Microorganisms live in the human digestive system and affect our health — scientists are trying to work out how
Mahmoud Ghannoum , PhD, MBA, FIDSA, is the Director of the Center for Medical Mycology at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine and University Hospitals.
He has been called “the leading microbiome researcher in the world” by the Washington Post and has published over 450 scientific papers on his research specialty: how bacteria and fungi impact our health.
With his son, Afif, Dr Ghannoum is the founder of BIOHM Health, the first company to create probiotics and microbiome tests that address bacteria and fungi in the gut. He is also the founder of DrMicrobiome.com where his team offers personalized coaching programs for optimizing your microbiome.
Dr Ghannoum lectures at major scientific institutions around the world, including the Institute Pasteur in Paris and the National Institutes of Health, which has extensively funded his research over the last three decades.
Below are a useful set of links to online resources and articles BIOHM Health sent yesterday (3/30/2020) as a BIOHM Science Report on the topic of Immune Health and COVID-19.
“During these unusual times, the team at BIOHM wanted to share some useful information, articles, research and resources from across the globe about things you can do to keep our immune system healthy and strong!
“We are also sharing information from various resources as it relates to COVID-19 and immune health.” (BIOHM Science Report: Immune Health and COVID-19, 3/30/2020)
Cleveland Clinic: Find Out Your COVID-19 Risk Concerned about whether you may have COVID-19, but not sure what’s the first step?Try our free screening tool to find out your risk level, based on your symptoms and travel, and get the most appropriate care recommendations. Cleveland Clinic – Start Your Screening Now
JOHN HOPKINS: CORONAVIRUS RESOURCE CENTERJ Johns Hopkins experts in global public health, infectious disease, and emergency preparedness have been at the forefront of the international response to COVID-19.This website is a resource to help advance the understanding of the virus, inform the public, and brief policymakers in order to guide a response, improve care, and save lives. John Hopkins – COVID-19 Resource Center
ARTICLES IN THE NEWS
How to Stay Healthy in the Time of COVID-19 Keeping ourselves and our family healthy is important especially in this time of the COVID-19 pandemic.In the Philippines, the number of people infected with the virus is going up each day. With the country now declared in a State of Calamity and a Luzon-wide “enhanced community quarantine” in effect, we need to level up our own defenses as well. Continue Reading on Greenpeace’s Website
The Science Behind Improving Your Immune System During the COVID-19 Pandemic The thought of impending sickness has a lot of people on edge. It brings on anxiety, and when you’re anxious, you want to do something to relieve it. That’s why you see stories of people stockpiling toilet paper, and disinfecting wipes, and stealing face masks. (None of those things are going to help them stay healthy by the way!) Learn More from Thrive Global
Coronavirus: How to Keep Your Gut Microbiome Healthy to Fight COVID-19 These are unprecedented times. COVID-19 (the illness caused by the new coronavirus SARS-CoV-2) has officially been declared a pandemic by the World Health Organization. Many countries have sealed their borders and put the population under voluntary or enforced lockdown. Cultural and sporting events have been cancelled or postponed – including Euro 2020 and the Glastonbury festival – pubs and restaurants are closing, and people are panic buying staples such as toilet paper and pasta. But although it can feel like the situation is out of control, there are still plenty of things you can do to protect your health and that of the people around you.First and foremost, follow national guidance for preventing COVID-19: avoid spreading the virus and cut your chances of catching it by regularly washing your hands, avoiding touching your face and reducing social contact. This is particularly important for protecting at-risk groups including people with existing health conditions, the elderly and pregnant women. Continue Reading on The Conversation
COVID-19: How to Use Diet and Supplements to Maintain Immunity… and Sanity A dietitian and founder of a ‘good mood food’ startup has shared her tips for maintaining good mental health during the uncertain times of this COVID-19 pandemic. Continue Reading on Nutra Ingredients
COVID-19 – Boosting Your Immunity: Is That Really Possible? One of them being the ability to truly understand all the levels of interconnectedness and how to plug into that. There is no clear scientific evidence to date that clearly links lifestyle, food or vitamin supplements to a person’s immunity – a key to perfect immunity.Our immune system is quite efficient by itself, especially if you have the patience to let it function. It has the capabilities to manufacture its own antibiotics, but you need to wait it out.This is one of the prime reasons medical practitioners advise parents not to pump medications into babies for minor ailments. The building up of antibodies is what really boosts the immune system and that is a natural process. Nature cannot be rushed. Continue Reading on Gulf News
This is a 3/19/2020 video of Dr. Mahmoud Ghannoum and his son, Afif Ghannoum, co-founders of BIOHM Health, discussing the facts vs fiction around COVID-19 and immunity in general.
You can sign up to receive information from BIOHM Health and receive discounts on any of their products at the bottom of their FAQ page here.
Bacteria “make up our microbiome, an integral internal ecosystem that benefits our gut health and the immune system.” (Axe, 2016)
Dr. Josh Axe, DC, DNM, CNS, is a doctor of chiropractic, certified doctor of natural medicine and clinical nutritionist. In 2008, he started a functional medicine center in Nashville, which grew to become one of the most renowned clinics in the world.
I’ve always found the information on his site, DrAxe.com, to be well researched, clear and useful. You can subscribe to Dr Axe’s Newletters here.
The article reprinted below is by Dr Adria Rothfeld, DC, MS, CNS, an experienced nutritional professional. It contains a lot of timely information from Functional Medicine Research, most of it in abbreviated form.
Functional Medicine treats the whole patient, not the disease. It looks at the underlying causes of diseases and conditions in a particular person then works on rebalancing the body to return the person to full functioning. In comparison, Western Medicine (also sometimes referred to as Conventional, Traditional or Allopathic Medicine) generally looks at our symptoms and tries to match them up with medications to reduce those symptoms. In Western Medicine you’re often viewed as either ‘healthy’ or ‘sick’. If you’re ‘healthy’, you don’t need medication. If you’re ‘sick’, you’re generally prescribed something to control your symptom(s).
Dr. Adria Rothfeld is a nutritionist in New Jersey and New York. With over 25 years experience, her qualifications include: DC: Doctor of Chiropractic, MS Clinical Nutrition, Certified Nutrition Specialist, First Line Therapy Personalized Lifestyle Medicine Certification, Member of the Professional Advisory Board for the Cancer Support Community of Tinton Falls, New Jersey, Lecturer at Memorial Sloan Kettering, Riverview and Centra State Hospitals, Former Nutritional Consultant for the Avon Corporation.
The following is Dr Rothfeld’s article, reproduced from her own website:
I have compiled this document after a great deal of study as well as collaboration with highly respected colleagues in the field of integrative medicine. I would like to give credit to the following professionals who have devoted much of their time and resources to researching this topic:
Ilana Zablozki-Amir, MD: Together we compiled this document with research from multiple sources.
Designs For Health: Dr. Peter J. D’Adamo, ND, Dr. Todd Lepine, MD, Dr. David Brady, ND for their informative presentation earlier this week
Dietrich Klinghardt, MD, PhD of the Klinghardt Institute
Please be advised that I am not a medical doctor, I am a nutritional professional and this document covers evidence-based strategies to impact the pathways associated with viral spread and infection-it is NOT a substitute for medical diagnosis, care, or treatment. Do not implement without advice from your nutritional or medical professional. There can be interactions with medications as well as adverse side effects if done without appropriate guidance.
I will be updating this document often as additional information becomes available.
Stages of Viral Infection
Targeted Strategies for 4 Different Phases of Coronavirus:
Attachment to mucus membranes
Inhibit Replication: Cell division and advancement: Penetration to cell/nucleus to use our replicator machinery to create its own proteins.
Hijacking of immune system Cytokine Storm
A. Transmission-Preventing virus from entering the body
Surfaces: Can live multiple days on surfaces (depending on type ie cardboard vs metal vs plastic, etc. – average 3-9 days).
Use 70 percent alcohol-based cleaners, Hypochlorous acid, Hydrogen Peroxide, and Colloidal Silver
Heat over 108 Fahrenheit destroys the virus.
Hands: Most transmission is from hands to face. Biggest risk is touching face, mouth, nose, eyes.
Antibacterial triclosan cleansers/wipes are not indicated since they deplete our protective bacteria.
Gloves: Most gloves- disposable, washable, dish gloves, winter gloves, etc. Especially important to remind us not to touch our face. Nitrile, latex or rubber gloves. If not disposable, you can wash the gloves with soap or grease cutting detergent-to destroy lipid envelope around virus. You can wash these gloves throughout the day while wearing, like you would your hands, if waterproof. If you plan to wash in laundry, can presoak in steamy hot water before laundry since hot water may not be enough to kill the virus in the machine.
Masks: protect against droplet spray. N95/99.
B. Incubation- You’ve been exposed, the virus has entered your body, but you are asymptomatic (ex. 4-5 days before developing symptoms). We want to interfere with the ability of the virus to attach to our mucus membranes. I believe this is where most of us need to start since it is almost impossible to assume in our higher risk regions that we have not come in contact with the
Resides in respiratory tract – mouth, tongue, nose, throat. One study showed very high viral counts in the mouth, especially the tongue. May also reside in GI tract.
Goals for prevention of infection:
Wash them out
Interfere with first parts of their life cycle:
with lipid envelope around virus
with ability to attach to mucus membranes
Oil pulling: Helps remove because the virus has a lipid (fatty) envelope that attracted to oils. Swish 1 TBS oil around in mouth until completely saponified which means it loses its oily feel, and takes about 10-15 minutes of swishing/gargling around or so, then spit in trash not sink.
Coconut oil is a good choice.
Toothbrush disinfection: 3 percent peroxide daily
Herbs That Interfere with Viral Attachment: Those in the mint family: Target the structures on viral envelope that are responsible for attachment to our cell membranes.
Best is lemon balm, also oregano, mint, basil, sage, rosemary, savory, hyssop. Use throughout the day in meals and teas -no studies on how much but most important is a combination of herbs as they work better as a team.
Keep mouth bathed in herbs that block attachment: Herbal teas
Double strength-2 teabags per cup of hot water then as they cool can continue to drink or use as mouthwash/gargle. Lemon balm, caraway, Greek mountain tea, Elderberry which works well with green tea, ginger, mint, oregano: Mountain Tea from Traditional Medicinals. Stinging nettle tea: Upregulates antiviral cytokines.
Ellagic acid: Also interferes with attachment-berries
Blackberries, Raspberries, Rose hips, Pomegranate juice, Cranberries: in order from highest to lowest concentration.
Mannose Binding Lectins are inhibitors of SARS-like coronaviruses. Best food sources are leeks, garlic and onions. Fresh crushed garlic is probably the best source. Vitamin D also helps to raise MBL levels.
Colloidal Silver. ex ABL silver, Designs for Health Silvercillin- spray/swish in mouth, gargle
C. Penetration to Cell Cytosol and Nucleus and Replication:
The virus sabotages our cells for our machinery to replicate/reproduce, become powerful, and take residence.
Viruses are DNA or RNA type (or can be others like Retro, etc).
Inhibit viral replication:
Zinc Lozenges 10-15 mg after meals
After each meal-good to bathe mouth and throat esp upper respiratory during initial days when the virus is replicating. Picolinate and oxide forms are least effective.
Oral zinc capsules, ideally with food or can get nauseous. Think Zinc deficiency in loss of taste, and/or smell that is associated with the virus.
Many Viruses love arginine since they need it to replicate.
Nuts, seeds, chocolate—may be best to limit when viruses are a concern. From highest arginine: Macadamia highest, sesame, pumpkin, sunflower, pistachio, cashew, chia, flax, pecans. Coconut and chestnut are negligible so are fine.
L-Lysine, an amino acid, competes with arginine 1000-1200 mg/day, slows replication and works well in combination with vitamin C and green tea.
Lemon balm- Strongly protects against attachment viral replication for a wide variety of virus types-also calms anxiety without causing drowsiness. Teas, aromatherapy, supplements
ACE2 Receptors-Coronavirus enters our cells via a receptor (doorways) known as ACE2.
These are found on epithelial cells and very prominent in mouth and on tongue, respiratory tract/lungs.
The question hotly debated now is do you suppress expression of the receptors (fewer doors), or do you want to enhance them because the virus ultimately destroys them and they are critical component of homeostasis/balance in the body.
Selenium, A, C, D, E and calcium increase the doorways/receptors.
Blood pressure medications including Ace inhibitors and ARBs upregulate them too- but on some studies, especially for ARBS- these have been found to be protective.
Elderberry targets the lipid envelope and halts upregulation of ACE2 receptor. Targets the envelope and as discussed above, viral attachment.
In a 2019 study, which was not a human trial, Elderbery was found to be active against coronavirus. Dose: 700- 1000mg/day since that was dose recommended for flu and similar viruses. It is recommended to stop elderberry if sick at approximately day 8 or sooner if lung symptoms since it can aggravate the later inflammatory phase of the virus.
Another mechanism is instead of trying to alter the number of ACE2 receptors would be to interfere with the ability to use them as a doorway to enter the cell.
To travel through receptor/doorway the virus uses S protein spikes to unlock the gate.
Emodin containing herbs interfere with this interaction and help to keep the door closed: These include Japanese Knotweed, (Polygonum Multiflorum/Cuspidatum)
Chinese Rhubarb Root (Da Huang) Yellow Dock (Rumex)- Aloe Vera
Please speak to your health care provider as some of these can have a laxative effect.
D. Immune responseParasympathetic/Sympathetic Nervous System Balance:
The immune system works at its best when feeling calm, centered, balanced. When we enter the panic/fight or flight phase (SYMPATHETIC), the body prioritizes and shuts down the immune and digestive systems. We instead want to support and upregulate the rest and digest PARASYMPATHETIC RESPONSE.
Relaxation: Mindset, play, breathe, pray, meditate, movement, laugh, nature, etc.
Melatonin: 3-5 mg: Inflammasomes of the innate immune system activate the inflammatory process. The NLRP-3 inflammasome has been found to be key to activating ARDS and acute lung injury. C, melatonin and humming helps to silence the inflammasome. Propolis as well.
Vitamin C essential for an immune response especially early!!! 1 week prior to infection -so the bottom line is, start now.
Dosing for resp infections- minimum 4g/day-cautious if you have a history of kidney stones, or high iron levels. Smaller doses divided throughout the day and not more than 4 hrs apart.
Food sources not enough-but still recommended to eat because of bioflavonoids that help vitamin C do its job. (Peppers, Broccoli, Berries, Citrus)
High dose used in China Dr. Chang WuHan: Treated with 10-20g IV and no deaths in his group of 50 and they left hospital 3-5 days sooner. Can’t take these orally. You’d get diarrhea.
Our recommendation is liposomal vitamin C which uses phospholipids to enhance vitamin C’s absorption. Liposomal forms bypass the normal mechanisms of absorbing vitamin C so show higher bioavailability-meaning how well it absorbs into the system.
Other practical tips for supporting the immune system:
Fever: The body is intuitive:
Fever boosts immune function by activating immune cells at an accelerated rate. Fever suppressors can inhibit antibody production
How to support fevers that are 103 and under: Dress warmly, cozy socks, warm beverages-broth, tea, etc. If fever goes higher, you may want to cool things down:
Dress lighter, drink cooled peppermint tea.
Vitamin C can lessen discomfort
Controversy about Ibuprofen and aspirin- Known to inhibit antibody production more than Tylenol but Tylenol may also blunt antibody production. Tylenol also inhibits the glutathione pathway. Glutathione is immune supportive and antiviral. Treat fever that goes above 103 or if you are feeling miserable and Acetaminophen is the better choice for most. Low grade fevers do not always require medical intervention. Best to discuss with your health care provider.
Visualization/guided imagery to help guide immune response
Herbs-Immune-boosters vs Immune-modulators
When not to boost immune function is a big concern in discussions and a large source of confusion for many:
Lines of defense: All levels are communicating for our protection:
Barrier defense- Included mucus membranes, bacteria and healthy viruses: like the walls and moat of a castle.
Innate Immune Response- Destroys strangers/invaders: Natural Killer cells, macrophages (eat and present the invader to the Acquired Immune system), neutrophils (soldiers that fight the monsters).
Acquired- T and B cells that are instructed by Innate. B cells make antibodies to alert the T
IMMUNE Overload-this is what we want to avoid-The cell danger responses go awry- body sees all barriers and defenses as breached and sets up a no holds barred defense that comes in like a tsunami of inflammation to ward off invaders. This is what leads to the aggressive stages -ARDS-acute respiratory distress syndrome, and CYTOKINE
The Coronavirus hijacks our immune systems’ communication network by first suppressing the information and communication response and then it creates a storm of overload. That is when the respiratory symptoms become more severe, since the immune response is too aggressive. The cytokine storm is what kills people, not necessarily the virus.
Consider herbs this way which can help to sort out some of the confusion about what to use and when.
Days 0-5 or 0-7 Depending on symptom progression: Immune Stimulators/Boosters for early support and prevention:
Astragalus, ashwaganda, cordyceps, elderberry, garlic, panax ginseng, mushrooms, zinc-here you actually want to support antibody production and a little bit of inflammation.
Day 8 or earlier if shortness of breath or lung symptoms–Remember this is definitely the time to contact your health care provider if not sooner, this is when you would need medical intervention– Now is when we don’t want to keep stimulating the immune system, we want immune modulators:
Want to quench/modulate response:
Andrographis, rhodiola, eleuthero. Siberian ginseng and consider Stopping the earlier immune boosting herbs. Andrographis should be combined with Rhodiola or Siberian Ginseng.
Exact doses not known
Foundational Recommendations for Immune Support:
Avoid high glycemic foods: These suppress the immune response
Get enough sleep: Sleep has a restorative effect on the immune system
Encourage Autophagy: This is the body’s cleanup crew that is active only during fasting. This is when the immune system mops up infected cells. The number of hours between the last meal of the day and breakfast influences autophagy. 8 hrs. eating/16 hrs. fasting is optimal for immune function. Aim for at least a 13 hour overnight fast. More than16 isn’t better under these circumstances since that can instead activate stress hormones.
Exercise: Can profoundly influence the immune response. Prolonged intense exercise can actually depress immunity, while regular, moderate exercise is beneficial. Important to promote lymphatic circulation: Rebounder, jumping jacks, trampoline.
Reduce exposure to WiFi: WiFi is immunosuppressive. Suppresses melatonin production.
You’re sick: What actions to take: This always depends upon your symptoms, as we know this virus isn’t entirely predictable. At any point if you have difficulty breathing and lung involvement, you need to contact your medical professional.
Foundational Support for the phase where you are focusing on prevention with the possibility of exposure:
Good multivitamin/mineral: With aging we see micronutrient deficiencies that are associated with impaired immunity. A, C, E, B vitamins, folate, iron, selenium, zinc, copper.
Vitamin C 3-4g/day liposomal or ascorbic acid in divided doses. Also prevents cytokine storm.
Melatonin: 3-5 mg: Inflammasomes of the innate immune system activate the inflammatory process. The NLRP-3 inflammasome has been found to be key to activating ARDS and acute lung injury. C, melatonin and humming helps to silence the inflammasome. Propolis as well.
D3K2: Vitamin D helps block inflammatory chemicals.
GI support: Probiotics, SBI powder, Quercetin
Zinc-lozenges or capsules
Quercetin: Sits on cell wall surfaces and can disrupt viral docking. Also supports intestinal barrier function. Can use high doses: 1g quercetin with 1g C several times/day.
Tocotrienols: Work along with quercetin: Quercetin is on the outside of the cell membrane, tocotrienols on the inside. They can block surface active proteins. Help quench the cytokine fire.
Herbal blends with Andrographis, Skullcap, Cordyceps, Astragalus, Japanese Knotweed
One formula is Wellness Herbal Defense (this would replace multivitamin but need addition of B complex) and additionally Skullcap, Japanese Knotweed and Cordyceps
Nettle Root Now Food Brands
Skullcap: Blocks viral attachment.
Cordyceps: Blocks viral attachment
NAC: Mucolytic, antiviral or Glutathione liposomal which also enhances immune function
L-Lysine: 1000-2000mg/day on empty stomach. Works well with green tea and vitamin C.
SPM for its potent ability to resolve inflammation: Proresolving Mediators
Blocking IL-1b: which contributes to leaky lung/leaky vasculature permitting increased antigen penetration and further inflammation- Sulforaphane (cruciferous vegetables) as well as Melatonin, Quercetin, Cordyceps, Curcumin
Nasal/Sinus Support: Aromatherapy with essential oils: lemon balm, thuja, caraway, mint, oregano, rosemary, sage Can bathe sinus passage-using diffuser or take Essential oil bottle, agitate closed battle with lid, the open and place bottle under nostril and slowly inhale at regular intervals throughout the day
Double strength-2 teabags per cup of hot water then as they cool can continue to drink or use as mouthwash/gargle. Lemon balm, caraway, Greek mountain tea, elderberry which works well with green tea, ginger, mint, oregano: Mountain Tea from Traditional Medicinals. Stinging nettle tea root reduces inflammation.
Reduce Dietary Arginine: Nuts, seeds, chocolate—may be best to limit when viruses are a concern. From highest arginine Macadamia highest, sesame, pumpkin, sunflower, Pistachio, cashew, chia, flax, pecans. Coconut and chestnut are negligible so are fine
Days 0-5 or 7: Immune Stimulators/Boosters for early support and prevention:
Astragalus, ashwaganda, cordyceps, elderberry, garlic, panax ginseng, zinc, C 3-4g dose, E lower dose-here you actually want to support antibody production and a little bit of inflammation.
Andrographis blocks furin which is a protein that allows viruses to enter cells and make them easily transmissible. Should be used early in the treatment of infected or suspected infection. Prevention: 1 dropper 3-4x/day.
