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Some Doctors Don’t Believe In This Disease Yet It Predisposes Many Diseases

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mitoThe tragic case of Justina Pelletier has been in the news quite a bit lately.  Justina Pelletier is the teen (14 when her ordeal started, 15 now) who is at the center of a nasty custody battle between her parents and Boston Children’s Hospital. Boston Children’s Hospital and the Massachusetts Department of Children and Families have taken custody of Justina, against the will of her parents, because they assert that Justina’s health problems are psychosomatic and that Justina’s parents are guilty of medical abuse. Justina’s parents, on the other hand, assert that Boston Children’s Hospital has kidnapped their daughter and that Justina is in need of medical care for her mitochondrial disorder.

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Hundreds of news stories and blog posts have been written about Justina’s case.  One of the best articles that I’ve read about the horrible, tragic situation that Justina is caught in the middle of is “A Medical Collision with a Child in the Middle” in The Boston Globe.  The Boston Globe article, and many others, have given a good overview of Justina’s situation, but they have given very little information about the condition which Justina’s parents say she has and the Boston Children’s Hospital doctors deny exists – mitochondrial disease.

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This post is to give some basic, introductory information about mitochondrial disease – a topic that most journalists and bloggers who have been writing about the case have glossed over, and a topic that some of the doctors in Justine’s case are woefully ignorant of.  (A doctor who Justine Pelletier sought help from “didn’t believe” in mitochondrial diseases)

Mitochondria 101

Mitochondria are the energy centers of the cells.  They are found in almost every cell in the human body and they produce more than 90% of cellular energy through the generation of ATP (Adenosine Triphosphate).  Mitochondria also play key roles in cellular processes including “calcium, copper and iron homeostatis; heme and iron-sulfer cluster assembly; synthesis of pyrimidines and steroids; thermogenesis and fever response; and calcium signaling” (1) and additionally produce ROS (reactive oxygen species) (2), which play key roles in regulating and determining apoptosis (programmed cell death), as well as signaling communication between cells and tissues.  (3)   Mitochondria have their own DNA, mtDNA, which is separate from the nuclear DNA of the cell.  Proper function of mitochondria is vital for all areas of health.

A hallmark of mitochondrial dysfunction is crippling fatigue and exhaustion.  Because mitochondria are the energy centers of cells, when they are not operating properly patients are unable to do things that require energy.  It is an organic, physical lack of energy, not a choice not to get out of bed or run around the block.

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Mito Action lists poor growth, loss of muscle coordination, muscle weakness, neurological problems, seizures, autism, visual and/or hearing problems, developmental delays, learning disabilities, heart disease, liver disease, kidney disease, GI disorders, diabetes, increased risk of infection, thyroid dysfunction, adrenal dysfunction, autonomic dysfunction and neuropsychological changes as symptoms of mitochondrial diseases.

When mitochondria are not functioning properly, multiple disease states can ensue.  According to Dr. Richard Boles, Director of the Metabolic and Mitochondrial Disorders Clinic at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles:

“these are partial defects. Mitochondrial dysfunction doesn’t really cause anything, what it does is predisposes towards seemingly everything. It’s one of many risk factors in multifactorial disease. It can predispose towards epilepsy, chronic fatigue, and even autism, but it doesn’t do it alone. It does it in combination with other factors, which is why in a family with a single mutation going through the family, everyone in the family is affected in a different way. Because it predisposes for disease throughout the entire system.” (source:  Hormones Matter)

It makes sense that when the energy centers of cells are not functioning properly, the body starts to shut down, and when the body shuts down on a cellular level, multi-symptom, diffuse illnesses result.

Mitochondrial Diseases

There are three basic categories of mitochondrial disease:  1)  Diseases that are recognized as verified mitochondrial diseases, 2)  Diseases that there is a large amount of evidence that links them to mitochondrial dysfunction, but are not generally recognized as mitochondrial diseases, and 3)  Diseases that are indirectly related to mitochondrial function.

