Category Archives for "Nutrition"

Proper nutrition is your lifeline.


You are capable of living a long and prosperous life with your loved ones. All you need is to understand the crucial relationship between what you feed your body and your health.

If you take care of your body, your body will take care of you!

Apart from feeling strong and energetic, giving your body the nutrients it needs will make you healthy and much more resistent to all kinds of diseases.

Learn about nutrition and how your diet profoundly impacts your current and future health from Metabole Wellness. We have more than 20 years of experience and over 20,000 success stories on record.


Are You a Victim of These Magnesium Deficiency Symptoms?


Publish Date: 01/06/2018  |  Updated: 30/09/2018

You couldn’t sleep last night. Again. “Tired” is an understatement right now.

As if your fatigue is not enough, your heart can’t stop racing.

Sure, you’re under some pressure. But you’ve had worse days.

Why does it feel like you’re about to have a panic attack, then?

magnesium deficiency syptoms pintereset image for metabole wellness

You decide to head to the doctor. Just in case something is terribly wrong.

After two short minutes the doctor declares that you are stressed. He prescribes some pill a spelling-bee wouldn’t care to pronounce, arms you with a sick note, and sends you home to go and de-stress. 

Problem solved.

For now. Because as you well know by now, you’ll be going through this scenario again. In a few weeks, or months, or maybe next year some time (if you’re lucky) it will start all over again. 

Wouldn’t it be great if you could find a solution to this seemingly endless, vicious cycle?

Well, you can.

magnesium deficiency symptoms quote metabole wellness

play me!

Magnesium deficiency symptoms are so common, they almost always slip under the radar.

From a simple headache to a complicated issue like a seizure, magnesium deficiency is the culprit behind many, many ill-health conditions. writes, “Low magnesium is known in research circles as the silent epidemic of our times.”

WHAT IS MAGNESIUM? writes: “Magnesium is a mineral found in the earth’s crust, and in your body. It’s needed for healthy bones, heart, muscles, and nerves. It helps your body control energy, blood sugar, blood pressure, and many other processes.”


In the video below, Dr Carolyn Dean explains how magnesium is involved in over three hundred enzyme systems in the body.

Magnesium is crucial for:

  • Metabolising proteins, carbohydrates and fats.
  • Controlling blood sugar levels.
  • Acting as a natural statin (it regulates cholesterol).
  • thumbs-up Creating neural communication.
  • thumbs-up Muscle maintenance.
  • thumbs-up  Preventing heart attacks.

Dr Dean further explains how food soil has been deprived of magnesium and how we are now getting much less magnesium from our diets as opposed to a hundred years ago.

Conventional medicine has not yet woken up to the research done on magnesium deficiency and magnesium deficiency symptoms.

One reason Western Medicine is so off base is because they use blood tests to detect magnesium deficiencies in their patients. But blood tests yield no information about magnesium because the human body is strict in controlling blood magnesium levels. 

To prevent cardiac arrest, your body will rob all of its cells, tissues and bones of magnesium to keep blood levels constant.

If you do a blood test to detect a magnesium deficiency, your cells can be depleted while blood levels stay constant. 99% Of magnesium in your body gets stored in the cells that get “robbed”, while a mere 1% is in your blood.

Blood tests are a complete waste of time. The sad fact is: doctors are not educated in this regard.

Your body does not lie though. What some consider “normal aches and pains” is, in fact, your body crying out for help and trying to tell you it desperately needs nutrition.

Let’s look at ways your body might be telling you it needs the master of all minerals: magnesium.



We experience low levels of energy when our adrenal glands become overworked.

Magnesium is responsible to recover adrenal glands. Low energy levels causes you to become more stressed, and stress depletes the magnesium levels in your body.

With low magnesium levels, your body cannot relax, leading to sleep disturbances, which can turn into insomnia.

Insomnia causes fatigue and fatigue causes a lack of energy. 

Feeling tired and like you have no energy all the time is a strong sign that you don’t have enough magnesium in your body. 


Stress hormone production calls for high levels of magnesium; and stressful experiences can lead to the complete depletion of available levels.

When you stress, the little magnesium you have available is depleted. Without enough magnesium you become even more stressed, anxious, and often depressed… 

Thus we have a vicious cycle with dangerous consequences. 

Furthermore, magnesium limits the release of stress hormones; and at the same time acts as a filter to prevent such hormones from entering the brain.

Many studies prove that magnesium reduces stress, anxiety, and even depression.


Muscle cramps are one of the oldest known symptoms of magnesium deficiency. 

This is because magnesium helps your muscles to relax. Without it, your muscles would always be in contraction. Without enough magnesium, your muscles can cause you a great deal of discomfort.


magnesium deficiency symptoms chocolate cravings

Why, when people become stressed out, do they reach for chocolate? Chocolate is one of the highest food sources of magnesium! 

Chocolate cravings are one of the most common magnesium deficiency symptoms.


  • Constipation.
  • Hypertension (high blood pressure).
  • Behavioural disturbances.
  • Lethargy.
  • Impaired memory/thinking.
  • Chronic aches and pains.
  • Seizures.
  • Headaches and migraines.
  • Tendonitis.
  • Anger and aggression.
  • ADHD.
  • Foggy Brain.
  • Tension.

The Journal of the American College of Nutrition writes:“… Patients with diagnoses of depression, epilepsy, diabetes mellitus, tremor, Parkinsonism, arrhythmias, circulatory disturbances (stroke, cardiac infarction, arteriosclerosis), hypertension, migraine, cluster headache, cramps, neurovegetative disorders, abdominal pain, osteoporosis, asthma, stress dependent disorders, tinnitus, ataxia, confusion, preeclampsia, weakness, might also be consequences of the magnesium deficiency syndrome.”

The article referenced above also mentions neurovegetative disorders as a possible result of magnesium deficiency.  


  • We’re being poisoned by our food.
  • We’re increasingly stressed out. We’re running our engines on high to keep up with life and it’s draining us. Stress hormone production requires high levels of magnesium and stressful experiences lead to depletion.
  • We’re eating more sugar than ever. For every molecule of sugar we consume, our bodies use 54 molecules of magnesium to process it.
  • Modern farming techniques deplete stores of magnesium.
  • Pharmaceutical drugs and oestrogen compounds such as oral contraceptives, antibiotics, cortisone, prednisone and blood pressure medicine deplete magnesium (“Drug-induced nutrient depletion handbook” – Pelton, 2001).
  • Diuretics in coffee and tea (caffeine) also raise excretion levels of magnesium.
  • Fluoride competes for absorption with magnesium.


magnesium deficiency symptoms healthy diet

Sort of.

Processed products are not the only foods devoid of magnesium. 

Pesticides and herbicides contaminate almost all farming soil and as a consequence depletes magnesium levels in the soil.

Even a clean field can become tainted because of the vast amounts of pesticides and herbicides in neighbouring fields and in the air. 

Also, pesticides kill beneficial bacteria and fungi necessary for plant nutrition.


1. Stay away from refined and processed foods which no longer have minerals, vitamins and fibre. What’s worse, processed foods steal magnesium because our bodies use more magnesium to metabolise it.

2. Try to buy all your fruits and vegetables from local organic farmers. You may pay more, but paying more is better than not taking care of your body and paying with your life! 

3. Supplement with a brand you can trust, like Metabole.

AUTHOR: MELISSA NIEMANNFreelance Writer & Artist

Thank you for sharing this article with your loved ones.

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​Article References:–were-all-deficient-in-magnesium-the-many-signs-what-to-do/


IMPORTANT NOTICE: The information provided on MetaboleWellness is intended for your general knowledge only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice or treatment for specific medical conditions. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health care provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. The information on this website is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. Never disregard medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on Products sold and promoted on this website are for personal use and not for resale, and have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. Please note that Metabole Wellness promotes products from other natural health & wellness providers. We may earn a small commission whenever you choose to purchase a product through any of the links we provide on this website. Please read our full affiliate policy here.

Little-Known Health Benefits of Pears


Original publish date: 30/01/2018  |  Updated: 20/08/2018

The health benefits of pears are amazing.

Yann Martel once wrote, “Slice a pear and you will find that its flesh is incandescent white. It glows with inner light. Those who carry a knife and a pear are never afraid of the dark.(“Beatrice and Virgil“)

So grab a pear and read on. You will love the health benefits of pears we have to share with you!

health benefits of pears pinterest image


You’ve got EVERYTHING to gain and NOTHING to lose.

First, Some Fun Facts About Pears

health benefits of pears infographic 11.13.47

  • The first written account of pears comes from Sumer in the year 2750 B.C.
  • Pears form part of Greek mythology. Homer, a Greek poet, called pears “the fruit of the gods”.
  • The Romans cultivated six varieties of pears in 100 B.C.
  • Pliny (a Roman historian) wrote about 40 pear variants in 200 B.C. He cautioned that “pears are harmful to eat raw, but good boiled with honey.” Furthermore, he wrote that, “Falernian pears are the best for making pear wine.”
  • Pears grew well in the warm climates of France and Italy during the Middle Ages. It was a luxury because they were (mostly) grown in castle and monastery gardens.
  • The New World saw its first pear tree in 1559. It was an imported White Doyenné pear tree.
  • The Belgians developed pears in the 18th century (up to 400 varieties). Popular modern supermarket varieties, Buerré d’Anjou and Buerré Bosc were among them.
  • Between 1769 and 1814, Thomas Jefferson planted 1000 pear, apple, cherry, plum apricot, and quince trees on his Monticello Estate.
  • The oldest producing pear tree today was planted in 1810 at Mission San Juan Bautista. 
  • Today, there are over 4000 pear tree varieties of which only 30 are edible.

If the history of pears interest you and you would like to indulge yourself in yummy pear recipes, check out The Great Book of Pears by Barbara Jeanne Flores.

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So, What is a Pear Good For, Anyway?

health benefits of pears - what are pears good for?

Pears are unique, versatile, and have the most satisfying sweet flavour imaginable.

Their grainy texture (which they have due to stone cells) make for an enjoyable experience when eating them.

They are good for:

  • Snacking.
  •  Adding them to garden salads.
  • Fruits salads.
  • You can use pears in cooking and baking when overripe.

Michael Jessimy from writes:

Eating pears should be one of life’s mandatory pleasures. I mean, who doesn’t love them? Pears share many taste similarities with apples, although they are arguably a little sweeter and more delicious than apples. Pears are much more than just tasty fruits, however, as they hold serious health benefits and are super nutritious. You’ve likely heard the old adage ‘an apple a day keeps the doctor away’ right? Don’t be surprised if pears replace them in the near future- they are seriously that good for you.”

What Are The Benefits of Eating a Pear? writes:

“Pears contain special phytonutrients, including anti-inflammatory flavonoids, anticancer polyphenols and anti-aging flavonoids. Studies regarding pear nutrition have linked the fruit’s consumption with lower levels of constipation, kidney stones, high cholesterol and even diabetes.Pears can help lower inflammation, which is the root of most diseases, plus they’re one of the best sources of dietary fibre of all fruits and provide high amounts of vitamin C, vitamin K and boron. In addition, pear nutrition helps reverse copper deficiency and low potassium.”

Let’s dive into 11 powerful health benefits of pears.


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1. Promotes Weight loss

Pears are low in calories: a medium size pear has a little over 100 calories. 

Thanks to its high fibre content, it makes you feel full even though the calorie count is so low. Eating one pear is equivalent to eating two slices of bread – without the, “maybe I should have just one more slice”, or the bloating.

Extensive studies have shown that the more fresh fruits and vegetables we consume, the less likely we are to gain weight. And it helps us keep a balanced, healthy weight. 

2. Improves Digestion

As you’re reading this, 70,000,000 people are suffering from a digestive issue. 

Did I mention those 70 million people are just in the USA?

Now you may think having a digestive issue is not that bad. It’s not like you’re writhing in pain or discomfort just because you don’t “go” every single day, right? 

While you may not be in much physical discomfort, keep in mind that the following are consequences of bad digestion:

  • Sleepless nights.
  • Mood swings.
  • Imbalanced hormones.
  • Bad immune system.
  • Increased stress levels.
  • Impaired liver function.
  • Nutrient deficiencies.
  • Fatigue.
  • Poor skin and hair quality.
  • Loss of bone density (and ultimately osteoporosis).

But you can help prevent all that by adequate fibre intake.

health benefits of pears article - gentle fibre

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Pears are rich in insoluble fibre.

In human language that means they contain the kind of fibre that helps move food through your digestive tract like a breeze. It ‘scoops up’ the food in your digestive tract, bulks it up, and makes it easy for it to pass through your intestines.

Furthermore, pears contain pectin fibre. It binds to fatty substances in your digestive tract (like cholesterol and toxins) and helps get rid of them.

3. Helps To Prevent Cancer

Apart from helping your body to remove cholesterol, the fibre in pears can help fight cancer. The fibre from pears attach to carcinogens (cancer-causing chemicals) in the colon and removes them.

On top of that, pears contain glutathione (an incredibly powerful antioxidant) known for preventing cancer, high blood pressure, and strokes. 

Pears make a further contribution to cancer prevention thanks to their high levels of essential nutrients, antioxidants, and phytochemicals. Those three components make pears an excellent anti-inflammatory food.

The National Institutes of Health and the American Association of Retired Persons conducted a large study, comprising 490,802 participants. In the study, they discovered that pears play a key role in the reduced risk of developing oesophageal cancer.

(Reference: Freedman ND, Park Y, Subar AF et al. Fruit and vegetable intake and esophageal cancer in a large prospective cohort study. Int J Cancer. 2007 Dec 15;121(12):2753-60.)

