sugars and grains—even "healthful" grains such as whole, organic ones—need to be drastically reduced.

  • If you’re insulin/leptin resistant, have diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, or are overweight, you’d be wise to limit your total fructose intake to 15 grams per day until your insulin/leptin resistance has resolved. This includes about 80 percent of Americans. For all others, I recommend limiting your daily fructose consumption to 25 grams or less, to maintain optimal health.

    The easiest way to accomplish this is by swapping processed foods for whole, ideally organic foods. This means cooking from scratch with fresh ingredients. Processed foods are the main source of all the primary culprits, including high fructose corn syrup and other sugars, processed grains, trans fats, artificial sweeteners, and other synthetic additives that may aggravate metabolic dysfunction.

    Besides fructose, trans fat (NOT saturated fat) increases your risk for diabetes21 by interfering with your insulin receptors. Recent research22,23 also demonstrates that trans fat has a distinct adverse impact on memory, courtesy of the oxidative stress and brain inflammation these fats produce.

    Healthy saturated fats do not have any of these adverse effects on your health. Since you’re cutting out a lot of energy (carbs) from your diet when you reduce sugars and grains, you need to replace them with something. The ideal replacement is a combination of:

    • Low-to-moderate amount of high-quality protein. Substantial amounts of protein can be found in meat, fish, eggs, dairy products, legumes, and nuts. When selecting animal-based protein, be sure to opt for organically raised, grass-fed or pastured meats, eggs, and dairy, to avoid potential health complications caused by genetically engineered animal feed and pesticides.

    • Most Americans eat far too much protein, so be mindful of the amount. I believe it is the rare person who really needs more than one-half gram of protein per pound of lean body mass. Those that are aggressively exercising or competing and pregnant women should have about 25 percent more, but most people rarely need more than 40-70 grams of protein a day.

      To determine your lean body mass, find out your percent body fat and subtract from 100. This means that if you have 20 percent body fat, you have 80 percent lean body mass. Just multiply that by your current weight to get your lean body mass in pounds or kilos. To determine whether you’re getting too much protein, simply calculate your lean body mass as described above, then write down everything you’re eating for a few days, and calculate the amount of daily protein from all sources.

      Again, you’re aiming for one-half gram of protein per pound of lean body mass, which would place most people in the range of 40 to 70 grams of protein per day. If you’re currently averaging a lot more than that, adjust downward accordingly. You could use the chart below or simply Google the food you want to know and you will quickly find the grams of protein in the food.

      Red meat, pork, poultry, and seafood average 6-9 grams of protein per ounce.

      An ideal amount for most people would be a 3-ounce serving of meat or seafood (not 9- or 12-ounce steaks!), which will provide about 18-27 grams of protein
      Eggs contain about 6-8 grams of protein per egg. So an omelet made from two eggs would give you about 12-16 grams of protein.

      If you add cheese, you need to calculate that protein in as well (check the label of your cheese)
      Seeds and nuts contain on average 4-8 grams of protein per quarter cupCooked beans average about 7-8 grams per half cup
      Cooked grains average 5-7 grams per cupMost vegetables contain about 1-2 grams of protein per ounce
    • As much high-quality healthy fat as you want (saturated24 and monounsaturated). For optimal health, most people need upwards of 50-85 percent of their daily calories in the form of healthy fats. Good sources include coconut and coconut oil, avocados, butter, nuts, and animal fats. (Remember, fat is high in calories while being small in terms of volume. So when you look at your plate, the largest portion would be vegetables.)
    • As many non-starchy vegetables as you want
  • Exercise regularly and intensely. Studies have shown that exercise, even without weight loss, increases insulin sensitivity.25 High intensity interval training (HIIT), which is a central component of my Peak Fitness program, has been shown to improve insulin sensitivity by as much as 24 percent in just four weeks. Exercise also prompts nerve cells to release brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), which triggers other chemicals that promote neural health, and directly benefits cognitive functions, including learning. A number of studies have also shown that exercise can promote growth of new brain cells, enlarge your memory center, improve IQ scores, and help prevent brain deterioration associated with aging.
  • Improve your omega-3 to omega-6 ratio. Today’s Western diet has far too many processed and damaged omega-6 fats, and is far too little omega-3 fats.26 The main sources of omega-6 fats are corn, soy, canola, safflower, peanut, and sunflower oil (the first two of which are typically genetically engineered as well, which further complicates matters). Our bodies evolved for an optimal of approximately 1:1 ratio of omega-6 to omega-3. 

