Have you ever wondered why PMS is so common among women today? What about why it so often comes with additional symptoms and disorders like PCOS, endometriosis, IBS, ovarian cysts and depression? There is a very simple truth behind these complicated and often debilitating issues: the liver. Stagnation and lack of proper energy flow in the liver is at the root of almost all reproductive, gastrointestinal, and even emotional conditions. And thanks to Traditional Chinese Medicine, we can all be on the road to healing.
Why are we in pain if it’s a natural part of life?
PMS (Premenstrual Syndrome) is just what the name implies – a syndrome. It’s a disorder, meaning out of order/out of the ordinary. So why does everyone seem to have at least some of the symptoms? Our bodies were created to perfection; we literally have the power to regenerate and heal ourselves. There are no mistakes here. We wouldn’t have a period in the first place if it was meant to hurt us. After all, periods are the reason women live longer than men! We lose old, stagnant blood every month so that our incredible bodies can replace it with fresh, clean blood to nourish our organs. It’s a time of renewal where we’re connected to the feminine energy of the moon, where we shed what we no longer need and start fresh. In fact, we actually menstruate according to nature and the moon – some women cycle with the new moon, and others with the full. There are no coincidences!
We shouldn’t have to suffer through this time of regeneration, and the truth is that we never have to again. Every symptom that your body produces is a signal. Every ache and pain is a trail of clues that leads you to a root cause if you figure out how to follow the patterns. Symptoms are not meant to be muffled with pain relievers and Midol. Symptoms are meant to be observed and thanked, because your body is telling you exactly what you need to do in order to get well.
Following the Symptom Trail
Chinese Medicine offers such amazing explanations for illness because it does exactly what I mentioned: it uses your symptoms as clues to a bigger issue. Let’s think about PMS. What’s the first thing that comes to mind? The emotional roller coaster, of course! Women can often tell when we’re about to get our periods because we get moody and unpredictable.
Emotions = The Liver
Whether it’s depression, anxiety, sadness, PMS, PMDD, or even bipolar disorder, it’s related to the liver in TCM. The liver is the seat of emotion, especially irritability and anger.
When the liver is healthy, the liver meridian naturally balances your mental state and releases suppressed emotions via your flow of Qi/energy (also known as life force). The fact that depression, frustration, irritability and anger are major symptoms of PMS leaves us the clue that disharmony in the liver is to blame.
Let’s look at the other symptoms that come with difficult periods:
– Cravings, particularly for sweets/carbs/salt
– Water retention
– Abdominal bloating
– Breast swelling + tenderness
– Sore throat
– Menstrual irregularity
– Painful menstruation
Each and every one of these symptoms can be explained by Chinese medicine, and will be traced back to the liver below.
The Liver & The Flow of Qi
Qi is the ‘prana,’ energy, or ‘life force’ that flows through our organs each day and keeps us alive. When the Qi is free flowing, we have a healthy body with no issues. When it’s not free flowing, we have a problem. This means that whenever there is an issue, no matter what it is, the Qi is somehow blocked and there is an underlying imbalance in one of your organs/meridians.
The basic energetic imbalance that causes PMS and reproductive/emotional disorders is Liver Qi Stagnation. In Chinese medicine, the liver is responsible for “spreading the Qi” throughout the body and maintaining its smooth and unobstructed flow. This implies that the right energy arrives at the right place at the right time.
The chart displayed above depicts the “Chinese Body Clock.” At 2 hour intervals all day and night, our Qi moves into different organs of the body to do its active or repair work. This cyclic, uninterrupted flow of Qi through every organ at the right time represents the Western view of the endocrine system and the rise and fall of hormones in the body. We secrete different hormones at different parts of the day for very specific reasons.
Anything that harms the liver obstructs the flow of Qi (since I mentioned that the liver is solely responsible for “spreading the Qi.”) Because Qi mirrors the Western concept of the endocrine system, this can be translated as: anything that harms the liver obstructs the flow of hormones. This makes perfect sense since, after all, hormones are indeed metabolized by the liver! And of course, all the issues we’re talking about here (cramps, PCOS, cysts, etc.) have an underlying hormone imbalance and relate to the reproductive system.
Here’s how it works:
The liver’s job is to spread the Qi…
so if there is congestion in the liver,
there is congestion of Qi.
The Qi’s job is to move the blood,
so when the Qi becomes stagnant, the blood also stagnates.
Over time, congested or ‘stuck’ blood will do exactly as it sounds: clot and stick in places it shouldn’t. This leads to ovarian cysts, fibroids, endometriosis, myomas, and painful menstrual periods because the body is cramping up to expel your period. There is a lack of Qi to assist in moving the blood out. In such cases, the menstrual discharge is often dark or clotty.