4. Boosts Your Immunity

Ascorbic acid, better known as “vitamin C” is one of the most powerful nutrients your body needs. It has powerful antioxidant properties that fights free radical damage (which damages the immune system).

A medium size pear contains about 7,7mg of ascorbic acid – 12% of the daily recommended value.

Ascorbic acid (vitamin C) promotes white blood cell production and mobilisation, helping you to ward off any unwelcome viruses and bacteria

The pear’s anti-inflammatory properties also makes you more resistant to diseases such as the flu and tuberculosis.

Another important immune-boosting property in pears is copper. Copper is an essential trace mineral and helps with:

  • Iron absorption.
  • Energy production.
  • Maintaining healthy bones, blood vessels, and nerves.
  • Prevention of cardiovascular disease and osteoporosis.

5. Promotes Healing

Apart from supercharging your immunity, ascorbic acid (vitamin C) facilitates collagen formation. Collagen is an important structural protein, responsible for healthy joints and skin.

Regularly eating pears will boost your ascorbic acid levels, ensuring adequate collagen production in your body. This means that external wounds will heal fast (which will also reduce the risk of infection).

Your organs will also enjoy increased ascorbic acid levels – new organ tissues will form effortlessly and keep your body functioning properly


You get a whole new skin every 2 – 4 weeks.

Your liver could replace itself even if as little as 25% of it remained.

All your red blood cells get replaced every four months.

6. Improves Heart Health

On average, your heart beats no less than 115,200 time a day

I’m sure you would agree that it needs a special something to help take the pressure off. And you guessed it: pears contain that special something – potassium.

Potassium is important for dilating your blood vessels. This reduces the immense pressure on your cardiovascular system to pump blood throughout your body. 

With adequate levels of potassium in your body, it’s hard for blood clots to form. Also, it lowers blood pressure. Lowered blood pressure increases blood flow throughout your body and allows all your organs to receive optimal levels of oxygen.

Besides potassium, powerful antioxidants in pears keep your arteries clean and less inflamed (swollen due to irritation).

“But what has all that got to do with my heart?”

Low blood pressure (not too low though!) and cholesterol levels (the bad type) ensures a lower risk of developing heart diseases, heart attacks, and strokes.

7. Good For Baby’s Development During Pregnancy

Folate is yet another powerful ingredient the humble pear can boast with.

Folic acid is important for foetal development. It’s a member of the vitamin B family and helps prevent common developmental issues such as spina bifida and neural tube disorders. 

Eating pears during a pregnancy can help boost the overall health and development of an unborn baby

Fibre also plays an important role during pregnancy. It prevents pregnancy-related constipation and haemorrhoids.

8. Improves and Promotes Bone Health

The health benefits of pears just keep on getting better.

They even contain essential minerals:

  • Magnesium
  • Manganese
  • Phosphorus
  • Copper
  • Calcium

health benefits of pears - improves and promotes bone health

They’re also a good source of vitamin K and boron.

The combination of the above mentioned nutrients (the minerals, vitamin K and boron) are important for reducing bone loss.

They weaken the development and onset of skeletal conditions like osteoporosis. 

Boron is especially important for:

  • Adding to bone mineral density.
  • Improving overall strength.
  • Improving muscle mass.

9. Controls Blood Sugar Levels and Prevents Diabetes

Pears contain certain flavonoids which can improve a person’s insulin sensitivity. This is important for preventing diabetes.

“Flavonoid” is just a fancy word that describes the nutritious compounds adding to the yellow colouring of certain fruits and vegetables, such as pears.

In addition, pears are low on the glycemic index.

The glycemic index (GI) is a standard measurement of the glucose-raising potential of a food’s carbohydrate content, compared to a reference food. It tells you how quickly a certain food converts into sugar once metabolised by your body. 

So next time you’re in the shops and see “LOW GI” printed on different food packagings, you’ll know exactly what it means.

Pears release sugar into your bloodstream at a slow pace. That’s why they have a low GI (glycemic index) score.

All this translates into a balanced blood sugar level and a lowered risk of developing diabetes. 

Pears are a healthy means of satisfying a sweet tooth.

health benefits of pears - sweet tooth

10. Improves Eye Health

Pears contain powerful eye-health promoting nutrients.Regular consumption of pears prevent cataracts from forming and reduces the risk of macular degeneration.

11. Prevents Premature Signs of Ageing

The joint power of vitamin C, vitamin K, and copper in pears combat free radicals and protects your skin from damage.

They tone up skin and reduce the formation of fine lines around the eyes and lips. They contain natural moisturising properties which makes your skin soft and smooth.

Other Noteworthy Health Benefits of Pears

Pears Make a Good Pre- or Post-Workout Snack writes:

“Like all fruit, eating pears can provide you with a quick boost of energy before a workout. Pears are a natural source of fructose and glucose that the body uses quickly to enhance physical performance, concentration and stamina, which makes pears excellent pre-workout snacks. You also need glucose after a workout to replenish glycogen reserves and help heal muscle tears, so consider having a pear along with a healthy source of protein as a post-workout meal or snack following exercise.”

Pears are Hypoallergenic writes:

“Although few studies have been done on the subject, doctors generally consider pears to be a hypoallergenic fruit because they are less likely than other fruits to produce an allergic response when eaten. For this reason, pears are generally considered ‘safe’ and are often one of the first fruits given to infants.”

Improves Nutrient Absorption writes:

“You can have a spot on diet, but if absorption of nutrients is inefficient, your body will never function optimally. Luckily, pears can come to your rescue. Pears are rich on copper, a mineral that improved uptake of other nutrients into blood, including the elusive iron. Iron’s absorption is usually limited by a variety of factors, most importantly being presence of vitamin C and B. copper helps to reduce this barrier to entry and allows enhanced red blood cell synthesis.”

How To Select and Store Pears

We encourage you to buy locally grown, organic food.

The reason for this is simple: organically grown foods get less exposure to dangerous chemicals than commercially grown foods. Organically grown food are also more likely to be the product of heirloom seeds as opposed to GMO (genetically modified organisms) seeds.

Things to Look Out for When Selecting Pears

health benefits of pears - what to look out for when selecting pears

Ripe pears perish easily. Try to go for unripe pears and rather let them ripen at home.

  • They should be firm, but not hard.
  • Their skins should be smooth.
  • There should be no bruising on the pears.
  • There should be no mould on them.
  • Avoid pears with punctures.

How To Check if a Pear is Ripe

Pears vary in colour (from green to red to yellow) and the colour should not be considered as a factor to determine whether it is ripe or not.

Gently press the pear near its stem (don’t squeeze the whole pear). If the spot near the stem gives in to the light pressure, the pear is ready to be eaten.

If a pear’s flesh is almost squishy, rather use it for cooking and baking instead of eating it raw.

How To Store Pears

  • If you want your pears to ripen at their own pace, you can store them in an open space (like a fruit rack) at room temperature. 
  • If you want your pears to ripen quickly, place them inside a paper bag (at room temperature) and turn the bag occasionally. 
  • If your pears are ripe and you won’t be eating them soon, store them in the refrigerator – this will keep them fresh for a few days.
  • Don’t store your pears in a sealed, confined space (unless you place them in a paper bag to ripen them quicker). They need oxygen. Keeping them confined and close together will increase their ethylene gas (which they produce naturally), speed up the ripening process, and degrade them quickly.
  • Don’t store your pears near other strong smelling foods. They absorb odours.

Quick Nutritional Reference Guide

health benefits of pears - pear nutrition infographic

The nutritional information for a medium-sized pear is:

  • 101 calories
  • 5 grammes fibre
  • 17 grammes sugar
  • 0 grammes of protein or fat
  • 7 milligrammes vitamin C (provides 12% of what you need per day)
  • Hand Pointing Right 8 milligrammes vitamin K (provides 10% of what you need per day)
  • Hand Pointing Right 0.1 milligrammes copper (provides 7% of what you need per day)
  • Hand Pointing Right 212 milligrammes potassium (provides 6% of what you need per day)
  • Hand Pointing Right 22 milligrammes boron (provides 6% of what you need per day)
  • Hand Pointing Right 0.1 milligrammes manganese (provides 4% of what you need per day)
  • Hand Pointing Right 5 milligrammes magnesium (provides 3% of what you need per day)
  • Hand Pointing Right 5 micrograms folate (provides 3% of what you need per day)

Thanks to for the nutritional information on pears.

Final Thoughts on the Health Benefits of Pears

If you’re still reading, I know you are excited about the powerful health benefits of pears.

And you should be.

There is just one thing we haven’t talked about yet. 

Is There a Negative Side to Pears?

Pears are a hypoallergenic fruit, so most people are not likely to suffer any negative reactions to pears. In fact, they are so safe, many mothers choose pears to wean their children.

As with all fruits, pears contain sugar. So eating too many can have negative impacts.

That being said, most people should be fine with one pear a day.

Your diet should be filled with plenty of vegetables, healthy fats, and proteins in addition to your fruit consumption. 

Usually, any negative effects that arise are linked with an imbalanced diet (too much fruit, for example).

Always eat your pear with its skin as it will absorb some sugar once eaten. 

Try to stay away from pear juice or have as little as possible. Pear juice doesn’t contain enough fibre, so you end up consuming excess sugar.

Need help with making sure your diet is balanced and giving you what you need to be thrivingly healthy? Contact us, we’re passionate about your health!

Article Curated by Melissa NiemannFreelance Writer & Artist

Please share this article with your loved ones.


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What To Read Next

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The information provided on Metabole Wellness is intended for your general knowledge only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice or treatment for specific medical conditions. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health care provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. The information on this website is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent disease. Never disregard medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on Products sold and promoted on this website are for personal use and not for resale, and have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. Please note that Metabole Wellness promotes products from other natural health and wellness providers. Please regard any links provided on this website as affiliate links. We may earn a small commission whenever you choose to purchase a product through any of the links we provide on this website.Please read our full affiliate policy here.

What Does Alkaline Mean? The Absolute Best Answer


You’ve been in your fair share of “alkaline” conversations. And whenever you partake in those conversations, you nod your head in agreement and even make a comment or two given the chance.

There is just one problem.

You haven’t quite figured out what “alkaline” means. Yet.

what does alkaline mean pinterest image

It’s not your fault.

You’ve already done the sensible thing and Googled, “what does alkaline mean”. To no avail.

Not even Wikipedia can give you a straight answer… “Alkaline diet (also known as the alkaline ash diet, alkaline acid diet, acid ash diet, and acid alkaline diet) describes a group of loosely related diets based on the misconception that different types of food can have an effect on the pH balance of the body.”

Mm… Thanks for nothing!

No one could blame you if you gave up on the hope of ever learning what “alkaline” means at that point.

But you didn’t give up. And finally, your persistence is paying off.

This article is dedicated to helping you understand what alkaline means, and how that knowledge will empower you to make better lifestyle choices.

First, We Need to Understand pH

pH (“power of hydrogen”) measures the hydrogen ion concentration in a substance. In this case, our bodies.

The definition of “hydrogen ion concentration” is quite technical and beyond the scope of this article. But if you are curious about it, click here to learn more

The higher the concentration of hydrogen ions in your body, the lower your pH level will be. In other words, your body is acidic when it has a high concentration of hydrogen ions.

what does alkaline mean ph scale image

Thanks to for the image.

Your body is in a constant “battle” of sorts to keep the perfect pH balance. The margins are low: if your pH level falls below 7.3 you have acidosis. If your pH level rises above 7.40 you have alkalosis.

Both acidosis and alkalosis are disastrous for you. That’s why your body will do everything in its capacity to keep your pH level between a narrow 7.35 and 7.40.

I say your body is in a battle because, for most of us, we are not giving our bodies what they need (nutrition) to keep those pH levels at the optimal level. 

Note that the optimal pH level mentioned above is slightly above a neutral state (which would be a value of 7). From this information, you can see that your body thrives in a slightly alkaline state.

And that’s the reason for all the hype around “going alkaline”.

So, What Does Alkaline Mean?

Alkaline refers to a pH level above 7.

Your body needs to keep its pH level between 7.35 and 7.40 to thrive (and survive).

When your body is in an alkaline state, your risk of disease and cellular damage decreases significantly

“The countless names of illnesses do not really matter. What does matter is that they all come from the same root cause… too much tissue acid waste in the body!” – Theodore A. Baroody, N.D., D.C., Ph.D.

How Do I Become Alkaline?

If you have read our other articles, you will know by now what we believe: optimal health begins with what you put into your body. Nutrition is the beginning of natural health.

what does alkaline mean what to eat

Following a healthy diet, comprising mostly high alkaline foods, and avoiding processed foods will put you on the right track.

But before you run to the grocery store with your newfound knowledge, we need to talk about something else.

What Makes Up “Alkaline Foods”?

“Well, that’s simple,” you might think, “I’ll just do a Google search for a list. How hard can it be?” 

Remember how disappointing those Google results can be? Do you know what’s worse than not getting the straight answer to a straight question? A wrong, misleading answer.

Here are the facts: while some foods may appear acidic from the outside, it doesn’t mean they will stay that way once your body metabolises them. 

Lemons are a good example. It’s easy to think a lemon is an acid producing food because of how it tastes. But once it enters your body and your body utilises it, it becomes alkaline.

Speaking of lemons, they bring about amazing health benefits. If you are considering helping your body in maintaining an optimal pH level, you can start by drinking a glass of warm lemon water each morning before doing anything else. Learn more about it here.

A simple rule of thumb is this: If it has a high concentration of sugar (including fructose) and a low concentration of minerals, it will cause your body to become more acidic. 

Many health experts will tell you to “just eat LOTS of fruits and vegetables”. While fruits and vegetables are better than processed foods, you still need to consider their sugar content when it comes to alkalising your body.

