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The Truth About LSD: Research Reveals Many Therapeutic and Medicinal Benefits

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Albert Hofmann (1906-2008). Unbeknownst to him at the time, Hofmann created one of the most potent hallucinogens known to man at his Swiss laboratory in 1938.  LSD became the forefront of clinical research in the 1950s and opened new doors in the world of psychotherapy.

Albert Hofmann (1906-2008). Unbeknownst to him at the time, Hofmann synthesized one of the most potent hallucinogens known to man at his Swiss laboratory in 1938. LSD became the forefront of clinical research in the 1950’s and opened new doors in the world of psychotherapy.

Albert Hofmann’s Psychedelic Discovery 

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Ink tab depicts the day Hofmann discovered the psychedelic properties of LSD

“Bicycle Day”. Ink tab depicts the day Hofmann discovered the psychedelic properties of LSD

In November of 1938, Swiss chemist Albert Hofmann was studying the medicinal plant squill and the ergot fungus to create a respiratory and circulatory stimulant, and first synthesized lysergic acid diethylamide, also known as LSD. Hofmann shelved LSD for 5 years before he returned to look at the chemical once again. While in the midst of resynthesizing LSD, Hofmann accidentally absorbed a small amount of the chemical into his fingertips, and reported strange feelings and fantastic visions later that evening. Curious of his discovery, he later took what he thought was a threshold dose of LSD (0.25 Milligrams) to observe its peculiar effects. Little did Hofmann know that LSD’s true threshold dose is 20 micrograms, and he was sent on an extraordinary psychedelic journey into his own psyche. In what has become a hallmark story in history, Hofmann documented his bicycle ride home after his large dose of LSD,

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Here the notes in my laboratory journal cease. I was able to write the last words only with great effort. I had to struggle to speak intelligibly. I asked my laboratory assistant, who was informed of the self-experiment, to escort me home. We went by bicycle, no automobile being available because of wartime restrictions on their use. On the way home, my condition began to assume threatening forms. Everything in my field of vision wavered and was distorted as if seen in a curved mirror. I also had the sensation of being unable to move from the spot. Nevertheless, my assistant later told me that we had traveled very rapidly. Finally, we arrived at home safe and sound, and I was just barely capable of asking my companion to summon our family doctor and request milk from the neighbors.” (Albert Hofmann, LSD: My Problem Child)

Hofmann was unaware that he had just discovered one of the most potent psychedelics known to man. In the 1950’s LSD exploded in the United States when scientists discovered its clinical application, testing its therapeutic benefits in patient/client settings. Serotonergic psychedelics such as LSD allow its user a deeper exploration of their psyche, often unlocking more psychoanalytic abilities within their minds.

During the first 30 years of LSD research extensive testing was conducted, generating over 1000 scientific papers, dozens of books and multiple conferences. The verdict was in: psychedelics were opening new doors in the clinical therapy world, allowing researchers to delve into the deepest corners of people’s minds as well as treat the most challenging of mental disorders.

LSD became central to the counterculture movement of the 1960s, as peace and love were advocated by the public to end the Vietnam war.

LSD became central to the counterculture movement of the 1960’s, as peace and love were advocated by the public to end the Vietnam war.

Prohibition of LSD came in the 1960’s after the drug became a popular recreational drug among the world’s youth. In 1963 the FDA classified LSD as an Investigational New Drug, which was the first stage of its prohibition and which put new restrictions on its scientific and medical use.  Leading figures such as Aldous Huxley and Timothy Leary publicly advocated the use of LSD, and the drug soon became central to the counterculture movement of the 1960’s. People were expanding their consciousness like never before, and this threatened the governments desired and held control over peoples minds. Rumours spread about a person jumping out of their 4th story window while under the influence of LSD, and this caused hysteria to breakout in regards to the possible psychotic dangers of the drug.  Possession of LSD became illegal on October 24th, 1968, after which it was classified as a ‘Schedule I’ drug in the US. This silenced almost all scientific and medicinal research for decades, and LSD was put back onto the shelves once again.

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Therapeutic Applications of LSD

During the era when LSD research was first being conducted, there was a correlation among the studies that couldn’t be denied; scientists were noting the positive effects observed in patients being treated for a wide variety of conditions.