The Chong Mai, or “Thrusting Channel,” is an energy pathway that runs up the core of our body. It is also known as the “Sea of Blood.” When there is Liver Qi Stagnation, and thus stagnation in the lower abdomen, the Thrusting Channel is affected (which you can tell from the photo is where your menstrual flow would exit).
Symptoms in the Chest and Throat
The second area of the body that can manifest symptoms of Liver Qi Stagnation is the chest. This explains the chest symptoms we see with PMS: breast swelling, pain and tenderness.
Fullness and stagnation in the liver will thrust up past the chest and then manifest in the throat. This can lead to hypertrophy of the thyroid gland and goiter, along with all types of thyroid imbalance – something else that’s common in those with PMS, cysts and the like.
Symptoms in the Stomach or “Spleen”
In TCM, the “Spleen” stands for the entire process of digestion. Just of the “spleen” as the stomach. Energetically, Liver Qi Stagnation is a fullness of stuck energy in the liver. And unfortunately, this fullness gets vented onto the spleen. In this case, the liver invades the spleen, or as it’s known in Chinese medicine, the liver “attacks” the stomach.
As shown above, the liver is the organ that can directly “attack” stomach. The root of IBS and gastrointestinal pain is actually the liver’s attack, because it’s ‘overcharged’ with heat due to being stagnant and full. This is why you shouldn’t eat while watching TV: Your eyes are connected to your liver. When you’re eating, you’re supposed to be focused on the food so that your spleen is charged and focused on digesting. If you are using your eyes to watch TV, you are charging your liver while your stomach is in motion. This gives your riled up liver a chance to attack!
This liver fullness makes the spleen empty. An energetically weak or ’empty’ spleen explains the symptoms of diarrhea and constipation that come with IBS, gastrointestinal disorders and PMS.
Craving for Sweets
Since the flavour that “tonifies” (or strengthens) the spleen is sweet, people with Spleen Emptiness due to Liver Qi Stagnation will crave sweets. Unfortunately, too many or too concentrated sweets will only further weaken the spleen. Avoid candy and high sugar fruits due to their concentration of sweetness, and stick to warming/mildly sweet foods like sweet potato, sweet rice, pumpkin and squash.
The Spleen is also in charge of transforming and transporting water in the body. If the spleen is empty, there will be water retention and bloating.
Emotions + Depression
The first thing I talked about was how depression, frustration and irritability come with PMS and Liver Qi Stagnation. However, Liver Qi Stagnation is responsible for any emotional troubles that come with or without PMS! The liver stores the “Hun.” In TCM, the Hun represents the psyche. When the liver becomes congested (and therefore stagnant with heat) the Hun becomes agitated due to the abundance of heat with no way to disperse it. Heat and stagnation in the liver are at the root of all emotional problems, including anger and depression.
If this stagnant heat ‘wafts’ up to disturb the heart, it causes restlessness and anxiety.
Cold in the Uterus
Yang deficiency (a deficiency of heat) in the uterus is another huge contributor to the stagnation of blood and Qi. Over-eating raw fruits and vegetables, iced or frozen foods and drinks, and drinking too many cold juices, are all contemporary Western causes for blood vacuity. This can cause blood stasis in the uterus due to cold invading the womb and be harmful to healthy menstruation if they are eaten just before or at the onset of menstruation (when they are often craved). Opt for lightly cooked vegetables, roots like sweet potato and hearty soups or stews.
Many people think that because we live in a first world country, we’re immune to parasites. This is quite the contrary and I urge you to look at the work Kerri Rivera and Dr. Kalcker are doing for children with autism. Through a parasite protocol, diet changes, hyperbaric chambers and so much more they have been able to successfully recover 162 children of autism. These children pass huge parasitic worms – and lots of them. One child (the before and after photos can be seen in Kerri’s lecture video) had 5 jars worth of worms by the time he was recovered. Once I started parasite cleansing I was shocked at the sheer number of liver flukes I passed. Have you ever seen ‘tomato skins’ or ‘carrot pieces’ in your stool even though you hadn’t eaten tomatoes or carrots that day? Those are liver flukes. They plug up the pores in our liver and excrete waste into our blood, making it extremely hard for our Qi and blood to flow and clean itself normally. It’s important to parasite cleanse bi-annually and eat a diet so healthy that your immune system kicks the bugs out!
So how do we get Liver Qi Stagnation in the first place?
1. Stress and Emotional Burden – Most, if not all women with PMS have more than an average amount of emotional stress in their lives stretching back at least to puberty. Stress = frustration and anger, and the burden we face just keeps building. Our world is faster than ever and it’s impossible to keep up.