SPM to support resolution of inflammation
Day 8 or earlier if shortness of breath or lung symptoms-Remember this is definitely the time to contact your health care provider if not sooner, this is when you would need medical intervention– Now we don’t want to keep stimulating the immune system, we want immune modulators:
Want to quench/modulate response:
Andrographis, rhodiola, eleuthero. Siberian ginseng and consider Stop earlier immune boosting herbs Andrographis should be combined with Rhodiola or Siberian Ginseng. Higher dose vitamin C with quercetin.
Melatonin in higher doses
With respiratory symptoms:Carnosine, Bromelain, Curcumin, SPM, Melatonin, Vitamin C higher dose.
May become hypokalemic: Low in potassium, important to support.
Blood type and COVID-19: If you are type A, boost up fermented soy products, great northern and fava beans and mushrooms as well as foods from the Allium family: Garlic, onion, shallots, leeks.
Research: I will post more research so keep an eye out
Melatonin: Prevents NLRP3 from activating the inflammasome that leads to runaway inflammation.
COVID-19: Melatonin as a potential adjuvant treatment
In this fraught time of the Coronavirus-19 pandemic, we’re being bombarded daily with frightening information (along with some misinformation) about the virus and how to stay well. And most people, already living in a high state of stress, become alarmed and fearful, getting stuck in an even higher state of stress, anxiety and even panic.
Wouldn’t this be an excellent moment in history to make information about how to calm ourselves widely available? In the interest of public health, how helpful it would be if children were taught breath work to be able to stay centered and calm. And what if every news show began and concluded with a segment demonstrating how to breathe properly. That would go a long way toward helping us deal with the news delivered in between.
HOW TO BREATHE
Here’s a short video showing how to breathe properly so you can stay centered and calm yourself:
In this longer TEDx Talk, psychologist and breathing expert Dr Belisa Vranich explains more fully how incorrect breathing stresses and impairs our bodies. She also shows how to breathe properly.
From an article called “How shallow breathing affects your whole body” on HeadSpace.com (Rifkin, 2017):
“If you want to observe incredible breathing, watch a newborn. They naturally practice deep, or diaphragmatic, breathing by using the diaphragm, a muscle under the lungs, to pull air into the lungs. Visually, you’ll see the belly expand and chest rise as they inhale air through the nose and into the lungs. As they exhale, the belly contracts.
“For many people, this kind of breathing is no longer instinctive. Instead, many of us have become shallow chest, or thoracic, breathers—inhaling through our mouth, holding our breath and taking in less air. Over time our breathing patterns have shifted as a reaction to environmental stressors, like temperature, pollution, noise, and other causes of anxiety. Cultural expectations, including the desire to have a flat stomach, encourage holding our breath and sucking in our stomachs, further tightening our muscles.
“When we breathe in a shallow way, the body remains in a cyclical state of stress—our stress causing shallow breathing and our shallow breathing causing stress. This sets off the sympathetic nervous system, the branch of the autonomic nervous system that primes us for activity and response.
This kind of breathing locks the body and mind into a permanent state of stress. In fact, the body and brain are actually one and the same. You’ve no doubt noticed that your brain resides inside your body and they’re constantly interacting with each other.
“Long-term shallow breathing can seriously affect our health. According to Luckovich, the chronic stress that is associated with shallow breathing results in lower amounts of lymphocyte, a type of white blood cell that helps to defend the body from invading organisms, and lowers the amounts of proteins that signal other immune cells. The body is then susceptible to contracting acute illnesses, aggravating pre-existing medical conditions, and prolonging healing times. Shallow breathing can turn into panic attacks, cause dry mouth and fatigue, aggravate respiratory problems, and is a precursor for cardiovascular issues.”
For those of you who still believe this vaccine was well researched, effective and proven safe to be given to our children, the contents of Mercola’s post will be an eye opener and will also shed light on the inner workings of the huge and powerful vaccine industry in the US and the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s role in mandating and promoting this and other childhood vaccines.
The chart below shows (as of 2019) the types of vaccines and also the number of doses US children receive. Compare it to the number of vaccines and doses shown for 1962 and 1983.
Note: I searched a long while for an easy-to-read childhood immunization schedule that included number of doses and was published by an official US governmental source and didn’t find one so decided to use this one by Informed Choice USA. They are “a coalition of physicians, nurses, medical researchers, scientists, legislators, attorneys, parents, professionals, and activists come together for a unified approach to restoring and protecting our personal, parental, medical, and religious freedoms. We oppose medical mandates for employment, enrollment, or inclusion anywhere. “ (Informed Choice USA, 2019-2020)
This is Mercola’s verbatim summary of his post:
In January 2020, Dr. Julie Gerberding, former director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, who after leaving the CDC became president of Merck’s vaccine division, sold half her Merck stock options for $9.11 million
Gerberding also cashed out in 2016, when she sold $5.1 million in Merck stocks, and 2015, when she made $2.3 million. In total, Gerberding has made $16,592,144 from her company stock options
Gerberding’s former high-level ties to the CDC likely has had enormous influence over Merck’s financial growth, considering Merck makes a majority of the pediatric and adults vaccines recommended by the CDC
Red flags have recently been raised about Merck’s HPV vaccine Gardasil, a vaccine Gerberding promoted in a 2004 report to Congress before it was fast tracked to licensure in 2006. The U.K. recently reported a 54% rise in cervical cancer among 24- to 29-year-olds, the first generation to receive the HPV vaccine
A January 2020 report in the Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine warns HPV vaccine trials have not been designed to detect whether the vaccine actually prevents cervical cancer. Trials have shown, however, that Gardasil raises the risk of cervical cancer by 44.6% among women with a current or previous HPV infection
For those of you who believe the Gardasil vaccine was responsibly researched, is effective and has been proven safe to be given to our children, the contents of Mercola’s post will be an eye opener. It will also shed light on the inner workings of the booming vaccine industry in the US and the CDC’s role in promoting other childhood vaccines – as well as on the revolving door that’s existed for decades between high level executives at the biggest pharmaceutical companies and the US governmental agencies that are supposed to be protecting us from being harmed by vaccines and other drugs.
Some highlights from the Mercola article:
Robert F Kennedy, Jr, chairperson of the Children’s Health Defense, recently stated, “Last month, Cancer Research UK announced an alarming 54% rise in cervical cancer among 24-29-year-olds, the first generation to receive the HPV jabs.
“The following day, the Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine published a withering critique of Gardasil’s crooked clinical trials, ‘It is still uncertain whether human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccination prevents cervical cancer as trials were not designed to detect this outcome.’
“As Gerberding knows, those trials revealed that Gardasil dramatically RAISES (by +44.6%) the risk of cervical cancer among women with a current infection or those previously exposed to HPV.
“That may explain the cancer explosions in England and other nations with high inoculation rates in young girls up to age 18; Australia, Spain, Sweden and Norway. A 2019 study of Alabama girls found the highest cervical cancer rates in the state’s most heavily vaccinated counties.
“With Merck’s efficacy pretensions circling the drain, a coalition of leading plaintiff’s lawyers are already in discovery in a suit alleging that Merck fraudulently concealed serious illnesses affecting half, and autoimmune diseases affecting 1 of every 37 girls in Gardasil’s clinical trials within 6 months of injection.
“As Centers for Disease Control (CDC) Director from 2002-2009, Gerberding helped Merck paper over these efficacy and safety problems.” (Kennedy, 2020)
WHY THE CDC AND MERCK’S COLLUSION IS IMPORTANT TO UNDERSTAND: ITS DANGEROUS IMPACT ON THE HEALTH OF OUR CHILDREN
As I discovered while researching my own post on Gardasil last year, it isn’t just the CDC that ‘s to blame for the Gardasil disaster. The US Food & Drug Administration (FDA) and the National Institutes of Health (NIH) – agencies both tasked with protecting our well being – along with Merck and big advertising agencies worked together in ways that placed profit over the health and well being of our children. (If you have the stomach for it, you can read my article to learn more.)
When you look at the increasingly ill health of the US population during the years the US government has recommended and mandated more and more childhood vaccinations, the CDC’s collusion with Merck to allow the pharmaceutical giant’s Gardasil vaccine to reach the market can only strike you as appalling.
“The United States has higher vaccination rates than any other country. The US also has very high infant mortality rates. American children experience epidemic levels of chronic diseases including autism, attention deficit disorder, learning disabilities, autoimmune disorders, asthma, epilepsy and allergies.
“If vaccinations were so effective in improving the health of children, why do the statistics not bear this out? In fact, the opposite has been shown to be true. Increasing vaccination rates are correlated with growth in diseases for our children.
“Unfortunately, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and physician groups mistakenly maintain that vaccines are responsible for eliminating many frightening childhood diseases including measles, mumps, chicken pox and polio. These diseases and others targeted by vaccines are, in truth, minor childhood illnesses which cause few health problems.
“These medical groups recommend the current aggressive vaccine schedule, although vaccines have never been proven to be safe or effective. They fail to address the epidemic of chronic disease for today’s children and also deny that vaccines could be causing them, in spite of evidence to the contrary….
“US children are experiencing a health epidemic with more chronic diseases than ever before in our history. The US has the highest infant mortality in a study comparing America with 29 other developed countries. Children in the US suffered with more autism than in all other countries studied.
“Studies comparing vaccinated and unvaccinated show conclusively that unvaccinated children enjoy far superior health. Research and data demonstrate that vaccines cause neurological damage and contribute to significant health damage.
“Vaccines are a major contributing factor to today’s health crisis in our children. Vaccines wrongly credited with saving lives and improving health is instead responsible for destroying lives.
“Legal immunity granted to vaccine makers has contributed to a growth in unsafe vaccinations, which profit pharmaceutical companies while injuring our children.”
A COMPARISON OF JAPAN’S & THE US’S VACCINATION PROGRAMS
“The U.S. has the very highest infant mortality rate of all industrialized developed countries, with more American children dying at birth and in their first year than in any other comparable nation—and more than half of those who survive develop at least one chronic illness.” (Kristen, 2020)
For instance, look at the main features of Japan’s vaccination programs and ask yourself which is more sensible and less risky – the US’s one-size-fits-all, multi-vaccination program starting at birth or Japan’s:
Japan has no vaccine mandates, instead recommending vaccines that … are either “routine” (covered by insurance) or “voluntary” (self-pay).
Japan does not vaccinate newborns with the hepatitis B (HepB) vaccine, unless the mother is hepatitis B positive.
Japan does not vaccinate pregnant mothers with the tetanus-diphtheria-acellular pertussis (Tdap) vaccine.
Japan does not give flu shots to pregnant mothers or to six-month-old infants.
Japan does not give the MMR vaccine, instead recommending an MR vaccine.
Japan does not require the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine
Of the world’s industrialized developed countries, the US administers by far the highest number of vaccines and vaccine doses to infants in their first two years of life – yet our infant mortality rate is also the very highest among those countries.
“Children in Japan are among the healthiest in the world, while children in the United States rate low on the list of developed nations for health outcome measures. Given that the U.S. spends more than any other country on health care to ensure the health and well-being of its children, what is behind this discrepancy?” (Raines, 2019)
VACCINATIONS IN GENERAL: OVERALL HEALTH OF VACCINATED VS UNVACCINATED CHILDREN
A 2017 pilot comparative survey conducted by a group of public health scientists in the fields of epidemiology and biostatistics set out to address a major current health question: Whether vaccination is linked in any way to children’s long-term health. The recruitment letter sent to parents of home schooled children 6-12 years old in Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi and Oregon was written in a neutral tone: “Vaccination is one of the greatest discoveries in medicine, yet little is known about its long-term impact. The objective of this study is to evaluate the effects of vaccination by comparing vaccinated and unvaccinated children in terms of a number of major health outcomes …” The results found the UNVACCINATED children to be HEALTHIER overall than the vaccinated.
Perhaps not what you expected.
The vaccinated children were found to have a higher rate of allergies and neuro-developmental disorders than the unvaccinated children: a learning disability, Attention Deficient Hyperactivity Disorder and Autism Spectrum Disorder.
Preterm birth coupled with vaccination was associated with an apparent synergistic increase in the odds of neuro-developmental disorders.
The vaccinated were less likely than the unvaccinated to have been diagnosed with chickenpox and pertussis, but more likely to have been diagnosed with pneumonia, otitis media, allergies and neuro-developmental disorders.
The interaction of preterm birth and vaccination was associated with a 6.6-fold increased odds of neuro-developmental disorders.
The vaccinated children were significantly more likely than the unvaccinated to have been diagnosed with: allergic rhinitis, other allergies, eczema/atopic dermatitis and any chronic illness.
“No significant differences were observed with regard to cancer, chronic fatigue, conduct disorder, Crohn’s disease, depression, Types 1 or 2 diabetes, encephalopathy, epilepsy, hearing loss, high blood pressure, inflammatory bowel disease, juvenile rheumatoid arthritis, obesity, seizures, Tourette’s syndrome or services received under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act .” (But keep in mind that the children were only six by the end of the study.)
The authors bottom line conclusion from their data was that the vaccinated children were found to have a higher rate of allergies and neuro-developmental disorders than the unvaccinated children. (Mawson et al, 2017)
I also noticed in the survey’s published data that twice as many of the vaccinated children had taken antibiotics in the year prior to the data gathering: 30.8% of the vaccinated children vs 15.4% of the unvaccinated. (Mawson et al, 2017). This is significant on its own.
Presumably the vaccinated children were given antibiotics because they had a bacterial illness or infection. Since we know that systemic antibiotics kill the good (probiotic) bacteria along with any bad (pathogenic) bacteria in our microbiomes, this datum alone raises an alarm. The more antibiotics we take, the worse our health is likely to become over time:
Antibiotics can destroy the healthy flora in the gut and also cause bacteria to become increasingly resistant to treatment .
A 2018 study from Case Western Reserve University showed that antibiotics can damage immune cells and worsen oral infections by damaging white blood cells’ ability to fight off fungal infections, such as Candida. (Healthline, 2018)
This infographic from the CDC compares morbidity from common infectious childhood diseases in the US during the pre-vaccine era and 2015. You’ll note the efficacy of the vaccines against the diseases they target. Also note that the graphic compares only morbidity (becoming sick with an illness), not mortality (dying from the illness). Having and recovering from, for example, a case of measles in childhood is very different from dying from it.
Now add the information in this infographic to that information:
It would have been helpful if the CDCgraphic had added MORTALITY estimates to the MORBIDITY estimates for the pre-vaccine era numbers. Morbidity = getting sick with a disease. Mortality = dying from it. There’s a large difference between, for example, getting measles as a child, recovering and then having natural immunity for measles, and dying from the measles.
Have we successfully taken care of the 14 childhood diseases shown on the CDC graphic at the expense of increasing our children’s chances of suffering with a variety of autoimmune diseases and conditions throughout their lives?
The data below are from Mawson et al’s 2017 pilot comparative survey on the health of vaccinated and unvaccinated children:
Medication Use for Allergies:
Yes 20.0% 1.2%
No 80.0% 98.8%
Antibiotics Use in Past Year:
Yes 30.8% 15.4%
No 69.2% 84.6%
Fever Medication Use 1+ Times:
Yes 90.7% 67.8%
No 9.3% 32.2%
(Mawson et al, 2017)
Don’t these few comparative percentages suggest that the unvaccinated children were healthier than the vaccinated?
HOW AUTOIMMUNE DISEASES DEVELOP
“An autoimmune disease is a condition in which your immune system mistakenly attacks your body.
“The immune system normally guards against germs like bacteria and viruses. When it senses these foreign invaders, it sends out an army of fighter cells to attack them.
“Normally, the immune system can tell the difference between foreign cells and your own cells.
“In an autoimmune disease, the immune system mistakes part of your body, like your joints or skin, as foreign. It releases proteins called autoantibodies that attack healthy cells.
“Some autoimmune diseases target only one organ. Type 1 diabetes damages the pancreas. Other diseases, like systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), affect the whole body.
“…. A 2015 study focused on another theory called the hygiene hypothesis. Because of vaccines and antiseptics, children today aren’t exposed to as many germs as they were in the past. The lack of exposure could make their immune system prone to overreact to harmless substances.”
“Developed countries have experienced a steady increase in atopic disease and disorders of immune dysregulation since the 1980s. This increase parallels a decrease in infectious diseases within the same time period, while developing countries seem to exhibit the opposite effect, with less immune dysregulation and a higher prevalence of infectious disease. The “hygiene hypothesis”, proposed by Strachan in 1989, aimed to explain this peculiar generational rise in immune dysregulation. However, research over the past 10 years provides evidence connecting the commensal and symbiotic microbes (intestinal microbiota) and parasitic helminths with immune development, expanding the hygiene hypothesis into the “microflora” and “old friends” hypotheses, respectively. There is evidence that parasitic helminths and commensal microbial organisms co-evolved with the human immune system and that these organisms are vital in promoting normal immune development. Current research supports the potential for manipulation of the bacterial intestinal microbiota to treat and even prevent immune dysregulation in the form of atopic disease and other immune-mediated disorders (namely inflammatory bowel disease and type 1 diabetes).” (Stiemsma et al, 2015)
SOME FINAL THOUGHTS ABOUT RELYING ON VACCINES TO TRY TO ACHIEVE GOOD HEALTH
Unlike children who’ve actually had measles, as an example, children who’ve received a vaccination against measles are not fully immune because a vaccine-induced immunity is only temporary while having had measles creates a strong, natural immunity. Because of this, children who’ve been vaccinated against measles can get infected when their temporary immunity wears off.
As Dr Ron Marsh, a Distinguished Fellow of the International Chiropractors Association who grew up in the 1950’s, puts it: “Why don’t doctors now tell parents what they told them then? That measles and other ‘childhood illnesses’ were just that — events of youth that strengthen the developing immune system. Unpleasant but rarely serious events that make kids healthier. (Repeated studies show that acute, febrile [fever-attended] infections of childhood protect against cancer later in life.)” (Marsh, 2019)
It seems to me the bottom line about vaccines and health is that we need to refocus our efforts to achieve health away from vaccines and other heavy duty pharmaceuticals and onto nourishment from a healthy diet and environment.
We also need a great deal more clear-eyed research on the risks and benefits of vaccinations so parents can make well informed decisions on behalf of their children’s health and safety.
In the meantime, keeping our, our children’s and our pets’ immune systems healthy and strong will provide lifelong benefits.
Here in New York, Governor Cuomo declared a state of emergency in response to the novel coronavirus 19. While I understand his reasons for taking this action, I have to say I wish the dire state of our food, water and air supplies had people as ready to respond with emergency measures.
In 2014 when I was looking into the ebola virus spreading in Sierra Leone and other pandemics throughout history, I wrote “Throughout history, about 70% of people who contracted smallpox survived – and apparently not everyone who was ever exposed to the virus became ill. Why?” (Hardin, 2014)
Isn’t the WHY the interesting question?
If you want to avoid getting whatever is going around – from coronavirus, ebola or the bubonic plague to the common cold and everything in between, doesn’t it make sense to keep your gut microbiome and the other microbiomes in your body as strong as possible?
YOU ARE NOT HELPLESS AGAINST THESE PATHOGENS SHOULD YOU HAPPEN TO BE EXPOSED TO ANY OF THEM.
THE BEST WAY TO STAY HEALTHY AND AVOID BEING STRICKEN BY WHATEVER BAD BACTERIA OR VIRUSES ARE GOING AROUND IS TO KEEP THE MICRO-ORGANISMS LIVING IN YOUR GUT MICROBIOME – YOUR GUT IMMUNITY – BALANCED AND STRONG.
LEST YOU THINK I’M A COMMITTED ANTI-VAXXER
I’m of the opinion that a great deal more clear-eyed, unbiased research into the risks and benefits of childhood vaccinations is needed so parents can make informed decisions.
Herbs, garlic and other plants have been used since ancient times as natural treatments to protect against and heal many illness, including viral infections.
“Due to their concentration of potent plant compounds, many herbs help fight viruses and are favored by practitioners of natural medicine.
“At the same time, the benefits of some herbs are only supported by limited human research, so you should take them with a grain of salt.” (Kubala, 10/21/2019)
This post is for those of you who are curious about using some of these natural remedies and nutritional supplements as protection against the new coronavirus 19 and are looking for information on how they work and their effectiveness for this purpose.
The information I’m directing you to is an article called Natural Remedies and Supplements for Coronavirus (COVID-19) provided by Consumer Lab. (ConsumerLab.com, 3/15/2020)
“ConsumerLab.com, LLC (“CL”) is the leading provider of independent test results and information to help consumers and healthcare professionals identify the best quality health and nutrition products. It publishes results of its tests in comprehensive reports at www.consumerlab.com. CL also conducts an annual Survey of Vitamin & Supplement Users. CL’s research is cited frequently by the media, in books, and at professional meetings. In addition to the products it selects to review, CL enables companies of all sizes to have their products quality tested for potential inclusion in its list of Approved Quality products and bear the CL Seal. Since its founding in 1999, CL has tested more than 5,600 products, representing over 850 different brands and nearly every type of popular supplement for adults, children, and pets.” (ConsumerLab.com, 2020)
The member-submitted question ConsumerLab addresses in Natural Remedies and Supplements for Coronavirus (COVID-19) is: What are natural remedies for coronavirus (COVID-19)? Do supplements like zinc, vitamin C, or herbals work?
In this time of alternative facts and rampant misinformation, and with the media whipping up a panic about the spread of Coronavirus COVID-19 around the world, stock markets heading downhill and people panicking, here are some REAL facts to put this latest virus in perspective.
You can use this usefulinteractive web-based map to track cases of the Coronavirus COVID-19 around the world. The map is created by the Center for Systems Science and Engineering Coronavirus Resource Center at Johns Hopkins University. Data is gathered in real time from WHO, CDC, ECDC, NHC, DXY and local media reports so you can check out the most up to date facts on it.