In a 1963 study performed by Charles Savage of Stanford University, 144 patients were given LSD and mescaline and were each given questionnaires to describe their negative or positive experience. Follow-ups on the subjects extended up to 2 years after the study. 83% of the subjects felt the experience was of lasting benefit, 88% of the subjects felt that it gave them a great understanding of themselves and others, 78% thought it was the greatest thing that ever happened to them, 83% said it gave them a new way of looking at the world, and 77% stated a transcendental experience beyond their usual comprehension.[3]

In Betty Grover Eisner’s book Remembrances of LSD Therapy’s Past, she outlines her years of clinical research revealing LSD’s powerful ability to treat psychoneurotic patients.

“Of the 22 subjects in the study carried out at the Brentwood V.A., five subjects were neuropsychiatric hospital patients and 17 were volunteer outpatients. Problems ranged from depressive states to borderline schizophrenic patients in the hospital. Our improved rate was just over 72%, as judged by the two doctors, the patient, and the individual closest to the patient. Follow-up interviews were held over periods ranging from six to 17 months, continuing success in behavioral adaptation being the criteria of improvement. For instance, one of the “non-improved” categories, a hospital patient, was cured of his alcoholism, the reason for his admission, only to become a compulsive gambler two years later. The rate of improvement was 16 out of 22 patients.”

Eisner goes on to describe one specific subject from the experiment who suffered from severe alcoholism and who experienced a drastic change in behavior,

“Probably our most dramatic patient was an alcoholic who had been hospitalized 23 times for bouts of drunkenness during which he usually became violent. J.D. had seven LSD sessions with discussions in between when he requested them. He improved to the point of being discharged from the hospital and has never been rehospitalized — some 35 years later (although, he did drink again). His weekly productions in the art clinic are a fascinating record of the drama of his recovery, although they do not picture the event which made his recovery possible: the abreaction of an incident where he had been captured by the Germans in World War II and had to kill two Germans in order to escape and return through enemy lines to his own Air Force unit.”

This kind of research is substantial considering that there are currently hundreds of millions of people in the world that are affected by alcohol dependency or abuse. Psychedelics, such as LSD, allow its user to gain a new awareness from which they are able to understand their thoughts and behavior like never understood before. Eisner goes on to discuss another remarkable schizoid patient who was treated with LSD,

“We gave the patient a series of LSD sessions of gradually increasing dosage and walked him past his psychosis so that he was able to be discharged the following month. Again, we have a record of his progress in the pastel drawings he did each week. This was a schizoid patient who was almost impossible to tolerate until he was under LSD, and then he could be related to. He had been unable to get a job or to maintain a relationship, but after 16 LSD sessions, he was able to do both. However, evidently we didn’t drain the reservoir of his hostility enough during his sessions. Incidentally, it was interesting to note how LSD lowered an individual’s barriers enough to make the person possible to relate to. No matter how unpleasant or hostile before, all patients were “lovable” once the LSD was working strongly.”

It’s curious that LSD was classified as a Schedule I drug under the Controlled Substances Act, deemed to have a high potential for abuse, no legitimate medical use in its treatment and a lack of accepted safety for its use under medical supervision. There are no documented deaths from chemical toxicity of LSD; the recorded deaths are a result of behavioral toxicity.[5][6] The CIA was using LSD for mind control testing in the 1950’s as part of a now declassified program titled MK-Ultra, and rumours quickly spread that the government wanted to conceal the power of psychedelics for their private use only. The following statement is from a DEA publication,

“Although initial observations on the benefits of LSD were highly optimistic, empirical data developed subsequently proved less promising … Its use in scientific research has been extensive and its use has been widespread. Although the study of LSD and other hallucinogens increased the awareness of how chemicals could affect the mind, its use in psychotherapy largely has been debunked. It produces no aphrodisiac effects, does not increase creativity, has no lasting positive effect in treating alcoholics or criminals, does not produce a ‘model psychosis’, and does not generate immediate personality change.”[5]

But the studies state otherwise. For example, recent clinical studies revealed that patients suffering from an idiopathic disorder called “cluster headaches” could be treated with 2-bromo-LSD, an analogue of the hallucinogenic form. [7] Cluster headaches, sometimes referred to as “suicide headaches” because of the almost unbearable pain they cause sufferers, usually involve just one side of the face; patients often liken the pain to someone trying to pull their eye out for hours. They can occur in bouts lasting many weeks, with several attacks a day. The study presented the data of six patients with severe cluster headache who were given BOL once every 5 days for a total of three doses. All patients reported a reduction in the frequency of attacks, and five patients reported having no attacks for months afterward.[7]