The first category of mitochondrial diseases, those that are verified and acknowledged as mitochondrial diseases include:

  1.  Progressive External Opthalmoplegia
  2. Alper’s Syndrome
  3. Leigh’s Syndrome
  4. Friedrich’s Ataxia

These diseases are matrilineally inherited (mtDNA is passed down through the mother) and involve recognized mtDNA mutations.  The prognosis for many with these diseases is, sadly, poor, and there are “currently no pharmaceutical cures for any mitochondrial diseases.”  (3)   “Although individually rare, diseases caused by mtDNA and nDNA mutations are estimated to collectively have an incidence of ~1/4000 individuals.”  (1)  Interestingly, “a number of human mitochondrial genetic diseases that are clinically discreet are being diagnosed at unexpected rates.”  (4)  A possible explanation for an unexpected increase in hereditary mitochondrial diseases is that some of the environmental toxicants and pharmaceuticals that damage mitochondria have been shown to deplete mtDNA (5), and that depleted mtDNA may be passed from a mother on to a child.

The second category of mitochondrial diseases are diseases that are typically categorized as “mysterious diseases” of modernity.  These diseases have increased in prevalence significantly over the past 50 years.  They are controversial and their existence is denied by many.  Patients suffering from these diseases struggle to have their health problems acknowledged as having a physical cause, and are often accused of making things up or having a somatoform disorder, “a psychiatric condition when a person experiences physical pain for which no known medical explanation can be found.”   The exact cause of these diseases is officially unknown and there are many theories as to their origins.  There is much evidence, however, that these diseases at least feature, and are possibly (probably) caused by, mitochondrial dysfunction and oxidative stress (which occurs in mitochondria as a result of mitochondrial stress, damage or injury).

  1. Chronic Fatigue Syndrome / Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (ME) (6, 7)
  2. Fibromyalgia (8, 9, 10)
  3. Gulf War Syndrome (11)
  4. Autism (12, 13, 14)
  5. Fluoroquinolone Toxicity Syndrome and adverse reactions to other mitochondria damaging prescription drugs (15, 16, 17)
  6. Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) (18)

All of the sources linked to are peer-reviewed.  Yet, these diseases are still woefully under-acknowledged and people, including doctors, seem to feel that they are at liberty to “not believe” in them.

There are a couple of reasons for disbelief in these diseases.  First, tests do not currently exist which can reliably determine the existence of these diseases.  An unfortunately common attitude in medicine is, “if it doesn’t show up on the tests, it doesn’t exist.”  Second, they are diseases of modernity, so there is little history from which to gather information on them.

The link between these mysterious diseases and mitochondrial damage and oxidative stress has been ignored.  This intentional ignorance is likely caused by the notion that if it is admitted that mitochondrial damage and oxidative stress are the causes of these diseases, the question may be asked, “what causes mitochondrial damage and oxidative stress?”  The answer is one that doctors, and anyone else who believes that the current medical system causes more good than harm, doesn’t want to admit – pharmaceuticals and environmental toxins are the causes of mitochondrial damage and oxidative stress. (1, 20) Chemicals in our drugs and in our environment are causing damage to our mitochondria, which are, in turn, causing multi-symptom, chronic, mysterious illnesses that afflict millions of people.

Offending drugs that cause mitochondrial damage include bactericidal antibiotics (15), statins (17), chemotherapy drugs (1), acetaminophen (4), metformin (a diabetes drug) (19), and others.  Disease states caused by chemical harm to mitochondria are often delayed and can involve a threshold of harm to the mitochondria (4), so it is often difficult to connect the mitochondria damaging chemical to the disease state.

The third category of mitochondrial diseases are those that are indirectly related to mitochondrial function.  Per a Review entitled, “Medication-induced Mitochondrial Damage and Disease,” the following diseases are related to mitochondrial damage:

“Damage to mitochondria is now understood to play a role in the pathogenesis of a wide range of seemingly unrelated disorders such as schizophrenia, bipolar disease, dementia, Alzheimer’s disease, epilepsy, migraine headaches, strokes, neuropathic pain, Parkinson’s disease, ataxia, transient ischemic attack, cardiomyopathy, coronary artery disease, chronic fatigue syndrome, fibromyalgia, retinitis pigmentosa, diabetes, hepatitis C, and primary biliary cirrhosis.”