It stuns most people that only a handful of fruits are alkaline fruits. As mentioned above, this has to do with their high sugar content.

So, alkaline foods are low in sugar and high in minerals. Keep that in mind when you decide to eat more alkaline foods. Try to eat a little more plant-based foods like dark, leafy greens, green juice (without fruit), legumes, herbs and spices, and oils such as coconut oil and avocado oil. 

Want the ultimate alkaline/acid food chart? Head over to our article on alkaline fruits where we share a valuable resource from the Alkamind team.

Should I completely Cut Out Acidic Foods?

Not at all. Balance is the key. But balance doesn’t always translate into 50/50.

At the Metabole clinic we promote a 80/20 ratio to our patients. That’s 80% alkaline foods and 20% acidic foods.

Why Do I Have to Eat Such A High Concentration of Alkaline Foods?

As mentioned above, when we talked about pH, your body thrives in a slightly alkaline state. And because you are what you eat, eating a high concentration of alkaline foods will help your body to keep you healthy.

Bacteria, viruses, and many diseases love an acidic state. It’s their breeding ground. So if you want to keep them away, you can do it by making the environment (your body) intolerable for them.

Final Thoughts

Understanding what alkaline means is, in a sense, knowing the difference between living an optimal, healthy life and living a self-destructive life.

Helping your body cope by ensuring it has what it needs to keep your pH balance perfect will benefit you tremendously.

  • It will help improve your immune system and protect you from diseases like cancer.
  • It will boost your ability to absorb vitamins and minerals and help fight magnesium deficiency.
  • It will lower inflammation in your body.
  • It will protect your bone density and muscle mass.
  • And it will even help you maintain a healthy weight.

Did this article answer your question of, “what does alkaline mean?” How has it helped you to think about your lifestyle choices when it comes to food? Do you have any other questions on this topic? We’d love to hear from you!

AUTHOR: MELISSA NIEMANNFreelance Writer & Artist

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Benefits Of Alkaline Fruits You Need to Know About, NOW


You’re here for one of two reasons. 

One: you realise how important it is to keep a healthy lifestyle and you know how alkaline food (alkaline fruits specifically) plays a crucial role.

You’ve done the research and now you are ready to look at which foods can help balance your body’s pH balance.

Two: you’re curious. You have heard ‘all this talk’ about alkaline fruits and foods and how it’s the answer to better health. But you are not convinced. 

And that’s OK. In this age of information-overload you have every right to be sceptical about anything and everything. 

Rest assured, we at Metabole Wellness carry your best interests at heart. 

We are just as passionate about your wellness as we are about our own. And with over 20 years of experience and over 20,000 success stories on record, we can confidently say… Trust us!

Whatever your reason for visiting, we commend you for exploring this important topic.

Too busy to read the article right now? We understand – download your FREE copy of the 5-Minute Guide for Busy People instead. It covers the most important aspects of this article and gives you a simple action plan to start living a healthier life today.


“Wait… Why are we talking about pH levels, Metabole? I came here for a list of alkaline fruits and to read about their benefits.”

Well, as mentioned above, we live in the age of information-overload. We want to make sure your knowledge of pH is spot-on.

Also, maybe you haven’t read up on the important topics of pH and pH balance. 

You might be someone who knows you need to balance your body’s pH, but you do not understand what pH is. 

Even if you do understand, we encourage you to read on – maybe you’ll learn something new.

We want you to leave here empowered with new knowledge to share with your loved ones tonight or tomorrow, or maybe over the weekend. 

If you want someone to tell you, “do this and eat that because I say so” then please feel free to stop reading right now. This is not a “because I say so” website.

When we decide a certain topic is important to share, we have a good reason. And we want you to know what that reason is – because we believe in educating our valued community of readers

That being said, if you are confident about your knowledge of pH, please click here to skip to the section on the benefits of alkaline fruits. 

If you want to learn more about pH and the importance of keeping a healthy pH balance, read on.


“pH” stands for “the power of hydrogen” or “the potential of hydrogen”. It is a measurement of the hydrogen ion concentration in our bodies. 

The pH scale ranges from 1 to 14 (or from 0 to 14, depending on who you ask, but whether it starts at 0 or 1 is not really that important). 

alkaline fruits ph scale

Thanks to for the image

1 is  completely acidic and 14 is completely alkaline. 

The numbers in between represent the different degrees toward an acidic state or an alkaline state.

7 is a neutral state, in which case your body is equally acidic and alkaline.


The ideal pH level for us humans is between 7.35 and 7.40. This is because our blood (and thus our bodies) thrive in a slightly alkaline state.

When the value of a person’s pH levels fall below 7.35 he/she is considered as having acidosis.

When the value rises above 7.4 he/she is considered as having alkalosis.

Thus we can conclude that balance is the answer. And that’s where alkaline fruits (and other foods) come in. But before we talk about alkaline fruits, let’s explore acidosis and alkalosis.


When your body fluids contain too much acid, it’s known as acidosis. Acidosis occurs when your kidneys and lungs can’t keep your body’s pH in balance. Many of the body’s processes produce acid. Your lungs and kidneys can usually compensate for slight pH imbalances, but problems with these organs can lead to excess acid accumulating in your body.

The acidity of your blood is measured by determining its pH. A lower pH means that your blood is more acidic while a higher pH means that your blood is more basic. The pH of your blood should be around 7.4. According to the American Association for Clinical Chemistry (AACC), acidosis is characterized by a pH of 7.35 or lower. Alkalosis is characterized by a pH level of 7.45 or higher. While seemingly slight, these numerical differences can be serious. Acidosis can lead to numerous health issues, and it can even be life-threatening.

There are two types of acidosis.

Respiratory acidosis results from too much CO2 (carbon dioxide) in the body. This occurs when the lungs are having trouble getting rid of excess CO2 due to different reasons:

  • chest injury
  • thumbs-o-down obesity (because it makes breathing difficult)
  • thumbs-o-down muscle weakness in the chest
  • thumbs-o-down too much alcohol use

The above list is not exhaustive.

Metabolic acidosis starts in the kidneys. They enter your body into a state of metabolic acidosis when they either can’t get rid of enough acid or they get rid of too much base. This happens for different reasons:

  • kidney failure
  • thumbs-o-down dehydration
  • thumbs-o-down diabetes
  • thumbs-o-down aspirin or methanol poisoning

The above list is not exhaustive.

The symptoms of both respiratory and metabolic acidosis overlap. But the causes of the symptoms vary. Overlapping symptoms include:

  • fatigue and/or drowsiness
  • thumbs-o-down confusion
  • thumbs-o-down headaches
  • thumbs-o-down short breath and shallow breathing

The above list is not exhaustive.

alkaline fruits why acidic blood is dangerous

Thanks to for the infographic


Alkalosis occurs when your body has too many bases. It can occur due to decreased blood levels of carbon dioxide, which is an acid. It can also occur due to increased blood levels of bicarbonate, which is a base.

This condition may also be related to other underlying health issues such as low potassium, or hypokalemia. The earlier it’s detected and treated, the better the outcome is.

Early symptoms of alkalosis are varied and can include:

  • numbness
  • thumbs-o-down nausea
  • thumbs-o-down prolonged muscle spasms
  • thumbs-o-down muscle twitching
  • thumbs-o-down hand tremors

As alkalosis gets worse, you  may experience:

  • dizziness
  • thumbs-o-down difficulty breathing
  • thumbs-o-down confusion
  • thumbs-o-down coma in severe cases

The list of symptoms is not exhaustive.

alkaline fruits acidosis vs alkolosis


The short answer: your body is constantly in a battle to maintain the absolute perfect pH balance. 

It will literally rob you of all your internal resources just to keep that pH balance in check. 

Why? Because if your pH balance falls or rises just a little from where it’s supposed to be, you will die.

It’s that important.


Dr Daryl Gioffre from Alkamind wrote a valuable article dedicated to this topic. We encourage you to take the time to read it and to act.

Click here to read the article.

If you live in South Africa, contact us and we’ll walk you through everything you need to know.

alkaline fruits why ph balance matters

Thanks to for the infographic


Yes, food influences your body’s pH levels.

Like most substances on earth, different foods also have pH levels which range from acidic to alkaline. This is why food influences your body’s pH levels.

You are what you eat.

So eating foods with high acidic levels will make you more acidic, and eating alkaline foods, such as alkaline fruits, will make you more alkaline.

Sounds easy enough, doesn’t it? 

Though it sounds straight forward, many people have fallen into a trap. The reasons for this is that they only consider the acidic/alkaline levels of food “as is”. 

In other words, few people ever stop and ask, “how does this food’s chemical structure change once it enters my body?”

We’ll talk about this in the next section.

The best method anyone can use to balance their pH is their diet. You should eat lots of nutrient-dense, alkaline fruits and other plant-based foods. Furthermore, you need to drastically limit your intake of processed foods.

Apart from eating the right food, you need to consider your lifestyle. Sleep patterns, stress levels, and medication all influence your internal pH levels.


Would it surprise you to know that a lemon leaves your blood in an alkaline state once it has been metabolised? 

This is because a food’s pH value lies in the residue it leaves in the body once it has been metabolised, and not in its physical properties.

These misleading “facts” stem from the common method medical scientists use to determine a food’s pH levels.

They use the PRAL (Potential Renal Acid Load) method – they burn food into fine ash and measure the pH balance of the ash. There’s nothing wrong with the method per se – it has wonderful clinical applications.

But it’s a bad measurement of food pH because it fails to take sugar (fructose in the case of fruit) into account.

Fructose, a form of sugar, is highly acidic when metabolised. 

Most fruits are not alkaline fruits at all.

Alkaline foods are high in minerals and low in sugar. The same is true for alkaline fruits. If it contains high levels of fructose, it will cause acidity in your body once you eat it.

It’s because of this major misconception that we focus on fruit in this article.

Most pH food charts will list almost all fruits as being alkaline fruits. 

You’ll be surprised to know how little fruits are alkaline-forming inside your body.


alkaline fruits alkamind foodchart

Thanks to for the image

Dr Daryl Gioffre from Alkamind writes:

…That’s why my chart is the MOST accurate Alkaline / Acid Food Guide that you will find.

We couldn’t agree more. We have examined his food guide, and it exceeded our expectations.

In fact, we were so impressed with his Ultimate Alkaline/Acid Food Guide that we asked him whether we could present it to our valued community of readers.

The team at Alkamind was kind enough to agree.

If you are serious about changing your lifestyle and incorporating real alkaline foods into your diet, head over to Alkamind to get your FREE copy of the Ultimate Alkaline/Acid Food Guide now.


The top alkaline fruits are:

  • Avocado
  • thumbs-o-up Coconuts
  • thumbs-o-up Lemons
  • thumbs-o-up Limes
  • thumbs-o-up Pomegranates

These are the top alkaline fruits because they contain high levels of minerals (and other nutrients) and low levels of sugar.


Absolutely not. Other fruits such as apples, pineapples, bananas, and berries are still high in certain nutrients your body needs.

You can still enjoy 1 to two servings of your favourite fruits every day. The ‘trick’ is to not overeat. If you eat too much fruits with high sugar content together with your regular diet, your body will become acidic. writes the following about becoming alkaline:

This is not as difficult or as technical as it sounds. When we talk about starting an alkaline diet, we are referring to consuming those foods and drink which have an alkaline effect on the body. This effect is based upon the mineral content of the food and therefore the alkaline or acid effect this has on the pH of the body. Some foods have an acidifying effect (usually those containing sugars, trans fats, dairy, preservatives, sweeteners, chemicals etc), whereas others have an alkaline effect. Conveniently for us, it just so happens that the foods that contain alkaline minerals (and leave an alkaline effect) are all the foods we already know are good for us: low sugar foods, fresh alkaline vegetables, nuts, seeds, salads, sea vegetables, water rich foods, etc. And for the foods that contain minerals that have an acidic effect? You guessed it, sweets, alcohol, trans fats, meats, dairy, pizza, cola, biscuits, chips, white breads and pastas, refined foods, processed foods, etc.

Of course, everybody is different – but most of us should aim to eat 70-80% alkaline forming foods and a maximum of 20-30% acid-forming foods.

This does not have to be measured in calories, grams or anything technical, just look at your plate! Is 70% of the food on it alkalising? And for the other 30%? You can do with this what you like (how acid is up to you – dependent upon the results you want), but feel free to go for some oily fish, wholemeal pasta or wild rice for example.



alkaline fruits avocados

  • Aids in weight-loss
  • thumbs-o-up Reduces symptoms of arthritis
  • thumbs-o-up Causes general health improvement
  • thumbs-o-up Protects your eyesight
  • thumbs-o-up Highly beneficial for foetal development in pregnant women
  • thumbs-o-up Protects the liver from disease
  • thumbs-o-up Improves oral health
  • thumbs-o-up Helps us to live longer
  • thumbs-o-up Good for bone health
  • thumbs-o-up Promotes wound healing
  • thumbs-o-up High in fibre
  • thumbs-o-up Improves your mood


alkaline fruits coconuts

  • High in amino acids and protein
  • thumbs-o-up Good source of dietary iron
  • thumbs-o-up Reduces body fat in the abdomen
  • thumbs-o-up Good source of potassium
  • thumbs-o-up Easy to digest


alkaline fruits lemons

  • Improves oral health
  • thumbs-o-up Treats indigestion
  • thumbs-o-up Excellent source of hair and skin care
  • thumbs-o-up Controls blood pressure
  • thumbs-o-up Fights throat infections


alkaline fruits limes

  • Excellent source of vitamin C
  • thumbs-o-up Antibiotic properties
  • thumbs-o-up Anti-cancer properties
  • thumbs-o-up Detoxifies the body


alkaline fruits pogegranates

  • High in antioxidants
  • thumbs-o-up Soothes muscles pains
  • thumbs-o-up Helps to lower bad cholesterol levels
  • thumbs-o-up Anti-Ageing properties


According to, Alkaline diet benefits include:

1. Protects Bone Density and Muscle MassYour intake of minerals plays an important role in the development and maintenance of bone structures. Research shows that the more alkalizing fruits and vegetables someone eats, the better protection that person might have from experiencing decreased bone strength and muscle wasting as they age, known as sarcopenia.