According to an analysis of over 130,000 randomly chosen people, the use of LSD and other psychedelics does not increase a person’s risk of developing mental health problems.[10] The study was conducted by the Norwegian University of Science and Technology, and the results found that significant correlations existed between psychedelic drug use and fewer mental health problems.[10]  The researchers found that lifetime use of psilocybin or mescaline and past year use of LSD were associated with lower rates of serious psychological distress; lifetime use of LSD was also significantly associated with a lower rate of outpatient mental health treatment and psychiatric medicine prescription. Recent clinical trials have also failed to find any evidence of any lasting harmful effects of psychedelics. So the black and white government fear-mongering films were just that after all, propaganda.

Stanislav Grof, another famous psychedelic researcher and author, suggests that psychedelics may offer a solution to the global crises currently affecting our planet,

“In the last few decades, it has become increasingly clear that humanity is facing a crisis of unprecedented proportions. Modern science has developed effective measures that could solve most of the urgent problems in today’s world–combat the majority of diseases, eliminate hunger and poverty, reduce the amount of industrial waste, and replace destructive fossil fuels by renewable sources of clean energy. The problems that stand in the way are not of economical or technological nature. The deepest sources of the global crisis lie inside the human personality and reflect the level of consciousness evolution of our species.

In one of my early books I suggested that the potential significance of LSD and other psychedelics for psychiatry and psychology was comparable to the value the microscope has for biology or the telescope has for astronomy. My later experience with psychedelics only confirmed this initial impression. These substances function as unspecific amplifiers that increase the cathexis (energetic charge) associated with the deep unconscious contents of the psyche and make them available for conscious processing. This unique property of psychedelics makes it possible to study psychological undercurrents that govern our experiences and behaviours to a depth that cannot be matched by any other method and tool available in modern mainstream psychiatry and psychology. In addition, it offers unique opportunities for healing of emotional and psychosomatic disorders, for positive personality transformation, and consciousness evolution.”[8][9]

A New Era of Healing and Therapy

Psychedelics and other planet medicines are now being given the "go" in clinical research, something that has been outlawed for decades.  What  new information will we discover through the therapeutic use of LSD and other entheogens?

Psychedelics and other planet medicines are now being given the “go” in clinical research, something that has been outlawed for decades. What new information will we discover through the therapeutic use of LSD and other entheogens?

It is clear that psychedelics may offer a solution to many ailments and trauma’s suffered by the general population. Furthermore, just as Stanislav Grof stated, the greater picture of ecologic and social crisis that is currently destroying our planet and stunting the evolution of the human species is more likely the external reflection of our unexplored and wounded consciousness.

Thankfully, in the last decade, psychedelic research has been ignited once again, as the government has begun approving controlled clinical trials. Scientists, who at one time had their careers silenced if they brought up psychedelics in the workplace, are now being provided the freedom to explore the medicinal applications of drugs like LSD, MDMA, psilocybin, DMT and mescaline. There has been a shift in the general understanding of entheogenic compounds like LSD; we are doing our own research and deciding for ourselves what is “dangerous” and what is not. We are looking inwards to heal, rather than turning to the common vices such as alcohol and the biggest killer of them all, pharmaceuticals. Sacred planet medicines such as ayahuasca (which contains the potent psychedelic DMT) are also gaining widespread attention in the Western World and are leading the way for us to gain deeper understandings of ourselves, our connection to the each other, and the planet. As more barriers and limitations are lifted from the scope of scientific research, we will continue to see new innovations and revolutions in fields such as medicine, holistic health and psychotherapy.

References:

1.)    http://www.jstor.org/discover/10.2307/235827?uid=3739448&uid=2&uid=3737720&uid=4&sid=21102880846417 (LSD Before Leary: Sidney Cohen’s Critique of 1950s Psychedelic Drug Research)

2.)    http://www.lycaeum.org/research/researchpdfs/0908.pdf (The Use of LSD In Psychotherapy and Alcoholism)

3.)    http://www.amsciepub.com/doi/pdf/10.2466/pr0.1964.14.1.111 (LSD: Therapeutic Effects, Stanford University Study)

4.)    http://alcoholismstatistics.net/ (Alcoholism Stats)

5.)    http://web.petabox.bibalex.org/web/20011116091659/www.usdoj.gov/dea/pubs/lsd/lsd-4.htm (DEA publication about LSD)

6.)    http://emedicine.medscape.com/article/1011615-overview (LSD Toxicity Reports)

7.)    http://news.sciencemag.org/brain-behavior/2011/06/lsd-alleviates-suicide-headaches

8.)    Grof, Stanislav (1998). The Cosmic Game: Explorations of the Frontiers of Human Consciousness. SUNY Press.