2. Environmental Stress – Our lives are incredibly stressful on an emotional level, but there’s an environmental and energetic war being fought as well. Our entire lifestyle generates more stress than the human organism is capable of withstanding. Background noise from our computers that are constantly on, background music everywhere we go, blaring televisions, EMF radiation from our phones that are constantly on our bodies, driving in cars, pollution, denatured processed food, politics, and more. The media constantly projects fear on us to keep us controlled whether it’s Ebola, measles, shootings, or terrorism. We’re bombarded with advertisements that tell us we’re not good enough and need to rush out to buy a product or service to make us acceptable to society.
3. Birth Control Pills – Birth control pills add hormones that are out of phase with the body’s normal periodicity. These synthetic hormones adversely affect the Liver’s spreading function and thus the energy of the entire body. This is why birth control pills are implicated in high incidences of pelvic and breast tumors, which according to TCM always begin as Liver Qi Stagnation.
4. Poor Diet – You know the deal. We are a Liver Stagnation Nation because of the the food we eat as a culture. There has never been a better time or reason to ditch the junk and put whole foods into your body.
5. Poor Sleeping Patterns – Look at the Chinese body clock! You are not supposed to be up past 9 or 10 pm. This is so important. You will never be healthy if you are staying up until midnight or 1 AM every night, even if you’re sleeping late the next day. After 11pm we enter gall bladder and liver time, and being awake or active during these hours directly causes Liver Qi Stagnation.
6. Lack of Exercise – We need to go on more hikes to move the blood and Qi and breathe the fresh air. Do more yoga and move that lymph.
How to Treat Liver Stagnation and All That Comes With it:
– Coffee, black tea, energy drinks, soda with caffeine.
– Thick, creamy, or cheesy sauces.
– Alcohol. Don’t do it! It’s too yang and charges up your liver causing the Qi to ascend, just like anger. Actually, that’s why alcohol can make people angry and violent.
– Excessive sugar.
– Fried and oily food.
– Heavy, complicated, or oversized meals.
– Late dinner and eating before bed.
– Inactive lifestyle.
– Repressing your feelings. Journal it out. Writing literally brings emotional and physical healing.
– Excessive work and stress. Turn off the electronics!! In the last decade, electronics have taken over our lives in a whole new way. Constantly checking our smartphones creates agitation in our livers.
– Ice cream, chilled foods and icy drinks. Cold = stagnation.
– Eat real food! The best for liver Qi stagnation include:
– Exercise! When we sit, the Blood in our arms and legs returns to the liver for storage. This pooling of blood in the liver tends to aggravate the liver Qi stagnation. Exercise pumps this blood out of the liver and along with it, some of the stuck Qi.
– Spend time relaxing with activities or people you like.
– Breathe. One of the reasons why exercise is so helpful for Liver Qi stagnation is that you have to breathe harder and you get more oxygen into the body. Deep breathing is essential. Try lying in bed and breathing deeply 10 times before you fall asleep each night. At work, set an alarm at your desk to stop every 30 minutes and take 5 deep breaths. Or better yet, step outside and get 5 deep breathes of fresh air.
– Use your liver acupuncture/acupressure points.
Press these points off and on all throughout your day. You can use them when you wake up in the morning and especially whenever you are stressed or angry. Pressing on these points can also provide relief of menstrual cramps in the moment.
– Deep relaxation and meditation. What will get at the root of the full/stagnated liver Qi is deep relaxation. There is nothing that will do for your liver what meditation will do, if it’s done the right way. It must include the entire body: muscular relaxation – not just cerebral relaxation. It also must result in the center of consciousness coming out of the head as found in deep meditation. It then must be done for a minimum of twenty minutes per day, but does not need to be done more than thirty minutes. And finally, it must be done every single day without missing a day for at least 3 months or 100 days.
– Traditional Chinese Herbal Medicine: Xiao Yao Wan. Xiao Yao Wan is the most amazing formula for Liver Qi Stagnation. The herbs in this formula disperse stagnant energy in the liver, regulating the secretion of hormones, especially estrogen dominance, which is so common due to pesticides, petrochemicals and xenoestrogens in items such as plastic. Preliminary research suggests that xiao yao wan may have antidepressant-like effects. In a study published in Phytotherapy Research in 2013, for example, tests on rats revealed that xiao yao wan may help fight depression by protecting against stress-related changes in biochemistry. It has been traditionally prescribed for anxiety, depression, headaches, menstrual pain, premenstrual syndrome, pain alleviation, and mood improvement. It is also used to stimulate the digestive system and treat digestion-related health troubles. The important thing is that it treats the root cause: stagnation in the liver!