These diseases are often associated with old age (1) but they are afflicting younger and younger people over the past couple of decades.

The Regulatory Agencies are Failing to Protect our Mitochondria

Seeing as mitochondrial health is related to almost every chronic disease there is, it wouldn’t be too much to expect for the FDA and EPA to regularly look at the effects of drugs and environmental toxins on mitochondria when determining the safety of drugs and chemicals that humans come into contact with.  However, “mitochondrial toxicity testing is still not required by the US FDA for drug approval.”  (20)  The researchers who wrote the review entitled “Mitochondria as a Target of Environmental Toxicants” in 2013, noted that, “The existence of so many mitochondrial diseases illustrates the critical importance of maintenance of mitochondrial and mtDNA integrity for health.  It also raises an important question with implications for environment-mediated mitochondrial toxicity: Why did it take us so long to realize that many diseases are in fact mitochondrial diseases?” (1)  Good question.

Ignorance surrounding mitochondrial diseases can be explained by noting the following:

  1.  Mitochondria are a strange mix of vulnerable and resistant to assaults.  All sorts of drugs and chemicals damage mitochondria, and mtDNA is far more vulnerable to damage than nuclear DNA.  However, damage to mitochondria does not manifest itself in a disease state until a certain threshold of damage has occurred.  So, an individual can tolerate a certain amount of a mtDNA depleting drug, like Cipro/Ciprofloxacin (21), until their mtDNA is depleted sufficiently, then disease states will ensue. (4)
  2. The onset of diseases caused by mitochondrial damage are often delayed for days, months or even years after the offending chemical has done damage.  (4)
  3. Inertia.  The role of mitochondria in health has been ignored for years.  It would require a paradigm shift for medical professionals to start noticing mitochondrial dysfunction.  And if they start noticing mitochondrial dysfunction, they might start to realize that their drugs are the cause of the dysfunctional mitochondria.  (1, 20)
  4. There is very little that Western Medicine can do to fix mitochondrial dysfunction.  (1)  Rather than admit that there is nothing that they can do to fix the problem, those in the medical system deny that there is a problem.
  5. GREED, CORRUPTION and INFLUENCE.  The FDA and the EPA don’t require testing of drugs or environmental toxicants on mitochondria because the results would be incriminating, and those who would be incriminated have a massive amount of money and power.  It’s pretty simple, actually.

The ignorant, foolish doctor who “didn’t believe in mitochondrial disease” may want to note that:

“Mitochondrial function and behavior are central to the physiology of humans and, consequently, ‘mitochondrial dysfunction’ has been implicated in a wide range of diseases that encompass all aspects of medicine.”  (3)

It is time for those in the medical profession to stop ignoring the role of mitochondria in modern, chronic diseases.  The answers to preventing and fixing modern, chronic illnesses lie in the mitochondria.  Neither the questions nor the answers may be pleasant or convenient, but they are true and honest ones.  Cells don’t lie.  And the evidence against pharmaceutical and environmental toxicants that damage mitochondria is damning.

Post Script:  The author’s mitochondria were damaged by a prescription antibiotic, Cipro/Ciprofloxacin, a fluoroquinolone antibiotic.  Her blog, describing her story, and road to healing, is www.floxiehope.com.

Peer Reviewed Sources: 

