Earlier this month, two United Nations (UN) experts called for a comprehensive global treaty to not only regulate but actually phase out toxic pesticides in farming, and to move food production across the world toward more sustainable agricultural practices.
This is a significant change in stance that can — and hopefully will — have far-reaching consequences.
UN Calls for Global Treaty to Promote Sustainable Farming Without Toxic Pesticides
The two experts, Hilal Elver, the UN’s special rapporteur on the right to food and Baskut Tuncak, the special rapporteur on toxics, shared research with the Human Rights Council in Geneva showing pesticides are responsible for 200,000 acute poisoning deaths each year.
Chronic exposure has been linked to cancer, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s disease, hormone disruption, developmental disorders and sterility. As reported by Sustainable Pulse:12
“The experts particularly emphasized the obligation of States to protect the rights of children from hazardous pesticides … The experts warn that certain pesticides can persist in the environment for decades and pose a threat to the entire ecological system on which food production depends …
The experts say the use of neonicotinoid pesticides is particularly worrying because they are accused of being responsible for a systematic collapse in the number of bees around the world. Such a collapse, they say, threatens the very basis of agriculture as 71 percent of crop species are bee-pollinated.
Potassium Level Impacts High Blood Pressure More Than Sodium
Studies have clearly shown that having the correct balance of potassium to sodium is far more important than lowering salt alone. Potassium is a naturally occurring mineral your body uses as an electrolyte (substance in solution that conducts electricity), and it is vital for optimal health and normal functioning.
Potassium works in your body to relax the walls of your arteries, keep your muscles from cramping, and lowers your blood pressure.3 The reduction in blood pressure with added potassium has also been associated in studies with a reduced risk of stroke.4
While diarrhea, vomiting, excessive sweating (such as when using a sauna) and some drugs may deplete or disrupt your potassium balance, the most common reason for low potassium is eating a potassium-poor diet.
If you’re eating mostly processed foods, your sodium-to-potassium balance is virtually guaranteed to be inversed.
The average reported intake of potassium from food is about half of the 4,700 mg recommended.5 Research demonstrates these low levels of potassium may have a significant impact on blood pressure, especially when combined with too much salt.
Dr. Paul Welton, professor of epidemiology at Tulane School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine, analyzed 29 trials that demonstrated low levels of potassium resulted in higher systolic blood pressure readings.6 Studies performed since then have found similar results.7,8 According to Welton:9
“The evidence is very strong and very consistent. A higher potassium intake may blunt the effects of excess salt on blood pressure. Potassium’s effect is bigger in people who have higher blood pressure, bigger in older people, bigger in people who are consuming a lot of salt and bigger in black people.”
The Many Benefits of Potassium
Recent research found that women without hypertension who consumed the most potassium (nearly 3,200 mg/day) had a 21 percent reduced risk of stroke. Further, women who consumed the most potassium were 12 percent less likely to die during the study period than those who consumed the least.10
Adequate amounts of potassium are also associated with quicker recovery from exercise and improved muscle strength.11,12 As an electrolyte, potassium helps to regulate the fluid balance in your cells and throughout your body.13
This fluid balance is essential to maintaining life, preventing dehydration at the cellular level and maintaining brain function.14
For example, potassium is important in the transmission of nerve impulses in your brain, spinal cord and peripheral nervous system.15 Nerve impulses transmitting information from one nerve to the next happens as the result of electrical activity. This activity is what an electrocardiogram measures as it tracks heart activity.
Low levels of potassium have also been linked with high levels of insulin and glucose, associated with metabolic syndrome and type 2 diabetes.16 These results have been found in several studies,17 leading researchers to recommend dietary choices that boost potassium levels and reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes.
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Sucralose is a synthetic organochlorine sweetener (OC) that is a common ingredient in the world’s food supply. Sucralose interacts with chemosensors in the alimentary tract that play a role in sweet taste sensation and hormone secretion. In rats, sucralose ingestion was shown to increase the expression of the efflux transporter P-glycoprotein (P-gp) and two cytochrome P-450 (CYP) isozymes in the intestine. P-gp and CYP are key components of the presystemic detoxification system involved in first-pass drug metabolism. The effect of sucralose on first-pass drug metabolism in humans, however, has not yet been determined. In rats, sucralose alters the microbial composition in the gastrointestinal tract (GIT), with relatively greater reduction in beneficial bacteria. Although early studies asserted that sucralose passes through the GIT unchanged, subsequent analysis suggested that some of the ingested sweetener is metabolized in the GIT, as indicated by multiple peaks found in thin-layer radiochromatographic profiles of methanolic fecal extracts after oral sucralose administration. The identity and safety profile of these putative sucralose metabolites are not known at this time. Sucralose and one of its hydrolysis products were found to be mutagenic at elevated concentrations in several testing methods. Cooking with sucralose at high temperatures was reported to generate chloropropanols, a potentially toxic class of compounds. Both human and rodent studies demonstrated that sucralose may alter glucose, insulin, and glucagon-like peptide 1 (GLP-1) levels. Taken together, these findings indicate that sucralose is not a biologically inert compound.
There is, in fact, an accumulating body of research on sucralose showing this chemical marketed as an artificial sweetener is causing a wide range of adverse health effects. For instance, our sucralose research portal reveals 15 different signals of harm linked to this artificial sweetener, such as neurotoxicity.
When you add to this well-established body of research the recent discovery that sucralose produces carcinogenic dioxins when heated, the bitter truth about this artificial sweetener, namely, that it is a chemical in the same class as highly toxic pesticides like DDT, comes to light.