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Gulf War Illness Tied to Cipro Antibiotics

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gulfwarA U.S. military publication, The Air Force Times, made the connection that victims of Fluoroquinolone Toxicity Syndrome (“Floxies”) have been screaming about for years – that Gulf War Illness is tied to Cipro.  In an article entitled, “New FDA warnings on Cipro may tie into Gulf War Illness,” it was noted that the August, 2013 update to the warning labels of all fluoroquinolone antibiotics stating that PERMANENT peripheral neuropathy is a possible adverse effect, prompted The Air Force Times to make the connection.

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Civilians suffering from Fluoroquinolone Toxicity Syndrome (an adverse reaction to a fluoroquinolone – Cipro/Ciprofloxacin, Levaquin/Levofloxacin, Avelox/Moxifloxacin, Floxin/Ofloxacin and others) have noted the similarities between Gulf War illness and Fluoroquinolone Toxicity Syndrome for years.  It is beyond likely, it is probable, that they are one in the same.

The Symptoms

The VA defines Gulf War Illness as “chronic, unexplained symptoms existing for 6 months or more” that are at least ten percent disabling.  The CDC case definition of Gulf War Illness “requires chronic symptoms in two of three domains of fatigue, cognitive-mood, and musculoskeletal.”

Fluoroquinolone Toxicity Syndrome is a chronic, unexplained illness with symptoms lasting for months, years, or, as the updated warning label notes, permanently.  The symptoms of Fluoroquinolone Toxicity Syndrome are too numerous to list, but a cursory glance at the warning label for Cipro/Ciprofloxacin will tell you that the effects include musculoskeletal problems and central nervous system issues.  Additionally, as  pharmaceuticals that damage mitochondria, the energy centers of cells, severe fatigue is often induced by Fluoroquinolones.

A 1998 study entitled, “Chronic Multisymptom Illness Affecting Air Force Veterans of the Gulf War,” found that the most commonly reported symptoms of Gulf War Illness are sinus congestion, headache, fatigue, joint pain, difficulty remembering or concentrating, joint stiffness, difficulty sleeping, abdominal pain, trouble finding words, (feeling) moody or irritable, rash or sores, numbness or tingling and muscle pain.

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A 2011 study conducted by the Quinolone Vigilance Foundation found that the most commonly reported symptoms of Fluoroquinolone Toxicity Syndrome are tendon, joint, and muscle pain, fatigue, popping/cracking joints, weakness, neuropathic pain, paresthesia (tingling), muscle twitching, depression, anxiety, insomnia, back pain, memory loss, tinnitus, muscle wasting.

The symptoms are similar enough to raise a few eyebrows.  It should be noted that when a chronic, multi-symptom illness suddenly sickens a patient or a soldier, and he or she goes from being healthy and active to suddenly being exhausted and unable to move or think, it is difficult to pinpoint and describe exactly what is going wrong in his or her body.  Thus, even if the symptoms are identical, they may not be described in an identical way because of context and differing areas of focus.

For victims of fluoroquinolones, it is as if a bomb went off in the body of the victim, yet all tests come back “normal” so in addition to physical pain and suffering that the soldier/patient is going through, he or she has to suffer through dismissal and denial from medical professionals as well.  Neither Gulf War Illness nor Fluoroquinolone Toxicity Syndrome are detected by traditional medical tests and thus both diseases are systematically denied.  All blood and urine markers come back within the normal ranges, yet the patient or soldier is suddenly incapable of 90% of what he or she used to be able to do.  When a large number of patients or soldiers (nearly 30% of the soldiers serving in the Gulf reported symptoms.  Exact numbers of civilian patients suffering from Fluoroquinolone Toxicity Syndrome are unknown because of delayed reactions, misdiagnosing the illness, tolerance thresholds, etc.) experience adverse reactions that are undetectable using the tests available, there is something wrong with the tests.  The patients and soldiers aren’t lying and their loss of abilities isn’t “in their heads.”