  1. Toxicological Sciences, “Mitochondria as a Target of Environmental Toxicants
  2. Biochemical Society Transactions, “Mitochondrial Matirix Reactive Oxygen Species Production is Very Sensitive to Mild Uncoupling
  3. Cell, “Mitochondria:  In Sickness and In Health
  4. Molecular Interventions, “Mechanisms of Pathogenesis in Drug Hepatotoxicity Putting the Stress on Mitochondria
  5. Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy, “Calcium Signals are Affected by Ciprofloxacin as a Consequence of Reduction of Mitochondrial DNA Content in Jurkat Cells
  6. International Journal of Clinical and Experimental Medicine, “Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and Mitochondrial Dysfunction
  7. Journal of Internal Medicine, “Chronic fatigue syndrome: assessment of increased oxidative stress and altered muscle excitability in response to incremental exercise
  8. Muscle and Nerve, “Mitochondrial Myopathy Mimicking Fibromyalgia Syndrome
  9. The Journal of Rheumatology.  Supplement., “The Muscle in Fibromyalgia – A Review of Swedish Studies
  10. PLoS One, “Clinical Symptoms in Fibromyalgia Are Better Associated to Lipid Peroxidation Levels in Blood Mononuclear Cells Rather than in Plasma
  11. Nature Precedings, “Oxidative Stress and Mitochondrial Injury in Chronic Multisymptom Conditions: From Gulf War Illness to Autism Spectrum Disorder
  12. Pathophysiology, “Oxidative Stress in Autism
  13. Journal of Childhood Neurology, “Developmental Regression and Mitochondrial Dysfunction in a Child with Autism”
  14. Journal of Toxicology and Environmental Health, “Evidence of Toxicity, Oxidative Stress, and Neuronal Insult in Autism
  15. Science Translational Medicine, “Bactericidal Antibiotics Induce Mitochondrial Dysfunction and Oxidative Damage in Mammalian Cells
  16. Journal of Young Pharmacists, “Oxidative Stress Induced by Fluoroquinolones on Treatment for Complicated Urinary Tract Infections in Indian Patients
  17. American Journal of Cardiovascular Drugs, “Statin Adverse Effects: A Review of the Literature and Evidence for a Mitochondrial Mechanism
  18. BMC Medicine, “Chronic fatigue syndrome: Harvey and Wessely’s (bio)psychosocial model versus a bio(psychosocial) model based on inflammatory and oxidative and nitrosative stress pathways
  19. Biochemical Journal, “Metformin inhibits mitochondrial permeability transition and cell death: a pharmacological in vitro study
  20. Molecular Nutrition & Food Research, “Medication Induced Mitochondrial Damage and Disease
  21. Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy, “Calcium Signals Are Affected by Ciprofloxacin as a Consequence of Reduction of Mitochondrial DNA Content in Jurkat Cells

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Boosting Your Mood and Improving Your Health With Vitamin D

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  • 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?

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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.

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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?

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 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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Lebanese Hospital Becomes The World’s First To Go 100 Percent Vegan (Food)

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CE Staff Writer 7 minute read

In Brief

  • The Facts:

    A hospital in Lebanon has become the first in the world to adopt a completely vegan menu.

  • Reflect On:

    Are people aware of the physical and emotional torture the majority animals we eat go through? Are people aware that a diet free of animal products can be very beneficial for human health. Are people aware that animal agriculture is destroying Earth?

Before you begin...

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At the beginning of March, Hayek Hospital in Beirut, Lebanon became the first hospital in the world to serve 100 percent vegan only meals. Prior to this change, patients had a choice between animal based meals and vegan meals, and included with that was information about the health benefits of choosing plant-based foods versus the dangers of consuming animal products. The hospital made the announcement via their Instagram page, stating that “Our patients will no longer wake up from surgery to be greeted with ham, cheese, milk, and eggs…the very food(s) that may have contributed to their health problems in the first place.”

When the World Health Organization classifies processed meat as a group 1A carcinogenic (causes cancer) same group as tobacco and red meat as group 2A carcinogenic, then serving meat in the hospital is like serving cigarettes in a hospital. When the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) declare that 3 out of 4 new or emerging infectious disease comes from animals. When adopting a plant based exclusive diet has been successfully proven not only to stop the evolution of certain diseases but it can also reverse them. We then, have the moral responsibility to act upon and align our beliefs with our actions. Taking the courage to look at the elephant in in the eye.

Their various statements also point to the role that animal agriculture plays in spawning infectious diseases, citing the Centers for Disease Control’s estimate that 3 out of 4 new or emerging infectious diseases come from animals. “We believe it’s well about time to tackle the root cause of diseases and pandemics, not just treat symptoms,” they note.