An alkaline diet can help balance ratios of minerals that are important for building bones and maintaining lean muscle mass, including calcium, magnesium and phosphate. Alkaline diets also help improve production of growth hormones and vitamin D absorption, which further protects bones in addition to mitigating many other chronic diseases.

2. Lowers Risk for Hypertension and StrokeOne of the anti-ageing effects of an alkaline diet is that it decreases inflammation and causes an increase in growth hormone production. This has been shown to improve cardiovascular health and offer protection against common problems like high cholesterol, hypertension (high blood pressure), kidney stones, stroke and even memory loss.

3. Lowers Chronic Pain and InflammationStudies have found a connection between an alkaline diet and reduced levels of chronic pain. Chronic acidosis has been found to contribute to chronic back pain, headaches, muscle spasms, menstrual symptoms, inflammation and joint pain.

One study conducted by the Society for Minerals and Trace Elements in Germany found that when patients with chronic back pain were given an alkaline supplement daily for four weeks, 76 of 82 patients reported significant decreases in pain as measured by the “Arhus low back pain rating scale.”

alkaline fruits 4 steps to achieve proper pH balance

Thanks to for the infographic

4. Boosts Vitamin Absorption and Prevents Magnesium DeficiencyAn increase in magnesium is required for the function of hundreds of enzyme systems and bodily processes. Many people are deficient in magnesium and as a result experience heart complications, muscle pains, headaches, sleep troubles and anxiety. Available magnesium is also required to activate vitamin D and prevent vitamin D deficiency, which is important for overall immune and endocrine functioning.

5. Helps Improve Immune Function and Cancer ProtectionWhen cells lack enough minerals to properly dispose of waste or oxygenate the body fully, the whole body suffers. Vitamin absorption is compromised by mineral loss while toxins and pathogens accumulate in the body and weaken the immune system.

Research published in the British Journal of Radiology showed that cancerous cell death (apoptosis) was more likely to occur in an alkaline body. Cancer prevention is believed to be associated with an alkaline shift in pH due to an alteration in electric charges and the release of basic components of proteins. Alkalinity can help decrease inflammation and the risk for diseases like cancer — plus an alkaline diet has been shown to be more beneficial for some chemotherapeutic agents that require a higher pH to work appropriately.

6. Can Help You Maintain a Healthy WeightLimiting consumption of acid-forming foods and eating more alkaline-forming foods can protect your body from obesity by decreasing leptin levels and inflammation, which affects your hunger and fat-burning abilities. Since alkaline-forming foods are anti-inflammatory foods, consuming an alkaline diet gives your body a chance to achieve normal leptin levels and feel satisfied from eating the amount of calories you really need.


Alkaline fruits and foods are a powerful means of restoring your body’s pH balance.

 In fact, food and lifestyle are always the number one step toward better health and overall wellness.

However, in today’s world, we are dealing with all kinds of environmental toxins people didn’t have to deal with a few hundred years ago. 

Metabole Clinic is in a beautiful and isolated rural area. But even out here we are not immune to those toxins. And because of that we need to supplement.

If you are looking for a 100% natural, reliable, and safe pH balance supplement, have a look at our Advanced pH balance.

Which fruits would you add to this discussion? We’d love to read your thoughts and opinions in the comments section. PS… we’re real people. We promise to read every comment and to answer any concerns you may have.

AUTHOR: MELISSA NIEMANNFreelance writer & Artist

Please share this article with your loved ones.

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ph balance metabole wellness

  • Restores the pH of the intracellular fluids surrounding the cells as well as the cells themselves by removing hydrogen ions, thereby correcting the pH of the whole body
  • Helps restore pH to normal levels thereby preventing both acidosis and alkalosis
  • Provides a source of potassium ions which are normally deficient in modern Western diets
  • NO artificial ingredients


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IMPORTANT NOTICE: The information provided on Metabole Wellness is intended for your general knowledge only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice or treatment for specific medical conditions. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health care provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. The information on this website is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent disease. Never disregard medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on Products sold and promoted on this website are for personal use and not for resale, and have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. Please note that Metabole Wellness promotes products from other natural health and wellness providers. Please regard any links provided on this website as affiliate links. We may earn a small commission whenever you choose to purchase a product through any of the links we provide on this website. Please read our full affiliate policy here.

Organic Produce Facts: Are You Doing Your Body More Harm Than Good?

Organic Produce: The Hazardous SideCurated Article from GAIA Research

The greatest fear of many conscientious natural foodists is that pesticide residues in their food might cause harm or illness, especially cancer.

However, it is an esoteric fact that most of the toxic substances in our diets originate naturally from food plants themselves (endogenously) or are formed during the storage, processing and cooking thereof.

This phenomenon does not apply to fruits (the natural food of humans), with exceptions from extreme environments that are unnatural habitats for humans, hence the emphasis on vegetables, tubers, legumes and grains in this analysis.


This is a lengthy, somewhat technical article. That being said, we would like to encourage all our readers to work through it as it is truly insightful.

In light of the “organic movement” all over the earth, it only makes sense to educate ourselves regarding the technicalities and important research being done into the amazing world of plants.

Please take note that Metabole Wellness does not necessarily agree with all schools of thoughts as revealed in the article. From a nutritional point of view, however, the information contained therein is incredibly valuable.

>Plants’ Sense of Self-Preservation> Pesticide Residue on Plants>The Hyped Trend Toward Organic Food>Synthetic Pesticides in Use vs Natural Pesticides>Natural Toxicants in Our Food>Controversy of Certifying Produce as Safe>Organic Produce: Proteinase Inhibitors>99.99% of Mutagenic and Carcinogenic Dietary Pesticides are All-Natural>Important Research by Bruce Ames>49 Known ‘Natural’ Pesticides and their metabolites ingested in Cabbage>Ames Test>Detoxification Mechanisms Function Equally Efficiently Against Synthetic and Natural   Chemicals

Image from

organic produce plant defence

Organic Produce: Plants’ Sense of Self-Preservation

As fruits ripen to reproductive completion, they, with exception of their seeds, relinquish all sense of self-preservation.

 Vegetables however, only reach reproductive completion well past their palatable and nutritional peak and their toxic defensive chemicals are rendered inert only on decomposition of the plants themselves. Man-made pesticides on the other hand, are designed to break down to safe residues over specific withholding periods that the farmer is obliged to observe and generally do judging by routine residue analysis, hence concern over non-existent risk should be rationalised.

The extent to which farmers comply with international safety specifications regarding the selection, timing and manner of application of synthetic pesticides, determines the degree of relative risk or safety to both farm workers and consumers on a continuum ranging from slight or occasional health risk, to the complete absence of any measurable risk, which continuum is equivalent to that of large-scale haphazard organic farming, compared with knowledgeable and experienced hands-on organic food gardening in the family vegetable patch, which is the only safe scale for organics.

organic produce - small scale

small scale (family food garden)

organic produce - medium scale

medium scale farm

organic produce - large scale

large scale farm

Organic Produce: Pesticide Residue on Plants

Without application of pesticides to modern crossbred varieties, the larger the scale of a farming operation, the worse the manpower to area ratio and the plant predation and infection rates and the production of toxic defensive chemicals.

Organics certainly fare the worst. Knowledge of what produce is likely to have pesticide residues (melons and whole-grains are the worst) and washing produce with a dash of hydrogen peroxide in rinse water, will go a long way to at the very least equalise, if not better the safety profile of conventional compared with organic produce.

Fungal mycotoxins on untreated/illtreated grains can be more toxic than any pesticide residues and are carcinogens, even at miniscule levels.

One can furthermore substantially remove topical synthetic and botanical pesticide residues by washing, even scrubbing some produce, but just as one cannot remove residues of systemic synthetics from cucurbits (pumpkin, squash & melon family), which are best self-grown where possible if one is not in a position to trust the farmer; so too, one cannot remove the systemic defensive often radical toxins self-produced by insufficiently protected plant produce challenged by predators and/or pathogenic infections, which is why Commercial Organic Vegetables are Hazardous to Your Health.

organic produce wash your veggies

Image from

If you don’t understand/believe me, then read on for ‘the’ definitive treatise on the subject, a decade ahead of its time.

Organic Produce: The Hyped Trend Toward Organic Food

As the toxicity of the remaining few older pesticides sees their continuing demise and the toxic potential of modern alternatives decrease further and knowledge of the ‘natural’ toxic potential of predation- and infection-stressed commercially grown organic produce concurrently increases, there ought to be a moderation of the current idiotic and hyped trend towards organic food, medicinal and personal care ingredient plants.

Plants need little more than fertile soil, sufficient water and a suitable climate to survive to maturity. When an enterprise is commercial, the presence of predacious and infectious pests assumes greater importance in the modern conventional paradigm, which emphasises near prophylactic avoidance of a build-up of pests to epidemic proportions and near perfection of the cosmetic appearance of produce.

Whilst this apparent obsession is criticised by the organic faction, the conventional paradigm does have the distinct advantage of limiting concentrations of persistent endogenous defensive toxins that render the produce of the organic faction far inferior from a food safety perspective.

I refer to organics as a faction, since it is this grouping that publicly holds itself as apart from and superior to the majority of this sector.

organic produce organic vs cosmetic

image from

The conventional paradigm is historically vigorously and openly self-critical, the organic faction not, with the result that the former is constantly in a state of reform towards higher integrity, whereas the latter, believing itself perfect, sadly, indeed dangerously from a consumer standpoint, is incapable of enlightenment and hence of increasing its integrity and as such is unable to meet the overly optimistic expectations of consumers from a health and safety perspective.

Plants that have to constantly defend themselves via the production of their own defensive toxins logically have to draw on their nutritional reserves to produce these chemicals, rendering ludicrous common claims of broad nutritional superiority.

The price-differential renders automatically any occasional minor nutritional advantages totally irrelevant.

Organic Standards are philosophical, rather than science-based and are but a joke to those who know better. Neither paradigm is perfect and what is needed is a merging of dichotomies via a middle way, an integrative agronomy akin to what is already underway in medicine and did start somewhat earlier, but is more slowly catching on in agriculture, which wholistic approach will better serve humankind as a whole.

This article is my contribution to this enlightened end.

Organic Produce: Synthetic Pesticides in Use vs Natural Pesticides

The variety of chemicals that humans encounter is theoretically infinite if no limit is set on the molecular size of chemicals. In practice, however, chemists tend to produce synthetic chemicals or analyze natural chemicals that are between a molecular weight of a few hundred to a few thousand.

Millions of synthetic chemicals are registered with the American Chemical Society, but fewer than 100,000 are currently in commercial or industrial use and, therefore, available for introduction into the environment (US Environmental Protection Agency, 40 CFR Part 799. Fed Regist 62(158):43820-438649 EPA, 1997).

Approximately 600 different pesticide chemicals are in use (Pimentel D, ‘Pest Management In Agriculture’, In D Pimentel, (Ed), Techniques for Reducing Pesticides, John Wiley & Sons, 1996).

organic produce pesticides stats

A much larger number of natural chemicals, about 6 million, exist by the above molecular size criteria.

The total number of plant chemicals exceeds 400,000 (Keelerm R & A Tu, “Toxicology of Plant and Fungal Compounds”, Handbook of Natural Toxins, Vol 6, M Dekker, NY, 1991); (Harborne J & H. Baxter, Dictionary of Plant Toxins, Wiley, NY, 1996).

Of these, tens of thousands of secondary metabolites have been identified and hundreds of thousands exist, whose major roles in the plants are defensive (Swain T, Annu Rev Plant Physiol, 28, 479–501, 1977); (Duke S, ‘Natural Pesticides From Plants’, in J Janick & J Simon (Eds), Advances in New Crops. Timber Press, Portland, OR, 1990).

Naturally occurring substances sometimes have significant toxic properties (National Research Council, Carcinogens and Anti-carcinogens in the Human Diet, National Research Council, Wash, DC, Natl Acad Press, 1996).

Plants raised for pest resistance and grown without artificial pesticides may produce high levels of natural toxins that pose risk to consumers (Jim Kirkland, Nutr 4510, Toxicology, Nutrition & Food, Dept Human Health & Nutrition al Sciences, University of Guelph, Ontario, Canada, Fall, 2005).

Organically grown plants may each produce a minimum of 50 such natural pesticides. Prof Bruce Ames is quoted as saying that the average person consumes 1500mg of pesticides a day, of which 1499.91mg are endogenous toxins, the remaining 0.09mg being synthetic pesticides applied to the produce by the farmer.

Indeed, selective-breeding of conventional, as opposed to organic produce has favoured plants that synthesise the least and the most endogenous toxins respectively.

Organic systems provide increased opportunities for insect attack and chemical defense. All plants, but especially those with abundant foliage, produce endogenous toxins in defence against attack by insects and their larvae.

Organic vegetables are subject to much more insect attack than and hence have concentrations of these toxins considerably higher than in those vegetables treated with exogenous pesticides. (Graham I, “Endogenous Toxins of Plants”, The Thought Field, 10(1), 2004); (Young J et al, Mol Nutr Food Res, 49(12), 2005)

Based upon the US National Toxicology Program rodent carcinogenicity database, researchers predict that a large proportion of natural pesticides present in edible plants are likely to be rodent carcinogens (Rosenkranz H, Klopman G, Carcinogenesis, 11: 349-353, 1990).