Exposure to the same Poison

Another glaring similarity between Gulf War Illness and Fluoroquinolone Toxicity Syndrome is that everyone with either syndrome took a Fluoroquinolone.

Per a Veteran of the Marines who commented on healthboards.com about the use of Ciprofloxacin by soldiers in the Gulf:

“The Ciprofloxacin 500 mg were ordered to be taken twice a day. The Marines were the only service that I know for sure were given these orders. We were ordered to start them before the air war, and the order to stop taking them was giver at 0645 Feb 28th 1991 by General Myatt 1st Marine div commander. We were forced to take Cipro 500mg twice a day for 40 plus days. so the Marines were given NAPP (nerve agent protection pills) or pyridiostigmine bromide to protect us from nerve agent, and We were ordered to take the Cipro to protect from anthrax. We were part of the human research trial conducted by the Bayer corporation in the creation of their new anthrax pills. At that time they had no idea of the side effects of flouroquinolones. That’s the class of medications that Cipro falls into. After the Gulf War the FDA and Bayer co. started releasing the list of side effects.  You do need to know what was done to you so you will have to do your own research. Good luck to all of you and Semper Fi.”

By definition, everyone who suffers from Fluoroquinolone Toxicity Syndrome has taken a fluoroquinolone – Cipro/Ciprofloxacin, Levaquin/Levofloxacin, Avelox/Moxifloxacin or Floxin/Ofloxacin.  Civilians are also part of the “human research trial conducted by the Bayer corporation” as well as Johnson & Johnson, Merck and multiple generic drug manufacturers who peddle fluoroquinolones as “safe” antibiotics.

The Case Against Fluoroquinolones

Of course, there were multiple chemicals and poisons that Gulf War Veterans were exposed to in the 1990-91 Persian Gulf War and thus it has been difficult to pinpoint an exact cause of Gulf War Illness.  The ruling out of the following possible causes should certainly be questioned thoroughly, but “depleted uranium, anthrax vaccine, fuels, solvents, sand and particulates, infectious diseases, and chemical agent resistant coating” have been found not to cause Gulf War Illness.  Other potential causes of Gulf War Illness include oil fires, multiple vaccines, pesticides, and, of course, fluoroquinolone antibiotics (Cipro).  (It should be noted that non-deployed military personnel who served during the Gulf War period, but who were not deployed in the Middle East, have also been afflicted with Gulf War Illness and thus toxins that both deployed and non-deployed personnel have been exposed to should be the focus of investigations into the causes of Gulf War Illness.)

The Air Force Times article is one of the first official mentions of the relationship between Cipro and Gulf War Illness.  Officially, the link hasn’t been examined (though some very smart researchers are building a case as you read this).  Why Cipro hasn’t been looked at as a potential cause of Gulf War Illness is a question that I don’t know the answer to.  Perhaps it’s because most people think that all antibiotics are as safe as penicillin.  Perhaps it’s because most people have a tolerance threshold for fluoroquinolones and don’t react negatively to the first prescription that they receive.  Perhaps it’s because even today, more than 30 years after Cipro was patented by Bayer, the exact mechanism by which fluoroquinolones operate is still officially unknown (1).  Perhaps it’s because it is unthinkable that a commonly used antibiotic could cause a chronic syndrome of pain and suffering.  Perhaps it’s because the tests that show the damage done by fluoroquinolones aren’t used by the VA or civilian doctors’ offices.  Perhaps it’s because fluoroquinolones are the perfect drug – they take an acute problem – an infection, and convert it into a chronic disease-state that is systematically misdiagnosed as fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome, an autoimmune disease, leaky gut syndrome, insomnia, anxiety, depression, etc. and turns formerly healthy people into lifetime customers of the medical establishment / pharmaceutical companies.  Perhaps it is simply widespread ignorance about the way these dangerous drugs work.