Here’s some data as of the time I’m writing this (Thursday
March 12 2020 at noon):
TOTAL CONFIRMED CASES WORLDWIDE: 127,873
TOTAL DEATHS WORLDWIDE: 4,718
TOTAL RECOVERED WORLDWIDE: 68,310
Half of the confirmed cases to date have recovered
Only 0.037% of the confirmed cases have died
EXPOSURE TO THE VIRUS IS NOT A DEATH SENTENCE
Many people seem to believe they have to keep themselves and
their loved ones from getting EXPOSED to the virus – that exposure = getting it
= dying from it.
In fact, we’re exposed to nasty viral, bacterial and fungal pathogens every day and usually don’t become sick from them.
MANY HAND SANITIZERS DO NOT KILL THE VIRUS
The CDC recommends washing your hands with soap and water as the best way to kill any virus on them. If you don’t have access to soap and water, the CDC recommends using a hand sanitizer containing a minimum of 60% alcohol. Alcohol-free sanitizers or ones with less than 60% alcohol content may get your hands cleaner but DO NOT KILL THE VIRUS. (Allen & Song, 3/6/2020)
THE BEST WAY TO PROTECT YOURSELF AGAINST THE CORONAVIRUS – AND OTHER CONTAGIOUS ILLNESSES AS WELL
Keep your immune system strong. This is of the utmost
importance in this time of coronavirus and for maintaining good health
throughout your lifetime as well.
“Your immune system will mount an appropriate response to the invaders and begin to kill off the virus cells. You develop a fever, which creates a hostile environment for the virus, and you’ll gradually get rid of mucus and buildup by coughing, and through your nose running. This is a completely normal immune response.” (CentreSpringMD, 2020)
Here are two useful articles on what you can do instead of panicking:
A SOURCE OF SANE ANSWERS TO QUESTIONS ABOUT THE VIRUS
Take a look at a sane article called COVID-19 Expert Reality Check published on 3/5/2020 by the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. The article consists of questions about the virus and short answers written by recognized public health experts.
This is one of those answers, to the question “What is the best way to counter misinformation in the media?“
“The best way to counter misinformation in the media is with an
aggressive onslaught of facts. During an outbreak, information may be shifting,
guidance changing, and questions multiplying, but the process is guided by
adherence to reality and logic. Uncertainty is not an excuse for entertaining
arbitrary assertions offered in defiance of the need for evidence. They should
be identified as such and dismissed.
“Experts, in addition to relating facts, should also explain the
evidence that supports their conclusions and how recommendations are rooted in
that evidence. This is a daunting task, as it involves more than information
dissemination. It requires attention to what counts as evidence and an
understanding of how to evaluate competing claims—some of which are grounded in
evidence and some of which clearly are not.” (Johns Hopkins, 3/5/2020)
The author, Amesh Adalja, MD, is a senior scholar at the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security.
Many thanks to Leif Olson for directing me to the useful Johns Hopkins Coronavirus-19 interactive map site.
Johns Hopkins University Coronavirus Resource Center. (updated daily, 2020). Interactive webbased map to track cases of the Coronavirus COVID-19 around the world. See: https://coronavirus.jhu.edu/map.html
The Wednesday morning before Thanksgiving I woke up with severe vertigo whenever I moved my head even a fraction of an inch and wondered how I’d be able to start cooking the feast promised for the next day. Symptoms included the sensation the room was spinning around, nausea, lightheadedness, feeling I was about to fall over and exhaustion. The only thing that had ever resolved vertigo attacks in the past had been acupuncture – and relief had only come the day following the treatments.
WHAT CAUSES VERTIGO?
“Benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV) is caused by a problem in the inner ear. Tiny calcium “stones” inside your inner ear canals help you keep your balance. Normally, when you move a certain way, such as when you stand up or turn your head, these stones move around. Sometimes these stones move into an area of your inner ear called the semicircular canal. When you move your head in certain ways, the stones in the semicircular canal move. Sensors in the semicircular canal are triggered by the stones, which causes a feeling of dizziness.” (Michigan Medicine, 2019)
I mentioned the vertigo problem to a friend who told me about something called the Epley Maneuver that involves a series of head movements to shift crystals that have moved into the inner ear canal and cause the vertigo.
THE EPLEY MANEUVER
This short video explains the Epley Maneuver:
Now that I knew what had caused the vertigo, I figured this maneuver would probably work but the idea of going through it sounded horrific. I started to think what I could do that would be gentler and similar to acupuncture to move the crystal(s) that were causing the problem and recalled that sound vibrations have been used for centuries to heal various physical problems.
So I enlisted the aid of my chef friend, Curtis LaPrise, who’d come up from New Orleans to help me cook the Thanksgiving feast, and this is what we did.
I sat on the couch, put a red cushion ring on top of my head and had him place my largest Tibetan singing bowl upside down on top of the cushion so the bowl was balanced there.
Then, while I kept a pointer finger firmly on top of the center of the bowl to keep it from falling off, he used the mallet to sound the bowl, working slowly around the rim of the upside down bowl for about ten minutes.
And my vertigo was gone! I got up, felt quite fine and proceeded to do all the things required to get the feast ready.
USING A SINGING BOWL ON TOP OF YOUR HEAD
Here’s why this wonderful, enjoyable treatment worked – and also gave me a whole body tune up to boot:
You can see in the video example (not of me) that the sound waves produced by the singing bowl enters both ears.
HOW SINGING BOWLS WORK
When choosing a singing bowl, go to a Tibetan store or some other reputable place that sells them and try a few out. Then choose one whose vibrations feel most suited to your body. Also get a cushion ring and mallet that match the size of your bowl. This may be a substantial investment but one that will greatly improve all aspects of your health and over all well being for the rest of your life.
HOW SINGING BOWLS HEAL
Tibetan singing bowls have been used for centuries for sound therapy, a form of energy medicine. When gonged, the bowls create harmonic sound waves that restore healthy vibratory frequencies to diseased and out-of-harmony parts of the body, mind and soul.
“Healing processes are initiated through entraining our brainwaves to synchronise with the perfect resonance of the bowls. Unique tones create the perfect state for deep meditation, creative thinking and intuitive messages.
“The pure sonic waves that ring from Tibetan Singing Bowls wake up our ability to hear with more than our ears. We feel the sound (from) Tibetan Singing Bowls as much as we take it in with our ears.
“Sound Healing expert, Diáne Mandle states that Tibetan Singing Bowls don’t only effect a great deal of physical healing but also have far-reaching implications that occur on emotional and spiritual levels. It is a regenerative process married to a spiritual awakening that can have profound consequences on illness, disease, and all aspects of our lives.” (Dangeli, 2019)
AN 11 MINUTE TOTAL BODY TUNE UP WITH SINGING BOWLS
Keep your singing bowl out of harm’s way and bear in mind that dropping a singing bowl on a hard surface may crack it and mean the end of its ability to produce harmonic sounds.
For another post on healing with Tibetan Singing Bowls and one on the value of Traditional Tibetan Medicine, see also:
I was invited by its host, Patrick Timpone, to be interviewed about the Mind, Brain, Gut Connection on his One Radio Network live talk radio show, Know the Source. Show topics focus on health, wealth and well being.
The interview took place the morning of September 10 2019 and turned out to be quite fun. He was also interested in my perspective as a clinical psychologist and we managed to wend our way into other topics as well.
Here’s a complete audio recording of my interview segment:
Blood thinning medications are designed to prevent dangerous clot formation inside the body, not to actually make the blood thinner or break up existing clots.
Doctors tell you to avoid blood thinners for some time before surgery (two weeks to one day) to reduce your risk of prolonged bleeding during the operation but the list they give you usually includes only OTC and prescription blood thinners – and perhaps vitamin E. Here’s a typical list:
When I was getting ready for wrist surgery scheduled for August 30th a year ago, my orthopod required the results of several tests, including some blood work, by August 23rd in order to clear me for the surgery. It was early August and most internists I contacted were either going on vacation, didn’t do pre-op testing or wouldn’t take a new patient.
I finally found a young MD internist with a large, hip practice in my neighborhood who was willing to do all the required pre-op testing and could see me on August 14.
His office said it could take a week for them to receive the blood results. Not hearing anything from either the internist ‘s or surgeon’s office, I assumed all was well. Then, when I called the internist on August 24th, six days before the surgery, to get a copy of the blood results for my records, I was told told my clotting factors were quite elevated so he hadn’t sent a Medical Clearance letter to my surgeon. He also hadn’t let me know about this problem.
The internist asked if I was taking Warfarin, bruised easily, had bleeding gums. No, no & no. He was alarmed by my clotting factor results and wanted me to see a hematologist immediately to find out what was going on.
I suggested the results were probably from the nutritional supplements I was taking and told him I’d been off them since the 21st (10 days pre-op). Fortunately, he recognized he’d made a mistake and had me come in that same day to get my blood retested. And mercifully, he was also willing to order the lab to process the new blood STAT so the results would come back later that day or Saturday morning. Saturday morning his nurse practitioner called to say my clotting factors were now normal and they’d faxed a Medical Clearance letter to my surgeon.
I’d given the internist a list of all my supplements and their doses when I’d seen him on the 14th. His reaction on the 24th was :’Yes, but we don’t know what those things are”.
On the positive side, I learned that those supplements are highly successful in promoting circulation and it’s unlikely I’ll ever get a dangerous blood clot. Also, they apparently clear the system in a day or so, unlike pharmaceuticals.
SOME NATURAL BLOOD THINNERS
“Many people assume that just because a product is labeled as “natural”, it is harmless. The truth is that many powerful drugs (and poisons) are based on natural substances, so it’s clear that many natural substances can have a potent effect on the body. If this seems surprising, hemlock is “natural” and “plant-based” and can even be grown organically, but it didn’t do much for Romeo and Juliet’s relationship.” (Kita, 2019)
Turns out there are many other natural blood thinning/ anti-clotting substances that you’d do well to avoid before surgeries.
Below is a partial list of herbal supplements that belong on that list because they either:
are known to have blood thinning properties and may also interact with other blood thinners
are known to interact with blood thinners and therefore should be avoided
These are associated with increased bleeding:
St. John’s Wort
Omega 3 fatty acids (fish oils)
– (Kita, 2019), (Blitz, 2012) & (Francis, 2019)
Supplements can have cardiovascular effects:
Ephedra (causes hypertension, palpitations, and tachycardia)
Garlic (can cause hypotension)
Supplements That Can Cause Drug Interaction:
St John’s Wort
– (Kita, 2019), (Cox, 2017), (Penn State Hershey Medical Center, 2017) & (CBD School, 2019)
Supplements That Can Have Anesthetic Effects
St John’s Wort
– (Kita, 2019)
Supplements Known to Cause Other Types of Adverse Events:
St John’s Wort (can cause photosensitivity, especially after laser or chemical peels)
Ginseng (can cause hypoglycemia)
– (Kita, 2019)
SOME NATURALLY BLOOD THINNING FOODS
Oily fish (eg, albacore tuna, anchovies, herring, mackerel, salmon & lake trout)
My lists above aren’t comprehensive so please take some time to google the specific supplements you take to check if they also have blood thinning properties. – and also include those supplements on the Pre-surgery Checklist you give your doc.
Blitz, N. (2012). What Vitamins Should You Take Before Surgery? While several vitamins, minerals and amino acids are used during healing, there are specific ones that are known to specifically to support the normal response to healing, and to support the normal immune system response to infection. See: https://www.huffpost.com/entry/surgery-vitamins_b_1159251
The liver is a large organ that sits above the stomach on the right side of the belly. Its main job is to filter the blood coming from the GI tract and then pass it on to the rest of the body. During this filtering, it detoxifies chemicals and metabolizes drugs. It also makes proteins important for blood clotting and other functions. (Hoffman, 2019)
Since I have a history of having unpleasant reactions to even small doses of many Western medicines, I want to be sure to detoxify my liver after any surgical procedure that requires anesthesia, sedatives and other pharmaceuticals. This is what I worked out with the help of Dr Gabrielle Francis, my naturopath, acupuncturist, herbalist, chiropractor, and licensed massage therapist, to do after my two recent cataract surgeries:
FREQUENT ACUPUNCTURE FROM AN EXPERT PRACTITIONER
Acupuncture has helped me heal after these surgeries and also helped detox my body from whatever drugs I was given during the surgeries and the eye drops I had to use for many weeks post-op. Dr Francis, has geared each post-op acupuncture session to healing my eyes and clearing my body of toxins.
As New York City acupuncturist and herbalist Dr Christopher Peacock, DACM, MS, says, acupuncture and Chinese medicine offer “the perfect supplemental treatment to assist in surgical healing where even the tiniest of vasculature is often compromised at the incision site.” Here are a few ways that acupuncture helps us recover from surgery:
“1. Acupuncture is well known for inhibiting the inflammatory process. Inflammation, while sometimes necessary, can be quite painful and stagnating. If fresh blood isn’t permitted to move into an inflamed area, pain is often the result.
“2. Acupuncture promotes microcirculation in tiny vasculature that makes up the capillary bed. Acupuncture can stimulate your own bodies ability to reconnect the tiny blood vessels that have been compromised with your procedure.
“3. Acupuncture can alter the perception of pain. Because of its ability to encourage endorphin release and disarm the nervous system, acupuncture can inhibit pain signals.”
– (Peacock, 2019)
Lest you think acupuncture isn’t real, effective medicine, here are three examples:
1. While I was seeing Dr Yan Wu, LAC, for acupuncture here in New York, his wife needed a hysterectomy. She told her New York University Hospital doc she’d only agree to the surgery if it could be done with acupuncture given by her husband in lieu of pharmaceutical anesthesia and if she could also receive acupuncture from him for post-op pain relief and to promote healing.
Dr Wu was sufficiently well regarded that the hospital agreed – though I’m sure they were also required to have an anesthesiologist on hand in the OR. Many MDs and other medical personal came to observe the surgery. Mrs Wu said she felt no pain during the operation or post-op.
Dr Wu is the author of Practical Therapeutics of Traditional Chinese Medicine, an original Chinese text written specifically for translation to English. Dr Wu is a linguist and physician, a visiting professor at the Pacific Institute of Chinese Medicine in New York, and a tenured faculty member at Beijing Peili Acupuncture College. His book describes traditional Chinese Medicine as practiced in the medical centers of the People’s Republic of China.
2. When I was in grad school, a young assistant professor in my department went to China with a group of psychologists. While they were in a remote area, her appendix ruptured and she needed immediate surgery. She was taken to a country clinic, helped up onto an operating table, draped to block her view of the surgical area and given acupuncture during the surgery. She said she felt some tugging sensations but never any pain.
After the operation was over, she was helped to stand and walk to her room where she was given more acupuncture for pain. When she got back home, she said though she never in a million years would have volunteered for any of that, if she ever needed surgery again, she’d want it done with acupuncture so she wouldn’t have to recover from both the surgery and the anesthetic.
Below is video of an open heart surgery being done in Shanghai in 2019 with acupuncture needles instead of pharmaceutical anesthesia. Only watch it if you’re not squeamish about seeing blood.
3. Some years ago I had two very sick cats and had veterinarian Dr Jeffrey Levy, DVM, CVA, of House Call Vet NYC come to my home to give them acupuncture treatments. The younger cat with serious IBD loved these treatments so much she’d present herself at his feet for him to put in the needles and then would purr happily. The older cat, with IBD and in end stage kidney failure, would sit happily in my arms while he put in the needles. Both cats lived considerably longer and in much better shape than their traditional vets thought they would.
Here’s a video of Dr Levy at work:
NUTRITIONAL SUPPLEMENTS FOR LIVER DETOXING
I wanted extra support from nutritional supplements to help detox my liver from the negative effects of whatever sedative/anesthesia I was given IV during the surgeries and also from ophthalmic prednisolone, the steroid eye drops I had to use for 5 1/2 weeks after each eye surgery. These are the supplements I decided upon.
Milk thistle improves liver function by raising protective glutathione levels, helps reduce and reverse damage caused by toxins and free radicals and assists with maintaining a healthy weight.
A highly concentrated, effective extract of milk thistle
Possesses Antioxidant and Free Radical Scavenging Activity*
Improves Glutathione Levels, the Body’s Major Antioxidant*
Stimulates Liver Protein Synthesis and Liver Cell Regeneration*
*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.
– (Jarrow Formulas, 2019)
Zinc supports immune health. It’s essential for growth and physical development, the immune system and most aspects of reproduction in both males and females. (Amazon, 2019). It helps protect the liver from damage, by reducing lipid (fatty) buildup. (Smarter Reviews, 2019)
BioInflaMax, made by Nutra BioGenesis, features a blend of herbs, enzymes and other select ingredients designed to help support gastrointestinal and whole-body cytokine balance, soothe local tissues, and promote body comfort.
CYTOKINE BALANCING: BioInflaMax contains a number of compounds that may have beneficial properties to help soothe and balance tissues. Ingredients include Bromelain‚ Curcumin‚ Boswellia, N-Acetyl L-Cysteine‚ Papain and Ginger.
TURMERIC: Curcumin is a bioactive compound that comes from the Indian curry spice turmeric‚ which has strong antioxidant properties. It has been the subject of scientific research for its reputed benefits on the body’s natural response to inflammation. BioInflaMax also features Black Pepper extract, which has been demonstrated to support curcumin bioavailability.
BOSWELLIA & L-GLUTAMINE: Boswellia-derived AKBA has been studied for its reputed effects in supporting joint motility, cellular immunity and gastrointestinal integrity. L-Glutamine is a preferred fuel source for enteric cells lining the intestinal tract and plays a role in cellular repair and mucosal immunity.
– (Amazon, 2019B)
I’m taking 2 capsules of BioInflaMax AM & PM.
GLUCOSAMINE SULFATE TO PROTECT MY TENDONS FROM THE ANTIBIOTIC EYE DROPS
I needed to use an antibiotic eye drop called oxfloxacin 4X day for several days before each cataract surgery and then in lessening doses over the following 5 1/2 weeks. When I looked it up, I discovered it’s a fluoroquinolone, like Cipro.
Fluoroquinolones are antibiotics commonly used to treat a variety of illnesses such as respiratory and urinary tract infections. These medicines include ciprofloxacin (Cipro), gemifloxacin (Factive), levofloxacin (Levaquin), moxifloxacin (Avelox), norfloxacin (Noroxin), and ofloxacin (Floxin). They’re so dangerous, the FDA requires a black box warning on them and recommends prescribing them only as a drug of last resort.
Even though I didn’t need to take this drug systemically, I was still concerned about protecting my tendons and the rest of my body while on it so I asked Dr Francis what I could do to stay safe while using it. She recommended Integrative Therapeutics’ Glucosamine Sulfate-750: 1 capsule in the AM/ 1 capsule in the PM while on the antibiotic – to start post op since this supplement is also a blood thinner.
Glucosamine helps build and support joint cartilage, lubricates and strengthens tendons. It’s a compound naturally found with joint cartilage that has powerful anti-inflammatory and anti-aging properties.
The body needs glucosamine for synthesizing proteins and fats that form cartilage as well as playing an important role in building the joints, tendons and ligaments plus forming the synovial fluid that lubricates the joints.
Glucosamine also helps improve gut health and digestion, mobility, range of motion and general joint health. (Axe, 2019)
OCUFORCE FOR MY EYES
OcuForce, made by Designs for Health, supports eye health and healing:
LIMITS EYE DAMAGE – Exposure to toxins, ultraviolet light from the sun, and free radicals can all do significant damage to the eye. The simple act of letting light pass through the eye and hitting the retina increases the exposure of eye tissue to a range of different light generated free radicals. For this reason, it makes sense to optimize intake of eye nourishing nutrients, especially as we age.*
PROVIDES COMPREHENSIVE EYE SUPPORT – OcuForce is a comprehensive formulation containing a vast array of eye-supportive nutrients, including lutein, zeaxanthin, bilberry, Ginkgo biloba, curcumin, green tea, taurine, lipoic acid, vitamin A, and mixed carotenoids including beta carotene. This product does not contain synthetic carotenoids, as research shows that natural carotenoids offer a superior spectrum of benefits.*
IT PROVIDES CAROTENOID – Out of all the natural carotenoids in OcuForce, Lutein is the most important for the protection of the retina. Lutein, a yellow carotenoid found in foods such as corn, egg yolks, kale, spinach, and broccoli, protects the retina from the free radical damage it undergoes regularly. The lutein used in OcuForce is naturally derived from marigolds.
– (Amazon, 2019B)
When I discovered that the ophthalmic prednisolone drops were interfering with my ability to fall and stay asleep, Dr Francis recommended the stress hormone stabilizer Cortisol Manager made by Integrative Therapeutics. Taking one at bedtime has helped but not fully solved the problem.
SLEEP AND STRESS SUPPORT – Contains non-habit forming, stress-reducing ingredients such as ashwagandha, L-theanine, magnolia, and epimedium.
STRESS HORMONE STABILIZER – Cortisol, also known as the “stress hormone,” is naturally at its highest levels in the morning, and declines throughout the day. Too much stimulus (i.e. stress), can knock these levels out of their natural rhythm. Cortisol Manager helps support the body’s natural rise and fall of cortisol, resulting in feelings of relaxation and a more restful night’s sleep.
ALLEVITATE FATIGUE – with no morning drowsiness and without diminishing daytime alertness.
ADRENAL HEALTH SUPPORT – The adrenal glands play a large role in regulating stress levels. Cortisol Manager helps support adrenal health.