9.)    Hofmann, Albert (1979). LSD: My Problem Child. L.P Tarcher, Inc.

10.) http://reason.com/blog/2013/08/21/lsd-other-psychedelics-dont-drive-you-cr

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3 Powerful Tools to Help Overcome the Emotional Toll of the Pandemic

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  • The Facts:

    The pandemic has had a significant effect on our lives. Possibly without realizing it, many are suffering from a form of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).

  • Reflect On:

    If you feel stressed or feel that you have PTSD resulting from this pandemic, try these suggestions before resorting to medication or maladaptive coping strategies.

Before you begin...

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Take a moment and breathe. Place your hand over your chest area, near your heart. Breathe slowly into the area for about a minute, focusing on a sense of ease entering your mind and body. Click here to learn why we suggest this.

The pandemic has had a significant effect on our lives. Possibly without realizing it, many are suffering from a form of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Every news cycle paralyzes us with fear of a new variant. Some feel grief over who or what they have lost or continue to have feelings of social disconnectedness. Despite what we have all been through, we need to start moving forward with our lives and truly live again. We must recognize that we have more control over our physical and mental health than advertised. The truth is that there are many helpful things that we can do.

PTSD is a stress-related disorder that may develop after exposure to a traumatic event or ordeal in which death or severe physical harm was a threat or occurred. Those with PTSD may experience agitation, irritability, hostility, hypervigilance, self-destructive behavior, social isolation, flashbacks, fear, anxiety, depression, attention difficulty, loneliness, insomnia, or nightmares.

Trauma can lead to feelings of powerlessness, but powerlessness can also keep us trapped in a PTSD cycle. The psychological imprint of trauma rewires the brain. There’s an old saying in neuroscience: “neurons that fire together wire together.” Our brain neurons begin firing in the amygdala, the emotional part of our brains, during a traumatic event. People can get stuck in an emotional loop, and the rational voice in their heads does not weigh in. This looping can cause a person to respond disproportionately to stress – freezing, panicking, or acting out in anger. Some dissociate or enter a trance-like state. Maladaptive coping skills can sometimes develop. Cutting, burning, overeating, drinking, drugs, overspending, etc., is all an attempt to dampen our painful emotional feelings. So, to avoid getting stuck in a PTSD cycle, we must act and take our power back.

Time to seek out the most effective help so that we can feel calm and in control again. What can we do?

1. Boost Your Immune System

If you fear getting sick, it’s time to live a healthier lifestyle and boost your immune system. Sadly, we are taught (with the help of pharmaceutical dollars) that health comes from a needle or a pill. Our “experts” recommend masks, hand-washing, social distancing, and mRNA vaccines. Still, they seldom suggest a healthy diet, supplements, and other natural remedies to help improve our health and support the body to fight off illness and disease. Click here for my article that includes 16 Tips on Boosting Immunity.

2. Embrace Spirituality

Over the last 20 years, I have been honored to have worked with many great therapists, healers, spiritual leaders, and trauma survivors to witness the power of Spirituality in healing. Spirituality is an inner belief system providing an individual with meaning and purpose in life. Whether it involves a higher power, nature, religious rituals, meditation, mindfulness, or prayer, the premise is to stay connected to the core of who we are. That place of stillness within us holding the memory of wholeness, peace, inner strength, and balance – despite what has happened. A spiritual philosophy or practice can provide us with a bigger context for our experiences and clarify our purpose. Spiritual methods also connect us with a sense of community and support. Finding our tribe is essential in the face of trauma and loss. The spiritual journey often allows us to go inside ourselves and listen to our inner guidance and “knowingness.” The inner voice may know, for instance, that the virus will not hurt us, or what we are being told by the media is untrue. Spirituality also helps us shift our perspective from “why me” to “what can I do about it. It brings us a sense of power and control.