1) PMS: Its Cause, Diagnosis & Treatment According to Traditional Chinese Medicine by Bob Flaws. Blue Poppy Press
2) Gao XX, et al. “An investigation of the antidepressant action of xiaoyaosan in rats using ultra performance liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry combined with metabonomics.” Phytother Res. 2013 Jul;27(7):1074-85.
The Powerful Aspirin Alternative Your Doctor Never Told You About
- The Facts:
This article was written by Sayer Ji, Founder of Greenmedinfo,com where it was originally posted. Published here with permission.
- Reflect On:
Given the newly released cardiovascular disease prevention guidelines recommending against daily low-dose aspirin use, natural, safe and effective alternatives are needed now more than ever.
In a previous article titled “The Evidence Against Aspirin and For Natural Alternatives,” we discussed the clear and present danger linked with the use of aspirin as well as several clinically proven alternatives that feature significant side benefits as opposed to aspirin’s many known side effects.
Since writing this article, even more evidence has accumulated indicating that aspirin’s risks outweigh its benefits. Most notably, a 15-year Dutch study published in the journal Heart found that among 27,939 healthy female health professionals (average age 54) randomized to receive either 100 mg of aspirin every day or a placebo the risk of gastrointestinal bleeding outweighed the benefit of the intervention for colorectal cancer and cardiovascular disease prevention in those under 65 years of age. Most recently, last month, new cardiovascular disease prevention guidelines submitted jointly by the American College of Cardiology and the American Heart Associated and published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, earlier this year, contradict decades of routine medical advice by explicitly advising against the daily use of low-dose or baby aspirin (75-100 mg) as a preventive health strategy against stroke or heart attack, in most cases.
Of course, aspirin is not alone as far as dangerous side effects are concerned. The entire non-steroidal anti-inflammatory (NSAID) category of prescription and over-the-counter drugs is fraught with serious danger. Ibuprofen, for instance, is known to kill thousands each year, and is believed no less dangerous than Merck’s COX-2 inhibitor NSAID drug Vioxx which caused between 88,000-140,000 cases of serious heart disease in the five years it was on the market (1999-2004). Tylenol is so profoundly toxic to the liver that contributing writer Dr. Michael Murray recently asked in his Op-Ed piece, “Is it Time for the FDA to Remove Tylenol From the Market?” Just as serious are tylenol’s empathy destroying properties that were only identified four years ago.
Given the dire state of affairs associated with pharmaceutical intervention for chronic pain issues, what can folks do who don’t want to kill themselves along with their pain?
Pine Bark Extract (Pycnogenol) Puts Aspirin To Shame
When it comes to aspirin alternatives, one promising contender is pycnogenol, a powerful antioxidant extracted from French maritime pine bark, backed by over 40 years of research, the most compelling of which we have aggregated on GreenMedInfo.com here: Pycnogenol Research. Amazingly, you will find research indexed there showing it may have value for over 80 health conditions.
In 1999, a remarkable study published in the journal Thrombotic Research found that pycnogenol was superior (i.e. effective at a lower dosage) to aspirin at inhibiting smoking-induced clotting, without the significant (and potentially life-threatening) increase in bleeding time associated with aspirin use. The abstract is well worth reading in its entirety:
“The effects of a bioflavonoid mixture, Pycnogenol, were assessed on platelet function in humans. Cigarette smoking increased heart rate and blood pressure. These increases were not influenced by oral consumption of Pycnogenol or Aspirin just before smoking. However, increased platelet reactivity yielding aggregation 2 hours after smoking was prevented by 500 mg Aspirin or 100 mg Pycnogenol in 22 German heavy smokers. In a group of 16 American smokers, blood pressure increased after smoking. It was unchanged after intake of 500 mg Aspirin or 125 mg Pycnogenol. In another group of 19 American smokers, increased platelet aggregation was more significantly reduced by 200 than either 150 mg or 100 mg Pycnogenol supplementation. This study showed that a single, high dose, 200 mg Pycnogenol, remained effective for over 6 days against smoking-induced platelet aggregation. Smoking increased platelet aggregation that was prevented after administration of 500 mg Aspirin and 125 mg Pycnogenol. Thus, smoking-induced enhanced platelet aggregation was inhibited by 500 mg Aspirin as well as by a lower range of 100-125 mg Pycnogenol. Aspirin significantly (p<0.001) increased bleeding time from 167 to 236 seconds while Pycnogenol did not. These observations suggest an advantageous risk-benefit ratio for Pycnogenol.” [emphasis added]
As emphasized in bold above, pycnogenol unlike aspirin did not significantly increase bleeding time. This has profound implications, as aspirin’s potent anti-platelet/’blood thinning’ properties can also cause life-threatening hemorrhagic events. If this study is accurate and pycnogenol is more effective at decreasing pathologic platelet aggregation at a lower dose without causing the increased bleeding linked to aspirin, then it is clearly a superior natural alternative worthy of far more attention by the conventional medical establishment and research community than it presently receives.