An investigation of xenobiotics by analysis of 10,000 chemicals, both synthetic and natural, has revealed an association between resistance to biological degradation and the prevalence of chemicals with the potential to induce systemic toxicity and cancer (Pollack N et al, Mutat Res, 528(1-2), 2003), the implication being that natural pesticides are more likely to cause more poisoning and malignancies than exogenous classes.

In scientific terms, toxins are biogenic non-replicating natural substances that cover an immense range of compounds that act in many different ways on many different important body processes, specifically enzymes, cell membrane structures, ion-channels, receptors, ribosomal proteins, etc, to induce a vast array of lethal and non-lethal toxic effects.

Research in natural toxins is a new subject, toxinology, constituting a military risk threat, since these exhibit higher toxicity than classic synthetic warfare nerve agents, some natural toxins being even 1,000,000 times more toxic than synthetic nerve agents.

All of the known most potent toxic substances – with mammalian toxicity higher than 0.1 µg/kg – are in fact, the natural toxins (Chen Ji-sheng, Assessment of Toxins, Research Institute of Chemical Defense, Beijing, China, 2004).

Ricin is a naturally occurring toxin derived from the beans of the castor oil plant Ricinus communis, considered a potential chemical weapon (Bradberry S et al, Toxicol Rev, 22(1), 2003).

The use of biological agents as weapons of terror has now been realized.

The new, emerging threat agents are natural biotoxins produced by plants, fungi, and bacteria. (Patocka J, Streda L, Acta Medica, 49(1), 2006).

Organic Produce: Natural Toxicants in Our Food

In addition to the long history of disease and death from natural toxicants in plants, there is a growing literature about the abundant levels and varieties of natural toxicants in our foods, which natural chemicals cause mutagenicity, carcinogenicity, teratogenicity, neurotoxicity and visceral organ toxicity in routine laboratory tests.

There is evidence that a large number of natural toxicants in our food supply increase and decrease with higher and lower levels respectively of plant stress from infection or predation.

In addition, fungal infections induce a chemical response from the plant, and also excrete their own array of toxins, sometimes at high levels.

Crop protection chemicals reduce plant stress, yet there is no pesticide risk management program that evaluates the risk versus benefit equation to balance the risk from crop protection chemicals (which are extensively tested and heavily regulated) against the benefit of decreased risk from natural plant and fungal toxicants (which are only sporadically tested and regulated).

Inattention to this phenomenon (eg in organic farming) may lead to an unintended increase in exposure to this wide array of naturally occurring chemicals (Mattsson J et al, Neurotoxicol, 21(1-2), 2000).

It can be confidently stated that modern pesticide safety regulation as pioneered in the USA and implemented by most countries, including South Africa, can ensure that conventionally grown produce is as safe as commercial organic produce from a consumer toxicity perspective.

Under the Food Quality Protection Act of 1996, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) must ensure that, before registering a new pesticide, it can be used with a reasonable certainty of no harm to human health and the environment.

To determine its safety, more than 100 scientific studies and tests are required from the applicants, from which the EPA sets (maximum residue) tolerance levels for food.

Several factors must be addressed before a level is can be established, such as aggregate exposure, the cumulative effects from pesticides with similar effects, increased susceptibilities of certain populations, and endocrine disruptor effects.

In this way, in addition to environmental effects, long- and short- term potential human risks are evaluated and if a pesticide is then determined to be both safe and effective for proposed uses, it is conditionally registered for limited use on specific crops, which are routinely tested to verify compliance.

The US National Academy of Science has fully reviewed and endorsed the regulatory process (Committee on the Review of the Use of Scientific Criteria and Performance Standards for Safe Food, Scientific Criteria to Ensure Safe Food, National Research Council, NAS, National Academies Press, 2003).

organic produce FQPA

Organic Produce: Controversy of Certifying Produce as Safe

Limitations standing in the way of complete certainty of safety of man-made pesticides arise firstly as a result of 10 years of extensions of cutoff dates in the US EPA Reregistration Process that is reviewing all older pesticides according to modern criteria, whereby should applicants fail to submit deficient safety data, existing registrations are cancelled and the pesticides banned.

Several older pesticide registrations have already been either cancelled by authorities or withdrawn by registration holders unable or unwilling to provide the outstanding safety data to stringent priority schedules.

Failure to ensure optimal consumer safety also arises from conventional farmers neglecting to observe strict obligatory withholding periods between pesticide applications and harvest also and also failures by domestic and local governments to monitor and prevent pesticide application infringements from entering the food chain, but these criticisms apply equally to organic produce, where several toxic chemicals are permitted and inadequately regulated.

I am certainly not alone in this view. One researcher authored a 90-page report titled “Natural Pesticides and Bioactive Compounds in Foods” (Beier R, Rev Environ Contam Toxicol, 113:47-137, 1990). which cited 1015 scientific references.

There is no reason why non-organic produce, as with organic produce, should not be privately certifiable as safe according to compliance with international criteria, since even given the use of older pesticides, there remains far more certainty of the safety of synthetic pesticides currently in use than with organic practices, since even if no pesticides are applied, the plants themselves will synthesise defensive chemicals against hugely disproportionate predation and infection.

Such endogenous natural pesticides are totally unregulated, are not subject to any withholding period – the toxic natural chemicals remain active until the plant decomposes – and are known to be as toxic to all life forms as are man-made pesticides.

 Approximately half of such endogenous pesticidal secondary metabolites tested are in fact carcinogenic in standard rodent tests, the same ratio as man-made toxins, most of which are already prohibited, banned or restricted, which is certainly not the case with endogenous natural pesticides.

Georges Werner, Research Director at the Institute de Chimie des Substances Naturelles, France, has put it thus: “Actually, there is no basic difference between ‘synthetic’ and ‘natural’ chemical substances; the latter may be as toxic as the former” (Letter, published in Time magazine, November 9, 1992).

organic produce banned pesticides

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Many synthetic organic insecticides registered in the last decade have safer properties and smaller environmental impacts than older synthetic organic pesticides.

One of the major benefits of pesticides is the protection of yield, which could decrease by as much as 50%, particularly of such perishable crops as fruits and vegetables (between 24 –57% depending on the crop species) because of insect and disease damage, without crop-protection.

Furthermore, about 50% of the harvested crop, could be lost in transport and storage because of insects and disease in the absence of pesticide use.

Moreover, pesticide use can improve food quality in storage by reducing the incidence of such fungal contaminants as aflatoxins, known liver carcinogens, which are responsive to fungicides(Oerke E et al, Crop Production and Crop Protection: Estimated Losses in Major Food and Cash Crops, Elsevier, Amsterdam, 1994) 

Health benefits of organic food over conventional food have not even been conclusively proved scientifically (C Winter, Food Safety Program, University of California, Davis, personal communication, April 8,1998, referenced in: Committee on the Future Role of Pesticides in US Agriculture, Board on Agriculture and Natural Resources, Board on Environmental Studies and Toxicology, National Research Council, 2000).

Organic Produce: Proteinase Inhibitors

Among several plant defense proteins, proteinase inhibitors are an important group that are known to be inducible in plants by injuries, such as insect damage (Casaretto J, Corcuera L, Biol Res, 28(4), 1995). Protease inhibitor proteins are among the defensive chemicals in plant tissues that affect growth and development of pests, by attenuating enzyme function necessary for metabolic processes such as protein turnover or proteolytic digestion required for nutrient assimilation.

The major digestive proteases utilised by herbivorous pests are serine, cysteine and aspartyl proteases. Inhibitors against all have been identified in plants and shown to inhibit proteolytic activity and growth of pests. (Koiwa H et al, “Regulation of Plant Defense Against Herbivorous Pests”, in M Dominique (Ed), Recombinant Protease Inhibitors in Plants, Landes/Eurekah Bioscience, 2000) 

This, of course raises the question as to whether these protease inhibitors present any health hazards to humans.

It is well documented in the literature that protease inhibitors do act as an antinutritional factor.

Animal experiments show that inhibitors depress growth by interfering with protein digestion, but perhaps even more importantly, lead to hypertrophy and hyperplasia of the pancreas.

It is also known that the human pancreas responds negatively to the effects of a protease inhibitor. (FIFRA Scientific Advisory Panel, SAP Report No. 2000-03B, September 28, 2000).

organic produce proteinase inhibitors

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99.99% of Mutagenic and Carcinogenic Dietary Pesticides are All-Natural

The following few pages stem from a remarkable scientific investigation and pioneering analysis of data in the early 1990’s that would forever change the way that I would interpret the vexing problem of synthetic pesticide residues on fruits, vegetables and other natural foods and indeed the assumed esteem of organically grown produce.

I was at the time a successful self-sufficient grower of my own organic vegetable requirements, pioneering the use of botanical pesticides (plant extracts) in organic methods.

I was then also an active researcher/author critical of synthetic agrichemical practices, having 10 years earlier suffered organophosphate pesticide poisoning whilst living on a strict exclusively fruitarian diet.

Within a year of accessing this research, I abandoned consumption of organic vegetables for reasons that will become clear, and went instead in pursuit of organic orchards and fruit as a matter of priority choice.

The paradigm-shifting research referred to is that of highly respected biologists from the University of California, Berkeley and the Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory, led by the Professor Bruce Ames, whose credentials, briefly (to list his expertise, commissions, honours and awards would take 3 pages) are:

Organic Produce: Important Research by Bruce Ames

Credentials: Bruce Ames is Professor (& Chairman of Department) of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, as well as Director, National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences Center, all at the University of California, Berkeley; Senior Scientist at the Nutritional and Genomics Center, Children’s Hospital Oakland Research Institute, CA; and Project Director, National Foundation for Cancer Research, Bethesda, MA. 

organic produce Bruce Ames

Ames is a Member of the National Academy of Science, (USA) (and Commissioner, NAS Commission on Life Sciences) and a past Member of the Board of Directors of the National Cancer Institute and the National Cancer Advisory Board.

Ames is a recipient of the Gold Medal Award of the American Institute of Chemists (1991); the Kehoe Award, American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine (1997); the prestigious U.S. National Medal of Science (1998); the American Society for Microbiology Lifetime Achievement Award (2001); the Linus Pauling Institute Prize for Health Research (2001); and the Thomas Hunt Morgan Medal of the Genetics Society of America (2004).

Ames’ research focuses on identifying mutagenic agents that damage human DNA and the consequences of for cancer and aging and also the antioxidant and other defenses against them.

The Linus Pauling Institute Prize for Health Research recognises excellence in the field of orthomolecular medicine, especially the study of micronutrients, vitamins, and phytochemicals in promoting optimal health and in the prevention and treatment of disease.

Dr. Richard Scanlan, Dean of Research emeritus at Oregon State University and the chair of the Prize Selection Committee, noted: “Bruce Ames has been described as the quintessential scientist. His enviable record of scientific accomplishments has resulted in approximately 450 scientific publications, and he is one of the most cited authors from the 1970s to the present. Like Pauling, Bruce Ames has been highly effective in communicating important health care information to legislative bodies, to policy makers, and to the general public.”

Witness for yourself my précis of this extraordinary revolutionary research and conclusions starting here: (Ames B et al, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the USA, 87(19), 1990) [Part 2, pages 7777-7781 of this concurrent trilogy titled ‘Dietary pesticides (99.99% all natural)’]; (Bruce Ames, Margie Profet and Lois Swirsky Gold, Chapter 3, ‘Dietary Carcinogens and Mutagens from Plants’, in ‘Mutagens in Food: Detection & Prevention’, Hikoya Hayatsu (Ed), CRC Press, 1991):

The pesticides in our diet are 99.99% natural. Plants produce toxins to protect themselves against fungi, insects and animal predators in very much greater variety and at levels thousands of times higher than synthetic pesticides. Protecting crops is a trade-off between nature’s pesticides and synthetic pesticides.

“Although only 50 natural pesticides have been tested in animal cancer bioassays, about half, similar to synthetic chemicals, are positive as carcinogens (cancer causing). The proportion of natural pesticides that that are clastogenic (break chromosomes in tissue culture) is also the same for synthetic chemicals.”

“Although more than 99.9% of the chemicals humans eat are natural, only 75 of these have been tested in both rats and mice and about half are carcinogens. A high proportion of all chemicals, natural and synthetic, will prove to be mutagenic (mutations), carcinogenic and teratogenic (reproductive toxins).”

“Since such a high proportion of test agents are positive, it is important to try to rank possible carcinogenic hazards from various chemicals. We used existing animal data to find out how close human exposures to rodent carcinogens compare to one another in terms of possible tumor induction hazard.”

“Natural chemicals can and have been used by us as a reference for evaluating carcinogenic hazards from synthetic chemicals, which latter should ‘not’ be treated as a significant carcinogenic hazard if its own possible hazard is far below that of natural chemicals found in many common natural food items.”

“Nature’s pesticides are one important group of natural chemicals that we have investigated. Tens of thousands of natural plant protective toxins have recently been discovered. Every species of plant (including those consumed by humans) usually contains a few dozen different natural pesticidal toxins.”

Some 10,000 natural pesticides are digested by humans at levels about 10,000 times more than man-made pesticides, in concentrations measured in parts per thousand or parts per million, rather than (the miniscule) parts per billion concentrations of synthetic pesticide residues on these same food plants.”

“It is possible that every plant in the supermarket contains natural carcinogens (legumes, cereals, fungi, herbs, spices and beverages included with the fruits and vegetables) at levels commonly measured in the (highest) parts per thousand ranges, ie. thousands of times higher than from man-made pesticides.”