– (Amazon, 2019D)
GI REVIVE & PROBIOTICS TO MAINTAIN GUT MICROBIOME HEALTH
To maintain the integrity of the mucosal lining of my gut (home to the friendly bacteria living in my gut), I continued taking G I Revive as usual: 2 capsules before each meal. This high quality nutritional supplement made by Designs for Health provides:
OPTIMAL GASTROINTESTINAL SUPPORT – GI-Revive combines L-glutamine, N-acetyl-glucosamine, MSM, DGL, slippery elm, marshmallow, chamomile, okra extract, cat’s claw (TOA-free), quercetin, and mucin for comprehensive support.
PROMOTE REGULARITY – Prune powder and citrus pectin are also included to aid occasional irregularity and promote healthy bowel function.
SUPPORT THE GUT LINING – This comprehensive formula contains ingredients designed to promote proper intestinal function and the mucosal lining.
– (Amazon, 2019C)
Since the steroid drops are constipating, I also added some additional probiotic supplements to the ones I usually take to help with that:
Dr Mercola’s Complete Probiotics (1 capsule before breakfast)
Dr Mercola’s Complete Spore Restore (1 capsule before breakfast)
Align (1 capsule before breakfast)
Redwood Hill Farm Goat Milk Kefir
And I’ve continued to take my usual digestive enzymes supplement:
Enzyme Science’s Complete Digestion (1 capsule before each meal)
SOME OTHER SUPPLEMENTS FOR LIVER HEALTH
Tocotrienols are a potent form of vitamin E. Studies have found that tocotrienols taken at the clinically recommended dosage can help cleanse the liver of excess fat buildup. (Smarter Reviews, 2019)
Selenium is a powerful mineral that’s vital for healing and detoxing the liver from harmful buildups. It stimulates production of the antioxidant glutathione, which heals damaged liver tissue cells and promotes elasticity. (Smarter Reviews, 2019) & (WebMD, 2019)
FOODS THAT HELP THE LIVER DETOX THE BODY
Eating foods that the liver thrives on goes a long way to recovering from the stresses and pharmaceuticals involved in modern surgery.
Nutritionist Charles Passler, DC, points out the importance of keeping our livers working at high efficiency. “When the liver is working optimally, it can take toxins stored throughout your body, convert them into their water soluble form, and efficiently excrete them from your body.” Eating the right foods greatly helps the liver flush out foreign chemicals. (Sarway, 2019)
Look for organic versions of all of these so you’re not consuming toxic pesticides as you’re trying to detoxify your liver:
GARLIC: Garlic activates the liver’s detoxifying enzymes. These enzymes help break down toxins and eliminate them from the body. Fresh garlic contains allicin, a compound that kills unfriendly, toxin-producing organisms in the GI tract. Garlic contains a whopping 39 different antibacterial agents that protect our bodies against illnesses.
BEETS: “Beets activate liver enzymes and [affect] bile, which helps break down and absorb healthy fats and fat-soluble nutrients like vitamin E,” says Dr. Passler. “When your liver transforms fat and soluble toxins into their water-soluble form for excretion, it binds many of those toxins to bile so they can be escorted out of your body in bowel movements.”
APPLES: Apples are rich in fiber, helping to clean out the bowels and introduce friendly bacteria. Be sure to choose organic since non-organic apples are one of the most heavily pesticide sprayed crops.
BROCCOLI SPROUTS: Dr Passler points out that broccoli sprouts are high in antioxidants and boost the liver’s production of glutathione even better than broccoli, supporting both phases of liver detoxification. Glutathione has antioxidant properties and also stimulates the immune system. It’s made up of three amino acids: L-cysteine, L-glutamate and glycine. You may remember from earlier posts that L-glutamate is the main building block in the mucosal lining of the intestines, where our probiotics live.
WATERMELON: A two-cup serving of watermelon provides the amount of daily fiber recommended by the American Liver Foundation. It also contains lycopene, an antioxidant that increases glutathione levels in the body.
FERMENTED FOODS: Tangy fermented foods like kefir, sauerkraut, kimchi and real pickles fermented in brine (not the kind made with vinegar) are rich in gut-friendly probiotic bacteria that make our gut microbiomes happy.
WALNUTS: Walnuts increase circulation and blood flow in the body, assisting delivery of toxins to the liver where they’re broken down and eliminated. They also boost brain power.
AVOCADOS: Avocados provide fiber and healthy fats. They’re also a beautiful color and very tasty.
The American Liver Foundation’s guideline for a diet to preserve the health of your liver:
“Avoid high calorie-meals, saturated fat, refined carbohydrates (such as white bread, white rice and regular pasta) and sugars. Don’t eat raw or undercooked shellfish. For a well-adjusted diet, eat fiber, which you can obtain from fresh fruits, vegetables, whole grain breads, rice and cereals. Also eat meat (but limit the amount of red meat), dairy(low-fat milk and small amounts of cheese) andfats (the “good” fats that are monounsaturated and polyunsaturated such as vegetable oils, nuts, seeds, and fish). Hydration is essential, so drink a lot of water.” (American Liver Foundation, 2013)
SOME OTHER FOODS THAT MAY IMPROVE LIVER HEALTH
COFFEE: Coffee has the ability to prevent buildup of fat and collagen in the liver, increases antioxidant levels while decreasing inflammation and lowering the risk of developing liver disease, cancer and fatty liver.
TEA: Green and black teas are generally considered to beneficial, particularly for the liver. They have been shown to improve liver enzyme levels, reduce oxidative stress and fat deposits in the liver. However, taking green tea extract has sometimes been found to cause liver damage.
GRAPEFRUIT: Naringenin and naringin, the two main antioxidants in grapefruit, help protect the liver from damage by reducing inflammation and protecting liver cells.
BLUEBERRIES & CRANBERRIES: Antioxidants called anthocyanins give these berries their distinctive colors and protect the liver from damage.
GRAPES: A variety of beneficial plant compounds – including resveratrol – in red and purple grapes protect the liver from damage, increase antioxidant levels and protect against inflammation.
BEETROOT JUICE: The nitrates and antioxidants called betalains in beetroot juice protect heart health, reduce oxidative damage and inflammation of the liver, and increase natural detoxifying liver enzymes.
CRUCIFEROUS VEGETABLES: Cruciferous vegetables like Brussels sprouts, broccoli and mustard greens are high in both fiber content and beneficial plant compounds. They increase levels of detoxification enzymes and protect against liver damage.
NUTS: Nuts contain high fat levels – including the antioxidant vitamin E – plus beneficial plant compounds that improve heart health and liver enzyme levels.
FATTY FISH: The high levels of omega-3 fatty acids in fatty fish reduce inflammation, are associated with a lower risk of heart disease, and prevent fat from building up in the liver, normalizing enzyme level and improving insulin resistance.
Today is World Microbiome Day, a day devoted to celebrating all things microbial worldwide. The theme of the 2019 World Microbiome Day is ANTIBIOTIC RESISTANCE.
The day is dedicated to introducing international microbiome researchers to the public to raise awareness of the diverse world of microbes and how they need to be protected.
“Microorganisms (e.g. bacteria, fungi, viruses, archaea, etc) can be found everywhere in and on plants, animals, water, soil, food and humans. Within each of those habitats, microorganisms live together in communities called microbiomes. Microbiomes have an effect on (amongst others) human health; therefore, scientists are exploring how these communities of organisms co-exist with each other, with us and our environment.
“The 2019 World Microbiome Day theme is ‘Antibiotic Resistance’. Antibiotics are life-saving drugs against harmful bacterial infections that also affect the beneficial bacteria of the human, animal and plant microbiome. Overuse and misuse of antibiotics can lead to bacteria becoming resistant to the antibiotics making them ineffective. That’s why we need everybody to help raise the profile of this important issue and empower people to use antibiotics responsibly.” (World Microbiome Day, 2019)
World Microbiome Day 2018: “Mind Our Microbes”
HUMAN & OTHER MICROBIOMES
The human body contains collections of micro-organisms that include bacteria, protozoa, fungi, viruses and other one-celled organisms living in and on the body. Our bodies’ interactions with these microbes are crucial to the state of our health. These microbes live both INSIDE us – in our digestive organs and lungs — and externally ON us – on our skin, mouth, genitals. Our microbiomes serve many essential functions in the body: aiding digestion, supporting the immune system living in our guts and preventing infections. In addition, the gut microbiome continually interacts with the brain, making it possible to support mental health through changing your gut microbiome. Humans are actually ECOSYSTEMS made up of our human cells and billions of these other micro-organisms. (World Microbiome Day, 2019)
Other animals on earth living on the land, in the water and the sky also need ecosystems made up of their own cells and a healthy variety of micro-organisms. The same is true of plants’, the soils’, food sources’, oceans’, rivers’ and lakes’ ecosystems.
The poisoning of the ecosystems on our planet and climate change have done serious damage to the planet – with dire consequences.
I’ll let Jasmina Agranovic, whose principal interest is the skin microbiome (she’s the president of Mother Dirt*), speak in her own words to explain the importance of the various microbiomes in the human body:
“There’s an important dynamic at play between consumers and scientists right now. These two worlds were once far apart, but have recently started to overlap. This is especially evident in the field of the microbiome, where it could even be argued that public demand has become a driver of the science. Never before has a topic been spoken about so publicly and marketed ahead of extensive clinical and scientific validation.
“The gut microbiome has done a lot of the heavy lifting in reframing our relationship with bacteria. As people are becoming more aware of the benefits of good bacteria in digestive health, there is also a shifting view our bodies as ecosystems, rather than simply tissues and organs. While still a stretch, it is slowly becoming less of one to see how the same is true for their skin….
“The impact of this ongoing and prevalent conversation is something you can see already: It’s now becoming more common for primary care doctors to prescribe a probiotic in conjunction with antibiotics. Kombucha has transformed from a specialty item found only at health food stores to something you can pick up at your local drug store. Kimchi and Sauerkraut have become dietary staples, along endless other fermented and probiotic-infused foods.
“This public interest has placed more scrutiny on the science. Together, these are driving a big financial appetite by investors, creating support for entrepreneurs and researchers with big ideas in the space.
“Companies like Ubiome specialize in at-home gut and vaginal biome screenings. OpenBiome works in stool donations, enabling people to get live-saving fecal transplants. Seres Therapeutics was also the first publicly traded microbiome biotech company based off of their work on treatments for C Diff. In 2016 the FDA banned triclosan, which is the active ingredient in many antibacterial soaps, stating it’s no more effective than washing with soap and water, and that it could actually do more harm than good over time.
“Even museums have started to showcase the microbiome as part of our future. The Victoria & Albert Museum in London has an exhibit on display until Nov 2018 called “The Future Starts Here: 100 projects shaping the world of tomorrow” where one of the projects included in the show is Mother Dirt representing the skin biome and what might exist in a future home.
“So what’s the next big thing in bacteria? We earnestly believe that relationship with the microbial world is one of the most important shifts in public health of our generation. For many, the microbiome and the importance of good bacteria in and on your body might be the missing piece of the puzzle when it comes to many of the health issues we are still trying to solve. We don’t know what we don’t know, but many are rightfully excited at the prospect of exploring this field for all the potential it seems to hold. The public interest has helped push the gas pedal on the scientific progress. As we continue to make progress in new discoveries in the field, it will be increasingly important that the science remains rigorous and that we also temper expectations.
“Keep asking questions, keep challenging the norm, and keep pushing for more, and together we’ll create a world where clean comes with healthy.”
Mother Dirt is a company in Cambridge MA that makes skin biome-friendly products based on extensive research on the skin microbiome and the Ammonia-Oxidizing Bacteria (AOB) our skin needs to stay healthy .
“For most of human existence, there was a peacekeeping Ammonia-Oxidizing Bacteria (AOB) that lived on our skin. It wasn’t until the last 100 years when indoor lifestyles and personal care products removed it. This bacteria is still found on untouched indigenous tribes, whose skin is in a native, healthy state.” (Mother Dirt, 2019)
We believe that the diverse world of microbiomes deserves more recognition due to its effect on human, animal and environmental health! Join us in celebrating World Microbiome Day 2019 and communicating the effects of antibiotics on the microbiome.
(World Microbiome Day 6/27/2019)
You can go to the World Microbiome Day 6/27/2019 site to learn more about the importance of microbiomes and take some quizzes to test your knowledge about six microbiomes: Food, Plant, Soil, Animal, Marine and Human.
If you have Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS), you know its difficult to get a definitive diagnosis. Confusingly, its symptoms resemble many other health conditions and there’s no single test for identifying it. You also know its symptoms seriously interfere with living your life as you’d like.
The principal characteristic of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) is extreme fatigue. The fatigue may worsen with physical or mental activity but doesn’t lessen with rest. CFS is also sometimes referred to as myalgic encephalomyelitis (ME) or systemic exertion intolerance disease (SEID).
People with CFS – and other energy-sapping chronic conditions as well – often use Spoon Theory to describe their experience of being chronically exhausted and the limitations that imposes on their lives. Spoon Theory is a clever metaphor created by Christine Miserandino, a woman with both lupus and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, to explain to friends and family what it’s like to have limited and unreliable energy. (MEpedia, 2017).
Lupus, by the way, is a chronic autoimmune disease “in which the body’s immune system becomes hyperactive and attacks normal, healthy tissue. Symptoms include inflammation, swelling, and damage to the joints, skin, kidneys, blood, heart, and lungs.” (Brazier, 2018)
There’s still ongoing discussion about whether CFS is also an inflammatory, autoimmune condition. Considerable research indicates that chronic low level inflammation in the body leads to the constellation of symptoms described as Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. (Dellwo, 2018 A)
This is my shorthand description of how autoimmune conditions and diseases develop:
Chronic imbalance in the contents of the gut microbiome (gut dysbiosis) -–> leaky gut -–> chronic low level inflammation in the body, which eventually -–> one or more autoimmune diseases
Autoimmune diseases develop when the body’s immune system produces an inappropriate immune response against its own tissues. Because the vast majority of our immune system (70-80%) is located in the composition of our gut microbiome, this is where we need to focus to understand how we come to develop an autoimmune disease (probably more than one) and also how to reverse these types of diseases.
When the immune system stops recognizing as “self” something that’s a normal constituent of the body, it starts producing autoimmune antibodies that attack the body’s own cells, tissues and/or organs. This produces chronic inflammation that damages these body parts and leads to full blown autoimmune diseases.
A MORE THOROUGH EXPLANATION OF CHRONIC FATIGUE SYNDROME
Michael B. VanElzakker, PhD
Researcher Michael B. VanElzakker, now a neuroscientist affiliated with Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Medical School and Tufts University, has proposed a more specific explanation for how Chronic Fatigue Syndrome develops.
In the 2013 paper he pointed out that Chronic Fatigue Syndrome researchers mostly agree that CFS symptoms seem to reflect an intense, ongoing immune response, possibly due to a viral infection. They therefore were focusing their research on trying to uncover the specific pathogenic agent in plasma and blood cells responsible for the syndrome – without success. (HHV-6 Foundation, 2018)
Instead, VanElzakker proposed that CFS develops from an infection of the vagus nerve.
Herpesvirus infections of the trigeminal nerve cause shingles. Do human herpesvirus infections of the vagus nerve cause chronic fatigue syndrome?
“When immune cells of otherwise healthy individuals detect any peripheral infection, they release proinflammatory cytokines. Chemoreceptors of the sensory vagus nerve detect these localized proinflammatory cytokines, and send a signal to the brain to initiate sickness behavior. Sickness behavior is an involuntary response that includes fatigue, fever, myalgia, depression, and other symptoms that overlap with CFS.”
His Vagus Nerve Infection hypothesis of CFS contends that the syndrome’s cluster of symptoms are “a pathologically exaggerated version of normal sickness behavior that can occur when sensory vagal ganglia or paraganglia are themselves infected with any virus or bacteria.
“Drawing upon relevant findings from the neuropathic pain literature, I explain how pathogen-activated glial cells can bombard the sensory vagus nerve with proinflammatory cytokines and other neuroexcitatory substances, initiating an exaggerated and intractable sickness behavior signal.”
Following this new hypothesis, it’s possible any pathogenic infection of the vagus nerve could cause CFS, resolving the ongoing controversy about identifying a single pathogen.
VanElzakker’s hypothesis integrates two of the most important actors in CFS, the autonomic nervous system and the immune system, offering an explanation of what causes the brain to receive a non-stop stream of messages instructing it essentially to shut down the body by producing fatigue, pain and other disabling symptoms. It proposes that “nerve loving viruses trigger a difficult to detect immune response which produces the fatigue and other symptoms present in chronic fatigue syndrome.” (Cohen, 2019)
The VNIH focuses on sensory nerves, “an increasingly hot topic in ME/CFS/FM” and coincides with an established model of fibromyalgia. If this hypothesis is correct, it will change how Chronic Fatigue Syndrome is viewed, researched and treated. (Johnson, 2013)
VanElzakker’s work on CFS has zeroed in on the human herpes viruses – with the human herpes virus 6 (HHV-6) at the top of his list of suspects. (HHV-6 Foundation, 2018)
Histological slide of the human herpes virus-6 (HHV-6)showing infected cells
The following two paragraphs from the HHV-6 Foundation’s article CFS: a herpesvirus infection of the vagus nerve? discuss, in fairly technical terms, VanElzakker’s theory of how a human herpesvirus-6 infection of the sensory vagal ganglia or paraganglia could produce the intense symptoms found in people with Chronic Fatigue:
“During infection, the sensory vagus nerve sends a signal to the brain to initiate “sickness behavior,” an involuntary response characterized by fatigue, fever, myalgia, depression, and other symptoms that are often observed in patients with CFS. However, VanElzakker proposes that when sensory vagal ganglia or paraganglia are themselves infected with any virus or bacteria, these symptoms would be exaggerated. He notes that many of the symptoms of sickness behavior (such as fatigue, sleep changes, myalgia, cognitive impairment, depression and zinc depletion) are also mediated by proinflammatory cytokines and observed in CFS.
“Herpesviruses and certain intracellular bacteria establish latency in the vagus nerve and reactivate during periods of stress or illness, causing the release of proinflammatory cytokines. HHV-6 is a highly neurotropic virus and potent inducer of cytokines such as IL-6 and NFkB, which many groups have proposed as an etiological theory for the role of HHV-6 in neurological conditions such as seizures and epilepsy. If this low-level “chronic” infection is localized to the vagus nerve it would be undetectable in the plasma, but could be demonstrated through analyzing tissue biopsies of the vagus nerve, VanElzakker suggests. HHV-6 is well-known for invading the hippocampus and other parts of the limbic system, and also establishes residence in the human sensory ganglia along with other neurotropic herpesviruses including HSV-1 and VZV.” (HHV-6 Foundation, 2018)
THE VAGUS NERVE
The vagus nerve, historically called the pneumogastric nerve, is the 10th cranial nerve and interfaces with the parasympathetic control of the heart, lungs, and digestive tract. The vagus nerves are paired but are normally referred to in the singular. It’s the longest nerve of the autonomic nervous system in the human body. (Wikipedia, 2019)
As the two branches of the vagus nerve make their way between the brain and the gut, they connect to every organ they pass along the way.
THE VAGUS NERVE & THE GUT MICROBIOME CONNECTION
I’ve been intrigued by the vagus nerve since discovering it’s a key player in the Gut/Brain Axis – the constant, two-way communication taking place between our brains and our guts.
“Maybe you’re used to thinking of the brain in your head as your only brain – but your body actually has TWO BRAINS: In fact, the ‘brain’ in your gut does a lot more than digest your food. While this brain doesn’t produce thoughts, it contains its own independent nervous system along with more neurotransmitters and serotonin than the brain in your head.
“Sheaths of neurons are embedded in the walls of the entire alimentary canal. Technically known as the enteric nervous system, this gut brain measures about 9 meters (29.5 feet) from esophagus to anus and contains about 100 million neurons, more neurons than exist in either the spinal cord or the entire peripheral nervous system. Equipped with its own reflexes and senses, this second brain can control gut behavior independently of the brain. Here’s a single example to give you an idea of the importance of the gut brain for the entire body: About 90% of the fibers in the vagus nerve, the largest of the visceral nerves, carry information FROM the gut TO the brain – but not the other way around.” (Hardin 2015)
“During vertebrate embryonic development a single clump of fetal tissue divides to grow into the gut and the brain. One section becomes the central nervous system (the brain and spinal nerves) while another migrates lower in the body to create the enteric nervous systemembedded in the sheaths of tissue lining the espohagus, stomach, small intestine and colon.
“The two separate nervous systems connect via the vagus nerve running from the brain stem into the abdomen. This major trunk line is one of the longest nerves in the body. The gut and the brain are constantly signaling each other, back and forth, along the vagus nerve and also via chemicals released by the gut and transported to the brain. When one brain gets upset, the other becomes upset too. They work in conjunction with each other along the Gut-Brain Axis, each heavily influencing the other.” (Hardin, 2015)
HEALING VAGUS NERVE INFECTION WITH ESSENTIAL OILS
Jodi Sternoff Cohen is the founder of Vibrant Blue Oils, an author, speaker, nutritional therapist and a leading international authority on essential oils. These are her strategies for how to heal vagus nerve infections with essential oils:
Vagus nerve stimulation – Parasympathetic essential oil blend was designed to activate the vagus nerve to trigger the parasympathetic response. Parasympathetic is formulated with the highly stimulatory clove oil and works much like more invasive techniques such as Transcutaneous Vagal Nerve Stimulation by stimulating the Vagus Nerve near the outer ear and allowing action potentials to be sent down the nerve to stimulate the normal anti-inflammatory reflex of the Vagus Nerve along with helping to regulate exaggerated signaling that contributes to sickness behavior and excessive fatigue and pain related symptoms…. To stimulate the vagus nerve, apply 1 drop of Parasympathetic™ to the vagal nerve (behind ear lobe, on mastoid bone on the neck).