Not Just A Drug Alternative
Pycnogenol, like so many other natural interventions, has a wide range of side benefits that may confer significant advantage when it comes to reducing cardiovascular disease risk. For instance, pycnogenol is also:
- Blood Pressure Reducing/Endothelial Function Enhancer: A number of clinical studies indicate that pycnogenol is therapeutic for those suffering with hypertension. Pycnogenol actually addresses a root cause of hypertension and cardiovascular disease in general, namely, endothelial dysfunction (the inability of the inner lining of the blood vessels to function correctly, e.g. fully dilate). It has been shown to prevent damage in microcirculation in hypertensive patients, as well as reducing the dose of blood pressure drugs in hypertensive patients,including hypertensive diabetic patients. It has even been found to reduce intraocular hypertension found in glaucoma patients.
- Anti-Inflammatory Effects: There is a growing appreciation among the medical community that inflammation contributes to cardiovascular disease. Several markers, including C-reactive protein are now being fore grounded as being at least as important in determining cardiovascular disease risk as various blood lipids and/or their ratios, such as low-density lipoprotein (LDL). Pycnogenol has been found to reduce C-reactive protein in hypertensive patients. Pycnogenol has been found to rapidly modulate downward (inhibit) both Cox-1 and Cox-2 enzyme activity in human subjects, resulting in reduced expression of these inflammation-promoting enzymes within 30 minutes post-ingestion. Another observed anti-inflammatory effect of pycnogenol is its ability to down-regulate the class of inflammatory enzymes known as matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs). Pycnogenol has also been found to significantly inhibit NF-kappaB activation, a key body-wide regulator of inflammation levels whose overexpression and/or dysregulation may result in pathologic cardiovascular manifestations. Finally, pycnogenol has been found to reduce fibrinogen levels, a glycoprotein that contributes to the formation of blood clots; fibrinogen has been identified as an independent risk factor for cardiovascular disease.
- The Ideal Air Travel Companion: In a previous article entitled, “How Pine Bark Extract Could Save Air Travelers Lives,” we delve into a compelling body of research that indicates pycnogenol may be the perfect preventive remedy for preventing flight-associated thrombosis, edema, and concerns related to radiotoxicity and immune suppression.
Given the evidence for pycnogenol’s pleotrophic cardioprotective properties, we hope that pycnogenol will become more commonly recommended by health care practitioners as the medical paradigm continues to evolve past its reliance on synthetic chemicals, eventually (we hope) returning to natural, increasingly evidence-based interventions. However, it is important that we don’t fall prey to the one-disease-one-pill model, convincing ourselves to focus on popping pills – this time natural ones – as simply countermeasures or ‘insurance’ against the well-known harms associated with the standard American diet, lack of exercise and uncontrolled stress. The ultimate goal is to remove the need for pills altogether, focusing on preventing cardiovascular disease from the ground up and inside out, e.g. letting high quality food, clean water and air, and a healthy attitude nourish and sustain your health and well-being.
 Ximing Liu, Junping Wei, Fengsen Tan, Shengming Zhou, Gudrun Würthwein, Peter Rohdewald. Pycnogenol, French maritime pine bark extract, improves endothelial function of hypertensive patients. Life Sci. 2004 Jan 2;74(7):855-62. PMID: 14659974
 Gianni Belcaro, Maria Rosaria Cesarone, Andrea Ricci, Umberto Cornelli, Peter Rodhewald, Andrea Ledda, Andrea Di Renzo, Stefano Stuard, Marisa Cacchio, Giulia Vinciguerra, Giuseppe Gizzi, Luciano Pellegrini, Mark Dugall, Filiberto Fano. Control of edema in hypertensive subjects treated with calcium antagonist (nifedipine) or angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors with Pycnogenol. Clin Appl Thromb Hemost. 2006 Oct;12(4):440-4. PMID: 17000888
 Sherma Zibadi, Peter J Rohdewald, Danna Park, Ronald Ross Watson. Reduction of cardiovascular risk factors in subjects with type 2 diabetes by Pycnogenol supplementation. Nutr Res. 2008 May;28(5):315-20. PMID: 19083426
 Robert D Steigerwalt, Belcaro Gianni, Morazzoni Paolo, Ezio Bombardelli, Carolina Burki, Frank Schönlau. Effects of Mirtogenol on ocular blood flow and intraocular hypertension in asymptomatic subjects. Mol Vis. 2008;14:1288-92. Epub 2008 Jul 10. PMID: 18618008