  • However, our ratio has deteriorated to between 20:1 and 50:1 in favor of omega-6. This lopsided ratio has seriously adverse health consequences.  To remedy this, reduce your consumption of vegetable oils (this means not cooking with them, and avoiding processed foods), and increase your intake of animal-based omega-3, such as krill oil. Vegetable-based omega-3 is also found in flaxseed oil and walnut oil, and it’s good to include these in your diet as well. Just know they cannot take the place of animal-based omega-3s.
  • Maintain optimal vitamin D levels year-round. New evidence strongly supports the notion that vitamin D is highly beneficial for both type 1 and type 2 diabetes. Recent research has also confirmed the link between vitamin D deficiency and dementia. The ideal way to optimize your vitamin D level is by getting regular sun exposure, or by using a tanning bed. As a last resort, consider oral supplementation with regular vitamin D monitoring, to confirm that you are taking enough vitamin D to get your blood levels into the therapeutic range of 50-70 ng/ml. Also please note that if you take supplemental vitamin D, you create an increased demand for vitamin K2 and magnesium.
  • Get adequate high-quality sleep every night. Insufficient sleep appears to raise stress and blood sugar, encouraging insulin and leptin resistance and weight gain. In one 10-year-long study27 of 70,000 diabetes-free women, researchers found that women who slept less than five hours or more than nine hours each night were 34 percent more likely to develop diabetes symptoms than women who slept seven to eight hours each night.

  • Sleep loss
    has also been linked to severe brain damage. Sleep is actually necessary for maintaining metabolic homeostasis in your brain, and without sufficient sleep, neuron degeneration sets in. Sleep deprivation causes disruption of certain synaptic connections that can impair your brain's ability for learning, memory formation, and other cognitive functions. It also accelerates onset of Alzheimer's disease. If you are having problems with your sleep, try the suggestions in my article “33 Secrets to a Good Night’s Sleep.”
  • Maintain a healthy body weight. If you incorporate the diet and lifestyle changes suggested above you will greatly improve your insulin and leptin sensitivity, and a healthy body weight will follow in time. Determining your ideal body weight depends on a variety of factors, including frame size, age, activity level, and genetics. As a general guideline, you might find a hip-to-waist size index chart helpful. This is far better than BMI for evaluating whether or not you may have a weight problem, as BMI fails to factor in both how muscular you are, and your intra-abdominal fat mass (the dangerous visceral fat that accumulates around your inner organs), which is a potent indicator of leptin sensitivity and associated health problems.
  • Incorporate intermittent fasting. If you have carefully followed the diet and exercise guidelines and still aren’t making sufficient progress with your weight or overall health, I strongly recommend incorporating intermittent fasting. It’s by far the most effective way I know of to shed unwanted fat, resolve insulin resistance, and eliminate your sugar cravings. Intermittent fasting has also been identified as a potent ally for the prevention and perhaps even treatment of dementia. Ketones are released as a byproduct of burning fat, and ketones (not glucose) are actually the preferred fuel for your brain. Keep up your intermittent fasting schedule until your insulin/leptin resistance improves (or your weight, blood pressure, cholesterol ratios, or diabetes normalizes). After that, you only need to do it “as needed” to maintain your healthy state.
  • Optimize your gut health. Your gut is a living ecosystem, full of both good bacteria and bad. Multiple studies have shown that obese people have different intestinal bacteria than lean people. The more good bacteria you have, the stronger your immune system will be and the better your body will function overall. Gut bacteria has been found to affect your brain function, and play a role in the development of diabetes as well. Fortunately, optimizing your gut flora is relatively easy. You can reseed your body with good bacteria by regularly eating fermented foods (like natto, raw organic cheese, miso, and cultured vegetables) or by taking a high-quality probiotic supplement.

Closing the Gate on GMO and the Criminal Transatlantic Trade Agreement

Farm Wars | Dec 18, 2014 | Julian Rose

“What emerges is an understanding of TTIP as the political project of a transatlantic corporate and political elite which, on the unfounded promise of increased trade and job creation, will attempt to reverse social and environmental regulatory protections, redirect legal rights from citizens to corporations, and consolidate US and European global leadership in a changing world order.” (Seattle to Brussels Network, Kim Bizzarri)

A key element of this Transatlantic Trade Agreement, but only one of hundreds of highly controversial proposals, is the move to deregulate the status currently accorded to imports of GM seeds and plants for cultivating in European soils.

A determined effort by all of us, who care about real food and real farming, will be needed to stop one of the most insidious attempts yet to end Europe’s widespread resistance to genetically modified organisms. In particular, the use of GM seeds in European agriculture, leading to genetically modified crops being grown in areas that have, up until now, successfully resisted the GM corporate invasion.