Glial cell inhibitors can be used to calm the immune activation of glial cells in your brain. Natural plants remedies, like essential oils, have been proven to suppress microglial activation and neuronal damage in research such as “Inhibitors of microglial neurotoxicity: focus on natural products” and “Development of a neuroprotective potential algorithm for medicinal plants”.
Essential oils are especially powerful as glial cell inhibitors as they unique chemistry (super small, fat soluble molecules), allows them to easily cross the blood brain barrier and suppress glial cell activation. Research has found that Cinnamon Bark is highly effective at inhibiting microglial activation. According to the research, Cinnamon Bark “may recede neuroinflammation by suppressing microglial activation and play a key role in neuroprotection”. Immune Support™ oil is high in levels of cinnamon and can be topically applied to the bottom of the feet or around the neck (dilute before applying to the neck) to help inhibit glial cells from over-activating the vagus nerve. Anti Inflammatory™ also helps to turn off the inflammatory response in the brain and inhibit an over-active glial cell response. To apply, place one drop one the base of the skull or place a drop of Anti Inflammatory™ oil on your fingertip, and rub fingers together to disperse oil. Take your fingers once over the entire scalp.
Antiviral treatments: Essential oils are known for their anti-viral properties.
More specifically, research studies have found that essential oils ‘inactivate’ viruses in one of two ways: by inhibiting their ability to replicate and/or inhibiting viruses’ ability to fuse to cell walls and infect a host cell.
Essential oils have also been shown to positively support our own immune system, enhancing its ability to ward off pathogens and help modulate your immune system.
Anti viral blends like Immune Support™ can be applied 2- 3 times daily on the throat (diluted) or the bottom of the feet, or Thymus™ can be used stimulate immune function against infections, viruses and bacteria by apply 2-3 drops on the thymus (on breastbone at third rib) in a clockwise motion for 30 seconds and then stimulate the thymus by gently tapping. Finally, supporting your lymphatic system with Lymph™ can help supports your immune response by both bringing nutrients to and helping to clear toxins and waste from every cell in the body.
– (Cohen, 2019)
My take away from all this:
Since it’s known that –
Chronic imbalance in the contents of the gut microbiome (gut dysbiosis) -–> leaky gut -–> chronic low level inflammation in the body, which eventually -–> one or more autoimmune diseases
– avoiding a vagal nerve infection and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome is yet another good reason to get and keep your gut microbiome in good balance.
If you’re one of the one in five Americans who suffer from seasonal allergies and your sense is that your sinuses are making you more miserable each passing year, you’re not imagining it. The cause of all this misery is climate change. Rising average temperatures and wetter conditions lead to surging amounts of pollens and longer allergy seasons.
More pollen means more seeds and even greater amounts of pollen the following year. To make matters worse, warmer average temperatures across the year mean spring starts earlier and winter arrives later.
Researchers estimate that pollen counts of all varieties will double in large parts of the US by 2040. (Irfan, 5/21/2019)
Changes in tree pollen allergy risk by 2100 if CO2 reaches a concentration of 970 parts per million
Asthma & Allergy Foundation of America
“A recent study in the journal Lancet Planetary Health found that airborne pollen counts have been increasing around the world as average temperatures climbed. The majority of the 17 sites studied showed an increase in the amount of pollen and longer pollen seasons over 20 years.
“And the faster the climate changes, the worse it gets. That’s why residents of Alaska, which is warming twice as fast as the global average, now face especially high allergy risks.
“Taken together over the long term, seasonal allergies present one of the most robust examples of how global warming is increasing risks to health. Allergies are already a major health burden, and they will become an even larger drain on the economy.
“’It’s very strong. In fact, I think there’s irrefutable data,’ said Jeffrey Demain, director of the Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology Center of Alaska. ‘It’s become the model of health impacts of climate change.’
“And since so many are afflicted — some estimates say up to 50 million Americans have nasal allergies — scientists and health officials are now trying to tease out the climate factors driving these risks in the hopes of bringing some relief in the wake of growing pollen avalanches.” (Irfan, 5/21/2019)
Climate Change Projections for Pollen Production
So pollens are making us feel miserable … then there are the molds!
The symptoms of mold allergies are similar to pollen allergies and bacterial infections of the sinuses. The difference is that mold spores breathed into your sinuses form biofilms in there to create warm, cozy protected spaces for the colony to live. If you spray a decongestant up your nose, the biofilms keep the spray from reaching the spores inside the biofilm. So if you’re having what feels like a cold that won’t go away no matter what you do or extra-terrible, long-lasting pollen allery symptoms, it could well be molds have made themselves at home in your sinuses.
WHAT ARE BIOFILMS?
Biofilms are communities of micro-organisms which adhere to each other and often also to a surface. These groups of adhered cells produce a slimy protective coating around themselves and like to embed themselves inside warm, moist cavities like our sinuses where they can keep themselves safe from other pathogens. (Nature.com, 2019) & (Wikipedia, 5/21/2019)
BIOFILM OF MOLDS ARE A PROBLEM WHEN THEY EMBED IN OUR SINUSES
“Symptoms such as an inflamed nasal passage, body aches and a cold that worsens usually suggest a sinus infection caused by bacteria. However, sometimes sinus problems aren’t due to bacterial infections alone but are caused from molds.
“Sinuses are air-filled passages in the face and head that are lined with a mucous membrane, which is a thin, moist layer of tissue. A sinus infection from mold is a condition occurring when the mucous membrane becomes inflamed because a person inhales airborne spores released from mold, which is a type of fungus, usually growing in moist damp areas.
“A mold sinus problem and infection caused by molds can easily be overlooked . Exposure to mold in people who live in fungal conditions are likely to suffer from sinus infections yearly.
“Understanding the production of bio-film from mold,bacteria and yeast is key in understanding how to rid the body of pathogens from the sinuses, lungs and other parts of the human body.
“Bio-film is produced by certain species of fungus / mold, bacteria, and some forms of yeast. These pathogens secrete a slime, or protective coating around themselves protecting them from other environmental pathogens, which would attack or disable them. Since pathogens within the bio-film are protected by the bio-film they have no direct contact with the blood, therefore any anti-fungal, or bacterial medications rarely have an effect on those protected pathogens. This is why many people suffer multiple sinus surgeries, over and over again, as the surgeon failed to remove all of the bio-film from the sinus cavities allowing regrowth to occur and the continuation of the Mold Sinus Problems (emphasis added).
– (Mold Victim, 2019)
This short video tells you perhaps more than you want to know about biofilms and why they cause us misery when nasty ones take up residence in our sinuses or elsewhere in our bodies. Gross but very interesting.
The most northern parts of the globe are getting hardest hit by global warming and the resulting increase in allergies.
“Alaska is warming so fast that computer models have had a hard time believing the results. That’s having huge consequences for allergy sufferers in the state, and not just from pollen.
“Demain from the Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology Center of Alaska explained that rising temperatures are melting permafrost beneath Alaskan towns, causing moisture to seep into homes. This dampness then allows mold to grow, causing more people to seek treatment for mold allergies.” (Irfan, 5/21/2019)
A NATURAL WAY TO BREAK UP MOLD & OTHER BIOFILMS IN YOUR SINUSES
If your sinuses have been making you miserable this spring, here’s a natural way to help yourself feel a whole lot better – without taking any decongestants, other allergy meds or antibiotics.
Here’s a video of how to use a neti pot to irrigate your sinuses to remove any nasty allergens that have taken up residence in there:
A few suggested variations that differ from the way Ashley uses her neti pot in the video:
I recommend getting a ceramic rather than a plastic neti pot – much easier to keep it clean. The ceramic ones can be put in the dishwasher to sterilize. I’ve used the same white ceramic model for a few decades.
You can buy those more expensive packages of neti pot salt or get a big container of pure sea salt and use some of it. I like La Baleine Sea Salt (Fine).
Using warm, filtered water in lieu of distilled water should be fine too.
If you use your neti pot in the shower, you don’t have to worry about dribbling the salt solution on your shirt and can also lean against the shower wall to get your head at the right angle so the solution doesn’t run down the back of your throat.
So that’s the basic way to use a neti pot to get the gunk out of your sinuses – clean hands, warm water and sea salt.
ADD THE CONTENTS OF A PROBIOTICS CAPSULE TO GET STUBBORN ALLERGENS OUT OF YOUR SINUSES
You can break open any probiotics capsule you take in supplement form and add its contents to your neti pot along with the warm water and sea salt.
A warning: You’ll probably feel a burn as you pour the resulting solution into your nostrils. I can only say a few minutes of mild to moderate burning is worth the relief you’ll feel when you realize you can breathe again.
OTHER THINGS TO ADD TO YOUR NETI POT TO BREAK UP BIOFILMS AND GET MOLDS OUT OF YOUR SINUSES
This is what I came up with when I had some kind of long-lasting fungal infection in my sinuses during the fall of 2016. Fungi are a group of spore-producing organisms that feed on organic matter – including molds, yeast, mushrooms and toadstools. I was pretty sure no mushrooms or toadstools were growing in my sinuses and nasal passages but was pretty sure the infection contained molds and/or yeast because it felt different and much more intense than any of the sinus infections I used to get when I was younger, before I started tending better to my gut microbiome.
So I added the contents of these two supplements to the warm water and sea salt in my neti pot.
I already knew about the biofilm-penetrating property of a supplement called Allicidin because I’d taken it to break open the endospores formed by Clostridium difficile when I had that nasty bacterial infection living in my colon in 2010.
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Then I chose the probiotic formula RepHresh as the probiotic to add to my neti pot because it contains two lactobacillus probiotics (L-reuteri and L-rhamnosus) to target vaginal yeast infections, a type of fungal overrun.
A few comments on this two-step attack on fungal infections in the sinuses and nasal passages:
If you’ve got a heavy duty fungal colony living in biofilms inside your sinuses and nasal passages, try using Allicidin alone in your warm water and sea salt solution for a day or two to give the biofilms a chance to be truly penetrated.
Then use Allicidin the following day with the addition of RepHresh in your basic solution so the probiotics in the latter can ggain good access to the fungi to do them in.
You’ll experience a mild garlic smell inside your nose after the Allicidin solution has run through your sinuses. There’ll also be some small black specks inside your nose. Changing the solution in your neti pot to just warm water and sea salt will get both out.
The Allicidin and RepHresh solutions will both likely burn a bit as they come in contact with the delicate mucous membranes in your nose and sinuses. Again – that short discomfort is worth getting rid of the fungal infection so you can breathe again and feel like your old energetic self.
You might need to repeat the two-step process one moretime if you’ve got long-established bacterial and fungal colonies growing in your sinuses.
Please let me know if you have success with these neti pot treatments or come up with useful modifications of my suggestions.
If you’d like to know which particular pollen and mold counts are high in your area, you can check the National Allergy Bureau Pollen and Mold Reports issued by the American Academy of Allergy Asthma & Immunology. You can also sign up for personalized email alerts from them.
I thought this would be a much shorter post when I started researching and writing it a few months ago. But as I dug deeper into the topic, I realized the history and politics of this HPV vaccine involved a number of twists and turns that seriously threaten public health rather than protect it. And not just in the US but worldwide.
I know you’re busy and am sorry the piece is so long. If you make it through to the end, you’ll have learned a great deal about how Big Pharma companies like Merck, the US Food & Drug Administration (FDA), our National Institutes of Health (NIH), and big advertising agencies work together in ways that place profit over our health and well being.
The case of Gardasil is especially egregious because the vaccine targets young children.
HUMAN PAPILLOMAVIRUS (HPV) & CERVICAL CANCER
“Almost everyone who has been sexually active will contract an asymptomatic HPV infection at some point, but in almost all cases, the body clears the virus on its own within two years without complications. Even when vaginal or cervical HPV infection does not resolve spontaneously and becomes chronic, it often takes decades to progress to invasive cervical cancer.” (Raines & Fisher, 2018)
The Human Papillomavirus (HPV) is the most common sexually transmitted disease in the US. The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says that almost every sexually active male and female has the virus at some point. It’s also known that HPV usually resolves on its own without causing any serious health risks.
Over 150 different kinds of HPV have been identified but not all of them are problematic. “Some kinds of HPV may cause problems like genital warts. Some kinds of HPV can also cause cancer of the cervix, vagina, vulva, or anus. Most of these problems are caused by types 6, 11, 16 or 18.” (US FDA, 2018)
NOTE ON THE TWO VERSIONS OF THE GARDASIL VACCINE:
The US Food & Drug Administration (FDA) approved Merck’s HPV vaccine, Gardasil, on June 8, 2006 for females 9-26 years of age to protect against cervical, vulvar and vaginal cancers caused by HPV types 16 and 18 and genital warts caused by HPV types 6 and 11.
Merck has been embroiled in controversy about the vaccine’s safety and efficacy ever since.
The original (quadrivalent, recombinant*) Gardasil vaccine was also approved for use in 120 other countries around the world. (Haupt & Sings, 2011)
* “A recombinant vaccine is a vaccine produced through recombinant DNA technology. This involves inserting the DNA encoding an antigen (such as a bacterial surface protein) that stimulates an immune response into bacterial or mammalian cells, expressing the antigen in these cells and then purifying it from them.” (Nature, 2019)
Gardasil 9, an HPV 9-valent vaccine (recombinant), was initially approved by the FDA in 2014 for use in both males and females aged 9-26 years. On June 13 2018 the FDA extended its approval for use in older males and females, aged 27-45 years.
A press release from Merck to its investors announcing this new extended market claimed Gardasil 9 “is indicated in the United States in females 9 through  years of age for the prevention of cervical, vulvar, vaginal, and anal cancers caused by HPV types 16, 18, 31, 33, 45, 52, and 58; precancerous or dysplastic lesions caused by HPV types 6, 11, 16, 18, 31, 33, 45, 52, and 58; and genital warts caused by HPV types 6 and 11.” (Merck, 6/13/2018)
Starting in late 2016, the original, quadrivalent Gardasil, became unavailable for distribution in the US, replaced by Gardasil 9. According to Merck and the FDA, “efficacy data for Gardasil can be extrapolated to Gardasil 9, since the two vaccines are manufactured similarly and the original Gardasil targeted 4 of the 9 HPV strains covered by Gardasil 9.” (OncLive, 10/7/2018)
In its press release to investors about Gardasil 9’s having been approved for men and women ages 27-45, Merck noted that “Gardasil 9 is contraindicated in individuals with hypersensitivity, including severe allergic reactions to yeast, or after a previous dose of Gardasil 9 or Gardasil (emphasis added).” (Merck, 6/13/2018)
In this post I’m going to follow the convention of referring to both versions as ‘Gardasil’. You can read more about the original quadrivalent Gardasil compared to Gardasil 9 here.
“HPV vaccine is an inactivated (not live) vaccine which protects against four major types of HPV.
“These include two types that cause about 70% of cervical cancer and two types that cause about 90% of genital warts. HPV vaccine can prevent most genital warts and most cases of cervical cancer.
“Protection from HPV vaccine is expected to be long-lasting. But vaccinated women still need cervical cancer screening because the vaccine does not protect against all HPV types that cause cervical cancer.
HPV vaccine is routinely recommended for girls 11 and 12 years of age. Doctors may give it to girls as young as 9 years.
The HPV4 vaccine (the type recommended for prevention of genital warts in girls) may also be given in three doses to boys aged 9 to 26.
“Why is HPV vaccine given to girls at this age?
“It is important for girls to get HPV vaccine before their first sexual contact — because they have not been exposed to HPV. For these girls, the vaccine can prevent almost 100% of disease caused by the four types of HPV targeted by the vaccine….
“HPV vaccine does not appear to cause any serious side effects.” (emphasis added)
Contrary to this misinformation posted by WebMD in 2011, the story of how Merck’s HPV vaccine, Gardasil, came to be on the market and pushed so hard by the federal government, ad agencies employed by Merck and doctors is a scandal.
ADVERSE REACTIONS TO GARDASIL
Reports of adverse effects from Gardasil began as soon as the vaccine went on the market in 2006. The chart below is a summary of 28,137 adverse effects after HPV vaccination reported to VAERS (Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System) by patients, their families and physicians as of 13 November 2012, 23 months after WedMD posted its statement about the apparent safety of the vaccine.
Negative Reactions to Gardasil as reported by VAERS (Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System) as of 11/13/2012
Statistics gathered by the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS), operated by the US Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) and the US Food & Drug Administration )FDA), belie WebMD’s conclusion about the apparent safety of the HPV vaccine. VAERS’ purpose is to serve as “an early warning system to detect possible safety issues with U.S. vaccines”. (CDC, 2017)
As of July 14 2018, 12+ years after Gardasil hit the market, VAERS had received reports of 58,936 adverse reactions following Gardasil vaccinations – including 139 cervical cancers, 931 life threatening events, 15,672 emergency room visits, and 5,894 hospitalizations.
Negative Reactions to Gardasil as reported by VAERS (Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System) as of 7/14/2018
Serious complications of HPV vaccination are still being reported in the US and other countries around the world.
“Although U.S. health officials have continued to deny a causal connection, Japanese researchers have pointed out that the temporal association with post-Gardasil clinical symptoms such as “chronic regional pain syndrome, orthostatic intolerance, and/or cognitive dysfunction” suggests a causal relationship with the vaccine. Other health issues associated with HPV vaccination include nervous and immune system disorders such as postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome (POTS), chronic fatigue syndrome, blood clots, acute respiratory failure and cardiac arrest.
“Also widely reported are menstrual abnormalities and premature ovarian failure.” (Raine & Fisher, 2018)
While VAERS statistics do not necessarily PROVE a vaccine CAUSED a reaction, they do serve the CDC’s purpose of being “an early warning system to detect possible safety issues with U.S. vaccines”.
Some VAERS data strongly suggest causality. For example, “In 2009, investigators reported that the U.S. Vaccine Adverse Events Reporting System (VAERS) showed 28 reports of anaphylaxis already reported after receipt of Gardasil, with 25 cases occurring on the same day as vaccination.” (Mercola, 2019)
US GOVERNMENT PAYS OUT MILLIONS TO GARDASIL VICTIMS
A 2014 article in The Washington Times titled “U.S court pays $6 million to Gardasil victims” reported that as of April 2013, less than seven years after Gardasil first went on market in the US: – Lind, 2014
More recently, the National Vaccine Information Center (NVIC) published an article titled ‘Can HPV Vaccine Cause Injury and Death?’ which stated:
“As of July 1, 2018, 387 claims have been filed to the federal Vaccine Injury Compensation Program (VICP) for 14 deaths and 373 injuries that occurred after HPV vaccination. To date, the U.S. Court of Claims has compensated 128 of the 387 children and adults who filed claims for HPV vaccine injuries.
“For example, an HPV vaccine injury claim was filed and awarded by the VICP for Christina Tarsell. Christina was a 21-year-old college student majoring in studio arts at Bard College when she received a series of three Gardasil shots. A talented athlete, artist and honor roll student, she died suddenly and without explanation shortly after the third shot in June 2008. Ten years later, in 2018, the government conceded the case and awarded compensation to her mother for Christina’s vaccine-related death.” (National Vaccine Information Center, 2018)
Federal Vaccine Court Ruled Gardasil Killed Christina Tarsell
The National Vaccine Information Center is a non-profit, independent clearinghouse for information on diseases and vaccine science, policy, law and the ethical principle of informed consent.
SERIOUS CONFLICT OF INTEREST BETWEEN VACCINE PROMOTERS & VACCINE DEVELOPERS
Are you aware that money collected from US tax payers is used to finance the development of new drugs and vaccines by Big Pharma companies? Gardasil is a case in point.
Through an interesting licensing arrangement, the huge commercial success of the Gardasil HPV vaccine puts money into the coffers of both Merck and the US government’s Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS).
A National Institutes of Health (NIH) research team invented the technology for the ‘virus-like particles’ (VLPs) that made the Gardasil vaccine possible.
An article in the Institutes’ February 23 2007 newsletter described the partnership between NIH research scientists and Merck in developing Gardasil:
“From Lab to Market: The HPV Vaccine” celebrated the technology developed at NIH which Merck turned into their Gardasil HPV vaccine. The article states: “Perhaps no other recent product on the market demonstrates successful health care technology transfer better than the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine, Gardasil, produced by Merck & Co. and approved by the FDA in June 2006.”
How did the technology developed by researchers at NIH make its way to Merck and into the marketplace?
In a May 2006 review appearing in The Journal of Clinical Investigation, the NIH researchers disclosed their commercial interests in Gardasil:
“Conflict of interest: The authors, as employees of the National Cancer Institute, NIH, are inventors of the HPV VLP vaccine technology described in this Review. The technology has been licensed by the NIH to the 2 companies, Merck and GlaxoSmithKline, that are developing the commercial HPV vaccines described herein.”
So NIH developed the VLP technology and then licensed it to Merck and GlaxoSmithKline for to turn it into their respective, best selling HPV vaccines.
Under this business arrangement, various agencies of the US government work together to develop technology that is then licensed to commercial companies to market the resulting product for profit – and the government receives money from the licensing. The Department of Health & Human Services calls these kinds of arrangements ‘Public-Private Partnerships’ and DHHS agencies have aggressively pursued them. Makes sense since DHHS makes a lot of money on them.
NIH launched its ‘Program on Public-Private Partnerships’ in 2005, the year before Merck began marketing Gardasil. On NIH’s web-site, the Institutes’ program managers concede that this kind of technology transfer carries unavoidable ethical risks. They acknowledge that “the potential for conflict of interest exists any time the NIH and NIH staff engage with non-Federal entities to achieve mutual goals.”
So here we have a situation “in which the same departments that are tasked with regulating the health and safety of medical products are also profiting from them”.