3. Guided Imagery & Bilateral Stimulation

Both tools are essential for the trauma therapy toolbox. They are noninvasive and helpful for overcoming the effects of trauma. Guided imagery can help us alter the negative or stressful pictures and thoughts in our minds and help us create new, more peaceful ones—a form of instilling positive affirmations. Before you read on, I thought you might like to download my 10-minute exercise. This science-based, comprehensive video will help you to cultivate a sense of inner peace and give you a way to help overcome the effects of this pandemic – GET IT HERE

Is There Science Behind This?

Science, yes. Magic, no. This method requires regular practice if you want to make lasting, long-term changes to the ways that you think and feel. The good news is that both guided imagery and bilateral stimulation are widely practiced and well-established practices. However, I recommend that if you are still struggling after repeated listening, you find a qualified trauma therapist to continue the work you have already started.

A Look At The Research

Guided imagery is a behavioral technique using a series of verbal suggestions to guide oneself or others in visualizing an image in the mind to bring a desired response in the way of a reduction in stress, anxiety, or pain. A growing list of empirical literature supports the use of these techniques in various physical and emotional conditions. Guided imagery resulted in a clinically significant reduction in PTSD and related symptoms in a returning, combat-exposed active-duty military population. Positive affirmations can positively affect the brain’s circuitry. There is MRI evidence suggesting that specific neural pathways are increased when people practice self-affirmation tasks.

Numerous research articles have established that bilateral stimulation is one of the most effective treatments for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Some therapists practice Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR), a combination of psychotherapy and bilateral stimulation. EMDR is very effective for treating a wide range of mental health issues due to emotional and physical trauma. During bilateral stimulation, patients tend to “process” the memory in a way that leads to a peaceful resolution. And, often results in increased insight regarding both previously disturbing events and long-held negative thoughts about the self.

“Bilateral Stimulation induces a fundamental change in brain circuitry, similar to what happens in REM sleep. It allows the person undergoing treatment to process and incorporate traumatic memories into general association networks in the brain. This therapy helps the individual integrate and understand the memories within the larger context of their life experience.” – Robert Stickgold, Ph.D., Harvard Medical School

Takeaway

If you feel stressed or feel that you have PTSD resulting from this pandemic, try the above suggestions and download my helpful video before resorting to medication or maladaptive coping strategies. Also, you can discover the many mind-body practices you can do at home to help manage stress more successfully and so much more. SIGN UP HERE to receive your free download today. To purchase my book Healing Without Hurting, click here.

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Our new course is called 'Overcoming Bias & Improving Critical Thinking.' This 5 week course is instructed by Dr. Madhava Setty & Joe Martino

If you have been wanting to build your self awareness, improve your.critical thinking, become more heart centered and be more aware of bias, this is the perfect course!

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Boosting Your Mood and Improving Your Health With Vitamin D

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In Brief

  • The Facts:

    Vitamin D is essential for proper immune functioning and alleviation of inflammation.

  • Reflect On:

    Are you or someone you love suffering from depression or an autoimmune disorder? When is the last time you checked your Vitamin D levels?

Before you begin...

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Take a moment and breathe. Place your hand over your chest area, near your heart. Breathe slowly into the area for about a minute, focusing on a sense of ease entering your mind and body. Click here to learn why we suggest this.

Are you or someone you love suffering from depression or an autoimmune disorder? It appears vitamin D deficiency may be to blame.

Vitamin D is essential for proper immune functioning and alleviation of inflammation. The beneficial effects of vitamin D on protective immunity are due in part to its impact on the innate immune system and has numerous effects on cells within the immune system. Vitamin D is also involved in maintaining the proper balance of several minerals in the body. And, it helps to ward off the flu and many viruses and treat them. The latest research links vitamin D deficiency to many disease states. These disease states include cancer, osteoporosis, heart disease, depression, arthritis, and just about every other degenerative disease.

 “Vitamin D reduces depression. In a randomized, double-blind study, People with depression who received vitamin D supplements noticed a marked improvement in their symptoms.” – Journal of Internal Medicine

According to the Nutrition Research Journal, as many as 80% of people are deficient in vitamin D. Inadequate exposure to sunshine, poor eating habits, malabsorption, the VDR genetic mutation, and accelerated catabolism due to certain medications, dark skin pigment color, and too much sunscreen can be to blame. 