The Cliffs Notes version of how fluoroquinolones work is as follows:

The fluoroquinolone depletes liver enzymes that metabolize drugs (CYP450) (2).  When the enzymes are depleted sufficiently, the fluoroquinolone forms a poisonous adduct to mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) (3, 4), which destroys and depletes mtDNA (5).  While the mtDNA is being destroyed, the fluoroquinolone is also binding to cellular magnesium. (6, 7)  The mitochondria reacts to being assaulted by producing reactive oxygen species (ROS) (8, 9).  Some of the ROS, specifically hydrogen peroxide, combines with the excess calcium (there is a balance in cells of magnesium and calcium and the binding of the magnesium results in an excess of calcium) to induce the expression of CD95L/Fas Ligand (5) which then causes cell death (apoptosis) and immune system dysfunction (10) which leads the body to attack itself – like an autoimmune disease.

Damage is caused by every single step in the process.  Additional damage may be done by the fluorine atom that is added to fluoroquinolones to make them more potent.  It should be noted that the complexity of these cellular interactions is too vast to write up in this article.

Every symptom of Gulf War Illness is consistent with mitochondrial damage and oxidative stress (11), both of which have been shown to be brought on by fluoroquinolones.

Though the tests used in typical medical practice show no reason for victims of fluoroquinolones to be ill, that fact simply shows that the wrong tests are being used.  Tests of mitochondrial function, antioxidant/oxidant ratios and DNA will show the damage that is done by fluoroquinolones.  The way to determine whether Cipro is the cause of Gulf War Illness is to conduct a DNA mass spectrogram analysis on afflicted Gulf War Veterans.  If the DNA mass spectrogram analysis shows that quinolone molecules have adducted to the DNA of the Veterans, that’s a smoking gun of damage done by Cipro.

Millions of civilians have also been hurt by fluoroquinolones.  I can connect fluoroquinolones to almost every chronic disease that has increased in prevalence since the introduction of fluoroquinolones to the mass population in the mid-1980s.  Additionally, DNA is damaged and thus the effects are intergenerational and many of the chronic diseases that plague children can be linked to fluoroquinolone use by parents.

Some very well-respected researchers are working on more furthering  the case that Cipro is responsible for Gulf War Illness.  If any Gulf War Veterans want to take on Bayer before those studies are released, the way to do so is through obtaining a DNA mass spectrogram analysis and having it analyzed by a toxicologist.  It is proof of damage and it is necessary.  When that proof is obtained, I encourage all Gulf War Veterans to use it to fight those who poisoned them – Bayer and their corroborators in the DOD and the FDA.

To any Gulf War Veterans who read this – you are soldiers and you are warriors.  I know that you have been weakened, but you are still alive and those of you who can fight, should, because a grave injustice has been done to you.  It is an injustice that is also being inflicted on innocent civilians.  There is nothing okay about the poisoning of our military men and women, or the American public, with chemotherapy drugs masquerading as antibiotics.  I encourage you to fight Bayer and their corroborators like what they are – domestic terrorists.  It is a fight that you can win.  The truth, and a significant amount evidence, are on your side.

Post Script:  The author’s web site, with more information about fluoroquinolones, is www.floxiehope.com.  Further information about fluoroquinolones can be found through the Quinolone Vigilance Foundation – www.saferpills.org.

Numbered Sources:

  1. Inorganic Chemistry, “New uses for old drugs: attempts to convert quinolone antibacterials into potential anticancer agents containing ruthenium.
  2. FDA Warning Label for Ciprofloxacin
  3. The Journal of Biological Chemistry, “The Mechanism of Inhibition of Topoisomerase IV by Quinolone Antibacterials.”
  4. Findings of Toxicologist Joe King
  5. The Journal of Immunology, “Mitochondrial Reactive Oxygen Species Control T Cell Activation by Regulating IL-2 and IL-4 Expression: MechanismN of Ciprofloxacin Mediated Immunosuppression
  6. Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy, “Effects of Magnesium Complexation by Fluoroquinolones on their Antibacterial Properties
  7. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States, Biochemistry, “Quinolone Binding to DNA Mediated by Magnesium Ions”
  8. Science Translational Medicine, “Bactericidal Antibiotics Induce Mitochondrial Dysfunction and Oxidative Damage in Mammalian Cells
  9. Journal of Young Pharmacists, “Oxidative Stress Induced by Fluoroquinolones on Treatment for Complicated Urinary Tract Infections in Indian Patients
  10. Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy, “Ciprofloxacin Induces an Immunomodulatory Stress Response in Human T Lymphocytes
  11. Nature Precedings, “Oxidative Stress and Mitochondrial Injury in Chronic Multisymptom Conditions:  From Gulf War Illness to Autism Spectrum Disorder