Here’s a summary of how that happened with Gardasil:
The inventors of the VLP technology were scientists employed by the Laboratory of Cellular Oncology at NIH’s National Cancer Institute’s Center for Cancer Research.
NIH filed for and received patents for the technology they invented. The commercial rights to the invented technology are owned by DHHS.
NIH has neither the authority or ability to turn technology into commercial products so it created an Office of Technology Transfer (OTT), whose job is to oversee technology transfer of “medical knowledge from NIH laboratories to other organizations for the purpose of developing that knowledge into medical products to enhance the public health.”
Merck commercialized an HPV vaccine using NIH’s technology and has generated billions of revenue from the resulting Gardasil product.
As per their licensing agreement with Merck, NIH’s OTT has received millions of dollars from Gardasil’s sales.
“When new products invented at NIH clear the requisite regulatory hurdles at the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and reach the market, OTT then shares in the profits. They also distribute the rewards back to the scientific teams whose products have succeeded in reaching the commercial stage: when license fees flow into OTT’s coffers, the Federal employees who invented the technology are entitled by NIH policy to a share of the royalties.”
The ‘public-private partnership’ between the government and Merck also provided Gardasil with favorable treatment at key decision points – and this special treatment gave financial rewards to both parties.
NIH, which operates under the auspices of the Department of Health and Human Services, a department of the US government, “can transfer technology to pharmaceutical partners, simultaneously both approve and protect their partners’ technology licenses while also taking a cut of the profits.”
– Blaxill, 2010
Hmm. The NIH is charged with protecting public health but when it uses its considerable clout to advocate for commercialization of technology it develops – and then profits from the resulting products – public safety is threatened.
The organization tree below shows the path Gardasil took to reach the market – starting with government-funded research at NIH done under the auspices of the Department of Health and Human Services to getting fast tracked through the FDA’s approval process and finally passing through various governmental agencies that promoted policy making this vaccine appear necessary for public health and simultaneously also creating a market for it, then on to the Office of Technology Transfer that set the terms of the licensing agreement with Merck that pays fees back to the Department of Health and Human Services.
Note: I've searched for the exact terms of the OTT's licensing arrangement with Merck for Gardasil. If you have access to this information, please send it and I'll add it to this article.
Here are links to the entire three-part article by Mark Blaxill in case you want to learn more about the conflicts of interest inherent in Gardasil’s development, questions about whether the FDA adequately investigated the vaccine’s safety before approving it for marketing, and safety issues that have arisen since Merck launched Gardasil in 2006:
Officials at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) dole out millions of dollars “to academic institutions and vaccine manufacturers to improve vaccine technology, find new, lucrative markets and boost vaccine marketability—functions that guarantee the profitability of corporations, but do not always ensure the well being of taxpayers, the public and patients.”
“Development of the human papillomavirus (HPV) Gardasil and Cervarix vaccines is a case in point. The initial research was funded by the NIH, National Cancer Institute, University of Rochester, Georgetown University and the University of Queensland, which licensed them to Merck and GlaxoSmithKline. In 2015, Merck made $1.9 billion on its Gardasil franchise. Soon, aggressive domestic and overseas marketing of the expensive HPV vaccines began, even as the vaccines themselves got poor marks for both safety and effectiveness.”
“As HPV vaccine safety and efficacy problems persisted, the NIH acknowledged the vaccine was widely shunned by mothers of both boys and girls, adolescents and many in poor and ethnic communities. But that did not stop the NIH from continuing its subsidy of the vaccine industry with tax dollars, this time helping with actual marketing.”
Take a look at the full article for more eye opening information.
WEB MD ON GARDASIL: 2018
In 2018, seven years after WebMD declared “HPV vaccine does not appear to cause any serious side effects”, they changed their tune and listed some reported adverse reactions to Gardasil ranked by likelihood and severity.
COMMON SIDE EFFECTS (less severe)
Redness Of Skin
Signs And Symptoms At Injection Site
INFREQUENT SIDE EFFECTS (less severe)
Collection Of Clotted Blood In An Organ, Space Or Tissue
Feel Like Throwing Up
Fibrous Thickening Of Skin
Upper Abdominal Pain
RARE SIDE EFFECTS (severe)
Blood Clot In A Deep Vein Of The Extremities
Inflamed Spinal Cord
Inflammation Of The Lining Of The Stomach And Intestines
Life Threatening Allergic Reaction
Low Platelet Count And Bleeding From Immune Response
Obstruction Of A Blood Vessel By A Blood Clot
Pelvic Inflammatory Disease
RARE SIDE EFFECTS (less severe)
Chronic Trouble Sleeping
Destruction Of Red Blood Cells By Body’s Own Antibodies
Not Feeling Well
Swollen Lymph Nodes
– WebMD, 2018
You’ll note that WebMD does not include DEATH as a possible serious adverse reaction to Gardasil – yet even in the VAERS compilation above from 13 November 2012, 126 deaths after HPV vaccination had already been reported in the US alone.
Enough serious side effects have been reported after Gardasil use that the vaccine may turn out to be riskier than the cervical cancer it claims to prevent – Dr Diane Harper, HPV Vaccine Researcher
GARDASIL’S SAFETY RELATIVE TO OTHER VACCINES: IN THE UNITED KINGDOM 1/1 2005 – 4/22/2015
Here’s a way to look at Gardasil’s safety relative to other vaccines:
ADVERSE DRUG REACTIONS REPORTED FOR VARIOUS VACCINES IN THE UK FOR THE TEN YEAR PERIOD 1/1/2005 – 4/22/2015
Not reassuring, is it?
THE VAST MAJORITY OF CERVICAL CANCER DEATHS OCCUR IN POORER COUNTRIES
Some strains of HPV may eventually lead to cervical cancer and cancers of adjacent organs – but this is a rare occurrence in the US and other developed countries. “Overall, the annual incidence rate of cervical cancer in the developed world is very low. Just 8 in 100,000 develop cervical cancer each year in the United States thanks to cervical cancer screening.” And only a small number of those 8 die from their cervical cancers. (McGovern, 2017)
So the risk of developing cervical cancer if you get regular Pap smears is very low (8 in 100,000) and the risk of dying if you do get cervical cancer is considerably lower than that. Wouldn’t it therefore be preferable to work on getting more women screened than to create a pricey vaccine and then put pressure on parents and their children to receive multiple doses of it?
Click on the image below to make it large enough to read:
85% of Cervical Cancer Mortality Occurs in Less Developed Countries
The map shows countries sized by number of cervical cancer deaths. Numbers represent age-standardized mortality rates.
As the map above makes clear, there’s a huge disparity between deaths from cervical cancer in developed countries compared to places like East Africa, Middle Africa and India. This is attributable to the wide availability of cervical cancer screenings in the developed countries and their relative lack in the less developed ones.
“Cervical cancer is almost 100 percent preventable. Screening and treatment can detect and eliminate pre-cancerous lesions before cancer develops, and vaccines have been developed that are effective against the strains of the human papillomavirus that cause most cervical cancer.
“But every year, more than 500,000 women are diagnosed with cervical cancer and over 266,000 women die from the disease. An overwhelming majority of these women (over 85 percent) live and die in low- and middle-income countries. Cervical cancer ranks as the leading cause of cancer and cancer deaths for women in sub-Saharan Africa. And Eastern Africa suffers from by far the highest mortality rate in the world at 27 cervical cancer deaths for every 100,000 women – nine times the rate in the United States.” (Winner, 2016)
So perhaps HPV vaccinations are worth their risks in these countries but not in the US and other countries with good access to cervical cancer screening and treatment.
NEVERTHELESS, MASS HPV VACCINATION TAKES PLACE HERE IN THE US
Merck started targeting girls with ads promoting Gardasil as a “cervical cancer vaccine”. Now they’ve moved on to include boys too.
“Since 2006, HPV vaccines have been recommended in a three-dose series given over six months. In 2016, CDC changed the recommendation to two doses for persons starting the series before their 15th birthday. The second dose of HPV vaccine should be given six to twelve months after the first dose.” (Immunization Action Coalition, 2019)
TWO OF MERCK’S ADS FOR GARDASIL
The American Cancer Society and the CDC, accompanied by Merck’s extensive advertising campaign for Gardasil, strongly push for mass HPV vaccination of girls and boys – and now women and men up to 45 years old – in the US.
“The American Cancer Society (ACS) has set an aggressive goal to achieve an 80 percent uptake rate among American children with two doses human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine by 2026. To gain that coverage, 14 million more preteen children would need to complete the two-dose series, for a total of 57.62 million doses above and beyond the number of vaccinations given to date.” Merck is the sole producer of HPV vaccine in the US. Each pricey dose of Gardasil puts $168 to $204 into the company’s coffers.
“The rationale ACS has given for setting the 80 percent HPV vaccine coverage goal is based on the number of reported cancers and cancer deaths associated with chronic HPV infection in the United States.
“The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) estimates that about 42,700 (24,400 in women and 18,300 in men) are diagnosed with an HPV-related cancer annually. HPV is believed to be responsible for 63 to 91 percent of cervical, anal, vaginal, oropharyngeal, vulvar and penile cancers.
“According to the CDC, invasive cancers are not generally tested for the presence of HPV in most cancer registries, so data are estimated based on the finding of HPV DNA in special studies used (as) a reference for reference for making estimates. (emphasis added)
“Of note is the fact that, in 2005, a year before the first four-strain HPV vaccine, Gardasil, was licensed and recommended for all 12-13 year old girls, the American Cancer Society estimated that there were 10,370 cervical cancer cases with 3,710 deaths. Compared to the estimated 13,240 cervical cancer cases and 4,170 deaths in 2018, this represents an increase in cervical cancer cases in the U.S. after a decade of HPV vaccine use among adolescents (emphasis added). The CDC reported that by 2017, 71 percent of adolescent girls had received more than one dose of HPV vaccine and there was a 68 percent coverage rate among all adolescents.” (Raines & Fisher, 2018)
If Gardasil is so effective at preventing cervical cancer, what accounts for this increase in cervical cancer? You may have noticed in the VAERS charts earlier in this post that cervical cancer is listed as one of the adverse side effects reported after HPV vaccination.
SOME STATES HAVE MADE GARDASIL VACCINATIONS MANDATORY FOR CHILDREN
Three US states have enacted legislation making HPV vaccinations mandatory for school entry into secondary schools. As of November 11 2018, these are:
RHODE ISLAND Males & females: August 2015, grade 7 (1 dose); August 2016, grade 8 (2 doses); August 2017, grade 9 (3 doses)
VIRGINIA Females: October 2008, grade 6, 3 doses (with dose 1 prior to grade 6)
DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA Females: January 2009, (number of doses not specified)
– Immunization Action Coalition, 11/11/2018
The legislatures and executive branches in many US states and territories have pushed for HPV vaccinations. “Since 2006, legislators in at least 42 states and territories have introduced legislation to: require the vaccine, fund the vaccine or educate the public or school children about the HPV Vaccine. At least 25 states and territories have enacted legislation – including Colorado, District of Columbia, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nevada, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oregon, Puerto Rico, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Washington and Wisconsin.” (National Conference of State Legislatures, 6/12/2018)
You can check the Gardasil “HPV Vaccine: State Actions and Introduced Legislation 2017-2018” in your state here.
“The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) recommends administering the vaccine to girls and boys between 11 and 12 years of age, before they become sexually active. ACIP recommends an immunization schedule of 2 doses before the 15th birthday and 3 doses after the 15th birthday.
“Aside from recommendations by ACIP, school vaccination requirements are decided mostly by state legislatures. Some state legislatures have granted regulatory bodies such as the health department the power to require vaccines, but they still need the legislature to provide funding.
“The debate in states has centered, in part, around school vaccine requirements, which are determined by individual states. Some stakeholders who support access to the vaccine do not support a school mandate, citing concerns about the drug’s cost, safety, and parents’ rights to refuse. Still others may have moral objections related to a vaccine mandate for a sexually transmitted disease. Financing is another concern. If states make the vaccine mandatory, they must also address funding issues, including Medicaid and CHIP coverage, youth who are uninsured, and whether to require coverage by insurance plans. This has caused some to push for further discussion and debate about whether or not to require the vaccine.
“The CDC announced that the HPV vaccine is available through the federal Vaccines for Children (VFC) program in all 50 states, Washington DC and the eight US territories. VFC provides vaccines for children ages nine to 18 who are covered by Medicaid, Alaskan-Native or Native American children, and some underinsured or uninsured children.” (National Conference of State Legislatures, 6/12/2018)
COUNTRIES THAT DO NOT REQUIRE OR RECOMMEND HPV VACCINATION
Unlike the US, a variety of countries around the world do not recommend HPV vaccination and/or have filed law suits against its manufacturer. Two examples:
After receiving 100’s of complaints received from Japanese citizens about possible serious side effects after HPV vaccinations, Japan’s health ministry decided to formally withdraw its recommendation for the vaccinations on 14 June 2013. “In an attempt to avoid completely alienating the World Health Organization, which recommends the HPV vaccine used by many developed nations, the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare insisted that it is not suspending the use of the vaccine, but simply instructed local Japanese governments not to promote it until more study is conducted on its safety.” (Pope, 2014)
About 25% of all cervical cancer deaths world wide are in India and cervical cancer is India’s second leading cause of cancer deaths. Nevertheless, citing concerns about the efficacy, safety and cost effectiveness of HPV vaccinations, India’s health ministry recently decided against including HPV vaccines in the country’s national immunization program. (Narayanan, 1/17/2018) & (Jayachand & Raman, 8/28/2018)
AMERICAN COLLEGE OF PEDIATRICIANS ISSUED A WARNING ABOUT GARDASIL IN 2016
Source: The Healthy Home Economist
In January 2016, the American College of Pediatricians decided it needed to warn physicians and the American public about its safety concerns regarding the HPV vaccines Gardasil and Cervarix (GlaxoSmithKline withdrew its Cervarix vaccine from the US market on October 22, 2016):
“The American College of Pediatricians (The College) is committed to the health and well-being of children, including prevention of disease by vaccines. It has recently come to the attention of the College that one of the recommended vaccines could possibly be associated with the very rare but serious condition of premature ovarian failure (POF), also known as premature menopause.”
The College urged that these legitimate concerns about HPV vaccinations be addressed:
“Long-term ovarian function was not assessed in either the original rat safety studies or in the human vaccine trials.”
“Most primary care physicians are probably unaware of a possible association between HPV4 and POF and may not consider reporting POF cases or prolonged amenorrhea (missing menstrual periods) to the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS).”
“Potential mechanisms of action have been postulated based on autoimmune associations with the aluminum adjuvant used and previously documented ovarian toxicity in rats from another component, polysorbate 80.”
Since licensure of Gardasil® in 2006, there have been about 213 VAERS reports … involving amenorrhea, POF or premature menopause, 88% of which have been associated with Gardasil®. The two-strain HPV2, CervarixTM, was licensed late in 2009 and accounts for 4.7 % of VAERS amenorrhea reports since 2006, and 8.5% of those reports from February 2010 through May 2015. This compares to the pre-HPV vaccine period from 1990 to 2006 during which no cases of POF or premature menopause and 32 cases of amenorrhea were reported to VAERS.”
– American College of Pediatricians (2016)
MERCK TOLD FDA IN 2006 GARDASIL INCREASES CERVICAL CANCER RISK 44% FOR SOME WOMEN
And there’s also this from a 2018 article by health and nutrition writer Sarah Pope titled “Merck: Gardasil Increases Cervical Cancer 44% for Women Most at Risk”:
“In case you haven’t noticed, the pharmaceutical industry is highly effective at getting news articles and research that are unfavorable toward vaccination removed from large media websites.
“One such story that was quickly removed from the large media website Examiner tackled the very touchy subject of greatly elevated cervical cancer risk in women vaccinated with Gardasil if they are already sexually active and exposed to HPV prior to injection.
“In cases of prior exposure, women are at a 44.6% increased risk for precancerous lesions or full blown cervical cancer.
“This shocking data that is rarely (if ever?) discussed in the doctor’s office … was presented to the FDA on May 18, 2006 during the Gardasil approval process. The presenter of this shocking research was none other than Merck, the manufacturer of Gardasil.
“This troubling data was discovered by Merck scientists during Gardasil safety trials. Even more disturbing, the FDA did not respond by requiring HPV screening prior to vaccination with Gardasil or even requiring a simple warning about it on the package insert.” (Pope, 2018)
INTERVIEWS WITH DR DIANE HARPER, HPV VACCINE RESEARCHER DURING MERCK’S & GSK’S CLINICAL TRIALS
Dr Diane Harper, HPV Vaccine Researcher
Diane Harper, MD, was a paid consultant for both Merck (manufacturer of Gardasil) and GlaxoSmithKline (manufacturer of Cervarix) during their clinical trials. She was responsible for assembling a research team to recruit participants, delivering health care during the study, collecting biological specimens at the correct time, and retaining subjects over the entire time frame of the study.
2009 CBS NEWS INTERVIEW WITH DR HARPER
Speaking with CBS’s Sharyl Attkisson in 2009 about Gardasil’s risks, benefits and aggressive marketing, Dr Harper said more complete risk-vs benefit information should be given to young girls and their parents so they can make an informed decision about receiving the vaccine.
She also pointed out that available data for Gardasil showed the vaccination lasts only five years – no data shows it remains effective beyond five years. “If we vaccinate 11 year olds and the protection doesn’t last… we’ve put them at harm from side effects, small but real, for no benefit,” says Dr. Harper.”
Harper questioned Merck’s outright claim that Gardasil prevents cervical cancer. “The number of women who die from cervical cancer in the US every year is small but real. It is small because of the success of the Pap screening program.”
– Attkisson, 2009
2010 HUFF POST INTERVIEW (updated 2017)
Marcia Yerman for The Huffington Post reported the following exchanges during an in depth interview with Dr Harper in 2010:
Yerman: Could you clarify the content and context of the statements that you made at the 4th International Public Conference on Vaccination in October 2009, which have been so widely read and misquoted? Specifically the reported quote, “The rate of serious adverse effects is greater than the incidence rate of cervical cancer.”
Harper: “The rate of serious adverse events reported is 3.4/100,000 doses distributed. The current incidence rate of cervical cancer in the United States is 7/100,000 women. This is what I said.”
Yerman: Can you point out specific “misstatements” that Merck has promulgated about the Gardasil vaccine?
Harper: “Less misstatements, than incomplete statements. For instance, the cumulative incidence of HPV infections for women in the U.S. through the age of 50 years old is 80%. That statement is true. That statement infers that nearly every one is infected with HPV at least one point in their life.
“What is left out is that 95% of all HPV infections are cleared spontaneously by the body’s immune system. The remaining 5% progress to cancer precursors. Cancer precursors, specifically CIN 3, progresses to invasive cancer in the following proportions: 20% of women with CIN 3 progress to invasive cervical cancer in five years; 40% progress to cervical cancer in thirty years. There is ample time to detect and treat the early precancers and early stage cancers for 100% cure.
“Other examples include inferences that Gardasil will last a lifetime, with no mention of boosters or limited protection possible. Regarding wart protection promotion, there is no mention that the data showed protection against genital warts in men for only a 2.4-year period of time.
“Gardasil is not really a cervical cancer vaccine. The vaccine prevents HPV infection. not the development of cervical cancer.”
In a 2011 National Public Radio interview with Richard Knox, Dr Harper weighed in with more:
Harper stated she believes the vaccine was being oversold. Her mind was changed when the vaccine makers began lobbying state legislatures to MANDATE vaccinations for school children.
“Ninety-five percent of women who are infected with HPV never, ever get cervical cancer,” she says. “It seemed very odd to be mandating something for which 95 percent of infections never amount to anything.”
Rather than relying on a vaccine, she pointed out that “Pap smear screening is far and away the biggest thing a woman can do to protect herself, to prevent cervical cancer.”
Harper also had an additional objection to mandating HPV vaccination for 11 year olds: Studies show that vaccines protect against HPV for only four or five years so children vaccinated at 11 would likely not be protected during their most sexually active teen years.
– Knox, 2011
INTERVIEW WITH ANOTHER FORMER MERCK RESEARCHER
Dr Bernard Dalbergue, former pharmaceutical industry physician, speaks out about Gardasil
Another researcher, Dr Bernard Dalbergue, a former pharmaceutical industry physician employed by Gardasil’s manufacturer Merck, was interviewed in the April 2014 issue of the French magazine Principes de Santé (Health Principles). He predicted that Gardasil would become the greatest medical scandal of all time.
Salient points from the interview:
Merck knew the Gardasil vaccine would prove to be worthless when they released the vaccine on the US market. It is ineffective and very pricey.
All vaccines can cause cases of Guillain-Barré syndrome, paralysis of the lower limbs, vaccine-induced MS, and vaccine-induced encephalitis.
“I predict that Gardasil will become the greatest medical scandal of all times because at some point in time, the evidence will add up to prove that this vaccine, technical and scientific feat that it may be, has absolutely no effect on cervical cancer and that all the very many adverse effects which destroy lives and even kill, serve no other purpose than to generate profit for the manufacturers.”
There is far too much financial interest for these medicines to be withdrawn.
The following quote is an excerpt from an open letter to the French Parliament and the citizens of France urging against making vaccination with the HPV vaccine mandatory. It was written by Gérard Delépine, MD, a French orthopedic surgeon/oncologist/statistician and published on 7/23/2018:
“In countries whose populations have access to smear screening, it has led to a considerable reduction in the incidence of cervical cancer (from 40 to 60%). In contrast, the introduction of vaccination has not reduced the incidence or mortality of cervical cancer. Contrary to what is promised by laboratory-related physicians and by many global health authorities, vaccination campaigns have even been followed by an increase in the incidence of cancer.