“The human intake of natural pesticide toxins varies with diet and would be higher in vegetarians. Stressed and pest attacked (eg organically grown) plants increase their natural pesticide levels manyfold, occasionally to levels that are acutely toxic to humans” (extremely rare with synthetic pesticides).

“Routinely, about 1,500mg of natural pesticides daily are ingested from food plant products. Surprisingly few have been tested in animal cancer bioassays. Among 1052 chemicals tested in at least one animal species, only 52 are naturally occurring plant pesticides, of which about half are carcinogenic.”

49 Known ‘Natural’ Pesticides and their metabolites ingested in Cabbage:

Glucosinolates:1) 2-propenyl glucosinolate (sinigrin);2) 3-methylthiopropyl glucosinolate;3) 3-methylsulfinylpropyl glucosinolate;4) 3-butenyl glucosinolate;5) 2-hydroxy-3-butenyl glucosinolate;6) 4-methylthiobutyl glucosinolate;7) 4-methylsulfinylbutyl glucosinolate;8) 4-methylsulfonylbutyl glucosinolate;9) benzyl glucosinolate;10) 2-phenylethyl glucosinolate;11) propyl glucosinolate;12) butyl glucosinolate; Indole glucosinolates and related indoles: 13) 3-indolylmethyl glucosinolate (glucobrassicin);14) 1-methoxy-3-indolylmethyl glucosinolate (neoglucobrassicin); 15) indole-3-carbinol;16) indole-3-acetonitrile; 17) bis(3-indolyl)methane;

organic produce toxic cabbage

Isothiocyanates and goitrin: 18) allyl isothiocyanate;19) 3-methylthiopropyl isothiocyanate; 20) 3-methylsulfinylpropyl isothiocyanate; 21) 3-butenyl isothiocyanate; 22) 5-vinyloxazolidine-2-thione (goitrin); 23) 4-methylthiobutyl isothiocyanate; 24) 4-methylsulfinylbutyl isothiocyanate; 25) 4-methylsulfonylbutyl isothiocyanate; 26) 4-pentenyl isothiocyanate; 27) benzyl isothiocyanate;28) phenylethyl isothiocyanate;Cyanides: 29) 1-cyano-2,3-epithiopropane; 30) 1-cyano-3,4-epithiobutane; 31) 1-cyano-3,4-epithiopentane; 32) threo-1-cyano-2-hydroxy-3,4-epithiobutane; 33) erythro-1-cyano-2-hydroxy-3,4-epithiobutane; 34) 2-phenylpropionitrile; 35) allyl cyanide; 36) 1-cyano-2-hydroxy-3-butene; 37) 1-cyano-3- methylsulfinylpropane; 38) 1-cyano-4-methylsulfinylbutane;Terpenes:39) 5-methyl-2-(1-methylethyl)-cyclohexanol; 40) 5-methyl-2-propan-2-yl-cyclohexan-1-ol; 41) 2-isopropyl-5-methylcyclohexanol; 42) 2-methyl-5-(1-methylethenyl)-2-cyclo-hexene-1-one;Phenols:43) 2-methoxyphenol;44) 3-caffoylquinic acid (chlorogenic acid); 45) 4-caffoylquinic acid; 46) 5-caffoylquinic acid (neochlorogenic acid);47) 4-(p-coumaroyl)quinic acid; 48) 5-(p-coumaroyl)quinic acid; 49) 5-feruloylquinic acid.

“Of the natural pesticide chemicals in cabbage not tested for carcinogenicity, several are likely to be mutagenic and carcinogenic. Chlorogenic acid and allyl isothiocyanate are clastogenic. Chlorogenic acid, its metabolite caffeic acid and allyl isothiocyanate, are mutagens, the latter causing papillomas.”“Sinigrin is co-carcinogenic. Sinigrin gives rise to allyl isothiocyanate on eating raw cabbage. Indole acetonitrille forms a nitroso carcinogen in the presence of nitrite. Indole carbinol, on ingestion, forms dimers and trimers, which mimic dioxin (TCCD), probably the most widely feared industrial toxin of all.”“The mitogenic effects of goitrin (which is also goitrogenic) and various organic cyanides from cabbage suggest that they may be potential carcinogens. Aromatic cyanides related to those from cabbage are known mutagens and are metabolized to hydrogen cyanide and potentially mutagenic aldehydes.”“Caution is necessary in interpreting the implications of occurrence of rodent carcinogenic natural pesticides. It is not argued that these are relevant to human cancer, but that exposures to natural rodent carcinogens casts doubt on the relevance of far lower exposure levels to synthetic rodent carcinogens.”“Indeed a diet rich in fruit and vegetables (not necessarily other food classes) is associated with lower cancer rates, probably because of anticarcinogenic vitamins and antioxidants in plants (which protect equally against natural and synthetic carcinogens, since the toxicology of both types of toxins is similar.”“The U.S. FDA has assayed food for known toxic synthetic chemicals, including pesticides and found residues averaging about 0.09 mg per person per day. We consider 0.05 mg of pesticide residues per day to be a reasonable rough estimate, which we compare to 1.5 g of natural plant pesticides consumed.”“Most of this daily intake of synthetic pesticides is composed of chemicals that were not carcinogenic in rodent tests. The intake of rodent carcinogens from synthetic residues would thus maximally be only about 0.05 mg a day (averaging about 0.06 ppm in plant food) even if all were carcinogenic in rodents.”(Ames B et al, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the USA, 87(19)[Part 2], 7777-7781, 1990).

Organic Produce: Ames Test

In Part 1, pages 7772-7776 of this trilogy (by Ames and Gold), titled ‘Chemical Carcinogenesis: Too Many Rodent Carcinogens’, the authors, whose earlier work and development of the ‘Ames test for mutagenicity’ led to the banning of synthetic chemicals and their being the darlings of the environmental lobby and later recipients of an Outstanding Investigator Grant from the National Cancer Institute for this work, concluded in Part 1 of this trilogy: “We conclude that at the low doses of most human exposures, the hazards to humans of rodent carcinogens may be much lower than is commonly assumed.”

organic produce Ames Test

I had read Ames’ earlier seminal research (Science, 221(4617), 1983) but wrongly believed, as many still do, that our body’s defences somehow coped with natural toxins, yet failed against synthetic toxics, but in Part 3, pp 7782-7786 of their 1990 trilogy in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, titled: ‘Nature’s and synthetic chemicals: Comparative Toxicology’, Ames, Profet and Gold wrote as follows:“The toxicology of synthetic chemicals is compared to that of natural chemicals, the vast bulk to which humans are exposed. Animals have a broad array of inducible general defenses (sic) to combat the changing array of toxic chemicals and these defenses are effective against both natural and synthetic toxins.”“The synthetic toxin dioxin is compared to indole carbinol, a natural chemical in broccoli. The finding that a high proportion of both natural and synthetic chemicals are carcinogens, mutagens, teratogens and clastogens undermines current regulatory efforts to protect public health from synthetic chemicals.”“It is often assumed that because plants are part of human evolutionary history, whereas synthetic chemicals are more recent, the mechanisms evolved to cope with the toxicity of natural chemicals will fail to protect us against synthetic chemicals. This assumption is flawed for several reasons.””Defenses that have evolved are mostly of a general type, as might be expected, since the number of natural chemicals that might have toxic effects is so large. General defenses offer protection not only against natural but also against synthetic chemicals, making humans well buffered against toxins.” (Ames B, Magaw N, Gold L, Science, 236, 271-280, 1987); (Ames B, Gold L, Science 238, 1634, 1987); (Jakoby W (Ed) Enzymatic Basis of Detoxification, vols I and II, Academic Press, New York, 1980)“The reason that plant predators evolved general defenses against toxins is presumably to be prepared to counter a diverse and ever-changing array of plant toxins in an evolving world; if favoured foods became scarce or evolved new toxins.” (If this were not so, humans would have remained frugivores or perished)“Various natural toxins, some of which have been present throughout vertebrate evolutionary history, nevertheless do cause cancer. Mold aflatoxins cause cancer in rats, mice, monkeys and humans. Many common elements, including selenium and chromium are carcinogenic despite evolutionary presence.”“Poisoning from plant toxins in the milk of foraging animals was quite common in previous centuries. Plants foraged by cows are not toxins to which humans could have easily adapted. Abraham Lincoln’s mother died from drinking cow’s milk that had been contaminated with toxins from the snakeroot plant.”“Anticarcinogenic phytochemicals in the diet protect humans equally well against synthetic and natural carcinogens. Multiple hazard chemical synergisms occur from both natural and synthetic sources. These anticarcinogens do not distinguish whether carcinogens are synthetic or natural in origin.”“Natural and synthetic toxins can have the same toxicity mechanisms. Cabbage family vegetables contain indole carbinol, converted by stomach acid to dimers and trimers that bind to the body’s Ah receptor and which, in the presence of eg aflatoxin, causes mitogenesis, just like the feared synthetic dioxin (TCDD).”“The US EPA’s human ‘reference dose’ of dioxin (TCDD) is 6 femtograms (fg) per kilogram per day. This should be compared with 5 mg of IC per 100 g of broccoli or cabbage. The effective dose to the Ah receptor from a helping of cabbage or broccoli would be 500- 1,500 times higher than that of dioxin.”“Since no plot of land is immune to attack by insects, plants, especially those who are the result of selective (palatability) breeding, need chemical defenses –either natural or synthetic– to survive pest attack. There is an inevitable trade-off between nature’s pesticides and synthetic pesticides.”“Wild plants and especially plants bred for pest resistance, contain more natural toxins and have caused unprecedented toxicity problems. ‘Organic farmers’ use natural pesticides that are not as extensively tested, if at all, for mutagenicity, carcinogenicity or teratogenicity as are synthetic pesticides.”“With mutagens there is some theoretical justification for thinking that low doses may have an effect, although the complexities of inducible protection systems may well produce a dose-response threshold, or even protective effects at very low doses. The high endogenous DNA damage rate is also relevant.”“Several chemicals that have been shown to be carcinogens at high doses in rodents have also been shown to be anticarcinogens in other animal models at lower doses, eg limonene, caffeic acid, dioxin and indole carbinol. Therefore, the dose, frequency and duration of any chemical exposure will be critical.”“The first rule of toxicology is that all chemicals are ‘toxic chemicals’. It is always the dose that makes the poison. There should be a threshold of attention for hypothetical risks that are low compared to the (overwhelming greater) background risks, otherwise resources are diverted from more important risks.”“The arguments in these papers undermine many assumptions of current (double standard) regulatory policy and necessitate a rethinking of policy designed to reduce human cancer. Dietary imbalances (deficiencies and excesses, not synthetic pesticides) are likely a major contributor to human cancer.”(Ames B et al, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the USA, 87(19) [Part 3], 7782 – 7786, 1990).

Detoxification Mechanisms Function Equally Efficiently Against Synthetic and Natural Chemicals

organic produce natural chemicals

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Back in 1983, assuming that biologists knew the facts, Ames did not attempt to persuasively state the above aspect of his work and as a result, I placed blind faith in my naive belief in a relatively benign natural world and determined not to take the implications of these findings too seriously, though my food choices and growing practices underwent moderate reform.

Due to my considerable delay in taking this research more seriously, until Ames did state the case of a hostile natural world more persuasively, I am now labouring this point here in the hope that the reader will be assisted hereby to grasp these facts now, rather than bury their head in the sand, praising, or heaven forbid, consuming all things organic as ‘good’.

Five years after their groundbreaking 1983 Science paper, which was graced with an editorial dedicated to their contribution, Ames and Gold stated briefly: “both rodents and humans have developed many types of general (rather than specific) defences against the large amounts and enormous variety of toxic (natural pesticide) chemicals in plants” (Ames B, Gold L, Science, 238:1634, 1987). Ames later argued to the effect that: Experimental evidence indicates that these general defences are effective against both natural and synthetic compounds, since the basic mechanisms of carcinogenesis are not unique to either” (Ames B, Chapter 14, ‘Pesticide Residues and Cancer Causation, in ‘Carcinogenicity of Pesticides’, ACS Symposium Series 414, 1989).

This point, restated in several published papers over the years, remains unrebutted to this day, to the point that this contention is today a scientifically irrefutable matter of fact.In a paper titled ‘Rodent Carcinogens: Setting Priorities’, the Berkeley biologists put it thus: It has often been wrongly assumed that humans have evolved defenses against the natural chemicals in our diet but not against the synthetic chemicals. However, because defenses that animals have evolved are mostly general rather than specific for particular chemicals and are generally inducible and because the toxicology of both natural and synthetic chemicals similar, our defenses protect equally well from low doses of both synthetic and natural chemicals.” (Gold L et al, Science, 258:261, 1992)One Berkeley evolutionary biologist, specialising in and elucidating the detoxification mechanisms used by our immune systems to cope with natural and now against synthetic toxins, summarised in a thesis titled “The function of allergy: immunological defense against toxins”, as follows: “The mammalian immune response known as “allergy” evolved as a defense against the extensive array of toxic substances that exist in the form of secondary plant compounds. Substances that bind covalently to serum proteins generally are acutely toxic, and because many of these substances also bind covalently to the DNA of target cells, they are potentially mutagenic and carcinogenic as well. Thus, by protecting against acute toxicity, allergy may also defend against mutagens and carcinogens.” (Profet M, Q Rev Biol, 66(1), 1991)Profet recommends that: “pregnant women don’t eat pungent vegetables”. Whilst extensively reviewing the literature on plant toxins and birth defects, she posits that: “the pregnancy sickness nausea many women experience in the first trimester are adaptations designed to protect embryos whereby some toxins in plants including, for instance, allyl isothiocyanate, a carcinogen found in cabbage, cauliflower and brussels sprouts that evolved to ward off herbivores, and which could, even in tiny amounts, cause defects during the critical stage when organs are forming. Once the embryonic organs are more or less formed, hormones allow nausea to subside and women can eat less discriminatingly.”