This was a great statement. The modern day medical industry only seems to be focused on medications, and only medications that can turn a hefty profit, to treat and cure disease instead of addressing root causes. It’s good to see things changing, but a big problem remains. If a plant that grows in abundance, for example, has the potential to cure a disease, will we ever hear about it? Will the medical industry be interested in it? Probably not, but when a drug is made and patented from that plant in a specific way, that’s when we will. This is not to say that modern day medicine is useless, but today now more than ever a big problem exists, and this problem may be killing more people than it’s helping.

Arnold Seymour Relman (1923-2014), a Harvard professor of medicine and also a former Editor-in-Chief of NEMJ, was frustrated that “the medical profession is being bought by the pharmaceutical industry, not only in terms of the practice of medicine, but also in terms of teaching and research. The academic institutions of this country are allowing themselves to be the paid agents of the pharmaceutical industry. I think it’s disgraceful.” (source)

According to Forks Over Knives,

While Hayek is the first hospital to completely purge animal products from its menu, a number of hospitals have begun offering more plant-based options in recent years. Both New York and California have enacted laws requiring hospitals to offer a plant-based option with every meal. In 2018 NYC Health + Hospitals/Bellevue launched the Plant-Based Lifestyle Medicine Program to help patients transition to a whole-food, plant-based lifestyle.

The American Medical Association passed a resolution in 2017 calling on U.S. hospitals to provide healthful plant-based meals to promote better health in patients, staff, and visitors. The American College of Cardiology has issued similar recommendations.

In my opinion, “veganism is a very fine form of nutrition” (Dr. Ellsworth Wareham, heart surgeon), and as mentioned above, there is plenty of science to back up that statement.  I’ve written about it many times before from a health perspective.

Here’s an article that goes into more detail and science if you’re interested, it also addresses history, and how our teeth and guts are designed and more. Here’s another one regarding a study that found a strong association between eating animal protein and a premature death from all causes, including multiple cancers and type 2 diabetes.

The studies cited in that article note that meat eating is strongly associated with up to a 75 percent increased chance of early mortality, and that protein from animals may cause harm, while protein from plants may help reverse disease and have a protective effect.

There are hundreds of these studies, and the ones I cite are just a few examples.

This is obviously a very controversial topic in the eyes of many, and it’s not hard at all to find conflicting information on the subject. I am no doubt bias in my beliefs and opinions here.

One thing is for certain, the way we treat animals on this planet is extremely heartbreaking and unnecessary. Animals are separated from their families, raised for slaughter and are kept in torturous conditions on a daily basis. It’s truly unbelievable and horrific. It’s the biggest genocide and example of both physical and emotional torture the world has ever seen. I don’t think anybody can witness what really goes on in most slaughterhouses can come out not being impacted.

On top of this, animal agriculture is one of, if not the greatest contributer to environmental degradation and pollution on our planet. Animal agriculture is actually the leading cause of deforestation. Every single day, close to 100 plant/animal/insect species are lost because of this practice.

Final Thoughts: At the end of the day it seems that, from a health perspective, processed meats, and other meats are no doubt harmful to human health. People can make the argument that other animal products may not be and that we are meant to consume them. People can also make the complete opposite argument. One thing that can’t be argued is, again, the torture, physical and emotional abuse that comprise the source of where animal products come from for the majority of people who eat them.

There is a big split, as with many other topics, amongst people on this issue. There are even vegan influencers who are creating splits within the ‘vegan community’ itself, which is unfortunate. I personally believe that, from a health perspective, animal products are not at all required for anybody and are again, overall, harmful to human health.

The more pressing issue, again, is the treatment of our animal brothers and sisters, and how we are constantly using and abusing them. It’s indicative of world that lacks empathy, compassion, understanding and love, as well as our inability to see ourselves in another. This can be seen in many aspects of the current human experience, be it war, human trafficking and more. That being said, it’s great to see human consciousness shifting towards a more compassionate, empathetic type of awareness. This is evident by the “vegan” movement alone, as it’s become quite large over the past few years and will continue to grow. Some of the biggest animal food producers have already gone out of business, and it’s great to see more people in the health community as well recognize that it’s a win for health, a win for environment, and most importantly, a win for the very emotional, intelligent, animals, who are similar to us in so many ways. We have so much to learn from them.

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