A doctor can check vitamin D levels with a simple blood test. Many mainstream doctors will suggest that you are within normal limits if your levels are 20-30ng/mL. However, for optimal health, the Endocrine Society and many functional medicine M.D.s and naturopaths will recommend levels of between 40-70 ng/mL for both children and adults. These doctors will also recommend a more aggressive replenishment program. For example, at age five, my son’s level was 24. The pediatrician recommended 500iu daily of supplementation, while our naturopath recommended 5,000iu daily for six months before retesting. Six months later, his levels were almost normal. 

“Through several mechanisms, vitamin D can reduce risk of infections. Those mechanisms include inducing cathelicidins and defensins that can lower viral replication rates and reducing concentrations of pro-inflammatory cytokines that produce the inflammation that injures the lining of the lungs, leading to pneumonia, as well as increasing concentrations of anti-inflammatory cytokines” – PubMed

How to Increase Your Vitamin D Levels

Get enough sun. Vitamin D3, “the sunshine vitamin,” is the only vitamin your body that is made, with the help of the sun. So be sure to get enough sun exposure to help the body make this essential nutrient. Hold off trying to protect ourselves from the rays of the sun at every turn by slathering sunscreen. Allow yourself to play outside, garden, and enjoy the rays in moderation.

If you must use some sunscreen, avoid chemical sunscreens made with toxic chemicals that cause thyroid dysfunction, endocrine disruption, allergies, organ toxicity, reproductive toxicity, skin cancer, development, brain, and metabolism problems. Shop for natural mineral-zinc-based certified products instead. When exposed to scorching climates or in the sun for extended periods, we use sunscreens by Babyganics, Badger, Babo Botanicals, and Goddess Garden products.

Eat a well-balanced diet, with foods higher in vitamin D. Although it is believed that we only get twenty percent from the foods we eat. Some foods higher in D include cod liver oil, fish, oysters, eggs, and mushrooms. 

Get checked for the VDR mutation. A blood test will determine if you have mutations in the vitamin D receptor. The consequence can be lower vitamin D levels and the inability to absorb vitamin calcium and many other minerals properly. According to a 2020 scientific report, supplementation of vitamin D can help improve VDR gene expression, so more supplementation may be necessary if you have this mutation.

“Something so simple. Vitamin D supplementation could improve the health status of millions and so becomes an elegant solution to many of our health problems today.” – Carol L. Wagner, MD – Medical University of South Carolina

Supplementation 101. Supplementation is often critical if you cannot properly metabolize or absorb enough vitamin D or not get enough sunshine. In areas with long winters and specific populations of people with darker skin color, supplementation may be even more critical. There are many supplements on the market. However, many tablet forms are not as bioavailable and harder to absorb. Therefore, it has been recommended that liquid forms are better. In addition, liquid D is often suspended in olive oil, which helps the vitamins to absorb more easily since it is fat soluble. One of my favorite brands is by Seeking Health. It does not contain any impurities or allergy-inducing ingredients. 

Final Thoughts

Boosting the immune system naturally works on your body’s innate wisdom. It supports the body to operate like a well-oiled machine, protects it from unwanted pathogens and disease, and helps ensure a healthy body and mind.

To receive more info on how you and your family can overcome ADHD, apraxia, anxiety, and more without medication SIGN UP HERE or purchase my book Healing without Hurting.

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Click below to watch a sneak peek of our brand new course!

Our new course is called 'Overcoming Bias & Improving Critical Thinking.' This 5 week course is instructed by Dr. Madhava Setty & Joe Martino

If you have been wanting to build your self awareness, improve your.critical thinking, become more heart centered and be more aware of bias, this is the perfect course!

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Most Diabetic, Heart Disease & Alzheimer’s Deaths Categorized As “Covid” Deaths (UK)

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In Brief

  • The Facts:

    According to professor of evidence based medicine at Oxford Dr. Carl Heneghan , who is also an emergency GP, most diabetic, heart disease & alzheimer's deaths were categorized as COVID deaths in the United Kingdom.

  • Reflect On:

    How many deaths have actually been a result of COVID? Why is this pandemic surrounded with so much controversy? Why does mainstream media fail at having appropriate conversations about 'controversial' evidence/opinions?

Before you begin...

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Take a moment and breathe. Place your hand over your chest area, near your heart. Breathe slowly into the area for about a minute, focusing on a sense of ease entering your mind and body. Click here to learn why we suggest this.

 Dr. Carl Heneghan has an interesting view on the pandemic, not only is he a professor of evidence-based medicine at Oxford University, he also works Saturday shifts as an emergency GP. This allows him to see healthcare from both the academic perspective as well as the healthcare experience, more specifically, it allows him to see COVID from both perspectives.