The EU has so far licensed just one GM maize variety (MON 810) to be grown within its territories, and one potato variety (Amflora) for industrial starch production. Up until now, the EU has acted according to a largely restrictive trade practice concerning GM and other controversial food products due to major public pressure, as well as under a broad EU ruling termed ‘the precautionary principle’.

All that could be about to go out the window under current negotiations between the USA and the European Commission to ratify a new trade agreement known TTIP, the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership.

The objective of this ‘partnership’ is to facilitate far going corporate control of the international market place and to prize-open the mostly closed (but not locked) European door on GM crops and seeds.

While this corporate heist is being eased into place, replicas are being negotiated between Canada and the EU under the title ‘Comprehensive Economic Trade Agreement’ CETA. And as if that wasn’t enough, a further dismantling of trade tariffs is underway via the ‘Trade In Services Agreement’ TiSA: a wide ranging further liberalization of corporate trading conditions as a direct continuation of the WTO (World Trade Organization) GATS agreement, with its highly onerous, corporate biased ‘Codex Alimentarius’ sanitary and hygiene rulings. Indigenous seeds and medicinal herbs are particularly under attack via Codex.

We can thus recognize, from the outset, that a very dangerous interference of the already leaky checks and balances that control the import/export market is underway here. The thinly disguised under-text reveals plans for a massive corporate take-over of all negotiated quasi-democratic trade agreements and food quality controls that currently take place between the US and EU. It is clear that the major corporate concerns are determined to overcome or dilute, all resistance to their unfettered ‘free trade’ goals.

Where they are blocked, corporations are claiming the right to sue governments and institutions held to be ‘infringing the principle of international free trade.’ Such litigation procedures are not new, but the idea of writing them into a major trading agreement has sparked major controversy. For example in Germany, where one of the main Swedish nuclear power construction companies is suing the German government for billions of euros, with the intention of gaining full compensation for the ban on nuclear power enacted earlier by the Merkel government.

To add a further sinister twist to this already draconian exercise in power politics, the court hearings on such actions are slated to take place in secret, in a court house in Washington DC. Such secret courts are already operational in the UK, where ‘sensitive cases’ can be heard out of sight of public scrutiny with no reports or summaries of the proceedings released into the public domain. Here we witness the Orwellian control system fully up and running, with its attendant undisguised destruction of many decades of hard won civil liberties.

The unremitting and relentless nature of this neo-capitalist and corporate centralization of power is causing significant resistance to manifest itself: “The opposition in Europe to a transatlantic free trade area believes it has the momentum, buoyed by scare stories regularly amplified by the European media. A petition against the trade act surpassed the 1 million mark this week.” (The Guardian). We are all going to have to get involved to ensure a people led victory.

For the purpose of this summary, I am not able to cover the full gamut of trading controversies being brought to a head by the ongoing negotiations, preferring to concentrate on the food and farming implications. But it is very important not to loose sight of the true intention behind all aspects of these nefarious trade agreements.

As a precursor to TTIP, a major shift in GMO legislation was already voted-in by the EU’s Environmental Council on 12 June 2014 (the final vote to be taken in the European Parliament, January 2015). After many years of EU member state disagreement on GM issues – leading to negotiation stalemate – this controversial agreement devolves GMO decision making procedures from Brussels to EU member states.

In the process however, it gives the green light to pro GMO governments to allow the planting of GM crops in their countries, while anti GM member states can put forward economic and environmental health arguments to ban GM crops. Under the first draft of this agreement, countries wishing to block GM plantings were called upon to seek permission to ban such crops from the very corporations that are proposing to introduce them! A proposal whose unprecedented arrogance echoes the corporate agenda of TTIP and CETA trade proposals.

Fortunately, after intensive public lobbying, this clause was dropped (November 11, 2014, Environment, Public Health and Food Safety Committee).

Nevertheless, what we have in front of our eyes is a strong GMO warning light. A dual alert in fact. Firstly owing to the EU Commission’s devolvement of ‘the right to decide’ to member states, and secondly owing to the TTIP agreement, which, if ratified, would allow GM crops and seeds currently banned in Europe – as well as various medicated animal products such as US hormone enriched beef – to have a largely unrestricted flow into the EU. By-passing, in the process, the ‘precautionary principle’ and the European Food Safety Agency’s views (for what they are worth) on the efficacy of such products.

The TTIP agreement – if fully ratified, will, in effect, remove any differences in trade related legislation between the EU and US. In corporate speak, such differences are held up as being ‘trade distorting’. TTIP could also be used to attack positive food related initiatives in the US, such as ‘local preference’ legislation at the state level. It calls for ‘mutual recognition’ between trading blocks: trade speak for lowering standards.