In 1993, Profet won the ‘genius award’, a $500,000 no-strings-attached fellowship from the MacArthur Foundation, awarded for recognition of people who demonstrate exceptional creativity in their field to foster lasting improvement in the human condition. (Marguerite Holloway, Profile: Margie Profet, Scientific American, April, 1996)Animals, including humans, have evolved enzymes and ligand-binding proteins to metabolize and eliminate many natural environmental chemicals.

They have also evolved adaptive mechanisms, stress responses, and checkpoint pathways to prevent or correct damage from various environmental chemicals.

Thanks to the broad specificities of these proteins and adaptive processes, animals also detoxify and adaptively respond to many synthetic chemicals as well, even though the animal has never seen these chemicals before in its evolution.

Still, some small fraction of old and new chemicals, synthetic and natural, can elude the animal’s defenses enough to impact components of its developmental processes, thereby leading to developmental defects. (Scientific Frontiers in Developmental Toxicology and Risk Assessment, Committee on Developmental Toxicology, Board on Environmental Studies and Toxicology, National Research Council, National Academies Press, 2000) [ISBN:0-309-50176-8].Significantly, use of persistent pesticides are extremely rare in developed societies today and modern formulations are designed to biodegrade their actives within a short withholding period ‘prior’ to harvest, whereas nature’s pesticides persist beyond harvest until either rendered inedible through decomposition or metabolised as toxins or to toxins in the bodies of consumers.

On the subject of persistent chemicals, consider the research of another expert, Gordon Gribble, professor of chemistry at Dartmouth College and the world authority on organohalogens, infamous persistent compounds that include Dioxin and DDT.

Gribble points out that: “plants also make organochlorines that serve as natural pesticides. The cabbage family, including cabbage, broccoli, turnips and rapeseed (canola), create a bromine-based organohalogen, methyl bromide, the very same ozone-depleting industrial chemical used as a fumigant pesticide. Rapeseed fields alone account for about 6,600 tons of this organobromine compound each year, (an astonishing) 15 percent of the total from human activities”. (Gordon Gribble, ‘Nature Mimics Industry’, Dartmouth News, Dartmouth College, USA, July 2004); (Gribble G, Amazing Organohalogens, American Scientist, 92(4), 2004); (Gribble G, ‘Organic Halogen Compounds’, in ‘Chemistry: Foundations and Applications’, 200-203, Vol 3, Lagowski, J (Ed), Macmillan Reference USA, NY, 2004); (Gribble G, ‘Natural Organohalogens: Occurrence, Sources, Quantities, Natural Function, and Benefits’, Euro Chlor Science Dossier, 1-77, 2004).

Thanks to Stuart Thompson for allowing us to post his informative research on Metabole Wellness. You can find the original article here.

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Healthy People Know About These Vitamin C Benefits – Do You?

Vitamin C Benefits

What is it with vitamin C? You know about vitamin C.

You know your mom and your doctor lied to you.

Let’s be fair though: your mom didn’t lie to you – she really didn’t know any better. 

“Pump up on vitamin C or you’ll get sick this winter.” 

Like that helped, right?

You got sick anyway. Every single year.

But here you are, still “pumping up” on vitamin C every time winter approaches just to get that cold anyway…

Every time you go into the pharmacy and grab those useless effervescent tablets you feel like a crazy person.

You hear that little voice in your head saying, “going for the stuff that doesn’t work, again?” 

Know what? You’re not crazy at all, you’re just misinformed about a misunderstood substance.

Vitamin C, or ascorbic acid, is crucial for your wellbeing. So take a deep breath and sit back.

 When you and I are done working through this article, vitamin C will be your new best friend.

And you’ll be so excited about vitamin C benefits you’ll never want to be without it.


Before we get into the conventional idea of vitamin C, you should know at Metabole, we don’t agree that ascorbic acid is just a vitamin.

However, for this article, we will use the term “vitamin C”. 

If you have the time, though, please read this article to better understand Metabole’s view on ascorbic acid (or vitamin C).

OK, what is “vitamin C”?

“Also known as ascorbic acid, vitamin C is part of the water-soluble group of vitamins, of which the eight B-complex vitamins are also members. Vitamin C is dissolved in the watery portions of our foods and is transported into our bloodstream after digestion. Our body then takes the circulating vitamin C and concentrates it, mainly in our white blood cells, eyes, specific hormone-producing glands and brain.”– Message Magazine

Vitamin C is present in many fruits and vegetables, of which the following are just a few:- Bell peppers- Broccoli- Kale- Spinach- Strawberries- Kiwi fruits- Oranges (thought I forgot about that one, hey? Though a good source of vitamin C, citrus is not the best out there.)

Without vitamin C, your body could not perform these essential metabolic processes:- Formation and maintenance of collagen. (Collagen is an important protein present in your skin, ligaments, tendons, cartilage, bone, blood vessels, intestines and the discs between your spinal vertebrae.)- Formation of carnitine. (An amino acid necessary to transport fatty acids into mitochondria. It’s an important factor to produce cellular energy.)- Formation of neurotransmitters. (Vitamin C is directly involved in forming neurotransmitters – your ability to respond to your environment and your brain’s ability to think and remember depends on these important molecules.)

Vitamin C helps your bones to keep their calcium content, protects your cell membranes from toxic waste, and acts as an anti-oxidant.

I told you you’d get excited… We haven’t even covered the vitamin C benefits yet!

Enjoying This Article So Far?Please Share it with Your Loved Ones & Friends so They can Learn About Vitamin C Benefits, Too.


Before we get to the real vitamin C benefits, let’s get the big, fat lie we’ve been taught out of the way.


Vitamin C does not cure a cold. And, as you know from personal experience, blasting yourself with vitamin C a month or two before winter starts won’t prevent it either.

That’s because we need vitamin C for a healthy immune system.

If our immune systems are weak to begin with, we will get sick.

Think of it this way: You have an accident and as a result you sustain major injuries to your right leg and foot.

After months of surgery it’s time to walk again.

Do you get out of bed and go on with your life as if nothing ever happened?

Of course not – before you can walk again, you’ll go through extensive physical therapy sessions.

A person living an average lifestyle of consuming sugar, supermarket fruits and veggies and lots of meat, who eats out every now then, and doesn’t exercise often may think he/she is healthy. 

Truth is they cannot prepare their immune systems against viruses and bacteria in a short time. (Unless they make drastic lifestyle changes, which is a different discussion all together.)

Let’s draw a comparison:

– The lifestyle is the accident, causing injuries to a person’s immune system. (Only, it’s an accident happening in slow motion.)- Trying to prepare a weak immune system to fight against viruses and bacteria a few months before winter, is like expecting to get up and walk after months of surgery. The months of surgery in this case would be an increased vitamin C intake just before winter.

If your doctor had taught your mom to teach you about vitamin C benefits and the crucial role it plays in your wellbeing, you would have known a daily intake of vitamin C all year round would prevent you from getting that cold.



vitamin c benefits cardiovascular health

“… we can get almost complete control of cardiovascular disease, heart attacks and strokes by the proper use of vitamin C and lysine. It can prevent cardiovascular disease and even cure it. If you are at risk of heart disease, or if there is a history of heart disease in your family; if your father or other members of the family died of a heart attack or stroke… or if you have had a mild heart attack yourself, then you had better be taking vitamin C and lysine.”  – Dr Linus Pauling

Nobel Prize winner, Dr Pauling, uttered those words in a time when research on the effects of vitamin C on heart (and other) disease was scant.

Back then, the medical establishment branded Pauling a quack, because he advocated the use of high doses of vitamin C to treat many diseases. 

Today though, lots and lots of research is being done into vitamin C benefits and the important role vitamin C plays in human wellbeing.

With every study, Dr Pauling’s beliefs about vitamin C is being firmly established as scientific truth. ​

 can only imagine Dr Pauling smiling within himself and burning to tell the medical establishment, “I told you so!” if he were alive.

Modern Studies into Vita​min C Benefits for Cardiovascular Health

An American study found that vitamin C might play a role in reducing heart disease risk.

 Further studies show higher plasma levels of vitamin C could be linked to reduced heart disease risk.

Here’s an interesting fact: some studies found vitamin C to be as good for your heart as an exercise.

Please don’t stop exercising though!

A regular dose of vitamin C can hinder the activity of a protein (endothelin-1). The protein constricts small blood vessels and causes heart attacks.

Vitamin C Benefits After a Heart Attack

“In an even more hopeful note, research seems to indicate that it is never too late to benefit from vitamin C’s protective effects on the heart. Researchers think that vitamin C’s antioxidant properties can help alleviate oxidative damage from a heart attack.Studies have shown that vitamin C reduces the extent of the destruction to heart muscle after a heart attack, while cutting the risk of future events. Vitamin C also improves electrical conduction throughout the heart muscle, decreases clotting factors that increase stroke risk, reduces inflammation, and prevents destructive changes in heart shape and operation. In addition, vitamin C can Increase exercise tolerance following a heart attack – while reducing the oxidation of dangerous LDL cholesterol.Animal studies have suggested that vitamin C can even help reduce damage from ischemia-reperfusion injury, a type of post-heart attack oxidative injury in which blood previously cut off by the attack rebounds suddenly back into the area. And, finally, researchers believe that vitamin C can help protect against atrial fibrillation – a type of irregular heartbeat – along with weakening and enlargement of the heart, or dilated cardiomyopathy.”–


vitamin c benefits blood pressure

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According to Johns Hopkins Medicine, large doses of vitamin C can lower blood pressure.

This function of vitamin C could be attributed to its physiological and biological effects.

Vitamin C acts as a diuretic and causes the kidneys to remove more sodium and water from your body, relieving the pressure on blood vessel walls.

Vitamin C also protects your body’s supply of nitric oxide, a molecule known to relax blood vessels.

According to an Italian study, vitamin C enhances vasodilation (the dilation of blood vessels that decreases blood pressure).

“Several studies have examined the impact of vitamin C on blood pressure. Vitamin C is an antioxidant which helps neutralise cell-damaging free radicals. Research has shown that antioxidants can help to reduce high blood pressure, possibly by protecting your body’s supply of nitric oxide, a molecule that relaxes blood vessels.The current study, published in the Nutrition Journal, found that both the systolic and diastolic (top and bottom) readings were inversely associated with ascorbic acid levels.Specifically, women with the highest levels of ascorbic acid had a decline of about 4.6 mm Hg in systolic and just over 6 mm Hg in diastolic blood pressure, compared with women with the lowest ascorbic acid levels.Previous research has also confirmed that adding vitamin C to your diet can help to reverse the degenerative process caused by free radicals, resulting in lower blood pressure levels.Interestingly, vitamin C can also give extra oomph to other antioxidants, such as catechins, which are naturally occurring antioxidants found in green tea.Green tea has been linked to heart- and cardiovascular health as it improves both blood flow and the ability of your arteries to relax. One 2007 study discovered that complementing green tea with either citrus juices or vitamin C increases the amount of catechins available for your body to absorb.The possibility of a natural agent being able to lower blood pressure and help prevent heart disease is certainly worth noting, especially when you consider the damage that many, if not most, drugs can do.”–


vitamin c benefits cancer

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“Dr Linus Pauling, often known as the ‘Father of Vitamin C’ and twice awarded the Nobel Prize, declared that daily intakes of up to 10g of the vitamin aids anti-cancer activity within the body.Pauling was largely derided for making these declarations, but today, large doses of Vitamin C are used by many practitioners for cancer patients in nutritional therapy, who believe Pauling was right and that the popular nutrient is indispensable to the body in its fight to regain health from cancer.”– Phillip Day

Again, modern research is only catching up now with Dr Pauling’s findings.

High doses of vitamin C can slow down the growth of prostate, liver, colon, and other types of cancer.

Apart from slowing down cancerous growth, other studies shows vitamin C to kill cancer cells completely.

A report by Cornell University states that vitamin C halts aggressive colorectal cancer.


vitamin c benefits immune system

Many studies have shown a powerful positive correlation between vitamin C intake and strong immune systems. 

With an enhanced immune system, the severity of allergies and infections are reduced significantly.

Wounds also heal much faster when we have high levels of vitamin C in our bodies. 

Some studies, though inconclusive, found that vitamin C may even treat asthma.


vitamin c benefits eye health

“Vitamin C helps promote healthy capillaries, gums, teeth, cartilage and the absorption of iron. Almost all cells of the body depend on it, including those of the eye, where it is concentrated in all tissues. Vitamin C also supports the health of blood vessels in the eye.”– American Optometric Association

Evidence suggests that vitamin C intake can lower the risk of cataracts. People with high vitamin C levels have a 20% lower risk to develop cataracts.

When taken with other essential nutrients, it can prevent age related macular degeneration and visual acuity loss.

Vitamin C supports the health of blood vessels in our eyes.

Vitamin C might also aid in the regeneration of vitamin E in the eye, enhancing eye health even more. 

Wait, Mom Said I Need to Eat Lots of Carrots to have Good Eyes!