What Happened: In a recent article he wrote for The Spectator, he writes the following,

It’s hard to imagine, let alone measures, the side effects of lockdowns. The risk with the government’s ‘fear’ messaging is that people become so worried about burdening the NHS that they avoid seeking medical help. Or by the time they do so, it can be too late. The big rise in at-home deaths (still ongoing) points to that. You will be familiar with the Covid death toll, updated in the papers every day. But did you know that since the pandemic, we’ve had 28,200 more deaths among diabetics that we’d normally expect? That’s not the kind of figure they show on a graph at No. 10 press conference. For people with heart disease, it’s 17,100. For dementia and Alzheimer’s, it’s 22,800. Most were categorised as Covid deaths: people can die with multiple conditions, so they can fall into more than one of these categories. It’s a complicated picture. But that’s the problem in assessing lockdown. you need to do a balance of risks.

Evidence-based medicine might sound like a tautology — what kind of medicine isn’t based on evidence? I’m afraid that you’d be surprised. Massive decisions are often taken on misleading, low-quality evidence. We see this all the time. In the last pandemic, the swine flu outbreak of 2009, I did some work asking why the government spent £500 million on Tamiflu: then hailed as a wonder drug. In fact, it proved to have a very limited effect. The debate then had many of the same cast of characters as today: Jonathan Van-Tam, Neil Ferguson and others. The big difference this time is the influence of social media, whose viciousness is something to behold. It’s easy to see why academics would self-censor and stay away from the debate, especially if it means challenging a consensus.

This is something that’s been a concern since the beginning of the pandemic. For example, a report published during the first wave in the British Medical Journal  titled Covid-19: “Staggering number” of extra deaths in community is not explained by covid-19″ has suggested that quarantine measures in the United Kingdom, as a result of the new coronavirus, may have already killed more UK seniors than the coronavirus has during the months of April and May.

According to the data, COVID-19, at the time of publication, only accounted for 10,000 of the 30,000 excess deaths that have been recorded in senior care facilities during the height of the pandemic. The article quotes British Health officials stating that these unexplained deaths may have occurred because quarantine measures have prevented seniors from accessing the health care that they need.

Fast forward to more recent research regarding lockdowns, and these concerns have grown. Professor Anna-Mia Ekström and Professor Stefan Swartling Peterson have gone through the data from UNICEF and UNAIDS, and came to the conclusion that at least as many people have died as a result of the restrictions to fight COVID as have died of COVID. You can read more about that here.

These are just a few of many examples. You can read more about the hypothesized “catastrophic” impacts of lockdown, here.

When it comes to what he mentions about academics shying away from debate, especially if their research goes against the grain, we’ve a seen a lot of that too. Here’s a great example you can read about from Sweden regarding zero deaths of school children during the first wave despite no masks mandates or lockdown measures. Jonas F Ludvigsson, a paediatrician at Örebro University Hospital and professor of clinical epidemiology at the Karolinska Institute is quitting his work on COVID-19 because of harassment from people who dislike what he has discovered.

Why This Is Important: Heneghan’s words are something that many people have been concerned about when it comes to the deaths that are attributed to COVID-19. How many of them are actually a result of COVID? The truth seems to be that we don’t really know. But one thing we do know is that total death toll caused by COVID doesn’t seem to be quite accurate.

That being said, we do know that people with comorbidities are more susceptible to illness and death from COVID, and that’s something to keep in mind. For people with underlying health conditions, covid, just like flu or pneumonia, can be fatal.

Ontario (Canada) Public Health has a page on their website titled “How Ontario is responding to COVID-19.” On it, they clearly state that deaths are being marked as COVID deaths and are being included in the COVID death count regardless of whether or not COVID actually contributed to or caused the death. They state the following:

Any case marked as “Fatal” is included in the deaths data. Deaths are included whether or not COVID-19 was determined to be a contributing or underlying cause of death…”

This statement from Ontario Public Health echoes statements made multiple times by Canadian public health agencies and personnel. According to Ontario Ministry Health Senior Communications Advisor Anna Miller:

As a result of how data is recorded by health units into public health information databases, the ministry is not able to accurately separate how many people died directly because of COVID versus those who died with a COVID infection.