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Awareness

Frankincense Shows The Ability To Alleviate Symptoms Of Anxiety & Depression

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In Brief

  • The Facts:

    Studies have proven the psychoactive effects the scent of frankincense has on the brain, alleviating symptoms of anxiety and depression.

  • Reflect On:

    With all the man-made chemical pharmaceutical drugs out there, perhaps solutions to what ails us are more simple than we may realize.

Gold and frankincense and myrrh… sound familiar? These were the gifts that were allegedly brought by the three kings when Jesus Christ was born. We all know that gold is valuable, but what about the others? Frankincense has long been touted as a magical, mystical medicine and has been regarded as such for millennia within many ancient cultures of the world. The same goes for myrrh, but for the purpose of this article we are going to stick to the medicinal properties of frankincense.

Frankincense starts out as a type of resinous sap that is found inside a special family of trees called Boswellia, which grow almost exclusively in the southern end of the Arabian Peninsula. When it is harvested at specific times of the year, the trees are cut carefully with special knives and the sap seeps out. This special sap is then dried in the sun until it is ready for use. More commonly, frankincense is burned simply as sweet smelling incense, but it has many other uses as well including the following…

Historical Uses Of Frankincense

  • As a part of ritual or religious ceremonies
  • Was used extensively during burial rituals as an embalming material to help mask the odor of the deceased body
  • Smoke from burnt incense can effectively drive away mosquitoes and other pests

Frankincense has also been used medicinally, treating various ailments such as arthritis (it has strong anti-inflammatory properties), gut disorders (like Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis), asthma, and maintenance of oral health.

And perhaps the most intriguing quality for our westernized modern culture is the psychoactive effects of this special resin, as studies have shown that burning frankincense can trigger an effect that can aid and even alleviate symptoms of anxiety and depression.

The Research

One study in particular, conducted by a team of researchers form John Hopkins University and Hebrew University in Jerusalem, explains how burning the resin from the Boswellia plant (frankincense) activates certain previously misunderstood ion channels in the brain in order to alleviate symptoms of anxiety and depression. This might explain why Roman emperor Nero once burned an entire year’s harvest of frankincense at his favorite mistress’ funeral.

“In spite of information stemming from ancient texts, constituents of Bosweilla had not been investigated for psychoactivity,” said Raphael Mechoulam, one of the research study’s co-authors. “We found that incensole acetate, a Boswellia resin constituent, when tested in mice lowers anxiety and causes antidepressive-like behavior. Apparently, most present day worshipers assume that incense burning has only a symbolic meaning.”

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The researchers administered incensole acetate to mice in order to determine its psychoactive effects. This compound they found drastically impacted the parts of the brain that generate emotions and the nerve circuits that have responded positively to current drugs used for depression and anxiety. The incensole that was administered activated a protein called TRPV3, which is connected to the ability to perceive warmth of the skin.

“Perhaps Marx wasn’t too wrong when he called religion the opium of the people: morphine comes from poppies, cannabinoids from marijuana, and LSD from mushrooms; each of these has been used in one or another religious ceremony,” said Gerald Weissmann, M.D., Editor-in-Chief of The FASEB Journal. “Studies of how those psychoactive drugs work have helped us understand modern neurobiology. The discovery of how incensole acetate, purified from frankincense, works on specific targets in the brain should also help us understand diseases of the nervous system. This study also provides a biological explanation for millennia-old spiritual practices that have persisted across time, distance, culture, language, and religion–burning incense really does make you feel warm and tingly all over!”