“Carrots are rich in beta-carotene, a carotenoid pigment which is an essential precursor for vitamin A. Deficiencies in vitamin A are the leading causes of blindness in the developing world. Lack of vitamin A can also lead to:- Cataracts- Macular degeneration – Xerophthalmia (a disease which is characterised by dry eyes, swollen eyelids and corneal ulcers)Carrots contain lutein, an important antioxidant. Lutein-rich foods are known to increase the density of pigment in the macula, the yellow-shaped oval area in the centre of the retina. As pigment density increases, the retina is protected more and the risk for macular degeneration decreases.In summary, the carrot provides many benefits for healthy vision, but eating carrots every day will not restore vision to 20/20.Optical deformities like astigmatism, conditions like strabismus and diseases like glaucoma cannot be corrected by eating Bugs Bunny’s food of choice. Corrective lenses and eye procedures would still be necessary even if every American ate a steady diet of carrots. Because carrots are rich in vitamin A and lutein, they are always a good choice for a nutrient-packed snack. So keep packing those carrot sticks in the school lunches, mom. But don’t expect X-ray vision from little Tommy. He will still need to wear his glasses every day!”–


As if you’re not impressed already, I’ll just list a few other vitamin C benefits:

  • check Treats osteoarthritis.
  • check Treats preeclampsia (high blood pressure during pregnancy).
  • check Maintains healthy gums.
  • check Eases dry mouth.
  • check Helps regulate blood sugar.
  • check Cures lead toxicity.
  • check Combats stroke.
  • check Improves your mood.
  • check Aids in weight loss.
  • check Boosts energy.
  • check Treats sunburn.
  • check Treats eczema.
  • check Protects against skin discoloration.
  • check Improves skin texture.
  • check Enhances hair growth.
  • check Fights dandruff.
  • check Prevents premature greying of hair (ladies, that sounds good, doesn’t it?).


Since this article focuses on vitamin C benefits, we won’t go into an extensive discussion about the signs and symptoms of vitamin C deficiency.

But I thought you might wonder whether you’re showing any signs of of a deficiency.

Let’s look at the signs that show you may lack in vitamin C:- Easy bruising.- Slow wound healing- Swollen, bleeding, or inflamed gums.- Dry or splitting hair and nails.- Red, rough, or dry skin.- Frequent nose bleeds.- Poor immune function.- Swollen and painful joints.- Fatigue and/or depression.- Unexplained weight gain.


Now you know what it is with vitamin C!

But now that you know, I know what you’re thinking:what am I supposed to do with all this information about vitamin C benefits?”

Well, act on it.

Remember the list of vitamin C-rich foods we talked about when we started?

Incorporate them into your diet so you can start enjoying vitamin C benefits.Do you remember what they were?- Bell peppers- Broccoli- Kale- Spinach- Strawberries- Kiwi fruits- Oranges 

Those are not the only foods rich in vitamin C.

A simple internet search will lead you in the right direction.

I know you’re busy though, so I’ll help you out. You’ll learn more about vitamin C benefits and vitamin C-rich foods from the following article:Vitamin C Foods, Signs of Deficiency, & Health Benefits

Apart from eating foods high in Vitamin C, consider supplementing with a reliable and trusted brand, like Metabole

Did you find this article on vitamin C benefits useful? Your loved ones and friends are sure to learn from it, too! Please share it with them.

AUTHOR: MELISSA NIEMANNFreelance Writer & Artist

ascorbic acid

Metabole Berry C Formulation

  • Boosts Your Immune System
  • Lowers Hypertension
  • Fights Cancer
  • check Heals Wounds
  • check Protects Against Toxins
  • check Safe for People with a Citrus Intolerance
  • check NO artificial ingredients


Sources For this

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The information provided on MetaboleWellness is intended for your general knowledge only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice or treatment for specific medical conditions. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health care provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. The information on this website is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. Never disregard medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on Products sold and promoted on this website are for personal use and not for resale, and have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. Please note that Metabole Wellness promotes products from other natural health & wellness providers. We may earn a small commission whenever you choose to purchase a product through any of the links we provide on this website. Please read our full affiliate policy here.

Nutrients for a Healthy Brain: Everything You Need to Know

Nutrients for a Healthy Brain: Everything You Need to Know

Your brain is a hungry organ that needs more than its share of nutrients.When your brain doesn’t get the nutrients it needs, it’s hard to feel happy, mentally sharp, and productive.And you put yourself at greater risk for mood disorders, brain aging, and degenerative brain diseases.

Macronutrients and Your Brain

Macronutrients are nutrients consumed in relatively large amounts. There are three primary macronutrients: carbohydrates, protein, and fat. But not all sources of each of these are good for your brain.


Complex (Not Refined) Carbohydrates for Brain Energy

Brain cells can’t store energy and require a steady stream of it, usually in the form of glucose.These cells can live only a few minutes without it!Complex carbohydrates, the kind found in unprocessed fruits and vegetables, give your brain the sustained energy it needs.They increase your blood’s ability to transport oxygen to your brain cells and keep your blood sugar level stable.Starchy vegetables like potatoes, yams, carrots, beets, and winter squash are excellent at delivering a steady supply of glucose to your brain.Strategically eating complex carbohydrates on their own (without protein) is a little-known trick for maintaining the level of the mood-boosting neurotransmitter serotonin.Regular consumption of white sugar and other refined carbohydrates leads to chronically high blood sugar levels.These unhealthy carbs can shrink your brain and cause memory loss.There’s strong evidence that spikes in blood sugar contribute to Alzheimer’s disease, now considered by some to be a form of diabetes that selectively targets the brain.

Proteins for Neurotransmitter Synthesis

The body breaks down proteins into building blocks called amino acids.Amino acids are a major component in the hundreds of brain chemicals known as neurotransmitters.Neurotransmitters enable brain cells to communicate with each other.Examples of common neurotransmitters include dopamine, serotonin, GABA, norepinephrine, and endorphins.Neurotransmitters control your ability to focus, concentrate, and remember.They regulate mood, cravings, addictions, sleep, and more.

Animals raised without the use of antibiotics, steroids, and hormones yield grass-fed meat, free-range poultry, wild fish, organic eggs, and dairy that are excellent protein sources.Note that not everyone does well on dairy products.The people that do are mostly of northern European ancestry.You can get adequate protein on a vegetarian diet, but you have to do a little more planning.

The Right Fats for Brain Health

There is no area of nutrition that’s more misunderstood than dietary fats.We’ve been brainwashed into believing that just about all fat is bad for us when, in fact, fats are essential for your brain.We’ve been told that when we do eat fat, it should come from polyunsaturated vegetable oils.But this advice couldn’t be worse for your brain!People who consume a diet low in fats, and especially low in cholesterol, are at risk for depression and suicide.The risk of dementia is reduced by 70% in those with high levels of cholesterol.So-called “healthy” vegetable oils like canola, safflower, and soy are extracted with chemical solvents that create unhealthy trans fats.Trans fats cause inflammation and increase the risk of heart disease, stroke, diabetes, obesity, and cancer.They can increase your risk of depression by up to 50%.Your brain is largely made of fat, 60% by dry weight.

Give it the healthy fats it needs, the kind found in avocados, olives, nuts, seeds, coconut oil, grass-fed butter, and fatty fish like salmon, tuna, or mackerel.They won’t make you fat, and they can help make you smarter and happier.

Brain Micronutrients Most Likely Missing From Your Diet

Micronutrients are nutrients that the body needs in very small amounts.These include vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and phytonutrients.Your brain needs all essential micronutrients in order to be its best.But there are a few that are often missing, even in healthy diets.These deficiencies can profoundly impact your brain.


B Vitamins — The Happy Vitamins

B vitamins have been called the “happy vitamins” or “anti-stress vitamins” because they can improve your mood and increase your tolerance to stress.Vitamin B12, however, is one of the most common vitamin deficiencies.In the US, an estimated 40% of adults are B12-deficient.Vitamin B12 deficiency is serious.It can lead to a wide spectrum of mental disorders including brain fog, memory loss, dementia, depression, and even Alzheimer’s.

Two particularly high-risk groups are seniors, who often have poor absorption of B12, and vegetarians, as B12 is found only in animal products.Another at-risk group is people who take medications that interfere with vitamin B12 absorption.The worst offenders are acid-reducing drugs and drugs for treating type-2 diabetes.If you suspect you may be deficient, have your B12 level tested.If you are low, supplementation can bring your levels back to normal quickly.

Vitamin D — The Sunshine Vitamin

It’s nearly impossible to get all you need from food or from the sun.Only a handful of foods contain any vitamin D.Most of the year, the sun isn’t strong enough in most of North America and Europe to allow your body to manufacture enough vitamin D.The bottom line is that almost everyone could benefit from taking supplemental vitamin D.As with vitamin B12, you can have your blood level checked to know for sure.

Magnesium — The Original Chill Pill

Magnesium is so good at helping you sleep and relax, it’s been called “the original chill pill.”When looking for a magnesium supplement, quality matters.Cheap magnesium oxide is only 4% absorbed.And magnesium sulfate, the form found in Epsom salts, can cause stomach upset when taken internally.Better forms of magnesium include magnesium citrate, magnesium glycinate, and magnesium l-threonate which is unique in its ability to enter the brain.

magnesium tablets-metabole-wellness

Omega-3 Essential Fatty Acids


It’s widely agreed that taking an omega-3 supplement is one of the best things you can do for your brain.Essential fats experts estimate that 70% of the population is deficient in omega-3s. (28)This omega-3 essential fatty acid is a major building block of the brain that is crucial to brain and nervous system function.The best food sources are wild-caught fatty fish, not something most of us eat regularly.There are two main omega-3 fatty acids — EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) and DHA (docosahexaenoic acid).DHA is by far the most important and accounts for 97% of the omega-3 fats found in the brain. (29)

Memory loss, depression, mood swings, dementia, Alzheimer’s disease, and attention deficit disorder have all been found to improve with DHA supplementation. (30)Seniors with higher levels of DHA are nearly half as likely to develop dementia or Alzheimer’s as those with low levels of DHA. (31)You can find out if you are getting adequate omega-3 fats with this omega-3 quiz created by AlwaysOmega3s, a not-for-profit organization.If you aren’t, you should definitely consider taking a supplement.

Antioxidant Nutrients Protect Against Brain Aging

Free radicals are unattached oxygen molecules that damage cells and hasten their demise.Every cell in your body is affected by free radical or oxidative damage, but brain cells are particularly vulnerable.Antioxidants are naturally occurring compounds that protect you from the harmful effects of free radicals.You can see oxidative damage in action by cutting open an apple.In a short time, you’ll notice that it turns brown.Oxygen in the air is causing oxidative damage you can see.

You may have learned the trick of rubbing cut fruit with a little lemon juice to keep it from turning brown.While lemon juice won’t keep an apple fresh forever, it definitely slows down the spoiling process.Similarly, when you consume a continuous supply of antioxidants, you slow down the cellular aging process.

By far, the top antioxidant foods are berries of all kinds, such as blackberries, blueberries, elderberries, strawberries, raspberries, and bilberries.Other fruits include cherries, plums, apples, bananas, and grapes.Top vegetable sources of antioxidants are artichokes, olives, spinach, onions, broccoli, asparagus, lettuce, tomatoes, peppers, pumpkin, and potatoes.

Some of the world’s favorite foods and beverages also makes the list — chocolate, coffee, tea, red wine, and beer.There are hundreds and perhaps even thousands of nutrients found in these foods that are responsible for their antioxidant properties.Some of the most familiar ones include vitamin C, vitamin E, beta-carotene, selenium, manganese, glutathione, coenzyme Q10, lipoic acid, flavonoids, and polyphenols.

Two Forgotten But Critical Brain Nutrients

You might think that ingesting adequate amounts of oxygen and water would be automatic.But most people use oxygen inefficiently and drink too little water.And this can have surprising repercussions for your brain.

You might think that ingesting adequate amounts of oxygen and water would be automatic.But most people use oxygen inefficiently and drink too little water.And this can have surprising repercussions for your brain.

Your Brain Needs Oxygen


Oxygen is one nutrient your brain can’t live without for more than a few minutes.While clearly you are getting enough oxygen to survive, you may not be getting enough for your brain to thrive.Here’s how to get the most from every breath you take:- Practice good posture. Standing up straight can increase lung capacity by 5%.– Practice breathing from your diaphragm. Most people breathe shallowly instead of deeply.– If you smoke, stop. Smokers have less oxygen flow to their brains.– Exercise! Exercise is one of the most important things you can do for your brain. It doesn’t need to be strenuous. Walking is particularly beneficial for the brain as are exercises with a strong mind-body connection like yoga and tai chi.– Eat a healthy diet that includes plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables. This increases your blood’s ability to transport oxygen to your brain cells.– Take brain-boosting vitamins or brain supplements that work by enhancing oxygen uptake by the brain. Ingredients that do this include bacopa, vinpocetine, huperzine A, acetyl-l-carnitine, and vitamins E and C.

Your Brain Needs Water


Your brain is 73% water.It takes only 2% dehydration to negatively affect your attention, memory, and other cognitive skills.Ninety minutes of sweating can shrink the brain as much as one year of aging!The effects of dehydration on the brain can be so noticeable that they mimic the symptoms of dementia.Some researchers believe that Alzheimer’s may be the result of long-term dehydration of the brain.

Nutrients for a Healthy Brain: Conclusion

Your brain works hard.It uses a lot of energy and needs a disproportionate amount of your nutrient intake to keep working its best.Your brain will appreciate more of the healthy, and fewer of the unhealthy, forms of macronutrients — fats, carbohydrates, and protein.Surprisingly, nutritional deficiencies are not a thing of the past.Make sure you are getting adequate amounts of the micronutrients many people are deficient in — vitamins C, B, and D, magnesium, and omega-3 essential fatty acids.And lastly, don’t ignore your brain’s need for optimal levels of water and oxygen.

​Source: Be Brain Fit