Consumer groups have already pointed out that mutual recognition of standards is not an acceptable approach since it will require at least one of the parties to accept food that is not of a currently acceptable standard. To put it in simple terms: the pressure to lower standards in Europe to ‘resolve the inconsistencies’ will be strong, and far more likely to succeed than the other solution: to raise standards in the USA.
Phrases like ‘harmonization’ and ‘regulatory cooperation’ are a frequently occurring part of TTIP trade speak. But in the end it’s all going one way: downwards.. to the lowest common denominator.

According to Corporate Europe Observatory:

“Under TTIP’s chapter on ‘regulatory cooperation’ any future measure that could lead us towards a more sustainable food system, could be deemed ‘a barrier to trade’ and thus refused before it sees the light of day. Big business groups like Business Europe and the US Chamber of Commerce have been pushing for this corporate lobby dream scenario before the US-EU negotiations ever began. What they want from regulatory cooperation is to essentially co-write legislation and to establish a permanent EU-US dialogue to work towards harmonizing standards long after TTIP has been signed. Despite earlier reservations, the Commission now seems to go along with with this corporate dream. Leaked EU proposals from December 2013 outline a new system of regulatory cooperation between the EU and US, that will enable decisions to be made without any public oversight or engagement.”

What this means is that new, highly controversial GM seed lines will have virtually no publicly scrutinized safety-net to slow or halt their progress to the fields and dinner plates of Europe.

One of the most determined voices behind the realization of TTIP’s ambitions is ex Polish Prime Minister, Donald Tusk: As The Guardian tells us: “Taking office this week as the new president of the European Council, chairing summits and mediating between national leaders, Donald Tusk, Poland’s former prime minister, singled out TTIP as one of his main priorities for the year ahead” (report 08/12/2014). Tusk, as prime minister of Poland, had already displayed his bias towards big business, by backing strategies to sell tranches of Poland’s most productive farmland to the highest foreign bidders, while simultaneously cosying-up to the EU Commission’s big chiefs. Tusk is complicit, if not a leading voice, in supporting the overt centralization of political power in Brussels and the steady dismantling of national sovereignty: the right for countries to decide and control their own futures.

TTIP and CETA are perfect weapons for the long planned for destruction of national sovereignty. Trade negotiators, GM exponents, big farming unions, agrichemical businesses and food processing giants are all in on the game and have strong lobby groups backing TTIP. Their view on what the word ‘cooperation’ means goes like this “A system of regulatory cooperation would prevent ‘bad decisions’ – thereby avoiding having to take governments to court later” (Corporate Europe Observatory).

These ‘bad decisions’ constitute any attempts by governments to rein-in the overt lust for power which is the hallmark of the corporate elite. For example, biotech and pesticide giants Syngenta and Bayer, are taking the European Union to court over its partial ban on three insecticides from the Neonicotinoid family, because of their deadly impact on bees. However let us be clear, the European Union is only acting this way because of intense public pressure to do so; left to its own devices there would be no discernible difference between it and the corporate elite who stalk the corridors of power at the European Commission and European Parliament.

The underlying goal of ‘regulatory cooperation’ between industry and the EU, is to have a continuous ‘on going’ dialogue (known as ‘living agreement’) that could ultimately render any final TTIP agreement largely meaningless. Meaningless, because it could by-pass any failures of TTIP to gain concessions on food and environmental standards by focusing on altering ‘implementation rules’ – rather than taking the more arduous route of altering ‘the law’ itself. Tinkering with ‘implementation rules’ simply offers another way for corporate friendly concessions to become enshrined in common trading rights.

Reassurances from EU and US negotiators that “food standards will not be lowered” look highly suspect. Farmers should be alert to the fact that, because of TTIP, imports are highly likely be allowed that do not meet local standards, thus undermining national trading disciplines.

This applies across the spectrum and includes currently non compliant GMO. According to Corporate Europe Observatory “ Regulatory convergence will fundamentally change the way politics is done in the future, with industry sitting right at the table, if they get their way.”

If they get their way.

All groups and organizations that care about retaining a largely GMO Free Europe and the consumption of genuine, healthy food – in tandem with the ecological farming methods that produce it – had better jump to the task of stopping TTIP, and its related trading blocks, from destroying the last line of defense against a complete corporate take-over of the food chain.

Join the resistance! Check the internet and join one of the groups in your area that are committed to blocking TTIP and CETA.