“Immunization advocates claim that a high vaccination coverage rate reduces the risk of invasive cancer of the cervix. Yet the comparison of incidence and mortality rates with vaccine coverage rates shows the opposite.” (DES Daughter Network, 2018)
“Cervical cancer incidence in the US has not fallen since June 2006, when Gardasil was introduced here.
“Cervical cancer tends to occur in midlife and is most frequently diagnosed in women between the ages of 35 and 44. It rarely develops in women younger than 20.
“Cervical cancer was once one of the most common causes of cancer death for American women. The cervical cancer death rate dropped significantly with the increased use of the Pap test. (This screening procedure can find changes in the cervix before cancer develops. It can also find cervical cancer early − when it’s small and easier to cure.) But it has not changed much over the last 15 years.” (American Cancer Society, 2018)
THE FDA’S MISTAKE IN APPROVING GARDASIL
Numerous respected experts have spoken out against Gardasil since its release. “An eight-month investigation revealed shocking flaws in Merck’s clinical trial design, which effectively prevented assessment of safety.” (Mercola, 9/29/2018)
A few weeks after Gardasil first appeared on the market in June 8 2006, there were warnings that Merck’s clinical trials, which the FDA had used to fast track Gardasil to licensure, contained serious methodological flaws. For example, on June 27 2006, the nonprofit National Vaccine Information Center (NVIC) issued a press release titled Merck’s Gardasil Vaccine Not Proven Safe for Little Girls. (Mercola, 9/29/2018)
During the vaccine’s clinical trial, serious adverse events that occurred outside of a two-week period post-vaccination were recorded as ‘medical history’ rather than as ‘adverse effects’. (Mercola, 9/29/2018)
Numerous experts have raised “concerns that the pre- and post-licensure safety studies of the fast-tracked Gardasil vaccine were both overstated and misleading, with reported results selectively chosen to increase the appearance of positive results. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) allowed Merck to use an aluminum containing placebo as a control in safety studies, even though Gardasil contains an aluminum adjuvant, effectively increasing the appearance of safety. (Raine & Fisher, 2018)
Furthermore, the cervical cancer rate in the US is low – only 12 per 100,000. by Merck’s own admission, Gardasil may CAUSE2,300 serious adverse events per 100,000. (Mercola, 12/8/2018)
Merck’s trial data shows Gardasil may actually INCREASE a woman’s risk of precancerous lesions or full blown cervical cancer by 44.6% if she had been exposed to HPV strains 16 or 18 prior to vaccination. (Pope, 2018) & (Mercola, 12/8/2018)
Nearly 90% of Gardasil recipients and 85% of aluminum placebo recipients in the trials, who were followed up on, reported one or more adverse events within 15 days of vaccination. (Mercola, 9/28/2018)
Merck scientists discovered this alarming data during its safety trials on Gardasil and presented it to the FDA in 2006 during the Gardasil approval process. The FDA nevertheless fast tracked approval of the vaccine rather than requiring HPV screening prior to vaccination – or even requiring a warning on the package insert. The whole story was then quashed and not presented to doctors or the public. (Pope, 2018)
According to Merck’s own research, if you have been exposed to HPV strains 16 or 18 prior and then get vaccinated, you may increase your risk of precancerous lesions by 44.6 percent (Mercola, 9/29/2018)
HPV infection is spread through sexual contact and research has demonstrated that using condoms can reduce risk of HPV infection by 70 percent, which is far more effective than the HPV vaccine. (Mercola, 9/29/2018)
Although Gardasil vaccine recommendations were targeting 12- to 13-year-old girls, Merck did not reveal how many girls under age 16 were in the prelicensure trials (eventually Merck admitted that number was only 1,200 girls, followed for less than two years). .(Mercola, 9/29/2018)
NVIC cofounder and president Barbara Loe Fisher said in 2006, “Nobody at Merck, the CDC or FDA know if the injection of Gardasil into all preteen girls — especially simultaneously with hepatitis B vaccine — will make some of them more likely to develop arthritis or other inflammatory autoimmune and brain disorders as teenagers and adults.” (National Vaccine Information Center, 6/272006)
“With cervical cancer causing about 1 percent of all cancer deaths in American women due to routine pap screening, it was inappropriate for the FDA to fast track Gardasil. It is way too early to direct all young girls to get three doses of a vaccine that has not been proven safe or effective in their age group.” (National Vaccine Information Center, 6/272006)
Then there are also the huge number of young children who were sexually abused prior to receiving HPV vaccination. If 80% of sexually active people in the US have contracted HPV during their lifetimes, it’s highly likely child victims have also been exposed to HPV prior to receiving HPV vaccination. Studies by David Finkelhor, Director of the Crimes Against Children Research Center, found that 1 in 5 girls and 1 in 20 boys are victims of child sexual abuse and that children are most vulnerable to sexual abuse between ages 7 and 13. (National Center for Victims of Crime, 2012)
So the assertion that it’s safe to give HPV vaccinations to 9-11 year old children on the assumption that they don’t already have HPV is seriously flawed and exposes these already traumatized children to great risk from the vaccine.
More than 80 million girls, young women and boys have received the HPV vaccine, and many have paid an extraordinarily high price, developing nervous system disorders, chronic fatigue and autoimmune diseases. (Mercola, 9/28/2018)
Darkness to Light
COST OF GARDASIL SHOTS
“A patient paying out of pocket for Gardasil may pay over $190 per dose as of 2017. Three doses are required over a six-month period, making the total cost for the HPV vaccine $570 or more. On top of that, some doctors charge office visit fees when the vaccine is given.” (Fayed, 2017)
A 2/2/2019 headline on Health Impact News:
“AS MERCK’S GARDASIL U.S. SALES DECLINE PROFITS CONTINUE TO INCREASE AS VACCINE IS LAUNCHED IN CHINA”
“The pharmaceutical marketing trade publication, Fierce Pharma, announced this month (May 2018) that Merck has beat Wall Street expectations for their Gardasil vaccine sales during the first quarter of 2018, achieving 24% growth with $660 million for the HPV vaccine.
“The report notes that sales in the U.S. are declining, attributing the decline in sales to the CDC decision to reduce their recommendation of the Gardasil vaccine to be only two doses, instead of three.
“Nothing is mentioned about declining public opinion regarding Gardasil, nor the numerous lawsuits against the company outside the U.S.
“The increase in sales for Gardasil is attributed to their entrance into the China market.
“Gardasil remains Merck’s top vaccine by sales.
“As we just reported in an article published at The Vaccine Reaction, U.S. taxpayers subsidized the development of Gardasil, and continue to fund their marketing of the vaccine(emphasis added).“
– Health Impact News, 2/2/2019
DR SUZANNE HUMPHRIES ON GARDASIL : INTERVIEW
Dr Suzanne Humphries “is a conventionally educated medical doctor who was a participant in conventional hospital systems from 1989 until 2011 as an internist and nephrologist. She left her conventional hospital position in good standing, of her own volition in 2011. Since then, she’s been furthering her research into the medical literature on vaccines, immunity, history, and functional medicine.” She is a well respected author and world wide lecturer on infant immunity, vitamin C, aluminum, and vaccination. (Humphries, undated)
In this illuminating and riveting interview with Polly Tommey, Dr Humphries walks us through the enormous Gardasil 9 package insert, explaining the serious flaws in the vaccine’s safety and efficacy research. The 49 minute video was released by VAXXED TV on 12/5/2016. Tommey is a leading autism advocate and activist.
MANUFACTURED CRISIS – HPV, HYPE & HORROR: ANOTHER DOCUMENTARY
This documentary film about HPV vaccines and what’s wrong with them is excellent and worth the 59 minutes it’ll take to watch it. The film features Gardasil victims, their parents, and researchers who point out what’s wrong with the vaccine and why mass vaccination is unwarranted. The film was released by the Alliance for Natural Health USA on 3/15/2018.
Both videos are especially important to watch if you’re someone who believes our country’s FDA is adequately protecting our health and regulating pharmaceutical companies.
Manufactured Crisis — HPV, Hype and Horror
REPORT ANY ADVERSE REACTIONS FROM VACCINES TO VAERS
If you are experiencing a medical emergency, seek immediate assistance from a healthcare provider or call 9-1-1. CDC and FDA do not provide individual medical treatment, advice, or diagnosis. If you need individual medical or health care advice, consult a qualified healthcare provider.
You can use this online form to report an adverse event to VAERS or use their new downloadable PDF. The form is available in English and Spanish.
A WARNING FROM DR MARCIA ANGELL, FORMER EDITOR-IN-CHIEF OF THE NEW ENGLAND JOURNAL OF MEDICINE
“It is simply no longer possible to believe much of the clinical research that is published, or to rely on the judgment of trusted physicians or authoritative medical guidelines. I take no pleasure in this conclusion, which I reached slowly and reluctantly over my two decades as an editor of The New England Journal of Medicine.”
– Marica Angell, former Editor-in-Chief of The New England Journal of Medicine, one of the most prestigious peer-reviewed medical journals in the world
IF YOU’RE UP FOR READING MORE …
FROM THE BOOK HPV VACCINE ON TRIAL: SEEKING JUSTICE FOR A GENERATION BETRAYED:
Mary Holland, Kim Mack Rosenberg and Eileen Iorio’s 2018 book, The HPV Vaccine on Trial: Seeking Justice for a Generation Betrayed, tells the stories of young people who became disabled or died as a result of getting Gardasil injections:
“Alexis Wolf, 13 years old. In 2007, when Alexis was in 7th grade, she began the Gardasil series. After the second dose, her health deteriorated. After the third, she could no longer focus, sleep, eat, or behave normally. She started to have many seizures every day. She was put in psychiatric hospitals. A year and a half after her symptoms began, Alexis tested at a 4thgrade level. Today, at 25, Alexis still suffers from severe neurological injury, including daily seizures.
Alexis Wolf, before Gardasil Alexis Wolf, 6 years after Gardasil
“Abbey Colohan, 12 years old. In a small town in western Ireland, Abbey received the first dose of Gardasil at school. Abbey fainted immediately and then had seizures for more than an hour. Two days later, she passed out again. Abbey started to have chronic pain, fatigue, and frequent fainting spells. Abbey’s teen years have been consumed with illness and hardship. Ireland’s health service denies that Abbey had an adverse vaccine reaction at school.
“Colton Berrett, 13 years old. Colton was an athletic, kind, helpful teenage boy. He loved all outdoor sports. Colton started the three-dose Gardasil series when he was thirteen. Shortly after the third dose, he became paralyzed from the neck down and had to use a ventilator. Through intensive physical therapy, Colton eventually recovered some mobility but remained on a round-the-clock ventilator. He committed suicide two months before his eighteenth birthday.
“Maddie Moorman, 15 years old. Maddie began the Gardasil series at the gynecologist’s recommendation. After the second shot, Maddie became bedridden and ill. She had debilitating headaches every day and could no longer remember things. Her mom declined the third shot for her. Through conventional and holistic treatment, Maddie’s health began to recover slowly, and she was able to complete high school and go to college. But some of Maddie’s symptoms never abated, including a constant buzzing in her head and the inability to think the way she could before. She took her own life at twenty-one.
The authors of The HPV Vaccine on Trial: Seeking Justice for a Generation Betrayed also build a strong case that Merck’s and GlaxoSmithKline’s testing of the safety and efficacy of their respective HPV vaccines was severely flawed:
“HPV vaccines have never been proven to prevent cervical or any other cancer. Merck and GlaxoSmithKline, the manufacturers, did not have to prove that the vaccines prevent cancer. They were allowed to use precancerous lesions as “surrogate endpoints” in the clinical trials. Scientists do not know if the decline in cases of precancerous lesions will translate into fewer cases of cervical cancer in 20-30 years.
“Even if they were 100% effective, which they are not, HPV vaccines do not prevent all cases of cervical cancer. The vaccines do not prevent infections from all HPV types associated with cancer, and not all cervical cancer is associated with HPV. HPV vaccines are not a replacement for cervical screening, yet evidence strongly suggests that young women are skipping screening in the mistaken belief that they no longer need it. HPV vaccine marketing hype appears to have contributed to a sharp drop off in cervical screening among young women.
“None of the participants in the clinical trials received a true saline placebo. None of the clinical trials included a straightforward comparison of the effects of the vaccine against a true control. We use the term “fauxcebo” to describe the aluminum-containing adjuvants, other vaccines, and chemical mixtures that control subjects received instead of true saline placebos. These fauxcebos masked the adverse effects of the vaccines, making them appear safer than they would have if compared to true placebos.
“Merck told young female clinical trial subjects that the vaccine had already been proven safe and that the placebo was saline. Both claims were false. A key purpose of the clinical trials was to establish safety, and the placebo was not saline. Clinical trial subjects suffered because of these lies.
“The manufacturers never tested HPV vaccines on human fertility. Although this vaccine is given to adolescents throughout the world, the manufacturers acknowledge in their package inserts that they never tested the vaccine for fertility effects in humans – only rats. We look at the substantial evidence of severe adverse effects on fertility, including miscarriage and premature ovarian failure in girls and young women.
“Evidence shows that certain ingredients in HPV vaccines, including sodium borate (also known as borax, a cleaning agent), may have negative effects on fertility. The European Chemicals Agency requires sodium borate to carry the following warning: “DANGER! May damage fertility or the unborn child.” In the US, borax is banned in food but allowed in vaccines.
“The manufacturers never tested HPV vaccines to discover if they might cause cancer. The package inserts acknowledge that the vaccines have never been tested for “carcinogenicity.” But clinical trial data suggest that if women have HPV infections when they get the vaccines (and prescreening is not recommended), then they may be at higher risk for precancerous cervical lesions or worse. Some clinical trial participants later developed cancer, including cervical cancer.
“The Gardasil clinical trials used a new metric, “New Medical Conditions,” as a way to claim that serious health problems after vaccination were unrelated to the vaccine or aluminum-containing fauxcebo. More than 50% of all clinical trial participants reported “new medical conditions,” including infections, reproductive disorders, neurological syndromes, and autoimmune conditions. The FDA did not question this novel metric or whether the vaccine itself might be contributing to these conditions.
“Although 11-12 year olds are the target population for this vaccine (and it is approved for children as young as 9), the vast majority of clinical trial subjects were considerably older. Only a small percentage of participants were twelve or younger, and their age cohort lacked a true saline control placebo, as did the older age groups. Preteens, on the cusp of puberty, have significant biological differences from young adults, the primary age group in the clinical trials. Thus the target population was insufficiently studied before the vaccine received approval.
“Doctors and scientists have published peer-reviewed articles on the adverse effects that many young women reported after HPV vaccination.
“Despite US government assertions that the vaccine is safe, the federal compensation program for vaccine injury has paid out millions of dollars in damages for HPV vaccine injuries. Families have received compensation for death, brain injury, multiple sclerosis, complex regional pain syndrome, Guillain-Barre syndrome, ulcerative colitis, and other severe, debilitating conditions. We delve into reported HPV vaccine injuries and the pursuit of justice.
“All participants in the Gardasil clinical trials who received a “placebo” rather than the vaccine were encouraged to receive HPV vaccines at the end of the clinical trial period. By doing this, Merck destroyed any opportunity for large-scale, long-term safety and efficacy studies of vaccinated versus the original control subjects.
“Lawsuits have been filed against Merck, GlaxoSmithKline, and government health agencies around world, including in the US, India, Colombia, Japan, Spain, and France. Families want treatment for their injured children and young adults. They also want to hold the manufacturers accountable and to prevent future injuries to other children.
“National and international health agencies are working hand-in-glove with the HPV vaccine manufacturers to promote, advertise, finance, recommend, and even compel children to get HPV vaccines. We have included examples of CDC and UK National Health Service ads for HPV vaccines in the photo insert.
“The US government earns royalties from Merck and GSK for licensing HPV vaccine technology. Scientists at the National Institutes of Health, with others, participated in the invention of HPV vaccines. While receiving millions of dollars in annual royalty income from these corporations, the US government ostensibly holds the upper hand in regulating them. The conflict of interest is obvious.
“The HPV vaccine saga began just as Merck was trying to turn the page on its criminal conduct with Vioxx, its failed painkiller drug. Just as Vioxx was raking in $2.5 billion in annual revenue — almost the same amount Gardasil and Gardasil 9 are now bringing in — Merck withdrew it from the market because it was causing heart attacks, strokes, and death. Merck had not disclosed known heart attack risk in its clinical trial data. In 2005, Merck paid multi-million dollar civil and criminal penalties and entered into a $4.85 billion settlement with injured plaintiffs. Congress, the Department of Justice, and the media investigated Merck for falsifying data, making false statements to regulators, making false marketing claims, failing to disclose material information to consumers, and more. In 2006, the FDA approved Gardasil, leading some to dub the HPV vaccine “Help Pay for Vioxx.” History repeats itself in the Merck Vioxx and Gardasil sagas.
“We strongly advocate for informed consent and hope that this book will help people to make truly informed decisions about this vaccine. Only you can be the ultimate judge for yourself or your loved one.”
– Holland, Rosenberg & Iorio, 2018
If you’re interested in the safety and effectiveness of the Gardasil vaccine and want more information, take a look at the Sane Vax site. You can find the most recent HPV Vaccine VAERS Report (1/14/2019 as of today) there and links to relevant research papers.
“The Sane Vax Mission is to promote only Safe, Affordable, Necessary & Effective vaccines and vaccination practices through education and information. We believe in science-based medicine. Our primary goal is to provide the information necessary for you to make informed decisions regarding your health and well-being. We also provide referrals to helpful resources for those unfortunate enough to have experienced vaccine-related injuries.” (SaneVax, 2019)
SaneVax maintains the first international HPV vaccine information clearinghouse.
It’s important to be informed about the risks and benefits before getting any vaccine yourself, for your children and your pets.
Global Vaccine Market Forecast to Surpass $50 Billion by 2024
“The global vaccine market is forecast to reach $50.9 billion by 2024, according to a new study released by Market Study Report of Selbyville, Delaware. This projection would represent an increase of 30.45 percent over today’s vaccines market, estimated at $35.4 billion, or a compound annual growth rate of about 6.2 percent.
“The revenue growth is attributed to the development of new technologies which will result in “more and more new types of vaccines” being “popularized” and the “scope of disease prevention” being “enlarged.” China is cited as the fastest growing market for vaccines, due to “positive” government policies and “increasing market awareness.”(La Vigne, 3/14/2019)
Haupt, R.M. & Sings, H.L. (2011). The efficacy and safety of the quadrivalent human papillomavirus 6/11/16/18 vaccine gardasil. Journal of Adolescent Health, 49(5):467-75. See: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22018560
This is about a part of the body most of us know we have but probably rarely think about: Our appendix.
Do you remember being told that we don’t need our appendixes, that they’re vestiges left over from when early humans needed them to digest fibrous materials like tree bark? Well, not surprisingly, it turns out ALL our organs are useful – if not necessary – to the well-being of the body. Nothing is superfluous.
The appendix is a small, finger-shaped pouch branching off the cecum, where the small and large intestines join. The cecum is the start of the large intestine. It’s generally located in the lower right portion of the abdomen.
MONETARY COST OF AN APPENDECTOMY
Appendectomies are the most common emergency surgeries performed in the US. Many doctors even suggest prophylactic removal of a perfectly good appendix when you’re scheduled for some other type of abdominal surgery to prevent any future possible risk of getting appendicitis plus having to cover the cost of an appendectomy later on. (Mercola, 2018)
The median network cost of an appendectomy in the US was $13,199 as of September 2017. This is an estimate of the amount an insurance company might pay plus your additional co-pay. (Vanvuren, 2017)
Note that $13,199 was the median cost. These surgeries cost a lot more in some states (eg, California) and less in some other states. (Won et al, 2017)
“COST-EFFECTIVENESS” OF PROPHYLACTIC APPENDECTOMY
A 2017 article published in Surgical Endoscopy attempted to calculate whether it’s “cost-effective” to undergo a prophylactic appendectomy. The researchers’ findings:
“With our base-case assumptions, including added cost of prophylactic appendectomy of $660, we find that prophylactic removal of the appendix is cost saving for males aged 18-27 and females aged 18-28 undergoing elective surgery. The margin of cost savings depends on remaining life-years and increases exponentially with age: a 20-year-old female undergoing elective surgery could save $130 over a lifetime by undergoing prophylactic appendectomy, while a 40-year-old female would lose $130 over a lifetime. When the risk of the prophylactic appendectomy exceeds the risk of laparoscopic appendectomy for appendicitis or the cost exceeds $1080, it becomes more cost saving to forego the prophylactic procedure….
“Prophylactic appendectomy can be cost saving for patients younger than age thirty undergoing elective laparoscopic abdominal and pelvic procedures.” (Newhall et al, 2017)
That the researchers chose to consider only FINANCIAL savings, and hypothetical ones at that, seems significant – and rather horrifying.
IS THE APPENDIX A USELESS ORGAN?
OLD IDEA: THE APPENDIX IS VESTIGIAL & UNNECESSARY
Contrary to the outmoded belief that the human appendix is vestigial and no longer performs any useful function, here’s what it actually does for us:
“With the help of white blood cells known as innate lymphoid cells, the appendix acts as a reservoir for beneficial bacteria… Once your body has successfully fought and rid itself of a gut infection, the bacteria emerge from the biofilm of the appendix to recolonize your intestines.” (Mercola, 2018)
Since we now know the health of our gut microbiome is intimately associated with our health overall, that seems pretty important to me!
NEW UNDERSTANDING OF THE APPENDIX’S IMPORTANT FUNCTION
PHYSICAL COST OF AN APPENDECTOMY: ANTIBIOTICS, C. DIFFICILE & THE APPENDIX
The job of the appendix, is to provide the good guys with a safe haven – a place to ride out, decimating events, like diarrhea and antibiotics.