Can This Work For You?

Sure, this study was conducted using mice, which certainly aren’t the same as humans. However, many religious texts claim that this special resin had uplifting effects on the brain. So, the good thing is that if used appropriately, it really can’t hurt to try. You can typically buy the resin at health food stores and more commonly at stores that sell incense, crystals, sage and those sorts of spiritual ceremonial tools. It can also be found as an essential oil. I like to diffuse it in a diffuser, and sometimes I’ll burn the resin on charcoal pucks as well.

At the very least, you’ll get a nice and pleasant smelling aroma, and at best it can help turn that frown upside down, increase your mood, reduce your anxiety and maybe even put a smile on your face. Perhaps those three wise men were as wise as they’ve been made out to be, and frankincense really is as special as it’s been believed to be for millennia.

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Awareness

Binge Watching Is Associated With a 12 Percent Increased Risk of Inflammatory-Related Death

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In Brief

  • The Facts:

    An Australian study published in the journal Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise looked at more than 8,900 adults and found that each additional hour of TV viewing was associated with a 12% increased risk of inflammatory-related death.

  • Reflect On:

    How much TV do you watch? How active is your lifestyle?

I’m sure that you hesitated before choosing to read this article, as most of us have been sucked into a binge watching marathon on more than one occasion (myself included). While it may seem like we’re buckling down to give ourselves a break, we may actually be hurting ourselves far more than we realize. Sitting for prolonged periods of time has proven to be harmful to our bodies, especially for adults over 50, and when you match lounging with television, you create a deadly combo.

In an Australian study published in the journal Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, researchers examined more than 8,900 adults and found that each additional hour of TV viewing was associated with a 12% increased risk of inflammatory-related death, and those who spent more than four hours a day watching TV were at an even higher risk. This includes  diabetes, respiratory, cognitive, and kidney diseases. (source)

In general, watching television has proven to negatively impact mental health; it alters your brain, lowers your attention span, and has the potential to make you more aggressive. You don’t need to experience the “trance-like” state television can put us in, but I’m sure you’ve witnessed it before. This trance occurs roughly 30 seconds after you start watching TV. Your brain begins by producing alpha waves, leading to a light hypnotic state that makes the viewer less aware of their environment and more open to subtle messages — aka programming.

In the 1990s. Dr. Teresa Belton, a visiting fellow at the University of East Anglia, studied the effects that television has on the imagination of 10-12 year old children, ultimately concluding that television negatively impacts their development: “The ubiquity and ease of access to television and videos perhaps robs today’s children of the need to pursue their own thoughts and devise their own occupations, distracting them from inner processes and constantly demanding responses to external agendas, and suggests that this may have implications for the development of imaginative capacity.”

And these physical affects are becoming increasingly apparent. Not only does it eventually lead to immobility as you age, but with the risk of creating inflammation in the body, you are susceptible to a host of diseases including kidney disease, diabetes, asthma, Alzheimer’s, and even depression.

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Dr. Megan Grace is the lead investigator at the Baker Heart and Diabetes Institute in Melbourne. Between 1999 and 2000, her team quizzed adult participants about their viewing habits via a questionnaire. Again, this was before we had access to popular streaming websites like Netflix. The participants were separated into three groups based on their TV viewing habits: less than two hours per day, greater than two hours but less than four hours, and more than four hours.

“TV time was associated with increased risk of inflammatory-related mortality. This is consistent with the hypothesis that high TV viewing may be associated with a chronic inflammatory state,” the authors wrote.

They followed up with their participants 12 years later and found, of 909 deaths, 130 were inflammatory-related. Of the inflammatory-related deaths, 21 were from diseases of the respiratory system and 18 of the nervous system, and those who watched between two to four hours of TV a day showed a 54% higher risk of inflammatory-related death. Additionally, people who watched more than four hours of TV a day doubled their risk of dying from an inflammatory disease compared to those who watched two hours.