 Maria Rosaria Cesarone, Gianni Belcaro, Stefano Stuard, Frank Schönlau, Andrea Di Renzo, Maria Giovanna Grossi, Mark Dugall, Umberto Cornelli, Marisa Cacchio, Giuseppe Gizzi, Luciano Pellegrini. Kidney flow and function in hypertension: protective effects of pycnogenol in hypertensive participants–a controlled study. J Cardiovasc Pharmacol Ther. 2010 Mar;15(1):41-6. Epub 2010 Jan 22. PMID: 20097689
 Angelika Schäfer, Zuzana Chovanová, Jana Muchová, Katarína Sumegová, Anna Liptáková, Zdenka Duracková, Petra Högger. Inhibition of COX-1 and COX-2 activity by plasma of human volunteers after ingestion of French maritime pine bark extract (Pycnogenol). Biomed Pharmacother. 2006 Jan;60(1):5-9. Epub 2005 Oct 26. PMID: 16330178
 Tanja Grimm, Angelika Schäfer, Petra Högger. Antioxidant activity and inhibition of matrix metalloproteinases by metabolites of maritime pine bark extract (pycnogenol). Wei Sheng Yan Jiu. 2011 Jan;40(1):103-6. PMID: 14990359
 Tanja Grimm, Zuzana Chovanová, Jana Muchová, Katarína Sumegová, Anna Liptáková, Zdenka Duracková, Petra Högger. Inhibition of NF-kappaB activation and MMP-9 secretion by plasma of human volunteers after ingestion of maritime pine bark extract (Pycnogenol). J Inflamm (Lond). 2006;3:1. Epub 2006 Jan 27. PMID: 16441890
 G Belcaro, M R Cesarone, S Errichi, C Zulli, B M Errichi, G Vinciguerra, A Ledda, A Di Renzo, S Stuard, M Dugall, L Pellegrini, G Gizzi, E Ippolito, A Ricci, M Cacchio, G Cipollone, I Ruffini, F Fano, M Hosoi, P Rohdewald. Variations in C-reactive protein, plasma free radicals and fibrinogen values in patients with osteoarthritis treated with Pycnogenol. Redox Rep. 2008;13(6):271-6. PMID: 19017467
Originally published: 2017-07-23
Article updated: 2019-04-11
Long-Term Consequences of Mumps Vaccination: Many Unanswered Questions
This is Part II of a two-part series on mumps. Part I discussed how mumps vaccination and the flawed mumps component of Merck’s MMR vaccine are fostering dangerous mumps outbreaks in adolescents and young adults.
It has been about five decades since the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved Merck’s first mumps vaccine. The company began launching combination MMR (measles, mumps and rubella) vaccines in the 1970s. Coincidentally—or not—an infertility crisis has been brewing over roughly the same time period, with dramatic declines in sperm counts and record-lowfertility levels. However, few investigators seem interested in assessing whether mumps outbreaks in highly vaccinated populations of teens and young adults could be having long-termeffects on fertility or other health indicators.
As described in Part I, childhood MMR vaccination has been an unmitigated disaster where mumps is concerned, deferring mumps infection to older ages and leaving adolescents and young adults vulnerable to serious reproductive complications. Public health reports show that the vast majority of mumps cases and outbreaks occur in youth who have been fully vaccinatedwith the prescribed two-dose MMR series, supporting a hypothesis of “waning immunity after the second dose.” FDA and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) officials even admitthat mumps outbreaks in the post-vaccination era “typically involve young adults,” and that vaccination is failing to protect those who are college-age and above.
Myopically, many vaccine experts have called for a third MMR dose—or even “booster dosing throughout adulthood”—even though the FDA’s and CDC’s own research shows that MMR boosters in college-age youth barely last one year. As alleged in whistleblower lawsuits wending their way through the courts over the past eight years, Merck presented the FDA with a “falsely inflated efficacy rate” for the MMR’s mumps component, using animal antibodies and other fraudulent tactics to fool FDA—and the public—into believing that the vaccine was effective.
When infection arises after puberty, however, mumps is no laughing matter, presenting an increased risk of complications such as hearing loss, encephalitis and inflammation of the reproductive organs.
Mumps after puberty is no laughing matter
Around the time that the first mumps vaccine came on the market, the 1967 children’s classic The Great Brain humorously depicted mumps infection in childhood as a mere nuisance. The book’s young protagonist goes out of his way to intentionally infect himself with mumps so that he can beat his two brothers to the recovery finish line—and he experiences no adverse consequences other than his siblings’ annoyance.