Julian Rose

About the Author:

As co-director of the International Coalition to Protect the Polish Countryside, Julian co-launched a highly successful ‘Campaign for a GMO Free Poland’ as well as leads a high profile defense of peasant farmers whom he holds-up as the true guardians of biodiversity throughout the world. Regular listeners to BBC radio 4’s Framing To-Day will have heard Julian’s 2007 series of once monthly “Letters from Poland” passionately highlighting the crisis provoked by forcing ‘corporate globalization’ onto traditional family farming communities. His work can be viewed at Changing Course for Life.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Monsanto’s New ‘Herbicide-Resistant’ GMO Crop Slammed by Food Experts

Natural Society | Dec 17, 2014 | Christina Sarich

With all the talk of Monsanto’s herbicide glyphosate, it is likely that you haven’t heard of dicamba. This is another weapon in the Big Ag giant’s chemical arsenal that is being called yet another indiscriminate chemical that “will take agriculture back to the dark days of heavy, hazardous pesticide use that will seriously endanger human health and the environment.”

Monsanto is sewing GMO cotton and soybean that were created specifically to resist the dicamba herbicide. This herbicide is the subject of great scrutiny following the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA)’s final  Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) released last week.

Should both the EPA and USDA allow the as-yet-to-be-approved dicamba herbicide, the Center for Food Safety says it will pursue every legal option to make sure it is not used on US crops.

Dicamba is essentially Monsanto’s ‘solution’ to the glyphosate resistant crops that have already taken over US farmlands. Instead of yielding more food, glyphosate has caused an epidemic of super weeds that are so invasive that farmers in the Midwest cornbelt are dumbfounded. More than 60 million acres of US crops are now completely choked by glyphosate-driven super weeds.

A Little About Dicamba 

Dicamba was first introduced in 1967 to be used as a broadleaf herbicide. Even then it was linked to higher cancer rates in farmers who used it, as well as birth defects in their male offspring. The herbicide is especially notable for its ability to drift into neighboring farms, thereby damaging crops.

Additionally, dicamba poses a threat to flowering plants and their pollinators. If dicamba was added to the already devastated crops throughout the cornbelt, it could dramatically escalate both environmental damage while negatively impacting human health greatly.

Strangely, though up for review by the FDA, the USDA itself and many scientists suggest that the massively increased use of dicamba will rapidly generate the still more intractable weeds resistant to both dicamba and glyphosate – all this for some more GMO frankenfood.

Bill Freese, Center for Food Safety science policy analyst says:
“Monsanto’s dicamba-resistant crops are the latest fruits of a pesticide industry strategy to increase sales of their toxic herbicides. Genetic engineering is making American agriculture more chemical-dependent and less sustainable than ever before.”
The USDA also just approved GE 2,4-D-resistant corn and soybeans from Dow Chemical Company, and approvals of similar herbicide-resistant crops developed by other pesticide companies are to come.

They aren’t making food, dear friends, they are making a poisoned world.

Breaking News: Maui Wins! Monsanto and Dow will Follow New GMO Moratorium

© Natural Society
Natural Society | Dec 17, 2014 | Christina Sarich

Maui stands as a beacon of hope

An attorney for the SHAKA Movement in Hawaii that has been trying to uphold a democratically voted moratorium on GMOs on the island of Maui reports that residents and activists have won.  An intervention in a federal lawsuit that was brought on by Monsanto and Dow trying to push their genetically modified agenda on islanders will not go through.

The federal lawsuit filed last month against Maui County by Monsanto Co. and a unit of Dow Chemical Co. thankfully flew over judge, Barry Kurren, who has deep ties with Monsanto, Dow, and Big Ag. The judge has recently overturned a democratically voted initiative to limit GMOs on the Big Island of Hawaii. Without an upswelling of public pressure, he could have done the same in Maui.

Kurren previously ruled that laws instigated by Kauai and Hawaii banning GMOs were not applicable because the state, not the counties, had jurisdiction over the issue. Dow and Monsanto were hoping that Kurren would rule similarly on the recent ban on GMOs passed in Maui.

Likely due to pressure concerning his questionable allegiances, Kurren reassigned the Maui case to Chief Judge Susan Oki Mollway. It is also due to the fact that both the plaintiffs and defendants had agreed earlier to allow a magistrate judge to try the case. Once the SHAKA Movement found out Kurren’s ties to biotech, they withdrew their approval for Kurren to preside over the case.

Maui voters clearly voted to ban GMOs on their November 4th ballots. Only a vote by the Maui County Council can lift the ban.

Last month, Judge Kurren ruled that Maui County couldn’t implement the law until he considered the lawsuit put forth by Dow and Monsanto.

Maui stands as a beacon of hope for other towns throughout the US who are interested in banning GMOs. We applaud you, SHAKA Movement!