In addition to cutting down the amount of time you spend sitting in front of the TV and sitting or lying down, you can help combat inflammation with a number of foods like avocados, berries, sweet potato, onions, and watermelon, and herbs like, cloves, ginger, rosemary, and turmeric.

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Awareness

The Science Of Healing Trauma With Plant Medicine – Dr. Jeff McNairy Explains

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In Brief

  • The Facts:

    Ayahuasca has assisted thousands of people with an array of mental health disorders. There is real science that can explain how this "medicine" is able to actually change the brain.

  • Reflect On:

    Ayahuasca is not for everyone, and it will not fix you. It might, however, show you what you need to see in order to release what is no longer serving you in life and holding you back.

Over the past decade or so, the use of ayahuasca by western cultures has absolutely blown up. Chances are you’ve either taken it yourself or know someone who has. You may have heard some incredible and transformative stories about how this indigenous plant medicine has assisted many of those struggling with depression, addiction, anxiety and many other ailments.

It has been difficult to explain how this plant actually works to help alleviate symptoms of trauma, and many stick to simply regarding it as a mystical experience that shows you whatever it is that you need to see in order to heal your wounds. However, there is a scientific way to explain what is actually happening within the brain and body when ayahuasca is ingested. Some people with a more logical method of receiving information might prefer to know the actual physical “why” as to what is happening. In the video below, Dr. Jeff McNairy explains this.

Dr. Jeff McNairy is part of the Rythmia family, the world’s first fully licensed medical facility that offers ayahuasca. The entire CE team had the opportunity to go back in 2016 and it was a wonderful experience for us all.

Personally, I have processed a lot of my own trauma with the assistance of this potent plant medicine. It was able to show me things that I hadn’t realized had such a profound impact on my life, things that I had simply written off as unimportant. There were many things that I had stuffed down, locked away and refused to look at over the years that ultimately were the cause for my struggle with depression, addictive behaviours and anxiety. With the assistance of ayahuasca, a light shined on these areas that I had locked away in my subconscious, which helped me to see where healing was still required.

Is Ayahuasca For You?

Whether you are drawn to ayahuasca or not is okay, it’s not for everyone. But if you have a serious desire to uncover more layers of who you are and why you are the way you are, and you’re drawn to this medicine, then it may be for you. Ayahuasca can be a great tool for those who have suffered trauma, but it is important to know that ayahuasca won’t fix you, however it can lead you to understand what it is you need to know in order to fix yourself. It has the capacity to show you whatever it is that you are not seeing from a different perspective, opening your eyes to what you may not have been able to see before.

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It is no coincidence that ayahuasca has emerged within westernized cultures around the globe during this important time of transition. Not only is it assisting people to reconnect back to their soul’s essence, but it is also increasing our regard for our environment and our Mother Earth as a whole.

On another note, here’s an interesting quote from Joe Martino:

Psychedelics were used back in a time when the level of consciousness of the planet was not as high, which helped give insight to shamans so they could share it with their communities. It was meant for use in extreme cases where heavy trauma or addictions existed and people could not use other ways to work through their emotional challenges. Here in present time, we use them in a western fashion as THE GO TO for moving through all of our challenges. I’m here to remind you that you have so much power and ability as a being that in most cases, you don’t need any of these things to evolve. I’m not suggesting don’t do it, I’m simply saying truly ask your heart what you want, and don’t get caught up in the grand allure and peer pressure. (source)

Use Responsibly

It is important to seek out and use ayahuasca that is harvested using sustainable practices and served by shamans who have the utmost respect for the sacred medicinal brew. As its popularity has increased, so has the opportunity to exploit it, so do your due diligence when it comes to determining if ayahuasca is right for you and who will be serving you this medicine.

Related CE Article: Why Psychedelic Drugs Are Not A Shortcut To Enlightenment

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