When infection arises after puberty, however, mumps is no laughing matter, presenting an increased risk of complications such as hearing loss, encephalitis and inflammation of the reproductive organs. About one in three postpubertal men with mumps develops orchitis(inflammation of the testes), which can damage sperm, affect testosterone production and contribute to subfertility and infertility. During a mumps outbreak in England in the mid-2000s, mumps orchitis accounted for 42% of all hospitalized mumps cases; the researchers attributed this outcome—which was the most common reason for hospitalization—to “the high attack rates in adolescents and young adults” that occurred “despite high coverage with two-dose MMR.” An analysis of a 2006 mumps outbreak in the U.S. reported that male patients were over three times more likely than female patients to experience complications, “due primarily to orchitis.”
An estimated 5% to 10% of postpubertal women will develop oophoritis (swelling of the ovaries) following mumps infection. Oophoritis is associated with premature menopause and infertility, but mumps-related oophoritis has garnered little notice.
Mumps infections are often asymptomatic or produce nonspecific symptoms such as fever, while cases of orchitis may present with no other mumps symptoms. Nonetheless, public health officials advise clinicians that orchitis is an instant cue to test for mumps virus, and testing often reveals elevated mumps antibodies. In a case report of MMR failure, British clinicians isolated a novel genetic strain of mumps virus from the patient’s semen two weeks after the onset of orchitis and found mumps RNA in the semen 40 days later; they also noted “the appearance of anti-sperm antibodies,” with “potential long-term adverse effects on the patient’s fertility.”
In 2017, researchers who reviewed 185 studies conducted in Western nations found that sperm counts had plummeted by 50% to 60% between 1973 and 2011—an average decrease of 1.4% annually. Commenting on this work, one analyst estimated that 20% to 30% of young men in Europe and North America have sperm concentrations associated with a reduced ability to father a child. Given estimates that as much as 40% of reproductive problems have to do with the male partner, there is agreement on the importance of “finding and eliminating [the] hidden culprits in the environment” that most researchers believe are to blame.
An estimated 5% to 10% of postpubertal women will develop oophoritis (swelling of the ovaries) following mumps infection. Oophoritis is associated with premature menopause and infertility, but mumps-related oophoritis has garnered little notice.
MMR’s and MMRV’s potential to impair fertility never studied
Merck has not evaluated either of its two MMR vaccines—the MMR-II and the MMR-plus-varicella (MMRV) vaccine—for their potential to impair fertility. Whether such testing would unearth direct effects on fertility (as appears to be possible with HPV vaccination in women) is thus unknown. However, mumps vaccination undeniably increases reproductive-age individuals’ risk of mumps infection and, in the process, increases the risk of fertility-altering complications. These facts alone should be attracting far more attention.
Unfortunately, because clinicians already tend to underdiagnose mumps infection and underestimate mumps complications, it is likely that they are failing to recognize possible vaccine-induced reproductive health consequences of mumps infection in their adolescent and young adult patients. In one university outbreak, “most physicians…did not suspect mumps,” and even when they became aware of the outbreak, “diagnosing mumps was not always straightforward.” Moreover, although differentiating between vaccine strains of mumps virus and wild types could provide valuable information, few clinicians have the capacity or inclination to perform testing of this type. A Japanese study of cerebrospinal fluid and saliva from patients with mumps complications found vaccine strain in nearly all of the samples and noted the information’s importance in helping determine whether the complications were vaccine-related.
Those who have sought to understand mumps vaccines’ poor performance point to a mixture of explanatory factors. These include waning immunity, the high population density and close quarters encountered in settings such as college campuses, incomplete vaccine-induced immunity to wild virus as well as viral evolution such that “the vaccine triggers a less potent reaction against today’s mumps viruses than those of 50 years ago.” However, some also quietly admit that individuals with “mild vaccine-modified disease” could be perpetuating the chain of transmission. This latter point ought to be raising questions about the logic and wisdom of administering further rounds of MMR boosters during outbreaks while ignoring the problems created by the doses already given.
… some individuals respond poorly to mumps vaccination and vaccine-induced antibody levels correlate poorly with protection from mumps infection, irrespective of the number of additional doses of mumps-containing vaccine they receive.
Most scientists appear to be either resigned to ongoing mumps outbreaks in vaccinated populations or actually accept periodic outbreaks as the cost of doing business. Publications by FDA and CDC researchers reveal these agencies’ awareness that some individuals respond poorly to mumps vaccination and that vaccine-induced antibody levels correlate poorly with protection from mumps infection, “irrespective of the number of additional doses of mumps-containing vaccine they receive.” Considering the effects on fertility, the generally abysmal track record of mumps vaccination and Merck’s fraudulent claims about efficacy, it is hard to fathom medical and public health experts’ complacency about current mumps vaccines and vaccine policies.