In late June 2020, Toronto (Ontario, Canada) Public Health tweeted that:

“Individuals who have died with COVID-19, but not as a result of COVID-19 are included in the case counts for COVID-19 deaths in Toronto.”

It’s not just in Canada where we’ve seen these types of statements being made, it’s all over the world. There are multiple examples from the United States that we’ve covered since the start of the pandemic.

For example, Dr. Ngozi Ezike, Director of the Illinois Department of Public Health stated the following during the first wave of the pandemic:

If you were in hospice and had already been given a few weeks to live and then you were also found to have COVID, that would be counted as a COVID death, despite if you died of a clear alternative cause it’s still listed as a COVID death. So, everyone who is listed as a COVID death that doesn’t mean that was the cause of the death, but they had COVID at the time of death.

Also during the first wave, the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment had to announce a change to how it tallies coronavirus deaths due to complaints that it inflated the numbers.

As you can see, we’ve struggled to find an accurate way to go about tallying COVID deaths since the start, creating more fear and hysteria around total numbers that are plastered constantly in front of citizens by news stations. That being said, a lot of people who are dying of COVID do have co-morbidities as well. But as the professor says, “it’s a complicated picture” and hard to figure out, and probably something we will never figure out.

There’s been a lot of “fear mongering” by governments and mainstream media, and some believe that lockdowns and masks are simply being used as a psychological tool to keep that fear constant, which in turn makes it easier to control people and make them comply.

Meanwhile, there are a lot of experts in the field who are pointing to the fact that yes, COVID is dangerous, but it does not at all warrant the measures that are being taken, especially when the virus has a 99.95 percent survival rate for people over the age of 70. There are better ways to protect the vulnerable without creating even more chaos that lockdown measures have created, and are creating throughout this pandemic.

That said, it’s also important to note that some calls for lockdown measures are focused on stopping hospitals from becoming overwhelmed. Why do some places with very restrictions see no hospital capacity issues? Why do some places with a lot of restrictions see hospital capacity issues? Why do we also see the opposite for both in some areas? These questions appear to be unanswered still. That being said. Hospitals have always been overwhelmed. This is not a new phenomenon.

The main issue here is not who is right or wrong, it’s the censorship of data, science, and opinions of experts in the field. The censorship that has occurred during this pandemic has been unprecedented.

Science is being suppressed for political and financial gain. COVID-19 has unleashed state corruption on a grand scale, and it is harmful to public health. Politicians and industry are responsible for this opportunistic embezzlement. So too are scientists and health experts. The pandemic has revealed how the medical-political complex can be manipulated in an emergency—a time when it is even more important to safeguard science. –  Dr. Kamran Abbasi, recent executive editor of the prestigious British Medical Journal (source)

This censorship alone has been an excellent catalyst for people to question what we are constantly hearing from mainstream media, government, and political scientists. Any type of information that calls into question the recommendations or the information we are receiving from our government seems to be subjected to this type of censorship. Mainstream media has done a great job at not acknowledging many aspects of this pandemic, like clinically proven treatments other than a vaccine, and therefore the masses are completely unaware of it.

Is this what we would call ethical? When trying to explain this to a friend or family member, the fact that they are not aware of these other pieces of information, because they may be avid mainstream news watchers, has them in disbelief and perhaps even sometimes labelling such assertions as a “conspiracy theory.” This Brings me to my next point.

The Takeaway: As I’ve said in a number of articles before, society is failing to have conversations about “controversial” topics and viewpoints. This is in large part due to the fact that mainstream media does such a poor job at covering these viewpoints let alone acknowledging them. The fact that big media has such a stranglehold over the minds of many is also very concerning, because we are living in a time where independent research may be more useful. There seems to be massive conflicts of interest within mainstream media, and the fact that healthy conversation and debate is being shut down by mainstream media contributes to the fact that we can’t even have normal conversations about controversial topics in our everyday lives.

Why does this happen? Why can’t we see the perspective of another? To be honest, I still sometimes struggle with this. When it comes to COVID, things clearly aren’t as black and white as they’re being made out to be, and as I’ve said many times before when things aren’t clear, and when government mandates oppose the will of so many people, it reaches a point where they become authoritarian and overreaching.

In such circumstances I believe governments should simply be making recommendations and explaining why certain actions might be important, and then leave it to the people to decide for themselves what measures they’d like to take, if any. What do you think? One thing is for certain, COVID has been a catalyst for more and more people to question the world we live in, and why we live the way that we do.

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