Okay, okay………….. it’s not designed for them to survive antibiotics.
Antibiotics are a modern phenomenon, Mother Nature never saw this one coming, but good design has utility.
And the appendix is DESIGNED.
The appendix is not vestigial
Phylogenetic studies, that is studies comparing different animals, find it is a common feature of animal lineages. It occurs in one form or another, in over 30 different animal lineages.
And animals with an appendix in their history, never get rid of it – it’s too useful !
The long narrow pipe, packed full of lymphoid tissue, right at the bottom of your colon, is an important part of your immune system.
Keeping your bacteria safe
It is positioned in such a way, that it can miss a lot of the drama associated with a bad case of diarrhea. As torrents of liquid , rapidly exit the gut, carrying ALL gut residents, good, bad and ugly, OUT, the bacteria holed up inside, barely experience a ripple.
Huddled inside, wrapped under a special sticky cover, known as a biofilm, they “ride” the storm out.
When things calm down………..they venture forth and multiply – reseeding your gut.
And things return to normal.
The appendix is needed
It’s an ancient protective system, designed to help organisms survive a serious case of the runs.
Something that was not so unusual in times gone by.
Being exposed to “dirty” water and/or “dirty” food, was a common hazard. In fact, it still is a relatively common occurrence in many parts of the world.
Diarrhea can be deadly.
Especially when the diarrhea is accompanied by malnutrition and dehydration. Medical and nutritional interventions have transformed it from a killer, to an inconvenience.
Safe haven from antibiotics
Good design……….has utility.
The shape, position and composition (biofilm) of the appendix, give C.difficile sufferers an advantage. Instead of just C.difficile emerging, following the antibiotic decimation, other gut residents survive too.
And a little competition, puts C.difficile back in his place.
People with an intact appendix are 2.5 fold less likely to end up with an overgrowth of C.difficile.
Cultivate the “right” microflora
Maybe you’ve been told, your appendix does “NOTHING”.
That’s not TRUE. It helps maintain the “right” microflora.
You can get by without one, and maybe in the modern world, where diarrhea is not a big health threat, having one is not quite as important for your survival, as it used to be.
But, your appendix can help you “survive” ANTIBIOTIC exposure.
And here’s Dr Evans’ excellent video on the same topic: The function of the appendix, what antibiotics do to our gut microbiomes, and surviving Clostridium difficile. She’s from South Africa … in case you don’t recognize the accent:
MOST APPENDECTOMIES MAY BE UNNECESSARY
“Doctors have known for years, and CT scans have proved, that appendicitis often doesn’t lead to a burst appendix. Some physicians have used antibiotics as an alternative to immediate surgery when appendicitis is uncomplicated, meaning the appendix is swollen but hasn’t burst.
“To test this alternative treatment, researchers at Nottingham University Hospitals in England compiled the results of four randomized clinical trials that compared antibiotics and surgery for uncomplicated appendicitis. Here’s what they found:
Antibiotics alone successfully treated appendicitis 63% of the time
People who received antibiotics instead of surgery were 39% less likely than those who underwent surgery to have developed complications such as a perforated appendix, peritonitis, or infection around the appendectomy incision.
About 20% of those treated with antibiotics had a return of pain or other symptoms and needed to go back the hospital; some of these had serious infections brewing.” (Skerrett, 2012)
The study results were published in the British Medical Journal.
In a 2018 Finnish study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, the research team concluded that “nearly two-thirds of patients with appendicitis can be successfully treated with antibiotics alone.” All 250 patients included in the study had uncomplicated appendicitis – ie, their appendixes were inflamed but had not burst. (Salminen et al, 2018)
In an editorial accompanying the JAMA article, Dr Edward Livingston, deputy editor of the journal, observed that these findings “dispel the notion that uncomplicated acute appendicitis is a surgical emergency.” (Livingston, 2018)
“In the U.S., an estimated 300,000 appendectomies are performed each year, which means some 199,800 people undergo surgery unnecessarily…. Not that antibiotics are without their side effects in damaging the microbiome, but it appears to be the lesser of two evils in this setting.” (Mercola, 2018)
On top of all the other side effects caused by heavy duty, broad spectrum antibiotics like Cipro & Levaquin, I recently learned they can also cause tendinitis and ruptured tendons.
FDA ORDERS BLACK BOX WARNINGS ON CIPRO & OTHER FLUOROQUINOLONES: THESE DRUGS MAY RUPTURE TENDONS
“Federal regulators are ordering new warnings on Cipro and similar antibiotics because of increased risk of tendinitis and tendon rupture. The new warnings apply to fluoroquinolones, a class of antibiotics that includes the popular drug Cipro….
“The warning applies to drugs of the fluoroquinolone class, including Cipro, Cipro XR, Proquin XR, Levaquin, Floxin, Noroxin, Avelox, Factive, and marketed generics….
“Most of the tendinitis and tendon ruptures affect the Achilles tendon, behind the ankle. But the agency has also received reports of tendinitis and ruptures in the shoulder and hand. Tendons connect muscle to bone.
“Officials also say they are adding new warnings cautioning that patients over 60, those taking corticosteroids, and those who’ve undergone heart, lung, or kidney transplants are also at increased risk of tendon rupture or tendinitis if they take fluoroquinolones.
“Researchers don’t know exactly what fluoroquinolones do that promotes tendon rupturing. Theories suggest the drug may impede collagen formation or interrupt blood supply in joints …
“… Patients taking the drugs should tell their doctors immediately if they experience soreness or inflammation in muscles or tendons and that they should not exercise affected joints….”
– (Zwillich, WebMD, 2008)
COMMON SIDE EFFECTS OF CIPRO
Abnormal liver function tests
Burning in the eyes
Dark colored urine
Diarrhea, watery or bloody diarrhea
Fast or pounding heartbeat
Pain behind the eyes
Pale or yellow skin
Ringing in the ears
Seizures or convulsions
Skin pain, followed by a red or purple skin rash that spreads (especially in the face or upper body) and causes blistering and peeling
Sleep problems (insomnia or nightmares)
Swelling of the face or tongue
Unusual pain anywhere in the body
Unusual thoughts or behaviors
Urinating less than usual or not at all
Vaginal itching or discharge
“This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. “
– Cunha, RxList, 5/14/2018
MORE SERIOUS SIDE EFFECTS OF CIPRO
These are listed as “serious and otherwise important adverse drug reactions” of Cipro, some “disabling and potentially irreversible”:
Tendinitis and Tendon Rupture
Central Nervous System Effects
Exacerbation of Myasthenia Gravis
Other Serious and Sometimes Fatal Adverse Reactions
Serious Adverse Reactions with Concomitant Theophylline
Clostridium difficile-Associated Diarrhea
Prolongation of the QT Interval
Musculoskeletal Disorders in Pediatric Patients
Development of Drug Resistant Bacteria
– (Cunha, RxList, 5/14/2018)
CONDITIONS TREATED WITH CIPRO
You can see from the following WebMD list of conditions treated with Cipro that this broad spectrum antibiotic is commonly used to combat a wide variety of established bacterial infections and is sometimes even given prophylactically :
intestine infection due to the Shigella bacteria
Intestinal Infection due to Campylobacter
Acute Maxillary Sinus M. Catarrhalis Bacteria Infection
Pneumonia caused by Proteus Bacteria
Urinary Tract Infection caused by Klebsiella Bacteria
Infection of the Prostate Gland caused by Proteus
Continuous Bacterial Inflammation of the Prostate Gland
Bone Infection caused by Enterobacter
Lower Respiratory Tract Infection
Complicated Peritonitis caused by E. Coli
Abscess Within the Abdomen
Infection of Urinary Tract due to Pseudomonas Aeruginosa
Urinary Tract Infection caused by Serratia
Skin Infection due to Klebsiella Bacteria
Acute Maxillary Sinus H. Influenzae Bacteria Infection
Complicated Peritonitis caused by Proteus Bacteria
Bacterial Infection of Kidney due to E. Coli Organism
Bladder Infection caused by E. Coli
Urinary Tract Infection due to E. Coli Bacteria
Infection of the Urinary Tract caused by Proteus Bacteria
Skin Infection due to Staphylococcus Aureus Bacteria
Skin Infection due to Streptococcus Pyogenes Bacteria
Skin Infection due to Enterobacter Bacteria
Pneumonia caused by Bacteria
Infection Within the Abdomen
Urinary Tract Infection due to Staphylococcus Epidermidis
Skin Infection due to E. Coli Bacteria
Skin Infection due to Citrobacter Bacteria
Infection of Bone
Prevention of Plague Following Exposure to Plague
Bacterial Pneumonia caused by Klebsiella
Staphylococcus Saprophyticus Infection of Urinary Tract
Infection of the Prostate Gland caused by E. Coli
Skin Infection due to Proteus Bacteria
Skin Infection due to Pseudomonas Aeruginosa Bacteria
Skin Infection due to Providencia Bacteria
Infection of a Joint caused by Serratia Bacteria
Treatment to Prevent Anthrax following Exposure to Disease
Pneumonia due to the Bacteria Haemophilus Parainfluenzae
Pneumonia caused by E. Coli Bacteria
Infection of Urinary Tract due to Providencia Species
Urinary Tract Infection caused by Citrobacter
Skin Infection caused by Morganella Morganii
Joint Infection caused by Pseudomonas Aeruginosa Bacteria
Bone Infection caused by Serratia Bacteria
Pneumonia caused by the Bacteria Enterobacter
Complicated Peritonitis caused by Pseudomonas Aeruginosa
Complicated Peritonitis caused by Klebsiella Bacteria
Bladder Infection caused by Staphylococcus
Infection of the Urinary Tract caused by Enterococcus
Joint Infection caused by Enterobacter Species Bacteria
Infection of a Joint
Diarrhea caused by E. Coli Bacteria
Bacterial Urinary Tract Infection
Diarrhea caused by a Bacteria
Acute Maxillary Sinus S. Pneumoniae Bacteria Infection
Pneumonia caused by the Bacteria Pseudomonas Aeruginosa
Bacterial Pneumonia caused by Haemophilus Influenzae
Pneumonia caused by Gram-Negative Bacteria
Bronchitis caused by the Bacteria Moraxella Catarrhalis
Complicated Peritonitis caused by Bacteroides Bacteria
Infection of Urinary Tract due to Enterobacter Cloacae
Urinary Tract Infection caused by Morganella Morganii
Skin Infection due to Staphylococcus Epidermidis Bacteria
Bone Infection caused by Pseudomonas Aeruginosa
Short-Term Infection with Diarrhea
Discomfort & Weight Loss
Diabetic Foot Infection
Heart Valve Infection caused by Haemophilus
Pneumonia caused by the Bacteria Anthrax
Cystic Fibrosis and Infection from Pseudomonas Bacteria
Bacterial Stomach or Intestine Infection caused by Anthrax
Infection of the Brain or Spinal Cord caused by Anthrax
Urinary Tract Infection Prevention
Skin Infection caused by Anthrax
Treatment to Prevent Traveler’s Diarrhea
Treatment to Prevent Meningococcal Meningitis
Presumed Infection in Neutropenic Patient With Fever
– (WebMD, 2018)
The uses, potential side effects and warnings for Levaquin are similar to those for Cipro. See Levaquin (RxList, 2018A) if you want to check it out specifically.
FDA SAYS TO USE FLUOROQUINOLONES ONLY AS A DRUG OF LAST RESORT
The American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP) posted this warning on July 27 2016:
“According to a July 26 FDA Drug Safety Communication … these medications have been associated with disabling and potentially permanent side effects involving tendons, muscles and/or joints, as well as peripheral nerves and the central nervous system. Some patients may even experience more than one such adverse effect.
“Therefore, said FDA officials, fluoroquinolones should be used in patients with acute bacterial sinusitis (ABS), acute bacterial exacerbation of chronic bronchitis (ABECB) or uncomplicated urinary tract infections (UTIs) only when no other treatment options are available, “because the risk of these serious side effects generally outweighs the benefits in these patients.”
“‘Fluoroquinolones have risks and benefits that should be considered very carefully,’ said Edward Cox, M.D., director of the Office of Antimicrobial Products in the agency’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research, in (a news release). ‘It’s important that both health care providers and patients are aware of both the risks and benefits of fluoroquinolones and make an informed decision about their use.’
“The agency has revised the boxed warning for all drugs in this class of antibiotics to reflect these serious safety concerns. Those drugs are
central nervous system effects (e.g., psychosis, anxiety, depression, suicidal thoughts).
“Effects can begin within hours of starting the medications, but they may not be seen until after weeks of treatment. Patients should be advised to discontinue the drugs immediately if they experience any serious adverse effects.
“The benefits of fluoroquinolones continue to outweigh the risks when used for certain serious bacterial infections (e.g., pneumonia, intra-abdominal infections) and the FDA says it is appropriate for them to remain available as a therapeutic option in such cases.”
– (AAFP, 2016) & (FDA, 2016)
FOLLOW AN ANTI-INFLAMMATORY REGIMEN IF YOU NEED TO TAKE ONE OF THESE ANTIBIOTICS
Since antibiotics target the good (probiotic) bacteria in and on the body right along with their intended target, harmful bacteria, also be sure to take lots of the probiotic yeast, Sacharomyces boulardii, to protect your gut microbiome from being overrun by pathogenic bacteria anytime you’re given a course of antibiotics. This includes antibiotics you receive unbeknownst to you in your IV along with the anesthetic during surgeries. And remember that you can talk with your surgeon about exactly which antibiotic you’ll be given during surgery and why.
Sacharomyces boulardii is a probiotic YEAST, not a bacterium, so is not targeted by antiBIOTICS and can act as a place holder in your gut microbiome to fill up the space created when an antibiotic kills off your good bacteria.
See this earlier post for more information on Sacharomyces boulardii.
Dr Gabrielle Francis, who alerted me to the tendinitis and tendon rupture warnings for Cipro and Levaquin, recommends following this anti-inflammatory regimen during and for at least three months after a course of one of these antibiotics has been finished:
GLUCOSAMINE SULFATE (integrative Therapeutics) – to lubricate and strengthen tendons, build and support joint cartilage: 1 at breakfast/1 at dinner
BIOINFLAMAX (Nutra BioGenesis) – to maintain a healthy inflammatory response in joint and muscles: 2 at breakfast/2 at dinner
MAGNESIUM MALATE (Designs for Health or Integrative Therapeutics) – to protect joints and muscles: 1 at breakfast/1 at dinner
OSTEOFORCE SUPREME (Designs for Health) – to support bone health: 1 at breakfast/1 at dinner
For more information on these supplements (benefits, ingredients list, side effects, interactions), see:
In addition, Dr Francis recommends having a detoxifying smoothie for breakfast to keep your body strong while taking antibiotics. This is her version, the Detox Smoothie Bundle. Drink the detox smoothie in the AM and take the antibiotic in the PM.
ARE THESE DANGEROUS ANTIBIOTICS GIVEN TO FACTORY FARMED ANIMALS?
“The federal government must crackdown on the use of antibiotics such as cephalosporins and fluoroquinolones within the nation’s meat industry because of the threat that antibiotic resistance poses to public health, says one of the government’s leading veterinary drug safety officials.” (Webster, 2008)
Regions that produce the most pork and chicken also use the most antibiotics on farms. Hot spots around the world include the Midwest in the U.S., southern Brazil, and China’s Sichuan province. Yellow indicates low levels of drug use in livestock; orange and light red are moderate levels; and dark red is high levels.
If you eat meat made from factory farmed animals, you’re also consuming a variety of antibiotics – possibly including fluoroquinones – in each juicy burger, serving of fried chicken, and side of bacon you enjoy.
Factory farmed animals (cows, pigs, chickens) are given fluoroquinones – among other antibiotics. (Doucleff, 2015) & (FDA, 2009). The 2009 FDA report lists 2 fluoroquinones and 47 other approved antibiotics for use on factory farmed cows. You can see the report for yourself: Antimicrobials Sold or Distributed for Use in Food-Producing Animals .
I was also trying to track down which antibiotics are known to be given to farm raised fish in the US and elsewhere and found only these five that have been detected in aquacultured fish: oxytetracycline, 4-epioxytetracycline, sulfadimethoxine, ormetoprim, and virginiamycin.
But, lest you think wild caught seafood is antibiotic-free, oxytetracycline has also been detected in wild-caught shrimp from Mexico, perhaps from coastal pollution, sewage contamination, mislabeling, or cross-contamination during handling and processing. (Lueing, 2015)
And, in case you noted the dates of the articles and the report cited above and figure the FDA has surely fixed the problem by now, here’s a quote from a recently published article on the rise of antibiotic resistant illnesses:
“The overuse and misuse of antibiotics in the meat industry is contributing to the rise of antibiotic-resistance in the U.S. and across the world. This serious public health issue is estimated to kill 10 million people a year worldwide by 2050. In the U.S., antibiotic-resistant infections cause over two million illnesses and 23,000 deaths each year, costing society between $55 billion to $70 billion each year.
“The majority of antibiotics in the U.S. are given to animals that are not sick; they are mixed into animals’ food and water to make them grow bigger or to prevent illness in cramped and unhealthy environments.” (As You Sow, 6/14/2018)
Many thanks to Dr Gabrielle Francis for alerting me to this situation and recommending the protocol of supplements to take during and after a course of Cipro or Levaquin as protection against tendon damage.
HOW LEVAQUIN TURNED RACHEL BRUMMERT INTO A PATIENT ADVOCATE
Almost immediately after I published this post, Christian John Lillis, Executive Director of The Peggy Lillis Foundation (Lillis, 2018), sent me this article his friend Rachel Brummert just posted on DrugWatch.com about the dozens of spontaneous tendon fractures she has experienced after taking Levaquin for a suspected sinus infection: Levaquin Turned Me into ‘Frankenwoman’. (Brummert, 8/24/2018)
These ghastly experiences motivated her to become a trained Patient Advocate through the National Center for Health Research and a trained Special Government Employee (SGE) through the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. She also works with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on fluoroquinolone awareness communication campaigns.
Christian John Lillis and his brother Liam started The Peggy Lillis Foundation to fight Clostridium difficile by building a nationwide Clostridium difficile awareness movement that educates the public, empowers advocates, and shapes policy. Peggy Lillis, Christian and Liam’s mother, died at age 56 after having a root canal and being prescribed the antibiotic Clindamycin to treat a dental abscess. Seven days later she became septic and went into cardiac arrest from the massive C. diff infection that had taken over her colon. (Peggy Lillis Foundation, 2018)
“(Clindamycin) increases the risk of hospital-acquired Clostridium difficile colitis about fourfold.” (Wikipedia, 7/26/2018)
KATE DAVIES NEAR HER HOME IN WEST CENTRAL SCOTLAND
Kate Davies is a remarkable woman. She has a doctorate in 18th century history and was a professor until she had a major stroke on February 1 2010 at age 36 that took away function on the entire left side of her body, ended her academic career, and had her wheelchair bound living in a brain injury unit in an Edinburgh hospital for six months. Before the stroke, she was also an accomplished knitter and pattern designer.
Her post-stroke body worked just fine on its right side but her left side was now pretty much non-functional, along for the ride because her damaged brain didn’t know what to do with it. The stroke was caused by a congenital hole in her heart she had no idea was there that allowed two blood clots to travel to her brain.
Amazingly, in the eight years since the stroke, she’s combined her interests in historical writing and practical creativity with her skills in research, design, and writing to teach herself to knit again – and along the way founded a company called Kate Davies Designs (KDD) that creates digital patterns for hand knitters. Through KDD she’s produced eight books: Colours of Shetland (2012), Yokes (2014), Buachaille: At Home in The Highlands (2015), The Book of Haps (2016), Shetland Oo (2016), Inspired by Islay (2017), Happit (2017) and West Highland Way (2018).
In 2016, her company was named UK Microbusiness of the Year by the Federation of Small Business & Worldpay.
She has worked with museums and heritage organizations, sharing her expertise (including the Tate Modern, Shetland Amenity Trust, and Gawthorpe Textiles) and has also contributed to BBC radio programs on diverse topics such as the landscape of British knitting and the history of socks. She was the first ambassador of Shetland Wool Week and her knitting designs have been featured on BBC television.
Now she has another book due out this month (July 2018): Handywoman. This one is an exploration of her experiences of serious brain injury, craft, and creativity. (Barnes, 2016) & (Davies, 7/1/2018)
You knitters and crocheters may recognize her name and know her exquisite patterns from the Ravelry site.
Perhaps you think of honey in general as a healthy food. But with industrialization, genetic modification of so many plants, and the widespread use of pesticides, most of the honey available in supermarkets now is not very healthy.
Beautiful and tasty Golden Milk is an ancient remedy with roots in Ayurvedic medicine. Turmeric, its active ingredient, has been used for centuries for its anti- inflammatory effects to treat arthritis, menstrual pain, digestive issues and to improve liver functioning. It’s also used for weight loss and cancer prevention.
Golden Milk is the English name for haldi doodh, “turmeric milk” in Hindi. It is made by heating whole milk (or some other fat-containing milk) and mixing in turmeric, various sweeteners and other spices. Turmeric spice comes from the plant’s ground up rhizomes* and has a solid 4,000 year history of medicinal use in India and Southeast Asia. (Wikipedia, 6/13/2018)
You probably know that many fish contain healthy omega-3 essential fatty acids. It turns out, as indigenous aboriginal people in Australia have known from time immemorial, emu oil is also helpful for a long list of inflammatory conditions. Like fish oil, it too contains a high percentage of essential fatty acids. In fact, 70% of it is made up of a combination of omega-3, omega-6 and omega-9 essential fatty acids. It also contains antioxidants and important vitamins, such as vitamin E and A. (Axe, 2016)