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Investigation Shows The MMR Vaccine Was Approved Based On Small Studies Showing Disturbing Results
- The Facts:
A FOIA request by Del Bigtree reveals that the 8 studies supporting the release of the MMR vaccine were only 6 weeks long, used only 800 children, and led to damaging respiratory and gastrointestinal illnesses to many of the children.
- Reflect On:
Are we ready to collectively deal with the implications of ongoing revelations of industry malfeasance with regards to vaccines that for some may require a shift in long-held beliefs?
Amidst a rash of efforts to bring forward mandatory vaccination in pockets of the United States is the recent move in New York City to declare a public health emergency Tuesday over a measles outbreak and order mandatory vaccinations in one neighborhood for people who may have been exposed to the virus.
Mayor Bill de Blasio announced the unusual order to address what he said was a measles “crisis” in Brooklyn’s Williamsburg section, where more than 250 people have gotten measles since September. The order applies to anyone living, working or going to school in four zip codes in the neighborhood. The declaration requires all unvaccinated people who may have been exposed to the virus to get the vaccine, including children over 6 months old. People who ignore the order could be fined $1,000.
This kind of invasive move gives rise to several serious questions, including challenging many of the assumptions that are necessarily made to justify such a move.
Assumption #1: People who may have been infected with the measles should get vaccinated immediately. De Blasio wants people who may have been infected with the measles to get vaccinated. The assumption here is that the vaccine would actually help someone who has the virus by preventing them from getting the measles or preventing them from spreading it to others. But this just doesn’t stand to reason. If someone is already infected, getting a measles vaccine will not prevent the outbreak. That’s not what a vaccine is designed for. And while the person is going through the 2-week period it takes for the vaccine to take hold, it’s quite possible that this will weaken the immune response to the actual measles infection the person has. Quarantining people suspected of being infected would be the sensible response, not vaccinating. If they happen to have the measles, no problem. Once they recover they will then be immune for life.
Assumption #2: The MMR Vaccine Can Create Herd Immunity. There is an article in the Huffington post entitled ‘I’m No Anti-Vaxxer, But the Measles Vaccine Can’t Prevent Outbreaks,’ in which Dr. Gregory Poland, who strongly advocates for vaccines, notes that outbreaks are often initiated and spread by people who have been fully vaccinated against the measles–over 50% in the case of a 2011 outbreak in Quebec. How is this possible? While this Quebec outbreak happened within a community that supposedly had achieved herd-immunity status of over 95% vaccinated, the facts are, as the article notes, that “9 per cent of children having two doses of the vaccine, as public health authorities now recommend, will have lost their immunity after just seven and a half years. As more time passes, more lose their immunity.” Therefore, herd immunity for measles is simply impossible to achieve with this vaccine.
Assumption #3: The MMR Vaccine, in de Blasio’s words, is ‘safe, effective, and life-saving.’ The claim that the MMR vaccine is ‘life-saving’ does not stand up to simple statistics, as we detail in our article ‘Statistics Show The MMR Vaccine Kills More People Than The Measles Does.’ Whether it is effective, we have already seen that it is incapable of creating herd immunity, wanes over time, does not work at all for some people, and in some of the latest outbreaks the majority of people infected were fully vaccinated. Is it safe? This is the important question we cover in the next section.
The Studies That Stand Behind The Approval Of the MMR Vaccine
The pharmaceutical industry, as well as governmental regulatory bodies like the CDC and the FDA, assure the public that they take the safety of vaccines seriously, and that there is irrefutable science behind the notion that vaccines are safe in terms of the studies that their approval is based on.
However, a Freedom of Information Act request by Del Bigtree has revealed absolutely startling information about the studies that supported the approval of the MMR vaccines that have been injected into our children. To begin with, only 8 studies were conducted and the total combined number of children participating in the studies was only a little over 800! Furthermore, the studies only recorded symptoms for the first 6 weeks after the vaccines were given, unlike many other drug studies that follow symptoms for 5 years or more. And finally, the study revealed serious side-effects in those receiving the vaccine, including a highly significant number of participants who suffered upper respiratory illness and gastrointestinal illness, which has been linked to autism.
In our latest episode of The Collective Evolution Show on CETV, Joe, Arjun and I discussed New York’s mandatory vaccination order as well as Del Bigtree’s analysis of the MMR studies he received and the reason that Big Pharma not only does not want to do proper, large-scale studies on the safety of vaccines, but they also want to try to prevent other researchers like Dr. Christopher Exley from doing so as well.
You can watch the full episode of The Collective Evolution Show where we talk about this subject in more detail here.
The veils of illusion that have been masking the truth are lifting as our consciousness awakens. Transparency is coming, though how long it takes will depend on our continued efforts to dig for and spread the truth far and wide.
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